A Blue Rose

blue rose

I needed to go to the store for some needed items, which included light bulbs, paper towels, trash bags, detergent and Clorox. So off I went.

I scurried around the store, gathered up my goodies and headed for the checkout counter, only to be blocked in the narrow aisle by a young man who appeared to be about sixteen-years-old. I wasn’t in a hurry, so I patiently waited for the boy to realize that I was there. This was when he waved his hands excitedly in the air and declared in a loud voice, “Mommy, I’m over here.”

It was obvious now, he was mentally challenged and also startled as he turned and saw me standing so close to him, waiting to squeeze by. His eyes widened and surprise exploded on his face as I said, “Hey Buddy, what’s your name?”

“My name is Denny and I’m shopping with my mother,” he responded proudly.

“Wow,” I said, “that’s a cool name; I wish my name was Denny, but my name is Steve.”

“Steve, like Stevarino?” he asked. “Yes,” I answered. “How old are you Denny?”

“How old am I now, Mommy?” he asked his mother as she slowly came over from the next aisle.

“You’re fifteen-years-old Denny; now be a good boy and let the man pass by.”

I acknowledged her and continued to talk to Denny for several more minutes about summer, bicycles and school. I watched his brown eyes dance with excitement, because he was the center of someone’s attention. He then abruptly turned and headed toward the toy section.

Denny’s mom had a puzzled look on her face and thanked me for taking the time to talk with her son. She told me that most people wouldn’t even look at him, much less talk to him.

I told her that it was my pleasure and then I said something I have no idea where it came from, other than by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I told her that there are plenty of red, yellow, and pink roses in God’s Garden; however, “Blue Roses” are very rare and should be appreciated for their beauty and distinctiveness. You see, Denny is a Blue Rose and if someone doesn’t stop and smell that rose with their heart and touch that rose with their kindness, then they’ve missed a blessing from God.

She was silent for a second, then with a tear in her eye she asked, “Who are you?”

Without thinking I said, “Oh, I’m probably just a dandelion, but I sure love living in God’s garden.”

She reached out, squeezed my hand and said, “God bless you!” and then I had tears in my eyes.

May I suggest, the next time you see a BLUE ROSE , whichever differences that person may have, don’t turn your head and walk off. Take the time to smile and say Hello. Why? Because, by the grace of GOD, this mother or father could be you. This could be your child, grandchild, niece, nephew or any other family member. What a difference a moment can mean to that person or their family.

From an old dandelion! Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest up to God!

“People will forget what you said, People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel!”

Jeremiah – Chapter 17

Dr. JThis sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron and with the point of a diamond: It is engraved upon the table of the heart…” (KJV).

Powerful picture words in the opening verse of Jeremiah 17. In this case the CEV is more understandable and not off doctrine… [The CEV is written plain English. At times excludes important words in a given verse or passage not giving a good picture of the verse’s intent].engrave forebver

“People of Judah, your sins cannot be erased. They are written on your hearts like words chiseled in stone or carved on the corners of your altars.”

This statement throws the doors of theological debate wide open, as if the doors are torn from its hinges. Unforgivable and eternal? Not really. What message is God telling Jeremiah to convey to his people? He is telling them (Judah) through Jeremiah that he (God) has tried for centuries to make a point they (all Israel) keep rejecting. There is only one GOD and he will not accept any other god before him; nothing; nada; gar nichts…! This is also why we find later in Jeremiah 31:33: (NIV) “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” God simply tells Jeremiah to convey to the people of judah there is a price to be paid for their persistence and pentchant toward departing from or replacing worshiping HIM for other values first in thier life.

Jeremiah 17 is full of things for us to put in our heart and recall daily. Let’s discuss them as we go through this chapter today. An immediate aha moment can be found in the first four verses of Jeremiah 17. The Hebrew 70 scholars and scribes who translated their own Hebrew scrolls into Greek under the instructions of Ptolemy of Egypt opted to not include them in the Septuagint or first Greek translation. If we look closely at these four verses it is easy to see how scolding and incriminating they are to the Jews and their scribes.

Verse 1 is blunt. There is little to NO wiggle room for misunderstanding. Rejection by ideologists, yes! Even the translators of the Hebrew by the hired scribes of Levite descent did not wish for the Greek to see it. But then so is God’s offer to salvation. Their continual sin and returning to it is so reprehensible, God is no longer going to defend them as his pride and joy. Yes Israelis remain Gods chosen, but we might identify this scene as being sent to one’s room for a 70 year timeout.

Judeans at this time is similar to what God did to this in individual Pharaoh of Egypt during the final five plagues. Pharaoh kept hardening his own heart until God finally refused to offer any intervening spirit to convince this ruler to “Let my people go.” He turned Pharaoh lose to his own vises. This example of the time of Pharaoh and his heart is similar to what is happening to those of Judah, civilian and ruler-leaders, at this time in the life of Jeremiah. God released them to their own vises.

Verse 2: The idols and particularly the Asherah poles are seldom discussed or properly identified in other commentaries or from the pulpit. The Asherah Pole is the same thing in practice as the dance poles used in strip clubs. They are for one purpose and it is the youth of Judah who hang around them lusting and fantasizing. This is the “children” referred to in V2. Not really children but more like a den of sin and enticement for those of early ages.

Verse 3: God tells Judah (Israel) that what they had will now belong to others. Possessions are one of the greatest identities of these people. It is all about self, wealth, pleasure and thinking themselves exclusive; nothing about true worship. ..throughout all their borders.” It means not only Jerusalem but all of Judea including the already occupied lands of the former Northern Kingdom of Israel (10 Tribes).

Verse 4: Strangely enough, verse four is Arab-Islam’s claim to what they say was formerly the blessing of Jacob but now the blessing by default to the descendants of Esau and Ishmael. In other words, this passage if out of context could read, “Israel/Judah, you have now forfeited God’s blessing that Jacob stole from his twin brother Esau. I am giving it back to its rightful owner the first born of Abraham (Ishmael) and the first born of Isaac (Esau). I will cause you to serve your enemies; an anger that will be forever.”  Only is this true when taken out of context. God will fulfill all of his promises (covenants).

We can easily see why the Hebrew translators DELIBERATELY left these verses out of their writing of the first Greek copy of the Hebrew bible (Old Testament) that being the XXL or Septuagint. They begin their translation with 5th verse as it can be applied across the identities of the human race; not exclusive to the Jew (Israelite).

Jer 17:5 I, the LORD, have put a curse on those who turn from me and trust in human strength. (CEV) 

Jeremiah 17:5-10 are applicable to all (kole in the Hebrew) mankind. Jeremiah steps aside from criticizing Judah specifically and takes a global look at the dynamic nature of God and his original creation. The Contemporary English Version (CEV) mistakenly returns to Judah by inserting their name in verse 9. I am not familiar with any other translation that does the same thing. Taking liberties with God’s true word is dangerous both to the author who takes the liberty and to those who use a given translation exclusively in his or her bible studies.

Quotes to all mankind from 17:5-10…

    1. Bad things happen to those who put their trust in man
    2. Bad things will happen to those who depend on human strength as it means trusting God is not primary.
    3. To be like this is like a bush in an isolated part of a dry parched desert. It lacks any knowledge of fertile, well-watered environments
    4. Those who trust “fully” in the Lord will be blessed. This does not mean or include those who simply believe in God or a supreme being. They fully believe but not fully trust.
    5. To know God is to (study) know his covenants with man.
      1. They are confident even during a dry season
      2. Like a tree next to a brook that does not seasonally run dry
      3. Their leaves are always green
      4. They always produce fruit.
    6. The human mind is deceitful and can call bad good and self-justify any evil committed.
    7. V10…”But I am the LORD and can look into a man’s heart (mind)” (ERV).
  • Although the CEV does miss in its interpretations from time to time, they do put it in plain English. 17:10b…”I [God] will make sure you get what you deserve.” The ERV puts it… “I (God can) give each person the right payment for what they do.” 

A unique characteristic of some birds such as the Quale (Partridge) is it will sit on or steal the eggs of another bird until they hatch. But the birds do not recognize the surrogate mother. They will fly the coop. The ERV v11 puts it well in comparison to humans:

“Sometimes a bird will hatch an egg that it did not lay. Those who cheat to get money are like that bird. But when their lives are half finished, they will lose the money. At the end of their lives, it will be clear that they were fools.”

Look closely at this passage (above). It does NOT SAY wealth in and of itself is a sign of misgivings or wrong doing. It is the wealth gained unjustly or by cheating that condemns him or her who selfishly gathers it.

Jeremiah again beginning in verse 13 shifts thought. First he praises God just like the opening of the Lord’s Prayer. We should begin every prayer with a praise to and recognition of who God is. Simply put, He is sovereign.

Verse 13b is something we all need to pay attention to. (KJV) “…and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD,…” Written in the earth means their value is now like the dust. It will easily be swept away.

Jeremiah asks God a question in verse 15. It shows the depth of Judean’s contempt for God. They actually challenge the prophecies of Jeremiah by saying PROVE IT! If God has said it, let it happen now because we challenge your prophecies and HIS authority to accomplish it. WOW! What dangerous grounds to be upon. Jeremiah who once pleaded with God to forego his condemnation of Judah now asks God to fulfill it (V18). Jeremiah aches in heart and soul for his countrymen. Their arrogance and stiff-necked attitudes are the issues at stake and for which God has already condemned them in verse 1. It hasn’t happened (yet again; forgetful memories they have) so they feel immune. Woe onto men who feel their superiority and self-reliance.

Jeremiah again switches topics and begins discussing the Sabbath Day. The last few verses of Jeremiah 17 including Exodus 20:8-11 is the basis of 7th Day Adventists (and Judaism) setting aside Saturday as the day of worship instead of Sunday. We can discuss this topic in the future as it has holes, but not in this blog. One three simple considerations: On what day was man created? Was it identified by God as anything other than sequential day 6? What day of a week was the 7th day if there were no calendars back them; just a sequence of days?

JIV NOTE: Beginning with verse 24 but prefaced with v19 – 22, God offers another “If you ____, then I will ____. Just like every covenant promise made by God in the Old and New Testament we are given the same condition. If we firs do this or that, then God will fulfill his end of the offer; and offer made by GOD, not man. Somehow this also has hints of End Time conditions. It also includes a promise beyond the 70 year Babylonian captivity they (Judah) has yet to endure.

The Covenant Promise: (in short) Honor the Hebrew Sabbath “Then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David…”. For how long? The end of this same verse says forever. Read this passage closely. It refers ONLY to entering the gates of Jerusalem, God’s holy city, bearing a load or work detail (V24). People will come from throughout the lands to worship but the reference to the Sabbath work load is in reference to bringing the work load into the city of Jerusalem via any of its 12 gates.

Once again this supposition of it being exclusive per work on the Sabbath, the concluding verse on chapter 17 states in part… “‘But if you [Judeans] don’t listen to me and obey me, bad things will happen. If you carry loads into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, you are not keeping it as a holy day…’” 

END NOTE: Something for each of us to remember about bad habits “One cannot break a habit. S/he can only replace it with something else, good or bad” (Jstark). Israel replaced their worship of the true God with works of their hands and other motionless and useless gods. They could not simply stop their false worship as many good Kings of Judah tried to do without returning to a full-faith worship of Yahweh.

There is something similar to this passage and a well tilled and cultivated garden. Initially it appears to be without weeds. Then, they begin to appear amongst the crop or garden. They were either hidden weeds (sins) or inherited from it environment. This is Israel of old.

miniJimRev. Dr. Jstark

February 2017

 

End – Time Prophecy

geneissThe first and often least recognized end time prophecy is found in the curses God gave at the Garden of Eden. We know about Adam and Eve being expelled and cursed; we know about the Satan serpent. Man will be expelled from the Garden and labor but the sweat of his brow [Genesis 3:17-19] to feed his family. Women; I will now greatly increase your pain during child birth will *now have pain delivering children [Genesis 3:16]. There will be enmity between the serpent and the woman

  • This passage as it reads suggests Adam and Eve already had children. If God is going to greatly increase the pain in childbirth. Eve must have something with which to compare labor pain so she already must have a child or two. One can’t greatly increase something with which s/he is not already familiar.

The snake in the Garden of Eden:

Genesis 3:14 & 15 state: God saith unto the serpent, `Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou above all the cattle, and above every beast of the field: on thy belly dost thou go, and dust thou dost eat, all days of thy life; and enmity I put between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; he doth bruise thee–the head, and thou dost bruise him–the heel.’ [YLT]

This highly suggests the snake in the garden was not one that looked like the snake as we know it today…sneaking and sleuthing through the grasses and in the tree branches. Every depiction we have today of the Eve and Satan encounter shows the snake already belly-bound. This is NOT what scripture tells us. It says “from now on…”

Genesis 3:14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.” The obvious is missed. Up to this point in the Garden of Eden incident, the snake did NOT crawl on its belly and eat dust. Our depiction of this moment in the history of mankind is totally wrong per imagery.

Genesis 3:15 tells us an end time prophecy most miss. “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” It is found with careful reading…”he will crush your head.” Note the gender change from a woman to “he.” The King James uses the word “it.” None the less, the change in the ‘who’ is in the verse itself.

Israel is often identified as a woman in end time prophecies. Just as the church is the bride of Christ; i.e. an identity of a woman, so is the nation of Israel. As has been true since the start of the church age at the cross, Satan has bit at the heel of the church and the church has tried to crush the head of Satan through prayer and worship of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Genesis 2 continue… (YLT) And Jehovah God doth make to the man and to his wife coats of skin, and doth clothe them.

Gen 3:22  And Jehovah God saith, `Lo, the man was as one of Us, as to the knowledge of good and evil; and now, lest he send forth his hand, and have taken also of the tree of life, and eaten, and lived to the age,’

It is obvious after reading v22 that there was another tree in the Garden; i.e. one of eternal life. Two or three conclusions for end time come from this verse in Genesis 3.

1.     The other tree in the same Garden is one of eternal live eternal life. Jesus paid the wages of sin on the tree or cross on Golgotha and now we can take of it and live up to, through and beyond the end time.forever

2.     There were never for bidden to eat from the Tree of Eternal life. Just as in end time we will not be forbidden to eat of the tree of life through Jesus or to eat of the deliberate deception of Satan.

3.     This (#2) being true, then Angels and Satan’s motley crew are already eternal. This however does not make him, them or us without consequence for our sins.

There is another analogy that needs to be mentioned. The Tribe of Dan is NOT included in the 144,000 mentioned in either Revelation 7 or 14.” Dan will be a serpent by the roadside, a viper along the path that bites the horse’s heels, so that its rider tumbles backward.” (Gen. 49:16-18). Note the similarity of a snake and the biting at the heel; Genesis 3:15 and the prophecy of the Tribe of Dan in Genesis 49:16-18. The question not asked often enough is who is crushing the head of the snake? , “who is the ‘her’ in 3:15 who becomes a he in the next sentence?” Is it the horse’s heel and the rider? This is not as mysterious as one might make it to be.

We cannot write in a single blog the connectivity, but it is there for the student of the bible to seek and to find. What started in the Garden of Eden will end with the people of God (Israel) and the people of the Church (Jesus) having total victory of Satan.

What about the Tribe of Dan? When Dan “leaped out of Bashan” (Deuteronomy 33:22) after migrating north from the land area originally assigned by Joshua to that tribe, they conquered Laish (Judges 1:16-20) in northern sector of the territory of Bashan. They did not take the Lord God with them. They took idols and their wicked ways with them as the marched out of Bashan. They deliberately left the Promised Land refusing to conquer it.

We will go deeper into this historical and detailed filled discussion next fall in a series entitled, Which Way Did They Go?

Needless to say but we will anyway, the 144,000 mentioned twice in Revelation, do not include Dan. Dan left God behind, not the other way around. Dan’s offspring may be those who may be the last and perhaps the least to respond to God’s end time call. They may likely be some of those who respond in or during the tribulation; a time called Jacob’s Great Troubles. But, the Tribe essentially rejects the promise of the Promised Land. Consider this…what about modern day rejection of God even after knowing about the Promised Land in heaven? Can we give up on what Jesus promised us as believers and “do it our way?”

If one no longer feels as close to God as s/he once did; guess which one moved?

Dr. jStarkminiJim

 

Jeremiah – Chapter 16

Dr. JJeremiah – Chapter 16Book of Jeremiah

This chapter could easily be described as Jeremiah’s life-style and ordained, like in predestined, message, his life’s mission and a preview of a portion of End Time. Why? It begins with the Lord Jehovah instructing Jeremiah to NOT GET MARRIED AND NOT HAVE CHILDREN.

The “what” in 16:3 and 4 explain bluntly but also seem to have a qualifier.

They will die of horrible diseases and of war and starvation. No one will give them a funeral or bury them, and their bodies will be food for the birds and wild animals. And what’s left will lie on the ground like manure.

This reminds us of chapter 15 verses 3 & 4 where God’s frustration [the why] with “this people,” the Judeans and all Israelis for turning their back on their God and redeemer (salvation) over and over again. God no longer calls them HIS people. He steps back now calling them “this people.” What a horrible position of condemnation. Can one imagine if our own eternal security and salvation was revoked due to our putting other gods before God such as money, pleasure, not studying or neglecting his Word?

This passage gets franker in the message from Jehovah to Jeremiah. Verse 5 instructs Jeremiah the Prophet of Judah to not even lament those he knows who die or visit the families of those who have died from this point forward. This means, as it is today, the usual “after funeral” luncheons. There will be so much carnage that others in Judah or neighboring territories won’t have time to lament the loss of family, neighbor or leaders. No time to even bury them.

If there is an after death luncheon, verse 6 instructs Jeremiah to NOT set foot into a house where this is being offered. Is there sorrow? Yes! What will it take to get these people, God’s chosen, to not only return to him but remain in HIM? This propels us to End Time when God tells Jeremiah in chapter 31 that he will write His word upon their hearts. It is also stated in Hebrews 8:10 and 10:16. However even today we make this mistake of not keeping God first. Charles Spurgeon said, “We write our blessings in the sand, and we engrave our complaints in the marble.”

Taking verse 6 and 7 into context, no one will bring wine of food to comfort those with the loss and if they supply it themselves, don’t attend.

Verse 9 needs some explanation. It reads in the CEV: “Warn the people of Judah that I, the LORD All-Powerful, will put an end to all their parties and wedding celebrations.” This would better translate “their desires to party and celebrate.” Many have experienced something somewhat similar when invited to a party today. The invited person(s) simply have no desire to go. The attempted party is there but there is no celebration. The King James puts it: “…the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride.” There will be moments to celebrate. The emphasis in verse 9 is the words to celebrate. It will be gone.

Now Jeremiah gets a bit contemporary. We all know the “what did I do” expression the guilty say when trying to dodge the accusation of wrong doing. When a person back then, as it is true today, answers a question of accusation with a question, s/he is avoiding answering. However, God gives Jeremiah an answer or reply to this or their attempt to defer. He is to tell the people of Judah to realize they are even worse than their ancestors who turned to idols. These people in Jeremiah’s time did whatever came to mind; good, bad, and simply evil. Read verses 11 & 12 of Jeremiah 16. A good read is found at: [Control + Click to follow] https://books.google.com/books?id=zYXhAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA80&lpg=PA80&dq=Judah+is+even+worse+than+the+Tribes+in+the+north&source=bl&ots=Hl2arjbk4K&sig=3rl9M2xOqEQuxvEBf9ZtA-2BALE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiC2IyE2OrRAhXqxVQKHaLeDA4Q6AEIPDAG#v=onepage&q=Judah%20is%20even%20worse%20than%20the%20Tribes%20in%20the%20north&f=false

hope.jpgThere is Hope

At 16:14 & 15 God offers an eventual plan of redemption to the people of Israel/Judah. This is the covenant of End Time and Israel. This simultaneous fulfilment of the two covenants, one with Israel and one with the New Testament (church) plan of eternity. (Israel) “…For I will bring them [Israel] back into their land which I gave to their fathers.” Do you want to know the solution to the Palestinian issues today? Reread the previous sentence. The West Bank is former Judah and Samaria. Lands to the east of the Jordan River belonged to the Tribes of Gad, Reuben, and a half tribe of Manasseh.

Beginning with verse 17, Jeremiah explains the “what” and the “why.” But to fully understand chapter 16 in Jeremiah, we must realize God is actually telling Jeremiah of the past, present, and future. God even include a critical but often overlooked portion of verse 19. It explains a time will come when those people and nations that have challenged Israel and Israelis from their time in Egypt through a prophetic End Time Apocalypse, will see the truth. They will admit that they have been deceived by their Gentile ancestors who were and are anti-Semite. The truth will be known as the Kingdom of God is ushered in.

Let’s break down this past, present and future of which Jeremiah is writing using the ESV translation’ verses 17 – 21.

For my eyes are on all their [people] ways. They are not hidden from me, nor is their [both Israelite and Gentile] iniquity concealed from my eyes [This is the past and present]. But first I will doubly repay their [the Great Tribulation] iniquity and their sin, because they [both Israelite and Gentile] have polluted my land [Palestine and Canaan] with the carcasses of their detestable idols, and have filled my inheritance [Promised Land] with their abominations.” O LORD, my strength and my stronghold, my refuge in the day of trouble [both Israelite and Gentile; i.e. the Great Tribulation], to you shall the nations [Gentiles; future tense] come from the ends of the earth and say: “Our fathers [Gentiles; future tense] have inherited [Gentile nations; past and present tense] nothing but lies, worthless things in which there is no profit. Can man make for himself gods? Such are not gods!” “Therefore, behold, I will make them [future tense; Gentile] know, this once [one time offer] I will make them [future tense; Gentile] know my power and my might, and they shall know that my name is the LORD.”

This is one of the most powerful and promising chapters in Jeremiah. The same things are echoed in Daniel, Revelation, Isaiah, the Minor Prophetic books (12 books at the end of the Old Testament) and in part, several New Testament books.  The challenge to peripheral bible study or reading, the individual seldom realizes these differentiations as identified in the previous paragraph.

But then…don’t take my word for it. Study it for yourself.

miniJimRev. Dr. Jstark January 30, 2017