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 are 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!

 

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The History of Acts Part 3

Background to the Acts of the Apostles

  1. The author:
      1. Luke was not an eyewitness to the life of Christ (Luke 1:14), but he was a participant in many of the events of Acts (Acts 16: 10­ 17; 20:5­-21:18; 27:1­-28:16).
      2. Like Paul, he came on the scene after the life of Christ on earth.
      3. He was with Paul at Rome during the imprisonment with which Acts closes rather abruptly. Acts 28:30, ­31; cf. Colossians 4: 14; Philemon 24.
    1. When was Acts written?
      1. Acts closes abruptly with Paul under house arrest at Rome awaiting the outcome of his appeal to Caesar.
      2. The most reasonable explanation for the book’s leaving us in the dark as to the outcome of the appeal is that the case had not yet been decided when Luke wrote.
      3. Paul and his company arrived at Rome in the spring of A.D. 60 and stayed there “two whole years” before going to trial. Acts 28:30.
      4. Thus Acts may have been written sometime in or shortly after 62 A.D., just before Paul’s trial and initial release to go to Iberia/Spain where large numbers of Jews lived.
      5. Note: Tradition tells us that Paul undertook additional missionary labors following his release, perhaps in Spain; i.e. Iberia. Cf. Rom.15:24­-28.
    2. The title of this book: The Acts of the Apostles.
      1. The book certainly does not tell all the acts of all the apostles; it doesn’t even relate some of the acts of the other apostles.
      2. Some have suggested that a more descriptive title might be the Acts of the Holy Spirit and the Church Known as The Way; early Christians were not called Christians.

Additional Background to the Acts of the Apostles

  1. Luke was a physician (Col.4:14), and his medical background and interests seem to appear at times.
    1. He uses medical terms (“convulsed” (thrown down, ASV) and “examine” (look upon, ASV) in Luke 4:35 and 9:38.)
    2. In Jesus’ saying about the camel and the needle’s eye, Luke uses the technical term for a surgeon’s needle/awl eye (trumalia); Matthew and Mark use another word (trupēma) which refers to a needle of whatever variety. Luke 18:25; cf. Matt.19:24; Mark 10:25.
  • Saul did not merely have his sight restored, but “there fell from his eyes as it were scales”; he then “took food and was strengthened.” Acts 9:18­19.
    1. This eyesight restoration leads this author to believe his “thorn in the side” was not his eyesight
  1. Publius’ father “lay sick of fever and dysentery.” Acts 28:8.
  1. Why did Luke write?
    1. He saw the need to commit to writing an accurate account of the beginning and spread of Christianity. THE CHURCH. Luke 1: 1­4.
    2. It chronicles the triumph of the gospel over the hearts of men in a hostile world. Acts 2:47b; 6:7; 9:31; 12:24; 16:5; 19:20; 28:30, ­31.

The Message of the Book of Acts

  1. Acts traces the spread of the gospel from Jerusalem to Antioch to Rome.
    1. A simple outline of the book can be formulated on the basis of Jesus’ statement at Acts 1:8.
      1. In Jerusalem. Acts 1:1­8
      2. In Judea and Samaria. Acts 8:4­; 11:18.
  • In the uttermost parts of the world. Acts 11:19; ­28:31.
  1. As he was moved by the Holy Spirit, Luke showed how the purpose of God to save mankind was being worked out in human history.
  2. Its (gospel message) spread throughout the larger Roman Empire mainly through the efforts of Paul and the dispersed church of believers by the Sanhedrin and anti-Christian Rome.
    1. Paul always began his preaching in each city among its Jewish population in a local Synagogue. Acts 13:5,14; 14:1; 16:13; 17:1,10,17; 18:4; 19:8; 28:17.
    2. Rejection by the Jews led to preaching among the Gentiles. Acts 13:46. 

Major Themes and/or Issues in the Book of Acts

  1. The reliability of Luke as an historian.
    1. In the last century, critical thought, generally in Germany, held that Acts was a second century document from a third-­rate historian.
    2. Research in geography, archaeology, and history have so thoroughly vindicated Acts’ trustworthiness as a document from the first century that such criticisms now appear absurd.
  • Sir William Ramsay (1852 – 1916) was trained in and accepted the German critical theories until he began archaeological work in Asia Minor. He was forced to abandon the attitude he had learned toward Acts and eventually became one of the most ardent defenders of Luke’s reliability. Cf. Ramsay’s The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament (1915).
  1. Acts reflects details that only a first­ century author who was personally familiar with them could have related. He had great insight from befriending Apostle Paul.
  2. Luke knew, for example, that . . .
    1. Cyprus, Achaia, and Asia were senatorial provinces governed by proconsuls. Acts 13:7; 18:12; 19:38.
    2. The chief magistrates of Thessalonica were called ”politarchs.” Acts 17:6,8.
    3. The leading men of Ephesus were “Asiarchs.” Acts 19:31.
    4. Laws and customs of the Roman world conformed to patterns that we have only recently been able to corroborate.
  3. Luke is now known to display a minute accuracy of detail which is unsurpassed in ancient literature.
  1. Some special features of Acts.
    1. The geography of the book involves three key cities.
      1. Jerusalem is the base for the church’s evangelistic activity among the Jews for the first 12 chapters with Apostle Peter.
      2. Antioch is the center of activity among the Gentiles in chapters 13­:21 with Apostle Paul.
      3. Rome is the city of Paul’s evangelistic enterprise as the book comes to a close.
    2. In terms of central personalities, Peter and Paul dominate respective halves of the book. Luke was a colleague of Paul and knew Peter by association.
      1. Peter, apostle to the circumcision [Jews and Israelis], is the central figure of the first 12 chapters.
      2. Paul, apostle to the uncircumcision [Greeks], is the principle of the remainder.
      3. Even the miracles they performed in confirmation of their apostleship are recorded in parallel: healing lame men (Acts 3:2; Acts 14:8), “miracles of harm” (Acts 5:1; Acts 13:6), healings through secondary means (Acts 5:15; Acts 19:12), casting out demons (Acts 5:16; Acts 16:18), confronting sorcerers (Acts 8:18; Acts13:6), and raising the dead (Acts 9:36; Acts 20:9).
  • The activity of the Holy Spirit is given great notice in Acts.
    1. The outpouring of the Spirit on Pentecost is in many ways the central event of the book. Acts 1:4­5; 2:1-­13.
    2. The message preached and the signs performed in its confirmation are all attributed to the power of the Holy Spirit.
  1. The early expansion of the church.
    1. In the earliest days of the church, the church was confined to Jerusalem.
    2. The persecution of Christians by the Jewish leadership following Stephen’s martyrdom led to evangelization in the areas of Judea and Samaria. Acts 8:1.
      1. Philip preached in Samaria. Acts 8:4-­25.
      2. He converted an Ethiopian seeking understanding. Acts 8:26-­39.
      3. He preached in the Gentile city of Caesarea. Acts 8:40.
  • The first recorded instance of Gentile conversion is Peter’s experience with Cornelius. Acts 10.
    1. This met with objections. Acts 11:1­3
    2. As a result, however, the right of Gentiles to hear the gospel was affirmed. Acts 11:4­-18.
  1. Near the time of Cornelius’ conversion (A.D. 40?), the gospel came to Antioch.
    1. Preaching was first to the Jews. Acts 11:19.
    2. An outreach was begun among the Gentiles. Acts 11:20­-21.
    3. Cornelius is the first recorded Greek conversion to The Way (Christianity)
  2. Antioch of Syria now becomes the center of activity in the book.
  1. The missionary tours of Paul.
    1. The church at Antioch was founded by fugitives from Saul’s persecution of Jewish converts to Christianity in Jerusalem. Acts 11:19.
      1. Many Gentiles were also converted in this city. Acts 11:20,­ 21.
      2. The brethren at Jerusalem sent Barnabas to investigate this unusual situation. Acts 11:22­, 24.
    2. Barnabas decided to seek the help of Saul now called Paul in building up the church at Antioch. Acts 11:25, ­26.
      1. He had shown confidence in Paul earlier, shortly after his conversion. Acts 9:26, ­27.
      2. Now he would bring him into a situation where the Lord’s providence was to give an opportunity for the greatest missionary efforts in all history other than possibly Billie Graham.
      3. Note: This is three years after Saul’s conversion. We do not know what was happening in his life during that time. Galatians 1: 15­-24.

 

 

Acts 3

Peter has become a ball of fire since the resurrection of Jesus and well after his denial of him before the crucifixion of Jesus. He is now a spokesperson of spox. Little more comes out of his mouth other than sharing the gospel of Christ. He has become a true “be – liver”.belIEVERS2

Peter and John are going up to the temple at the 9th hour. Times given in the bible such as the third hour, sixth hour, ninth hour and the like can be a bit confusing. Often in the bible the hour given is the number of hours past sunrise; i.e. 6:00 a.m. In this case it is the third hour after sunrise but 9 o’clock in our usual way of thinkin; i.e. the ninth hour.

Why in verse 2 of chapter 3 does the description of the situation around the lame man include the statement “was lame since his mother’s womb?”  (ASV). To most leapimgthis statement means little but the bible never includes words for the sake of filling space. This is not like many assignment papers I would receive from students in the colleges where I taught. A student could fill half a page or more with words without having said a thing. This is called many things but usually it means…s/he hasn’t a clue of knowledge let alone any understanding. S/he thinks the assignment to be “write X number of pages.” This is a bit like thinking “worship” means going to church. Neither is correct if something isn’t digested and made a difference be it an assignment or true worship.

Here is why that statement is included…This means everyone in town KNEW (YADDA) that this guy was not a fake news lame guy healed of some malady no one ever knew he even had. We see this too often with fake-healing TV evangelists. To heal him had to be of Divine power. Little faith is needed when one’s eyes witness the event.

Fixing his eyes upon the lame man (a man never named by the way) Peter commanded him to get up. Not only does he get up but he JUMPS UP. How startling this had to be to all witnesses. In verse 9 we read that “all” the people saw him walking and jumping. The word all, pas in Greek, means the whole of the people; everyone.Filled with wonder and amazement. And they knew that it was he (nameless cripple from birth) who sat at the gate and begged alms daily.”

The people gathered around Peter and John still wondering and in amazement when Peter tells them, “gaze not at us for we are but humans. Gaze upon the true healer ‘whom you hung on the cross at Calvary’” (paraphrased). Peter, as is the custom of that day, goes back in history to remind those gazing at him and John that their forefathers and their religious leaders were told of this event “by the Old Testament prophets” hundreds of years earlier. The reader should be reminded at this point that published bible scrolls available to the people at this time in history were Old Testament manuscripts. Acts itself wasn’t written until around 80 to 90 A.D. yet alone published and available to the general public.

It is of particular interest to note verse 19…”repent and be converted.” Once again a simple read does little justice to one’s knowledge and understanding. Peter doesn’t turn aroundsimply say to REPENT; he adds AND BE CONVERTED. This is sadly the case in too many lives and altar calls even today. We can get as far as a repenting moment but seldom use this as a point to “turn our lives around” and head in another direction. This is from where this author got the saying “one must be a believer as in to be (repent) and to live (converted to) a life of a believer.

AHA MOMENT: This man, according to chapter 4:22 was over 40 years of age. Also since he was at the gate and temple in Jerusalem, Jesus must have passed by him a number of times but did not heal him. ODD? Perhaps but we do not understand God. We can only accept him by faith. Perhaps the moment was not right back then for Jesus to have performed a miracle and healed him. This man may not have been in a receptive mood or heart. He may have been preserved by God for this moment with Peter and John as a new witness. Any guess is speculative but we do know this man was a lame beggar during the time of Jesus in Jerusalem.

Once again we get a glimpse of “first to the Jew then to the Gentile” according to the last two verses in chapter 3. (ASV)

Act 3:25  Ye are the sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

Act 3:26  Unto you first God, having raised up his Servant, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.

 

cropped-minijim1Rev. Dr. Jstark
May 2018

Part Two (Introduction to Second Semester – Acts 13-28)

Luke – Part Two (Introduction to Second Semester – Acts 13-28)

Instructor’s Note: Last semester we left off at chapter 12:24. We now pick up where the Apostle Peter is no longer the center of the goings on; the Apostle Paul is primary to Acts 13-28. This term will mention Paul’s missionary trips to the Gentiles, but mostly discuss the issues of those days when Paul made his missionary travels. It isn’t a study to trace his three “missionary” trips establishing new communities of Gentile believers, but more to the historical facts of why and where he went and where he avoided going.

An aside note…Just as the first half of the Book of Daniel is written in Aramaic (Greek) and the second half Hebrew, the Book of Acts is the message in the first half to the Jews and the second half is to the Gentile/Greeks.acts

Acts 12:25-16:5

In this part, Luke describes how the gospel spread through more countries and by who; such as the connection with King Solomon in 945 B.C. and Philip’s encounter with the Ethiopian official almost 1,000 years later. It ends like this: ‘So, the Christians became stronger in their faith and more believers joined together daily.’ The people who joined were believers, not outsiders. This means those in The Way (Christians) in worship and discipleship were not the lost but those who were there to learn something beyond their salvation moment.

Acts 16:6-19:20

We learn from this portion of Acts how the good news about Jesus reached Europe. Paul started a new church in Corinth, a city in Greece. To its name-sake we get 1 & 2 Corinthians. He also started a new church in Ephesus; i.e. the Book of Ephesians. Ephesus was a very important city. It was in the same territory that is Turkey today. It is near Greece but mostly separated by the Aegean Sea. This part ends like this: ‘In this manner, the Lord’s message (to the believers) continued to increase in power and it spread widely.’

Acts 19:21-28:31

In the final part of our Acts study this semester, Luke tells us that Paul reached Rome. When the book ends, Paul is in prison under house arrest. There, ‘he preached boldly about God’s kingdom. He taught the facts about the Lord Jesus Christ and nobody tried to stop him.’ In other words, he brought many to a belief in Christ than sent them to a church of other believers to be disciples (learners) per living a life in Christ; i.e. To Be & To Live (be-liever) growing daily in knowledge and understanding.be a believer

When the book ends, Paul is in Rome. The Romans had arrested him. Luke does not say what happened to Paul next but he remained with him. So, many scholars conclude that Luke completed Acts very soon after this. Also, he said nothing about Emperor Nero. He killed many Christians in AD 64. Luke had likely finished the book in AD 62. We do not know the exact date. It only makes sense if Luke had not already written Acts, he would have included Paul’s execution under the sword of Nero; the firebug of Rome.rome fire

Nero Biography

Nero was the last Roman emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. He was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius and became Claudius’ heir and successor. Like Claudius, Nero became emperor with the consent of the Praetorian Guard. Nero’s mother, Agrippina the Younger, was likely implicated in Claudius’ death and Nero’s nomination as emperor. She dominated Nero’s early life and decisions until he cast her off. Five years into his reign, he had her murdered. He reigned from 54 A.D. to 68 A.D.

JIV NOTE: As a disciple; i.e. bible student, know that names mentioned in the bible are for reasons far beyond the knowledge of their names. The same is true of places and things. These persons, places and things help archeologists, historians, and even militaries trace diggings, research, and tactics. In a very real sense it is like the Hansel and Gretel “story.” These persons, places and things have markers that can be traced back to their origins. Praise God!

AHA MOMENT: The Rest of the Bible Facts not found in the bible; Job, Issachar, and Zebulon

After the Assyrian dispersion of the ten Northern Tribes of Israel around 720 B.C., tribes migrated north, west and east; Kazar/Kazak Empire. To the distant northeast we find a tribe even older than the Israeli Tribes; one that claims to descend from Job. Today they are called the Abii or Lob (Job) tribes…in *Siberia.

*NOTE: From where do most historians claim the American Indian migrated when crossing the land-bridge between Alaska and Russia? ANS: Siberia, so that implicates the American Indian.

Extra Bonus AHA MOMENT: Shortly after the Northern Tribes of Israel were dispersed by Assyrians a people by the names Asakarta or Sagartii (Issachar) appeared in the Zagros Mountains between Iran and Iraq. British geographers discovered in a territory close by the name, of a clan of people who called their land Zabulistan (Zebulon?).

So much more but this is for an advanced study at a later date. The Bible is not a manuscript for a religion. It is traceable historical facts.

“The bulk of the Finns and Estonians are Israelite, but the Karelians are Japhetic but live within the lands of Israeli in Scandinavia. The Karelians live in an eastern province of Finland. They descended from Japheth (son of Noah)”

Descendants of Issachar settled in western Finland and Estonia (Sources: Eino Juttikala and Kauko Pirinen, A History of Finland, 1974. p.13; W.R Mead, Finland, 1968, p. 56)

 

Dr. jStarkRev. Dr. Jstark
May, 2018

Acts 2

Acts 2 – Have we defaulted to a so-called modern day view of baptism(s)?

There is much debate per baptisms; water be it sprinkle or submersion, Holy Spirit (with evidence of tongues, ect.

  1. Water Baptism Matthew 3:5-6
  2. Baptism of Jesus Matthew 3:13-17
  3. Baptism of Fire Matthew 3:11
  4. Baptism of suffering Matthew 20:22
  5. Baptism with the Holy Spirit Acts 1:4-5
  6. Baptism of Moses (O.T.) I Corinthians 10:2
  7. Baptism in water commanded of all nations; the only one that is a stated COMMAND!
    1. *Matthew 28:19
      1. Interesting side note: If the tomb guards were sleeping, as recorded, then how would they know who it was that rolled the huge stone away and stole the body of Jesus? Sleeping?
    2. Acts 1:8; 8:36-38

A fascinating scripture per baptism(s) is found in Acts 19. The Apostle Paul is traveling by land to and comes through, Ephesus. There are disciples (*new believers/learners) there: And he said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ And they said, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit’” (ESV). The obvious question that few theologians wish to tackle is could they be saved without the “receiving the Holy Spirit?”

JIV NOTE: At this point theological preferences or prejudices will rule the day. What is said from this point on will be taken as either heresy or actuality. To seminarians it is a matter of which “Doctrine of Faith s/he signed at seminary.” I heard of one minister who stated: “if it is in the bible then it is functional or okay to be practiced today.” HMMMM? Under the Law not grace? Sacrifice alters? Stoning of a disobedient son? Even child sacrifices are discussed in the bible. Do these mean each should still be practiced today? Where is “let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18) come into play? The Old Testament only ends at the cross and all things are made new. If it is in the bible it is simply a discussion point from the bible! Such a statement can only be excused as ignorance or self-serving.

In Ephesians 4:3-6 Paul specifically states that there is but ONE BAPTISM. We need to keep this in context to understand it. Beginning with verse 3: (ESV)

Eph 4:3  …eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Eph 4:4  There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—
Eph 4:5  one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
Eph 4:6  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

So which baptism is the ONE BAPTISM… the baptism in water or the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Let’s look at I Peter 3:21; Colossians 2:9-14; Galatians 3:26-27 (God’s DNA?).

One Baptism?

The word baptize always means “to submerge or immerse.” So, when baptism is discussed, it involves a person being totally submerged into something else. Baptism implies being “all in.” (GotQuestions.org)

One commentator states: “there are two types of (one?)baptism: a physical (water)

baptism and a spiritual baptism. One is literal, done in water; the other is figurative, accomplished in the Spirit.” This however seems to skirt the “one baptism” as stated in Ephesian 4:5.

There are three basic opinions among theologians regarding the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

  1. The Holy Spirit baptism is to be baptized into Christ. That happens at the time of one’s initial prayer of belief and salvation.
  2. The Holy Spirit baptism occurs after salvation when one is filled with or immersed in the worship of God. This can be immediate or sometime later when one becomes an acting Be-Liver (believer); immersed in worship with his or her whole heart, mind and soul.
  3. The baptism of the Spirit is evidenced by signs (such as speaking in tongues), and others believe that such signs are unnecessary.

Let’s consider a 4th option. Might the speaking in tongues be, as stated in scripture, the connection of the Holy Spirit with our prayer life and worship of our Father in heaven; i.e. a prayer and praise that we did not have prior to our salvation prayer; a worship language (speaking) we cannot express in our human language?

We do know that immediately following Pentecost the disciples spoke and the many foreign visitors to Jerusalem heard their message in their own language. This is simple…they “heard” the gospel message in their own language!

However, there is another possibility. It is the word “evidenced.” What does evidenced as stated in Acts 2:28 And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

So, what is the Gift of the Holy Spirit? Tongues of witness and preaching; i.e. testimonies, prophesying, wisdom, knowledge; i.e. the ability to begin understanding scripture, respect of God…gifta

 

We could discuss this subject for a long time and still not bring understanding to all. Let the above be information for each to digest. We Teach – You Decide. Note the word or gift “fortitude.” This means one now has the courage to stand up for Jesus as a testimony from his or her own lips. Some will understand the intended message. Others will not.

Let’s look at one other scripture using the Greek words in the scripture itself. Acts 19:6 says… “And when Paul had laid hands upon them, the Holy Ghost (KJV) came on them; and they spake (laleō) with tongues (glōssa) and prophesied.”

Laleo means to utter, speak out, use the tongue to articulate a sound…

Glossa means a language enunciated by the tongue, an organ of speech…

Basically it means to speak out using the tongue to pronounce words. Words of what? If not a known language then probably a testimony of one’s new life in Christ with boldness; something that only some will understand; evidence of one’s new life in Christ.

We Teach – You Decide

Acts 2 “You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit”: The idea of being baptized is to be immersed or covered over in something; even as John baptized people in water, so these disciples would 10 days later be “immersed” in the Holy Spirit.

JIV: The baptism of the Holy Spirit is more of a condition of living than it is an experience. Our “experience” comes from re-conditioned living.

This was a time of Pentecost in Jerusalem. Men (those of Judaism) from many other lands who had long forgotten the Hebrew language were in town; see verse 9 – 11. Most spoke the Aramaic as it was the common language used in business. Pentecost is only one of three different names; all are Jewish festivals:

  1. Feast of Harvest
  2. Feast of Weeks
  3. Feast of Pentecost

Why didn’t the Holy Spirit baptism happened immediately instead of waiting ten days for it “came upon those who witnessed the ascension of Jesus on the Mount of Olives?”

JIV: It is a test of time and the genuineness of one’s faith and belief. Many who claim salvation are “here today; gone tomorrow. “ That is called RELIGION. Their waiting ten days was a test of genuineness. Sometimes a new believer must wait to become a true Be – Liver of their salvation and growth in Christ.

James 4:3 “We ask forgiveness with the wrong motives.” Similar to Fake News, one gets Fake repentance. Once the crisis is over, many return to their old ways. There was a confession but not a baptism of or indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Gain: Fake Commitment.

Yes there is one baptism and that is the indwelling and fulfillment of the Holy Spirit in one’s life. Water baptism is symbolic of one’s baptism and commitment to God through Jesus Christ by now living a life guided by the Holy Spirit

pryamid bapacts text box

cropped-minijim1

Acts Part 1

The Book of Acts: Part one of a 12 article Series (Chapter 1-12)

If bibleone is reading through the bible chapters 1-12, and in whatever time period as his or her goal might be, most will read right past the context within the content these chapters found in Acts. One’s initial conclusion would be…it is all about the Apostle Peter coming out of his pre-crucifixion shyness. Not even close.

Acts comes in two parts:   Part one is Apostle Peter centered on the original church. Part two is centered on Saul becoming Paul who becomes the missionary church builder for Gentiles of the near east and the northern Mediterranean area. This is the surface read through the bible conclusion. We will write about the facts, history and issues behind the rather obvious…Peter, chapters 1 -12 and Paul, chapters 13 – 28. It is fascinating as most will conclude in this series s/he did not know. In Acts we also read a bit about Mary however this is not a series of articles about the nostalgic Peter, Paul, and Mary of the 1960s music fameJ.

Acts, just as was the Book of Luke is written to someone by the name Theophilus. This is someone close to Luke or with whom he is quite acquainted. Theophilus means “Friend of God.” This name in and of itself may suggest a secondary reason for the writing of Luke’s Books. Luke may be writing to the general population of new Christian churches and believers identifying them as “friends of God.” Whatever it is we do not hear of this word or name being used again in the Bible.

Acts 1; 1 & 2 identify the context of this book. Luke specifically points out to Theophilus that he expressed in his first letter (book of Luke) to him that he has dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach. The word “all” in the above verse is the Greek word pas. PAS means to exclude nothing according to both Strong and Thayer dictionaries. It doesn’t mean is that everything Jesus did while on earth is recorded in Luke and Acts. It is written AS CONCERNING ALL THINGS JESUS DID WHILE ON EARTH. It is what Jesus taught and new believers should exemplify; the standards by which we are to live or the “whole” of our denomination called Christianity. If we believe it means “to BE and LIVE these standards.”  Easily put…Luke and Acts set our goals of life as Christians, not the world. It isn’t a WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) but WDJD (What Did Jesus Do).

Hebrews 10:25 underscores this WDJD attitude and practice. It reads: “not forsaking our own assembling [i.e. the church] together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day drawing nigh.” NOT forsaking our own assembling together. This is standard #1 for the church. Egkataleipō (forsake) is very specific and is the absolute-tense in the Greek. It means to NOT miss gathering with other believers; do not abandon.

However we must also remember that the same bible instructs us in Colossians 2:16… Let no man therefore judge you in meat or drink, or in respect to a holy day or the new moon or the Sabbath days. This means Be-Livers can meet anytime, anywhere but do not forsake meeting with fellow believers. Keep Acts 1, Hebrews 10, and Colossians 2 in context as they totally relate to the same thing; us as be-livers. This gives us a very clear picture of what God expects in exchange for HIS salvation package.

apocalypse-Note in the Hebrew 10:25 passage where it reads: [ESV] “…as we see the (end) Day drawing nigh.” How can one know the end days are drawing night? This too is explained in the bible with hints galore in today’s news casts from around the world. Even telecasts can be seen as events unfold in real time. Doesn’t it appear at all odd that God always knew the day was coming when we can be informed simultaneously with live news from any corner of the earth? If we study the Bible we will see these “hints” of end time drawing nigh. If we remain ignorant then guess who is to blame for not knowing yet alone not understanding the signs of the times [Matthew 24:3-31]?

  1. Let no man therefore judge you in meat or drink, or in respect to a holy day or the new moon or the Sabbath days; (Colossians)
  2. Forsake not the gathering together with other be-livers; (Hebrews)
  3. Even more so as we move even closer to the end time. (Matthew)

It should be a simple reminder but only to those who are already students of the Bible…The Book of Acts picks up right where the Book of Luke ends. Somehow the Book of John got between them. They were once one book called Luke-Acts. Luke’s Gospel describes only the beginning of Jesus’ work while on earth while he was present on earth. Acts describes the continuation of the Gospel and the work of Jesus through the Holy Spirit and continues to our present day.

In the Book of Acts Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, instructs the apostles regarding what to do in His absence. In Luke Jesus gives direct instructions to the disciples and people around him.

Even walking day and night with Jesus after three years on earth, the disciples (Apostles) still asked a dumb question of Jesus just prior to Jesus ascent into heaven. Acts 1:6…Lord, will you [now] at this time restore the Kingdom of Israel?” Restore the Kingdom of Israel???? Jesus simply replies that it is not for them to know the time of the restoration of Israel. This statement alone should assure us it will happen, but not then. It is both eminent and imminent.

When Jesus ascends into heaven “to prepare a place for be-livers,” the Holy Spirit is not yet on earth in indwelling men. This begins at Pentecost ten days later. We discuss this in our next article.

A very distinct and short outline of the Book of Acts comes right out of Acts 1:8

…ye shall be my witnesses in (A) Jerusalem, in all (B) Judaea and Samaria, and unto the (C) uttermost part of the earth. 

A, B, & C outline the Book of Acts… first to Jerusalem (Peter), then to Judea (Philip), then to the rest of the world (Paul)

  1. Acts 1-7 describes the gospel being taught in Jerusalem (1st church)
  2. Acts 8-12 is the spread of the gospel to Judah & Samaria
  3. Acts 13-28 is to the ends of the earth

WOW one may say. Well neither did this author know this until he studied the Word of God. Reading through the bible in a given time span makes the goal “reading through the bible” in that determined time span. Studying the bible has no limit of time. It becomes a way of life. One more time; Be-Livers.belIEVERS2

 

cropped-minijim1

A Study in Acts-the History

Historical Information on Acts

Dr. jStark

Bible School 2017-2018

The great German composer Ludwig van Beethoven is still remembered around the world for his beautiful and skillful compositions. But as wonderful as his musical scores are in themselves, his works are even more impressive when we learn that Beethoven suffered progressive hearing loss that began when he was a young man. In fact, it is astounding to realize that Beethoven wrote many of his greatest works when he was entirely deaf. Knowing the background of Beethoven’s life makes his music all the more impressive.

In important ways, appreciating the Scriptures is similar to appreciating Beethoven. It isn’t difficult to see the power and clarity with which the various books of the Bible proclaim God’s revelation. But when we learn about the backgrounds of the writers of the Bible, their world, their lives and their purposes, our understanding and appreciation of the Scriptures becomes much deeper.

Acts of the Apostles: Critical verse to this study of Acts is in Hebrew 10:25 (last line…”*as we see the end time day drawing nigh”) *”as” (hosos) means:  how much; how many; whoever.

History and Background Information

Luke wrote two, possibly three New Testament books: Luke, Acts and possibly some of Hebrews. Acts is the second of these books. At the end of the gospel of Luke Jesus says “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” In the Book of Acts he picks it up where he leaves it off in Luke. We see the fulfillment of Christ’s words as the apostles carry the gospel to the world. See Luke 24:48-53. Luke is the third of the four Gospels. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called synoptic gospels.

The Book of Acts is the FIRST account of the original church. In brief it covers the period of time between Jesus’ resurrection and the death of the Apostle Paul. Often Luke reverts to the inclusive or plural pronoun “we” in his writing. This is probably when he references him and Paul with others who may be present at that time. Some try to discredit Luke as author when all Luke is doing is including himself and probably Paul.

According to legend, Paul died by execution at the time when “firebug” Roman Emperor Nero was looking for a scape goat per the burning of parts of Rome. He started with the Apostle Paul then continued by accusing the new sect of religion called “THE WAY;” i.e. Christians. The Romans originally saw Christianity as an offshoot of Judaism since the original “church” consisted of Jews (Israelites). They identified themselves as The Way.”

Dictionary: The “Way” with a capital “W” was the early name for followers of Jesus. Considered a sect of Judaism, later in Acts 11 it is replaced with the term “Christian.” The first of only six biblical references, all in Acts, occurs as Saul obtained letters to arrest members of the “Way” in Damascus, immediately after stoning “Way” follower Stephen in Jerusalem. (Acts 9:2, 19:9, 19:23, 22:4, 24:14, 24:22)

This by itself reminds me of Matthew 16 per our understanding or lack of it… (Matthew 16:2, 3; NASB)
turkey-red sky
The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?

This reminds me of a man who once came up and asked for a Word for him from God. While acknowledging the request the reply was almost spontaneous. Turning to the man asking for “a word” I replied… “God said, ‘Ask him yourself but don’t forget to listen to what He tells you.’”

We will follow an outline of Acts provided in small sections with an applicable article with each section of the building outline in this new study. Acts is the ORIGINAL Acts of the Apostles Peter then Paul, the early church, and the acts of the early church. Today’s church is a far thing from what the early church did. This too will be discussed; sometimes in detail. For now, let’s begin with:

OUTLINE of ACTS: (Part 1)

  1. It appears that Luke set out to show in two volumes how redemption came to mankind.
      1. Luke relates the coming of a Redeemer who died for our sins, rose in triumph, and looked to the time when mankind might share in salvation. Luke 24:46­-47.
      2. Volume II (Acts) takes up the narrative at that point and shows how over a period of about 30 years the gospel went from Jerusalem to Rome.
      3. The Gospel he wrote tells about the things “Jesus began both to do and to teach.” Acts 1:1.
      4. Acts tells what Jesus brought about through the Holy Spirit’s continuation of his work. Acts 1:8; cf. John 16:13.
  1. Based on volume/content, Luke, not Paul, wrote over one ­fourth of the entire New Testament.
  2. The Acts of the Apostles is a crucial part of Holy Scripture.
      1. It tells of the establishment of the church.
      2. It describes the growth (amid frequent perils) of the church and records the gospel’s amazing spread through the Roman Empire.
      3. It gives inspiring accounts of great persons who loved not their lives unto death; people who loved Jesus more than life itself.

Jeremiah 52 ( part b –52 of 52 chapters)

Book of Jeremiah

OUR LAST POST ON OUR STUDY ON JEREMIAH! (A NEW STUDY Coming Soon!

There is reasonable consideration or allowance for this final chapter in Jeremiah, although penned by Baruch, was also authored by him, not Jeremiah per dictation. In a sense it is a summary of the previous 51 chapters from prophecies to fulfillments. Bright quotes: “In its present context the chapter seems to say: the divine word both has been fulfilled – and will be fulfilled!” Bright is pointing out that there was both imminent and eminent prophecy in Jeremiah; similar outcomes but two very different time periods. One was a current event and the others are events yet to happen.

Let’s not forget or learn for the first time, the Book of Lamentations, the book following Jeremiah, is also Jeremiahs’ pen. In Lamentations he did not lament the Babylonian captivity as much as his fellow countrymen not heading his warnings.  We will only point out a few incidents in this chapter that should be reviewed per chapter 52 since it does summarize the previous 51 chapters. We encourage the reader to take it upon her or his-self to read the Book of lamentation to add depth of understanding.

Jeremiah 34 to 36 describes the situation in Judah before the fall. Chapter 37 to 39 describe the time of the fall of the kingdom of Judah. Chapter 40 to 45 describes the fulfillment of the prophecy and fall of Judah; a fall that remains contested to this date. That will only change upon the second advent of Jesus when he returns to earth as King of kings. C40 to 45 is consequential to the fall but chapter 46 to 51 describe and End Time element that includes the judgment of not only the world opposed to Israel but judgement awaiting the unbelieving Gentiles.

If we back up to Jeremiah 30 to 33 we find the “hope of a future” Jerusalem. Let’s review some of the major players in Jeremiah. One of them is a person named Shaphan. Biblical account. When the chief Temple priest Hilkiah discovers an ancient Torah scroll, he gives it to the scribe Shaphan, who in turn brings in to King Josiah. Josiah reads it aloud to a crowd in Jerusalem, resulting in a great religious revival. Josiah was the last good king.

Shaphan’s sons play significant roles in Jeremiah:C52 chart1

The chronology of rulers on the throne in Jerusalem during the time of Jeremiah:

kings

JIV NOTE: I did not include King Jehoiachin (Jeconiah) in the above chart. He only ruled 3 months 10 days. He followed his father Jehoiakim to the throne but was removed by Nebuchadnezzar almost upon his taking the throne. A fascinating and historical connection or ahamoment is found in 1 Chronicles.  It states that Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) is the father of Pedaiah. That in and of itself means little, but Pedaiah was the father of Zerubbabel.  It was Zerubbabel along with Ezra who lead the first Judeans out of captivity in Babylon back to Judah. He also set the foundations for the second temple according to Ezra 5:2.

Chapters 30 – 33 are considered chapters of consolation and not easily identified as being written of prophesied during the era of any of the kings identified in Jeremiah. They are promises of a reunited Israel; the people and twelve Tribes of Israel/Jacob. These chapters could have been revealed to Jeremiah at any time during his years. They assured him and his fellow countrymen of a true Promised Land guaranteed under the signature and promise of God him-self.

The same is true of chapters 46-44. These passages are judgement passages that cover two distinct time periods; one that is during the life of Jeremiah/Baruch and one that is End Time. They include both the destinies of Israel and Gentile nations who oppose God.
There are actually two different 70 year judgements running parallel to each other in Jeremiah. It was 70 years between the first exiles of Judeans (includes Jeconiah) and their release by Darius the Mede [605 to 536 B.C.]. The other 70 years is between the time Nebuchadnezzar totally destroyed the Temple and when the Temple was completed a second time [586 – 515 B.C.] We usually only here of the 70 year Babylonian activity but there was parallel judgement periods.

Lamentation, also written by Jeremiah, was penned sometime after 586 B.C. 586 was when the third and final deportation of Jews (Tribe of Judah) occurred.

The following may help a bible student better grasp the events and dates.eventw qnd dates

The above chart was created by biblequestions.org

Rev. Dr. Jstark
February 2018

Jeremiah 52 – Part A

There is reasonable consideration or allowance for this final chapter in Jeremiah, although penned by Baruch, was may also have been authored by him, not dictated by Jeremiah. In a sense it is a summary of the previous 51 chapters from prophecies to fulfillments. Bright quotes: “In its present context the chapter (51) seems to say: the divine word both has been fulfilled – and will be fulfilled!” Bright is pointing out that there was both imminent and eminent prophecy in Jeremiah; similar outcomes but two very different time periods. One was a current event and the others are events yet to happen.

Let’s not forget or learn for the first time, the Book of Lamentations, the book following Jeremiah, is also Jeremiahs’ pen. In Lamentations he did not lament the Babylonian captivity as much as his fellow countrymen not heading his warnings.  We will only point out a few incidents in this chapter that should be reviewed per chapter 52 since it does summarize the previous 51 chapters. We encourage the reader to take it upon her or his-self to read the Book of lamentation to add depth of personal understanding.

Jeremiah 34 to 36 describes the situation in Judah before the fall. Chapter 37 to 39 describe the time of the fall of the kingdom of Judah. Chapter 40 to 45 describes the fulfillment of the prophecy and fall of Judah; a fall that remains contested to this date. This will only change upon the second advent of Jesus when he returns to earth as King of kings in Jerusalem. C40 to 45 is consequential to the fall but chapters 46 to 51 describe an End Time element that includes the judgment of not only the world opposed to Israel but judgement awaiting the unbelieving Gentiles and Israelites.

If we back up to Jeremiah 30 to 33 we find the “hope of a future” Jerusalem. Let’s review some of the major players in Jeremiah. One of them is a person named Shaphan; Biblical account. When the chief Temple priest Hilkiah discovers an ancient Torah scroll, he gives it to the scribe Shaphan, who in turn brings in to King Josiah. Josiah reads it aloud to a crowd in Jerusalem, resulting in a great religious revival. Josiah was the last good king of Judah.

Shaphan’s sons play significant roles in Jeremiah:

C52 chart1

The chronology of rulers on the throne in Jerusalem during the time of Jeremiah:

kings

JIV NOTE: I did not include Kings Jehoahaz or Jehoiachin (Jeconiah) in the above chart. Jehoahaz was almost immediately replaced by Pharaoh Necho upon defeating Judah and King Josiah at Megiddo (he was 3 months on the throne). Jehoiachin only ruled 3 months 10 days. He followed his father Jehoiakim to the throne but was removed by Nebuchadnezzar almost upon his taking the throne. A fascinating and historical connection or ahamoment is found in 1 Chronicles.  It states that Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) is the father of Pedaiah. That in and of itself means little, but Pedaiah was the father of Zerubbabel.  It was Zerubbabel along with Ezra who lead the first Judeans out of captivity in Babylon back to Judah. He also set the foundations for the second temple according to Ezra 5:2.

Chapters 30 – 33 are considered chapters of consolation and not easily identified as being written of prophesied during the era of any of the particular kings identified in Jeremiah. They are promises of a future reunited Israel; the people and twelve Tribes of Israel/Jacob. These chapters could have been revealed to Jeremiah at any time during his years. They assured him and his fellow countrymen of a true Promised Land guaranteed under the signature and promise of God him-self.
The same is true of chapters 44-46. These passages are judgement passages that cover two distinct prophetic time periods; one that is during the life of Jeremiah/Baruch and one that is End Time. They include both the destinies of Israel and all Gentile nations.

There are actually two different 70 year judgements running parallel to each other in Jeremiah. It was 70 years between the first exiles of Judeans (includes Jehoiachin; aka Jeconiah or Coniah) and their release by Darius the Mede [605 to 536 B.C.]. The other 70 years is between the time Nebuchadnezzar totally destroyed the Temple and when the Temple was completed a second time [586 – 515 B.C.] We usually only here of the 70 year Babylonian activity but there was parallel judgement periods. One for the Tribe of Judah and one for the Temple.

Lamentation, also written by Jeremiah, was penned sometime after 586 B.C. The year 586 B.C. was when the third and final deportation of Jews (Tribe of Judah) occurred.

The following may help a bible student better grasp the events and dates.

eventw qnd dates

The above chart was created by biblequestions.org

Kings of Judah during the life of Jeremiah: Josiah – Jehoahaz – Jehoiakim – Jehoiachin – Zedekiah – Gov. Gedaliah

miniJimDr. Jstark

 

 

 

 

 

Jeremiah 51  (Part B)

We begin part b with terminology. Jeremiah 51:26 states, [ESV] “no stone shall be taken from you (Babylon) for a corner” (stone). It was so crushed, burned and destroyed once that it had no stone worthy of using later in building. In End Time this will also be true. There will be but one foundation stone; Jesus Christ. No idols to worship. Nothing will be worthy other than “Worthy is the one who was slain.

The Jewish Targum sees this stone (above) as meaning “no future king or ruler will come from Babylon.” The Targum is also identified as the Tanakh.

Verse 28 is the actuality of THAT TIME; not a future event. But in verse 29, it will be an End Time land desolate and without inhabitants. This has not yet occurred. The End Time slaughter of humans will take place during the 7 year Tribulation. The anti-Christ will decimate the world’s population under orders from Satan himself. Manmade nuclear weapons will help accomplish God’s will. After the fall to the Medes and Persians of Beltshazzar’s Babylon, other historical and following invaders included Achaemenes, Greek, Seleucid, Parthian, Roman, and Sassanid empires. Keep in mind that the Babylonians and the original [Abraham’s] Chaldeans are basically the same peoples between the upper and lower Mesopotamian valley.

bablyonTo the left is a picture of the former great city-state of Babylon as seen in 1932. Itb. was twice a known primer world power; once under Hammurabi, 1800’s B.C. and again 1,200 years later under Nebuchadnezzar. Hammurabi is famous for codifying laws that the world often defers to today.

Somehow we must justify the next few verses. The bible and historians tell us the Babylon and King Beltshazzar were taken by total surprise and no battle ever recorded. So we must ask…how does verses 30 – 32 make parallel sense? Answer: One prophecy but two different times in history. One already competed without a battle and another in End Time when Babylon is symbolic of the rule and domain of anti-Christ.

Verse 34 of Jeremiah 51 is describing Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar totally emptied her of building and human, burning it to the ground. Again in verse 37 we are told it will be a desolate land of jackals. The “SEA” mentioned in verse 42 is a sea of militants overrunning that land. These armies will overflow covering the entire land of Babylon. This too could be a reference to End Time and the gathering of a 200,000,000 million man army that will eventually fight Jesus at the splitting of the Mt of Olives.

Jeremiah 51:46 again defines what Revelation tells us about End Time. Ruler against ruler; kingdom against kingdom; nation against nation; rumors and wars of actuality. Why do we conclude this? Read verse 48, 49 (ESV)…

Jer 51:48  “Then the heavens and the earth, and all that is in them, shall sing for joy over Babylon, for the destroyers shall come against them out of the north, declares the LORD.

Jer 51:49  Babylon must fall for the slain of Israel, just as for Babylon have fallen the slain of all the earth.” Note: Heavens and earth? All that is in them? “The slain of all the earth?”

jerusalem-Jeremiah 51:50 to me is one of those verses that have such personal meaning. “Remember the Lord from far away, and let Jerusalem come to mind.” Now that President Trump has officially declared recognition of Jerusalem as past, present and future capital of Israel, it all fits into God’s plans for his son’s millennial reign; Jesus Christ. That means everything to this author. The original legislation to relocate the U.S> Embassy to Jerusalem was under President Clinton in 1996.

Verse 51 continues this author’s feelings per verse 50. Many foreigners have come into the land of promise and decimated her. Jeremiah in this verse is also very personal per his feelings; he includes in his comments all of those who descended from Jacob. It is him referencing the shame of his people both Judeans and the rest of Israel’s Ten Lost Tribes. For the destroyers of city-state Babylon and symbolic Babylon of the anti-Christ will be torn asunder; “destroyers come from me says the Lord.” What a promise as we watch the daily news and see these things falling into place. Having difficulty seeing how these prophecies are falling into place? 2 Timothy 2:15… [NIV] “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

We continue to read and add to our confidence in the God we trust… (51:56; ESV) “for the Lord is a God of recompense; he will surely repay.” To give confidence in the God we trust to those taken captive to Babylon, Jeremiah instructed Seraiah (a man servant) to carry this assurance to Babylon and he is told to read it to his fellow countrymen. Problem? pew dwellerYUP! 70 years later when released from further Babylonian captivity as promised by God himself, most of the Judeans had become successful in the Mesopotamia, Chaldean, Babylonian territories and did not want to leave it all behind. Today’s Christian-claiming church pew dweller could learn from this verse if s/he studied rather than simply read it.

What a reflection on us today. Do we want to leave the security of our current homes, jobs, friends, reputations, habits, or even our home church to stand out in the crowd as Romans 12:1 tells us: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be renewed in mind and spirit…” There is nothing in this verse found in Romans to leave this world to some isolated commune or community. It simple is a priority commandment. God first! Not!!!! God in the center of our daily living? Now we get it.

miniJimRev Dr. Jstark
2018

Jeremiah Chapter 51 (Part A)

time-.jpg

The final chapters of both the Book of Jeremiah are the final chapters of the world as we know it. The Hebrew word *Yome [day] can mean a time of day and night; 24 period of time. However, there is an additional translation of the same word. According to Strong and Thayer it can mean:

*“a season, space, time of trouble, an age or period of time[paraphrased for understanding].

The King James puts it in verse 2 (Jeremiah 51) “shall empty her land in her day of trouble…” The Medes and Persians [Achaemenid Empire] occupied the land and conquered the peoples of Babylon. King Cyrus sat on the throne of Babylon. Does this sound like it was EMPTIED? Jeremiah 51:2 in the ASV, YLT, ABP, ISV, ESV and many other translations indicate the same thing. The Medes and Persians did not, per history, devastate Babylon. They snuck in through the river Euphrates after stopping up its flow, captured ad killed the leadership. They did not destroy it. They only occupied it. One may easily suggest it is a reference to the Babylon of the anti-christ of End Time.

V1… “I will send foreigners against her.”

Secular history reports that both the Babylonian Chronicles and the Cyrus Cylinder describe Babylon being taken “without battle”, whereas the Greek historians Herodotus and Xenophon report that the city was besieged. The Book of Daniel implies that Babylon was taken in one night and that Belshazzar was killed. The total destruction prophesied in Jeremiah 51 was not fulfilled at this time. This means Babylon became part of Persia; today it is within the territory of Iraq. More on Babylon can be found in Revelation and Isaiah including the proverbial Whore of Babylon in End Time.

We should go back to verse 1 to explain the term Leb Kamai…”Thus says the LORD: “Behold, I will stir up the spirit of a destroyer against Babylon, against the inhabitants of Leb-kamai…” Leb Kamai basically is a reference to “those who rise up against me.” Who is the ME in this vers? It is God! This is without doubt a reference to End Time when there are those who rise up against Jesus or the End Time following the thousand year reign of Christ and Satan is released for a short time gathering a great army to “rise up against Jesus.”

It may very well be that Jeremiah used a kind of code [Leb Kamai] which neither Babylonian security nor modern Scripture theorists have been able to crack. http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Leb-kamai.html. It may also simply mean those who rise up against God, Christ, Holy Spirit.

Jeremiah 51:5 & 6 continue this thought of End Time judgement. Once again Jeremiah mentions Israel and Judah as God’s chosen. Guilty? YES! Forsaken? No! Verse 6 tells us that Jeremiah says to “flee the land of the Babylonians before her destruction” [ESV] However men like Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah remained in Babylon long after the King Darius defeated the Babylonians releasing the Judeans to return to their land, rebuilt the Temple, and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Perhaps the next verse (v7) helps our understanding. It speaks of the Babylon to which End Time evil is identified, even the Whore of Babylon, as [ESV]:

Babylon was a golden cup in the LORD’s hand, *making all the earth drunken; the nations drank of her wine; therefore the nations went mad.

*“making all the earth drunk.”

This is not just the historical territory of Chaldean Babylonians, but the entire world to which Jeremiah is referring. Recall that Abraham originated from the biblical land of the Chaldeans. This is a reference to a much greater population and territory; i.e. all the earth.

Jeremiah 51:8 could easily be understood as sarcastic in tone. “…wail for her and take balm to her for her pain; perhaps she may be healed.” In light of those who will survive the “time of Jacob’s trouble [tribulation]” and after the millennial reign of Christ, people will be measured and judged according to the intent [kavanah] of their heart. Satan will raise a huge army to try and return the world to destroy as many as he can. If he can destroy them before accepting the King of kings as savior, they will join him in the Lake of Fire. Babylon is the symbolic “world” at this time. Then will come this Great White Throne judgement.

51:9 “let us each go to our own country…” This points out that the world recognizes that they as humans are not in charge of the earth. Satan is bound. There is no longer any point to fight a lost battle with the King of kings.

In verse 10 & *11 Jeremiah returns in thought to the biblical time of the Jews in Babylon; the vindication of the Jews (Judeans). If this is in fact relevant to just that time in history, why would men like Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and the future queen Esther along with men like Mordechai remain in Babylon? Simply put… this passage is in reference to two different periods of time; the time of the 70 captivity and End Time meaning the world itelf. Return each one to his own country…[ESV verse 9].

*V11 also says to “sharpen the arrows.” It sounds or reads like it a defensive move of those in Babylon. It certainly isn’t the Jews who are told to sharpen their arrows as God ordained the Medes and Persians to conquer Babylon without even a battle. The snuck in as previously mentioned in this article.

51:11b (NASB) “For it is the vengeance of the Lord, vengeance for his Temple.” This seems to have little to do with the biblical event of the Babylonian captivity. Fact is, it is the anti-Christ’s abomination of the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem. He sets himself up on the throne within the Temple requiring all to pay homage to him. He has offerings of abominable sacrificed to him in the Temple and on the Alter of God.

It gets more clear and obvious that this prophecy in chapter 51 has dual meanings as we continue to the next verses in Jeremiah 51. Read verses 12 and 13 then look at v14 through 18. Verse 17a says it all (NASB) “All mankind is stupid, devoid of knowledge.” When we are devoid of knowledge, there is not a chance of understanding.

Verses 19-24: Jeremiah once again brings Jacob/Israel into the scripture. He is no longer addressing the Babylonian captivity or Judean release. God is telling us HE has a covenant with Jacob/Israel; a covenant that does not apply to the rest of mankind. Jesus in the New Testament makes provision for the rest of us.

[NASB; Jeremiah 51:19-24]shatter

He says, “You (Israel) are My war-club, My weapon of war;
And with you I shatter nations,
And with you I destroy kingdoms.
“With you I shatter the horse and his rider,
And with you I shatter the chariot and its rider,
And with you I shatter man and woman,
And with you I shatter old man and youth,
And with you I shatter young man and virgin,
And with you I shatter the shepherd and his flock,
And with you I shatter the farmer and his team,
And with you I shatter governors and prefects.
“But I will repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea
for all their evil that they have done in Zion before your eyes,” declares the Lord.

If one does not like what is quoted above from the NASB bible, that is precisely what is stated in ‘v17a’ in the previous paragraph…“All mankind is stupid, [because they are] devoid of knowledge.” Without knowledge there cannot be understanding. Without understanding, we make poor choices or none at all.

Jeremiah 51:24b: “before our very eyes”(ESV)… Jeremiah could not be speaking in the first person being his own eyes as God initially punished Babylon the city-state 70 years after this fact. Jeremiah would have been long gone. So, whose eyes is Jeremiah writing about? This too is End Time prophecy. The world will see this punishment brought upon the anti-God forces of its armies. In short, this is the forces of the king of the north (anti-Christ), king of the south, kings of the east…confirmed in the next verse (v25)… (ESV) “I am against you, declares the Lord which destroys the whole earth. There we have it. Jeremiah finally identifies these enemies as the whole world. Babylon is symbolic of this prophetic destiny; imminent and eminent. (Jeremiah 51 part B is next week)

miniJim