An intensive look at Enoch. Part 3 – the end.

Growing up in church about the only thing we knew of Enoch was that he walked with God and was no more. Common sense tells you there is more; and, when we add in dimensions that include the probability of interactions with giants, and a strange vagueness about the lineage leading to Noah. I always found myself puzzled as I waited for the details and reasons as to why Noah’s family was the only one found worthy of saving, but they never came. Doing this intensive study has shown me that Enoch was no less righteous than Noah; that Methuselah was a living prophecy and an indicator of the judgment that was coming. And, that Enoch had a “global” influence, but that information, in the form of The Book of Enoch, or the writings of Tertullian, was taken from us.

Here is where I interject some history and hopefully validation. Feel free to skip or fast forward.

The Book of Enoch had been an integral part of the early Church and had been read aloud among the church body for 700 years. Early Church fathers, such as Clement, Barnabas, and Irenaeus referenced and quoted from the Book of Enoch. Th D. JR Church published the book, “Enoch, The First Book Ever Written,” and he does the commentary on it as it progresses.

From; we have this information on the origins of The Book of Enoch.

Sir Walter Raleigh, in his History of the World (written in 1616 while imprisoned in the Tower of London), makes the curious assertion that part of the Book of Enoch “which contained the course of the stars, their names and motions” had been discovered in Saba (Sheba) in the first century and was thus available to Origen and Tertullian. He attributes this information to Origen,[59] though no such statement is found anywhere in extant versions of Origen.[60]

Better success was achieved by the famous Scottish traveler James Bruce, who, in 1773, returned to Europe from six years in Abyssinia with three copies of a Ge’ez version.[62] One is preserved in the Bodleian Library, another was presented to the royal library of France, while the third was kept by Bruce. The copies remained unused until the 19th century; Silvestre de Sacy, in “Notices sur le livre d’Enoch”,[63] included extracts of the books with Latin translations (Enoch chapters 1, 2, 5–16, 22, and 32). From this, a German translation was made by Rink in 1801.

The first English translation of the Bodleian/Ethiopic manuscript was published in 1821 by Richard Laurence, titled The Book of Enoch, the prophet: an apocryphal production, supposed to have been lost for ages; but discovered at the close of the last century in Abyssinia; now first translated from an Ethiopic manuscript in the Bodleian Library. Oxford, 1821. Revised editions appeared in 1833, 1838, and 1842.

In 1838, Laurence also released the first Ethiopic text of 1 Enoch published in the West, under the title: Libri Enoch Prophetae Versio Aethiopica. The text, divided into 105 chapters, was soon considered unreliable as it was the transcription of a single Ethiopic manuscript.[64]

In 1833, Professor Andreas Gottlieb Hoffmann of the University of Jena released a German translation, based on Laurence’s work, called Das Buch Henoch in vollständiger Uebersetzung, mit fortlaufendem Kommentar, ausführlicher Einleitung und erläuternden Excursen. Two other translations came out around the same time: one in 1836 called Enoch Restitutus, or an Attempt (Rev. Edward Murray) and one in 1840 called Prophetae veteres Pseudepigraphi, partim ex Abyssinico vel Hebraico sermonibus Latine bersi (A. F. Gfrörer). However, both are considered to be poor—the 1836 translation most of all—and is discussed in Hoffmann.[65]

The first critical edition, based on five manuscripts, appeared in 1851 as Liber Henoch, Aethiopice, ad quinque codicum fidem editus, cum variis lectionibus, by August Dillmann. It was followed in 1853 by a German translation of the book by the same author with a commentary titled Das Buch Henoch, übersetzt und erklärt. It was considered the standard edition of 1 Enoch until the work of Charles.

Jude, the author of his own New Testament book, quotes a prophecy from Enoch that is not in our Bibles and can only be found in the Book of Enoch. The writer of Hebrews places Enoch in the hall of fame for his great faith, by which he walked off this earth and into God’s arms, never to see death (Hebrews 11:5). And we find the name of Enoch in Luke 3:37, where he is listed in the lineage of Jesus Christ.

There is nothing that tells us that Enoch merely sat in one spot.

The man lived 365 years, and we have links between Enoch and Egypt and Africa. One of those who articulated regarding Enoch was Tertullian.

His full name was Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, c. 155 – c. 240 AD and he was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. Born:160 AD, Died:220 AD, Carthage, Tunisia [Wikipedia]

Others, including “Arabic writers, tell us of pyramids and pillars erected by him, on which he engraved the arts and the instruments of them; and some writers ascribe the invention of letters of letters and writing of books to him.” JR Church on page 23 of his book The Book of Enoch, tells us that he obtained this information from John Gill, D.D., Ch. 2, Pg. 36 of his book A Dissertation Concerning the Antiquity of the Hebrew Language, Letters, Vowel Points, and Accents.

Diane Severance, PH.D. Writing for the website Christianity Today, tells us that “Tertullian coined the phrase Trinity, a word that does not appear anywhere in the Bible, to help us to understand the New Testament teaching about what God is like.” “In later life, he lost favor with much of the Church when he at least temporarily took up with the Montanists– what we would probably call today a puritanical-charismatic sect.”

This Egyptian and Northern African influence may explain why writings on Enoch were found in the Ethiopian nation.

Since we understand that the earth had become so dangerous that the thoughts of every man were only evil; and, that, men like Nimrod were merely violent chieftains and hunters of men, then one can safely assume that this was the universal theme of all those who had come from a fallen angel descent.

This man Enoch, though perhaps less vague now, still leaves many questions. One of those questions arises as we try to ascribe names to the two witnesses we see in the Revelation. These two witnesses who stand in the streets of Jerusalem, testifying to Jehovah; performing miracles; stopping the rain; calling fire down from heaven, and preventing, for 1260 days, any attempts at harming them, are removed from the earth and back to the Father at the midpoint of the seven years of wrath.

Let me attempt to address some arguments that may arise.

Genesis 6:1-2 NASB Now it came about when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, 2) that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.

Note that the verse tells us:

  • they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.”

    The Hebrew word for took also means to fetch, seize, and use.

    I seriously doubt there was much anyone could do about it.

  • when men began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them,”

The Hebrew word for multiply also means to cast together, that is, increase, especially in number; also to multiply by the myriad:

There is nothing about this statement, that limits it to the chronological period exclusive to Genesis 6:1, and may well have been applied to babies created in the garden before the fall.

I said it before, but it bears repeating. Eve had children prior to the fall of man.

Genesis 3:16 Darby To the woman he said, I will greatly increase thy travail and thy pregnancy; with pain thou shalt bear children; and to thy husband shall be thy desire, and he shall rule over thee.

  1. There would be no reason to make this assertion we see in Genesis 3:16 unless she had already been having children, as the statement would make no sense. 
  2. The Darby translation demonstrates an increase in the travail. The Hebrew word iṣṣāḇôn also denotes pain and sorrow. So pain and sorrow are both over and above whatever Eve deemed ordinary.
  3. Having a man and a woman run naked through the most serene atmosphere you can imagine would have only evoked their passions for each other.
  4. After Cain kills his brother and gets admonished by God, he shows some concern as he says, people will kill me. I have heard the illogical arguments that project far into the future where Adam and Eve would have eventually filled the earth with children. But we ignore the context and tense, as what Cain describes is a present threat. Cain also gets himself a wife; here again, we project into the future in hopes that mom and dad will produce a daughter that Cain can have for a wife. There is something sick and distasteful about the very idea.

The evidence is clear. Adam and Eve had children prior to the fall.

Genesis 6:3 NASB Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”

  • My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh,”

    While this will impact the lineage of those extending out to Noah, the effect is not felt until after the flood. The evidence for this can readily be ascertained from virtually any of the people that existed prior to the flood. Methuselah lived 969 years, and when he died, the flood came.

    But there was a more pressing concern. So God, to constrain these violent, enormous hybrids who were part flesh and breath, restricts the age of everyone who will live on earth for a maximum of 120 years.

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward.”

Genesis 6:4 CJB The N’filim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came into the daughters of men, and they bore children to them; these were the ancient heroes, men of renown.

After what? The flood.

Does that mean that some of these titans survived the flood and lived on? No, it means fallen angels continued their sick game plan, to disrupt and destroy God’s plan, by filling the earth with hybrids. Look at what the verse says,

when the sons of God came into the daughters of men, and they bore children to them.”

They took what they wanted and always produced offspring.

Notice one more thing in this verse.

It says, “these were the ancient heroes, men of renown.” What our frightened little minds do, is to attribute this statement to men like those that gathered with King David, as they too were mighty men. But this was not the case with the pre-flood giants, for these titans became the imagery and god-like characteristics from which all myths are made.

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An intense look at Enoch. Part two.

In the last post, you were introduced to Enoch and how he came to walk this earth. It’s no great mystery, fathers have children and those children then have their own families.  But, what that lineage does not show, nor explain, is why Cain, the first born, was set aside. Nor does that lineage expressly explain how Enoch came to have a relationship with God that so closely paralleled what Adam had. Neither does Enoch’s lineage explain the influence of the giants. Because of a few key paragraphs, we have clues as to why this man Enoch seemed to stand alone; that is not exactly true, as Methuselah and Noah also stood as upright pillars. I am hoping you begin to see an odd vagueness as this story leads to Noah and speaks of giants. There is nothing subtle about this story, and, as the Prophet Daniel said,

Daniel 12:3-4  “But those who can discern (CJB) will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. 4) “But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.” NASB

We are in those days and many are beginning to point people to the truth that is in the Word of God. Choose to be one of those who shines.

An intense look at Enoch. Part two.

Now move forward in time to the fall of man. We only have two people in the middle of the garden at this time so we can assume that no one else was aware of what happened by hearing or seeing. Just as Eve experienced death, everyone alive suddenly felt dead on the inside, in their spirits.

How does someone, who for an extended period had creative and dominant abilities comparable to their father Adam, react to a world that they can no longer control?

Genesis 3:15 Darby And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; he shall crush thy head, and thou shalt crush his heel.

As soon as Satan heard this statement from God we see in Genesis 3:15, the game was on. So what does this all add up to? The implications are that the fallen angel hybridization program began immediately, and we are still seven generations away from Enoch at this point.

One of the things I must give some consideration to is lineage and the impact of the Nephilim on Enoch’s life. Nephilim is the offspring of fallen angels breeding with humans.

Let’s bring Cain back into the picture for a moment. What if in taking a wife, Cain has chosen a Nephilim? Then everything produced through this union would have been a hybridized being, whose eventual motivations were only evil and violent.

Genesis 6:5 Darby And Jehovah saw that the wickedness of Man was great on the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart only evil continually.

Okay, let’s try another scenario with Cain and his lovely bride. What if their son Enoch married (use that term loosely) a hybrid? There again the only possible result ends up with a hybrid. If you are not getting the point here, it is that the hybridization program was meant to eliminate an untainted humanity, and thus prevent the seed, God spoke of, from being born.

I already pointed out that Enoch is the seventh generation from Adam. (Gen 5:4-21). Without background information, I have nothing more than numbers. However, numbers are not a bad thing as they allow me to do the math and figure out things like the availability of Adam to share his wisdom with Enoch, or when Methuselah died. These all, as we have seen, had to deal with the oppression and violence of these giants.

Let’s attempt to consider what role these immense beings played.

There were Giants, but not just giants, they were Titans. A Swedish museum has the remains of a skeleton that is over 3 meters tall; that equates to being over 21 feet tall. Other remains have been found placing the heights of these titans to be as much as 60 feet tall. But thanks to a concerted effort by the Smithsonian Institute which led a massive effort to gather and eliminate any evidence of giants when they became known, virtually everyone is a skeptic. There is no doubt in my mind that such evidence would only make the Bible more valid, and people would then put their trust in the stories that scripture tells, and Satan, therefore, made a stand against that truth by removing the evidence. Explore this piece of information about evidence found on World Net Daily.

Genesis 6:4 MKJV There were giants in the earth in those days. And also after that, when the sons of God came into the daughters of men, and they bore to them, they were mighty men who existed of old, men of renown.

they were mighty men who existed of old, men of renown.”

The preceding statement doesn’t sound so ominous, as mighty men and men of renown could be the description given to a leader in business. Perhaps another translation will provide us with some insight.

Genesis 6:4 CJB The N’filim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them; these were the ancient heroes, men of renown.

These Titans are the people from which the ancient myths and legends were formed, and there it is in front of us, in scripture.

The word translated giants is the Hebrew word nep̱iyliym.

The following is from the Word Study Dictionary.

“A masculine noun used only in the plural meaning giants. The celebrated, puzzling passage where this term is first used is Gen_6:4 which merely transliterates the Hebrew word into English as NePhplim. These beings evidently appeared on the earth in the ancient past when divine beings cohabited with woman, and NePhplim, the mighty men or warriors of great fame, were the offspring. This huge race of NePhplim struck fear into the Israelite spies who had gone up to survey the land of Canaan (see Num_13:31-33). The sons of Anak, a tall race of people, came from the NePhplim (Num_13:33; cf. Deu_2:10-11; Deu_9:2; Jos_15:14). Eze_2:21, Eze_2:27 may have the NePhplim in mind, possibly equating them with the mighty men or mighty warriors in the passage. These beings were not divine but only at best great, powerful men.”

In spite of physical evidence and what scripture says, many will still dispute the existence of giants. Those who try to challenge their existence have difficulty when the story of David arises where he lops off the head of Goliath who was easily over nine feet tall. Goliath, however, was not the only giant, as Og, the king of Bashan, had a bed made for him that was over thirteen feet long.

Deuteronomy 3:11 ERV (Og was the king of Bashan. He was one of the few Rephaites still alive. His bed was made from iron, and it was over 13 feet long and 6 feet wide. The bed is still in the city of Rabbah, where the Ammonites live.)

The premise behind the giants was that fallen angels cohabited with human women and produced offspring. We get this from the book of Jude and Genesis 6:4. However, we can learn that Enoch spoke of it as well.

Jude 1:6 NASB And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day,

Genesis 6:4 ISV  The Nephilim were on the earth at that time (and also immediately afterward), when those divine beings were having sexual relations with those human women, who gave birth to children for them. These children became the heroes and legendary figures of ancient times.

Domain is the Hebrew word archḗ and means chief (in various applications of order, time, place or rank): – beginnings. Abandoned comes from the Hebrew word apoleipō and means to leave behind. “Their proper abode.” conveys the idea of a personal residence. Their personal residence was heaven and they it, however, my guess is that they were thrown out with Satan. WSD

 Jude 1:6, as we saw above, includes an ominous statement.

He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day,

A logical assumption is that the “He” in this verse, is God. The idea of keeping is from the Hebrew tēréō, and means to warden, guard, or keep an eye on. If, in your attempt to sort this out logically, you come to this passage in 2Peter 2:4. Wouldn’t you then say, that the fallen angels are all taken out of the way as they are held until judgment comes?

2Peter 2:4 (AKJV)For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved to judgment;

And yet we see that as yet they are not all kept in bonds under darkness.

What do you then do with this statement from Job?

Job 1:6 (AKJV)Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said to Satan, From where come you? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

The apparent fact is that Satan and his fallen crowd are still walking about in the earth. We are made aware that several fallen angels are chained in the Euphrates river, awaiting the day they are to be released to bring havoc on the earth as part of God’s judgment, during the seven years. But it is evident that not all are chained up.

If these angels that we see in the book of Job, are not chained and restricted from doing things like cohabiting with human women, then perhaps this idea of fallen angels, once again, after the flood, creating a hybridized race of people is not so absurd.

In looking at Genesis 6:4 once again; there are only a handful of translations bold enough to tell this story as it is.

Genesis 6:4 ISV The Nephilim were on the earth at that time (and also immediately afterward), when those divine beings were having sexual relations with those human women, who gave birth to children for them. These children became the heroes and legendary figures of ancient times.

The God’s Word translation merely integrated the sons of God as some aspect of humanity, like they were some self-proclaimed demigods. This statement is not that far-fetched, for, in Genesis chapter ten, we see Nimrod, the son of Cush. It is the elaboration that should catch our attention.

Genesis 6:4 GW The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, as well as later when the sons of God slept with the daughters of other humans and had children by them. These children were famous long ago.

The point here is, that these beings had sex with human women and produced children. As I stated previously, this concept is one that is not foreign to us. Why not? You would have been living under a rock, without electricity, not to be aware that people have claimed to have been abducted by aliens and impregnated. Can you imagine the women in the time of Genesis, trying to tell someone what happened to them? Mary, the mother of Jesus, had a similar problem as she informed the women who challenged her about her pregnancy, that this baby in her womb was God’s baby.

Having shared this information in conversations,  one of the arguments thrown back in my face is, that the “angels are sexless because they can’t give and take in marriage.” Seriously, we have people all around us having intercourse and they are not married. So there is obviously something more to this. This basis for this challenge comes from a question that the Pharisees ask Jesus while trying to trap him. It began with this,

Matthew 22:23-24 ISV  That same day some Sadducees, who claim there is no resurrection, came to Jesus and asked him,  24)  “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and have children for his brother.’

Matthew 22:28 ISV  Now in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be, since all of them had married her?”

Jesus response was,

Matthew 22:29-30 ISV”You are mistaken because you don’t know the Scriptures or God’s power,  30)  because, in the resurrection, people neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like the angels in heaven.

The IVPBBC explains this sentence like this,

“That is, they shall be elevated above the circumstances of mortality, and live in a manner and in a kind of conversation similar to that of the angels. It does not imply that they shall be equal in intellect, but only “in the circumstances of their existence,” as that is distinguished from the way in which mortals live.”

Without an intense theological background, I tend to go with the obvious answer. Jesus told them, people will not marry nor will they be given in marriage in heaven. They are, however, like the angels. This is not a denial or confirmation that angels can mate, but virtually every observance we have of angels is that they are large and powerful warriors. That tends to give them male characteristics, and Genesis tells us that the fallen ones did have intercourse with human women.

I also realize that we can only understand the world through our inner brokenness; a brokenness that happens to like sex. Unfortunately, that desire is deeply tied to our selfish motivations and desires. Angels, with the exception of the third that followed Satan, have no selfish desires, and merely do what they are told. Marriage and intercourse then, are not a part of their job description. Obviously then, it is feasible.

Nimrod came after the flood, but there are some similarities that might help us understand these giants.

With a little bit of background research into the Hebrew words used to describe him, we can determine that Nimrod, is probably not an offspring of one of these fallen angels. However, this description we have of Nimrod in Genesis 10 has some ominous words used in association with him.

Genesis 10:8-11 NASB Now Cush became the father of Nimrod; he became a mighty one on the earth. 9) He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD.” 10) The beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 11) From that land he went forth into Assyria, and built Nineveh and Rehoboth-Ir and Calah,

he became” This word became is interesting as it is used two times in the passage from Genesis 10:8, and yet, each instance is a different Hebrew word. For example:

  • Cush became the father of Nimrod.

    What can I learn from that? Since Cush is a human, then Nimrod should be a human also. But, even though scripture almost implies that the offspring were only males, that is not the case. Therefore, just because the word gibbôr, which can also mean an overwhelming influence and not height does not exclude the possibility that Nimrod was a massive man.

    When verse eight speaks of Nimrod, in saying, he became. It is using the Hebrew word hâyâh which means to exist or to come to pass. Since we already know that Nimrod didn’t simply appear, then we also know that who he became was a process. The NASB concordance indicates the word chalal in association with the phrase “he became.” “chalal,” we are told, is a primary root and means; to pollute, defile, profane. It seems logical to assume, that Nimrod became polluted, defiled and profane. He also became a principal polluter and defiler of the representation of God. As corroborating evidence, when Nineveh comes up in the story of Jonah, most do not realize that Nimrod, and his defiling ways, was the founder and builder of Nineveh. Although it is not told to us in the story of Jonah, the prudent can learn that a significant influence on the Assyrians, the people of Nineveh, is Dagon (a prevalent god throughout the Middle East,) the half man – half fish god. In Judges 16 we see Samson pulling down the Philistine temple of Dagon.

a mighty onea double usage of the word gibbor which means, [powerful; by implication warrior, tyrant: – giant.] [The Hebrew word gibbor is a derivative of another word gabar and also carries the implications of – one who conducts himself arrogantly, and surpasses.]

It could easily be said of Nimrod that he was a giant, but it is clear that he was also a powerful tyrant. Is there any wonder why Jonah wanted these people dead.

hunter– is the Hebrew word tsûd. A primitive root meaning to lie alongside – in wait; by implication to catch an animal (figuratively men).

One of our reactions as civilized people is to refuse to consider the possibility that Nimrod could have been hunting people. Based on the context we cannot exclude the idea; and, sadly, we have the testimony of Israel’s history and Jonah that tells that Nimrod’s Assyrians did hunt other humans and brutalized them.

If the implications are nothing less than scary, then what does that mean to Enoch. Perhaps nothing, perhaps everything, but if I am going to go any farther, then I have to expand my focus.

Genesis 6:5 NET. But the LORD saw that the wickedness of humankind had become great on the earth. Every inclination of the thoughts of their minds was only evil all the time.

Because of sin – the predisposition to act out of selfishness, along with corruption from fallen angels, the uncorrupted human gene pool had been reduced so severely that there was only one family line left that was uncorrupted.

My point? With righteous men like Enoch and Methuselah, I would have thought we would have seen a more significant impact on relatives, and thus would have had them on the Ark with Noah.

As we read, we assume things like Methuselah being destroyed by drowning in the flood, but that did not happen. Several times now I have come across a definition of Methuselah’s name that states when he dies, it will come. The idea is that Methuselah was a living prophecy.

Posted in angels, bible study, creation, David and Goliath, Deception, Dispelling myths, End times, fallen angels, false teaching, Genesis, Goliath, judgment, Nephilim, Nimrod, Prophetic, Things I have never noticed before, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An intensive look at Enoch. Part one.

I have been looking at Enoch and attempting to write about him, and his surroundings, for weeks now. It has been nothing less than a struggle as the things I talk about here, are controversial (I know this because I have been around religion for a long time and I have had first-hand experience with this.) And, as I will mention in the post, there seems to be so little known about the man; at least that is the impression we were given growing up in church.

May I interject something here? Growing up in church rarely brings you to an understanding of who God is. Oh sure, you can walk away with a boatload of traditions and opinions, but few of them are correct, accurate, or appropriate. For example: In today’s morning study, the leader said, “you will not find a Pharisee in heaven.” I do not believe that is a valid statement, nor was it appropriate. For weren’t Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimethia Pharisees?

Mark 15:43 CJB  Yosef of Ramatayim, a prominent member of the Sanhedrin who himself was also looking forward to the Kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Yeshua’s body.

John 3:1 NASB Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews;

So for someone to make such a brash statement like NO Pharisees will be found in heaven, is blatantly untrue. There is a point to this tirade and that is, that there is a multitude of things being preached and taught that are at worst decrepit lies, and at best, false teachings;  none-the-less, both can send you into a pit of deception. If we have bought into the lies, choosing to not challenge what we hear by reading the Word of God for ourselves. Then how will we know what is true? Jesus, by the way, is the one who said, “no one comes to the Father but through me.” Is it possible that: the tearing of the veil in the temple; giving himself as the final sacrifice; pouring out his own blood on the heavenly altar, and giving his life as the payment for the redemption of the world is the thing that restored our way back to the Father?  Seriously, the price has been paid; and all that is required is that WE acknowledge and accept Jesus as that final lamb that slaughtered for us.

But what does religion do? It clouds the issue, creates more rules, and condemns every stupid thing we do as we stumble through this thing called life.

Having said all that, I give you an intensive look at Enoch.

Enoch is a man that few talk about, and yet, Enoch’s legacy is found in Genesis, the book of Jude, Hebrews 11 and 2 Peter 2. We also see Enoch’s name entwined in the history of Middle East. There is no doubt that Enoch interacted with the Nephilim, and, that he walked with God in such a way that he was able to walk off the earth.

By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. (Heb 11:5, UKJV)

A man like this is worthy of a concentrated look and study.

The first reference we have to the name Enoch is in Genesis 4:17 where the wife of Cain, (the man who killed his brother Abel,) is having a baby. They named that baby Enoch. This child is not the Enoch we are looking for but is the son of Cain and the father of another called Enoch. This son of Cain built a city and named that city after his son, Enoch. However, neither of these play a role in getting us to the Enoch we desire to understand. If I look carefully at the genealogy provided in Genesis chapter five, I find that Cain played NO role in the bloodline that leads us to Noah. We will probe a possible reason why Cain is excluded further on in the thesis.

Do we have other methods of determining which Enoch we want, as there are two so far?
Yes, and one of the answers comes from the book of Jude.

And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his saints, (Jude 1:14, UKJV)

Genesis provides an excellent genealogy through Seth, not Cain.

And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he brings forth sons and daughters: And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died. And Seth lived a hundred and five years, and brings forth Enos: And Seth lived after he brings forth Enos eight hundred and seven years, and brings forth sons and daughters: And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died. And Enos lived ninety years, and brings forth Cainan: And Enos lived after he brings forth Cainan eight hundred and fifteen years, and brings forth sons and daughters: And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years: and he died. And Cainan lived seventy years and brought forth Mahalaleel: And Cainan lived after he brings forth Mahalaleel eight hundred and forty years, and brings forth sons and daughters: And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died. And Mahalaleel lived sixty and five years, and brings forth Jared: And Mahalaleel lived after he brings forth Jared eight hundred and thirty years, and brings forth sons and daughters: And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred ninety and five years: and he died. And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he brings forth Enoch: And Jared lived after he brings forth Enoch eight hundred years, and brings forth sons and daughters: And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died. And Enoch lived sixty and five years and brings forth Methuselah: (Gen 5:4-21, UKJV)

Since Jude says that Enoch was the seventh generation from Adam, let’s test the claim. Adam; Seth; Enos; Cainan; Mahalaleel; Jared; Enoch. There it is, seven generations.

The name Enoch alone tells us much about the man, as his name means dedicated or disciplined. This dedication must have been a predominant aspect of his life because we have this,

And Enoch walked with God after he brings forth Methuselah three hundred years, and brings forth sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. (Gen 5:22-24, UKJV)

What do we have that could explain Enoch’s understanding of God and how to communicate with God as if that is a big mystery?

If we do the math, we find that Adam was 622 years old when Enoch is born, and Adam lived to be 930 years old. Therefore Adam may have had a substantial impact on Enoch, and Adam is the only logical choice to influence Enoch.

If Adam was able to inform Enoch and demonstrate what this idea of walking with God looked like, Why then didn’t Adam merely walk off the earth as Enoch did?
Maybe the answer, as with Cain, has more to do with their cataclysmic errors in judgment.

The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges explains this walk that Enoch lived as a combination of fellowship and progress.

[walked with God] The phrase here, as in Genesis 5:24, used of Enoch, has passed into common use to express intimacy of communion with God. It denotes more than either standing in His presence, or walking before Him (Genesis 6:9, Genesis 17:1), or following after Him. It combines the ideas of fellowship and progress. It is the picture of one who has God with him in all the various scenes of life.

The word took, is explained in the Cambridge Bible commentary as well.

This expression is used to denote an unaccountable disappearance, cf. Genesis 42:13; Genesis 42:36; 1Kings 20:40. In order to make it quite clear that the words did not imply death, LXX renders οὐχ εὑρίσκετο; Vulg. “ non-apparuit.” The shortness of his life as compared with the other patriarchs might have been regarded as a proof of Divine displeasure if the next sentence had not been added to explain the circumstance. [for God took him] “Took,” or “received,” him, i.e., into His own abode, without death.

The Hebrew word for took is lāqaḥ: A verb meaning to take, to get. Its exact meaning must be discerned from its context. It is used of grasping or seizing a person or an animal. Word Study Dictionary.

You will also find the word lāqaḥ used in Ezekiel 8:3 where Ezekiel describes the spirit, lifting him up by the hair and taking him, by visions, to God.

This word lāqaḥ is very similar to the Greek word Harpazo, which also means to snatch away. Harpazo is the Greek word that we substitute for the word rapture. In either case, it conveys the rapid removal of the church from the earth prior to God’s wrath being poured out on the planet – just like Noah and the flood; and, just like Lot before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

In the book of Jude, we have a prophecy attributed to Enoch which cannot be verified in the Old Testament by direct comparison, because it is only found in The Book of Enoch (Enoch 1:9.)

Jude 1:14-15 MKJV And Enoch, the seventh from Adam, also prophesied to these, saying, Behold, the Lord came with myriads of His saints, 15) to do judgment against all, and to rebuke all the ungodly of them concerning all their ungodly works which they ungodly did, and concerning all the hard things ungodly sinners spoke against Him.

Assuming you don’t have a copy of the Book of Enoch, is a statement like this so odd?
Hardly, and here are some examples that convey that theme, although they came long after Enoch.

Daniel 7:18 But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.

Zechariah 14:5 MKJV And you shall flee to the valley of My mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. And Jehovah my God shall come, and all the saints with you.

There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus will come as described in Revelation 19:14 with all the armies of heaven, just as Enoch described.

If this was all the Biblical information I had on Enoch, what then do I make of this man.

I think it would be safe to say that:

  • Enoch was a good man.

    While the majority of the world was going crazy, Enoch remained sane.

    Genesis 6:5 NASB Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

    The passage implies that the whole world had gone mad. Even if one man had not, then I should not be allowed to say all. It is safe to assume that something close to all is being suggested, however, Enoch cannot be counted among that number.

    While it is safe to assume that Enoch was a good man, all we have is Hebrews 11:5 to validate that claim. There is something certain about Hebrews 11:5, as the writer of Hebrews had no more information about Enoch than we have, unless they had access to a copy of The Book of Enoch, as J.R. Church claims they did. Suddenly it seems the Bible itself is validating this Book of Enoch.

  • He was a worshiper of God.

    Enoch seems to have taken worship to the next level; something I wish I could attain. But again, there is nothing in the Old Testament to validate this claim outside of this,

    Genesis 5:24 NASB Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

    There is, however, this line we find in Hebrews 11:5,

    for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.

    The words obtained and witness are the same word marturéō which means (according to the Word Study Dictionary) To bear witness, to testify to the truth of what one has seen, heard, or knows. Now, did God bear witness to Enoch, or did Enoch bear witness to God? Since The Book of Enoch was known and read throughout the early church for the first 700 years of its existence; then it is safe to say that Enoch bore witness to: not only the current and future acts of the living God (prophetically,) but also the activities of the fallen angels – as they attempted to prevent God from bringing in the seed (through man) that would crush Satan’s head.

  • It is safe to say that Enoch walked the earth at the same time as the Titans.

    Dissecting this requires that we use our brains and think outside the religious boxes in which we entrench ourselves. Our principal source of information comes from Genesis 6. What is the problem with that? The problem is that we make immediate and critical assumptions based upon the placement of the information in the, so called, Bible “chronology.”

    Allow me to explain. We know that God created man (male and female,) put a body on them, and placed them in the garden. We assume that garden was a small selective spot and that they never left it, but neither of those ideas is valid. All you have to do is travel a bit, stop at the local museum, and you find that the barren location you are now standing on was once a vibrant, tropical garden.

    What we do know is this,

    Genesis 3:1-3 NASB Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2) The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3) but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'”

    In this expansive place called a garden was a plot of ground considered to be the center. Here is where the fall of man took place.

    Another assumption we make is that there were no children born to Adam and Eve until the fall. If that was the case, then why would God have to make this declaration to Eve?

    Genesis 3:16 NASB To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain, you will bring forth children;

    This comment by God would make no sense to Eve unless she was producing children without all the pain and discomfort normally associated with childbirth. Add to this piece of logic a question recently thrown at me, once again; “where did Cain get his wife?” The answer lies in setting aside tradition, assumption, and faulty teaching. Since we legitimately do not know how long Adam and Eve walked this earth prior to the fall. It is only natural to think that two naked humans would have had intercourse, only without the self-serving motives sin brings. And, this, is the only reasonable explanation for Cain to obtain a wife. The alternative, of Cain, waiting for his parents to produce a female child is ridiculous. Besides that, we relish the idea of clinging to twisted chronological logic, which cannot explain why Cain would say, people, will kill me, especially when we want to believe that there were no other people. And do we have any reason that logically explains why Cain was able to go to a city? Mind you, at this time in civilizations history; a city could have been several thatch huts and a fire pit. It still implies others living there and the probability of families of their own.

    If this idea of children before the fall is valid, then what kind of mentality would they have had? They were just like their parents, godlike.

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God was sorry he made man on the earth. Is that even possible? Edited

I was asked by a friend about the Book of Enoch that I was recently reading. I acquired it several months ago but have never taken the time to read the book. Having recently decided to pursue its contents, I find it requires my full concentration. Waiting for this friend to get out of his medical appointment, I had a few minutes to spare, and so I began rereading pages of the book I had already read. This time I had determined to make notes as I went because I wanted to build some word pictures in my head (it’s how I learn best.) Waiting for some paperwork from the front desk, there were a few brief minutes before we left and so I started talking about what I had learned so far.

I mentioned that the Book of Enoch had been an integral part of the early Church, and had been read aloud among the body for 700 years. Early Church fathers, such as Clement, Barnabas, and Irenaeus referenced and quoted from the Book of Enoch. Th D. JR Church published the book, “Enoch, The First Book Ever Written,” and he does the commentary on it as it progresses.

I have come to realize that verifiable evidence is not enough to convince some people of the necessity nor the authenticity of information that gives us more insight into Biblical events that are otherwise eternally obscured. I am a firm believer that the answers are in scripture, and, if not they might be obtained through some other source, like the Book of Enoch.

Keep this in mind as you read. Jude, the author of his own book, quotes a prophecy from Enoch that is not in our Bibles and can only be found in the Book of Enoch. The writer of Hebrews places Enoch in the hall of fame for his great faith, by which he walked off this earth and into God’s arms, never to see death (Hebrews 11:5). And we find the name of Enoch in Luke 3:37, where he is listed in the lineage of Jesus Christ.

I can’t remember how we got there, but my friend said, then what do you do with Genesis 6:7 where God said, I am sorry that I made man?

Perhaps I had attempted to point out how the fallen angels had, as Jude tells us, cohabited with the daughters of men, with the express purpose of circumventing God’s plan of redemption. How can I make that statement? You have to go back to the garden where God is addressing Eve about her actions. She is cursed, but there is some good news, as one from her seed will bring about the redemption of the world. (Okay, I did not use the exact wording, but you should get a general idea.)

Genesis 3:13-15 NASB Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” 14) The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; 15) And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

Satan’s evil plan almost worked prior to the flood.

Consider what was happening at this time. God, seeing that the earth was FILLED with violence and that the thoughts of “men” were only evil. The fallen angels, by taking whomever they wanted among women, had filled the earth with hybrids. The International Standard Bible says it best.

Genesis 6:4 ISV The Nephilim were on the earth at that time (and also immediately afterward), when those divine beings were having sexual relations with those human women, who gave birth to children for them. These children became the heroes and legendary figures of ancient times.

These titans became the foundation of mythology.

Question, does all indeed mean all? No, because there was at that time a handful; specifically the close lineage that produced Noah. This family line was, as yet, untouched by the genetic corruption that these fallen angels were introducing.

So far I haven’t focused on any passages that touch on the word all, but the question was asked, “didn’t God say that he was sorry he created man on the earth?” Doesn’t that phrase imply that God was offended by all, including Noah? There is nothing about this question or the verse, that paints a correct picture of God or His character. If He was disgusted with all, then why waste any time communing with Enoch. The disjointed logic we use when we focus on one verse out of context makes no sense and is incorrect. So let’s rethink the generalized question, wasn’t God sorry He created man.

Genesis 6:6-7 NASB The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7) The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.”

While it is true that the Bible translations range from sorry to regret, and grieved; but remember, God, put the man on earth so that He could share His life with and talk to the man.

[Right here is where the understanding that God was not caught off guard by Satan’s/Lucifer’s actions, and the plan of salvation – that is the securing of the creation, including God’s finest creation, man, was initiated. All of our confusion and misunderstandings stem from how we perceive these first few moments of time. God knew full well what would happen and adapted to the perverted twists. The day will come when our relationship with the Father will once again be restored to the condition it was prior to Adam’s fall in the garden.]

When you understand God’s nature and character, the emotion of being sorry doesn’t seem to accurately convey His heart toward men like Enoch, Methuselah or Noah, and they should be excluded from such a generalized statement. Therefore, it must mean something more specific.

To merely quote this verse is to ignore the context in which it is said.

The context begins in verse two, where fallen angels are taking human women, having intercourse with them, and filling the earth with their own version of hybrids. Not only that, but these hybrids are not just tall, they are massive, and they are violent hunters of humankind.

Genesis 6:2-5 CJB the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were attractive; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. 3) Adonai said, “My Spirit will not live in human beings forever, for they too are flesh; therefore their lifespan is to be 120 years.” 4) The N’filim were on the earth in those days, and also afterwards, when the sons of God came into the daughters of men, and they bore children to them; these were the ancient heroes, men of renown. 5) Adonai saw that the people on earth were very wicked, that all the imaginings of their hearts were always of evil only.

The attention grabber in this paragraph above is verse 5, where it says, “Adonai saw that the people on earth were very wicked, that all the imaginings of their hearts were always of evil only.” Evidently, the Satanic scheme to hijack the redemption of the earth was so efficient that it had reduced the unpolluted lineage from Adam to the close relatives of Noah.

Now, if the earth had been infiltrated to the point there were only a handful of undamaged humans left, wouldn’t God be justifiably disgusted to the point where he was not only willing but needed to remove this malignancy from the earth.

Genesis 6:6-7 NASB The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7) The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.”

Sorry, the word used in the NASB is the Hebrew word nâcham and means to sigh that is, breathe strongly; by implication to be sorry.

For me, an implication is not a translation, nor is it definitive. It is, however, something that may explain or add clarity. The words sigh and breathe strongly are words that I can understand, as I do it frequently. I sigh when I am angry, frustrated, and have enough. In this case, God had enough.

The phrase “he had made,” is the Hebrew word āśāh: A verb meaning to do, to make, to accomplish, to complete. This frequently used Hebrew verb conveys the central notion of performing an activity with a distinct purpose, a moral obligation, or a goal in view (cf. Gen_11:6).

I could just as comfortably read Genesis 6:6 as The Lord was extremely frustrated that His good intentions had come to this.

Isaiah tells that the earth was habitable in the day that it was formed, and yet, something transpired because there was most certainly some imperfection taking place.

Isaiah 45:18 NASB For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), “I am the LORD, and there is none else.

Likewise, man was perfect in the day he was made as well.

Genesis 1:27-31 NASB God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28) God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29) Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30) and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to everything that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. 31) God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

What is there about this paragraph above for God to be disgusted with? Nothing.

How about here in Genesis 2:7-9?

Genesis 2:7-9 NASB Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. 8) The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. 9) Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Still good. But things are about to change. I am cutting it short for space sake.

Genesis 3:7-10 NASB Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. 8) They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9) Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10) He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”

Eve was deceived, but Adam was wide awake and chose to trash his relationship with God. The passage also demonstrates an event that may have happened on a daily basis, God communing with the man and his wife. The tragedy here is that the connectedness and ease of communication with God were now broken.

I pointed out earlier, how in talking with the serpent, God said, “I will put enmity Between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.

Not too long after this, is when Satan’s plan to stop this seed, gets put into action.

Ask yourself a question. Through intercourse and a maintained level of violence, how long would it take you to redirect the global order of things? Now, consider the added benefit these hybrids had in their completion of Satan’s ugly plan. Can you now see why the history of man on earth, has been riddled with holocausts?

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Rahab – a character study. Part of the Dispelling Myths series. Chapter two.

English: The Harlot of Jericho and the Two Spi...

English: The Harlot of Jericho and the Two Spies, c. 1896-1902, by James Jacques Joseph Tissot (French, 1836-1902) or follower, gouache on board, 9 1/16 x 6 5/8 in. (23.1 x 16.9 cm), at the Jewish Museum, New York (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is it that makes us decide to trust and believe, not just God, but people?

Everything we do as followers of Christ is wrapped around faith, the essence of trust and belief. However, there is added disincentive in the story of Rahab in that these two men who may have entered her house under false pretenses, have now enlightened her that they are spies; that her life is now in danger from the spies and the guards of Jericho. They point out that her only reasonable choice is to hide them, and she does.

For us, there is a sudden awareness that her faith in this unknown god and her desire to be rescued by Him has become challenged. What does this added incentive do to your belief system?

Ponder once again what Rahab tells the two Israeli spies.

Joshua 2:9-10 NASB and said to the men, “I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. 10) “For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.

At first, it is deeply personal as she says, “ I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us,” This paragraph has belief and fear written all over it. While I, Rahab, know that the Almighty has his hand on you, there is a profound and genuine concern on the part of the entire city for their safety, lives, and mine as well.

Joshua 2:11 NASB “When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.

Does fear promote belief? I know it does not work for me. I may, under duress, comply out of concern for the safety of my family and myself, but I will never come to admire and possibly love you, as Rahab did.

The reality is that God’s most significant impact on our faith is through signs. The idea that God is okay with that, comes from the statement where she recaps the two notable stories of which the people Jericho were aware. “We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.”

It is rapidly becoming evident that Rahab is a smart woman. You don’t last long in such a business without the skills of a spy yourself, and she, therefore, strikes a bargain.

Joshua 2:12-13 NASB “Now therefore, please swear to me by the LORD, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father’s household, and give me a pledge of truth, 13) and spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.”

The men hear her out and respond with the words she needs to hear.

Joshua 2:14 NASB So the men said to her, “Our life for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when the LORD gives us the land that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.”

Having received a promise of protection, and trusting their word, she provides them with a way of escape. I am going to do something peculiar here, and verse 15 last because I cannot see any practicality to her shouting additional instructions to the men as they rappel down the wall from her window.

Joshua 2:15-21 NASB 16) She said to them, “Go to the hill country, so that the pursuers will not happen upon you, and hide yourselves there for three days until the pursuers return. Then afterward you may go on your way.” 17) The men said to her, “We shall be free from this oath to you which you have made us swear, 18) unless, when we come into the land, you tie this cord of scarlet thread in the window through which you let us down, and gather to yourself into the house your father and your mother and your brothers and all your father’s household. 19) “It shall come about that anyone who goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be free; but anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. 20) “But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be free from the oath which you have made us swear.”

15) Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall, so that she was living on the wall.

21) She said, “According to your words, so be it.” So she sent them away, and they departed; and she tied the scarlet cord in the window.

The bargaining is completed. Rahab lets them out through a window and uses the same scarlet cord to signal Israel’s troops that hers is a safe house.

Suddenly it occurs to me. While the scarlet color may have been associated with her profession, it now represented that scarlet blood that saves us all. Few realize what took place. Consider also the tremendous significance, as Jesus was three days and nights in death, so to the scarlet rope hung from that window. Our redemption through Jesus was signaled all throughout this book we call the Bible, and today, I saw it.

What would have happened had the townsfolk of Jericho saw that cord suddenly hanging there? With the armed militia out chasing the spies, did the town now feel safe? I doubt it. The city may have gone on lock-down. How did this rope go unnoticed? That can only be God.

Did Rahab and her family demonstrate a strong faith in this God of Israel, and were therefore saved?

We don’t know any of that. Rahab took a chance and pitched her case, knowing full well that they could turn against her. If what she says is true, then the people within Jericho comprehend the threat that Israel poses. Finding out that two Israeli spies have infiltrated the city just raises the threat level exponentially. The result of the increased threat level is that the family, which may have treated her as an outcast, hurriedly gathered survival supplies and joined Rahab in her home.

Joshua 2:23-24 NASB Then the two men returned and came down from the hill country and crossed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they related to him all that had happened to them. 24) They said to Joshua, “Surely the LORD has given all the land into our hands; moreover, all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before us.”

Safely back at camp, they related all that had happened. What a story. Oh, and by-the-way Joshua, there is one more thing you might find interesting – “Surely the LORD has given all the land into our hands; moreover, all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before us.” At least that is what Rahab told us.

Melted – is the Hebrew word moog, meaning to melt; literally (to soften, flow down, disappear), or figuratively (to fear, faint).

Since this is a character study on Rahab, I am going to bypass much of the detail involved in the attack on Jericho. It is admittedly fascinating to learn how Jericho’s walls fell. Having seen pictures of the archaeological digs at Jericho, it becomes apparent that they went straight down into the ground. Except for one spot, that portion that Rahab lived in. Joshua 6:20

The NASB states that the wall fell flat. What does that mean? The Hebrew word is taḥaṯ: A preposition meaning under, beneath; in place of. It indicates a position below or underneath some other reference point.” Word Study Dictionary.

While the word flat is indeed an option, how do you explain under, beneath or a position below, especially when the passage goes on to say that every man walked straight ahead?

We don’t return to Jericho in the book of Joshua until chapter six. In the meantime, circumcisions have been performed, and Israel has passed through the Jordan on dry land, just as they did the Red Sea. This time they placed a large mound of stones to commemorate God’s goodness and what a coincidence that a large mound of stones has been located in the Sea of Galilee.

I suppose the obvious thing to consider here, is that much time has passed and that scarlet cord is probably still hanging out that window.

Joshua 6:21-23 NASB They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword. 22) Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, “Go into the harlot’s house and bring the woman and all she has out of there, as you have sworn to her.” 23) So the young men who were spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and her mother and her brothers and all she had; they also brought out all her relatives and placed them outside the camp of Israel.

How befitting that the young men who made the agreement should go and gather Rahab and her family.

Rahab and her father and her mother and her brothers and all she had; they also brought out all her relatives and placed them outside the camp of Israel.”

Albert Barnes commentary states, “These words literally “made to rest outside the camp of Israel” – indicate that being still in their paganism, they were separated from the camp of the Lord. This was only for a time. They desired, and eventually obtained, admission to the covenant of the chosen people of God.”

Another instance where we have no details. We know nothing about paganism, but it is probably safe to assume. Since Rahab seems to have a faith in this God she knows little about, we shall see her come to understanding and acceptance.

Joshua 6:25 NASB However, Rahab the harlot and her father’s household and all she had, Joshua spared; and she has lived in the midst of Israel to this day, for she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

And everyone lived happily ever after, well, I would hope so. Sadly we live in reality, but there are three other passages I want you to see.

In spelling out the Jewish heritage of Jesus, the gospel of Matthew includes Rahab.

Matthew 1:5 NASB Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse.

Boaz, if you remember, owned the land in which Ruth had been directed to work by Naomi, her mother in law. Boaz buys the right to marry Ruth, and they produced a child named Obed, and Obed became the father of Jesse, the father of David.

Rahab is found in Hebrews 11 because of her faith.

Hebrews 11:31 NASB By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient after she had welcomed the spies in peace.

And lastly, as an example of how faith works, we have the writings of James.

James 2:24-25 NASB You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25) In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?

Understanding the ramifications, Rahab accepted the spies, protected, and sent them safely on their way. So, Rahab then becomes an example for us, of faith and how it works.

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Rahab – a character study. Part of the Dispelling myths series. Chapter one.

I am not so sure there are myths involved, as it is more a case of suppositions. My interest in Rahab started long ago, as I heard the stories, but rarely ever read the story for myself. If you follow my posts, then you would know that I have gone through some dark times. I suspect that the sentence, “train up a child in the way that they should go” played a role in this freedom and understanding that I now have, for I knew that I needed to plant my heart and mind firmly in God’s word. Sadly, when I started doing that, I found myself bored and confused; it was difficult to focus, and I kept hearing this voice in my head, saying, I have read this before. Anguished by this lack of motivation I talked bluntly and plainly to God about the situation, and I asked Him to make Himself real to me. I don’t remember when my attitude changed, but it was shortly after that prayer. Soon after, I found myself seeing these Bible characters as real, with flesh and blood. Things quickly changed and I could see them struggle just you and I do.

Rahab was one of those characters. It has been several years since I last looked at Rahab, but my interest resurfaced recently as our men’s group watched and listened to Francis Chan teach on the book of James, a book that references Rahab and her faith.

Look at what James had to say about the dear lady.

James 2:25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?

As typical with men, there is the subtle laughter as they try to adjust their thinking to accept the fact God would use someone like a whore. I cannot remember the question asked, but I immediately began talking about this amazing woman and what she did. I then asked, how would I know any of those things, because I read through the Bible; that, and I have studied these characters multiple times as they are integrated into our lives as believers, at every turn.

This story of Rahab, like most everything else in scripture, has a background, and for us, that background comes primarily from the camp of Israel. So let’s quickly look at that.

Moses has died, and the leadership role is now being passed to Joshua.

The entire first chapter of Joshua is essentially a directive to be strong, but there is an astounding statement that seems to make them invincible.

Joshua 1:3 CJB I am giving you every place you will step on with the sole of your foot, as I said to Moshe (Moses).

The connotation is, in battle. Consider how they, through the ten spies, step on the land of Canaan. Did they completely take the land God spoke of? No, and yet, in the long run, God’s word is still valid, for the ground has been given to Israel. (Still today, there is bitter disagreement and fighting over this.)

Chapter one ends with a uniform agreement on the part of Israel’s fighting forces.

Joshua 1:17-18 NASB “Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you; only may the LORD your God be with you as He was with Moses. 18) “Anyone who rebels against your command and does not obey your words in all that you command him, shall be put to death; only be strong and courageous.”

I am not sure how to perceive this. Would the fighting men kill anyone that resisted one of Joshua’s directives? The next plan we see is this,

Joshua 1:10-11 NASB Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, 11) “Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you are to cross this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you, to possess it.'”

I always assumed that Jericho was one of the first cities Israel conquered, however, when you look at a map which indicates the traditional path that Israel took into the promise land. The chart shows them traversing north along the Eastern side of the Jordan and then crossing above the Sea of Galilee and then dropping down south on the Western side of the Jordan, into Jericho.

As a visual learner, I now have the placement of Jericho square in my thinking, and it is the next stop.

Joshua 2:1 NASB Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab and lodged there.

Rahab and the Emissaries of Joshua

Rahab and the Emissaries of Joshua (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This ugly tale is where we first meet Rahab. Without a doubt, our introduction leaves something to be desired, as she is a harlot. What are the problems with this introduction? We immediately start assigning personality traits, personal habits, and a lack of intelligence and integrity; all of which are things we cannot discern as yet.

Let’s start dissecting this.

  • then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.”

    Jericho was not the only thing on their list. The more they moved through the land, the greater their chances of being seen. The idea that Jericho was the top of Joshua’s list was evident.

    Secretly is the Hebrew word cheresh, and can also mean silently.

    Webster’s dictionary tells us that secretly is defined as: Privately; privily; not openly; without the knowledge of others.

  • So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab,”

    You are a stranger, in a strange land, and, you may not speak or read the same language, yet, you come into the house of a harlot. Think about that for a moment. I brought this up before the men that morning. A short time later, one of the men pushed his electronic pad at me. On it, was an etching found in stone, in front of a building that had been dug out of the ashes of Pompeii. It was overtly sexual and easily identifiable. It required no additional explanation, and the implications could easily mean a house of whoredoms.

    Working from the premise that we have no other information to build this story on, there is NOTHING in scripture that defines how the spies would have known this.

    If we lack documented, historical information, then all we have is conjecture, and sadly, inference opens the door to Rahab pandering these new men in town. Taking this debauchery one step further; what is there that explains why the two spies were going into her house? I want to believe that they were above self-indulgence, but it cannot be ruled out.

    You should be thinking along the same lines as I am, about now. While finding a friendly voice in a strange place might be considered a Godsend, the spies still need to investigate, and this would allow them to move about freely for a short time. Quickly, they explained the grave nature of their business and how quickly they could kill her. But then, they are trying to gain an ally and temporary safety.

  • and lodged there.”

    Lodge is Hebrew word shâkab and means to lie down (for rest, sexual connection, decease or any other purpose.)

    The intent is not to pass on more twisted thinking, but to make a point. We have sterilized God’s word to the point that we cannot see that these were people, with frailties, just as we all have. If you follow the scriptural text, you will not see judgment coming from God about their actions. However far this went is none of our business, but in our quick judgments and condemnations, we dispatch people, like Judas Iscariot, to hell, while condoning the actions of these men. After all, it was war.

Joshua 2:2 MKJV And the king of Jericho was told about it, saying, Behold, men from the sons of Israel came in here tonight, to search out the country.

Apparently, someone had seen them and knew where they came from. What was even worse, is that the Israelis had been seen going into Rahab’s house on the wall.

Joshua 2:3 MKJV And the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, Bring out the men that have come to you, those who have entered into your house. For they have come to search out all the country.

The king has sent messengers, probably armed guards, willing to kill. The demand is to bring out the men that come to you. Okay, here is where things get a little confused.

Joshua 2:4 CJB However, the woman, after taking the two men and hiding them, replied, “Yes, the men did come to me; but I didn’t know where they had come from.

Think about what just happened. Messengers, capable of killing you, demand that you bring out the men that came into the home.

You want me to believe that the guards just stood outside and waited for her to return?

But if she was aware that this entourage was coming, wouldn’t she hide them before they started knocking?

So, she, knowing that they want these men, hides them and lies about where they are. Her statement, “ Yes, the men did come to me; but I didn’t know where they had come from.” To some degree this statement was right It wasn’t long before they revealed their mission to her. Consider how she with minimal information, made a life-changing decision to believe the Israeli spies.

She continues the deception.

Joshua 2:5 CJB “The men left around the time when they shut the gate, when it was dark. Where they went I don’t know; but if you chase after them quickly, you will overtake them.”

The Israelis were still in the house.

Joshua 2:6 CJB Actually she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them under some stalks of flax she had spread out there.

Does it make sense that they would merely take her word, No, or why else would she hide them under the flax?

Joshua 2:7 CJB The men pursued them all the way to the fords at the Yarden; as soon as the pursuit party had left, the gate was shut.

Not finding them, the king’s messengers go in pursuit.

Joshua 2:8 CJB The two men had not yet lain down when she returned to the roof.

As we wandered through the book section at our local warehouse store, I looked at a devotional journal that focused on women of the Bible. Rahab was listed, as she should be, but the author’s version of the story was what we come to expect when tradition rules our thinking; as it conflicted with what the Bible says.

How easy it is to twist a story.

Joshua 2:9-11 NASB and said to the men, “I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. 10) “For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11) “When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.

Without this information, we could never adequately understand what transpired that made her heart turn toward the God of Israel.

What did she tell us?

  • I know that the LORD has given you the land.

    This statement is a verbal demonstration of her acceptance.

  • That the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you.

    We see terminology like this all throughout the Bible. And yet, when you read the biblical stories, you come to find that in reality, it means quite a few. The number is significant enough to be on the alert for spies.

  • For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt.

    Consider how many, choose to dispute or deny, the Red Sea crossing. Here is this woman, whom many would disregard, spelling out a common understanding and belief about Israel’s passage through the Red Sea, on dry land.

  • What you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, Sihon, and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.

    And lastly, the most impactful statement of all of them.

  • When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.

    When it comes to making a confession of who God is in your life, this would be it. Having written recently about Jonah, one of the things we learn of, is that Jonah was a sign. Can you see that God’s guidance and actions have been signs?

Many of you are aware of Rahab already. You may also be mindful that she becomes an integral aspect of the lineage of Jesus, our King.

In spite of your ugly titles or bad reputation, the God who knows the beginning from the end will find a way to draw you into the kingdom. You could not convince me that this woman did not have a changed heart; a change we like to call salvation.

Soon, the action will get more intense as Israel, following God’s directions, marches around the wall. This amazing woman will continue to play a miraculous role.

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Dispelling some Myths – Jonah. Chapter four.

When we last saw Jonah, he had walked through the town of Nineveh, a three-day journey, as he proclaimed “forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” The result of God’s proclamation, the entire town, and the Assyrian king cover themselves in sackcloth and ashes and repent of their evil.

Does Jonah rejoice over such a great response? Not at all, and that is where we pick up this story.

Jonah 4:1-2 NASB But it greatly displeased Jonah, and he became angry. 2) He prayed to the LORD and said, “Please LORD, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this, I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.

I pointed out early on that you needed to know the background story to understand why Jonah chose to flee from God and not carry out this assignment. Briefly, the Assyrians had ravaged Israel on multiple occasions and taken many captive. They were a brutal people and dragged many of their captives back to Nineveh with meat hooks. To put it plainly, Jonah despised them.

But there is another side to Jonah’s background, and you see it in his comment above. “I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.”

Now Ask yourself, how did Jonah come to this understanding of God?

Just do a word search for the phrase, slow to anger. It shows up at least 14 times in the Old Testament. The passages extend from Exodus to Nahum. Another aspect of Jonah’s life, which we only see in 2Kings 14:25, was that he was the son of Amittai, the prophet. It was not unusual for many of our biblical characters to be the son of a priest or elder. If that were the case, Jonah would have had a proper education in the local Synagogue school. His education would have required him to memorize the known books of the Law and writings of the prophets. Therefore, Jonah would have had tremendous insight into God’s nature and character. How could that be a bad thing? It wouldn’t unless, you are actively maintaining un-forgiveness toward a people group, and Jonah was.

Look at what Jonah said,

  • was not this what I said while I was still in my own country?”

    Apparently, Jonah tried to reason with God.

  • Therefore in order to forestall this, I fled to Tarshish,”

    What is Jonah trying to forestall – God showing mercy, contrary to Jonah’s wishes? Secondly, there is the aspect of forestalling. To do that he effectively runs in the opposite direction of where he is supposed to go, and that required a boat ride. We have no maps that indicate a town called Tarshish in Jonah’s day. Many, however, have pointed to Southern Spain as the location of Tarshish. That is definitely the opposite direction.

    • for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, low to anger and abundant in loving kindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.”

      If you read my posts, then you also know that I have a thorn in my flesh – a study leader. This leader, in opposition to what Jonah understood, and the word of God, on a weekly basis, explains that everyone reaching the Great White Throne will be sent to a fiery hell. An in-depth reading of Matthew 25’s account of the sheep and goats, is, though given different names, the same scenario we see in Revelation 20. One demonstrates an angry God, while the other shows us a gentle shepherd. Both indicate a group that chose not to follow Christ and therefore follows their leaders to the same hell. And both have books out of which Jesus makes His decision.

      In Matthew, the shepherd, finding simple acts of kindness in those books, allows those He called sheep to enter into the glorious kingdom, and therefore escape hell. It’s all in the details, but details, are tedious for some. And, those details we find in scripture, you know, often point out how wrong we are, as they demonstrate that some teaching or belief we hold, is blatantly wrong and false, and no one wants to hear that. My wife asks me why I put myself under a false teacher. Don’t think for a moment that this man is the only one. The pastor, whom my wife reveres, had many of us as a captive audience at a mountain camp where he told us while explaining communion once again, that Jesus, in the garden that night, did not want to go to the cross for us. So, false teaching is not that uncommon. While I am painfully aware of how grave this situation is I have not been called to fight with these men, for in so doing I move into the realm of judgment.

      Let me ask you an obvious question. Have we been called to be God’s judges here on earth, or to show mercy and demonstrate His character? The answer is “show mercy.” This theme is detailed throughout the New Testament, and I will let you find that on your time. The ugly and more demanding aspect of the question revolves around judgment, something that has been taken out of our hands.

      David may have been anointed as king, but Saul still sat on the throne. And, Saul wanted David dead. While hunting for David, Saul stops in a cave to relieve himself. David and his unruly band happened to be hiding in that same cave. Given the opportunity to kill Saul, David chose not to, and thus we see his thoughts in 1Samuel.

      1 Samuel 24:12, 15 GW May the LORD decide between you and me. May the LORD take revenge on you for what you did to me. However, I will not lay a hand on you. 15) So the LORD must be the judge. He will decide between you and me. He will watch and take my side in this matter and set me free from you.”

John 5:22 NASB “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son (Jesus,)

Jonah’s depression has retaken hold of him, and therefore we see this:

Jonah 4:3 NASB “Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life.”

Two things jump out at me as I read this.

  1. Wasn’t Jonah dead already?

    I guess to be fair, he didn’t ask to be brought back to life, or did he?

    (Right in the midst of writing this I finally took Dad out to the Mexican restaurant I had promised once he had recovered from his surgery. Dad, having not seen much of me lately, asked what’s going with me, and I began telling him about what I had been learning as I wrote about Jonah. He listened and then said, I think God prepared “a special fish,” one that could maintain an adequate oxygen supply for Jonah, and therefore Jonah never died. To try to bolster his argument dad added, Jonah was able to think and pray.)

    The problem with this kind of thinking is that it ignores common sense and logic by excluding the idea that God would not merely use what was available. Some examples would be:

    • That NO fish could provide a livable environment.

    • That medical documentation demonstrates how we lose consciousness after 30 to 40 seconds, therefore allowing Jonah the time for thought;

    • It also throws aside what Jesus said about Jonah being a sign, as he was three days and nights in the belly of a fish. This statement by Jesus was made was to Pharisees and scribes for the purpose of establishing a common thread between Jonah and what was to happen to Jesus shortly.

    • One other thing, because of Jewish tradition – that believed the soul finally parted from the body after three full days, Jesus words, meant that He acknowledged that Jonah had died out there in that fish.

  1. If being dead was high on Jonah’s list, then why did he say all those words we see in chapter two? Specifically:

    Jonah 2:7-9 NASB “While I was fainting away, I remembered the LORD And my prayer came to You, Into Your holy temple. 8) “Those who regard vain idols Forsake their faithfulness, 9) But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay. Salvation is from the LORD.”

It sounds like he was calling out to God, knowing that God would and could save him. You should be picking up on the general idea that God would and could save us as well?

God did not respond to this depressed, angry whining, but quietly said,

Jonah 4:4 NASB The LORD said, “Do you have good reason to be angry?

Jonah thought he did, and so did I. I can only speak to my experience, as we are not privy to Jonah’s. I wasted a significant portion of my life maintaining the chains and bars of the prison I kept in my head; a prison in which I held those people that hurt me. It was part of the payment I thought they owed me.

Jonah 4:5 NASB Then Jonah went out from the city and sat east of it. There he made a shelter for himself and sat under it in the shade until he could see what would happen in the city.

What did I just miss? We have to back up to chapter three to rehearse what happened.

Jonah 3:10 NASB When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.

So, Jonah got the word that he was to deliver, and it went like this, “Forty days from now, Nineveh will be destroyed!” (Contemporary English Version)

What happened next is beyond belief? Why, because we lack a tremendous amount of information. In my previous post “Dispelling some Myths – Jonah chapter 3,” I posed a hypothetical situation in which an Assyrian worshiper of Dagon, the fish god, happened to be at the beach when the whale spewed Jonah upon it. If that person took this information and shared it with everyone they met along the way and all through Nineveh, it might explain the overwhelming response to the unfavorable words Jonah delivered to them.

Important points that the word shows about these people and their response. Jonah 3:5-10 NASB

  • the people of Nineveh believed in God, and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them.”

  • The king in following the lead of the people covered himself with sackcloth and ashes.

  • The king ordered a proclamation written which included man and beast. It stated that all must demonstrate repentance by covering themselves in sackcloth and ashes.

  • And then, all must “call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from violence which is in his hands.

How did God respond to their actions?

4:10) When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.

So, where do we find Jonah at this point? Sitting on a hill outside of town, watching and waiting for God to destroy them. Did he miss the memo? Did he not see their actions? Did, what seems like common acts of repentance, mean nothing to Jonah?

All you would have to do is start counting the days. And yet, we have nothing to help us with that. Like so many other things, we are left in the void.

Jonah 4:2 NASB He prayed to the LORD and said, “Please LORD, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this, I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.

For all we know, Jonah saw their acts of repentance and immediately knew what would happen next.

Jonah 4:6-8 NASB So the LORD God appointed a plant and it grew up over Jonah to be a shade over his head to deliver him from his discomfort. And Jonah was extremely happy about the plant. 7) But God appointed a worm when dawn came the next day and it attacked the plant and it withered. 8) When the sun came up God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he became faint and begged with all his soul to die, saying, “Death is better to me than life.”

Sitting, waiting for these hated people to die, God appoints a plant and it grew up over Jonah to be a shade. I don’t know how to perceive this situation because I know that God can do miracles. However, it is reminiscent of Mickey Mouse portrayed as Mickey and the Beanstalk, where the beanstalk grows overnight at an unbelievable rate. Quickly the situation changes as the next day a God-appointed worm eats that same plant, and now the sun is beating down on Jonah’s head.

Once again, Jonah turns suicidal.

Jonah 4:9 NASB Then God said to Jonah, “Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?” And he said, “I have good reason to be angry, even to death.”

Did Jonah have good reason to be angry, even to death? All Jonah had was his hatred and bigotry. Is that a good excuse? Sorry, but no. Jesus, in the sermon on the mount, said, that having your debts forgiven is predicated upon you forgiving.

Matthew 6:12, 14-15 NASB ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. … “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

I participate in several different groups, from a variety of churches, but they aren’t that different for there a consistent lack of understanding, and a limited desire to pursue God’s word that permeates all three groups. Asked to join an evening group I am currently doing a book study. We are looking at Max Lucado’s book, Facing Your Giants. We were attempting to discuss the fifth and sixth chapter in which the topic of forgiveness was covered. Max Lucado finally spoke in terms I could understand, as he, on page 48, said,

God occupies the only seat on the supreme court of heaven. He wears the robe and refuses to share the gavel. For this reason, Paul wrote, “Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” Romans 12:19 MSG). Revenge removes God from the equation. Vigilantes displace and replace God. “I’m not sure you can handle this one Lord. You may punish too little or too slowly. I’ll take this matter into my hands, thank you.”

The problem is, we barely touched on this. One of the men tried to oppose me the previous week, as he said, forgiving is hard! I responded with, No, it is easy, what is hard, is accepting that you have no power over that person, and all your energies are useless.

Jonah 4:10-11 NASB Then the LORD said, “You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight. 11) “Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?”

While I never saw anything said about the plant dying in verse 9; apparently God saw Jonah’s heart. Jonah’s anger had nothing to do with the plant. He wanted all of those people dead.

You can see that God destroys Jonah’s lack of focus when He says, “Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand.” I always took this to indicate a lack of common sense. But I have learned so much by doing this study, and one of those things came as I looked at other translations of Jonah 4:11. The Amplified Bible indicates that the 120,000 were innocents – “persons not [yet old enough to] know their right hand from their left, and that is who God is protecting here more than those repenting.

While I have heard several pastors point out how Jesus had compassion on the doves and other animals that were being sold in the temple courts, for he emptied their cages and then threw them. Perhaps, in mentioning the “many animals,” God was taking a jab at those who had repented by their actions, knowing full well what would become of their great nation.

Think about the devastation that would come should God ignore their pleas. We see an example of destruction when fire and brimstone rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah, and everyone died, including innocents.

My study on Jonah is done for now. However, every time I do these studies I learn, things I have never heard; and, I unlearn some garbage. The result is that God always gets bigger and more valuable in my mind. Does any of this imply that I wish to test God’s patience and resolve by throwing myself into choppy seas so that a big fish can spit me onto the shore, and entire communities will repent? Not a chance. I am content to let His love grow in me, and occasionally share with those that are willing to listen.

God bless you on this fascinating journey we travel, for we who are followers of Jesus are profoundly blessed, whether you realize it or not. While those outside the family, are loved, longed for, and pursued by a passionate God. Don’t waste your time hating. Simply absorb yourself in His passion and watch what he can do.

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Dispelling some Myths – Jonah. Chapter three.

When I was a child watching cartoons on the television, there was a character named Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties. Every week he would get caught up in some suspense with the bad guys, and end up hanging off a cliff or trying to save his girlfriend Nell, who was always put in some perilous situation. The drama was quite intense, and they always left off with, “will our hero save her in time?”

Well, this story about Jonah is not so different, as Jonah is thrown into a turbulent sea. No one reading this thinks he has a chance. Then, a massive fish swallows him whole. How often does that happen? And, contrary to what we see in Pinocchio, there is no chance of survival in the belly of any fish. Therefore, Jonah, whom we have previously demonstrated from scripture, dies. God, however, in the form of the hero, comes to the rescue and brings him back to life.

God’s call comes to Jonah a second time. He gets up, walks an incredible distance to Nineveh, and declares that their destruction will come in forty days. He does not give them an option, and yet the entire town repents and acknowledges God. Having spent enough time around pastors. You would think anyone doing the preaching would be elated to have a whole community change their lives and come to repentance, but not Jonah.

So, let’s go back to where we left our (dead or dying) “hero,” Jonah, as he says –

“But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay. Salvation is from the LORD.” Jonah 2:9 NASB

I am splitting Jonah 2:9-10 to make a point. When we read, we ignore small details, such as what Jesus said about Jonah.

Matthew 12:39-40 CJB He replied, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign? No! None will be given to it but the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40) For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea-monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the depths of the earth.

One of these details, as you see above, is the idea that Jonah was a sign, and that sign had everything to do with him being in the belly of a fish for an exact length of time. Because some will only read this and not the previous posts, I repeat the understanding that Jewish tradition taught that the soul did not leave the body until it had been dead for three days. Jesus, contrasting himself to Jonah, spoke volumes to the scribes and Pharisees when he said this. They immediately understood that Jonah was, without a doubt, dead.

So, where does that leave Jonah? Dead, in the belly of a great fish.

Jonah 2:10 Then the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land.

Lacking details, we are left to speculate as to when Jonah is brought back to life. Perhaps the answer lies in Jonah 3:1-2. The NASB entitles this next section; Jonah Goes to Nineveh, and thus chapter three really begins.

Did God merely throw Jonah aside? The obvious answer is no. However, there are those that would preach such a message, emphasizing how God now has to get another person to do the job you could not, or would not do. In the judgmental minds of many, God had every reason to reject Jonah? And yet He did not. No, God wanted and needed this man; even more, God needed Jonah’s current experience. Hence, we get the notice that the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time.

Jonah 3:1-2 NASB Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2) “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you.”

There is one other aspect of this story that I have recently become aware of, and that is The fish god Dagon.

Dagon figures into the story of Jonah, as well, although the deity is not mentioned by name in Jonah’s book. The Assyrians in Ninevah, to whom Jonah was sent as a missionary, worshiped Dagon and his female counterpart, the fish goddess Nanshe. Jonah, of course, did not go straight to Ninevah but had to be brought there via miraculous means. The transportation God provided for Jonah—a great fish—would have been full of meaning for the Ninevites.” From the article Who was Dagon in the Bible?” As posted on

Just moments before he had been dead in the belly of a fish, and now we find him on the beach lying face first in the hot sand. For all, we know God saw fit to have witnesses to the event. God says arise, and almost simultaneously, Jonah, suddenly aware that life has come surging back into his body, begins to respond. The brain that should have been irreparably damaged now hears the voice of God, as He says, “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you.

Arise is the Hebrew word qûm: A verb meaning to arise, to stand, to stand up. The basic meaning of this word is the physical action of rising up.

So, although the implications of raising Jonah from the dead are there, it is not clear from these words alone. What am I suppose to believe about this, that a dead man was told to get up and go to Nineveh, or that Jonah never died? Neither of these scenarios is plausible. At some point, life came back into Jonah, and the beach is the only practical place for that to happen.

I mentioned what I had found about Jonah, to a dear friend. Without my prompting, he added, it is possible that the person who witnessed Jonah being spewed onto the beach may have been an Assyrian. It is possible that this person quickly jumped on his camel and rode back to Nineveh and told them about this fish man, and that he is headed this way. Considering that on two maps, the distance from the ocean to Nineveh is at least 300 miles at its shortest distance. Where is Jonah, with no money or food and water, going to get provisions for such a journey? That is unless someone who believed in fish gods told everyone he met what he saw and that the man was coming. Not knowing any of this Jonah may have approached wells and asked for a drink, only to encounter fearful looks as they backed away and left him to help himself. Vendors in the marketplace may have pushed their children behind their backs handing the man anything he wanted.

Why is any of this important? Because Jesus told the Pharisees, they would get no sign but the sign of Jonah. If I were looking for signs: getting spewed dead, onto a beach, by a whale, and then being brought back to life, while potentially having someone witness the event, then relating what they saw to the target audience, that a fish man was coming could be considered a sign.

Did Jesus, who compared Himself to Jonah and some significant sign, have any signs of His own? Without a doubt, as the sky went dark at midday; no bones were broken, just as prophecy said; he was beaten beyond recognition as scripture told us; the stone that covered His grave was rolled away and, he arose from the dead, just as he said he would.

Note one other thing here. God tells him “and proclaim to Nineveh the proclamation which I am going to tell you.” Jonah does not even know what the message is going to be. Surely it will be ominous and quick in coming.

Jonah 3:3 MKJV And Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the Word of Jehovah. And Nineveh was a very great city of three days’ journey.

Once he arrives at Nineveh, where he is to proclaim a message that only then will he be privy to, we are made aware that the town takes three days to walk through, and God has made it clear that all of Nineveh would hear the message.

Jonah 3:4 MKJV And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried and said, Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown!

Jonah’s word for the people was perfect by his standards – “Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” He wanted them dead.

I mentioned how the worship of Dagon is not revealed to us in this story.
Is it something we should ignore? No, for it answers many questions. For example, how would an Israelite walk unscathed through a land of savages that have a record of killing his people? Had I not stumbled upon the information about Dagon, the fish god, I cannot say I would have even thought to pursue such a lead, even though it has always troubled me. Knowing that they worshiped a fish god, and Jonah was spewed from a fish, he would have instant credibility, as apparently Jonah’s god had greater power.

The response to what Jonah said was instantaneous.

Jonah 3:5 NASB Then the people of Nineveh believed in God, and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them.

I always thought that the people responded in kind, as the king covered himself in ashes. It seems that the king followed the lead of his people.

Jonah 3:6 NASB When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes.

Why being covered in ashes represents some form of remorse, I don’t know, but it seems to be universal.

Jonah 3:7-8 NASB He issued a proclamation, and it said, “In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. 8) “But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth, and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands.

What are the mandates this king made?

  • Nobody and nothing are to eat or drink.

  • Man and beast must be covered in sackcloth.

  • And let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands.

The alarming aspect is the recognition, on the part of the Assyrians, that this message was a direct result of their wickedness and the violence of their hands. The next thing we see is often used as a truth we apply to our own lives. Regardless of who said it, it does demonstrate the nature of God, something Jonah understood.

Jonah 3:9 NASB “Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.”

The Ninevehites were right, for God has relented on multiple occasions.

Jonah 3:10 NASB When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.

We will deal with Jonah’s response to all this mercy in the next chapter. It is the reason Jonah ran from God and His potential message in the first place.

Now, what do we do with the disappointment we feel as God shows someone mercy, when we, by our judgment, believe they deserve nothing less than hell’s flames?

Don’t think this kind of logic is so odd, I wasted most of my life, dwelling on the painful repayment process several men owed me for the damage they did to me as a youth in the church. This entire train of thought falls under the category of un-forgiveness, something we come to realize is a waste of energy, as we grow in the knowledge of the God we serve.

Reread verse ten. The writer used the word relented.

Relented is the Hebrew word nâcham. It means to sigh, that is, breathe strongly; by implication to be sorry, that is, (in a favorable sense) to pity, console or (reflexively) rue; or (unfavorably) to avenge (oneself).

So, while God may have had pity or consolation toward Nineveh, that did not mean that He forgot what He said.

The Prophet Nahum seems to speak in code about the destruction of Nineveh. Although the entire book of Nahum is as the Amplified Bible calls it, “THE BURDEN or oracle (the thing to be lifted up) concerning Nineveh [the capital of Assyria].” We are not given clear details as to why Nineveh was brought to ruin, and, we are not given details as to who conquered them, nor how. And yet, history demonstrates that God’s judgment did come to pass against them.

Nineveh shall be overthrown!

Nahum 3:7 NASB “And it will come about that all who see you Will shrink from you and say, ‘Nineveh is devastated! Who will grieve for her?’ Where will I seek comforters for you?”

Regardless of when it happened God stayed faithful to His word. Still, the purists will say, Ah, but God said forty days! For a God that lives outside of any known dimensions we have, time means nothing. One of the places in scripture this is evidenced is in Daniel’s prophecy about the Messiah’s return for His own. It is expressed in terms of 70 weeks of years. We, the church, are stuck between the 69th and 70th week, a time period that has now lasted over 2000 years. Does this bother God at all? No, as He is appropriately waiting for the full number, which only He knows, to come into the kingdom.

Again, just because we have no details in scripture about some items, is no reason to ignore historical background information, or the lessons we are meant to learn. A common thread we all fall prey to – whether you are a follower of Christ, or, as the Jewish mind thinks, an idolatrous Gentile – is the foolish belief that just because you did not get caught, then God must not care or see. Oh, He sees everything, for there is nothing that is hidden from His view. And, I think Jonah came to understand this concept clearly.

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Dispelling myths – Jonah. Chapter two.

As chapter one in the book of Jonah comes to a close, it separates verse 17 under the heading; A Great Fish Swallows Jonah.

If you read my last post on Jonah, I talked about the impracticality of Jonah surviving for any time in the ocean. Keep in mind that Jonah is written in the third person. So, although it may have been written by Jonah, it is apparent that it was written after the incidents transpired.

So, let’s deal with reality for a moment.

  • The crew that threw Jonah overboard did not consider the possibility of Jonah surviving. And, they did not think for a second that a massive fish would swallow him whole. They anticipated that he would drown; what motivated that thought in them? The ocean conditions themselves.

  • Falling overboard in violent storm conditions, or being thrown in does not matter. You should have drowned. When you do a little research on how the human body dies, you find that after 30 to 40 seconds without air you lose consciousness. After three minutes without oxygen, the brain typically suffers irreparable brain damage and stops working. The medical consensus is that a lack of brain function is the marker for death.

  • Considering the clothing that we typically see the Jews wearing in those days, there was little chance of him swimming, even if he could.

  • The crew could not make it to shore under the weather conditions they were experiencing, and neither would Jonah.

Alright, Jonah is now in the water. However, God is not the least bit concerned with circumstances or reality, for immediately we are dealt this piece of information.

Jonah 1:17 NASB And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.

We have no witnesses. If we do, where are they? If Jonah is conscious, I can assure you that he never saw what was coming. As we ponder what kind of fish is large enough to swallow a man whole, three possibilities come to mind, but one can be eliminated rather quickly.

  • A giant grouper (Black Sea Bass.) While their mouths can open wide enough, they do not have the length necessary to accommodate a full grown man.

  • Great White sharks seem to be high on the list, but then there is that nasty habit they have of ripping things in half.

  • The last one I read about talk of the Sperm whale’s ability to take in man whole, and, they don’t have teeth per-say. What they do have is a multiple stomach system, much like a cow. The highest probability is that you would be crushed in that first stomach, and there would be no oxygen.

The practicality of Jonah’s survival so far is none.

We are rarely shown or told how much time passes in most of these biblical events. In this case, I think we are looking at something under 40 seconds. At the longest, almost four minutes. Why do I think that?

Look at these verses in chapter two of Jonah.

Jonah 2:1-5 NASB Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the stomach of the fish, 2) and he said, “I called out of my distress to the LORD, And He answered me. I cried for help from the depth of Sheol; You heard my voice. 3) “For You had cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the current engulfed me. All Your breakers and billows passed over me. 4) “So I said, ‘I have been expelled from Your sight. Nevertheless, I will look again toward Your holy temple.’ 5) “Water encompassed me to the point of death. The great deep engulfed me; Weeds were wrapped around my head.

Jonah prayed to God from the stomach of the fish.

All of us do it, we wait until we are going under, and then we cry out to God. Jonah is no different. Logic tells you, you are not making it out of this situation. Oddly, he is aware of his thoughts, predicament, and that there is seaweed wrapped around his head.

It sounds like there is hope. And, there is nothing here that tells us conclusively, that he is dead.

I thought I would avoid this aspect, but why hold back. If you survive, the religious will condemn you for not turning to God earlier. So let’s think this through for a moment. Is it possible that Jonah could have avoided all this? Sure; the answer would have been to comply with what God told him to do. How many of us does it right the first time? Very few.

Why then, did he not just go to Nineveh instead of killing himself.

I did it again, didn’t I? One, I am pushing the belief that he is now dead, and two, I leaned toward that suicide idea. That bothers you doesn’t it? It bothers many at the morning Bible study as well. Why? Because, the religious see suicide as the ultimate murder of oneself, therefore leaving no space for repentance. God’s only recourse then is to punish you forever in the eternal flames of hell. If what I am saying is true, then why do we have this book, and why did Jonah go on to give the message to Nineveh? Apparently, because God is not driven to despair over the things we get wrapped up in, and His plans supersede, not only our methods but death itself.

Without background information, which I made a note of in chapter one, you would not know what motivated the man.

One commentary referred to Jonah as a bigoted man. In other words, he wanted the Assyrians dead. However, he instinctively knew God would show them mercy, and he was right. But again, you don’t learn that until chapter four of Jonah’s book. This has overwhelming implications, as most of do not realize that the nature and character of God is mercy.

Think of this story as though someone is telling you a preposterous tale, and, it is keeping your attention. Quickly, many questions are running through your mind, and then the storyteller adds the dimension of a giant fish swallowing the man whole. If you have not said it aloud, then your mind is screaming it, no one survives these environments. And, no one looks back on it, as Jonah did, and recounts, not only the story but details he would not have known.

I said to my wife; Jonah was dead! I expected nothing less than the response I got, as she said, how do you know that? My response came with just a few seconds of thought. Jesus, in response to the hostility and doubting of the scribes and Pharisees, said,

Matthew 12:39-40 NASB But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign, and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; 40) for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

To those that listened, the words, Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a great fish meant nothing less than human death. But, Jesus added this into the mix, “so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”This statement may have been a mystery concerning Jesus predicting the details of His death, but NO ONE, buried for that length of time, comes back to life.

Why would this be such a startling statement to the Jewish crowd standing there?

As scribes and Pharisees, they would have studied Jonah’s prophetic actions intensively; they would also understand the tradition that says the soul leaves the body after three days. Jesus’ words to them were blatantly indicative of death, with no option of a comeback, short of God’s intervention.

Now, did they have an example of that kind of intervention on behalf of a dead man, absolutely, as Jesus caused His friend Lazarus to come forth out of the grave after three days? Can you see how intentional His actions were when He took His time going to Bethany where Lazarus was buried? How did the Pharisees react to Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead?

John 12:9-11 NASB The large crowd of the Jews then learned that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead. 10) But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also; 11) because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus.

So, if I have not made myself clear on whether Jonah was expired or not, let me do so now; Jonah was dead. Jonah, in his own words, describes the bars of Sheol, as he adds, you have brought up my life from the pit.

Jonah 2:6 MKJV I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was around me forever, yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O Jehovah my God.

What other evidence do we have, such as associations with Jesus that prove Jonah’s death?

Psalms 16:10 MKJV For You will not leave My soul in hell; You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

Isaiah 38:17 MKJV Behold, I had great bitterness for peace; but You loved my soul from the pit of destruction. You have cast all my sins behind Your back.

Job 17:16 MKJV They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when our descent together is in the dust.

Revelation 1:18 MKJV and the Living One, and I became dead, and behold, I am alive forever and ever, Amen. And I have the keys of hell and of death.

Jonah says the most amazing thing just before he blacks out.

Jonah 2:7-9 KJV “When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. 8) They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. 9) But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.”

They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.”

Most will read this and say, what does that mean? To observe is to pay attention to, but there seems to be something more profound here. The Hastings Bible dictionary indicates that this old English word means to reverence. The ISBE expresses the idea of giving heed to, and yet, both of these references suggest an action that is more than a casual look; this is taking in the surroundings and letting them determine your outcome.

The Hebrew word for lying (shâv’) carries the ideas of desolation; evil (as in destructive), we can perceive (shâv’) as (ruin); however, It can also imply idolatry (as something subjectively false,) or uselessness (as deceptive.)

Dying because of stupidity, within the belly of a fish, could easily be seen as the ruin.
What if Jonah is telling us that he realizes that the circumstance he is in is a lie?
What if Jonah suddenly understands that to give this situation ownership of his mind and spirit would be to forsake an opportunity for God’s mercy?
In the position he now finds himself, his options are limited. But, God, much like a baseball manager, says, it isn’t over until I say its over.

Although this interaction, like so many other biblical events, comes across as though everything happening is mere seconds apart, that is not the case. Jonah’s “prayer” and the response from God, may have been three full days.

This revelation should be eye-opening. Keep in mind, that even though it seems that this entire skewed event had everything to do with Jonah. God had a plan all along to use Jonah’s death as a teaching moment before a bunch of skeptical Pharisees. Look once again at Matthew 12:39-40, if you miss my meaning.

You see, we all have those twists and turns in our lives. Some, however, are not so dramatic. For the most part, as you think about it, it seems that it was all your idea or a response you had to some selfishness. For example, my first marriage was based upon me showing the world that I could have a beautiful blond for a wife. I prayed “earnestly” for, and over that situation, and, I got what I wanted. Marrying her turned out to be a nightmare that pulled me away from God. As I look back on all of it, there is no doubt that God was directing me to where I am now. At this moment, I am sitting in front of a computer screen typing away, about the God I have come to understand. That would have only happened if I experienced life the way I did (no matter how uncomfortable it got.)

Let’s finish for the moment with a bit of good news.

Jonah 2:10 MKJV And Jehovah spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out on the dry land.

While I have demonstrated how and why Jonah would be Dead; Now what? Apparently, God

Jonah Cast Forth By The Whale, by Gustave Doré.

Jonah Cast Forth By The Whale, by Gustave Doré. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

raised him back to life, and we will see what happens next in chapter three.

Before I move on, I want to show you something else about Jonah that few ever see. Jonah, the man who committed suicide, a game-ending action in most people’s minds, is still alive, for a least a few seconds inside that fish. During that time we learn, in Jonah 2:3, that he cried for help from the depth of Sheol; and, he tells us that God listened.

How would Jonah know that God heard, and forgave him? In the same way, he heard the directive to go to Nineveh, through the spirit within; a spirit made in the image of God. That human spirit is the thing that calls out to the living God and longs to be reunited with its maker. There is nothing but our own lousy decisions and actions that separate us from God’s love. And, God’s love, is ever and always being poured out toward us. Jesus, on that cross, is the most heroic evidence of that love we could ever imagine.

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Jonah – Dispelling some myths. Chapter one.

Recently Jonah was used as an example in a talk someone was giving. The speaker noted the mercy of God for He preserved Jonah alive in that fish for three days. This example is just one of the vast derivations and assumptions on the Jonah narrative. Very few of them have any understanding of what happened, nor do they demonstrate the truths buried within the story.

Typically, our lead into Jonah comes from the book after his name, where it tells us:

Jonah 1:1-3 MKJV And the Word of Jehovah came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2) Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their evil has come up before Me.

However, that is not what Jonah did. Because of his actions, we make huge assumptions about the man and leave off pertinent information. Continuing with verse three we Jonah on a ship to Tarshish, hoping to get out of God’s sight.

3) But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of Jehovah. And he went down to Joppa. And he found a ship going to Tarshish. And he gave its fare, and went down into it, in order to go with them to Tarshish, away from the sight of Jehovah.

Try to find maps showing Tarshish from the time of Jonah, and you will see that they are nonexistent. Most place the location of Tarshish on the Southern tip of Spain. These days, there is a town called Tarshish in Lebanon. That location, however, does not work for the story as Jonah was attempting to run in the opposite direction, and Lebanon would have been a rest stop along the way.

We have to go to another book of the Bible to find Jonah’s hometown and his familial background.

When we learn of Jonah in 2 Kings 14:25, it is as a side note in the life of Jeroboam, who restored the borders of Israel from the entrance of Hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah. This act of rebuilding the borders of Israel takes on immense significance when you realize that Hamath was north of Damascus, and the region of Arabah was south beyond the dead sea. And, this action was foretold through a prophetic word given by Jonah. Since we know that Jeroboam lived from 793-752BC, then we can also assume that the restoration of the border of Israel would have been toward the end of Jeroboam’s life. With a minimal amount of research, we can understand that the word spoken by Jonah was before the restoration of the border.

2 Kings 14:25 MKJV He (Jeroboam) restored the border of Israel from the entering of Hamath to the sea of the plain, according to the Word of Jehovah, the God of Israel which He spoke by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was from Gath-hepher.

The passage explains Jonah to us as: “the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gath-hepher.”

I can understand this statement two ways:

  1. Jonah, a prophet, was the son of Amittai;

  2. Or, Jonah was the son of Amittai, who was also a prophet.

From 2 Kings 14:25, I can approximate about where Jonah was when he opted to catch a boat ride to Tarshish. Because Gath is in Northern Judah, it would have logical to find a boat ride at one of the local ports, and that is what we see.

This familial relationship is not that uncommon as many of the prophets were sons of the priest or high priests in the old testament; nor is it essential. However, their family backgrounds and education would have allowed for training in oratory skills and may have played a role in their ability to stand before kings.

When we look at the book of Jonah, the Expositor’s Bible commentary tells us that the date range is about 539-331 B.C and this would put Jonah in Nineveh long after the restoration of the border of Israel.

What we typically hear when we hear the name, Jonah.

Jonah is now on a boat ride to Tarshish to escape from God and his directive to go to Nineveh.

Albert Barnes commentary points out that, “It has been asked, “How could a “prophet” imagine that he could flee from the presence of God?” Plainly he could not. Jonah, so conversant with the Psalms, doubtless knew well the Psalm of David (Psalm 139:7,) “Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit, and whither shall I flee from thy presence?” He could not but know, what every instructed Israelite knew. And so critics should have known that such could not be the meaning.”

“How could a “prophet” imagine that he could flee from the presence of God?”, seems like a good question; the answer of which should have been understood by Jonah.

Dake’s commentary aspect of his Bible, tells us:

The book (Jonah) is a story of a bigoted Jew who, after being chastened by the Lord for disobedience, preached to and converted the whole city of Nineveh.

Bigoted seems like a harsh word, especially since I grew up during a time of intense racial bigotry.

Bigoted, – Means to be obstinately and blindly attached to some creed, opinion, practice or ritual; unreasonably devoted to a system or party, and illiberal towards the opinions of others.

What would drive a man to such hatred? J Vernon McGee, a man who had a doctorate in Theological studies, states:

Assyria was one of the most brutal nations of the ancient world. They were feared and dreaded by all the peoples of that day. They used very cruel methods of torture and could extract information from their captives very easily. … As an army, the Assyrians moved in an unusual manner. One of the reasons the Babylonians were able to overcome them was the slowness of the march of the Assyrian army. They took their families with them and had very little order in the army. They moved as a mob across the countryside. It is very easy to see that their disorder would militate against them. However, when they moved down like a plague of locusts upon a town or village, it is said that they were so feared and dreaded that on some occasions an entire town would commit suicide rather than fall into the hands of the brutal Assyrians.”

2Kings and 2Chronicles both speak of years of tribute paid to Assyria, and how Israel went into captivity for generations at the hands of Assyria. Jonah would have been witness to much of this. To put it bluntly, they were cruel people and Jonah would rather have seen them dead.

If you believed that God would strike these people dead, why would this provoke your attempt to run from God? This logic does not make sense. However, if Jonah knew something about God that we are not privy to at this point, then we need to understand what that is because it is the most potent motivation behind Jonah’s attempt to flee from God’s mission. We don’t find out what this motivation is until the last chapter of the book.

Jonah 4:2 NET. He prayed to the LORD and said, “Oh, LORD, this is just what I thought would happen when I was in my own country. This is what I tried to prevent by attempting to escape to Tarshish! — because I knew that you are gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in mercy, and one who relents concerning threatened judgment.

What evidence does Jonah have that God is prone to show mercy?

Exodus 33:19 NET. … I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy.”

Psalms 78:38 NET. Yet he is compassionate. He forgives sin and does not destroy. He often holds back his anger, and does not stir up his fury.

Psalms 86:5 NET. Certainly O Lord, you are kind and forgiving, and show great faithfulness to all who cry out to you.

Being the son of Amittai, the prophet, Jonah would have been well schooled in the Torah and Talmud and knew the nature and character of God. This nature and character are concepts that are in complete opposition to the leader of the morning bible study, which, once again spoke of God bringing everyone, except for those who have accepted Christ under standard, strict oversight, before the great white throne and sending them to hell.

We now find Jonah out on the ocean, in a storm.

Jonah 1:4, 5 NET. But the LORD hurled a powerful wind on the sea. Such a violent tempest arose on the sea that the ship threatened to break up! The sailors were so afraid that each cried out to his own god and they flung the ship’s cargo overboard to make the ship lighter. Jonah, meanwhile, had gone down into the hold below deck, had lain down, and was sound asleep.

Things that catch my attention here:

  1. Brenton’s translation – “and there was a great storm on the sea, and the ship was in danger of being broken.”

  2. NASB “Then the sailors became afraid, and every man cried to his god,”

  3. MKJV “And they threw out the ship’s articles in the ship, into the sea in order to lighten it.”

  4. NASB “But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down and fallen sound asleep.”

The fact that each sailor cried out to his god says a lot. This action is contrary to what we see in the world we live in now.

Jonah 1:6 NASB So, the captain approached him and said, “How is it that you are sleeping? Get up, call on your god. Perhaps your god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish.”

Sleeping? There was little he could do above deck, for Jonah was not a sailor. He was, however, a man of God, with particular skill sets. Having the captain approach him might not be that unusual, but then I am projecting forward to modern standards where there would have been an insistence upon wearing a life vest, but not in this era; safety standards would have been minimal at best. What does the captain say? “Get up, call on your god. Perhaps your god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish.” It was surprising, years ago, to hear how common it was in India for a family to express worship to many gods, Jehovah, being one of them. Much like you might see in gambling, they are just hedging their bets to protect against the odds that they chose the wrong god.

Jonah 1:7 NASB Each man said to his mate, “Come, let us cast lots so we may learn on whose account this calamity has struck us.” So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah.

This is no different than gambling. How odd that the dice would point to Jonah. God uses the most unusual methods and people to convey His message.

Jonah 1:8 CEV They started asking him, “Are you the one who brought all this trouble on us? What business are you in? Where do you come from? What is your country? Who are your people?”

A highly superstitious lot, maybe not so much. Having done some fishing, I like to take bananas as a snack. They are a self-contained, clean food; so easy to open, and filling. However, the men who work the boat, and those who fall prey to superstitions, start crying foul as they believe that bananas bring bad luck. Hogwash!

I cannot read these next words without hearing them come forth with authority and power.

Jonah 1:9 CJB He answered them, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear Adonai, the God of heaven, who made both the sea and the dry land.”

Watch their reaction.

Jonah 1:10 CJB At this the men grew very afraid and said to him, “What is this that you have done?” For the men knew he was trying to get away from Adonai, since he had told them.

Pay attention to this eye-opening statement. “For the men knew he was trying to get away from Adonai, since he had told them.” I checked multiple commentaries trying to find something that told me who the author of Jonah was, for it does not make sense. Look, I am not a grammarian; I use a paid aid to correct my grammar, but I picked up on the fact that the book is written in the third person. If you were writing about yourself would point out the flaws? Maybe not, most historians were selective about the information they gave us. Based on what we see in verse nine, there is no indication that Jonah revealed why he was here. We, as church-going folk, don’t like to acknowledge our flaws, and yet, there it is, and he told them.

Jonah 1:11 CJB They asked him, “What should we do to you, so that the sea will be calm for us?”—for the sea was getting rougher all the time.

They asked him, …What should we do to you?” They had no clue. What if this man’s god is as ominous as some have portrayed? Throwing a man overboard did not seem to be high on the list of things to do. Jonah’s answer.

Jonah 1:12 CJB “Pick me up,” he told them, “and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will be calm for you; because I know, it’s my fault that this terrible storm has come over you.”

Whoa. Think about this a moment. They may be lost at sea for all we know, with no hope of swimming to land; they are being pushed severely by winds, and battered by waves to the point that the boat is close to destruction. Whatever load they were hauling, is now lost, and anyone going into the ocean will be lost and dead in a matter of minutes. I can appreciate the brevity of this, having experienced several overnight fishing trips myself; one skipper decided to inform us that, “in this chop, even with the deck lights on, if someone does not have eyes on you in the water, we will not be able to find you, and you will drown!”

This may be hard for most readers to handle, but Jonah asked the crew to assist him in committing suicide.

Does he care about the potential outcome of his actions? Considering what he has already done, foolishly deciding to run from God, and, making it clear that he does not want anything to do with the Assyrians, I don’t think so.

What does the crew do? They tried to ignore Jonah’s ludicrous request.

Jonah 1:13 CJB Nevertheless, the men rowed hard, trying to reach the shore. But they couldn’t, because the sea kept growing wilder against them.

The crew rowed harder. Still, the conditions got worse.

Jonah 1:14 CJB Finally they cried to Adonai, “Please, Adonai, please! Don’t let us perish for causing the death of this man, and don’t hold us to account for shedding innocent blood; because you, Adonai, have done what you saw fit.”

Somewhere in this process, the crew had made their decision. They knew Jonah would die.

Jonah 1:15 JPS So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea; and the sea ceased from its raging.

Issues we need to address at this point.

  • I mentioned deck lights, but, as you can imagine, they had none. The description of an incident I experienced, happened around eleven P.M., making the telling of the story relevant to the passengers who stood at the aft rail, in rough seas, while underway, and necessary for safety reasons. But there is nothing in the story that tells us it is nighttime. What we do have is Jonah going below to sleep; this leads us to believe that it was night.

    Having experienced seasickness, the way I fought it off was to go to sleep in a bunk. Did Jonah have seasickness and therefore slept? We don’t know. I am merely pointing how quickly we make assumptions. Assumptions will get us in trouble, and we are trying to avoid misunderstandings.

  • So, let’s assume it was daylight. A boat, large enough to have two decks does not equate to an ocean-borne freighter, and so a safe assumption would be that it was getting tossed about like a toy. We have no information about the size of the crew and therefore might have been simply a captain and two crew members. Nonetheless, having a man go into a rough ocean like this, would have meant his death.

  • So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea; and the sea ceased from its raging.”

    Translations range from ceased, to immediately. If the sea stopped immediately, why then did they not get Jonah? An obvious answer is that they made the correlation between their problems and having the man onboard.

    But then, why do we get large choppy waves on any body of water? Disturbances, primarily from the wind. We know that they were experiencing a brutal wind storm. So, what stopped? The wind, and we recognize that they saw the correlation between throwing Jonah in the water and the wind stopping. However, it was going to take some time for the water to return to its normal rolling condition. Regardless, Jonah could not and would not survive. And yet, it seems he did. We will pursue that soon, in the next chapter.

Even in the midst of our worst decisions, God still comes through in unusual ways.

Jonah 1:16 JPS Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly; and they offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.

The men, seeing how the God of Jonah, had an immediate impact on the weather, feared the Lord exceedingly. A small portion of Gill’s commentary reads, “they feared him, not only because they saw his power in raising and stilling the tempest, but his goodness to them in saving them. Think this entire scenario through for a moment.

  • Because one man runs from God and His mission, it would seem that God is willing to kill everyone on the boat.

  • Jonah effectively asks the crew to kill him, and, in time, they do. Does God show anger toward anyone involved? No.

  • Since Jonah is apparently dead, the weather lies down. The crew of the boat sees a correlation between tossing Jonah in the sea as the effect on the wind is immediate; the waves, not so much. Regardless, the crew now make commitments to the God of Jonah.

What is it that we do when we come to the Lord?

  • We demonstrate some faith in Jesus Christ, the one who paid our debts in full.

    Some might regard this motion of ours toward God, as something done out of fear of the Lord. While it is true that many promote coming to the Lord out of fear, this “fear” we speak of is more of respect. The crew of the boat indeed found great respect for the Lord they did not know, that day.

  • The crew “offered a sacrifice unto the LORD.”

    Look at the context of the words once again. NASB “Then the men feared the LORD greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.” The word sacrifice – is to slaughter. If this all happened on the boat, what was left to slaughter?

  • And, under the religious umbrella, we make our own vows.

    For example: We make a commitment to the Lord, much like we do in marriage. However, we all know that commitment is only as strong as our backbone. Fortunately, Jesus side of the commitment is built on a stronger foundation; a sin free foundation, and therefore He says things like – I will never leave you or forsake; Or, speaking to the Father, he says, “all that you have given me I have kept, and, “no one can take them out of my hand.” Strong words I realize, but nonetheless true.

It is is not clear to me who wrote the book of Jonah, for I can see that it is written in the third person dialogue (as if one had been standing back watching and is now telling you what they saw.) If Jonah wrote the book in that manner, as most agree he did, is he then merely taking for granted that this crew (we assume they are gentiles) changed their hearts and suddenly offered up a sacrifice to God. We make these leaps of assumption because:

  • Jonah came from the same area as the Philistines, and therefore these people must have played a role in his life. All assumption.
  • In trying to escape from God he catches a boat in Joppa. But no one bothers to fill in the blanks as to where Joppa is.
  • We assume the captain and crew of the boat are anything but Jewish, however, there is nothing to define them, and we cannot rule out the possibility that are Israelis. The only evidence we have comes when they all prayed to their own gods to be saved out of the storm.

We assume that these were not Jews because of the varied gods to which they prayed, but wasn’t that Israel’s problem from the day they left Egypt? We see evidence of their attachment to idols as one of the first things they did was roast their children on the altar Aaron built to the god Moloch. I realize that most of you refuse to believe that, but it was Stephen (of the New Testament) who makes this fact clear as he addressed the Jewish council prior to their having him stoned. (You will find all this in Acts 7, specifically verse 43.) When Balaam was asked to curse Israel, God told him not to, but he did take the liberty of telling king Balak that if you introduce the good-looking women from the surrounding nations, Israel will take them in, and will be destroyed from the inside out as they adopt the other gods these women bring with them. (Numbers 22)

In trying to understand Jonah, I am reminded of Moses. Moses is said to have written much the of the books of the Law in the third person, but not all. If Jonah were dead he would not have known about the actions these men took. Anything we say to define what exactly happened is merely conjecture. What does seem feasible, is that God, like he did with Moses, saw fit to relate many aspects of this story to Jonah or some other author. We then must chose to believe, as we did with the books written by Moses, and find, as the crew did, the awesome God, who shows mercy, and responds to prayer.

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