Micah 4: 4,5. Each of them will sit under his vine And under his fig tree, With no one to make them afraid

Today I want to focus on Micah 4:4. However, I quickly realized that I needed to keep this verse in context, and since some people only stumble onto one blog post, I need to bring them up to speed as well. If I merely told you to study the previous two verses as it would probably take less time, but I know the casual reader won’t do that. How do I know that? I sit by you in church, and when I try to talk to you about spiritual things or the Word of God, things that excite me, you turn your back to me or come back with standard religious answers.

There is entirely no doubt in my mind that the days are going to get darker because of this apostasy we have talked about, and the fear and dread will become overwhelming to some. I feel so strongly that we, as the church, need to get skillful in the Word of God. In light of that, So let’s look at Micah 4:2-4 and see if I can show you what is going to happen during the millennial kingdom.

Micah 4:2-5 NASB Many nations will come and say, “Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD And to the house of the God of Jacob, That He may teach us about His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For from Zion will go forth the law, Even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (3) And He will judge between many peoples And render decisions for mighty, distant nations. Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they train for war. (4) 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. (5) Though all the peoples walk Each in the name of his god, As for us, we will walk In the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.

At this point in time:

  • Jesus has returned to earth as the warring Messiah Israel has longed and called for.

This idea of Israel calling for the Messiah to come should not surprise us. Having studied eschatology for some time, I primarily see Israel as the one who rejects God. But I have recently learned that Israel still longs for Him, but only in one form, as the warring Messiah.

Having been aware for some time that Islam believes that their Mahdi will come in the midst of chaos, the idea that other nations such as Israel are also genuinely motivated by a similar end times eschatology. In the case of Israel, they too believe that the Messiah, in this case, will come in the midst of chaos. It makes sense when you start putting the pieces of the scriptural puzzle together. I watched a video where the elder Rabbi has an Israeli government official brought to him. The official is wearing a Yarmulke and begins saying all the standard niceties appropriate for such a meeting. The Rabbi cuts the man’s words short and says, We are expecting the Messiah any moment now, and we know that He will come amid chaos. You have not done enough to create this chaos, and you need to do more, quickly.

  • The battles have ended; the Jews have returned to the flock and taken their place as teachers of the law; the Father’s true nature and character being taught, and now the nations are coming to the New Jerusalem.
  • These people who are coming have one purpose, to be taught of the Lord and to learn His ways.
  • And, there is one other thing to keep in mind. This stream of nations, all started with the catching away of the church – which is the body of Christ. Caught up we are instantly changed, but into what? An immortal body with no physical constraints, like the one Jesus has, and he walked through walls to enter a building, could be touched and felt, and ate fish with the disciples. If, we are interacting with the people on the earth, can they, in any manner, harm us? Not a chance, and therefore no fear. Now, how about those who have migrated into the millennial reign of Jesus, what kind of bodies will they have? They will come with the same mortal bodies that are subject to death. I know, it’s a weird conversation, but it is a reality. Do these mortals have the possibility of a change into immortality? It certainly seems so, for the tree of life grows in abundance along the river that flows from the throne of God, and we have the opportunity to take that life (those leaves bring about the change and give the immortality) to those that come and receive the life of Christ in them.

As I sit here thinking about the inequalities of life I have experienced, I have a difficult time picturing heaven being any different than what I have found here on earth. Scripture can also give that impression when it says,

Micah 4:5 CJB  For all the peoples will walk, each in the name of its god;

If some are merely doing their own thing, then what keeps people from being bullies? The obvious answer is a swift, silencing judgment, that stops the problem before it starts.

1 Chronicles 28:9 NASB “… for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts…

Since there have always been bullies, why not now? The answer comes out of verses two and three.

for the law will go out from Zion, and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem.  (3)  And he will judge between many peoples and will arbitrate for strong nations far away; and they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift up a sword against a nation, and they will no longer learn war.

Peace will reign because Jesus now sits as a judge and dispenses law. I am not sure what that looks like, but it will be swift.

The word judge, as used in Micah 4:3 is the Hebrew word shâphaṭ. It is a primitive root meaning; to judge, that is, pronounce sentence (for or against); by implication to vindicate or punish; by extension to govern.

Other verses that speak to His judgment during this time are:

1 Samuel 2:10 NASB “Those who contend with the LORD will be shattered; Against them He will thunder in the heavens, The LORD will judge the ends of the earth; And He will give strength to His king, And will exalt the horn of His anointed.”

Psalms 2:5 NASB Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying,

Psalms 110:6 NASB He will judge among the nations, He will fill them with corpses, He will shatter the chief men over a broad country.

Isaiah 11:3-4 NASB And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear; (4) But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.

So the “He” we see in Micah 4:3 is Jesus? A similar picture is painted for us in Revelation, and there any word picture you see of God, is defined as Jesus. So this is Jesus sitting in judgment. Is that so unusual? Not according to John’s gospel.

Look at what else Micah 4:4 tells us.

Everyone will live in peace among their own vineyards and fig trees, and no one will make them afraid. .. Micah 4:4 GNB

Again the question, how is this possible? The answer is found in Micah 4:3 where it says,

and they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift up a sword against a nation, and they will no longer learn war.

Having learned a bit, I know that when the Messiah comes back to earth, He comes to the battle against those who are willing to fight. (Zechariah 14:16 Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem …) So, naturally, there will be some who are left, and those who did not fight. I know that hatred and fighting skills are taught to Muslim children as soon as they are capable of responding intelligently. Does that mean mama and her five-year-old son are arbitrarily killed when Jesus returns? Not unless they were physically fighting against Him. That means they can carry their anger and hatred with them into the millennial reign? Apparently, but as we have seen, if these mortals act out in any manner that demonstrates that violent nature, they will be swiftly silenced. And weapons are no longer allowed as you don’t need them.

Perhaps for some this entire scenario is hard to grasp; I know it is for me. What I see is the garden that Adam walked in. A vegetarian with no complaints, and here the “mortals” are at peace, sitting in the shade of their gardens. Weapons were turned into gardening tools and perhaps a pocket knife as there will be apples to peel, but no one has the thought of killing the neighbor who doesn’t control his pets. Wild beasts, there are none, for human dominion over animals has returned. And, for a thousand years, with no tempter, there will be peace.

At the end of the thousand years, Satan will be released for a short time, and he will deceive the nations. Does that mean that some continue to live outside of a relationship with God? Apparently, but as I said, there will be peace. A final judgment comes. It is the only judgment, and it is reserved for “the dead.” What of those alive? Again, it is logical to assume that those alive have been brought into the kingdom of peace. All the dead will be brought before the great white throne and judged. Matthew 25 shows us an image of this, and a portion of those summoned before the throne are given mercy and entrance into the kingdom. Why? Because they operated in a manner consistent with God’s nature and showed kindness.

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Micah 4: 2,3. Come let us go to the Mountain that He may teach us His ways.

A quick google search and you find that there are 195 countries and roughly 6,500 languages spoken; and yet, God will see to it that they all come to the mountain of the Lord, the house of the God of Jacob. There, they will all be taught His ways, so that they may walk in His paths.

Micah 4:2 NASB Many nations will come and say, “Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD And to the house of the God of Jacob, That He may teach us about His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For from Zion will go forth the law, Even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

What will they learn?

Some would say, now they will learn to fear God! Is that a valid hypothesis? While it is true that the Bible translators used the word fear as they tried to convey a verbal image of people in relationship with God; however, the word fear is a poor choice especially when the phrase reverence would be better. An example of this can be found in Job 28:28.

God said to us humans, “To be wise, you must have reverence for the Lord. To understand, you must turn from evil.” GNB 

Most of the translations put it this way, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom.”

If I have reverence, then you would think I also had a deep respect, perhaps even a love for the Lord. If I understand this “fear” in terms of being wisdom, maybe then I can better comprehend this unusual relationship with someone I cannot see.

But I must tell you, having lived in an atmosphere of fear all my life, I don’t even like the word.

Now, if fear is the way I perceived the father figure in my life, how then would I see God?

Can you see the difficulties many of us go through as we “come to the Lord.” I am sure some have had to set aside great fears to accept such a vast, ominous God coming close to them. The point is, these people in Micah 4:2, regardless of emotional distress or circumstances, are coming before Him.

We assume these that come before God knowing nothing about God. What do we do when think like that? We forget that every human has the knowledge of good and evil in them, NO MATTER where they come from or what language they speak. Why do you suppose, in the midst of chaos, that some people will do the right thing and help others, even though there is no apparent religious motivation to push them.

What have all these nations that are coming to the house of the Lord, just witnessed,?

God’s wrath being poured out upon the earth, alongside the wrath of humans. Revelation 6 describes seven seals, each of which wreaks havoc on the planet in the form of death; starvation; the waters being made undrinkable; the stars falling from the sky; earthquakes; volcanic activity; and the wrath of humanity against others. While Revelation 7 speaks specifically to beheadings in uncountable numbers.

After all this chaos there is no doubt they need to find out what God’s true nature and character are because wrath makes a lousy calling card.

Micah 4:2 MKJV  And many nations shall come and say, Come and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, and to the house of the God of Jacob. And He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths; for the Law shall go forth out of Zion, and the Word of Jehovah from Jerusalem.

And He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.”

This idea of teaching people His way is not a new one.

Deuteronomy 6:1-2 MSG This is the commandment, the rules, and regulations, that GOD, your God, commanded me to teach you to live out in the land you’re about to cross into to possess. (2) This is so that you’ll live in deep reverence before GOD lifelong, observing all his rules and regulations that I’m commanding you, you and your children and your grandchildren, living good long lives.

And though this passage from Deuteronomy sounds somewhat oppressive, you must remember that we, as followers of Christ, live in the age of grace. A time where our sins are forgiven, and our lives are hidden in Christ. No, this life of grace does not give us the right to do as we please, because we are not to cause others to stumble. This grace provides us with the freedom and desire to worship the Father freely.

I am told that I was laid on a blanket at the church my mother attended while my father was in the military during the Korean conflict. So effectively, I was raised in the church. But, that did not make my experience personal. Even without an adult comprehension, I still had this deep reverence for God. I suppose you could say I feared Him, and I would have to agree.

When I gained the freedom and right to drink alcohol I did, and a lot of it. However, there came a time when dad, invited me to a camp with him. There was a speaker there by the name of Jerry Savelle, and God used him to get my attention. In a sense, I began to consume the word in a way I had never experienced before. I could not get enough, and, a short time later, I was accepted into a Bible college. Unfortunately, I got married, and I allowed her to destroy all my hopes and dreams. I went through nine years of hell because of her and the enemies schemes against me. Brother Savelle taught faith, and still, to this day, I feel strongly that God desires I walk in faith, but it is not my job to school people in faith; but it is my job to teach you the Bible and allow the faith to grow inside of you.

Once again, several years later, life came to a screeching halt once again, and I lost everything, including my family. The judgmental among us would say, you got what you deserved and maybe so; but out of chaos I once again began to study my Bible, and I did so with one purpose, to find out what the nature and character of God was. In this way, the deep reverence for God has become a lifelong goal. Now, when it comes to observing all his rules and regulations I have not been so successful at that, but then, God knew that would happen, and that is why Jesus went to the cross as the sacrificial lamb, to resolve that issue. He died once for all.

Moses’s father-in-law, was a smart man because he noticed that Moses was taking all the responsibility and weight upon himself, and paying the price for it. The following is the conversation the man had with Moses.

When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What’s going on here? Why are you doing all this, and all by yourself, letting everybody line up before you from morning to night?” Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me with questions about God. When something comes up, they come to me. I judge between a man and his neighbor and teach them God’s laws and instructions.” Moses’ father-in-law said, “This is no way to go about it. You’ll burn out, and the people right along with you. This is way too much for you-you can’t do this alone. Now listen to me. Let me tell you how to do this so that God will be in this with you. Be there for the people before God, but let the matters of concern be presented to God. Your job is to teach them the rules and instructions, to show them how to live, what to do. (Exodus 18:14-20 MSG)

Due to some of the teaching the false teachers have instilled, we have not grasped whom Moses was dealing with. These people he brought of Egypt, had been there long enough to effectively be Egyptians in every respect, including the gods they served; and they had to be retrained to serve God. An example I always lean on shows “God’s people” dancing and screaming, as they willingly roasted some of their children to the god Molech, an idol that they encouraged Aaron, Moses’ brother, to make. If someone would have understood God’s ways, then Aaron would have been it. He was there as Moses was brought back to his mother to be nursed until he was old enough to go be the adopted son of some Egyptian princess. When you follow that story, you conclude that Moses was taught who he was by family members, for when Moses rose against the Egyptian for beating one of his people, he claimed their heritage. You don’t just absorb this information at birth; it has to be taught. Now he is teaching it to over a million people.

for the Law shall go forth out of Zion, and the Word of Jehovah from Jerusalem.”

Here we go again, as some will say, laws are restrictive. Not to those who live quiet lives in peace, they aren’t. Laws are only tough on those who choose to live willful lives of opposition.

Isaiah 26:9 MSG Through the night my soul longs for you. Deep from within me, my spirit reaches out to you. When your decisions are on public display, everyone learns how to live right.

Since Micah tells us that Law will go forth, a public display of God’s wrath, incurred upon those who have chosen to ignore God’s laws, they have seven years of public display to learn how to live right.

I like how Eugene Peterson’s Message puts it.

Romans 10:11-15 MSG Scripture reassures us, “No one who trusts God like this–heart and soul–will ever regret it.” (12) It’s exactly the same no matter what a person’s religious background may be: the same God for all of us, acting the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help. (13) “Everyone who calls, ‘Help, God!’ gets help.” (14) But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? (15) And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it? That’s why Scripture exclaims, A sight to take your breath away! Grand processions of people telling all the good things of God!

One of the things my heart cries for is peace. I am surrounded, just as you are, with violence. Micah 4:3 finally tells us there will be peace, and why.

Micah 4:3 MSG He’ll establish justice in the rabble of nations and settle disputes in faraway places. They’ll trade in their swords for shovels, their spears for rakes and hoes. Nations will quit fighting each other, quit learning how to kill one another.

  • He’ll establish justice in the rabble of nations and settle disputes in faraway places.”

Again, many assume that means that most people will just be killed off and that is not true. Revelation 22:15 proves that.

Revelation 22:14-15 KJV  Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.  (15)  For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loves and makes a lie.

If God were to kill off all those who choose to live by their own god’s standards instead of His, then these people certainly would not be here.

The general attitude is of most leans toward horrific punishment, like this.

1 Samuel 2:10 KJV  The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.

But in reality, this is what will happen.

Psalms 67:4 MKJV  O let the nations be glad and sing for joy; for You shall judge the peoples righteously and govern the nations on earth. Selah.

Instead of weeping because God is bringing further harsh judgments, we see the nations rejoicing and singing for joy.

Why do you suppose that is? Could it be that we, just like those rocks Jesus said would cry out, also long for the day of our redemption.

What does redemption mean to a person who has never heard such a message before? Try to picture those people living in what used to be the quiet of a Venezuelan jungle, who has become painfully aware of the encroachment of industrial farming; using a technique that requires that you slash and burn the jungle away so that the wealthy landowner can have it, and thereby obtain more wealth. These people are painfully aware that destructive forces have taken away the beauty they once lived in; and, it seems that everyone, although they may not call Him Jehovah, is well aware of a creator and some form of redemptive plan.

One “brother-in-Christ,” angrily unleashed his voice at me, saying, Jesus can’t come back because these people have not received a printed Bible as yet! As though that was mandatory.

What did I just show you from the Message? I showed you Isaiah’s words where it says, your decisions (will be) on public display. Do not think that the public display will be reserved for some final day, at the end of the seven years.

Revelation 14:6-7 AMPC  Then I saw another angel flying in midair, with an eternal Gospel (good news) to tell to the inhabitants of the earth, to every race and tribe and language and people.  (7)  And he cried with a mighty voice, Revere God and give Him glory (honor and praise in worship), for the hour of His judgment has arrived. Fall down before Him; pay Him homage and adoration and worship Him Who created heaven and earth, the sea and the springs (fountains) of water.

I have made you aware of the seals that John saw, and how each one brings terrible destruction with it. Each of these is wrath from God upon those who rejected Him (this is a big group which includes the nations and the Jews); those who harmed His people, and those who damaged the earth; and, all will see this wrath. And, every one of these angels announces their actions with a tremendous blast of a ram’s horn – a shofar or, as some call it, a trumpet.

When this process begins, there will be no mistaking what has happened.

Revelation 1:7 AMPC  Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth shall gaze upon Him and beat their breasts and mourn and lament over Him. Even so [must it be]. Amen (so be it). [Dan 7:13; Zec 12:10]

Only moments ago I spoke of the nations rejoicing, and yet here in Revelation I see them mourning and lamenting; which is it?

Maybe Zechariah answers the question best.

Zechariah 12:10 AMPC  And I will pour out upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace or unmerited favor and supplication. And they shall look [earnestly] upon Me Whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him as one who is in bitterness for his firstborn. [John 19:37; Rev 1:7]

I have heard this regrettable statement come from the mouths of Bible teachers, “the Holy Spirit will be lifted with the Church!” That concept is far from the truth, as you can see the Spirit of grace and unmerited favor still being poured out on the earth. Zechariah 12:10 and Revelation 1:7 both tell us that every eye will see Him, and shall mourn. Perhaps that mourning is the recognition that our sin put Jesus on the cross. Maybe, it is our sudden understanding that we could have had a relationship with the Father, and we have lost precious years.

I understand lost time because I lost two daughters to foolishness, and, I can tell you that I mourned with tears for some time. A day comes when you have to stop weeping and return to productive life once again, but you never forget.

Jesus wasted no time, and did not stay dead, neither could a tomb hold Him. He exploded from the grave three days later, with life; the promise of the Holy Spirit; empowerment, and the guarantee that He would come back and gather those that long for Him. We like to call that gathering the rapture. But, the story doesn’t stop there, as this unmerited favor Zechariah speaks continues to flow toward all people. The prophecies of old, talking to those who would listen, told of what Jesus would do, and then He did it, just as He said. Therefore, we have verifiable testimony that this hope of a life with the Father, we cling to, is real. He is coming back, and my heart cries out for that day.

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Micah 4:1, It will come about in the last days.

If you were with me when I began the study on Micah, then you know that Isaiah is about 15 years older than Micah and he was affluent with robust social contacts thanks to his father, the priest. Both men were from the Southern Kingdom of Judah. However, Isaiah leans toward the big city, if I can call it that, while Micah, almost seems like a country boy. Micah pales in comparison to the volumes written by Isaiah, but Micah’s words are just as cutting or uplifting within a mere seven chapters.

Chapter 4 spells out what many ask, as Micah paints a word picture of the house of the Lord. Raised to the highest point in Israel, with the nations flowing to it, and the Jews as the teachers, all people now want to learn of the Lord. Is chapter 4 all good news? No, but then Micah is trying to make a point.

Micah 4:1 NASB And it will come about in the last days that the mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains. It will be raised above the hills, And the peoples will stream to it.

Notice how similar Micah’s words are to Isaiah’s; this is one of the reasons that many think Micah is merely mouthing Isaiah’s words.

Isaiah 2:2 NASB Now it will come about that In the last days The mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it.

Ezekiel also spoke of the mountain of the house of the Lord.

Ezekiel 20:40 NASB “For on My holy mountain, on the high mountain of Israel,” declares the Lord GOD, “there the whole house of Israel, all of them, will serve Me in the land; there I will accept them and there I will seek your contributions and the choicest of your gifts, with all your holy things.

The comparisons: in Micah we see people streaming to it; in Isaiah, all the nations stream to it; and, in Ezekiel, we are told that the whole house of Israel will serve Me there.

  • The whole house of Israel? These are those surviving the seven-years of wrath; this is in contrast to the teachings of some who say, only the Christians go into the millennial reign. Of those entering, we must include the 144,000 Jewish witnesses, marked by God for their protection. There is a notable reduction in those He refers to as the whole house of Israel, but by my rough estimate, there will be a little over 2 million survivors entering into the millennial reign.

Zechariah 13:7-9 MKJV  Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the Man who is My companion, says Jehovah of Hosts; strike the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. And I will turn My hand on the little ones.  8)  And it shall be in all the land, says Jehovah, two parts in it shall be cut off and die, but the third shall be left in it.  9)  And I will bring the third part through the fire and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried. They shall call on My name, and I will answer them; I will say, It is My people; and they shall say, Jehovah is my God. Most should understand this discussion so far, as a clear statement indicating that there will be Jews entering alive into the millennial kingdom.

  • It will come about in the last days.”

The disciple John – having gone through transitions in his mindset and spirit, such as: setting aside the rage, and receiving the Holy Spirit – (as promised by Jesus;) also endured multiple attempts to kill him for the sake of the gospel, and imprisonment upon the Isle of Patmos, writes the words we see in 1 John 2:18-19.

1 John 2:18-19 AMP Boys (lads), it is the last time (hour, the end of this age). And as you have heard that the antichrist [he who will oppose Christ in the guise of Christ] is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen, which confirms our belief that it is the final (the end) time. 19) They went out from our number, but they did not [really] belong to us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us. But [they withdrew] that it might be plain that they all are not of us.

  • it is the last hour.”
  • even now many antichrists have arisen,”
  • this knowledge “confirms our belief that it is the end time.”
  • The persons that became the antichrists came, at that time, out of their number. Does that mean that these have bred and divided, becoming the antichrists we now deal with? NO, but the tactics and unbelief still run rampant within the church body.
  • And, John delivers a massive clue about the false prophet – a person who still qualifies as an Antichrist, when he says “he who will oppose Christ in the guise of Christ.” This statement by John leads me to Islamic prophecies that call for just such a man. I became aware of these Islamic prophecies when I read the Islamic Antichrist by Joel Richardson. I will leave you to pursue that on your own time.

Let’s look at one last aspect of Micah 4:1. Here is the verse once again.

Micah 4:1 JPS  But in the end of days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established as the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills, and peoples shall flow unto it.

Once again I point out how many have so convoluted the scripture that they are comfortable in their belief that no Jews enter into the millennial reign. You could not be more wrong.

Isaiah 56:5-7 JPS  Even unto them will I give in My house and within My walls a monument and a memorial better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting memorial, that shall not be cut off.  6)  Also the aliens, that join themselves to the LORD, to minister unto Him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants, everyone that keeps the sabbath from profaning it, and holds fast by My covenant:  7)  Even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer; their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be acceptable upon Mine altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.

Isaiah 66:23 JPS  And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 16:19 MKJV  O Jehovah, my strength and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the nations shall come to You from the ends of the earth and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and there is no profit in them.

Jeremiah 16:19 is significant to me, because I repeatedly proclaim that our Mormon and Jehovah Witness brothers and sisters, will awaken and throw those books that they have called the Bible, at the leaders who have led them astray; as they too will acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and there is no God like Jehovah. Who will teach them?

Along with their belief that the Jews will not enter the kingdom, some even see Israel and the wars against it, as non-survivable. Again I say, that is not the case. Many will survive, while some will flee, and that is spelled out for us.

When Christ, for the last time, physically returns to the earth, it is for several reasons.

  1. He will return for war.
  1. He will, in such a short period that no one cares to define it, take His throne to reign for the thousand years. Here again, If Ezekiel and the prophets of old could see the New Jerusalem in their spirits, then it must already be out there, merely awaiting some command to descend. There is, of course, the leveling of the ground there, but God can handle that without our help and the fact that a horrendous earthquake occurs almost simultaneously as Jesus touches the ground on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, might solve any ground leveling issues.

Zechariah’s words speak directly to those who chose to fight, and those who did not. Stop here for a moment and think about that. We see children, even today, being taught to hate and fight against the Jew; they will endeavor to fight against Jesus when He returns. However, there will be those, with their learned hatred, that will not fight. Look at what Zechariah says, “any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem.” These were not combatants; these are those who stayed home and took care of things.

Zechariah 14:16 NASB Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.

The Complete Jewish Bible says it this way: “Finally, everyone remaining from all the nations that came to attack Yerushalayim.”

Let’s break down what we see here; I realize that many passages such as this one, seem to be laid out rather clearly, and yet, the Monday morning Bible teacher would repeatedly say that Jesus/God kills everyone and only Christians go into the Millennial reign. By expanding your window of studying from one scripture to comparative scriptures you can begin to see that your desired goal of death to everyone is, not only wrong but your perverted sense of justice.

  • any who are left of all the nations”
    • that came to attack Jerusalem”
      • “will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.”

        I mentioned that a day would come when the veil will be lifted from the eyes of all who remain. When will that day be? Paul speaks to that in his letter to the Romans.

        Romans 11:25-26 MKJV  For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, lest you should be wise within yourselves; that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the nations has come in.  26)  And so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, “There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob.

        We do not and will not know when that day will come until it happens, and then, it will be too late for you to be caught up in God’s grace; I, therefore, warn everyone about what’s coming and that they will need to be strong. On the plus side, you will have the Holy Spirit to strengthen you – I know there are multitudes who deny that possibility, but since scripture backs me up I will say it with confidence.

        Someday soon, when the fullness of the nations has been met then we, the church, will be removed from the earth. On that day God will lift the veil from the eyes of all, including Israel.

        Verse 26 tells us that all Israel shall be saved, but some will ask, why then would they be killed during the seven-years of God’s wrath?

        As Theologians you have undoubtedly read, multiple times, that God spoke of all when it is clear that not all were there, or included. It is not so different here, as many of those deemed “saved” during the time of wrath will die. This time of anger is not something to toy with, like those who say they will snow ski in hell.

        As God’s torrential punishment is being poured out, violent men will still be running around trying to kill anything that conflicts with their idea of god – Allah, or stands in their way.

        Since Jesus is the only way and I am not a good gambler, I choose Christ. As I look back on this relationship I have placed myself in I can say it was a good choice and has only grown more intense and profound with the years.

        Posted in antichrist, Apostasy, Assyrians, bible study, End times, false teaching, gentiles, invasion, Islam, Israel, Jerusalem, Jesus, Jews, judgment, Millennium, Our being caught up, Prophetic, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture, wrath. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

        Thoughts on 2 Thessalonians 2:3, part two.

        So much for introductions. The verse once again.

        2 Thessalonians 2:3 AMPC  Let no one deceive or beguile you in any way, for that day will not come except the apostasy comes first [unless the predicted great falling away of those who have professed to be Christians has come], and the man of lawlessness (sin) is revealed, who is the son of doom (of perdition),

        Let’s try to break this verse down before we move on to the others that give us the context.

        • “Let no one deceive or beguile you in any way, for that day will not come,” Paul wrote this because someone had deceived many of them into believing that they had missed the return of Jesus for His church. This is a logical assumption on my part, (2 Timothy 3:13-15) but to be on the safe side we will attempt to define which day Paul is talking about. Since there are truly only two “days” which concern us, let’s define what they are.
        1. “That day” opens the non-stop torrent of activities we find within the time of wrath, with the catching away of the church. This pattern for the removal of the church is demonstrated in stories that involve Lot, Sodom and Gomorrha, and the flood epoch with Noah, just to name a few. With Lot, the angels effectively said, we are prevented from unleashing God’s judgment until you are removed from here and safe. With Noah, God put them in the ark where they were now safe and shut the door himself. In both of these stories, the righteous were spared from the wrath.
        2. The alternative view on “that day” would be the day that Jesus returns, at the end of the seven-years to make war with all those that choose to fight against Him, and finally restore peace on this earth for the thousand year reign.
        • “for that day will not come except the apostasy comes first “ The Amplified Bible defines the apostasy for us as: “the predicted great falling away of those who have professed to be Christians.” I think there is so much more to this, such as a mass turning of our backs on God. In case you had not noticed, we are neck deep in apostasy.
        • “and the man of lawlessness (sin) is revealed, who is the son of doom (of perdition),” Here is where the trouble begins for those who will not pursue the origins and meanings of the words. The word revealed is the Greek word apokalúptō and literally means, to remove a veil or covering exposing to open view what was before hidden. To make manifest or reveal a thing previously secret or unknown.

        I have literally removed or uncovered a piece of information for you by telling you about the Islamic Caliphates, something few of us understood prior to 1979. For me, much of this uncovering came through an author, Joel Richardson, who in his book, The Islamic Antichrist, which is interspersed with appropriate and corresponding scripture, points out what we are looking for.

        The man of lawlessness – Is the Greek word anomia and means illegality, that is, violation of law or (generally) wickedness: – iniquity, the transgression of the law, unrighteousness.

        [While he may be illegal, or in violation of the law, you have to ask yourself a question; whose law? The Muslim’s believe Islamic supersedes all other law.]

        The son of – Is the Greek word uihos. A primary word; a “son” (sometimes of animals), used very widely of immediate, remote or figurative kinship: – child, foal, son.

        It is true that most Muslims trace their ancestry back to Abraham; Ishmael to be precise. Is that a problem? Yes, in that Ishmael was not the son of promise/faith, Issac was; and they do not, nor cannot trace themselves to Issac. Esau is the other name Muslims refer to. Can they say they are a “son of” Abraham? Yes, but he is not who this verse is referring to; it is referring to Satan. Is that so difficult for us to understand? It should not be, for Jesus turned to Peter at one point and said, get behind me Satan. Obviously, Jesus was calling out the motivator behind Peter’s word and actions. This is no different.

        Perdition – Is the Greek word apōleia From a presumed derivative of G622; ruin or loss (physical, spiritual or eternal): – damnable (-nation), destruction, die, perdition, X perish, pernicious ways, waste.

        Son of perdition is the same phrase used to describe Judas Iscariot in John 17:12.

        Daniel 7:24-26 NASB ‘As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. (25) ‘He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. (26) ‘But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever.

        When Jesus comes back, there are only two people who are sent to the eternal fires of hell, the Antichrist and the False Prophet.

        So we just have two choices as to whom Daniel 7:26 is talking about when it says “his dominion will be taken away.”

        • If, it is the false prophet, then there is a good chance he has already been revealed, naturally not as the false prophet. Unlike Judas Iscariot whom Satan entered when he took the bread from Jesus, Satan, as far as we know, has not yet entered him and given him his power and motivation.

        We could potentially be looking at the future false prophet when we look at this Rabbi.

        Rabbi Baruch Kahane

        Breaking Israeli News dated August 29, 2016, says this:

        A significant step was recently taken towards reinstating the Temple service when the nascent Sanhedrin selected Rabbi Baruch Kahane as the next Kohen Gadol (high priest). The selection was made as a precaution for Yom Kippur. If the political conditions should change, allowing the Jews access to the Temple Mount, they will be required by Torah law to bring the sacrifices. Rabbi Kahane is confident that if that should happen, Temple service could begin in less than one week.

        The Ultimate Cross-Reference Treasury; in attempting to define the son of Perdition, directs us to a multitude of passages. One of them is Daniel 8:24.

        Daniel 8:24-25 NASB “His power will be mighty, but not by his own power, And he will destroy to an extraordinary degree And prosper and perform his will; He will destroy mighty men and the holy people. (25) “And through his shrewdness, He will cause deceit to succeed by his influence; And he will magnify himself in his heart, And he will destroy many while they are at ease. He will even oppose the Prince of princes, But he will be broken without human agency.

        This passage in Daniel 8:24-25 is describing no one other than the false prophet.

        • Now, if we are talking about the Antichrist, then the Prophet Micah has something to say about that.

        Micah 5:5 ESV  And he shall be their peace. When the Assyrian comes into our land and treads in our palaces, then we will raise against him seven shepherds and eight princes of men;

        The implication is clear, this man who fulfills the role of Antichrist will be a leader with ties to the ancient Assyrians. (The short answer is that he will be a Muslim.)

        In the map I included, almost everything within the circle, in blue, was an Assyrian territory; this includes present-day Turkey and the Southern regions of Russia, as well as all the Middle East.

        The Assyrian Empire around 750 to 625 BC

        Revelation 13:4-7 NASB they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” (5) There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. (6) And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven. (7) It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.

        The beast, in this instance, is the Antichrist. However, the Antichrist has a mouthpiece we call the False Prophet, and you see that in Revelation 13:5. He is the Muslim Jesus.

        Revelation 13:11-17 NASB (11) Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon. (12) He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. (13) He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. (14) And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who *had the wound of the sword and has come to life. (15) And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. (16) And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, (17) and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.

        I do not believe that even the author Joel Richardson would attempt to declare who the Antichrist is, though he speaks convincingly about the qualifications of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the President of Turkey, as being a front-runner for the role.

        If you are having difficulty understanding some passage, then I suggest you put these techniques into practice. When you read, try to read with understanding; if that means you have to pursue definitions of the simplest of words, then so be it. Know that in 99.9 percent of the time, scripture, answers, helps to translate, and defines scripture. If necessary, use commentaries; I do, but sparingly. And, trust the leading of the Holy Spirit.

        Look at what the Apostle John had to say about the effect of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and have a little faith and confidence.

        1 John 2:20-21 NASB But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. (21) I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth.

        Posted in 2 Thessalonians, antichrist, Apostasy, Assyrians, bible study, End times, false teaching, gentiles, hypocrisy, invasion, Islam, Israel, Jerusalem, Jesus, Jews, judgment, Millennium, Our being caught up, overtaken, Prophetic, Revelation, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

        Thoughts on 2 Thessalonians 2:3, part one.

        I know I touched on this passage as I was finishing up Micah 3, and I apologize if it seems redundant. I referenced it in that post because it fit, but I could not convey the aggravation I feel as my friend keeps coming back to this particular verse, especially after his pastor, a notable radio pastor, has also answered his question to the best of his ability.

        For two weeks, in our very small group, we have gone over 2 Thessalonians 2:3 extensively to no avail.

        As I try to figure out why my friend refuses to grasp anything anyone has said to him about the verse, I can’t help but think that this is a common problem for many, and therefore needs to be explained. After all, Paul had to readdress issues as he wrote to the churches in Thessalonica and Corinth, and Paul conveyed the idea that it was a good and appropriate thing to revisit items that are basics of our faith and a foundational aspect of our hope.

        The verse in question is 2 Thessalonians 2:3.

        Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. (NIV)

        I want to make you aware of a few things up front;

        1. There are so many ways to be deceived, however, most of the deception comes from those we trust, like religious leaders. Many years ago, here in California, there was a decent man named Jim Jones and he was a church leader. At first, things went well, but over time he led his congregation to Guyana South America, where several of his members, at his bidding, murdered the investigators who arrived at the jungle airport. So what did “pastor” Jim Jones do to fix this aberration? He convinced the members to drink a Cyanide laced children’s drink called “Kool-Aid.” Of course, all those deceived who drank the “Kool-Aid” died. The point here is that people can be misled, with horrendous results.
        2. This verse falls within a context and should not be considered by itself; the full context ends with verse 12, but it is what is in between verse 3 and 12 that enlightens or changes our understanding.

        2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 NASB (1) Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, (2) that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. (3) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, (4) who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. (5) Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? (6) And you know what restrains him now so that in his time he will be revealed. (7) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. (8) Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; (9) that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, (10) and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. (11) For this reason, God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, (12) in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth but took pleasure in wickedness.

        So there it is, 

        • you know what restrains him now,” What restrains him is the praying church. Obviously, we are not all carrying our weight. If we had not been resisting the work of the enemy how much farther along would the chaos be?
        • so that in his time he will be revealed.” With the church out of the way, the Antichrist will be exposed or uncovered. This is the same word (apokalúptō,) that Paul used in verse 3. If I wanted to get snagged and unable to move forward, I might focus on the terminology “so that in his time he will be revealed.” It almost sounds like the Antichrist is setting the ground rules for this Godly chess game, and he is not. All things are in the Father’s hand; to think any differently merely diminishes God in your eyes.

        The passages read from certain versions, use obsolete and bewildering language; those language issues require extra work on your part if you are going to understand what is being said. An example of this is seen in verse 3 where the italicized words, (added to provide clarity,) only cause some people more grief. (The NASB and the KJV have the italicization, however, the NIV took some unwarranted liberties by integrating the italicized words into the sentence.)

        The word revealed is the Greek word “apokalúptō.” Apokalúptō has several meanings, most of which convey a similar theme. It means to remove a veil or covering, exposing to open view what was before hidden. To make manifest or reveal a thing previously secret or unknown. (Word Study Dictionary)

        So allow me a moment to expose some things that were previously unknown.

        Having grown up in a religious setting, no one, it seems, ever thought for a second that the things we are dealing with today would come to pass, and Islam is one of those things. Islam was an ideology that was practiced quietly somewhere else. Movies like the Maltese Falcon, with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, which was set in Morocco; a  war-torn but tourist friendly place. Not anymore.

        The date, as I work on this post is 12/22/2018, and in just the last two days the “not so headline news” has informed us that several young Muslim men have raped and murdered two pretty blond European girls, decapitating one and attempting the same on the other. And all this happened in Morocco, a name I merely picked out of the air.

        The Islamic revolution of 1979 brought down the Shah of Iran’s regime and restarted the rule of the Caliphate and Sharia law.

        The Ottoman Empire, an Islamic Caliphate, created somewhat global havoc for centuries until it was subjected to the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920. That treaty was rejected by Turkish nationalists but eventually lead to the abolition of the monarchy by the Government of the Grand National Assembly based in Ankara. The Ottoman Caliphate was, for many years, effectively abolished in 1924 by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.

        By the way, the Ottoman Empire played a huge role in this young country of America, forming the Marines, as Islamic pirates, coming off the coast of Libya, were capturing merchant vessels, including some of our own. Not all these ships were merchant’s vessels and many were put in Muslim prisons or made slaves. As long as it did not affect the young American country we did nothing, but when Americans were taken prisoners and abused, is when the Marines were formed as a counter to the piracy. For the doubters, I make note of the words of the Marine Corps anthem, which says, “to the shores of Tripoli.” Tripoli, is of course, in Libya, a Mediterranean, coastal, country. (Much of this information on the Ottoman empire has been extracted from Wikipedia)

        I believe that the Ottoman Empire is that head that “appeared to be slain and his fatal wound was healed.”

        Revelation 13:3 NASB I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast;

        Before you move on or away from this thesis, you should understand that all of history, is God’s history, as players have moved into position, simply for the purpose of God restoring and rescuing those He calls his own; and, therefore, we should not ignore the role of history, as many of those players have managed to command a role in future events, like end times eschatology. An example of this can be understood as you look at the Grecian Empire, the third empire depicted in the statue dream of Nebuchadnezzar. The largest portion, the breast, is understood by most to be Alexander the Great. Alexander dies and in time, only two generals retained control, Seleucus in the North, and Ptolemy in the South. We are impacted by these empires still today. (You have to study Daniel 11, the Assyrians, and the Scythian empires to grasp how they play a role in eschatology. Fortunately, most of this information can be extracted from your Bible.)

        Should you decide to base your eschatology on verse 3 alone, you would be considered a mid-tribulation believer.

        Sadly, if your dream came true, then your belief system would put you under the subjection of the wrath of God, which is exactly what the seven-year time frame is all about; and, your theology would be in direct opposition to one of the primary reasons Jesus went to the cross.

        In opposition to mid and post tribulation theories, there are verses like this.

        Hebrews 9:28 NIV  so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

        While the entire book of Hebrews goes into great detail about our hope and why it is so valid, this verse wraps it up nicely when it says, “he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” We, as a church, should be aware that there are two “returns” of Jesus.

        First, He will return for His church. He does not physically return to the earth but will catch us up to meet Him in the clouds. This moment in time is no secret, as we are told every eye will see Him.

        The second time He returns, it will be as the warring Messiah. The having been collected seven-years prior, will be riding with Him. There is no polite way to say this, blood will run in the streets at this return. This point in time will mark the transition into the millennial reign.

        Stay tuned for part two.


        Posted in 2 Thessalonians, antichrist, Apostasy, Assyrians, false teaching, gentiles, In Christ, invasion, Islam, Israel, Jerusalem, Jesus, Jews, judgment, Our being caught up, overtaken, Prophetic, Revelation, the fourth kingdom, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

        A look at Micah 3:8 – 12, things to come.

        All right, you caught me. I took a short break from studying Micah. Books tend to be difficult primarily because there can be aspects that are not so interesting, repetitive, and long. When any of those three things get involved in writing for a blog, I lose readers. It’s sad that few have any interest in knowing what’s in this fantastic book we call a Bible. Sure, I have to slog through some tedious stuff, but overall it excites me.

        The dive into Micah came out of some boredom that had infiltrated as I had finished a goal and was pondering what to look at next. The interruption of Micah came for several reasons: I needed a break, and my friends started challenging me with questions and ideas about other topics. One of those topics was Judas Iscariot, which I recently posted. The idea behind a character study on Judas was an attempt to break what I see as a spirit of judgmentalism. In truth, we don’t know what became of Judas and God, has yet to pass judgment upon anyone, so why do we think He needs our help?

        Another question arose, asking me for my take on 2 Thessalonians 2:3. That particular passage does not stand alone, but if you only read one verse that day, and tried to build your life around it, you would believe that the body of Christ is meant to go through God’s wrath. Multiple times, throughout the New Testament, using different terminology, we are told that we are NOT meant to endure God’s wrath.

        1Thessalonians 1:10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.

        1Thessalonians 5:9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

        Romans 5:9 NASB Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.

        So for you to read some passage, or allow someone to convince you, that we are going to have to experience God’s wrath is fallacious on their part and it makes them a false teacher.

        Just for the sake of clarity, I want to advance beyond 2 Thes 2:3 and show you the entire context up to verse 11.

        2 Thessalonians 2:6-11 NASB (6) And you know what restrains him now so that in his time he will be revealed. (7) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. (8) Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; (9) that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, (10) and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. (11) For this reason, God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,

        Note several things here.

        • Something is restraining the man of lawlessness, the son of destruction.

        That something is the body of Christ, the Church. We have as an anchor, a hope that this life we are living is based on the truth of Jesus words, that He will come back to retrieve us; this catching away is the trigger for all the hell that the seven-year period will bring. A second peculiarity is the multiple names given to this man. It is just one man, called many things, including beast.

        • Verse three tells us that the apostasy must come first.

        In case you had not noticed, it already has. How many people read their Bible? Religious organizations have blatantly incorporated sin into their doctrinal practices, and most of those who call themselves “Christians” are merely convenient Christians.

        • Verse 7 states that “he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.”

        See how it is expressed in the singular “he.” The church, which is the body of Christ, is supposed to be one unit in Christ. That is the way God sees it and addresses it. A day is coming when the church will be snatched out of here. That word snatched conveys the idea of a rapid, almost violent removal; not that God is performing some violence upon us, it is more like having someone pull you out of the way of a flash flood. Consider the circumstances with Lot, Noah, and perhaps even Rahab.

        • Having been taken out of the way, as verse 7 states, the man of lawlessness will then be revealed.

        I have a strong inclination that this man is a Muslim. This kind of talk is not hate speech as some might say; it is a logical path spelled out in scripture, and it points to Islam. The book of Micah communicates it clearly when it calls him the Assyrian.

        I repeatedly say we have done ourselves a great disservice because we call the seven years that are coming “The Great Tribulation.”

        The Bible never calls the seven years “The Great Tribulation”; it is, however, a time of judgment, and it is the time of God’s wrath. This wrath is directed at the Jews for rejecting Him, and the nations for the way they treat God and His people.

        The Nations used to mean “them,” as we thought of ourselves as the good guys, but now it can readily be pointing at people within these United States as well, for we are the worst of offenders anymore. Effectively, the nations mean those outside of a relationship with Jesus. When you consider that the nations are having to go through the wrath of God, do not forget that the Holy Spirit will still be here drawing all humanity to Him, and, the veil that has covered their eyes will be lifted. There will be nothing, outside of selfish motives, that would prevent anyone from finding Jesus in this morass that is coming. Sadly, there will be no more grace it seems, and all who come to Him will have to prove their allegiance to God in death.

        On that happy note, let’s finish chapter 3 of Micah.

        The last time we looked at Micah, he was addressing the Heads of Jacob and magistrates of the house of Israel. Why? Because soon the Land of Israel will be so torn up by rockets and invading forces, that you will not be able to measure the land, nor will you be able to stop what is coming. It seems that there will not be the appropriate people left to make sound decisions. While Micah does not mention Ezekiel’s prophecy, this sounds very much like what Ezekiel describes in chapters 38, 39 of his writings.

        How did Israel’s leadership respond?

        Just as they would today, and just as a former pastor accosted me by saying, “Don’t tell us these things, nothing bad will happen to us.” Micah persisted. No, you are going to be attacked, and they were; they were finally taken captive into Babylon.

        Odd how such an admonition could be spurned, especially since Micah pointed out to them that they had already been, in a sense, stealing, looting, and pillaging from the people for years. An example of this kind of talk is seen here –

        Micah 2:8-9 ERV  But you attack my people like enemies. You steal the clothes off the backs of people walking by. They think they are safe, but you are there to treat them like prisoners of war.  (9)  You have taken nice houses away from the women of my people. You have taken my wealth away from their small children forever.

        Are Micah’s words all bad? No, as Micah 2:12,13 have good news for some.

        Micah 2:12-13 ERV  Yes, people of Jacob, I will bring all of you together. I will bring together all those in Israel who are still living. I will put them together like sheep in the sheep pen, like a flock in its pasture. Then the place will be filled with the noise of many people.  (13)  The “One Who Breaks Through Walls” will push through and walk to the front of his people. They will break through the gates and leave that city. They will leave with their king marching before them— with the LORD at the front of his people.

        The remnant of Israel will be gathered once again.

        We are told that theMessiah will put them together like sheep in pen, protected. While it sounds like such a small number it’s not, ” The place will be filled with the noise of many people.” When we read Ezekiel, we see two-thirds of Israel being killed. With a current population slightly over 8 million, two-thirds slaughter would leave about 2 million people. That’s still a lot of people.

        Good news is somewhat relative, and this is the lead into Micah 3: 8.

        Micah 3:8 ESV  But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.

        Sadly, Micah is not speaking for everyone. Doesn’t this sound like the Holy Spirit? He is empowered with justice and might for a purpose; that purpose is:

        to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.”

        Micah 3:9-11 ESV  Hear this, you heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel, who detest justice and make crooked all that is straight,  (10)  who build Zion with blood and Jerusalem with iniquity.  (11)  Its heads give judgment for a bribe; its priests teach for a price; its prophets practice divination for money; yet they lean on the LORD and say, “Is not the LORD in the midst of us? No disaster shall come upon us.”

        He opens the volley with, “Hear this, you heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel, and ends the chapter with, “on account of you.”

        Micah 3:12 NASB Therefore, on account of you Zion will be plowed as a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of ruins, And the mountain of the temple will become high places of a forest.

        Not to despair, as chapter 4 paints a picture of majesty and Holy living before God.

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        Judas Iscariot, a character study. Part 4, the end.

        As I close this out, I find I can’t give you a definitive answer as to where Judas Iscariot is. However, I think what I have given you is enough to show that we serve a merciful God and that not everything is so black and white that you can exclaim that Judas is in hell.

        In talking about what I had learned as I did this study, a person who feels they are a biblical expert brought up the rich man and Lazarus. They pointed out that they think the rich man was in hell. I responded with, there is a problem with that, and it is a fact that there has, as yet, been no judgment. The final judgment will not occur until the end of the 1000 year reign of Christ, at the great white throne. Since, God has not judged anyone, nor sent anyone to hell as yet, why do you have the right to send someone to hell prematurely? They agreed that no one has been judged as yet, but had no reasonable response as what to do with the rich man.

        Apparently, there are some things we don’t understand. Now I happen to think that the answers are there in scripture; we just don’t see them. An example of this was made clear to as I was editing this document so that I could post it in sections. I was reading John13:25-27 where Peter asks John, who was leaning back against Jesus if he would ask Jesus who is the one who will betray Him?

         (26) Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.”Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.  (27) As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” [NIV]

        For the first time, I read this passage and saw something I have never seen before. Jesus statement toward Judas Iscariot may not have been directed at Judas; Jesus may have been speaking directly to Satan, just as He had done when Peter expressed how he would not allow them to kill him. Jesus turned, and looking straight into Peter’s eyes and said, get behind me Satan.

        Matthew16:22-23 NIV  Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.”Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”  (23)  Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

        I showed this insight to a friend who used to be an administrative law judge (I find him to be a speedy reader who absorbs information,) and he immediately, after looking at the passage for himself, said, you are right, this does open the door to that possibility. There is no doubt in my mind that the Holy Spirit knows that the timing and release of understanding are pertinent and needed. This release of information is the theme we see as the Book Of Daniel closes.

        Daniel12:1-4 NASB “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. (2) “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. (3)“Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. (4) “But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.

        I obtained the arguments against Judas from this source https://www.gotquestions.org/Judas-Iscariot.html. I have made comments in defense of Judas Iscariot below the bulleted points. The original document has, for the most part, been turned into bulleted points and the paragraphs as well are highlighted in bold type.

        The thesis opened with a question and an answer:

        “Who was Judas Iscariot?” Answer: Judas Iscariot is typically remembered for one thing: his betrayal of Jesus.

        While his betrayal, as they put it, maybe the one thing we remember about him, let’s see if I change your heart and attitude about him.

        • Judas Iscariot fulfilled the prophecy of Psalm 41:9, “Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me” (cf. John 13:18).

        The author of this treatise points out where Jesus says: 

        “I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen, but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘HE WHO EATS MY BREAD HAS LIFTED UP HIS HEEL AGAINST ME.’ (John 13:18 NASB)

        Psalm 41:9 seems to be what Jesus was referring to. [NIV]  “Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me.”

        Do not think for a second that this was a surprise to Jesus. He knew all along what would happen.

        TheThe Ultimate Cross-Reference Treasury says this about the phrase, may be fulfilled.

        “We find something that closely resembles this idea in the NIV, where it tells us “this is to fulfill this passage of scripture.”Maybe fulfilled, is the Greek word plērōthē. It is the subjunctive mood of probability, and cannot apply to predestination. The subjunctive is used when the action “…is viewed as contingent upon certain existing and known conditions—being objectively possible…””

        The UCRT goes on to say, “What is predestinated cannot be a probability, but must be absolute!” (Cf. Mark 14:49). 
        “Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” [NIV]  

        So again we see that the Jewish council knew who Jesus was and plotted almost daily to take him and kill him. But Jesus makes it clear that this moment in time has been set aside for this action to take place, and nothing will stop the plan of redemption now.

        • Yet Judas was fully responsible for his actions. Jesus said, “The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born” (Matthew 26:24).

        This paragraph may be the most condemning statement of all that has been made merely because it says, “It would be better for him if he had not been born.” What are we to make of this?

        Scriptures related to this statement are: 

        Psalms 41:9 NASB Even my close friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.

        Psalms 109:8 LITV  let his days be few, and let another take his office;

        Romans 9:21-22 LITV  Or does not the potter have authority over the clay, out of the one lump to make one vessel to honor, and one to dishonor? Jer. 18:6  (22)  But if God, desiring to demonstrate His wrath, and to make His power known, endured in much long-suffering vessels of wrath having been fitted out for destruction,

        While these passages may sustain the argument for many, there is one additional passage, which Jesus spoke, that may demonstrate some form of grace. 

        John 17:12 LITV  While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name; I guarded those whom You gave to Me, and not one of them was lost, except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

        The word perdition is the Greek word apōleia. Sadly, it means ruin or loss (physical, spiritual or eternal), damnation, and destruction. 

        How do you fight against that? 
        While the word perdition is fairly damning, how do I treat a man whose job it is to fulfill scripture?

        If you must make a statement like Judas being responsible for his actions, then you need to define in what way Judas demonstrated that responsibility. If going back to the Jewish council and telling them, in a manner, that their actions were wrong and therefore his actions were wrong, is taking responsibility, maybe I can see that. Hanging yourself does not demonstrate taking responsibility. But aren’t we all responsible for Jesus death?

        Here is my perspective on responsibility for actions. Satan and a third of the angels had a choice to live in peace with God, but they did not; humankind also has the choice to live in harmony with God and others, but most choose not to. This freedom to choose is called free will; sadly though for every action, there is a reaction, and Judas experienced his. Since free will is so problematic, why allow for it? Because it gives us the freedom to choose to love the Father.

        • Matthew 27:6–8 reports that the chief priests took the “blood money” from Judas and bought a potter’s field as a place for burying foreigners (thus fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 11:12–13).


        • Acts 1:18–19 continues the story of what happened after Judas’ death and gives some additional information. Luke reports, “With the reward, he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field;

        So Matthew tells us that the chief priests took the money and bought the field, but Dr. Luke, in the book of Acts conveys that Judas bought the field.

        First, none of the disciples were there to see the transactions, and so all anyone has is gossip. 

        Secondly, why would Judas have the foresight to take care of his own death. Not likely. 

        Thirdly, where did Dr. Luke get his information?

        The Biblical Illustrator commentary gives us the most definite clue as to the authorship of the Gospel of Luke, and therefore the clear link to the information Luke was able to obtain about this field. “Of the writer of the third Gospel nothing whatsoever is known, except that he was the faithful friend and companion of St. Paul.”

        There he fell headlong, his body burst open, and all his intestines spilled out. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.” The additional detail we learn from Luke is that, after Judas hanged himself, his dead body fell into the very field purchased with his ill-gotten gains.

        “Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this,” this tells you several things. 

        1. Judas Iscariot was more well known than we are told. 

        2. Nothing is secret. 

        3. It suggests that people cared about Judas Iscariot or else they would not have cared what became of him.

        • Given the fact of Judas’ close proximity to Jesus during three years of ministry, it is hard to imagine how he could follow through on such a dastardly betrayal.

        Setting aside the crass, unfounded remarks which lay the brunt of all that happened to Jesus on Judas Iscariot, there is 1 Peter.

        “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds, you have been healed.” (1Peter 2:24 NIV)

        What is my take away from this?

        That Jesus, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross. Jesus did this for us, and Judas was merely a player in the grand scheme.

        • Judas’ story teaches us to guard against small, gradual failings that gain strength and power in our lives and that could open the door to more deadly influences.

        This idea of guarding against small, gradual failings is sound wisdom and should not be looked at in an accusatory tone.

        Although we have no direct evidence of Judas’ motivation for handing Jesus over – outside of Satan entering into him, we can make a logical assumption that he had one, and had toyed with the idea frequently. The fact that Satan used him specifically for that purpose readily plays into that idea. 

        You cannot repeatedly toy with ideas, such as indulging your fleshly desires, without those indulgences becoming deadly.

        • His story is also a great reminder that appearances can be deceiving.

        The assumption I am left to make is that Judas Iscariot was a poser; you know the type, they act a certain way in front of the religious crowd, or some girl they are trying to impress when their real motive lurks in the dark and is typically played out behind closed doors. 

        There is nothing about Judas that tells me he was like that; if there were, wouldn’t Jesus have perceived that in His spirit? Of course, He would; you can’t hide anything from God.

        • Jesus taught, “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:22–23).

        The writer of this thesis added this passage to tack down his motive – to direct your thoughts. Sadly though, they missed the context, and it has nothing to do with Judas. The reference has everything to do with the judgment of the nations, and we see a tremendous picture of that in Matthew 25 – the sheep and goat judgment.

        © Copyright 2002-2018 Got Questions Ministries.


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        Judas Iscariot, a character study. Part 3.

        Some might ask why I am defending such a man. Primarily it is because an aspect of what we have learned inside the brick walls we call the church, has imposed bad teaching and skewed traditions upon us; in doing so we have developed into some of the most judgmental people you will ever meet. Do we as Christians run around with swords and guns imposing our will on people, as some groups do, hopefully not, but our words and teachings have a comparable effect.

        Secondly, the question itself demonstrates a horrendous judgmental attitude by the one doing the asking, but I suppose, to some degree, it is a legitimate question.

        I guess you can say I am standing up for Judas-Iscariot because I am a lot like the man. I too am Sick of my government lying to me; I am annoyed to tears about “law enforcement” bullying good people, while no one seems to care about the drug dealer next door to me; I am fed up with most organized religion, as it is no different today than when the chief priests and elders corroborated to kill Jesus; It grieves me that within the church body I scarcely find anyone willing to focus on and talk about the Word of God (I am excluding those who, as one brother experienced, think they are learned, and therefore have to say whatever they want, including opinion, as they push some skewed teaching on us.) Oh sure, the men will talk sports, cars, and how important they are at their jobs, but God and the reality of life has no place in their lives, and most of these men, whether they have money or not, have credit cards and therefore put their faith in the credit card instead God – they are thus enabled to actively pursue their idols. So when it comes to “men” who will talk about Godly things I am only aware of a handful, and I sit regularly with two of them.

        There is a point to most of this ranting; I am painfully aware that the things going on around us are a part of the birth pains, known as Jacob’s troubles depending upon the translation you use. (You will find the reference to Jacob’s troubles in Jeremiah 30:7.) All this is a lead into the time of God’s wrath; the seven-year period we so foolishly call the “Tribulation.”

        We, as followers of Christ, have been given the power and authority to stand against much of this onslaught, and it is coming in many forms. Most recently France, with the yellow vest protests, has withstood some ridiculous taxation and it seems, for the moment, they won that battle. Sadly, some of us will die (Matthew 26:52.)

        Judas-Iscariot was no worse or better than any of the disciples. Are we not told that “all have sinned and come short”? (Romans 3:23)

        I have made comments in defense of Judas-Iscariot below the bulleted points. The original document has, for the most part, been turned into bulleted points and paragraphs are highlighted in bold type.

        • In fact, Judas was empowered to do what he did by the devil himself: “As soon as Judas took the bread [that Jesus had given him], Satan entered into him” (John 13:27).

        Let’s take this verse one step further.

        John 13:25-27 NIV Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” (26) Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.”Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.  (27) As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.”

        The “he” in this passage is Peter; so can I assume that Peter knew who it was that was going to betray Jesus. The inference is reasonably direct, and yet John 13:28 tells us that NO ONE understood what was happening. One other thing I noticed as I read John 13:27, “As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” We always assumed that Jesus was talking directly to Judas-Iscariot, but what if He wasn’t? What if the statement, “what you are about to do, do quickly,” was directed at Satan? Think about the interactions Jesus had with Peter and the demonic. How did he speak? He spoke directly to the demon(s) and ordered them to come out. Anyway, it’s just a thought.

        If I stick with the NIV, I get a point-blank inference that Satan entered into Judas. So let’s examine that and see if it is a true statement.

        The Greek word for entered is eiserchomai and means (According to Thayer’sDefinitions) 1) to go out or come in: to enter; 1b) of Satan taking possession of the body of a person.

        So, yes, it is true that Satan entered Judas.

        What does Satan entering Judas do to the previous three years and events in Judas’ life? Nothing. Get serious; there is not a man on the face of the earth that is immune to Satan’s deception unless they have accepted Jesus as the Lord of their life, receive the power of the Holy Spirit, and get firmly planted in God’s word; then, you stand a chance.

        It seems like being a follower of Jesus Christ would be firm and common ground, but spend a little time in recovery and you will see that people fall off the wagon with regularity. Every few months they come dragging themselves back to meetings, not understanding what they did, or what happened in their religious moment at some altar or a church bench. This lack of understanding opens the door for Satan to run them ragged.

        How about those who think they are the pillars of the church; can they be deceived and battered about? Absolutely. The Apostle Paul, in his letter to Timothy, instructs the young man about moving in gentleness and wisdom toward people who seem to betray their salvation, when in fact, they have been taken captive by Satan at his will.

        2Timothy 2:24-26 NASB The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, (25) with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, (26) and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

        If Satan can snare a believer, then he can catch Judas as well.

        • The other disciples had no clue that Judas Iscariot harbored treacherous thoughts.

        This idea that the other disciples had no clue seems to be a contradiction to most everything the authors of this treatise have conveyed. It is, however, a true statement, because, as I said moments ago, when I pointed out John 13:28, that none of them understood what was going on.

        • When Jesus mentioned a betrayer in their midst, the other disciples worried that it was they who would prove disloyal (John 13:22).


        • No one suspected Judas. He was a trusted member of the Twelve.


        • Even when Jesus told Judas, “What you are about to do, do quickly,” (John 13:27), and Judas left the Last Supper, the others at the table simply thought Judas had been sent to buy more food or to give something to charity (verses 28–29).


        • Judas Iscariot betrayed the Lord with a kiss, perfectly in keeping with his brazen duplicity (Luke 22:47–48).

        Again, that word betrayal. Luke indicated a kiss most likely because it was dark (I say this because they had tried or wanted to kill Jesus on several occasions. The Jewish council knew who he was and what he looked like. They may not have known precisely where he was that night,) who Jesus was.

        Judas-Iscariot’s actions fulfilled several prophetic words that night; and, played precisely into a Godly timeline that was to be achieved only a few hours from this moment.

        • After committing his atrocious act, Judas “was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders” (Matthew 27:3). But we learn that remorse does not equal repentance—rather than make amends or seek forgiveness, “he went away and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:5).

        The Complete Jewish Bible translation tells us that “he was seized with remorse.” Few other translations treat Judas so kindly. Most read something like this,

        Matthew 27:3 NASB Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,”

        Saw is the Greek word eidō and means to perceive with the eyes, notice, discern, and discover, among others.

        Condemned is the Greek word katakrinō and means judged worthy of punishment.

        Some questions: if Judas truly wanted Jesus to die because of this so-called “betrayal,” why would he care what became of Jesus?

        We are told that Judas-Iscariot saw (perceived) that he had been condemned. From whom and how did this perception come? Did it come from Jesus? I don’t think so, and we never see any interaction between the two after the kiss in the garden.

        Did the condemnation come from the other disciples? Quite possibly, however, only those who were in the upper room and then the garden would have been aware of what transpired.

        Could the condemnation come from the chief priests and elders, the same ones who lured Judas in, that they could have Jesus killed? This type of behavior would have been a common occurrence for them.

        Felt and remorse are merely the same Greek word used twice. It is because of conjunctive words, that the meaning can be ascertained as “feeling remorse.” Old English, however, can occasionally be a poor translation and it mandates that we pursue the alternative possibilities from a concordance.

        The Greek word is metamellomai and means to care afterward, regret, and repent, denoting a change of place or condition, and mélomai, mid. of mélō(n.f. see mélei[G3199], to concern), to be concerned.

        So when we talk of repentance in the Christian community, aren’t we talking about 180 degree turns from that troublesome thing or a change in condition? All these words are religiously applied to repentance, and yet we can’t find any room for that in Judas-Iscariot.

        So I could read Matthew 27:3 as, when Judas Iscariot determined what the Jewish council’s real intent was, he had a deep concern about delivering Jesus over to the Jewish council; as he has now learned their hidden agenda was to have Jesus killed.

        © Copyright 2002-2018 Got Questions Ministries.


        Posted in bible study, caught, character study, Cult teachings, Dispelling myths, enemies, false teaching, forgive, God's character, grace, hypocrisy, Jesus, Jews, Judas Iscariot, Mercy, overtaken, Prophetic, restore, Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

        Judas Iscariot, a character study. Part 2.

        This examination of Judas Iscariot is the outgrowth of a recent group Bible study on Hebrews. During the evening’s interactions on Hebrews my friend, in reference to eternal security, adamantly contrasted Judas-Iscariot, declaring, Judas Iscariot went to hell. I have several problems with a statement like that and spoke to the man privately about them after the study was over. Several days later that brother in Christ sent me a text message which directed me to a website he declared offered sound information on the subject of Judas Iscariot. What that website did, was to affirm my friend’s arguments.  

        I obtained the arguments against Judas from this source https://www.gotquestions.org/Judas-Iscariot.html. 
        Assuming, and it’s a natural assumption, that my friend and several thousand others like him, feel so resolute and judgmental about Judas-Iscariot, I decided to pursue this character study on the man.

        I have made comments which can be seen below the bulleted points. The original document has, for the most part, been turned into bulleted points and highlighted in bold type.

        The overarching question is, Who was Judas Iscariot? 

        As I began to respond to the thesis, which seems to have one goal – to have your opinion harmonize with theirs, my answers progressively turned into a ten-page treatise. I have learned that I cannot inundate you, the reader, with something that lengthy, as you will leave my site and probably never come back. Therefore, it is separated into parts. This is part two.

        • Jesus knew from the very beginning what Judas Iscariot would do. Jesus told His disciples, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” (John 6:70).
        • Look how the Message conveys John 6:70, “Jesus responded, “Haven’t I handpicked you, the Twelve? Still, one of you is a devil!

          Handpicked, now there’s a visual image for you. Jesus, fully aware of the end of this chain of events, choose Judas-Iscariot intentionally. Why is that? Could it be that Jesus was the one with the plan and not Judas-Iscariot?

        The plan, since the rebellion and fall of the angels that followed Satan, has been to restore peace, and redeem humanity – a necessary move since one man gave it all away. But then, God knew that would happen, just as He knew Judas would be manipulated into playing the role he did. All of it for the purpose of gaining eternal salvation for all who would follow after Jesus Christ.

        What of this idea that one of you is the devil?

        Luke 22:1-6 NET. Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching. (2) The chief priests and the experts in the law were trying to find some way to execute Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. (3) Then Satan entered Judas, the one called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve. (4) He went away and discussed with the chief priests and officers of the temple guard how he might betray Jesus, handing him over to them. (5) They were delighted and arranged to give him money. (6) So Judas agreed and began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus when no crowd was present.

        If I look up the word devil I get diábolos; to accuse. A false accuser, used for the devil. It is simply one who accuses. Judas did not accuse Jesus; he did, however, try to push Him to act irrationally and prematurely. How could Jesus have acted prematurely? By taking the throne without going to the cross and redeeming us all.

        It seemed that the dramatic change in Judas-Iscariot came when Satan entered him. My perception is always tainted by my humanity and so I see things rather black and white. As Judas Iscariot walked with Jesus, he acted and spoke just as he always did; James and John, the “sons of thunder,” were both capable of demonstrating a violent edge; Peter, much like James and John, was accustomed to the harsh, mouthy world associated with the fishing industry. These guys were just men and God saw the potential in them all.

        Would God, knowing that He had Satan within His inner circle of leadership, be someone we should think highly of? Of course not. Common sense tells you that you never, knowingly, let the enemy close enough to disrupt your plans; and that is precisely what Satan was trying to do. 

        The Tree of Life Version of the Bible uses the term deliver instead of betray. The definition of deliver is to hand over or convey into someone’s possession formally. Since the word betray means:

        v. To give aid or information to an enemy of; commit treason against or betray one’s country.

        v. To deliver into the hands of an enemy in violation of a trust or allegiance: 

        v. To be false or disloyal to:

        Can I then say that the act of delivering Jesus over, not to the Romans, but the Jewish council, was a betrayal? Since Judas never truly fit any of these definitions, especially when Jesus knew all along what Judas would eventually yield to; it does not feel like much of a betrayal, but a man with a mission, who was trying to provoke Jesus into a fight – one which he thought Jesus would quickly win.

        You must remember that God’s agreements with us were never dependent upon our actions. Yes, there has always been a benefit for following after the covenants, but regardless of our efforts, or lack thereof, God was always going to remain faithful to His end of the deal. Such was the case with God’s end plan for the salvation of man. We know that Jesus went to the cross willingly, and would have been put there on that cross by some other means if necessary. Judas merely played a role.

        • And at the Last Supper, Jesus predicted His betrayal and identified the betrayer: “Jesus answered, ‘It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.’ Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon” (John 13:26).

        Again, the annoyance is that this is stated as though Judas was some random, last-minute alteration in the course of events. When it came to the Jews, Jesus told those who wanted to hang him, do you not realize that I could call legions of angels to come and rescue me. There is nothing that is happening to me that I have not approved and allowed. So to place words like betrayal and betrayer upon Judas is merely inciting anger and rage in the reader.

        • Jesus said that Judas Iscariot was not “clean”; i.e., he had not been born again and was not forgiven of his sins (John 13:10–11).

        Jesus did not say, “Judas was not clean,” He merely said one of you.

        What does John 13:10-11 say? (MKJV)  Jesus said to him (Peter,) He who is bathed has no need except to wash his feet but is clean every whit. And you are clean, but not all.  (11)  For He knew who would betray Him. Therefore He said, You are not all clean.

        The bulleted statement above, unwisely states, “he (Judas,) had not been born again and was not forgiven of his sins.” None of them were born again. Since Jesus had not gone to the cross, they were all living under the law, not grace.

        Bathed and washed are translations; however, the Greek word is louō and means to bathe the whole person. We probably perceive this as water baptism. The idea behind the word is an immersion into a wholehearted acceptance, something that none of the disciples did. In contrast to Judas, who clearly was not 100% invested, we have Peter, who betrayed Christ three times; and John, who stayed near the cross and Mary, as Jesus was dying. The problem with thinking that any of them “got it,” is that none of them did, and scripture proves that out.

        Has no needG2192 echō A primary verb (including an alternate form σχέω scheō skheh’-o used in certain tenses only); to hold (used in very various applications, literally or figuratively, direct or remote; such as possession, ability, contiguity, relation or condition.) –

        So I understand there not being a need to hold desperately onto sick relationships or possessions if I have been washed already, but to merely wash your feet as needed what did this mean? It meant that Jesus, through His word, had already cleansed them; but then, there is the daily, trivial nonsense, such stealing from the treasury bag – the stuff we call sin. In no way do I get a sense of ominous retribution worthy of separation from God. In the environment of that day, where you would sit on pillows, next to each other, to dine, I can completely understand why washing your feet would be an exceptional idea.

        Would betray Himparadidōmi – From G3844 and G1325; to surrender, that is, surrender, deliver, give over.

        Yes, I am aware that paradidōmi also carries the idea of betrayal, but I do not believe that Jesus saw Judas’ actions as insidious. If that were the case, then Peter would have been a write off as well. In general, I could easily say that Judas surrendered or delivered Jesus to the Jewish council; however, I do not believe Judas meant for Him to be killed. Everything I see, as I study Judas’ life, demonstrates that Judas intended to force Jesus to rise on their behalf.

        Consider this idea of delivering someone over to an authoritative force.
        The Jewish leadership had temple guards, and this is who took Jesus captive that night. The Romans, on the other hand, were under orders to rapidly suppress any violent acts. Would the activities of the Jewish leadership have been seen in that light? This potential of misconduct is one of the reasons that Pontius Pilate so “rapidly” relented to the chief priests cries to crucify Jesus.

        Luke 22:52 NIV  Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs?

        One of the pieces of evidence we have that demonstrates that the Chief priests and elders took Jesus in the garden, is the fact that they brought Jesus to the “jail” beneath Caiaphas’ home. Archaeology has proven that this place existed. Here is where Jesus was challenged over His claims to be God’s son, and therefore God – a blasphemous claim worthy of death according to Jewish law. The result is that the Jewish temple guards beat Jesus, based upon claims that have nothing to do with what Romans consider rebellion before they ever handed Him off to Pontius Pilate to judge.

        Judas knew full well what the Romans could, and would do to those that caused trouble, but Jesus never did any of those things; he also knew that the Jews had no power to put someone on a cross and this was, therefore, a moot issue in the mind of Judas.

        Judas, just like all the others, walked beside Jesus in a state of puzzlement.
        Just a few days before this, what had taken place? At Jesus direction they had secured an unridden colt (Matthew 21) – this would have been comparable to borrowing a new Mercedes luxury car, just as dignitaries might arrive in, and placing Jesus in it. Just the sight of such an event triggered off a mad rush of onlookers, many of whom had experience with Jesus and the miracles He performed. But now He is riding into town as a King might. This moment has to be significant, and it is a long enough ride for many to have the time necessary to gather palm branches to spread upon the ground before Him.

        Now, put yourself in the place of the disciples, especially Judas, as none of them were sure how this entrance into Jerusalem was going to end; for some, I am sure they were hoping for some kind of overthrow. The underlying motive is the possibility that they would hold important cabinet positions under the rule of Jesus.

        Did Jesus step up and rule?
        No, but He did overthrow the tables of the money changers and chased the vendors out of the outer court.
        The blind and lame came to Him in the Temple, and He healed them.  (Matthew 21:12) Jesus then became embroiled, for two days, with the chief priests and elders about His authority to do what He did, and who He was. All this was the lead into what we see in Matthew 24 and 25, and the questions the disciples asked, “when will all these things come to pass and what will the sign of your return?” You see, they expected Him to step up and reign two days before; obviously, based upon what you are telling us now when you come back it will be to reign, so when is that going to happen?

        When the disciple John wrote “For He knew who would betray Him. Therefore He said, You are not all clean,” it was understood to mean, Jesus could see the end result. In the perfect tense, the word see, meant to know. Can I surmise Jesus knowing or seeing to be comparable? Yes.

        Bullet points and blocks of copy in bold have been extracted from Got Questions Ministries. I have done this to make their information distinct from my own thoughts and comments. 

        ©Copyright 2002-2018 Got Questions Ministries.

        Posted in character study, condemnation, Deception, Dispelling myths, enemies, false teaching, Freedom from sin, God's character, Gospel of John, guilt, Hope, In Christ, Jerusalem, Jesus, Judas Iscariot, judgment, Mercy, overtaken, redemption, Sin, strongholds, Things I have never noticed before, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

        Judas Iscariot, a character study. Part 1.

        This study originated from a Bible study on Hebrews, led by a man I know. During the evening’s bible study my friend, in reference to eternal security, added his thoughts on Judas-Iscariot, by adamantly declaring, Judas Iscariot went to hell.

        I have several problems with a statement like that, but the Holy Spirit told me to hold my tongue until after the meeting was over and I could address his out of line and adamant statement quietly. I did just that and told him briefly the reasons why I disagreed with him.

        Having spelled out some aspects of what you will find in this rebuttal, my friend responded with, “well, we just don’t know everything,” and I agreed, we don’t. I hoped that he would never speak with such adamancy about something he doesn’t understand. The next day I got a text message from him. In that message, he said, “my wife and I have discussed this, and Judas may have felt remorse, but he never repented;” he added, “there is a difference you know.” and quickly tried to define those differences. I responded with, “I will study this character Judas-Iscariot more closely soon, but not today. Until then, I must continue to err, if that is what I have done, I will do so on the side of mercy.

        My friend then sent this link and said, “I get much of my understanding from this website https://www.gotquestions.org/Judas-Iscariot.html. I obtained the arguments against Judas from these people. Assuming, and it’s an easy assumption, that my friend and several thousand others like him, feel just as adamantly about Judas-Iscariot, I decided to pursue this character study on Judas-Iscariot. Let me add, that this is not the first time I have heard such anger, judgment, and lack of understanding about some Biblical character.

        I have made comments which can be seen below the bulleted points.

        The original document has, for the most part, been turned into bulleted points and highlighted in bold type.

        Question:”Who was Judas Iscariot?”

        Answer: Judas Iscariot is typically remembered for one thing: his betrayal of Jesus.

        If I were to ask you why Judas is only thought of as a betrayer and thief, you might say, well, for one thing, scripture, such as John’s gospel, in particular, directs us to think that way.

        Alright, that is a reasonable response, that is until you begin looking at the words, as found in concordances. For there you will see that they can have several meanings and I frequently find that the alternate wording better fits the context.

        Let’s say you cling to the KJV as it is often represented as the authorized version. Yes, commissioned by King James, with whom they pleaded against continued efforts as the language alone was outdated by the time they published the limited and expensive copies they could make.

        So, the authors answer to his own question is given above, and it states Judas is typically remembered for one thing: his betrayal of Jesus. There are other things about him such as he was one of the original, handpicked, disciples, but you don’t think about that until you do something as peculiar as writing an eleven-page thesis in defense of a man who may not be in hell, as some prescribe.

        • He was one of the twelve disciples who lived with and followed Jesus for three years.

        And therefore, a part of the inner circle. As far as I can see you never let the spy or betrayer into the inner circle unless you have a higher, more significant plan; and Jesus did.

        • He witnessed Jesus’ ministry, His teaching, and His many miracles.

        They (the disciples) were all given the mission to go out and heal the sick and cast out demons, and Judah Iscariot was included. However, Judas apparently had to be placed at the back of the listing, and Mark, among the others, had to mention the betrayal.

        Mark 3:10-19 MKJV For He had healed many, so that they pressed on Him in order to touch Him, as many as had plagues.  (11) And unclean spirits, when they saw Him, they fell down before Him and cried, saying, You are the Son of God! (12) And He strictly charged them that they should not make Him known. (13) And He went up into a mountain and called near those whom He would. And they came to Him.  (14) And He ordained twelve, that they should be with Him, and that He might send them out to proclaim,  (15) and to have authority to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons. (16) And He put on Simon the name Peter.  (17) And He put on James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, the names Boanerges, which is, the Sons of Thunder.  (18) And He appointed Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alpheus, and Thaddeus, and Simon the Canaanite,  (19) and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. And they went into a house.

        • He was the treasurer for the group and used this trusted position to steal from their resources (John 12:6).

        John was the only one to mention this act. Even under Mosaic law, judgments we make against others, are only legitimized by the mouths of two or three witnesses. Let’s say Judas Iscariot’s stealing from the bag is a true statement, then what am I to gather from it? That this action on the part of Judas was never a concern for Jesus or most of the disciples. When Jesus told the disciples to provide for the thousands gathered on the hillside that first day, they never said, we do not possibly have enough money.

        • Judas was a common name in that era, and there are several other Judases mentioned in the New Testament. One of the other disciples was named Judas (John 14:22), and so was one of Jesus’ half-brothers (Mark 6:3).

        The fact that Judas is a common name of the day is an irrelevant point to make; it does, however, address the need to specify which “Judas” you are speaking about.

        • To differentiate, John 6:71 and John 13:26 refer to Christ’s betrayer as “Judas, son of Simon Iscariot.”

        Sadly, Judas is always mentioned last in the apostolic lists of names and continuously with the notation that he was the one who betrayed Jesus. There is nothing in the gospels to suggest that he was set aside or treated differently from any of the twelve, even though Jesus knew what his future actions would be.

        Scholars have several ideas about the derivation of the surname.

        • One is that Iscariot refers to Kerioth, a region or town in Judea.
        • Another idea is that it refers to the Sicarii, a cadre of assassins among the Jewish rebels. The possible association with the Sicarii allows for intriguing speculation about Judas’ motives.
        • The fact that he made a conscious choice to betray Jesus (Luke 22:48) remains the same.
        • The surname Iscariot is useful because it leaves no doubt about which Judas is being addressed.

        None of the above information, concerning his name and the town he is from, is provable and therefore pure speculation.

        Here are some of the facts we glean from key verses about Judas and his betrayal:

        • Money was important to Judas. As already mentioned, he was a thief,

        If John had not brought it up, would it even be an issue? The assertion that money was important to Judas alone is purely conjecture and irrelevant.

        People steal all the time; some steal by cheating on the time clock, or by merely taking a pen from a desk. We all have a sin nature, and it drives us, just as it drove Judas Iscariot.

        Peter, as we should be aware, had a family to support and a house to maintain; perhaps he needed a steady supply of money as well, and yet, we see very little money involved in the life of Jesus and the disciples, outside of paying taxes on one occasion, and that money came out of a fishes mouth.

        • And, according to Matthew 26:13–15, the chief priests paid him “thirty silver coins” to betray the Lord.

        None of the disciples were there to hear or witness the transaction between the chief priests and Judas; so all we have is an assumption as to how we came to know what happened in that private meeting. It may be that Judas was vocal enough to convey how he felt, and it seems that his greatest motivation was to force Jesus to step forward as the warring Messiah for which they all longed. Since all the theories put forth about why he did it are conjectural, then this statement I made about Judas motivation is as well; but, it is logical and here is why:

        When Jesus rode into town on a young colt that no one had ever ridden before He was riding on the best that could be offered for that period, and, it was a very significant event as all of Israel’s kings had done something similar. But this entrance was different, as the first thing He did after the big entrance, was to overthrow the tables of the vendors and money changing thieves, in the outer court of the temple and then verbally accost the Jewish leadership, for two days. The Jews, including Judas, anticipated that He would integrate into their system; and He did not.

        Matthew 26:14-16 MSG That is when one of the Twelve, the one named Judas Iscariot, went to the cabal of high priests (15) and said, “What will you give me if I hand him over to you?” They settled on thirty silver pieces. (16) He began looking for just the right moment to hand him over.

        The word betray is the Greek word paradidōmi and also means to surrender, that is, yield upentrusttransmit:– commit, deliver(up).

        Odd how the primary function of the word is to surrender. Thanks to the Apostle John’s hostility, and some bad choices in translation we are mired down with the idea of betrayal.

        For the author of this treatise to try to direct us into a wholehearted acceptance of their thesis demonstrates their lack of faith that we have the ability to think logically when given the facts; that the Holy Spirit is not capable of leading and guiding us into truth, and, it establishes their lack of skill in presenting an apologetic.

        Everyone, in the course of writing, and this includes the disciples and great theological minds, are trying to convince or direct you to see things their way. Historians, such as Josephus – a Jew under Roman rule, who had the task of recording the events of the day, had a strong motivation to make the one in control – Caesar or the Roman empire, look good. To do that they occasionally skewed history to make the current leader look better than he really was; such was the case with American history, and this skewing of a historical recollection may be the case with Judas Iscariot.

        Bullet points and blocks of copy in bold have been extracted from Got Questions Ministries. I have done this to make their information distinct from my own thoughts and comments.

        ©Copyright 2002-2018 Got Questions Ministries.


        Posted in character study, deception, Dispelling myths, false teaching, forgive, God's character, Gospel of John, grace, Hearing God, Hope, Jerusalem, Jesus, Jews, Judas Iscariot, judgment, Mercy, overtaken, strongholds | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment