Welcome to AHA Bible Moments!

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“Bible History IS Secular History when given the truth, whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

You are about to enter the world of “I didn’t know that” moments from the Bible!

 Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.

Proverbs 9:9

Paul Harvey, during his daily radio broadcasts, made famous the statement “The Rest of the Story.” He would tell the unfamiliar stories behind the familiar stories of men, feats, events and situations. Did you know the same is true of many “bible stories” found in the Old and New Testament scriptures? The following may not be quite the same as Mr. Harvey’s reviews of history, events and people, but they can be just as stunning, revealing, informative, and mind opening.

This publication will look at dozens of these surprising “aha moments” from miniJimscripture. Some will startle, some readers will find them particularly satisfying, and some will realize that history and the Bible are the same thing; a review of what was and remains an actuality. The Bible stories in scripture are space-limited and cannot publish everything surrounding, coinciding, or consequential to these stories. Some Bible time events are well-known and others not quite as well known but none the less found in scripture with a correlating “aha moment”. NOTE: The Bible and history are contemporaneous.

Included in this website are messages from others who serve our God; i.e. studied individuals such as ministers and Bible teachers.

Let’s explore some of these aha moments in scripture and have a ton of fun while doing so!!

– Dr. J

Bible Devotions or Bible Study?

Bible Devotions can be like paying the minimum amount due on ones credit card debt. One seldom gains ground. Bible study is like paying the monthly balance in full plus something extra. We gain ground quickly!

End Time is one event… (Introductory commentary)

EVENT

This begins a new series of narrative commentaries about end time scripture. We wish it could be all inclusive but there is so many end time passages throughout the Old and New Testaments it is almost impossible to cover them all yet alone find every verse. This series will address many questions posed by believers and end time searchers. We will teach but you decide.

What makes an end time study so troubling? For most people it is the volume of information found in Old and New Testament, all pointing to the same end but no straightforward way of making them contiguous. Grasping this volume of end time scripture is like drinking from multiple fire hoses at the same time. This series is to help the reader understand that End Time is ONE EVENT. After that, it is all Millennial Reign then a New Heaven and a New Earth.

Photo by Kevin Bidwell on Pexels.com

Example fire hoses: Matthew 23:1-3 and 24, Jeremiah 30, Isaiah 34, Joel 3, Revelation 13, 14, II Thessalonians 2,4, 5, & 6, Daniel 2 & 7-12, Ezekiel 37-39, Isaiah 46, Joel 2. Simply reading this Example list makes one flounder in the volume of words, symbolisms offered, and content versus context. This list is but a small dent in the passages we will discuss. We will do our best to put these passages (and many more) into their context [see the following chart].

Let’s begin with a no-brainer. Revelation 21 explains what happens AFTER God judges the world, the skies, the people, and the fallen angels. However, how closely does one read the few words at the beginning of Revelation 21…a New Heaven and a New Earth? The first heaven and earth will be replaced. The ground we stand on, are buried in, the heaven above, and the seas that have swallowed up so much life will no longer exist. This is NOT the Millennial Reign. It is what follows it. 

How do we support this? Satan is bound for a thousand years then released into this present make up of our known universe(s). He is not part of the new Heaven and the new earth. Scripture promises that all will be new.

Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on Pexels.com

It is the goal of this series of articles to pull these scriptures together. To make sense of their common denominators. The most common denominator is the phrase so often used within ahabiblecoments.com is In/On That Day. This is the Day of the Lord when God puts an end to any additional need to grasp the meanings of his multiple messages found in the Old and New Testament. From time-to-time, we will use graphics to help. That Day does not mean all will happen in a 24-hour period. It is an end-time-period that will bring an end to the Genesis 1:5 creation of time and the later influence of Satan with his fallen minions (angels).

Several times in the Bible, different prophets use metaphors to point out the same thing. It is common to find each Bible prophet to identify That Day from a different street corner, but the same corner. It helps to understand that even though the individual Bible book authors are looking at the same event, they see it from a different but common street corner. Simply put…there is only ONE END of TIME. Just as God created time itself in Genesis one, He ends it all at the same time. Any attempt to make each prophetic event an exclusive topic in and of itself tends to make the reader think it may be a different topic altogether. It is all a part of In That Day, an end time event.

There are five On or In That Day time events to keep distinct: 

  1. The appointed 7-year time of tribulation for Israel i.e., Jerusalem.
    1. 3 ½ years of a false peace.
    2. 3 ½ years of trials for Israel sometimes identified as Jacob’s Troubles
  2. The time between the end of the 7-years of Jacob’s Trouble and Jesus setting up his Millennial Kingdom. He judges the nations between the end of the Tribulation and his Millennial Reign.
  3. The 1,000-year Millennial Kingdom
  4. Satan is released, his final run at overthrowing Jesus on earth begins for a brief time.
  5. Eternity: one of two places. Neither will have a permanent grave.

We suggest you print out the above list. Keep it on hand to correlate the numbers 1 through 5 with the identities we discuss in each End Time event and scripture. There is but one end time (singular) event but multiple fire hoses [See opening paragraph; line #2]. We will drink from these hoses at a slower rate than trying to simultaneously drink from the five above mentioned fire hoses. Each commentary will fit a time span within End Time. 

A passage seldom understood as part of end time scripture is found in Genesis 3:15, better explained in the last book of the Bible, Revelation 12:9.  In Genesis 3:15 we read (NKJV) “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” In Revelation 12:9So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Is it any wonder why God will create a NEW heaven and earth? Satan will be bound to this one.

Neither of these two verses identify the woman’s seed, the woman, the heel bitten, how or when will be the biting at the heel, or details of the crushing of the serpent’s head. The Genesis and Revelation passages do point out that these events will happen, but when? ONLY God the Father knows that appointed time [Matthew 24:6]. The crushing of the head of the serpent (Satan) is hinted to in Romans 16:20:

And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Will God crush Satan’s (serpent) head or someone’s feet that he selects? We will delve deeper and hopefully offer a better understanding of this verse explaining how it fits into One That Day.

Something of thoughtful consideration is the serpent Satan biting at the heel. The authors of the Bible do not need legend or mythology to make a point, but God often uses comparative verbiage. That is, something that is similar but much shorter than would be a parable. In the case of why might this reference to the serpent Satan biting the heel [Genesis 3:15] of mankind infer a reference to a much later English phrase…Achilles’ heel? 

Be Aware

Satan will not go for the strong points in humankind but his and her weak point. We know the Achille’s heel story is Greek mythology. This passage in Genesis, like a simple parable, may be an inference to a future Greek mythological point. Satan attacks one’s Achille’s heel. If it is a simple parallel coincident, it is still valid.

Even if this is not an intended futuristic analogy, the Achille’s heel and Satan biting at the heel of man, it is valid. This does not mean defeat. Scripture tells us in Genesis 3:15c…” Satan can only (attempt) to bruise our heel.” God built choice into man upon creation. S/he can surrender to a temptation or opt for another path when Satan bites at our heel. Per scripture, Serpent Satan’s bite is not fatal, but our choices will be eternal. Once a choice in life is self-determined, one is now a servant to it. To change that decision requires one to change his or her choice.

An end-time parallel point seldom recognized is God’s judgements on the northern and southern Kingdoms of Israel and Judah by Assyria and Babylon and end time events. The Assyrian dispersion of the Northern 10-Tribe Kingdom had no refugees returning. There was no longer a kingdom to which to return. In the case of the 70-year Babylonian captivity of Judah, some returned but not to a kingdom. They returned to a geographical province under the thumb of Babylonia. Both kingdoms suffered a similar judgement of G-d parallel to what we will be examining in this series of narrative end time commentaries. Israel as a nation will suffer like never before. This will be during the second half of the 7-year Tribulation (i.e., Jacob’s Trouble). Then as did Assyria and Babylon suffer God’s judged for how they treated the Israelis, the world that aligns against Israel during the Tribulation will suffer greatly for their aggression against Israel (cf. Matthew 24:21).

It will look so hopeless for Israel during this global aggression against them, these people of Jacob’s descent will be forced to accept Christ as the chosen king of Israel. (Zechariah 12:3; cntrl/click) The world of nations, just as did Assyria and Babylon, will meet their demise. 

Now to begin our narrative scripture-based commentary on the different parts of the same thing…End Time.

Rev Dr. Jstark
2022

Crown of Jewels? End Time

The following is a question asked of an ahabiblemoments.com reader. She asks, “will our crown(s) in heaven actually have inlaid jewels?” It has taken a couple of days to reply as any research needs supporting Bible references. If there is nothing offered to support one’s conclusion it is nothing more than opinion; right or wrong. The following is our conclusion at ahabiblemoments.com.

Remember: We teach but You decide

Might one recall the old Sunday School nursery song of Climb, climb up sunshine mountain faces all aglow? We learn things as kids and adults that are not actualities, but symbolism. As a young child or a newcomer to anything, one tends to accept what is said as true, not symbolic. Our learning becomes fact to us and seldom will a person think differently later life. There is no sunshine mountain in either the Old or the New Testament. Mountains…YES, but no mountain named Sunshine. We can’t reach the proverbial top of a non-existing mountain on our own works and effort to climb it. This is what we are about to address per the good question of physical crowns and differing jewels within them.

First, consider Isaiah 28:5…(We often use the New King James Version or the New American Standard. These two are very close to direct interpretations of original Bible records) In that day the LORD of hosts will be For a crown (at-aw-raw’) of glory and a diadem (which means a crown) of beauty to the remnant of His people,”. Note that this is a reference to “His people”, a remnant in End Time. They are of Israel DNA. A crown of glory is not a physical crown but symbolic or figurative. The crown of glory is Christ (God) himself. The word CROWN can be both a noun and a verb. It is the GLORY that is the emphasis. The recognition of having earned a crown of glory.

Back up to verse 3 in Isaiah 28. The crown mentioned in verse 3 of Isaiah 28 is the crown of pride. Same thing in verse #1. Not a physical property but a figurative description of one’s sense of him or herself as something earned. One might say…This is Old Testament stuff. Well…read on.

Revelation 3:11 states, “Behold, I come quickly. Hold fast to what you have, that no one will take your crown. Again, this is the taking of one’s belief and confidence in Christ during the 7-year Tribulation…more accurately: this passage in Revelation is a reference to and during the trouble of Jacob; the final 3 ½ years of the 7-year Tribulation. To emphasize such symbolism, go to the next verse in Revelation 3. (V12) He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God. Like receiving the proverbial crown inlaid with jewels believers will not become literal PILLARS in the Temple of God. This has all to do with status recognition. Do not be misguided. One cannot earn his or her salvation, but we can earn status. EARN STATUS? Isn’t this incorrect interpretation of scripture? Let’s look at what Jesus said in Luke 9:48.

“Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great.”

Doesn’t this passage in Luke read as pointing out different levels of reward or differing levels of recognition in the eyes of God? If one needs additional scripture support, read Matthew 23:1-12 or Mark 9:30-37. Yes, it is the same verse as found in Luke, but to be repeated three times in three different books of the Bible suggests its significance.

We at this website have researched and studied well over 100 verses that address the words crown and jewels. I Thessalonians 2:19 helps support our conclusion. It reads: For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? Note that the word crown is again something descriptive of hope; joy; crown being recognition. Go to the very next verse in I Thessalonians (2:20). For you are our glory and joy.” Glory and joy are not properties but identities. Neither is the word crown a property but an identity. God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are it.

Regarding jewels.

After studying well over 116 passages that reference “jewels”. Again, most often it is symbolic of value, a very high value of finery as in well done my good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:23).

Isaiah 61:10 reads…I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Garments of salvation? Robes of righteousness? Not every bride decks herself with garland and adorns herself with jewels. Not “decking out” does not make a woman a non-bride. It is symbolism meaning to be in her glory. In heaven s/he will have the support of God’s glory upon him or her.

The jewels are the added value of one’s salvation, glory and reward at the Judgment Seat of God, but earned on earth. Look at 2 Corinthians 5:10…For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. This judgement is referenced in Revelation 20:11-15.

·        The Victor’s Crown. This crown (recognition) will be awarded to those who discipline their minds through the study of God’s Word and prayer (1 Corinthians 9:25–27).

·        The Crown (recognition) of Rejoicing, which will be given to those who have led others to Christ (1 Thessalonians 2:19).

·        The Crown (recognition) of Righteousness, which will be given to those who have a longing for the Lord Jesus—who look for Jesus’ return (2 Timothy 4:8).

·        The Crown of Life (recognition), placed upon those who have endured and triumphed over trial and temptation and persecution, even to the point of martyrdom (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10).

·        The Crown of Glory (recognition), awarded to the faithful shepherds of the people of God and to Christian leaders (1 Peter 5:4).

·        By definition from scripture, here is what crown means. “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown (recognition in heaven) in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes?” (1 Thessalonians 2:19)

HMMM? We often ignore the Martyr’s Crown discussed in Revelation 2:10. Does one eagerly anticipate wearing it?

This list of six crowns )plus one) believers will receive after Christ returns and judges, is of recognition There may be more rewards, but the list validates our conclusion. It is an identity (crowns) with jewels probably being the additional rewards of great value once in…, read the next paragraph.

John 14 tells us that we will live in mansions. Oddly, we take or assume the word mansions to mean what we understand today as a dwelling. It may be a universe of our own or an estate that includes a universe. Modern science tells us that there are hundreds of millions of individual universes outside our own earth’s solar system and universe (I Corinthians 2:9 and 10).

When scripture tells us that we will lay our crowns before the feet of God (Father, Son, & Holy Spirit) it is again an allegory. It means as believers we will give full credit to the One we worship and who redeems us. Not of yourself but of God (read 2 Corinthians 3:5)… Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God,…” This is why the 24 elders of Revelation 4:4 toss their crowns (their status in heaven) before the feet of God as will all redeemed believers.

Joan N. I apologize for not being able to give you a plausible short answer. Our personal belief is that one must add supporting scripture to a correct conclusion. A conclusion is not accepted as valid unless one gives supporting reference. To simply say “take my word for it” is not a support. I have dealt with far too many people who quote, and too often misquote scripture to validate his or her desired conclusions.

Rev Dr. Jstark
2022- (a question from a reader)

Malachi 4

Malachi 4

This chapter is a wonderful way to end our Old Testament minor prophet series. It is both enlightening and encouraging. Click on the above Malachi 4 heading and read the final chapter for yourself. Here is a debrief of the final six verses of Malachi.

“For behold, the day is coming,
Burning like an oven,
And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble.
And the day which is coming shall burn them up,”

On that Day! God promised in Genesis to not destroy the world again by global flooding. This time large portions of the earth will submit to fire.

Says the Lord of hosts,
“That will leave them neither root nor branch.

No longer will God tolerate Satan’s proxy insurrection. Not a remnant of Satan’s influence will remain. He is bound in the bottomless pit for 1,000 years. Since he is the root of all sin and rebellion against God, the root is destroyed along with the branch. The branch infers his minion fallen angels and anti-God humans.

But to you who fear My name
The Son of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings;

Healing? Click here and read [Ezekiel 47:12; Revelation 22:2].

And you shall go out
And grow fat like stall-fed calves
.

Have no fear about the weight gain. The word “fat” in the Hebrew is pûsh. It only infers that one will grow healthy and grow well; healthy, fulfilled, and complete.

You shall trample the wicked,
For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet
On the day that I do this,”
Says the Lord of hosts.

Ashes under the feet of the righteous? See 2 Peter 3:3-7. One will not trample the wicked but will trample the ashes of the wicked.

“Remember the Law of Moses, My servant,
Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel,
With the statutes and judgments.

Once again we read…it is about Israel. Yes, the believer is redeemed meaning saved but the emphasis of end time – On That Day, is upon Israel as emphasized in Malachi. Bear it well in mind. In the *Old Testament GOD is the husband of Israel. In the New Testament Jesus is the husband as head of the church called believers.

It is about Israel – Not the Church of believers

*(Jeremiah 31:31-32 NKJV) “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; [32] “not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD.”


Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet

Send us Elijah? In this unique promise, God says He will send Elijah to Israel before the great and dreadful day of the LORD. This is In That Day. Some identify Elijah as John the Baptist. It is also possible since it is appointed for mankind once to die [Hebrews 9:27] and Elijah never died [2 Kings 2], he may be one of the two Tribulation witnesses [Revelation 2:3-11]. (emphasis mine)

And he will turn
The hearts of the fathers to the children,
And the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”

This verse in Malachi is a reversal of Luke 12:53. What a wonderful promise … Millennial Reign.

This concludes our series on the 12 Minor prophets in ahabiblemonents.com. There are many other articles within this website. Feel free to search them out. Remember…

We Teach but You Decide (This is the free will of mankind)

Rev. Dr Jstark
2022

Malachi 3

Malachi 3

…’It is useless to serve God; What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance…” asks the Levite priests.

This quote is from Malachi 3:14a. It is the sum-total of the thinking (excuses) of the Levites and the Judeans. Today, one might call it a Freudian slip. The truth in their thinking surfaces. It has to do with profiting not worship. This type of profit first thinking may underline antisemitic attitudes over the centuries. Their demand and desires for riches exceeded their desire for Godly worship.

Malachi 3:1 Malachi in Hebrew means The Messenger. This verse talks about another messenger yet to come prior to the Messiah. This may have been a real downer for the Levite leadership. They have been waiting for their Messiah since Abraham. Now they are told there is to be another messenger yet to come. It is easy to see where in their minds they may think “how long must we wait?” We too as believers practice this impatience.

This is a promise of the New Testament John the Baptist. Following this Christ will be rejected by the sons of Israel at the 1st advent, a time of the Gentiles (Daniel’s 70-week prophecy), then the tribulation of Israel, finally followed by the 2nd advent of Messiah. To the sons of Israel this will be a bit of a shock. They rejected the 1st advent of Christ. It will take the Tribulation for the descendants of Jacob to finally realize their huge mistake. See Isaiah 40:3-5. Here is a simple graphics by starless-suite.blogspot.com

Verse 3:1 speaks of the suddenness of the coming of Christ as King of Kings. 1 Corinthians 15:52 affirms this suddenness.

Malachi 3:2  There is a second messenger according to this verse in Malachi. Who can endure his coming? The message of John the Baptist is ABOUT Jesus’ first advent. Malachi 3:2 is the second advent of Christ. How do we know the difference? The message of John the Baptist prepares the way for the ARRIVAL of Jesus and salvation to be provided by his crucifixion. The second talks about enduring. The entire 2nd verse, in a way, is threatening; to endure to the end of their (Israel’s) tribulation. Who can endure; who can stand when he appears (NOTE: not born but appears). This means Christ’s first coming has already happened. For those who do not know, Jews are still waiting for his FIRST coming.

…Malachi 3:3 is a continuation of verse 2. This verse once again identifies its primary audience, the Levite leadership. God’s promise is to purify the anointed Levites so once again their service will be honest; That they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness. 

NOTE: There is no mention or suggestion of the gentile New Testament believers commonly called The Church. This is specific to Israel as will be the 7-year Tribulation. Raptured believers will return with Christ at the 2nd advent. Another reason there is no need to mention the believers is that they have already been raptured.

QUESTION: Why is it so difficult for so many religious people to distinguish between the church as a building or denomination and the FACT it is exclusive to those who understand what real worship is and believe (to be and to live) in Christ?

Malachi 3:4 The issue with God through his messenger (Malachi) is that most Israelis and their leadership have departed from a true worship of God. He had become but one of several gods to them. Worship had become a traditional routine. Verse 4 points out that the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will [once again] be pleasant to the Lord. What worship was like in the times of Moses, Joshua, King David, and King Solomon, Israeli worship will be once again. This renewed integrity alone will position Israel as they were originally intended to be. A light on a hillside, admired by all others. (SEE NEXT VERSE AND THE ALIENS)

Malachi 3:5 is a powerful verse. Read it closely. We can easily understand the meanings of Jesus being the discerned or the judge. We can also see the basis for judging sorcerers, adulterers, perjurers, exploiting of widow and child-orphans (anyone in an honest need of help), but what about the aliens? 

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Verse 5 includes judgement against “those who turn away an alien”. Turn away aliens? Aliens are those who are not of Jacob’s DNA but living within the borders of Israel. It may mean those who are outside the borders of Israel and in need but refused their need by Israel. It may infer the lack of being a guiding light on the hillside for gentiles to admire then desire to emulate. One might find it of great interest the number of Bible commentaries that do not address this part of Jesus’s coming judgements.

We Teach but You Decide

JIV: In several of our previous Bible, book, or chapter narrative commentaries in ahabiblemoments, it has been pointed out that we must draw nearer to God for him to draw nearer to us. Verse 5 is one of but a very few times God moves closer to us first. This time it is in judgment. In other words, it is no longer a spiritual closeness but one that all will see; believers and nonbelievers alike. 

Malachi 3:6 This verse is DEEP in demonstrating God’s genuineness. He does not change. To the relief of all sons of Jacob, even though they have fallen away from what God wanted them to be, God will not fall away from his covenants with Israel and their patriarchs. Therefore verse 6 states: This is why you are not (already) consumed, oh sons of Jacob.” Another way to see this… the sons of Jacob have been preserved and will through their eventual and selective end time tribulation…. On That Day.

Malachi 3:7 Sometimes stupid breeds stupid; arrogance breeds arrogance. This is the arrogance of the Levites asking a question for which they already knew the answer. None the less, Malachi points out mid-verse that constant…If you draw closer to me, then God will draw closer to you. Their question in and of itself is shallow…”In what way shall we return?” This is another Freudian Slip. Their question is actually a confession that they have fallen away from the ordinances God gave to them. How can one ask a question about returning if they think they have not left? It isn’t ignorance, it is arrogance. These Levites were trained in the ordinances of God. Their attempt to live inside their own will’s means living outside of God’s will. They wanted their Temple worship and traditional practices to suffice as the extent of their worship. By this time of Malachi, they were offering blemished or damaged animal sacrifices. 

Malachi 3:8 The Levite leadership and priests are accused of robbing God of what is supposed to be his. They ask of Malachi, “in what way have we robbed God?” Earlier in Malachi 2 we discussed their shoddy sacrifices offered on the alter. Israelis had kept the best for themselves and offered fouled or leftovers as their offering and tithe. Deuteronomy 18:4, written by Moses almost a thousand years earlier, states that they were to give of the “first fruits” not the blemished and leftovers. 

Malachi 3:9 is expository. All the sons of Jacob have robbed God of his first fruits. Now all will be doomed. This curse will not be lifted until the end of End Time; On That Day. This will be Israel’s tribulation. Some identify it as Jacob’s Troubles.

Malachi 3:10 Be cautioned here. This verse has been abused by not-for-profit TV evangelists and mega-church preachers. Even though this verse says for us to “try it, it will work” (paraphrased), the pleading for money basically enriches the crier. Here is the real thing: (3:10b)

“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.

Critical insight: Please grasp the intent of this verse. Is one giving in anticipation of receiving a high return on one’s investment? Is such more of an investment than a tithe? A true tithe is somewhat like the Lord’s Prayer. Go into your prayer closet praying in privacy. Wealthy so-called minister use this to extract funds from the one who is giving in hopes of a high return. This is not giving. It is investing. Their deceptive appeal is a play on words.

JIV NOTE: This is also why a group chanting or quoting the Lord’s Prayer is NOT scriptural prayer. Is it being done as commanded? Where is the prayer room and privacy in a group performance? Matthew 6:5-13. People wish to hear their own words instead of a prayer from the heart. Read the verses BEFORE the Lord’s Prayer. It explains the conditions upon which prayer should be offered. A group chant is NOT even remotely mentioned here.

Malachi 3:11 There is often an oversight in this verse. The first line in verse 11 promises that the devourer of Israel’s proceeds will be rebuked. This includes the deception of tithes and offerings including investing in hope of a great return. Is one’s tithes and offerings being bestowed upon the denomination without expecting a greater financial return for the giving? This incorporates both the one using a deceptive appeal for funds and the one giving to it. In short, Malachi is pointing out that God’s blessing will be equal to or greater than a tithe given as an offering. It has been heard by this writer to “give until it hurts.” To be more scriptural, one should say, ”Give until it feels right (good).”

Malachi 3:12 is after End Time and within the Millennial Kingdom. Thy kingdom come, thy will (is being) be done…

Malachi 3:13-15 is self-evident: [NKJV]

  “Your words have been harsh against Me,” Says the LORD, Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You? You have said, ‘It is useless to serve God; What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, And that we have walked as mourners Before the LORD of hosts? So now we call the proud blessed, For those who do wickedness are raised up; They even tempt God and go free.’ “

Note the underlying motive of the Levites. They asked, what does it PROFIT US to keep God’s ordinances?” 

Malachi 3:16 is a very consequential verse. Those who believed and followed what Malachi was pointing out are added to a Book of Remembrance. It isn’t that God needs a notebook to remember. Do we meditate on his name? Might this be one of the books that are opened as stated in Revelation 20:12? Also see Daniel 12:1. Take note that according to Daniel, Michael is the guardian angel of Israel.

Malachi 3:17 is prophetic. It states, On that day…”. What day? The day of redemption. The day the books are opened. What may be overlooked is the fact that Israel will then become God’s jewels. We assume or have assumed that Israel was already the jewel of God. This verse states one of two things.

  1. Israel returns to being the jewel of God (see Jeremiah 3:8)…apple of his eye.
  2. This verse is speaking of all who believe (v16 and 17)

Rev Dr Jstark
2022

Malachi 2

Chapter summarized: …as if God is bound to bless them (Israel), while they consider themselves to be free from any conditional obligation to God for receiving God’s blessings. (JIV).

This is the purpose-in-point for chapter 2 of Malachi. It has been stated in other narrative commentaries found in ahabiblemoments.com that man has then and now determined God is somehow our creation, not the other way around. He is obliged to love us. We are somehow not obliged to honor (fear) him. We need only to acknowledge he exists. How wrong! Even Satan and his minions acknowledge his existence.

Malachi 2:1 zeroes in on Judah’s religious leadership. This chapter applies to all, past and present, but is specific to the religious sect of Judaic Judaism. A reminder to the reader of this commentary. The Old Testament is to a nation called Israel. The New Testament is to the world as individuals. The Bible is still our guiding light and GPS.

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Malachi 2:2 God through his messenger Malachi is as blunt as anyone can be in this verse. We have often reminded our readers that all promises or covenants in the Bible are conditional to If you (we) ____ then God will___.” This verse states promise in the negative. If you will not hear, then I (God) will curse any blessings intended to be yours. This is a paraphrase but exacting. The end of verse 2 points out that this has already happened to Israel/Judah and to the Levitical leadership. The example used in chapter 2 regarding God’s chosen (elect, not select) reflects a religious attitude but there is no sincerity of true worship. Week after week people sit in their same pews without “fear” of the Lord God. Many are more concerned about protecting his or her pew seat. God is a worship symbol more than a purpose to their daily living. This was true of Judah in the time of Malachi and is true today.

Malachi 2:3 Malachi is telling the religious leadership of Judah that they will now suffer the consequence of fake, insincere God/Jehovah worship. Fact is, they have already missed their intended blessings from God. Now it will get worse. Just around the corner they will lose their independence and be removed, forced to occupy other lands. Judah will cease to exist being renamed by the Romans to Palestine. First mentioned are their descendants. God will rebuke them. Do not misunderstand the meaning and focus of this rebuke. If their descendants follow and seek God, this prophetic consequence will not apply. They will all be blessed or cursed, not in their roots, but in their fruits. Choice is still theirs. There are far too many self-proclaiming Christians who are rooted in their denominational roots with no fruits. Attendance or tithing is misunderstood as a or their root.

Malachi 2:4Then you shall know my covenant with Levi” [Exodus 32:29]. This chapter is specific since verse 1 tells us it is the Levite priests and leadership Malachi is addressing. According to Numbers 3:41 it is by proxy the Levites become the “the first born” of the Israelites. Their job as first born is to lead, teach, instruct, and demonstrate what and how to worship and fear the Lord God Jehovah.

JIV: There is a possible and fascinating connection with this ordination of the Tribe of Levi. In previous ahamoment articles under the file name “Which Way Did They Go,” we discuss the dispersion of Israelites over the centuries to the north, south, east, and west. One of them is which way did the Levites go. There is a country today whose currency and former name identify them as The Levitical Confederacy.” We know it as SWITZERLAND! The Levite Confederacy.

Malachi 2:5 Click on this verse. It is a continuation of verse 4 stating that God’s covenant with Levi is one of life and peace. Consider this verse in addition to the comment in the above JIV. Switzerland avoided both World Wars. [Nevil Wylie’s Britain, Switzerland and the Second World War; Oxford University Press, 2003] does not mention any attempts by either warring side to press Switzerland to take an active part in the war[s]. Levitical life and peace as promised by God through Moses over 3,500 years ago. It continued during the world wars. If these scriptures from Malachi, Exodus, and Numbers do not echo an aha-moment concurrent with history, it is difficult to understand why not.

 Malachi 2:6 The 6th verse in this chapter expands upon why God put this responsibility and blessing on the Tribe of Levi. It all goes back the progenitor of the Tribe of Levi…Levi himself. Levi was anointed as the light to his own people. What is wrong here? Malachi points out the current Levitical leadership no longer had truth in their mouths or upon their lips. They no longer walked in peace and equity within the tribes of Israel.”

Malachi 2:7 For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, And people should seek the law from his mouth; For he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts…”

Malachi 2:8 Now comes the reason Malachi singled out the Tribe of Levi in chapter 2.

“… you have departed from the way;
You have caused many to stumble at the law.
You have corrupted the covenant of Levi,”
Says the Lord of hosts
.”

This is the charge being brought against them by God through his messenger Malachi. They are accusations they cannot deny, but they try. These charges against the Levites continue through the end of this chapter (v8-v17).

Malachi 2:9 [ESV] “….so I [now] make you despised and abased (despised) before all the people, because you do not keep my ways but show partiality in your instruction.” This is a direct reference and reminder of God’s specific charge to them in Leviticus 19:15. 100 plus years earlier this charge was also brought against the Northern Ten Tribes of Israel. We see this in verse 11: “…in Israel (northern kingdom) and Jerusalem (Kingdom of Judah). “Jews have been despised by the world for many generations. Simply put…They brought it upon themselves. This does not excuse Gentile rejection of Israelis too often mistakenly identified as “Jews”.

Malachi 2:10  Here is a charge of treachery and Infidelity. The infidelity being their unfaithfulness to God and God alone. Worship of God had become a routine, a habit, a tradition, something of less priority, not a heartfelt deep relationship with him and him alone. The one father referred to in the opening of this verse is Adam. The fiasco, even in the leadership of Judah, was they wandered off and into marriages with foreigners as individuals and as a nation. They wanted to do it their way. God said they must isolate and not mix [Ezra 9:1-2; Joshua 23:7]

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Numbers 36:6 states the Israelis may marry whomever they wish if it is within a clan of their father’s tribe. God knew that there would be inheritance issues of title to lands if they married outside of their tribal identity. Here is the stinger. Not only were they to marry within their own people (Israelis) but within their own tribe. For some reason God had set this DNA identifier to be for his people. WARNING: This has no connection with marriages of Gentiles including race. All races come from Adam and Eve. Societal culture has set a contrary scale of standards. Don’t be horrified. Did we not all come from Adam and Eve? Today all descended from Noah?

Malachi 2:11 Verse 11 differs from the charges and challenges of verse 10. In verse 10 it is a personal issue of marriage. In verse 11 Malachi juxtaposes the nation of Israelis with an adulterous scenario of Gentiles. God commanded marriage of Israelis to be within their tribal clans. The foreign god(s) referenced in this verse is the culture and other worship options outsiders bring into Israel if Israelis marry outsiders.

CAUTION: Depending on the translation we can read that Israelis as a nation is called “she” or “he.” Example:

For Judah has profaned The Lord’s holy institution which He [God] loves: He [Israelis] has married the daughter of a foreign god [NKJV]. The KJV, MKJV, LITV, ESV and other translations do not use the word “He.” Example from the LITV: …for Judah has profaned the holy place of Jehovah, which He loves and he [Judah] has married a daughter of a foreign god.” Usual practice is to refer to a nation or State as “she.” We defer to the accuracy of the YLT in this verse. It uses neither he nor she.

Malachi 2:12 may help explain why Bible versions like the NKJV use the word “HE” in the above paragraph. The identifier HE is found in verse 12… “The man who does this…” We see the word MAN is used. This should not be an issue within churches or bible study groups but the like has divided denominations. A nation cannot be cut off from itself, but an individual can be. The first line in this verse states: “may the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob the MAN…” who does such. Those of us who may have some degree of Israeli DNA are the consequence of a marriages outside of the Tribes and clan-ship of a tribe. In Bible times they were called Samaritans.

Malachi 2:13 Be careful. This verse smacks in the face of some denominational and individual customs and practices. It becomes an emotional display but shows no genuine worship. This is the second thing God has against (13) the [Tribe of] Levites. Bare in mind, the first thing was their fake religious practice and devotion by offering blemished sacrifices. Perhaps it was cattle or sheep with wounds or disease. Maybe something that no longer was of value to the owner. It even included sacrifices stolen from another to use as the thief’s personal offering.

An interesting word in English that sometimes does not translate well is regards. “So He does not regard the offering anymore…” The word “regard” in this verse is pânâh [H6437]. It means to face if translated directly. Within the context and content of verse 13 it means God does not face (accept) the false offerings and worship. These offerings may look good to onlookers but are not accepted by God. We might say today “face up to it.” He [God] does not see their tears, weeping and false offerings as meaning a worship of him. Their wailing, tears, perhaps tearing of clothing at the alter does not get God’s attention. It is more of a demonstration performance, not worship. It is Fake. This is true of or in some charismatic churches. A false or fake demonstration of one supposedly worshiping.

Malachi 2:14 The context of this verse if read without including the previous verse can be complex. Is this a reference to one’s marriage or is it, considering verse 13, the people of Israel have left their first love that being God…the God of their fathers in Israel’s younger years. An honest answer to this verse is God’s attitude about divorce. This is divorce at the man level and at the worship alter. Look at the verse  15.

Malachi 2:15 We are to be one in spirit, one in worship, one with God, one relationship. It boils down to what Maurer and Hengstenberg explain per this verse. Seek God meaning also seek a godly seed. Did not God make (us Israelites) one with God? He commanded they isolate from other nations and avoid mixed marriages. Israel was to be a Godly seed. There are many covenants with Israel that do not apply to those outside of Israeli DNA. Some have yet to be fulfilled.

JIV: Many seminaries try to teach students what to think instead of how to think. Liberal colleges and universities have routinely do this for many years.

Malachi 2:16  “For the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the LORD of hosts. Therefore, take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.” For some this is a pill too large to swallow.

We Teach but You Decide.

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2022

Malachi 1

Malachi 1:1 The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi. As we mentioned in the Malachi Introduction article, this is the ONLY time in the Bible where the word or name Malachi is given. Since the word malachi (lower case) means messenger of the Lord, it is feasible the assumed name Malachi could simply be written… The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by a “messenger of the Lord.” Some opinions in the Talmud maintain that (M) malachi was Mordechai, the hero of the Purim story in the Book of Esther, but referred to as malachi because of his position as viceroy of Persia—a designation similar to that of an angel (“malach”). Another view, supported by many authorities, is that malachi is a pseudonym for Ezra, a messenger of the Lord.

Malachi 1:2I have loved you”. Chapter 1 begins a series of seven questions asked to the messenger of Jehovah by the leaders of Judah. Let’s remember throughout this narrative commentary of Malachi that Jehovah God is not speaking directly to the people of Judah. He has a messenger…Malachi. Verse 2 is the first of the seven questions asked by Malachi throughout the 4 chapters of this book. Each of the seven questions asked by the Jewish leaders are a basic challenge to God himself, his Old Testament word, and COMMITMENT TO ISRAEL. The ones asking (challenging) questions are the same people to whom this book was written.

I have *loved Jacob, but (v3) I have *hated Esau. This challenge comes from priests asking MalachiHow has God loved us?These leaders of Judea do not need to ask a question for which they already know the answer(s). It is an avoidance question, a deference, not a question from ignorance. Might one go back to the beginning of how the captive Israelis were allowed to leave Egypt 1,000 years earlier. The identities of Jacob and Esau, twin brothers of their father Isaac, references their identities as Edomites and Israelis. From birth these two went in opposite directions in respect to their attitudes toward God. The Edomites, Esau’s descendants, go by several names: Edomites, Men of Mt. Seir, Idumeans, sons of Esau. King Herod of New Testament fame was a descendant of Esau…an Idumean. 

*John Calvin sees these two Hebrew words, loved and hated, as meaning accepted and rejected to be the light on the hillside [emphasis mine].

God, as promised, made a great nation of both twins. Esau’s offspring grew up hating Jacob’s offspring. When Moses led the captive Israelis out of Egypt, the Edomites refused to allow them passage through their lands. They had allied with the Amalekites to harass Israel when it was migratory from Egypt then continued attacking them as a new nation after the northern ten tribes seceded into a kingdom separate from the kingdom of Judah. No longer were the 12 tribes a nation, but two separate kingdoms. Edomites fought alongside the Babylonians to conquer Judah, especially Jerusalem. Then, moved into Judah’s abandoned homes. In end time God will again bring justice to the enemies of Israel. God does not need to justify himself. Genesis 12:3. Heaven and earth are God’s creation. God is not our creation. [John 1:3]

Malachi 1:3 Some modern day people have asked in their hearts or of their ministers, what did God ever do for Esau and his descendants? Look closer at the word “heritage” in verse 3. Nachălâh in the Hebrew means to be given something through inheritance. God promised to bless Jacob AND Esau. Esau saw his inheritance as a birthright. In Genesis 25:29-34 Esau willingly sold that birthright to Jacob. Later he wanted it back as do his descendants today. They try to take the lands of Israel as an inheritance via aggression, the UN, peace agreements, alliances, news media, and wars.

NOTE: The word “dragons” in Malachi 1:3 in some translations (v3) is a reference to female jackals. They are not the fire-breathing dragons some try to make them out to be.

Malachi 1:4 From the birth of Esau and Jacob around 1800 B.C., God has given Esau’s descendants, grandchildren of Isaac, ample time to turn (back) to him. They never did and still haven’t. Just as God brought judgment on many nations for denying HIM as God, He is the creator; He sets the conditions. Not us!

JIV NOTE: It may help our understanding of enemies of Israel by explaining or differentiating between those we group together (often incorrectly) as Arabs. The first people identified as (pure) Arabs descended through Eber. He had two sons: Joktan and Peleg. Joktan had twelve sons all identified today as pure Arabs. Abraham eventually descended through the line of Peleg. We can read about them as a point of reference in Genesis 10:25; 1 Chronicles 1:19. The short of this historical sidetrack is:

  1. Abraham is connected to one source of Arabs (Ishmael). Abraham’s great-great-great-great grandfather (Eber) is connected to both Arabs and Israelites. The same is true of Isaac through Ishmael. For a brief overview look at generational sequence of patriarchs before and after Noah, click on this

Abraham fathered Isaac and Ishmael. Ishmael fathered a different portion of the people we call (dirty) Arabs. Hagar mothered the Hagarites, Ishmael the Arab Ishmaelites. 

  1. Isaac fathered twins: Esau and Jacob. Esau had wives of Hittite DNA and (AHA MOMENT) seeing that Abraham and Sarah were troubled by his marriage to Hittite women, married a third wife…Mahalat, a daughter of Ishmael. What a mess! Esau fathered the Edomites and Idumeans who are classified as Arabs. This means there are three branches of so-called Arabs:
    1. Joktan, son of Eber, had twelve sons known as pure Arabs even by today’s Arab standards. His brother Peleg brought in the line through Abraham people known as Israelites. Both A and B are Hebrews, descendants of Eber.
    2. Ishmael, along with his mother Hagar brought into the Arab fold people known as dirty Arabs since they were not from a direct line of descendants as were Joktan’s 12 sons; Eber’s grandsons.
    3. Esau added to the line of dirty Arabs through his Hittite wives and the daughter of Ishmael, Mahalat.

Three sources of Arabs: One is considered pure and the other two are identified a dirty Arab mix.

Malachi 1:5 The eyes have it (The first words in verse 5). This verse portrays God’s concern for mankind well beyond the borders of “then-times” Israel/Judah. This is not selection but election. It is not predestination meaning rejection of different DNA peoples. A mankind today is connected through Noah. Every race today is somehow a cousin!

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Malachi 1:6 is an continuation of verse five. Malachi goes beyond descendants of Esau and Jacob. In general, parents, particularly fathers (not so much true in today’s society) are honored by their children (sons). Certain servants honor their masters. By extension, faithful employees reflect their employment. God asks, if this is true and I am your Father, where is my honor? This sets the stage for the next question by the Levitical priests who have dishonored God. They ask, In what way have we dishonored (despised) God?” 

Malachi answers in verse 7.

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Malachi1:7 Click on this verse and read it for yourselves. Bottom line: the Jews of that time were no longer honoring the God-set conditions for sacrifices and sin forgiveness. The people of Israel no longer brought the best of their flocks for sacrifice. The priests could see that the animals to be sacrificed were blemished. Yet, they defiled the alter and name of God by knowingly offering the blemished animals as good-enough sacrifices. This event set the stage some 400 years later for Christ to be the unblemished sacrifice for mankind’s sin. Verse 8 continues this question to the Levitical Priests.

Malachi 1:8 Would these same priests try to honor their governor (leader?) with blemished foods? Would he be honored? Would he accept being offered the blemished of their flock as a gift? Would such a gift to the governor be pleasing to him? Would it be deemed as a prized and honorable offering? We don’t need to try and sidestep this rebuttal by God through his messenger Malachi. Such is total insincerity as an offering and attitude.  

In another sense, the Levites are not happy since they were also the recipients of those food offerings. Historically they ate of it themselves. In the back of their minds, they are loathsome of the food that eventually goes on their dinner plates.

Malachi 1:9,10 God through Malachi goes full circle. Verses 9 & 10 sound like God had tolerated such offerings. God asserts in verse ten that the alter is HIS. It isn’t a property of the ones making the offerings. John Calvin suggest that God’s alter will not accept such deceptive offerings. It is not the acts of an individual that brings salvation as much as it is the intent of the heart and following God’s GPS: God’s Plan of Salvation. It is not man’s attempt to analyze what is good and what is not; what is honoring and what is insulting, then write the prescription on their terms. It is following God’s prescribed way. 

Malachi 1:11 is a critical verse. No longer can Israelis proclaim that God is “their” God alone. He never was exclusive to them, but this verse is a declared turning point. In a way, an introduction to the New Testament.  [NKJV]

“For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down,
My name shall be great among the Gentiles;
In every place incense shall be offered to My name,
And a pure offering;
For My name shall be great among the nations,”

My name SHALL BE GREAT. It does not say this in the current tense. This is pointing to the New Testament and the eventual unblemished sacrifice for sin through Jesus Christ. Add to this the millennial conditions.

Malachi 1:12 – 14 can be seen as not only contempt toward God by the priests themselves, but contempt toward the service of man to God. The priests knew better but continued to offer the blemished sacrifices. This is like a minister today who has no real relationship with God in his (sadly ‘her’) messages and personal life (one’s prayer closet). S/he sees the ministry as a social process, a habit, a routine, a tradition. S/he sees it as a job or career. This is why Malachi chapter 1 leads up to the break away from Israel being the light unto the world. Gentiles beyond Israel’s borders become that light unto the word. This includes Gentiles today being a light unto the former banner carriers instead of Israelis themselves. 

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2022

Malachi Introduction

Malachi Introduction

Before we begin this narrative commentary, here is an aha moment to consider. We find in the Table of Contents of our Bibles that Malachi is listed as the last of the Old Testament books… BUT, it isn’t the last O.T. book written. It more likely is the Chronicles, if not Ezra. The original identity was simply The Chronicles, not the 1st and 2nd Chronicles. In the original Hebrew text, The Chronicles is put last in written Hebrew chronology. In the reorganized Christian bible, 1st and 2nd Chronicles has historical content, so it is listed with the other canonized historical O.T. books.

The last events in the Chronicles take place during the reign of Cyrus the Great, the Persian king whose forces had conquered Babylon in 539 B.C. Judeans shortly thereafter were released from Babylonian captivity. Sadly, only a few returned. We do not know who authored The Chronicles. It was divided into part one and two by those 70 Hebrew scribes who translated the original Hebrew O.T. into the Greek Septuagint. Ptolemy of Egypt ordered the translation. He wished that all could read the Old Testament. Greek was the common language for writing at that time. Few could translate Hebrew to Greek but trained Jewish priests could do so with incredible accuracy.

Dating can be of a Challeng.

We do not know when Malachi lived or prophesied. This is part of some Bible-dating challenge. We can deduce by relating other passages and events in the Bible as to possible time periods. Malachi came on the scene after Haggai and Zechariah. His book is the last of the Minor Prophets and the last book of the English version of the Old Testament. He is one of the three post-exile prophets. The minor prophet books are listed together as are the historical books in the Christian Bible.

The original remnant of Judeans who returned from Babylonian captivity was in 536 B.C. under Zerubbabel’s leadership. This is 70 years after Nebuchadnezzar enslaved the first wave of Judeans in 606 B.C. On his third exploit in 586/7 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple. Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther present the life of Israel after the people’s return from their exile in Babylon. The book of Chronicles serves as a summary of the history of Israel. It begins with the genealogy of Adam and ends with Cyrus’ decree allowing the people to return to Canaan. 

JIV CAUTION: Some history revisionists say the Babylonian captivity was only 50 years. 586 B.C. to 536 B.C. The first captives, including the likes of Daniel was during Nebuchadnezzar’s first invasion in 606 B.C. 606 B.C. to 536 B.C = 70

Zerubbabel brought back 42,000 Judeans to Judah. Daniel had previously made a plea to Satrap or King Darius the Mede, who conquered Babylon, and Cyrus the Great of Persia for the release of the captive “Jews”. Daniel knew according to Jeremiah that Judean captivity was nearing the 70-year captivity mark. He calculated the captivity by studying Jeremiah. (Daniel 9:1-3, KJV) plus Daniel was part of the 606 B.C. captives taken. He knew his own Daniel lived into his 90’s.

King Cyrus of the Mede-Persian Empire along with Satrap/King Darius of the conquered Babylon agreed to the release of Babylonian captives. They were free to return to their homelands. Only a few returned. After 70 years of captivity in Babylon, Zerubbabel led a remnant of Judeans back to Judah. He was in the line and DNA of King David since he was a grandson of King Jehoiachin—the last king of Judah prior to the Babylonian conquest of Judah. Zerubbabel was born in Babylon thus his name Zerub-babel. Cyrus II (the Great) of Persia and King/satrap Darius of conquered Babylon soon there after released the “Judeans” to return home.  They needed someone to be in charge. King Cyrus II appointed Zerubbabel to govern the returning Israelis of the Kingdom of Judah and the territory of Jerusalem. God had promised only a descendant of King David would sit on that throne. Zerubbabel was a descendent within the Davidic line. He was appointed governor, not king, over the Judean territories. We know nothing about his death, but he did rule until the Temple was rebuilt (Ezra 5, 6). Zerubbabel was an older contemporary of Nehemiah and Ezra who came later to finally get the Temple built.

The foundation for rebuilding the Temple was laid early on. Then Judeans tired of the job refocusing on building their own homes. Plus, were distracted by the harassing neighbors, mostly Samaritans.  About 17 or 18 years later, only the foundation of the Temple and the alter were in place. Then the Lord raised up two prophets—Haggai and Zechariah. With the arrival and encouragement of Haggai and Zechariah, building of the Temple resumed…but only for a short while. Darius II was now king of Persia which included the conquered Babylon. This is not the same Darius the Mede who became ruler when Babylon first fell. 

The first Darius was 62 years old [Daniel 5:31]; the Darius in Daniel of the Lion’s Den. He was appointed to rule over and reorganize the Babylonian Empire. He appointed 127 governing satraps over which Daniel was their chief. Darius the Mede was initially appointed as a temporary king in Babylon by the Persian ruler King Cyrus II aka: the Great.

After many years of nothing other than the Temple and alter foundations being laid, Haggai and Zechariah were raised up to nudge the Judeans back into completing the Temple. This was probably 17 or 18 years after Zerubbabel initially returned 45,000+ to Judah from Babylon.

Ezra did lead a much smaller constituency or band of Judeans back to Jerusalem with large amounts of gold and silver. He ran into issues with raiders, robbers, and anti-Semitism attitudes. Ezra 8:22 states:

“I was ashamed to request of the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the road, because we had spoken to the king, saying, “The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him.” 

AHAMOMENT: Ezra is credited with pulling the Old Testament writings together. Ezra-Nehemiah were originally one book. For the need-to-know Bible student, it is possible that Ezra also authored the Book of Nehemiah. The Septuagint and Vulgate identify the Book of Nehemiah as 2nd Ezra.

Around 450 to 445 B.C., some 80 years after the initial return of some Judeans with Zerubbabel, *Nehemiah, a cup bearer of King Artaxerxes, requested a leave of absence to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem. This was the 20th year of King *Artaxerxes reign. The king granted his request. This is also after the time of Queen Esther.

*Nehemiah eventually replaced Zerubbabel as governor of Judah.

*AHAMOMENT: 

1. Persian king Artaxerxes, the son of King Xerxes aka: Ahasuerus, had a stepmother. Her name? Esther! 

2. Some historians make Esther the queen-mother of Xerxes’s son, Artaxerxes, aka: Ahasuerus. If so, Esther was Artaxerxes wife, not Xerxes’. The fact is, Esther is either one or the other. This validates the Book of Esther and her cousin, Mordecai.

We at ahabiblemoments lean toward #2 being factual. In the Septuagint, the Book of Esther refers to this king as ‘Artaxerxes’ (Ancient Greek: Ἀρταξέρξης). This fits scenario #2. The Septuagint was written by 70 Jewish Rabbis under the direction of Ptolemy, one of Alexander’s great generals. This probability has more leverage than some later historical revisionist. 

Wikipedia tries to change what the Bible and 70 Jewish scholars of the Septuagint say as factual. Both the latter sources say Ahasuerus was Artaxerxes. Know your Bible history before taking what Wikipedia states as the truth. This website tends to give just enough truth to entrap one into thinking all they say is fundamentally the truth. This simply is fake historical reporting. Revisionists!

For the sake of keeping things and events in order: (> means prior to the next name)

Zerubbabel> Haggai> Zechariah> Queen Esther> Ezra> Nehemiah [all post-exile]

Let’s continue with the chronology of events leading up to Malachi. With the assistance of Darius II after finding the original orders and decree of King Cyrus to the return of the Babylonian captives from Judah and build the Temple, he ordered the Temple to be completed. Some 60 years later by king Darius’s decree, Nehemiah is allowed to build the walls around Jerusalem. This was in the 6th year of the reign of King Darius II of Persia. Once the Temple was finished and dedicated, the prophet Haggai announced by prophecy that there will be an even greater Temple in the future. Some say this was the New Testament value-added temple features of King Herod. Some, including this commentary, see it as the Temple in which Jesus will ultimately set his throne after the End of Days. This will be the center of power during the millennial reign of 1,000 years. 

Once the Zerubbabel Temple is built, there is no additional Bible or historical mention of Zerubbabel. This is where Ezra picks up the focus in Bible history. The flow of significant Persian Empire rulers to this point were Cyrus the Great, Cambyses II, Darius I, and now Artaxerxes (aka Ahasuerus). The original ruler over conquered Babylon upon the defeat of the Babylonians was a short-time ruler by the name of Darius the Mede. He was “appointed to rule Babylon” by king Cyrus the Great. Darius, a Mede general, was already 62 years of age at the time of his appointment. He knew Daniel.

Nehemiah’s prayer (Nehemiah 1), as was Daniel’s prayer (Daniel 9), petitioned God for the people to be released from Babylonian captivity with a confession of the sins of Israel. Both pleaded for the prosperity of their people. Nehemiah governed Judah for about 12 years before returning to the Persian land of Susa to again serve as the cup bearer of the king. 

Summary: In Malachi’s time and as we narrate commentary on his four chapters in the Old Testament, about 100 years pass between the Zerubbabel-led return from Babylon and the rebuilding of the walls around Jerusalem. Most if not all the original Judean returnees had died by then.

JIV NOTE: Since the name or word Malachi means messenger of the Lord, it is possible that this word is a title, not the real identity and name of the author of Malachi. In the entire Bible, the name or word Malachi is mentioned only once: in the first line of the Old Testament book that bears the name Malachi.

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2022

Zephaniah 3

Zephaniah 3

Many theologians, ministers, Bible teachers, and educational institutions wish to identify April 1948 as the God-promised return of all Israelis to Israel. This is only partially correct. We will find out why such thinking in this chapter of Zephaniah it s functionally incorrect.

WOE!!!

Zephaniah 3:1-3 WOE!!! We have discussed the word woe in previous narrative commentary. The woe used here is the “prolonged form of o’ee” in the Hebrew; hoh’ee. There is an emphasis on how it is said. The her identified in this chapter (“…woe to her…”) of Zephaniah is Jerusalem/Israel. It is not, as often assumed or desired by some, to be the woe of Nineveh. The filthy labels rebellion, bitterness, disobedience. The polluted are identified in conjunction with the word filthy. According to Strong’s H1351 it means to free. Free what? To free oneself from following the Law of Moses (O.T.). To make God to be what the people wish instead of the people being what God wants. Jerusalem and Judean leadership including citizens of the State had rejected and renounced God as their only God of Israel. They wanted gods they could see.

V2: She has not obeyed His voice,
She has not received correction;
She has not trusted in the Lord,
She has not drawn near to her God.

NOTE: The “she” is Jerusalem

Let’s look closer at highlighted line four (above) of Zephaniah 3:2. James (N.T.) explains this conditional dilemma expressed in verse 2 of Zephaniah; a factor in the cause for God’s judgement. James 4:8 defines the problem we see in Israel/Judah. Contrary to the ignorant Christian prayer of “asking God to be with so-in-so”, such is not scripture based. According to scripture, so-in-so must first draw closer to God (If you ___, then I ___). Don’t take our word for it. Re-read James 4:8 then read Deuteronomy 31:6 and Hebrews 13:5. Every sin comes from not being in the will or drawing nearer to God. This is the free-will of mankind. There is a continual need for the true believer to be disciples continually drawing closer to God through Bible study and prayer. Those who decide that expectation is too demanding may need to question his or her salvation in the first place. Israel (722 B.C.), now Judah had compromised their relationship with God.  They had walked away from God…If one walks away, then God will not bless.

Zephaniah 3:3 The word prince(s) does not limit itself to mean only royalty. Princes (Sar) means anyone in a leadership position who comes from the rank and file. Roaring (shaw-ag’) means to mumble, grumble, or complain. The word judges can also be misleading if one compares it to the culture of what traditionally is meant by a judge. Shaw-fat’ (judge) in this verse is not a pronoun but a verb meaning to judge someone from his or her own perspective.”

AHAMOMENT: The last line in verse 3 says…[those] “that leave not a bone until morning.” We say it today as one who has a bone to pick with another

Zephaniah 3:4 does not bring accusations against the people of Judah. These are God’s charges for all Israel; guilty as charged. The qualifier of guilty as charged is found in verse 5. The Lord is righteous and will do no unrighteousness.” God righteously charged them through the prophet Zephaniah. What a person thinks in his or her mind as okay does not always line up with what God says is okay. This literally means a continual scenario of personal evaluation. It is a moment-by-moment scenario. What is in the heart IS.

What is in Your heart?

Zephaniah 3:6 The people and leadership of the Kingdom of Judah, much like as had the Kingdom of Israel, forgot that God’s judgement of others around them and in the past has already occurred. They were not immune. Zephaniah is saying, God has done it before to you and others. Unless you (Judah) draw closer to God, he will judge once again. They didn’t so God did. Just a couple years later Nebuchadnezzar brought that judgement.

Zephaniah 3:7 is Israel’s balance beam. If one who is not coached falls off a balance beam, much to her demise or injurious consequences, s/he will then have a deeper respect for a coach. In this verse God is saying we should fear God’s position as our creator; receive, then follow his coaching instructions (before getting back on the balance beam). Zephaniah is the final minor prophetic book before Judah goes into Babylonian captivity.  One can guess they heard but rejected God’s instructions given to them by “coach” Zephaniah. Now for the consequence of falling from the balance beam once again.

Zephaniah 3:8 is a serious consideration. Verse 7 states that the warning and instructions were not heeded by Judah. Now the consequence (if you do or don’t, then I will…). Zephaniah is also prophesying End Time. A time when the earth, mankind, and beast will suffer for humankind rejection God. God is not a religion divided into compartments by denominations. God is GOD! The created cannot command the creator to do this or that. Denominations damage the unity of the true church body of believers.

DEVOURED!

Verse 8b reads: “All My fierce anger; All the earth shall be devoured with the fire of My jealousy.” The word “all” used twice in this passage is kole in the Hebrew. It is emphatic. It means “without exception”. 

Zephaniah 3:9 For then…” means, after this 70-year Babylonian judgment. Zephaniah shifts gears in verse 9. This passage defines the Millennial Reign of Christ. He will bring absolute justice to ALL mankind. This verse uses the word pure (Baw-rar’) as in a pure language. Some translations substitute clear language (Baw-rar’ also means pure). It is less of a language change of God’s people than identifying and removing what is no longer to be on his or her lips. This must include the mind and the heart. “…to call upon the name of the Lord with the desire to serve in one accord.” The significance and point of this verse goes back to why God originally created Adam. 

Zephaniah 3:10 A prophet of God again references Ethiopia. Once more at the exclusion of other African nations. Here is a clue that refers to the DISPERSED ones of God’s chosen. My worshipers, the daughters (offspring) of my dispersed ones.” God is identifying location, location, location. Of those dispersed from Israel by Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks (Alexandria), Romans, and many others, many are located even beyond the borders of Ethiopia in Africa and north into Scandinavia including Ukraine and Russia. It appears or hints that the confusion of language at the Tower of Babel may then be reversed by God. 

To identify all Israelites as Jews is incorrect. The term JEW was never used by Moses in the first five books he wrote for the Old Testament. The first use of this word was derogatory. II Kings distinguished between those of the Tribe of Judah and scatterings of other tribes in the Southern Kingdom of Judah (Jews) versus the ten Northern Tribes in the Kingdom of Israel (Israelis). The king of the northern ten tribes was planning an offensive against the Kingdom of Judah. He called them Jews. The first use of the word Jew as regards an individual is in the book of Esther; a reference to Mordecai. Mordecai was actually a Benjamite but descended from the territory of the Kingdom of Judah. This made him a Jew-dean.

Zephaniah 3:12,13 contrasts the personalities of the Israelis then, with those God will give a millennial “pure language.” Included in this transformation is a clean heart. Those who are offensive will be removed. Israel will tend to their business(es) and fear no outside interference.

*Shem was the spiritual one of Noah’s three sons. He lived 500 years after the flood. It is possible if not probable that he is the Melchizedek of “…Salem”. Melchizedek, whose name means “king of righteousness,” was an early king of Salem (Jerusalem) and priest of the Most High God (Genesis 14:18–20; Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 5:6–11; 6:20—7:28). In the book of Genesis Melchizedek’s sudden appearance then disappearance to Abraham is somewhat mysterious. Some theologians claim that in pre-New Testament (Old Testament), Jesus is the embodiment of Melchizedek.

Zephaniah 3:14 instructs the remnant of Israel, in that Day, to shout and sing praises. Peace at last. True joy in the heart. A pure language. No enemies from within or without. The daughter of Jerusalem refers to the offspring of long past and future generations of Israelis. The constant is Jerusalem itself i.e., the City of David and possibly *Shem (son of Noah), God’s holy city. Zephaniah defines this in the next verse.

*Shem was the spiritual one of Noah’s three sons. He lived 500 years after the flood. It is possible if not probable that he is the Melchizedek of “…Salem”. Melchizedek, whose name means “king of righteousness,” was an early king of Salem (Jerusalem) and priest of the Most High God (Genesis 14:18–20; Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 5:6–11; 6:20—7:28). In the book of Genesis Melchizedek’s sudden appearance then disappearance to Abraham is somewhat mysterious. Some theologians claim Jesus id the embodiment of

Zephaniah 3:15the LORD has taken away your judgments, He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; You shall see disaster no more”. If this is difficult to understand, one has a severe case of denial. Israel is God’s chosen in the Old Testament and during the Millennial reign.

Zephaniah 3:16 Again we find that identifying phrase, “on that day.” Where we read “let not your hand be weak” means Israelis will no longer need to look over his or her shoulder or have a need to be aware of defensive posturing. Be strong in the confidence of the Lord Jesus who will then be on the throne in Jeru-Salem. (NOTE: This spelling helps us understand the connectivity of Melchizedek/Salem and what we now call JeruSalem)

Zephaniah 3:17-20 (THAT DAY). Note that nowhere in this passage does God ask mankind for their opinion. Neither does God ask man’s opinion of the method by which he plans to end the world as we know it, then begin a new world. We do know that Matthew 5:18 and 24:35 tell us the current heavens above and earth will be gone. So will Satan. After being bound for 1,000 years, he will have an address somewhere in the Lake of Fire.

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2022

Zephaniah 2

Zephaniah 2

IF YOU WILL...

The promises or covenants given by God to man always follow this pattern: If you___, then I will ___ (will do such-and-such). This is even true of God’s final judgement. If one repents then God will withhold punishing judgement. If we don’t, consequential judgement is promised. What is the constant in God’s directions to man? The guarantee of one of two eternities. How does this apply to the person who has sat in a pew for years “waiting on the Lord”? Satan has no concerns about the religious or pew dwellers. He encourages such pointless religious practice as one day he will try to set himself up as a god to be worshiped by all mankind or suffer Satan’s wrath. 

Zephaniah 2:1 requires no explanation other than understanding the adamant calling to gather the people of this Old Testament nation of Judah. Gather you leaders TO THE HEARING to heed what prophet Zephaniah is going to say to them in chapter 2. 

Zephaniah 2:2 ‘Before the decree is issued” means before the order from God is given for Zephaniah to go. Troops always align themselves to attack at the command of their commander. They are on the ready. Zephaniah is saying the same thing to his fellow Judeans. Come. Let me [Zephaniah] tell you of God’s guarantee. Repent or be judged. The analogous of chaff, fierce anger repeated twice is like the New Testament stating Verily, verily I say unto you. The urgency is in the phrasing.

STUDY THE WORD! Get to Know our God Who knows you and He loves you.

Zephaniah 2:3 [2:3a] “Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth…” Meek does not mean the people who are at or near the low of the economic food-chain. It is a condition of the heart. One cannot justify his or her meekness without first forfeiting his or her conditional attitude. Not only must Judean attitudes and actions be challenged, but they must give up trying to make their worship being man made conditional. So must modern man.

2:3c “that you may be hidden?” This does not mean that one may as in a possibility. The correct wording in this case should be “will be”. It means permission granted. The last few words in this part of verse 3 state in the day of the Lord’s anger”. This is the *Day of the Lord. God will scorch the earth with fire, not flood it once again [Isaiah 24:6 who is a contemporary of Zephaniah] Also read or click on Revelation 16:8; II Peter 3:10]

*JIV: Zephaniah mentions this phrase more often than any other prophet in the Old Testament. This repeating of “in the Day of the Lord” is a constant reminder of End Time judgement. (JIV: Jim’s Introspective Vew)

This punishment is not limited to Judah/Israel. The next few verses identify either symbolically or as identified who will suffer the same curses as will Israel. This is Zephaniah’s way of identifying the world as we know it today [see our closing comment per chapter 2]. This description and prophecy of desolation is two-fold. Desolation was historically accomplished by Assyrians, Babylonians (Chaldean’s), Greeks, and the Romans. Secondly, it is a sign of end time making this portion of Zephaniah a two-fold prophecy. Add to this history already completed “in the Day of the Lord” one has now identified to whom Zephaniah is speaking. First to the Jew, then to the Gentile (Romans 1:16).

[cf. https://www.oneforisrael.org/bible-based-teaching-from-israel/to-the-jew-first-what-does-it-mean-and-why-does-it-matter/]

Skip to Zephaniah 2:9. [Verses 4 through 8 are self-evident]. Although symbolic in name, these verses are as stated…God’s judgement. Verse 9 can be a study challenge. Per time and the calendar, Zephaniah is now speaking of a time long after the Children of Jacob (Israel) possessed the Promised Land. The Tribes of Gad, Manasseh, and Reuben had once possessed the lands of Ammon and Moab east of the Jordan River (but they failed to rid the lands of all these descendants of Lot). They eventually left it to the Assyrians. Zephaniah 2:9 is a prophecy well beyond his own current era. According to verse 9 God’s chosen will once again possess these lands. How can they once again possess what they already possessed? This passage simply means it is a future that has not yet materialized. This is End Time geography.

To better grasp this event, we need to break down the Hebrew of two words in this verse: residual of my people and the remnant of my people. The residual, she’êrı̂yth, and the remnant, yeh’-ther may seem to be two words of the same meaning but not so in Hebrew. She’êrı̂yth means those who had escaped or survived. Escaped or survived what? Yeh’-ther means the excess of the remainder. These Israelis shall possess, in the future, the lands of Ammon and Moab. Today this is still south-west Jordan.

JIV: Moab and Ammon fall within the boundaries of the New Jerusalem [1400 miles by 1400 miles – 12,000 strada/furlongs; Revelation 21:15-21).

We can be assured this is End Time and the Millennial Reign of God/Jesus by reading Zephaniah 2:11. When has all mankind ever worshiped God from his and her place up to verse 10? It hasn’t! This is a time yet to come. How else can this total man-kind worship be universal unless those who reject God be gone. Up to this time on earth, most mankind has and still does reject God.

Zephaniah 2:12 Why is it that the Ethiopians are directly mentioned but the Egyptians, Libya, and so many other nations are seemingly overlooked? In verse 12 the Assyrians to the north are mentioned. These places represent directions as to the north, south, east, and west. The world will be in judgement. All will see the new Jerusalem and recognize God for who he is. Earlier in this chapter Zephaniah has already identified a sense of direction to the west of Israel when he included the Philistines and those of Gaza. 

Zephaniah 2:13 corroborates this idea of geography rather than actual fixed locations. The first line in verse 13 states: I will stretch out my hand (judgement) to the north.

We close this portion of Zephaniah with a quote from Dr. David Guzik:

Zephaniah never mentions why the nations are ripe for judgment. Perhaps he assumes we’ve already read Amos, Isaiah, and Nahum, which do detail the sins of these neighboring nations. HINT: “as in the time of Noah” (Matthew 24:37)

JIV: As we discussed earlier in this chapter, it probably isn’t the nations being judged as much as it is the people who have rejected God and his son Jesus. David Guzik is right-on per Amos, Isaiah, and Nahum. We have already written commentary on Amos and Nahum. They discuss the common sins of this world that is without God.

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2021

This article belongs back with our series on the Book of Habakkuk

Habakkuk 3  [cntrl/click to read Habakkuk 3]

Now that Habakkuk has had his question-and-answer time with God, he settles into a prayer and praise mode. He fully realizes who God is. His questions come from an inquiring heart, not from a heart that questions God himself. Habakkuk now inquires to gain understanding, not to accuse or to cross-examine. He fully understands who God is and will always be.

In Habakkuk we do find an oddness. Habakkuk begins his book with a statement or question to God of why he does not answer Habakkuk’s prayers. Habakkuk can’t figure out why God seems to do nothing about the evils of this world. He wants judgment from God. Then a sudden reconciliation. In chapter 3 Habakkuk asks God to be careful with his judgments…”in your wrath don’t forget your mercy.” First, he wanted God’s judgments then he wants God’s restraint.

Habakkuk 3:1 uses the term Shigionoth. We do not know its exact meaning. This word is only used once in the entire Bible. We can connect some possibly related dots as to its intended implication or application. Chapter 3 is poetic. We often find the word Selah in the poetic Psalms. Selah is also found in Habakkuk 3. We do not fully understand its meaning. Since these words are used in poetic passages, they must have something to do with song, perhaps prayer. Chapter 3, as noted in verse 1, is a prayer or song of praise to God from the lips of Habakkuk. As written in the LITV, MKJV, and the YLT Shigionoth is written erring ones. We suggest this word Shingionoth means the inner most strings of one’s heart…a prayer, confession, joy, a song being composed from within one’s heart, a Psalm such as King David or Solomon would write.

Habakkuk 3:2 Habakkuk realizes that revival within his people of Judah (perhaps all Israelis) requires a work of God (Holy Spirit) not an achievement of man. Cry out confession to God and expect (wait for) atonement. He is asking God for a return to the times when Israel followed in obeyance. Habakkuk fears for the loss of Israeli worship of Jehovah their God. PROBLEM? Habakkuk forgets the free will of man, or does he? Next paragraph:

He does understand God’s judgment per chapters 1 and 2. In chapter 3 he fears for the consequences. Habakkuk begs God to remember mercy in his wrath against his chosen people. It is the opposite of his opening verse in chapter 3. He questions why God does not judge the evils of the world especially within Judah itself hoping to restrain the harshness of God’s judgments upon his chosen people of Israel (Judah).

Habakkuk 3:3 Teman? Where is Teman? God came from there? The Holy One came from Mount Paran? These are physical locations near Sinai but the implication is not that God the Holy One originally resided there. It means, out of Teman and Paran God’s official commandments came into the hands of Israel via Moses. Habakkuk is giving God praise for his continual guidance. [Mt. Paran; see Deuteronomy 33:2]

Habakkuk 3:4 (aha moment) Does the reader recall watching a TV show, cartoon, or movie where the villain and/or the good guy radiate what seems to be power charges from the fingers of his or her outreached hand? Guess from where this originates? Yup! Habakkuk 3:4b. “He had rays flashing from His hand…” Even so-called magicians allude to the power of the raised hand and point fingers. Abracadabra, BOOM!

In verse 4c we read…”and there his power was hidden.” As off the wall or odd as it may seem, perhaps this scripture of punishment by God with the tips of his fingers is not far off from Habakkuk’s plea to show mercy in his wrath. He wants the enemies of Israel to see God’s wrath, but is asking like the final plague in Egypt, to overlook the sins of Israel. Pass your finger of judgement over the Egyptians (meaning enemies of Judah) but have mercy on Israelis.

Habakkuk 3:5 This verse has much controversy in other commentaries. Speculation is dominant. Keep in mind that chapter 3 is a psalm or something of a poem to be sung. Perhaps verse 5 is a phrase to be recited. Before Him went pestilence, And fever followed at His feet. Similar to King Saul has killed his thousands but David has slain his ten thousand [I Samuel 18:7], this is a recital or chant.

We Teach – You Decide

Habakkuk 3:6 This recital continues into verse 6. It is a remembrance of God’s power and judgment: yesterday, today, and forever. Habakkuk is exalting God in praise and celebration. He recognizes that God is Jehovah-God. He praises God for who and what he is. God’s ways are everlasting.

Habakkuk 3:7 Habakkuk continues with his vision of God-in-charge. The world recognizes God but that does not mean they put trust in him. It has been, is, and continues to be more of an avoidance of God. Frank Sinatra sang the song…I Did It My Way. This is the basic attitude of the world, to do it their way.

I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction;
The curtains of the land of Midian trembled

Habakkuk 3:8 The Expositor’s Bible states per verse 8: “it is not with hills, rivers, or sea that God is angry, but with the nations, the oppressors of His poor people…” God is displeased with the people.

Habakkuk 3:9,10 Note that “selah” is inserted after the first two sentences of verse 9. It is a break from one thought going to another just as in poetry or verse in a song. ”You divided the earth with rivers” could easily be a part of the next verse (v10). Nature is defined as different from mankind. BUT…even nature recognizes God as its creator and sustenance. [See Luke 19:40]

Verse 10b is not clear enough to understand its application. It may mean that the earth such as during a volcanic eruption, the deep rumbles its voice. Throwing up or lifting its hands on high, into the skies, closely resembles that of an active volcano.

Habakkuk 3:11 Habakkuk continues to acknowledge that all creation is in God’s hands and will stand still or respond according to his thoughts, wishes, or command. Even nature refuse to counter God’s direction or instructions (cf. Luke 19:40). Why then does man not follow the lead of nature? [verse 12]

V12: to trample nations (ethnos). There is a difference in translations between the King James and the New King James. KJV says the heathen whereas the NKJV says nations. The thought is the same. Habakkuk’s thought here is the difference between nature and mankind. ‘Erets or earth understands the might of God and recognizes it owes its very existence to him. Mankind, in many cases, has lost obligation to God. God assigned free-will to man but not to all creation. [Matthew 12:37]. We note here that the words’ Free Will are not found in scripture. We conclude the free will of man by study of what it takes to find salvation and eternity through God instead of spending it with Satan and his minions. We have choice…that equals free will.

Habakkuk 3:13 concludes this section of Habakkuk’s prayer and recognition of God. God wished that all mankind would bow a knee to him in true worship. He intended this beginning in the Garden of Eden when all creation was peaceful.

JIV NOTE: This curse at the Garden of Eden includes climate change and seasons we know of today; the tropics, north and south poles. At the time of creation, the sun was constant during the day sending its life-giving values (and vitamin D) to all. After the flood, the earth tilted to the 3o wobble of today giving us the four seasons. Hot, cold, and moderate, but changing weather.

We Teach – You Decide

V13 has an interesting sentence…”you struck the head of the house of the wicked.” Note that this is not the heads of the houses of the wicked, but it is singular, head of the house. There is but one house of the wicked and from where rebellion against God began…SATAN! Satan had already been cast out of heaven. Prophetically he will be given the final blow from God. He will not be destroyed but eternally condemned. As head of the house of all wickedness, there can be no other inference. SELAH.

Habakkuk 3:14-16: Instead of Habakkuk continuing to question God or his character as in chapters 1 and 2, he now trembles at the very thought of God’s pre-eminence. As he does in chapters 1 and 2, he no longer wishes to question God.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 This is Habakkuk’s faith in action. We might call these three closing verses of Habakkuk 3 a hymn of his faith. Verse 19 is from where we get the chorus “Like (as) a Deer Panteth.” (cf. Psalm 42)

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2022