Matthew 10:28, Him who able to kill the soul and the body.

A question came up about the soul. We seem to think that it is immortal and that it will, either live with the Father in heaven or, exist in permanent torment in hell. Are there any other options? Jewish thought on the subject is varied; it is, however, the origin of what we, in Christianity, believe. I give you two examples.

Gehinnom: A Jewish Hell

Only truly righteous souls ascend directly to the Garden of Eden, say the sages. The average person descends to a place of punishment and/or purification, generally referred to as Gehinnom.

The name is taken from a valley (Gei Hinnom) just south of Jerusalem, once used for child sacrifice by the pagan nations of Canaan (II Kings 23:10). Some view Gehinnom as a place of torture and punishment, fire and brimstone. Others imagine it less harshly, as a place where one reviews the actions of his/her life and repents for past misdeeds.

The soul’s sentence in Gehinnom is usually limited to a 12-month period of purgation before it takes its place in Olam Ha-Ba (MishnahEduyot2:9Shabbat33a). This 12-month limit is reflected in the yearlong mourning cycle and the recitation of the Kaddish (the memorial prayer for the dead).

Only the utterly wicked do not ascend to the Garden of Eden at the end of this year. Sources differ on what happens to these souls at the end of their initial time of purgation. Some say that the wicked are utterly destroyed and cease to exist, while others believe in eternal damnation (MaimonidesMishneh Torah, Law of Repentance, 3:5-6).


On their website –, the information ends with a bold exclamation,

We Don’t Know, So we Must Make Our Lives Count.”

Instead of focusing on the potential torment, why not focus on a God that loves you so much that He gave His only son as the final, all-encompassing, sacrifice. Perhaps such love is a motivation to live for Him.

Another website article dated June 18, 2013.

Written by, By Rabbi Baruch HaLevi, entitled:

I’ve always read that Jews don’t believe in the concept of hell. Is that true?”

There isn’t one definitive understanding of life after death or heaven and hell. has this to say.

“First, let me distinguish between what “Jews believe” versus what “Judaism” believes. Quite often one has nothing to do with the other and this is a perfect example. Jews may not believe in the afterlife—heaven and hell—but Judaism unequivocally does.

Growing up I was told that Jews don’t believe in the afterlife. No heaven. No hell. No nothing. However, like most everything else I learned about Judaism growing up, this was incomplete. Although there are strains of modern Judaism that would argue against life after death, the vast majority of Judaism, Jewish history, Jewish theology, and Jews themselves unequivocally believed in Olam Habah—the world to come.

(So,) Yes, Judaism believes in “heaven,” and yes, Judaism also believes in “hell.”

I did not have any of this information on a recent morning as I sat with the guys; it wouldn’t have mattered anyway, as one fellow, the one who keeps finding unusual and bizarre things to talk about, doesn’t seem to want to hear the truth.

Let’s get something straight here. I am not the final source of all truth and knowledge. If I don’t have the answer I will tell you, but, if you give me a chance, I will look it up and give you an answer. At that point, the Bible is my definitive source for truth. The Bible program I use has 45 translations available for me to choose from; are they all correct? I seriously doubt it, as many translations have known errors, and language so weakened that it makes those word choices seriously inadequate at times. Don’t give up hope, for God still manages to bring hope and healing even through problematic scriptures; this is why I constantly compare translations, and it is a problematic passage that is what brings me to the verse in question.

Those that refer to this passage generally focus on fearing God and the hell that seems to be dangling out there as a threat in an effort to keep us on a straighter path. My friend, that morning, showed great interest in this phrase, “God, who can destroy both the soul and the body in hell.”

Matthew 10:28 NLT  “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

The NLT is fairly new to me, and it says that God can destroy both the body and soul in hell; that, is not what I was taught growing up. We were taught the soul is eternal and never dies, however that is not the implication here. I went through a translation comparison and every version I have uses the word destroy.

First, I have to ask, what is the context. Well, the conversation that evoked this comment by Jesus started all the way back in verse one of chapter ten. You can look it up for yourself if you have the time. Suffice it to say, Jesus called his disciples, prepared them, and sent them out in pairs with this message:

Matthew 10:6-8 NASB but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (7) “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ (8) “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.

At this time they were to only go to the Jews. You might think that the lost sheep would welcome this message of life, but there was obviously some animosity. Matthew 10:16-23 speaks directly to the hostility, that not only His disciples would eventually face, but we, the church, as well, and it’s not pretty.

If you are a follower of mine, then you know that I have recently talked about a friend who, in opposition to what scripture says, believes that the church must go through the “tribulation.” There are many reasons, based in scriptures, that convince me otherwise, however, there is an overwhelming abundance of evidence to show that our everyday lives will be filled with tribulations. Just today, I learned that China literally blew up a mega-church in China. According to Open Doors USA, North Korea tops the list for persecution, with Afghanistan a close second. If you are interested check out the ranking list on the Open Doors website –

When talking about the time period in which tribulations will exceed human reason, you are talking about the time of God’s wrath and judgment. Jesus, on the other hand, said tribulations, and that includes deadly events, would be a way of life. We here in America have yet to grasp the horrors of great tribulation, but we will.

The Greek word for kill is apokteinō and that is the word used when Jesus spoke of, “those who want to kill your body.” That word means to kill outright; figuratively to destroy: – put to death, kill, slay.

When Jesus told them to “rather fear Him who is able to destroy both the soul and the body..” He used the Greek word apollumi. That word is a derivative of two words and means to destroy fully (reflexively to perish, or lose), literally or figuratively: – destroy, die, lose, mar, perish.

Just looking at the alternative words – lose, mar, or perish, I wonder why the translators would choose the word destroy, over say, mar. One could mar an expensive piece of furniture. It might retain its functionality while losing its value. Furniture, unlike a Ming Dynasty vase, might be repairable, or should I say, salvageable. Merely using the term salvageable makes me think of who God is, and what He seems to do all the time, salvage people.

I find I can’t get away from this idea of total destruction. One of my own brothers was advocating that a merciful God would not simply put people into an eternal, torturous hell. To that I would say He did not do that to them, they did it to themselves. You see, we all have the knowledge of good and evil, and some simply choose to follow the evil path. Many would say, some of those followers had no choice. If I use the children next door, I have watched them develop some nasty attitudes that closely resemble the “adults” that are raising them. Influence may leave a stain on you, but the choice to act right, at some point, will be theirs alone.

This discussion and its vagueness are one of the reasons I included the Jewish thoughts on hell at the very beginning; as they too can see those condemned to hell as being imprisoned for a period of time and then, totally eliminated. Really, that makes a lot of sense. I cannot fathom an eternity of torment, no more than I fathom what an eternity of peace will feel like. But make no mistake, I choose eternity with the Father over any other option.

Over the course of several weeks, uncomfortable things have happened. One of those things was the passing of my mother. That woman had every confidence in the world as to where she was going when she died. I could say, she had an assurance, based in scripture, and her confidence prompted me to seek answers for myself. I could no longer trust what I deem fairy tales, I learned in Sunday school. I ascertained for myself, that Jesus words and actions were true and verifiable; therefore, I too have that same confidence in my destination. The other side of that coin is the anguish I hear when people say, how can I know what will become of me when I pass. Obviously, a few of the options, are either eternal hell in torment; a relatively short time in hell followed by vaporization of some sort or a life filled with peace in the Father’s arms.

Since my life in Christ affords me the confidence of life with the Father, then I have chosen that option.

As my Jewish friend stated:

We Don’t Know, So we Must Make Our Lives Count.”

Posted in bible study, condemnation, forgive, God's character, grace, guilt, Heaven, Hell, Hope, Jesus, Mercy, Peace, Things I have never noticed before, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Micah 6:6-8, He’s already made it plain how to live.

The NASB entitles this section of three verses:

What Does the Lord Require?

But if you read the words to gain understanding, there is something more here than oppressive demands.

Micah 6:6-8 NASB With what shall I come to the LORD And bow myself before the God on high? Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, With yearling calves? (7) Does the LORD take delight in thousands of rams? In ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? (8) He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?

I am not a fan of poetry, but as I looked these three verses, this is what I saw.  (NLT)

What can we bring to the LORD?

Should we bring him burnt offerings?

Should we bow before God Most High with offerings of yearling calves?

Should we offer him thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of olive oil?

Should we sacrifice our firstborn children to pay for our sins? 

No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good,

and this is what he requires of you

to do what is right,

to love mercy,

and to walk humbly with your God. 

If I dissect the passage, the first thing I am confronted by is this:

  • What offering should I bring when I bow down to worship the LORD God Most High?” ( CEV)

I should not apply human attributes to God in trying to understand this because human characteristics have greed and selfishness attached to them, and these are things that have nothing to do with God’s character. In my desire to comprehend a sentence like this, what if I compare to people who think they have everything. There are always those who, when you think about what to buy for them, you struggle because they have the resources to buy anything they want, and therefore open the gift you gave them, feign a smile, and quickly set it aside because they already have at least one.

The reality is, we, outside of what God makes us, have nothing to offer him.

The association we should be able to make is that the Jews in this scenario, are religiously bringing the sacrifices/offerings that God ordered.

[I have often thought about why God put such heavy demands on these people, and here is what I came up with. By the time Moses leads them out of Egypt, they are nothing less than Egyptians. Oh sure, there are a few that still remember their oral history; this fact is obvious because Moses was raised by his mother until she deemed it ridiculous to having him suckle on her anymore. That amount of time was long enough to impart to Moses who he was – a descendant of Abraham. To prove my point, when Moses saw the Egyptian, who was beating “one of his own people”, Moses killed the man; but this does not mean that everyone held tightly to any moral standard, for there was none. Remember, every man did what was right in his own eyes. Not long after escaping from Egypt Moses comes down off the mountain after forty days and finds “God’s people” roasting their children to the god Molech, one of the many gods these people brought out of Egypt. God had to straighten them out. I sort of see it as if you trying to control a massive street riot; sadly, in most cases, extreme and severe actions are necessary to restore order, and that is what we see.]

Typically, the Jews would be coming with a sacrifice, but in this verbal exchange, there is a sense of sarcasm as though God is reading their minds, and merely saying what they are already thinking.

  • Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, With yearling calves? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts?”

God challenges the whining of Israel with a question, and then answers the question with,

Does the LORD take delight in thousands of rams, In ten thousand rivers of oil?” No, He does not, however, projecting into the future, God will sacrifice his son in one final act of salvation for the entire world.

  • He has made it clear to you, mortal man, what is good and what the LORD is requiring from you—“ (ISV)

This idea that He has made what is good and what the Lord requires, clear to us, makes me think. Before the law came, humans, it seems, were a law unto themselves. That lack of interaction with written law, or the voice of God, doesn’t seem to have been an excuse for them. That sin, now incorporated within us, made humanity responsible. [Read Romans 5:13-15, and see if you agree.]

We can take this logic and responsibility all the way back to Adam and his son, Cain. With nothing more than an assumed knowledge of good, God holds Adam responsible for the entrance of life-altering sin, into the world. There is much to this statement, and I don’t have the space to cover it all now, suffice it to say that Adam had been given inside information on how everything was to play out. So when Adam gives up the rights to the earth through his tacit consent with Satan, the battle for control of the planet was on. Now God quietly tells the man about the damage he had done, the consequences of his actions, and the only way the damage would be undone.

But what about Cain?

In the story of Adam, we never see God speaking directly to Eve at any point. Therefore, we can only assume that information and instructions were passed through Adam. This would have been the same method passing information to Abel and Cain. Abel, as we see, knew how to make a sacrifice; therefore, we can logically assume that he knew what that sacrifice required and why. We know this because God gave Abel His approval, saying, “he had done what was correct;”

Genesis 4:4 ISV  while Abel offered the best parts of some of the firstborn from his flock. The LORD looked favorably upon Abel and his offering,

Cain, on the other hand, chose to bring whatever he wanted. It wasn’t even the first fruits.

Genesis 4:3 ISV  Later, Cain brought an offering to the LORD from the fruit that he had harvested,

Again, I want to point out that this all happened, “before the law of Moses.” So what then governed people like Adam and Cain?

Adam enjoyed something none of us have experienced, direct contact with God. In these direct conversations, is it possible that God told Adam how to live? Perhaps another way to understand this would be to say; God taught Adam what was right, and instilled a moral baseline and authority in him. Indeed that is a possibility. A very revealing scenario is played out in Genesis chapter three.

Genesis 3:7-8 ISV  As a result, they both understood what they had done, and they became aware that they were naked. So they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.  (8)  When they heard the voice of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden during the breeze of the day, the man and his wife concealed themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

Previously, they knew good, but now both had the knowledge of evil. If you paid attention to the wording of verse 7, you saw that there was a process, for they became aware.

The word evil that we find in Genesis 2:9, a part of the description of the fruit they were not to eat, has a rather broad definition. The Hebrew word is rā‛āh:

It is “an adjective meaning bad, evil. The basic meaning of this word displays ten or more various shades of the meaning of evil according to its contextual usage. It means bad in a moral and ethical sense and is used to describe, along with good, the entire spectrum of good and evil; hence, it depicts evil in an absolute, negative sense, as when it describes the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (The Complete Word Study Dictionary)

Note what Genesis 3:7 says, “they both understood what they had done.” I present this as evidence that they now knew both good and evil. Since this is the first occurrence we see of them wearing any coverings, then where did they get the ones they were about to wear?

Genesis 3:21 ISV  The LORD God fashioned garments from animal skins for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

Most assume making clothes was all God did; it was not, and Cain is our evidence for that.
Question: was Cain physically there when God made clothes? NO, and therefore knowledge of what he was supposed to do – in following the law, must have come through Adam. Look at what Genesis 4 tells us about Cain and his sacrifice.

Genesis 4:5-7 ISV  but he did not look favorably upon Cain and his offering. When Cain became very upset and depressed,  (6)  the LORD asked Cain, “Why are you so upset? Why are you depressed?  (7) If you do what is appropriate, you’ll be accepted, won’t you? But if you don’t do what is appropriate, sin is crouching near your doorway, turning toward you. However, you must take dominion over it.”

The NIV says, “If you do what is right.”

So, we really cannot escape this idea of “law” being a part of who we are. Every human is born with the knowledge of good and evil. Just as Cain had to take dominion, so do we.

Posted in bible study, condemnation, Deception, End times, God's character, Israel, Jews, judgment, Micah, Prophetic, Sin, strongholds, the nations, Things I have never noticed before, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture, wholeheartedly devoted, wrath. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Micah 6:1-5, Listen, you mountains, to the indictment of the LORD.

I don’t know about you, but after a long string of bad news, both scripturally and personally, I am ready for some good news; but that is not the case in Micah.

Our high point came when Micah spoke of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. When we covered that section, I tried to show you how the priesthood, at the time of Jesus birth, had trained shepherds that cared for the sheep born in that specific region because these sheep were to be the sacrificial sheep and could have no spot or blemish. Jesus, who was to become the lamb that would be slain for the sins of the world, could not have any spot or blemish. In God’s ironic and humorous world, his lamb was born here. Those specially trained shepherds were also taught the Torah and Tanakh and knew the signs that would signify the birth of the Messiah. Perhaps this is why they came with haste, as they understood the significance of their skill sets and presence.

When Herod, almost two years after the birth of Jesus Christ, saw the Wise men coming, with their entourage, panicked and called the chief priests and elders for an explanation. They knew exactly why these men had come, and yet denied that this child born in Bethlehem was their king. Herod ignored their unbelief, and after the wise men left he had the male children two and under murdered, to eliminate anyone competing with him for power.

What do we learn from this? Predominantly, the religious leadership denied the Messiah and taught others to reject Him as well. This concept can help with your understanding of what God is now saying to Israel.

Micah 6:1-5 NASB Hear now what the LORD is saying, “Arise, plead your case before the mountains, And let the hills hear your voice. (2) “Listen, you mountains, to the indictment of the LORD, And you enduring foundations of the earth, Because the LORD has a case against His people; Even with Israel He will dispute. (3) “My people, what have I done to you, And how have I wearied you? Answer Me. (4) “Indeed, I brought you up from the land of Egypt And ransomed you from the house of slavery, And I sent before you Moses, Aaron and Miriam. (5) “My people, remember now What Balak king of Moab counseled And what Balaam son of Beor answered him, And from Shittim to Gilgal, So that you might know the righteous acts of the LORD.”

How do I understand verse 1?

  • “Arise, plead your case before the mountains, And let the hills hear your voice.”

If it seems odd that God is speaking to the mountains, perhaps this passage in Deuteronomy will demonstrate how common it is for God to do this.

Deuteronomy 30:19 NASB “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants,

God called heaven and earth to witness against the persons who decided not to follow God’s law. Are you telling me that these things we see as inanimate objects bear witness to what we say and do? Apparently, our perceptions of what God created are wrong, for Jesus told the Pharisees, if the disciples stopped crying out in praise for Him, the rocks would immediately cry out in their place. You can look this up in Luke 19:39-40 NASB.

Verse two shows God addressing the mountains.

  • Listen, you mountains, to the indictment of the LORD, And you enduring foundations of the earth, Because the LORD has a case against His people; Even with Israel He will dispute.”

So the mountains sit in witness against us. Look at what Isaiah has to say.

Isaiah 1:2-4 NASB Listen, O heavens, and hear, O earth; For the LORD speaks, “Sons I have reared and brought up, But they have revolted against Me. (3) “An ox knows its owner, And a donkey its master’s manger, But Israel does not know, My people do not understand.” (4) Alas, sinful nation, People weighed down with iniquity, Offspring of evildoers, Sons who act corruptly! They have abandoned the LORD, They have despised the Holy One of Israel, They have turned away from Him.

  • Sons I have reared and brought up,”
  • have revolted against Me.”

He compares us to oxen and donkeys (Donkeys are a polite way of saying Jackasses.)

  • An ox knows its owner, And a donkey its master’s manger, But Israel does not know,”

He calls Israel a-

  • People weighed down with iniquity,”

The direct, politically incorrect, speech continues, as God tells them straight, how He feels and understands their actions.

  • Offspring of evildoers,
  • Sons who act corruptly!
  • They have abandoned the LORD,
  • They have despised the Holy One of Israel,
  • They have turned away from Him.

The words seem so harsh, but are they? Yes, but how do I know this? It is like studying a great painting. As the student, you have read the criticisms and admiration’s bestowed upon this particular painting, and as you stand there taking it all in slowly, you become aware of every brush stroke, and, in some cases, the motivation behind the work; such is the case with God’s word.

Verse three of Micah chapter six says this:

My people, what have I done to you, And how have I wearied you? Answer Me.”

God answers his own question in verse 4.

  • Indeed, I brought you up from the land of Egypt And ransomed you from the house of slavery, And I sent before you Moses, Aaron and Miriam,”

The logical response, in my mind, would be to understand freedom as a good thing. There is, however, an event that takes place in the hearts and minds of captives – that would be all of us, and it is called the Stockholm syndrome. A simplistic definition is this: “Feelings of trust or affection felt in many cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim toward a captor.” It seems that this was the case with God’s people. Their immediate reactions were to revert to the known ways of Egypt; based on this information I claim they were effectively Egyptians, for, by the time they were escorted out of Egypt, they were nothing more than abused slaves.

How or why would they have feelings of affections for Egypt? We all do it, we fall into a comfort zone, even though it includes pain and bondage. Welcome to the world of bondage and addictions.

The last thing we read in this section of scripture is this:

  • .. remember now What Balak king of Moab counseled And what Balaam son of Beor answered him, And from Shittim to Gilgal, So that you might know the righteous acts of the LORD.”

First, I want you to see a context here. God had just finished saying, “I brought you up from the land of Egypt And ransomed you from the house of slavery.” But, this event with Balaam and Balak has no good associated with it that I can see, such as their rescue from Egypt. Let me show you.

So Moab was in great fear because of the people, for they were numerous; and Moab was in dread of the sons of Israel. Moab said to the elders of Midian, “Now this horde will lick up all that is around us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field.” And Balak the son of Zippor was king of Moab at that time. (Numbers 22:3,4 NASB)

“So he (Balak) sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor (a “prophet” for hire), at Pethor, which is near the River, in the land of the sons of his people, to call him, saying, “Behold, a people came out of Egypt; behold, they cover the surface of the land, and they are living opposite me. “Now, therefore, please come, curse this people for me since they are too mighty for me; perhaps I may be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.” (Numbers 22:5,6 NASB)

So here we have the motivation behind Balak’s request/demand. There is nothing noble in the scenario; however, the verse opened with, “My people, remember now What Balak king of Moab counseled And what Balaam son of Beor answered him.” I do not think that the admonition itself is a positive one, but one that causes you to remember what happened as a result of Balaam’s response to Balak.

(Numbers 22:7 NASB) So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the fees for divination in their hand; and they came to Balaam and repeated Balak’s words to him.

God intervened for Israel (this was not their title as yet,) and withstood Balaam through speech and actions on multiple occasions. Even though they brought money, Balaam refused. Do not think for a second that this man is to be thought of highly.

(Numbers 22:14-15 NASB) The leaders of Moab arose and went to Balak and said, “Balaam refused to come with us.” Then Balak again sent leaders, more numerous and more distinguished than the former.

The third time, God used Balaam donkey to speak to the man. (For the sake of drama and color, I will add, that God used the man’s jackass to address him. Apparently, mule speak was the man’s language.) Oh yes, there was also an angel of immense proportions waving a sword in front of Balaam, and God let him see that. The passages are rather lengthy, and I will let you look them up for yourself. (Numbers 22:22-34 NASB)

In a strange turn of events, God gave Balaam the green to light to speak to Balak, or so it seems, and Balak continued to push Balaam. In the middle of this Balaam said the most amazing piece of truth, and it goes like this:

Numbers 23:19 NASB “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

These words from Numbers 23:19 are some of the greatest validations that we have for God’s character and nature.

Balaam continued to speak.

“Behold, I have received a command to bless; When He has blessed, then I cannot revoke it. (21) “He has not observed misfortune in Jacob; Nor has He seen trouble in Israel; The LORD his God is with him, And the shout of a king is among them. (22) “God brings them out of Egypt, He is for them like the horns of the wild ox. (23) “For there is no omen against Jacob, Nor is there any divination against Israel; At the proper time, it shall be said to Jacob And to Israel, what God has done! (24) “Behold, a people rises like a lioness, And as a lion it lifts itself; It will not lie down until it devours the prey, And drinks the blood of the slain.” Numbers 23:20-24 NASB

They sound invincible, don’t they, and yet, they were not. Balaam continued to pour out blessing upon Jacob and God’s people. Balak, of course, was infuriated. Do not cut Balaam any slack for there is this:

Revelation 2:14 NASB ‘But I have a few things against you because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality.

Strangely, we don’t see this teaching portrayed in the story about Balaam that the book of Numbers conveys to us, and yet, there it is.

2 Peter 2:15 says this:

“forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;”

Balaam’s words spoke of end times events and how one would come forth, things which stand as monuments in biblical prophecy, but look at how Numbers chapter 25 opens.

While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab. For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the LORD was angry against Israel. (Numbers 25:1-3 NASB)

What is my take away from Micah 6:1-5 –

God’s question, “what have I done to you, And how have I wearied you? And His response to that question, remember.

These words remind me of a worship song from a few years ago, that says, “I remind myself of all that you’ve done.” Burdened by the, often, fiery trials that come along, it is easy to forget that God brought us out, and what He brought us out of. In our forgetting, our immaturity often kicks in, and we go back to the comfortable but deadly stuff, like alcohol or rage simply because it numbs the mind, and we don’t have to think anymore.

God never told you to shut your brain down. He says come to me, and I will give you rest. I find no shame in telling you that I picture a large glowing man with no face, sitting on His throne, and holding out his arms to me, as He beckons me to come rest on His chest. When I do that, I find peace and words of comfort; there, He tells me that I am loved, wanted, and cared for. Words like this are the things I have longed to hear all my life. He is love, and I have come to know and love this nature and character I have found in him.

Posted in bible study, condemnation, End times, forsaken, Freedom from sin, gentiles, God's character, grace, guilt, Hope, Israel, Jesus, Jews, Mercy, Micah, overtaken, Prophetic, redemption, restore, Sin, strongholds, the nations, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I need to talk about death for a moment.

On Sunday, February 10 of 2019, my mother went home to be with Jesus.

Only a few days have passed since she died and I find myself talking about her death with a smile on my face. How can I do that? To answer that I have to back up a couple of months.

When we learned that there was a probability of her having pancreatic cancer, it was mid-December. The primary piece of evidence for this diagnosis was a blood test. Normal readings on her pancreas should have been 13; hers were 1100, but, from what I understand, the Doctor could not decisively say he was dealing with pancreatic cancer because he did not have a biopsy (The Dr. also felt it was foolish to put mom through a biopsy surgery, at this point.) I have known people who obtained a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and died painful deaths within months. Some will doubt this, but I heard the Holy Spirit say, “she only has two months to live.” I knew that this information, with no definitive evidence, would not be received well, and it was not. I told the family member who shared the vague information from the doctor with me, no good will come of this. I did not say this to be negative, I listen to the Holy Spirit, and that is what I heard. Oh, there is always the possibility of some good, as I serve a God who is never without a plan. At 82, mom had few realistic options, especially since the last surgery she had, a hip surgery, was very hard on her and she fought, prematurely, to leave the hospital. I told you all that to say; I feel the Lord was preparing some of us, for her departure.

Another reason I can smile is that I know where she went. She went home to be with Jesus. I have looked into this phrase before, and spoken about it in my blog; however, I will admit that the scripture reference is just a little thin.

We say: “To be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord.”

But here is what Paul said,

2 Corinthians 5:6-8 NASB (6) Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— (7) for we walk by faith, not by sight– (8) we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.

Let’s logically attack this for a moment.

  • knowing that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord.”

If being at home in my body, makes me absent from the Lord, then the inverse must be true. Therefore, if I am absent from my body, then I must be present with the Lord.

Of course, I left out a minor detail, as this is all contingent upon a relationship with Jesus Christ. A simple explanation goes like this – when Jesus was asked what must a person do to be saved, Jesus responded with, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, the one sent by the Father. Well, that is what my mother did, as mom had a long term relationship with Jesus Christ and longed to be with Him. I too have this kind of relationship with Jesus. The Apostle Paul went on to say that the preferred condition would be, “to be absent from the body and be home with the Lord.”

So, I had time to say my goodbyes, and to tell her that she could go home if she wanted to; and, I have the knowledge that she is at peace, rejoicing in heaven with Jesus, just as she longed to do.

Is there emotional pains, certainly, and some are much more trouble than others; and, there was an abundance of family drama. One of the ways I have learned to deal with the drama is a simple phrase, it is not my circus, and they are not my monkeys. While that works to some degree, it is often difficult to keep the monkeys from throwing their food and debris at you, and that makes life difficult at times.

A friend of mine insists that we, as the church, are destined to go through the seven years of God’s wrath. I have tried, in several ways, through scripture, to show him how wrong he is. On my last chance to spend time with my mother, I was lying near her, holding her hand, and watching Charles Stanley on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, the night before she died. On this night my friend sent me a message explaining how he had challenged some Christians about their belief in a pre-tribulation rapture. Sadly, we, as the church, seem to think that we get to escape ALL tribulation and discomfort. My response to this belief that we get to escape discomfort is, we are fortunate to have been born in the United States. How do you, who think discomfort means you are not a believer, explain the horrendous torment followers of Christ in the Middle East, African nations, and China, for example, go through? When did I respond to his message I told him that I was lying next to my mom, who was dying of pancreatic cancer and did he not think that this was a fiery trial? It was and continues to be for some.

Jesus told us, that in this world we would have tribulations. Welcome to the world, and welcome to this life we have in Christ. It is real, and there nothing you can do to avoid the discomforts of the world.

Posted in comfort, finisher, forgive, grace, healing, Hope, Jesus, Mercy, Peace, Prophetic, redemption, restore, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Micah 5:9-15. They will be like a lion among the animals in the forest.

Since you have been following me, then you understand what I tried to convey as I spoke of the destructive properties of these last days, and the armies that converge on Israel. Allow me to point out now, that only a third of Israel’s population will survive. With roughly eight million people in the land that will leave approximately two million survivors.

Some will ask, where do you get this information?

Zechariah 13:7-9 ERV  The LORD All-Powerful says, “Sword, wake up and strike the shepherd, my friend! Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will run away. And I will punish those little ones.  (8)  Two-thirds of the people in the land will be struck down and die,” says the LORD, “but one-third will survive.  (9)  Then I will test those survivors by giving them many troubles. The troubles will be like the fire a person uses to prove silver is pure. I will test them the way a person tests gold. Then they will call to me for help, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘You are my people.’ And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.'”

If Zechariah does not convince you, perhaps passages from Ezekiel will. Ezekiel may be giving us a more explicit definition of how the Jews within Israel die.

Ezekiel 5:12-14 ERV  A third of your people will die inside the city from diseases and hunger. Another third will die in battle outside the city. And then I will pull out my sword and chase the last third of your people into faraway countries.  (13)  Only then will I stop being angry with your people. I will know that they have been punished for the bad things they did to me. They will know that I am the LORD and that I spoke to them because of my strong love for them!”  (14)  God said, “Jerusalem, I will destroy you (and-) you will be nothing but a pile of rocks. The people around you will make fun of you. Everyone who walks by will make fun of you.

Never forget that God, has on occasion, used others, namely the nations, to wield His sword. The death and destruction will seem like it happened overnight, but the process will begin, either right before the church is caught away to Jesus, or, immediately thereafter.

With that information let’s move on to the study:

A Remnant Shall Be Delivered

Micah 5:7-8 ERV  “But those from Jacob who are still living and scattered among the nations will be like dew from the LORD that does not depend on anyone. They will be like rain on the grass that does not wait for anyone.  (8)  Those from Jacob who are still living are scattered among the nations. But they will be like a lion among the animals in the forest. They will be like a young lion among flocks of sheep. If the lion passes through, he goes where he wants to go. If he attacks an animal, no one can save it. The survivors will be like that.”

  • But those from Jacob who are still living and scattered among the nations.” A read of Zechariah’s prophecy doesn’t inform us that Israel may, once again, be scattered. The idea of scattering comes across more like, run for your life! The Complete Jewish Bible translates this verse in this manner. “The remnant of Ya`akov among the nations, surrounded by many peoples, will be like a lion among forest animals, like a young lion among flocks of sheep—if it passes through, tramples and tears to pieces, there is no one to rescue them.” (Micah 5:7 CJB)

This reference to a young lion in the forest comes across as though the nations are now in fear of Israel. Understanding the text requires a look through spiritual eyes, for perhaps the nations have always been afraid of Israel, and that is why they have unceasingly tried to destroy Israel.

  • Those from Jacob who are still living are scattered among the nations. But they will be like a lion among the animals in the forest. They will be like a young lion among flocks of sheep. If the lion passes through, he goes where he wants to go. If he attacks an animal, no one can save it.”

Micah 5:9 CJB  “When that day comes,” says Adonai, “I will cut off your horses from among you and destroy your chariots.

Most translations say something like this: “Your hand will be lifted up against your adversaries.” We want to believe that, and if we watch the news, you can actively see Israel retaliating against aggressive acts, of which there are many. If I chose to read this loosely, and not study the verse out, I could take this statement, seen here in the CJB, as being one against Israel. The NASB and the NLT prove otherwise.

Micah 5:9 NASB Your hand will be lifted up against your adversaries, And all your enemies will be cut off.

Micah 5:9 NLT  The people of Israel will stand up to their foes, and all their enemies will be wiped out.

This standing up to one’s foes all sounds bold, but it is in stark contrast to the devastation that we see coming against Israel. Destruction, however, does not mean that Israel did not put up a fight. Regardless, scripture shows two-thirds of Israel being killed off, and the city being trampled by the invaders. (Zechariah 13:7-9)

There is only one point in time in which I can envision Israel acting so boldly, and that is when their Messiah returns to earth as the warring King they expected. Revelation 19 clearly shows us this King.

Revelation 19:11-16 NLT  “Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war.  (12)  His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself.  (13)  He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God.  (14)  The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses.  (15)  From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a wine press.  (16)  On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords.”

A consideration. If you have spent your life living in a state of fear, as I have, then you tend to look at this scenario in one of two ways. You either see yourself rejoicing that you are finally going to be rescued from the bullies of the world or, you feel that with the appearance of Christ you will grow a backbone and gladly lend a hand. Imagine living in a world without fear or retaliation from enemies. It is possible that none of my scenarios is a reality, and we may be asked to stand back while Jesus clears the world of bullies for us. This hope is not a fairy tale; it is a scriptural reality that both Micah, Joel, and the prophet Isaiah spoke of.

Isaiah 2:3-4 NASB And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (4) And He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples; And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. A nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war.

Micah 5:10 NASB “It will be in that day,” declares the LORD, “That I will cut off your horses from among you And destroy your chariots.

Again, we have to ask, which day? The answer is the day when Jesus comes back as the warring Messiah. So many things will happen quickly.

The Ultimate Cross-Reference Treasury has this to say about this verse. “This seems to refer to those happy times when the Jews shall be converted and restored to their own land; and all their enemies being destroyed, shall have no further need of cavalry or fenced cities.”

Is this statement by the writers of the UCRT a solid supposition?

We understand that the remnant, after the Messiah’s return, will come to the mountain of Lord, to worship the Lord, and, they will be the teachers of the nations. In case you missed what I said there – The Jews are the remnant, and by my archaic calculations, there will be well over two million of them.

Will they live in a restored Jerusalem?

No, but they will live in the NEW Jerusalem.

If they are restored to their land, could they live outside the walls of the New Jerusalem?

I don’t see why not, as there is evidence that free will still exist during the millennial reign.

What of this statement, “all their enemies being destroyed, (Israel, and those who also live as citizens during this period,) shall have no further need of cavalry or fenced cities.”?

We already understand this from Isaiah 2:4, as you can see above. As one trained in Horticulture, I get a little excited about growing my own crops; and some of these Jews may feel the same way. Micah gives us this:

“Each of them will sit under his vine And under his fig tree, With no one to make them afraid, For the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.” Micah 4:4 NASB

The context of Micah 4:4 applies to the nations, and not the Jews, or me. So, my assumption (and I think it is logical,) is that while there would no longer be a need for weapons of war; there may, however, indeed be a need for horses and farming equipment. This line of reasoning could apply, nonetheless, there is clearly a dissembling of the large and small scale war machine. Fences, though not entirely war-related, could still fit into this scenario, as they keep people divided from one another.

Micah 5:11-15 NASB “I will also cut off the cities of your land And tear down all your fortifications. (12) “I will cut off sorceries from your hand, And you will have fortune-tellers no more. (13) “I will cut off your carved images And your sacred pillars from among you So that you will no longer bow down To the work of your hands. (14) “I will root out your Asherim from among you And destroy your cities. (15) “And I will execute vengeance in anger and wrath On the nations which have not obeyed.”

There are some interesting statements in Micah 5:11-15.

  • I will cut off sorceries from your hand, And you will have fortune-tellers no more. I will cut off your carved images And your sacred pillars from among you So that you will no longer bow down To the work of your hands.”

Most people don’t read the Bible for themselves and therefore are unfamiliar with this young man. Manasseh, the 12-year-old who became king over Judah, and ruled for 55 years. Look at how 2 Chronicles describes his actions.

He made his sons pass through the fire in the valley of Ben-hinnom; and he practiced witchcraft, used divination, practiced sorcery and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger. Then he put the carved image of the idol which he had made in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, “In this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen from all the tribes of Israel, I will put My name forever; (9) Thus Manasseh misled Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the sons of Israel.” 2 Chronicles 33:6, 7, 9 NASB

Keep in mind that Manasseh learned none of this on his own. He was taught, either through active training or by observation.

  • “I will root out your Asherim from among you And destroy your cities. Strong’s Concordance tells us:‘ăshêrâh – asherah (or Astarte) a Phoenician goddess. While The Word Study Dictionary gives us this: A feminine noun which signifies the Canaanite fertility goddess believed to be the consort of Baal. Because of this association, the worship of Baal and Asherah was often linked together (Jdg_3:7; 1Ki_18:19; 2Ki_23:4). The noun is most often used for a carved wooden image of the goddess instead of a proper name (Jdg_6:26; 1Ki_14:15). Israel was deeply entrenched in idol worship, and Aaron’s making of the god Molech should be all the evidence you need.
  • “And I will execute vengeance in anger and wrath On the nations which have not obeyed.” It is evident that the nations played a role in the idolatrous downfall of Israel. The prophet for hire, Balaam, told King Balak how he could bring about the destruction of Israel by bringing in women from nearby nations to them. The men of Israel gave up their souls for these young girls. “Therefore wait for Me,” declares the LORD, “For the day when I rise up as a witness. Indeed, My decision is to gather nations, To assemble kingdoms, To pour out on them My indignation, All My burning anger; For all the earth will be devoured By the fire of My zeal.” Zephaniah 3:8 NASB

While on the one hand, this ends with the Messiah ruling over a restored kingdom – a kingdom into which we, the followers of Christ, have been engrafted. And although I despise the word, sin, Israel has been neck deep in it and God told them they would have pay severely if they did not stop; and, they did not. So we have a nightmarish mix of damage, but it will, someday, end in peace. I know that so many of you are living amidst the horrors of the Islamic invasion, brought under the guise of refugees. Joel chapter speaks of some of us standing our ground in the Name of Jesus. I don’t know you, but I know the God you serve, and I am calling you out to speak against these things, just as the Prophet Elijah spoke to the rain. If you have a relationship with Christ, then you have the most powerful force on the face of this planet living within you, the HOLY SPIRIT. Stand your ground, and declare, NOT ON MY WATCH!

Posted in Assyrians, bible study, End times, enemies, gentiles, invasion, Islam, Israel, Jerusalem, Jesus, Jews, Judah, judgment, Micah, Millennium, overtaken, Peace, Prophetic, Rule the nations, the nations, Thoughts on scripture, wrath. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Micah 5:6, they never overcame the nations they were told to.

As I tried to get through Micah 5:4-6 I realized that I could not do this section justice in a short essay, and, when I got to verse 6, I was stymied by the phrase “they shall waste the land of Assyria.” We have seen Israel since they became a nation, withstand attacks from Egypt Syria, and Jordan during the six-day war of 1967. I think it is safe to say that we have never seen Israel conquering any nations in our lifetimes. And, if you want to get biblical about this, they never overcame the nations they were told to, all those years ago. So why would things change now? I am not saying this to be derogatory, but I am trying to understand what God, through His word, is trying to tell us.

I am an advocate, and a believer in the idea that all this prophecy is understandable. If I can help in that understanding, then so be it.

Previously we were looking at:

Micah 5:3-5 (NLT)  The people of Israel will be abandoned to their enemies until the woman in labor gives birth. Then, at last, his fellow countrymen will return from exile to their own land.  (4)  And he will stand to lead his flock with the LORD’s strength, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. Then his people will live there undisturbed, for he will be highly honored around the world.  (5)  And he will be the source of peace. When the Assyrians invade our land and break through our defenses, we will appoint seven rulers to watch over us, eight princes to lead us.

In verses 3-5 we learned that –

  • Israel will be abandoned to their enemies until the woman in labor gives birth.” For a similar verse we can look to the Revelation, and there the woman is Israel. The woman gives birth to two things: the nation, and the Messiah (although Israel still does not accept that.)
  • We are told that after this birth, “his fellow countrymen will return from exile to their own land.” Since Israel became a nation. there has a steady influx of Jews returning to Israel.

Verse 4 is where things begin to get obscure. Since the NASB gives me a more defined picture, that is what I will use here.

  • And He will arise and shepherd His flock In the strength of the LORD.” Since I said Israel gives birth to two things, it should be clear at this point, that the reference is Yeshua, the Messiah. Ezekiel 37:24 NASB “My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd, and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them. King David did reign, but Israel, or technically Judah, as for many years it was a split kingdom, did not wholeheartedly walk in God’s ordinances, nor keep His commandments. Since they are still living like this today; and, Yeshua is not their shepherd. Then perhaps this reference is speaking of a future time. We see such a time when we look at the millennial reign. If we do not see Yeshua shepherding His flock, it is not for lack of effort.
  • Then his people will live there undisturbed, for he will be highly honored around the world.” NLT Israel, thinks they are safe, but they are not; and, Jesus, is not highly honored.
  • And he will be the source of peace. When the Assyrians invade our land and break through our defenses.” First, the Assyrians, one of the earliest large scale entities to consume a continent, ranged from present-day Armenia in the North; West through Asia Minor; East into modern day Kuwait, and South through Egypt. That range makes any of the current Muslim nations encompassing the Mediterranean a contender to be the Assyrian. In my book, Recep Principe Erdoğan, the President of Turkey, is a front runner, and we see someone who looks fits that description when we read Ezekiel 38 and 39.

Because there are other possibilities, let’s examine one other.

The prophecies of Ezekiel mention the destruction of Egypt and it uses the Tower of Syene in chapters 29 and 30 as a landmark. That tower is an aspect of the Aswan Dam and did not exist until 1970. The dam was built with the assistance of the Russians who bragged of its bunker-like qualities. They openly stated that only a nuclear weapon could take down the dam. Israel’s defense minister has also remarked that a nuclear weapon would be an option if they had to strike the dam in a retaliatory move against Egypt. Since Egypt could likewise be deemed the Assyrian. Suddenly Egypt has been thrust into my spotlight, and I must admit, I had previously never heard anyone talk about this event and the importance of this tower.

we will appoint seven rulers to watch over us, eight princes to lead us.” One of the techniques in interpreting scripture is to let scripture explain itself. So, what do we have that might explain this phrase?

Ecclesiastes 11:2 NET. Divide your merchandise among seven or even eight investments, for you do not know what calamity may happen on earth.

While Ecclesiastes is sound wisdom, it does not seem so profound when you are under attack and the enemy is wreaking havoc in the courts of your temples. So I am not sure this applies. You have to consider the number eight to get a substantial answer.

eight. As seven is the symbol of a sacred whole, so eight, when united with it, is something beyond it (Pusey). The spiritual significance of the number eight often includes the thought of a new beginning (for the first day of the week is the eighth day, a new beginning), resurrection, and regeneration.” The Ultimate Cross-Reference Treasury

Maybe what we should be considering when it comes to rulers watching over us is the Millennial reign. We know that there will be peace, security, and judges ruling over the earth.

Now, with all that being said let’s look at Micah 5:6.

Micah 5:6 KJV  And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he comes into our land, and when he treads within our borders.

Since Assyria is non-existent as a nation, then the Assyrian as represented here has to be ancestral or symbolic; and, since we have covered the territorial range of the Assyrians, we can move forward.

  • And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof.”

Finis Jennings Dake’s commentary refers to this “they” as: “Whoever they are.” Obviously, that doesn’t help me.

J Vernon McGee adds: the confederacy of nations which will come against Israel.” He feels that Israel will repulse this battle and then take the battle back into the Assyrians land. But as I noted, Israel has not conquered any nations lately, so why start now?

Personally, what I see is commentators attributing this sentence to foolish ideas, or they are merely parroting each other as they try to describe Israel eliminating an aggressor nation, of which they have many.

J Vernon McGee may have the more correct assumption when he calls these nations a confederation. This confederation idea proves itself out when you look at the Muslim countries of the Middle East. A short list of those countries: Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the Northern African Nations, (and Russia, which we don’t view as a Muslim nation.) All of these, in a confederation, surround Israel.

The prophet Daniel may have given us an explanation when he described the ten toes of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream statue.

Daniel 2:41,43 KJV  And whereas thou saw the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou saw the iron mixed with miry clay. (43) And whereas thou saw iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

The word mixed is the Hebrew word ‛ărab. What a coincidence as Genesis 16 in speaking of Ishmael and his offspring, tells us:

Genesis 16:12 NLT  This son of yours (Ishmael) will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.”

Hopefully, you got the point and can see that the potentialities exist for a Turkish ally to turn against them, even if they themselves are Muslims. If you have an understanding of Islam, then you know there are many sects within the ideology, and none of them get along. The two major factions are Sunni and Shiite, and they are perpetually bombing each other. They do, however, have a somewhat united goal of obliterating the little Satan, Israel, and the big Satan, the United States. Could it be that this turning against the land of the Assyrian, is strictly an Islamic venture? There are possibilities.

  • thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he comes into our land, and when he treads within our borders.”

Contrary to popular opinion I do not see Israel getting pulled out of this morass that is coming their way. Numerous passages indicate that an Assyrian leader will be killed on the mountains of Israel; however, this terminology also applies to Gog of Magog, which we see in Ezekiel 38,39. In that story, God sends a firestorm upon Gog, his troops, his land, and all the Coastal regions. Some see this firestorm as utter destruction, much like Sodom and Gomorrah; apparently, that is not the case. Besides, I know this event with Gog (a leader within Magog,) as an event that happens either right before the catching away of the Church, or immediately after; after all, there is a temple to build and a Mosque in the way. What does the destruction of Gog do to the idea that the Assyrian and the Antichrist are the same person? The only way that theory can work is if we are talking about a demonic (fallen angel,) spirit that is overtaking several human beings contiguously. Most likely Gog is not the Antichrist, however, Recep Principe Erdoğan is a strong contender for either of those roles. It has been proven that is hard to lead a dominating force against Israel after your dead.

Posted in antichrist, Assyrians, bible study, enemies, Gog, invasion, Islam, Israel, Jerusalem, Jews, Magog, Micah, overtaken, Peace, Prophetic, the nations, Thoughts on scripture, war | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Micah 5:4,5 – For He will be highly honored.

When I wrote on Micah 5:3 I was aware that Micah’s train of thought continued beyond verse three, however, for the sake of brevity, I tried to remain focused on verse 3 alone.

Now, as I move forward, I am struck with another vague reference, as the NLT uses the word “he.

Micah 5:4 NLT  And he will stand to lead his flock with the LORD’s strength, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. Then his people will live there undisturbed, for he will be highly honored around the world.

This word is in contrast to verse three, which also has an undefined reference to a “He.” Vague character references need to be revealed. As I have stated before there are numerous Bible translations, and it is wise to compare by checking words. Here is one of the examples.

Micah 5:2-3 NASB “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” (3) Therefore He will give them up until the time When she who is in labor has borne a child. Then the remainder of His brethren Will return to the sons of Israel.

In Micah 5:3 the reference to “He” is a reference to Jehovah, while in Micah 5:4 the “he” is denoting Yeshua/Jesus.

In Micah 5:2, Bethlehem was being addressed when it stated that, “One will go forth for Me “The “Me” in this passage is Jehovah. But who is being referred to when it says, One? If you have been a follower of Christ for a reasonable length of time, your mind should be screaming out; this is talking about Jesus. You and I both know that, but what of the person that doesn’t? Some passages that point to Jesus are:

Numbers 24:19 NASB “One from Jacob shall have dominion,

Psalms 78:71 NASB From the care of the ewes with suckling lambs He brought him To shepherd Jacob His people, And Israel His inheritance.

Daniel 9:25 CEV  … from the command to rebuild Jerusalem until the coming of the Chosen Leader, it will be seven weeks and another sixty-two weeks…

All of these events have happened, and yet there is no peace in the world.
If I were looking for peace as the marker could I see it with my physical eye? No, you can see the evidence of peace, and the world has none. However, Jesus brought peace into the hearts of all those who seek Him. What does all this mean? It means that a day is coming, soon, in which the Messiah, the One who will go forth for the Father, will slay all those who choose to fight with Him; and, he will bring about an eternal peace for those who live on the earth.

What do I do with the phrase from verse 3, “Therefore He will give them up until the time When she who is in labor has borne a child.

God, with frequency and clarity, told Israel through the prophets, that He would send them into bondage and captivity if they did not change; evidently, they refused to listen. This refusal on Israel’s part has been a problem for them since they came out of Egypt. However, Jesus reiterated many times, and, in many ways, that He and the Father are one. Therefore we cannot separate the two and their actions.

With that introduction let’s get into Micah 5:4

Micah 5:4 NASB And He will arise and shepherd His flock In the strength of the LORD, In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God. And they will remain, Because at that time He will be great To the ends of the earth.

Notice how Micah 5:4 says, “He will arise and shepherd His flock In the strength of the LORD .”

Now I have to determine who the “he” is. There is an obvious answer, and it comes from the context I just mentioned when I spoke about verses two and three. With our minds already focused on keywords such as Bethlehem, shepherd, and flock, these are none other than Jesus. Aside from the context, there is an immediate association that my mind makes with Jesus. Matthew’s gospel quoted Micah 5:4, but there are many that do not make this association. So, let’s look at the phrases that might make up our apologetic.

  • Born in Bethlehem.” Micah 5:2 lays that scenario out before us, but it was discussed again in John’s gospel.
    • out of you, He shall come forth.” We have established that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but I could also understand this to mean He will come forth out of Israel.
    • to become One ruling in Israel.”
        The problem many of us have is that we look at this in an immediate and literal sense. The Jews would not accept Him as the Messiah they looked for; and yet, when Herod begins to panic at the sight of the Wise Men – along with their entourage, he immediately calls in the Chief priests and elders to explain why these men have come. While the answer given by the chief priests and elders was correct and to the point, they also acknowledged that they would not serve Him. Notice Herod’s reaction. It tells us that he ignored their foolishness and accepted the words of the Wise Men; the result is that killed all the male children in that region from age two and under. Why do that? Because wiser men than the elders knew that the ruler had been born.
      • His goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity.

        All these are representations of Jesus.

        Micah 5:4b NLT tells us,

        Then his people will live there undisturbed, for he will be highly honored around the world.

        Two things stand out to me:

        • Israel may think they are undisturbed, but they are not,


        • Yeshua is not highly honored throughout the world.

        When you read about the apostasy taking place, an event you can find in 2 Thessalonians 2:3,

        “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For the Day will not come until after the Apostasy has come and the man who separates himself from Torah has been revealed, the one destined for doom.” CJB 

        Apostasy, according to Strong’s, is the Greek word apostasia and means the defection from the truth; a falling away, or the forsaking of what you know to be the truth.

        You come to realize that this world we live in is neck deep in apostasy. How do I know that? I frequently sit with representatives from the subset we know as the church, and I am telling you, we, in general, fit into every category of apostasy.

        We have seen that the Messiah came in Jesus Christ. He was born in Bethlehem, just as Micah said, and yet there are several other huge aspects.

        • And they will remain because at that time He will be great To the ends of the earth.

        What does it mean to remain – steadfast or secure in their land? How about Jesus being honored to the ends of the earth? Neither of those scenarios will take place until Jesus returns, and then there will be a thousand years of peace.

        We have to cover a couple more verses before we go.

        Micah 5:5 NASB This One will be our peace. When the Assyrian invades our land, When he tramples on our citadels, Then we will raise against him Seven shepherds and eight leaders of men.

        This one will be our peace.”

        One of our prime examples of Jesus being that peace comes from the Prophet Isaiah.

        Isaiah 9:6 KJV  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son, is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

        If you are not convinced, then perhaps this will help.

        Isaiah 14:2-3 KJV  And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the LORD for servants and handmaids: and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors.  (3)  And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve,

        Isaiah 14 sounds like so many of the passages we have already discussed, and yet having rest from your sorrows; from fear, and from bondage, sounds like peace to me.

        Jeremiah, though, shows us the heart of the Father, and it is peace.

        Jeremiah 29:11 KJV  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

        When the Assyrian invades our land,”

        We are told, “This is a title of the Antichrist, who will come from the same general geographical territory.” The Ultimate Cross-Reference Treasury We are not looking for an Antichrist that comes out of Rome, as many have taught.

        You should be asking yourself, where does this man come from?

        The Assyrian territory ranged as far North as Armenia; West into Asia Minor; East through Iraq and Kuwait, and South into Egypt. All these nations are now Muslim or heavily influenced by Islam.

        Speaking of a time to come the Psalmist had this to say.

        Psalms 79:1 KJV  … O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance; thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps.

        Although the psalmist called them heathens, the theme is the same. Whether they are called Assyrians or heathens, they are all still the nations or Gentiles to the Jew; and these, have defiled the holy temple and laid Jerusalem on heaps. Since there is no temple currently, it either talking about 70 AD or a future time, after the last temple is built. Jerusalem too was laid in heaps, however, under the leadership of Nehemiah, it was rebuilt. Will it be laid in heaps once again? Yes.

        When he tramples on our citadels,”

        Revelation is speaking of a time in the near future when it speaks of the holy city being tread underfoot.

        Revelation 11:2 KJV  But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

        Then we will raise against him Seven shepherds and eight leaders of men.”

        For myself, this makes no sense on a casual read, however, I give you this.

        Eight. As seven is the symbol of a sacred whole, so eight, when united with it, is something beyond it (Pusey). The spiritual significance of the number eight often includes the thought of a new beginning (for the first day of the week is the eighth day, a new beginning), resurrection, and regeneration. The Ultimate Cross-Reference Treasury

        Ecclesiastes also speaks in terms of sevens and eights; let’s see if it helps our understanding.

        Ecclesiastes 11:2 CJB  Divide your merchandise into seven or eight shares, since you don’t know what disasters may come on the earth.

        Micah 5:5b NLT conveys a rather negative image; does it make sense?

        “When the Assyrians invade our land and break through our defenses, we will appoint seven rulers to watch over us, eight princes to lead us.”

        Without additional pressures, it is much easier to make good decisions; having the enemy trample your land and sacred buildings does not help, nor is the time to make those decisions. So I have not answered the question of what the eight means, and may have only clouded the issue.
        That new beginning addressed above in the comments of the UCRT, is the Millennial reign with Christ sitting on the throne as the head over all.

        I was trying to bring Micah 5:6 into this study as it fits with the context, but I was pushing seven pages. And, it was making me crazy, so next time. God Bless.

        Posted in 2 Thessalonians, antichrist, Assyrians, bible study, End times, enemies, gentiles, God's character, Gog, invasion, Islam, Israel, Jerusalem, Jews, Micah, overtaken, Peace, Prophetic, the nations, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

        As they used to say on Monty Python, and now for something completely different.

        Yes, I have been continuing to weave my way through the book of Micah, but something happened that I want to share with you.

        Last Monday the wife and I went to a local Botanical Garden. I have been going there for years, and, I even took some classes there when I was a Horticulture major in college. I have two of these delightful places about equal distance from me, in the opposite direction. It matters not which one I go to as they are both places of serenity, beauty, and places of escape for me. As we were leaving, I asked the wife if anything inspired her for lunch. After a moment of thought, she replied with, let’s go to a particular burger stand in a city we go by on the way back home. It’s a little out of the way, but I used to work near there, and she used to live in that city, and both of us, at varying times, ate at this place; and, it has been a landmark in that city for over 30 years. (I did not tell my wife until later, that I too had thought about eating lunch there. I rejected that idea because I did not think she would go for it. So when she brings it up, I quickly said, let’s go.)

        We walked in the door, and immediately I am looking into the eyes of a young black woman and her two children. It is at this point that the name Newgy pops into my head. Looking at the young lady, I see no resemblance and convince myself that it is merely the association with the “restaurant” and the locale; so we went to order. Having ordered, I sat, ate, and talked with my wife about Newgy and her Mama, Jeanetta. Evidently, this young lady heard everything I was saying, and so when had to step in front of me to dispose of her trash she kept glancing at me. She began to return to her table when I raised my hand to stop her, and she responded.

        I apologized for staring as I entered the business and began to tell her how that upon seeing her the name Newgy popped into my head, but I did not understand why. She said, I heard you talking about my Mama, but she has such an unusual name so I knew that this could not be a coincidence. She went on to say, that Jeanetta is my grandma. I knew both these women, and I told her that I thought her grandma was a Godly woman. For a few seconds she threw names at me, and I knew them all. Now some of my memories were a little more exciting than I needed to share, but we had something in common.

        This moment in time happened so quickly, and now she was leaving. I asked her to say Hi to her mom and told her to mention a name she would remember. When I mentioned the name, she told me, that lady and her grandma were best friends. I just smiled, said God bless you and have a great day. Then I sat back down with my wife. That’s when it hit me what God had just done. Jesus said it is necessary that I go away so that the Holy Spirit will come. Well, He did, and so did the Holy Spirit, and I have on many occasions asked the Holy Spirit of God to possess me, because it is in those moments I feel most alive. I suddenly realized that this day, in this little hamburger stand, we were having one of those moments.

        People ask me, how do I know that it’s the Holy Spirit talking to me? The problem is, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you think it is your great idea, much like the simple choice of picking a hamburger stand. I had no idea that God had arranged an appointment for me, nor do I understand all the reasons behind His actions. He may have meant for this entire meeting to remind a young lady that God was in control. Or, there is the possibility that God was trying to tell me that He still speaks to me; He is not through with me, and that the prophetic gift is still alive in me. Or, maybe He was trying to encourage me after an unusually bad week, one in which I was willing, once again, to give up.

        I believe I am sharing this with you to let you know that God cares about you, loves you, and longs for you use the gift inside of you.

        Posted in God's character, Hearing God, Hope, In Christ, Jesus, Peace, Prophetic, Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

        Micah 5:3 When she who is in labor has borne a child.

        When you are doing your Bible study, there are a vast number of options you can use, such as Bible translations. All of them have issues, and all of them are translations or transliterations – as most of the time, there is no direct English translation for Hebrew, Assyrian, Greek. There is another factor you need to take into consideration; there was an even more intense version of Hebrew that is lost to us, and there were two versions of the Greek language.

        Add this to the list of things that impact your understanding. Rome, as the ruling force, wanted full assimilation and therefore the Hebrew language was outlawed, and Greek was the only language permitted. Many Hebrew documents/scrolls were destroyed, and that act mandated the practice of oral history as the method of passing along history and the law of God. Imagine the difficulties involved in the recreation of this book we call the Bible. With all the possibilities for error, it still carries the power and authority God intended it to convey.

        So, when I begin to look at a passage, aside from the information above, I consider the context; examine concordances, like the Strong’s or Word Study Dictionary – to find out what other implications these simple words carry; I compare what I see, understand, and think, to accepted commentators. By the way, most of which have a bent toward the Antichrist coming out of Rome – that was a common and logical theme since the Islamic Caliphate had been effectively disbanded and outlawed globally, and then I compare other translations to see which one more closely conveys what the Holy Spirit has been speaking to my heart.

        A friend of mine recently asked me, what commentary should I get to obtain the most out of my Bible study. Oddly, this brother worked in the church for a time and should probably be assisting me. I did not have a good answer as I have about 54 commentaries on my computer, and I rarely stick with just one. I recently learned that Matthew Henry’s commentary was in agreement with something I consider to be a doctrine of the devil, and that certainly taints my opinion of his commentary. I frequent the commentaries of Albert Barnes, Adam Clarke, John Gill, Joseph Benson. I use them because – I have no better way to say this, in comparing my thoughts to theirs, they are in alignment with me. I added the modern pastor John MacArthur to my authors because he is a smart man, but I find his information sadly lacking and he has a definite bent against the Holy Spirit. And, I will add that there are many others, such as the IVP Bible Background Commentary, which has a wealth of information, but it, like some others, can be overwhelming.

        A key to teaching that I come to understand: If I don’t know an answer, then saying so is the best thing I can do for you. To babble on does nothing more than create confusion. I fully expect those who deem themselves to be my students to research these things for yourself, as any good Bible student would do.

        With that being said, let’s get on with Micah, as we have made it to
        Micah 5:3.

        Immediately I see a problem; I will explain.

        I typically go to the NASB translation first; it reads like this.

        Micah 5:3 NASB Therefore He will give them up until the time When she who is in labor has borne a child. Then the remainder of His brethren Will return to the sons of Israel.

        Whoever this “them” is has been given up until whoever this female entity gives birth to a child. If I am going to understand what is going on here, this verse is little to no help to me and requires detective work.

        While the CEV spells out who this “them” persona is, the translators changed the dynamic as the implication now is that Israel will be abandoned until the rest of the family returns to Israel. Look again at the NASB above, and you will see that the action of one event causes the other to happen, while the CEV requires both to occur. Which is it? I have many translations available and could merely do a count and take the majority, but the majority is not always right.

        Micah 5:3 CEV  The LORD will abandon Israel only until this ruler is born, and the rest of his family returns to Israel.

        As I try to answer the question above, I find myself thinking about the Jews and wondering when they came rushing back to the homeland. That is the problem; there was no homeland, that is until 1917 when the Balfour Declaration decreed that Palestine was the Jewish homeland. From Wikipedia: “The Balfour Declaration was a public statement issued by the British government in 1917 during World War I announcing support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, then an Ottoman region with a small minority Jewish population.” Giving the Jews some documented land to call their own indeed allowed them to call Jerusalem home once again. Sadly, as the effects of wars were coming on, even the United States refused to allow the Jews to immigrate here as they tried to escape the coming holocaust and the aftermath of those horrific years.

        One other problem I have to overcome when I read the NASB, is the desire to understand who the “them” is? For me, a logical path would be the Complete Jewish Bible, as it spells out who the “them” is, but here is where I encountered another problem, as the CJB puts verse 3 in front of 2. Now, I have to decide if this transposition of verses is a game changer, and if not, what is it telling me? Verse two from the CJB tells me: “Therefore he will give up [Isra’el] only until she who is in labor gives birth. Then the rest of his kinsmen will return to the people of Isra’el.” In a way, this is an easy out as this version gives us the name Israel instead of merely saying them. F

        So let’s see if there is any other validation for Israel being the “them” in this passage.

        • Finis Dake tells us it is Israel but merely says this is because of the rejection of the Judge of Israel at His first advent. That did not help my mind, so I am not sold.
        • Let’s look at the context. As I stated in my previous post on Micah 5:1, this verse does not appear to belong here, it apparently belongs in chapter 4; however, it does help to create a context.
          So what is happening to Israel, the southern nation?

        Micah 5:1 CEV  Jerusalem, enemy troops have surrounded you; they have struck Israel’s ruler in the face with a stick.

        This was most likely Nebuchadnezzar’s troops that surrounded Israel, and the ruler being struck was Zedekiah. There is an ugly interaction between Zedekiah and a prophet named Micaiah. You can read about it here – 1 Kings 22:13-28. What I want you to see is two verses in particular. 1 Kings 22:24, but Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee?  1 Kings 22:27 “ And say, Thus saith the king (Zedekiah,) Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with the bread of affliction and with water of affliction until I come in peace.  Unfortunately, Zedekiah never returned.

        Regarding judgment, Zedekiah’s came exactly as Micaiah had said; for they killed his sons before his eyes and put his eyes out.

        If Israel was abandoned until “this” unknown ruler is born, what did that look like for Israel? Although Israel had been released from Babylonian captivity, that doesn’t mean that they were free to govern themselves. By the time Jesus came along Israel was under the control of yet another ruling force, the Romans. Quickly, if that is possible, let’s name off some of those who controlled the region now called Israel.

        • By 1420 Israel is under the first Assyrian dynasty. This Assyrian rule continues until 612 BC. Note: The Assyrian rule was brutal, and one of the reasons that Jonah wanted nothing to do with them.
        • Ruler-ship then transferred to the Neo-Babylonian reign under Nabopolassar, and then Nebuchadnezzar who reigned from 605 – 526BC Both the Northern and Southern kingdoms were taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar.
        • While under the rule of Belshazzar, a Babylonian, the Persian Empire overtook the Babylonian’s in 550 BC. The Persian Empire reigned until 358BC. In 539 BC the Neo-Babylonian empire fell entirely to the Persian Empire, now under the rule of Cyrus.
        • While under the rule of Darius 111, 335-330BC the Medo/Persian empire fell to Alexander the Great and the Grecian Empire. 359BC was already feeling the Grecian influence under the rule of Philip of Macedonia; however, Alexander the Great exerted his power in 336 and ruled until his death in 323BC. On a timeline, I can see that Alexander ruled over Palestine from 333-323 BC. Alexander made Israel a Greek province in 333BC. What this tells me, is that while Israel may have still been in Babylon, Alexander was already in Palestine.
        • With the death of Alexander, the kingdom was divided between his four generals. Eventually, the territory comes to rest in the hands of two generals, Seleucus in the North, and Ptolemy in the South, this primarily put Ptolemy in charge of Egypt and the Northern African nations.
        • This “Grecian” rule continued, in some form until 64BC While Rome had been making steady inroads into the region with its Punic wars, it did not gain a solid foothold until 110BC. The Seleucid empire, although ending in 64BC, had been under attack by Julius Caesar since 100BC.
        • If we take this timeline up to the destruction of the temple in 70AD, we are talking about 1490 years of having foreign nations and entities ruling over Jerusalem. By 1917 Jerusalem was under British ruler-ship and it continued, even though inroads like the 1917 Balfour declaration had been established, all the way to 1948 when Israel declared its independence from British rule, and itself a nation.

        So what we saw in Micah 5:3 continued for well over 3,400 years of foreign powers ruling over God’s land.

        “Therefore He will give them up until the time When she who is in labor has borne a child. Then the remainder of His brethren Will return to the sons of Israel.”

        In 1948 the dispersed began to return and continue to this day in 2019.

        Once again, the passage is:

        Micah 5:3 KJV  Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travails has brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.

        • he” is Jehovah.
        • them” is the Jewish people.
        • she” is Israel.
        • What was brought forth? 1. Is Jesus, but the more logical answer is; 2. Israel, the nation.
        • the remnant” – God has always had someone standing on the ground in Israel, and they were the remnant.
        • his brethren” is the Jewish people.

        The (NET.) translation of 5:3 – 

        So the LORD will hand the people of Israel over to their enemies until the time when the woman in labor gives birth. Then the rest of the king’s countrymen will return to be reunited with the people of Israel.

        The personage indicated by the phrase “he” was Jesus, and the time has come. Although Israel would not receive Him, the one who brought in the beginnings of the everlasting kingdom walked among the Jewish people, just as he will do once again.

        Posted in Assyrians, bible study, End times, gentiles, God's character, healing, Islam, Israel, Jerusalem, Jesus, Jews, judgment, Mercy, Micah, Nebuchadnezzar's statue, restore, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

        Micah 5:2. The LORD will choose one of your people to rule.

        I rarely watch the regular news channels. If you are wise and have resources like the internet, then you know that France, Germany, and Italy are having violent protests. The reasons are various, as they are in opposition to governmental decisions, taxation, and the aggressiveness of “immigrants” that have been allowed to flood in uncontrolled. We have an unchecked problem here in America as well.

        I don’t know about you, but I feel as though there is little I can do that is useful, and so I write. Maybe that’s the condition we find Micah in as we move into chapter five of Micah.

        Jerusalem, enemy troops, have surrounded you; they have struck Israel’s ruler in the face with a stick. (Micah 5:1 CEV)

        Surrounding you doesn’t always sound so bad unless of course it is associated with the fear of brutal torture and death, as many of the “Christians” have experienced in the nations that suffered through ISIS. Daniel, the prophet, was what we understand to be, one of the valuable ones, but even then, he had to prove himself to Nebuchadnezzar. So, even for Daniel, there were no guarantees. For Micah, there is no guarantee of what will become of him.

        Adam Clarke’s commentary gives us some rather startling information when it tells us that Zedekiah wasn’t just struck in the face with a stick.

        He (Nebuchadnezzar) hath laid siege against us; (Jerusalem ); they shall smite the judge of Israel (Zedekiah) with a rod upon the cheek – They shall offer him the greatest indignity. They slew his sons before his face; and then put out his eyes, loaded him with chains, and carried him captive to Babylon.

        Interesting how God has either turned the focus or, verse one of chapter five is merely the closing lines of chapter 4. Adam Clarke once again confirmed what I thought when he says,

        But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah – I have considered this subject in great detail in the notes on Matthew 2:6, to which the reader will be pleased to refer. This verse should begin this chapter; the first verse belongs to the preceding chapter.”

        Now, let’s dive into the meat of what I wanted to talk about, Micah 5:2 and hopefully beyond.

        I was not aware that there were two cities called Bethlehem. Quickly we will see the importance of Bethlehem Ephratah.

        Bethlehem Ephratah, to distinguish it from another Beth-lehem, which was in the tribe of Zebulun, Joshua 19:15

        Micah 5:2 CEV  Bethlehem Ephrath, you are one of the smallest towns in the nation of Judah. But the LORD will choose one of your people to rule the nation— someone whose family goes back to ancient times.

        From Adam Clarke’s commentary on Matthew 2:1.

        Bethlehem of Judea – This city is mentioned in Judges 17:7, and must be distinguished from another of the same name in the tribe of Zebulon, Joshua 19:15. It is likewise called Ephrath, Genesis 48:7, or Ephratah, Micah 5:2, and its inhabitants Ephrathites, Ruth 1:2; 1Samuel 17:12. It is situated on the downslope of a hill, about six miles from Jerusalem. בית לחם Beth-lechem, in Hebrew, signifies the house of bread. And the name may be considered as very properly applied to that place where Jesus, the Messiah, the true bread that came down from heaven, was manifested, to give life to the world. But לחם lehem also signifies flesh and is applied to that part of the sacrifice which was burnt upon the altar.”

        Genesis is mentioned by Adam Clarke, as it contains what would be an oral history delivered by Jacob. Here in Genesis 48:7 we Jacob burying Rachel as he traveled to Ephrath.

        Genesis 48:7 NASB “Now as for me, when I came from Paddan, Rachel died, to my sorrow, in the land of Canaan on the journey, when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath; and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).”

        If we were to consider ancestral lineage, Ruth, the daughter-in-law of Naomi, plays a tremendous role. However, it is her father-in-law that brings our attention to Bethlehem.

        Ruth 1:2 NASB The name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife, Naomi; and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem in Judah. Now they entered the land of Moab and remained there.

        In a relatively short period of time Boaz marries Ruth.

        Ruth 4:13 MKJV  And Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife. And when he went in to her, Jehovah made her conceive. And she bore a son.

        Odd how the path leading to the birth of Jesus begins and ends in this little town. It makes you wonder if God had everything perfectly planned out.

        Ruth 4:17 MKJV  And the women, her neighbors, gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi. And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.

        With that in mind, look at this piece of information, for even the future king, David was born there.

        1 Samuel 17:12 NASB Now David was the son of the Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, whose name was Jesse, and he had eight sons. And Jesse was old in the days of Saul, advanced in years among men.

        Micah 5:2 in the NASB, declares

        From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.”

        The NIV translation puts it this way:

        out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel,”

        I might conclude that this prophecy came to pass with King David, as I just showed you that he came out of Bethlehem; but this prophetic statement, like so many other prophecies of end times events, has multiple occurrences. An example of this would be the destruction of the temple.

        In response to the disciples’ question, when that would happen, Jesus did not directly answer their question, but said, “There shall not be left here one stone on another that shall not be thrown down.” This had nothing to do with the calendar, however, only a few years later in 70 AD, the temple was destroyed, but much like our example of David becoming king, this immediate destruction of the temple was not His focus. His discussion covered two chapters in Matthew and included significant events that projected well over two thousand years into the future. While ignoring the millennial reign, He included the final judgment upon the earth. (You find this exchange in the 24th and 25th chapter of Matthew.)

        But we have one other clue that diverts us away from King David.

        “whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

        Think about the idea that Jesus, the physical image of the Father, appeared all throughout the Old Testament. One of those places was here in Genesis 18

        Genesis 18:1-2 NIV  The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day.  (2)  Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.

        Note that Abraham looked up and saw three men. Although in hindsight, the storyteller addresses one of them as the Lord, I do not think Abraham knew that immediately. A piece of evidence for that would be the next verse.

        Genesis 18:3 NIV  He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by.

        The Word Study Dictionary tells us that the word lord, as used here in verse 3, is this: ’ādôn: “A masculine noun meaning lord or master. The most frequent usage is of a human lord, but it is also used of divinity. Generally, it carries the nuances of authority rather than ownership.”
        So, I can perceive Abraham’s address as one made toward authority; a polite gesture in the face of men you do not know.

        When we get to verse 17 the tenor of the conversation changed, and here the word Lord means yehōwāh: A noun meaning God. The word refers to the proper name of the God of Israel, particularly the name by which He revealed Himself to Moses (Exodus 6:2-3).

        Genesis 18:17-22 NIV  Then the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?  (18)  Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.  (19)  For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”  (20)  Then the LORD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous  (21)  that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”  (22)  The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD.

        Abraham stood before yehōwāh. As I said, Jesus told us that no man has seen the Father, and lived; yet Abraham lived. So what did he see? He saw Jesus, the express image of the Father.

        John 12:45 MSG Whoever looks at me is looking, in fact, at the One who sent me.

        And though most try to avoid the subject of Melchizedek, there are huge clues which lead us back to another, an ancient appearance of Jesus.

        Genesis 14:18 NASB And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High.

        The ISBE informs us that “the name is explained in Hebrews 7:2 as “king of righteousness.” There is only one who holds that title, and his name is Jesus.

        Posted in Bethlehem, bible study, character study, David, End times, God's character, Jacob, Judah, Matthew's gospel, Micah, Millennium, Prophetic, Rule the nations, the nations, The supremacy of Christ | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment