Micah 2

(Most quotes are from the NKJV)

Right from the start Micah points out that those of authority in Israel and Judah were taking advantage of their own people. Does the reader of this chapter’s narrative commentary think that today is bad times? Keep reading!

KEEP READING

Micah 2:1 singles out those in Israel with authority who devise plans while in bed to gain possessions and wealth. At sunrise, they get up and proceed to fulfill their plans of gain. Against whom? Their own fellow Israelis.

“Woe to those who devise iniquity, And work out evil on their beds! At morning light they practice it, Because it is in the power of their hand.” (NKJV)

This is not a people united. Class distinction is the norm. This may also be why, when speculating, the Northern Kingdom of Israel, ten tribes in all, struggled to hold their own against Damascus (Syrian) aggression then finally their total defeat by the Assyrians. The kingdom of Israel was not a kingdom united. It was distinctly divided by class warfare. The military was comprised mostly of the lower-class citizenry. Why other than for their own lives would they fight to protect the upper class who leveraged them? They wouldn’t!

Micah 2:3 & 4 explain what was coveted by those who dreamed and planned how to gain wealth and possession while still in their beds.

JIV: The upper class during this time did not require their sons to fight in Israel’s military. Just as did King David gain Bathsheba, it was a simple thing to have the lower-class men killed off in wars and battles then take their lands and possessions for their own.

This is an aside from our Micah study but points out the value of knowing names mentioned in the Bible. Look at the names in the line of Shem then think about Bible characters. Of course, Shem had two brothers with descendants but today’s world population came from the sons of Noah and perhaps even Noah when he settled lands after the flood. Our point? Micah and all that he is discussing are from the line of Noah. Let’s not forget!

Verse five in the last sentence we read: “FOR THIS IS AN EVIL TIME.” We think of today as being evil, well Micah points out the evil of this time in the Kingdom of Israel and in the Kingdom of Judah. [For comparison read Jeremiah 1:15]

JIV NOTE: Verse five has some fascinating implications of the End Time antichrist. It reads in the NKJV:

“In that day one shall take up a proverb against you, And lament with a bitter lamentation, saying: ‘We are utterly destroyed! He has changed the heritage of my people; How He has removed it from me! To a turncoat He has divided our fields.’ “

How easy it is to read right past or through this verse without making any connections. We teach but YOU must decide. “IN THAT DAY” is a phrase we have discussed in previous commentary articles. These three words, In That Day, as Micah writes, is a reference to both the pending invasion of the Assyrians and the second 3 ½ years of the Tribulation. It is a parallel prophecy and about Israel, not Washington D.C., London, Berlin, or Moscow. One shall take up a proverb (truism) against you. So many commentaries walk right past the truisms of parallel prophecies. This is one of them. Who is the “He” in this verse? Be mindful that both the original YLT (Young’s Literal Translation) and the New King James Versions are as close to the original text as we can get using the English language. Both capitalize the “H” in He. Other translations often miss this in the Hebrew and write it as a common “he”. This is easily missed since there are no upper and lower-case distinctions in Hebrew other than proper names, places, and things which we assume in English.

In this verse it is He. In short, we read in Daniel 11:37 (see our commentary on Daniel) He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all [note the correct use of the upper and lower case “G”]. We explained in our Daniel commentary that the one who deceives Israel into a 7-year pact of protection will be one of their own. A leader in his own rights but one with whom Israel will sign a peace agreement of 7 years only to be betrayed at the 3 ½ year mark of that agreement. Just as is true of the Muslims and true to character of Orthodox Jews, an outsider is not to ever be trusted. It must be one of their own.

“They will be utterly destroyed.” The Bible tells us that 2/3rds of Jerusalem will be destroyed by invading (Assyrians) then and later by end time global armies. This final drastic design is needed for Israelis to decisively realize that Jesus is their Messiah. Prophetically they are painted into a corner with no chance to get out. This was true of the invading Assyrians and will be true when 200,000,000 armed forces line up against them in Megiddo [Revelation 9:13-21].

He has changed the heritage of my people. This is a direct result of the ten lost Tribes of Israel. Millions of DNA Israelis no longer realize their original heritage. Scattered to the four corners of the world they have long forgotten their roots.

To a turncoat He has divided our fields; this is the turncoat (Hebrew) antichrist deceiver of Israel who deceives them into signing that 7-year peace pact. A Hebrew who turns on his own people, rejects the God of his fathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). For added insight read: https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-s-daniel-abraham-israel-s-looming-ruin-1.5288996

Micah 2:5 There is no longer a member of God’s prophetic line and leadership in Israel. The judgment of Israel will be the final judgement of God’s people in end time. The loss of possessions and land first occurred when the Assyrians destroyed then expelled them in 722 B.C. PS: At this dispersion, Idumeans (Esau) came in and occupied the empty cities.

Micah 2:6 [NKJV] Do not prattle.” Micah is pointed in how the people to whom he is “preaching” look at his words. Nothing but prattle. It appears that this ends most if not all direct prophecy to the northern kingdom Israel. Micah states…”so they shall not prophecy to you… He means the prophets of God shall no longer prophecy to them. It is only a few years later during the life of Micah, Israel falls to the ruthless captivity and dispersion by the evil and without mercy Assyrians. They are no longer a people in common.

Micah 2:7 is well stated by the Joseph Benson Commentary… “Certainly, both God’s laws, and the words delivered by his prophets, would do you great and lasting good if you would obey them.” (emphasis “IF” is mine). This cold still true today of the believer’s church and Israel.

F.B. Meyer Commentary explains Micah 2:8 this way.

His [Jehovah] words would still comfort humble souls. But the cruelty of men who despoiled their poor neighbors, not only of their ornaments but of the tunic covering their skin, would bring disaster upon the entire nation. [emphasis mine] The house of Jacob is true clarity as to whom Micah is prophesying. But be certain there is overlap. The Kingdom of Judah is also of the house of Jacob. The Book of Amos, a few years earlier, points out the guilt of Judah some 150 years later, that that their sins are seen by Jehovah-God as even greater than the dispersed northern Kingdom of Israel.

Micah 2:9 reverts back to earlier commentary comments on this chapter. The rich got richer by scheming while even in their beds. Women (Israeli) were cast out of their own homes by those in authority. This means the blessings of God to even the poorer of the kingdom have been *removed by being cast out of their own “pleasant” homes. Their children no longer have an inheritance. (see NOTE)

*NOTE: In the year of Jubilee all possessions were to be returned to their original owners and debt cancelled. This is every 50 years during Jubilee.

Micah 2:10 is reminiscent of sowing a bad seed and reaping its harvest. This was the basis of God’s judgment upon the lands of the Canaanites. Remember that the Canaanites also descended from Noah and should have known well their forefather’s (Noah) God Jehovah. God judged them when Joshua removed them from Canaan. Micah is telling the people of the Northern Kingdom that it will be likewise for them. The Canaanites did not regain their lands and neither did the people of Samaria (Northern Kingdom of Israel). Israel will regain their Promised Lands at the 2nd advent of Jesus.

Micah 2:11 is a warning by analysis. It reminds us of verse 6 and the prattler declaration of those who refused Micah’s message to them. If a man should walk in a false spirit And speak a lie, saying, ‘I will prophesy to you of wine and drink,’ Even he would be the prattler of this people.” In other words, Micah is throwing it back in the face of his opposition, a rebuke one might conclude. A false-spirit wolf-in-sheep clothing. The false prophet may look innocent but was and will be guilty of deceiving and lying. They are not prophets of God but a people whispering good things in the ears of the blinded in bad times. Ignore the sins of this kingdom and its leadership and peoples own judgment will go away. Today we simply call it wishful thinking. It might be better identified as hopeless self-deception.

Praise God for Micah 2:12. Israelis are told that there will be a time when [both] Judah and Israel will once again be one people. “I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob…” Note Micah uses the term ‘Jacob’. This means all 12 tribes. They will once again be assembled as a single flock of sheep. Take note of these words in verse 12… They shall make a loud noise because of so many people. This gathering will be enormous. The Hebrew word for noise is hûm. So the reader understands, this is not simply a loud noise of rejoicing or celebrating. The word hûm means a noise that annoys and greatly agitates. The world of anti-God Gentiles will be agitated at the success and gathering of Israelis back to Israel/Jerusalem. This is becoming true today even as this narrative commentary is being written.

Micah 2:13 is an even greater aha moment and PTL; a history soon to be today. In part C of this verse it reads in the NKJV…”and their king will pass before them, and the Lord at the head of them.” We at Ahabiblemoments suggest that the gate they will pass through according to verse 13 is the Eastern Gate in Jerusalem. It was bricked shut by the Turks in 1530 A.D. to prevent Jesus from entering through it. This is a picture of that exact gate. It is called the Golden Gate of Jerusalem. Isn’t it actually a testimony to the reality of something if one wants to deny CHRIST but builds a barrier to prevent him from entering and leaving Jerusalem?

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2021

Micah 1

Contrary to some prophets like Jonah, Micah gives us an anchor in history in which we can identify h1im. The first verse in Micah states – in part:

“The Word of Jehovah that came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah…” [NKJV]

There are several men named Micah mentioned in the Bible. Micah the Prophet gives his identity by including his place of origin…Moresheth. Moresheth, also known as Moreseth-Gath, was a town of the tribe of Judah in ancient Israel. This puts him in the Kingdom of Judah. He also timestamps his prophetic career by identifying who sat on the throne in Judah during his time as a prophet; Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. Three different kings. Our previous commentary study of Jonah was just the opposite. He tells us of his experience with Assyria, Nineveh and God, but says little else to help us put an identity or time stamp to him.

Interestingly, Micah came from near Tekoa, Judah. Tekoa is from where Amos originated. Isaiah was also a contemporary of Micah. Hosea came from Bethel and prophesied to the Kingdom of Israel just north of Moresheth. All four were 8th century B.C. prophets.

Micah 1:1 tells us that he saw “The Word of Jehovah” regarding Jerusalem and Samaria. He sees their past, present and their future state of being. The map to the right includes Moreseth-Gad and Moreseth.

We do not know, other than by speculation, from which of these two villages Micah came. We do know he was from the rural area of Judah but both Moreseth-Gad and Moreseth are rural areas in northern Judah.

One may ask why so many prophets to the Israelis all clustered in the 8th century B.C. The answer is God’s patients by then is running short. It was in the latter part of the 8th century B.C. [722 B.C.] that the Assyrians destroyed and exiled all residents of the Kingdom of Israel. 120 years later, Judah fell to the Babylonians. Yes, time was running out for Northern and Southern kingdoms of Israelites.

Time is Running Out

Prosperity is sometimes a key to a nation or kingdom’s fall away from God. Keith Greer puts I this way.

King Uzziah [of Judah] had brought a high degree of prosperity to Judah. Something they had not enjoyed since the days of Solomon. Yet, with this also came the mindset to forget who made it all possible. Jotham was a good man who followed the path of his father, 2 Kings 15:32-38. Ahaz, was the opposite and the pinnacle of wickedness. He followed the examples of other kings to lead God’s people into idolatry, 2 Kings 16:1-20. Hezekiah was an exceptionally good king. He did God’s commands and issued many reforms during his reign, 2 Kings 18-20. He commanded many reforms during his reign [2 Kings 18-20].

Micah 1:2 states that God himself is a witness against *Jerusalem and *Samaria; for all that matters, at th White Throne Judgement this included earth and mankind. Micah envisions the Lord God soon descending from his heavenly realm to his creation of earth. What a declaration of the return of God to earth. This will be the 2nd advent or coming of Jesus the Messiah. So, what occurs when this coming happens?

*Jerusalem is the capital of Judah. Samaria is the capital of the northern kingdom, Israel.

Micah 1:3 “For behold, the LORD is coming out of His place; He will come down and tread on the high places of the earth” [NJV]. Coming out of his place? Micah is foretelling the future time when God will leave heaven and reclaim earth as part of his kingdom with direct rule. We call it the Millennial Reign. There will be no doubt that God is present on earth at that time. (V3) He, meaning God, will come down from his place in heaven, mountains will melt, valleys will split like wax before a fire (heat); verse 4. But the next verse should dispel questions about the end time Tribulation being Israel, not the church…

Micah 1:5 states “the transgression of Jacob and the sins of the house of Israel.” There is not even a hint of the church being judged or involved at this time. This verse only mentions Jacob and the house of Israel. God in Jesus is not coming back again and again. This is the 2nd advent of Christ; the end of time as we understand it as created back in Genesis 1:5. Has not the corporate church itself sinned? Why are there so many religions and denominations if the church is united under Christ? Not! This is all about God’s chosen, his elect, his light that never shined on the hillside, i.e. Israelis.

The next several verses describe the “what” as in what will happen upon the return of God to exercise his authority over HIS creation. Verse 8 is amazing. It is very definitive and descriptive but the original KJV reads somewhat differently than does the NKJV. The King James uses the word “dragon.” This can draw speculative interpretations. Tannah, as translated dragon in the KJV, is the Hebrew for a female jackal. “I will make a wailing like a dragon (a female jackel)(KJV). This translation is corrected in the more accurate and recent NKJV.

This ‘wailing’ in verse 5 is amazingly close to what happened to the Northern Kingdom of Israelis when the Assyrians captured and dispersed them in 722 B.C.  The hideousness of the Assyrian treatment of the ten northern tribes of Israel verges on unthinkable. They were stripped naked, marched for days and weeks bare foot, left without covering in the cold of the night, left for dead if they could not keep up with the main group being removed from their homelands, abused at the pleasure of the Assyrian soldiers.  Is it any wonder why, before the 722 B.C. dispersion of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, Jonah did NOT want the Assyrian capital of Nineveh to repent? Ninevites were Assyrians with the reputation as just described. It is probable, although we are not told, that Jonah was contemporary with Micah and the aforementioned prophets as 8th century B.C. prophets.

Micah 1:9 is a conclusion of God.” …her wound is incurable.” Over hundreds of years, God’s chosen people of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob could not stay faithful to God’s selection as a specific chosen people with a God-promise (covenant). A people personally selected by God to be an example and light unto the world. Jeremiah 8:22 is similar in description of an incurable wound. JIV NOTE: Selected does not mean elect.

Micah 1:9 specifically identifies the leadership and citizenry of the Kingdom of Judah being in the same shape as is their northern cousins. Judah’s demise came 120 years later at the hands of the Babylonians (607, 589 & 587 B.C). The difference? These Judeans were captured, not dispersed and then for only 70 years. After 70 years Daniel reminded the King of Babylon/Persia of God’s instructions. He then allowed the Jews to return. Oddly, only a few returned. Those who did return became the progenitors of those we read about in the New Testament.

Micah 1:10 There were five Philistine cities that bordered Israel/Judah at this time. Gath is mentioned but Micah means it to represent the Philistines next door to them. Today we know the descendants of these “next door neighbors” as Palestinians in Gaza. In the time of Joshua and the dividing of the Promised Land, The Tribe of Dan was to conquer and remove these people. They did not do it. In the time of Micah, the 700’s B.C., some 700 years after those released from Egypt captivity entered and conquered some of the Promised Land. The forever enemies of Israel still exist RIGHT NEXT DOOR to modern day Israel. Micah knew that the Palestinians would dance in the streets to see another catastrophe in Israel. Any Israeli weeping and wailing would be enough to get the dance tune going in the land of the Philistines, today’s self-proclaimed Palestinians.

NOTE: Palestinians and the PLO did not exist with this identity until the 1960’s.

The House of Aphrah [v10] takes God’s command to a personal level. First it is Gath, a location, a people who would rejoice in the misery imposed upon the Kingdom and people of Israel. Then, it gets very personal when told what to do at the household level in Israel. Weep [in private] and roll in the dust of the homeland lest you (Israel) weep and roll in the dust of captivity with the unbelievable cruelty practiced by the Assyrians [impal­ing, hamstringing, or flaying their enemies as well as leading captives away with hooks in their noses and lips].

Micah 1:11 *Saphir [Shaphir?], Bethezel, and Zaanan, are three Palestinian cities. It is important to keep in mind that a Palestinian city does not always mean a Philistine city. Palestine is the entirety of what we know today as Israel and some bordering territories. News broadcast today have confused, be it in ignorance or deliberate. Palestine today is distinct from Israel. The lands of Canaan were synonymous with Palestine. Palestine is derived from the name Canaan. Rome changed the identity of Israel to Palestine. This was around 72 B.C. soon after Rome destroyed the Jerusalem temple (70 B.C.). This is also when the Romans dispersed the remaining people of the remnant of Israel (Judah) to the hinterlands of the known and unknown world. Hundreds of thousands ended up in what eventually became known as Spain: aka the Iberian Peninsula. P.S; Eber was the great-grandson of Noah’s son Shem. Eber? Iber?

*S[h]aphir and Zaanan are sometime synonymous with each other.

Micah 1:12 mentions a place called Maroth. It is the only time in the entire Bible it is mentioned by name. It means “bitter springs.” We do not have any archeological evidence of its location in history. The rest of this prophetic history is Judean judgement. This means they will no longer follow God, not as if they had been, and will no longer be a kingdom or nation unto themselves. At least not until 1948 A.D.

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2021

Micah: Introduction

Micah Introduction and outline

The following chart highlights the time-period of the Prophet Micah according to his own words in Micha 1:1. The total years these three kings ruled over Judah is well over 60 years; 66 years to be exact. We can deduce from this that Micah started his prophetic years sometime during King Jotham, through the reign of King Ahaz, and finished or died sometime during the reign of King Hezekiah. Ahaz is considered a bad king of Judah. He was not in the will of HaShem; G-d, and did evil in God’s eyes.

Note if you will, this list of kings over Judah were all related descending from King David from the Tribe of Judah.

Micah came from Moresheth sometimes spelled Moresheh. It is west south-west of Bethlehem inside the borders of the Kingdom of Judah. His prophecy was to both the northern and southern kingdoms, primarily to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Note that since Israel to the north was conquered by the Assyrians in 722 B.C. Micah’s prophecy years overlap the ruin and destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel during the reign of Ahaz, King of Judah..

We at aha bible moments suggest Micah 6:8 as the central message to Micah’s prophecy challenges.

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?” [NJKV]

Like Isaiah, Micah’s contemporary living about the same time, Micah admonished his people to return to God. He was especially descriptive of the ruling classes, who used their positions of power to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor. Micah describes the sins of the people, and especially of their leaders and judges, “who make crooked all that is straight.” He has harsh words for the judges that can be bribed and the priests that can be hired, saying to themselves, “Evil cannot befall us.”

The following is an outline of the entire Book of Micah as presented by Bible Outlines on the Web. Keep it handy as we delve into our commentary studies of Micah. It will be a good study format, reminder, and insight as to where we will be going in our commentary articles.

Outline of Micah

Micah chapter 1
Micah 1:1.The time when Micah prophesied.
Micah 1:2-9.He shews the wrath of God against Jacob for idolatry.
Micah 1:10-16.He exhorts to mourning.
Micah chapter 2
Micah 2:1-3.Against oppression.
Micah 2:4-6.A lamentation.
Micah 2:7-11.A reproof of injustice and idolatry.
Micah 2:12-13.A promise of restoring Jacob.
Micah chapter 3
Micah 3:1-4.The cruelty of the princes.
Micah 3:5-7.The falsehood of the prophets.
Micah 3:8-12.Israel’s and Judah’s ill-grounded security.
Micah chapter 4
Micah 4:1-4.The glory,
Micah 4:5.and the peace of Christ’s kingdom.
Micah 4:6-10.The restoration,
Micah 4:11-13.and victory of the church.
Micah chapter 5
Micah 5:1-3.The birth of Christ.
Micah 5:4-7.His kingdom.
Micah 5:8-15.His conquest.
Micah chapter 6
Micah 6:1-5.God’s controversy for ingratitude;
Micah 6:6-9.for ignorance,
Micah 6:10-15.for injustice;
Micah 6:16.and for idolatry.
Micah chapter 7
Micah 7:1-2.The church, complaining of her small number,
Micah 7:3-4.and the general corruption,
Micah 7:5-7.puts her confidence not in man, but in God.
Micah 7:8-13.She triumphs over her enemies.
Micah 7:14.She prays to God.
Micah 7:15-17.God comforts her by promises of confusion to her enemies;
Micah 7:18-20.and by his mercies.

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2021

Hope – Part 4

By Brenda McKee (www.brendamckee.com)

The curtains were drawn tight in the living room. Even when they were open, it was still dark in my little house—which reflected the condition of my heart. Before turning the lights in the house off, I went and grabbed the four pack of Michelob light beer from the refrigerator. Trouble, my dog, followed me back into the living room. 

I turned on the television not caring what was on. Sitting down in the middle of the floor with my dog and beer. I began to cry. Trouble laid tightly to my side as I opened a beer. My plan was to drown my sorrows.

Recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I was physically better since being released from the hospital, but not strong. My doctor would not release me to go back to work full time and I was going to be let go. In my early twenties, with car payments and rent I was getting concerned about my bills.

As I finished my first beer, this guy on the television caught my attention. He pointed straight at me and said “GOD loves YOU!” I didn’t really want to think about God. I repented of my sins and was born again at 17 but was now doing my own thing.

The church I attended got another pastor when I was 18. This guy was legalistic and boring with a bunch of “thou shalt nots”. Everything I was, including who I was—was not what God wanted me to be—according to the current pastor. He said a woman should wear a dress, not slacks, keep hair long and wear no jewelry. I looked at my class ring, watch, and beige pants, then looked for the nearest door. I tried other churches in the next few weeks. The churches I visited had good coffee and donuts. That is the best thing I remember about them.

Opening my second beer, the guy on the television once again said “someone out there needs to know God loves you, just the way you are!” “How would you know!” I asked the guy on Television—as if he would answer. Suddenly something changed in my living room. There was a peace that passed my understanding. My heart felt like it was melting. I even thought I heard “I DO LOVE YOU MY DAUGHTER, I know YOU and you are my child,” like it came from inside my heart. I began to weep and tell the LORD that I wanted to know Him…

This was the first night I spent with the King, really seeking Him, reading His Word and praying. One night with King Jesus changed my life forever. It is true with every one who is seeking a relationship with King Jesus.

“But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29

That night, I knew that I knew He loved me for who I was. Knowing Him is different than knowing about Him, just as knowing Neil Diamond personally would be much better than simply knowing about him. Relationship is about intimacy. We cannot truly know someone without spending time in their presence and communicating with her or him. The most valuable relationship we can have is with our Creator God. It is only possible by true repentance and accepting Jesus Christ as our LORD and Savior.

You too, can spend a night with the King and every minute with the King when you choose a relationship with Jesus, our King of kings, and the LORD of lords.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28: 19

Prevailing Hope – Part 3

By Brenda McKee (hope4mckee@gmail.com)

This is the real deal….

Sometimes I think I know what is best for my life. I think if I were totally healed I could serve the LORD better and help more people. I think if I were successful in a business and made a lot of money I could help a LOT more people than sitting here writing a blog about my challenges.

Closeup of hands shuffling cards casino

In other words I don’t like the cards I got dealt. I want a new deal and start with a new deck please! Make sure they are shuffled well too! Sometimes I think if I can throw down a few really bad cards and ask God to deal me a couple good cards, maybe then I handle the couple of not so good cards in my hand. Have you ever tried to barter or bargain with God?

But this is the deal.  No new cards, no new hand.  I  finally made the choice to play it to the best of my ability by His grace. My prevailing hope is to be successful in God’s eyes and impact this world for His Glory.

The Word of GOD is full of real men and women who face great challenges with the “cards they were dealt” and their lives gave Glory to God forever. I think of Joseph especially; sold into slavery by his brothers, imprison unjustly yet in the end was a great success in God’s eyes and in the worlds!

What about you? How are you going to play your cards?  Or are you still hoping for a new deal? Will you play your cards with great faith that GOD has a plan for your life (He does)- as He did for Joseph  and everyone else. His plan will ultimately will bring you great success defined by Almighty God! True success is not measured by the world’s standards.

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Prevailing Hope – When Life Hurts

Real Life…..REAL HOPE

Life is not easy. We all face challenges. Some people seem to have it easy, while others have more than their share.Whether your pain is small or large, the truth is the same. There is Hope. Prevailing Hope -When Life Hurts is about how to face challenges head-on with a Living Hope that will not let you down.

About the author:
Brenda McKee learned from a young age that life is tough and sometimes it really HURTS. During her 30 plus year battle with Multiple Sclerosis and other severe health issues, along with the heartbreak of domestic violence, Brenda has endured with prevailing hope and been an inspiration to many! With her faith in a loving God and her service dog at her side, Brenda finds triumph in the midst of tragedy, with lots of laughs along the way. Her story gives something exceptional and beautiful to the world

About the book:
Prevailing HOPE is my story, and my heart – to give you hope in the midst of all we go through on this earth. It’s my journey, and how the Lord has shown me how I can be okay, even when life is not okay. My prayer is that all who read this, will draw closer to the Source of All Hope – the Lord Jesus Christ. This book is NOT a pity story, easy answers, or me saying it’s going to be okay; it may not – but WE CAN BE! This book IS ABOUT real stuff we face, hope in the midst of pain, finding REAL joy and strength, and how we can enjoy life every day.

“Prevailing Hope: When Life Hurts,” is now available to buy on Amazon

Zechariah Chapter 4

Olive Trees

Lampstand, candle holders, Olive trees, feeding tubes called “pipes”, bowls, the seven eyes of God…it is no wonder many have difficulty understanding this chapter with a simple reading. We trust today as you read this article (commentary) on Zechariah 4, things will become clearer and you will have an increased comfort level with its content and context.

There are several interpretations of the symbols used in this chapter. The real problem is these interpretations come from just as many, if not differing translations of the Hebrew. We will stay as close as possible to the intent of this chapter by using Strong’s, Young’s Literal Translation (YLT), and the Literal Translation of the Holy Bible (LITV). We will quote or note, then explain. No need to pronounce the Hebrew this article may include but you will know the options for the use of certain Hebrew words in Zechariah 4. No, this commentary will not be exhaustive but it will be inclusive.

Awakem from Sleep

Zechariah 4:1 initially reads as if Zechariah is awakened from sleep. [YLT] “And the messenger (mal’âk; a deputy or assistant) who is speaking with me doth turn back, and stir me up as one who is stirred up out of his sleep…” In short this opening means a “messenger” had to get the attention of Zechariah, similar to one who may call out in a parking lot or perhaps in a church foyer to get the attention of someone. YLT uses “messenger” while the KJV uses “angel”. 

These returning Judeans and other Israeli tribal stragglers or cling-on Israelis from the former Kingdom of Judah and a few from the Kingdom of Israel are coming to a Jerusalem that is anything but a lampstand or golden light radiating to the world. Yet, this vision shows a lampstand of seven lights. The wealth of “gold” in the vision also does not reflect the conditions of the returning Judeans or the wealth of the land to which they are returning. Rather it is almost a stark contrast with actuality. This is our first clue that this 5th vision involves things to come, not the present state-of-being upon their return to Jerusalem.

In our attempt to find a visual illustration of this vision or drawing of the concept of verses 3 and 4 to depict it was next to impossible to keep someone else’s theological twist out of their drawing or illustration. The best approach is to take this scripture literally. Zechariah saw a golden candle stick fueled by purified olive oil filling a supply bowl from two Olive trees; one tree to the left and one tree to the right of the gold candle holder. There is a collection bowl on the top that acts as a reservoir of the olive oil fuel. Oil is piped to the seven burning candle fuel bowls.

Hmmmm? 7 points of light? A light onto the world? Has America like Israel lost its purpose? I see seven statue crown points like the seven points of the menorah.

It is amazing that there are so many attempts to make something out of what is pictured here instead of using other scripture to validate each element Zachariah is seeing. He does not understand its meaning per verse 5. The messenger explains…this is a picture of Israel’s destiny, not its present state of being. It is a covenant reminder of God’s relationship with Israel. The YLT writes: “And he answered and spoke unto me, saying: `This is a word of Jehovah unto Zerubbabel, saying: Not by a force, nor by power, But–by My Spirit, said Jehovah of Hosts”. Okay…a literal look: “a word of Jehovah” is an official identity of God in Hebrew, “speaking specifically to Zerubbabel”. First, Zerubbabel is of the Tribe of Judah, just as was David and Jesus himself in the New Testament. There is nothing hinted in the Hebrew that this includes the future New Testament church meaning people other than Israelis, and Jerusalem’s Temple.

Zechariah 4:7 [LITV] “Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain”. Where can we find anything similar within scripture…a great mountain made a plain; an obstacle removed. Ezekiel 38:20 is one good reference: Using the full verse… [LITV]

Fish of the Sea

And the fish of the sea, and the birds of the heavens, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep on the earth, and all men on the face of the earth, shall quake at My face. And the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. [Cf. Revelation 16:20}

Let’s add to this…the previous verse (6) says it is not by might or power but by my Spirit that verse 7 will result. This has to be the End Time return of Christ to earth with God’s Spirit filling the sons and daughters of Israel [Cf. Joel 2:20]. Recall that upon Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem prior to his crucifixion, Jesus stated that had not the people shouted out in praise the rocks along the road side would have shouted out [Luke 19:40].

Zechariah 4:7 tells us of the headstone (KJV) or cornerstone (LITV). Cornerstone of what one should ask? It is the Millennial New Jerusalem and throne of Jesus symbolized by the work of Zerubbabel on the Temple foundation including its eventual completion. Simply put, it is a defining moment of the eventual supremacy of Jerusalem over all nations and the Temple that will be in Jerusalem. This is when Jerusalem will actually become the light on the hillside to the world. We will go into greater detail and explanation in Zechariah 5 (cf. Matthew 5:14).

Zechariah 4:10 actually helps explain Zechariah 3:9, the seven eyes on the stone in front of the High Priest Joshua. [LITV] For they shall rejoice and shall see the plummet stone in the hand of Zerubbabel. These seven are the eyes of Jehovah; they run to and fro through all the earth. One could add to this the horses under the Myrtle we discussed in Zechariah 1:1-17. These horsemen were the eyes of God roaming and reporting the condition(s) of the world. Scripture does not tell us of the number of other horsemen behind the one who spoke and rode the red horse.  JIV: There may be may be 7 riders since the eyes on the stone were 7, the eyes on the stone of the Lord, the 7 pipes from the Olive tree to the main olive fuel bowl container, and 7 is the perfect number of COMPLETION. “For on the seventh day, God said all is good and he rested from his creation labors.” Just as the horsemen under the Myrtle Tree roamed the earth to see what it was like, verse 10 tells us the same per the eyes on the plummet-line stone. The eyes of Jehovah “run to and fro through all the earth” [LITV]. Very likely discussing the same activity of God keeping eyes upon earth and for certain, Satan and his minions.

Zechariah shifts gears in 4:11. This verse uses the word “question” but it means aw-naw’ as in to pay attention; take heed; to respond.

*JIV: A very interesting side per the Myrtle tree is how Jewish sages say that “the myrtle has great fragrance but [has] no taste.” Essentially meaning one can look good in the eyes of man or other believers but s/he has no taste for a spiritual life and study of the Word of God. They look good but have no taste for God’s Word.

In Zechariah’s time the above JIV can be understood as one who builds appearance but has no taste for the inside and personal works of God in his or her life.

Zechariah 4:12 is another example of confusion. Many translations identify the Olive dripping oil as coming from branches. The Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) says “two branches of the olive tree.” Does it matter if it is two trees or branches? Yes and it depends much on how one understands. A tree full of branches may in this case mean Israel as a tree and parts of it serving God. It may infer the church and only parts of it serving God. It may mean, as we do, two servants of God in End Time keeping the fire burning. These two could very likely be the two witnesses of the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation.

We Teach – You Decide

Verses 11 and 12 are self-addressing. They topically return to the opening 2 verses of chapter 4. We read in verses 11 and 12 according to the YLT: V11 “And I answer [aw-naw’] and say unto him, `What are these two olive-trees, on the right of the candlestick, and on its left?’ V12 And I answer [aw-naw’] a second time, and say unto him, `What are the two branches of the olive trees that, by means of the two golden pipes, are emptying out of themselves the oil?’”  

The two branches could be a present tense or a future tense in its interpretation. It could be Zerubbabel and (high Priest) Joshua or it could be future tense meaning the End Time Two Witnesses…a continual supply of anointing oil from God; 3 ½ years as God’s only remaining witnesses other than the 144,000 as mentioned in Revelation 7 and 14.

Reader Note: JIV use means Jim’s Introspective View.


Rev. Dr. Jstark
2020

Prophet Timeline (Article 3)

STUDY TO SHOW THYSELF APPROVED!
Kings of … (since Solomon)Start
of reign
Length
of reign
(years)
 
JudahIsraelProphets to JudahProphets to Israel (Northern Kingdom)
1. Rehoboam 1. Jeroboam931 BC17  
 931 BC22 (Ahijah)
2. Abijah 913 BC3  
3. Asa 911 BC41  
 2. Nadab910 BC2  
 3. Baasha909 BC24 (Jehu)
 4. Elah886 BC2  
 5. Zimri885 BC7 days  
 6. Omri885 BC12  
 7. Ahab874 BC22 (Elijah)
4. Jehoshaphat 870 BC25 (Micaiah)
 8. Ahaziah853 BC2 (Elisha)
 9. Joram852 BC12  
5. Jehoram 848 BC8  
6. Ahaziah 841 BC1  
 10. Jehu841 BC28  
7. Queen Athaliah 841 BC6  
8. Joash 835 BC40Joel (guesswork) 
 11. Jehoahaz814 BC17  
 12. Jehoash798 BC16  
9. Amaziah 796 BC29 Jonah (to Nineveh) (approx)
 13. Jeroboam II782 BC41 Amos,
Hosea
(until Hezekiah)
10. Uzziah (Azariah) 767 BC52Isaiah (until Hezekiah) 
 14. Zechariah753 BC6 months  
 15. Shallum752 BC1 month  
 16. Menahem752 BC10  
 17. Pekahiah742 BC2  
 18. Pekah740 BC20  
11. Jotham 740 BC16Micah (until Hezekiah) 
12. Ahaz 732 BC16  
 19. Hoshea732 BC9  
13. Hezekiah 716 BC29  
14. Manasseh 687 BC55  
15. Amon 642 BC2 Nahum (to Nineveh in Assyria)
16. Josiah 640 BC31Zephaniah,
Jeremiah (into exile)
 
17. Jehoahaz 609 BC3 months  
18. Jehoiakim 609 BC11Habakkuk (approx. time) 
19. Jehoiachin 597 BC3 mos.  
20. Zedekiah 597 BC11  
  592 BC Ezekiel,
Daniel
 
  587 BC (maybe) Obadiah (to Edom) 
  520 BC Haggai, Zechariah 
(Esther) 478 BC   
(Ezra) 458 BC   
(Nehemiah) 445 BC   
  433 BC Malachi After this Bible history goes silent until the book of Mark begins the new Testament

Graphic credit goes to:

Hosea – Article #4

Mount Hermon panorama – northern Israel

We are in the 2nd chapter of Hosea. In the previous article we covered the naming of the three children of Gomer. Recall that Gomer is symbolic of the Northern Kingdom of Israel; her offspring the people of these ten Tribes of Israel. From the reading of chapter #1, it is probable that Hosea’s first born son was of his union with Gomer. There is debate per the next two children; Lo-Ruhamah, I will show no mercy. You are guilty as accused) and Lo-Ammi (You are not (no longer) my people because you have put a distance between me (God) and you.)

Chapter 3 [next article] ends the discussion of Hosea, Gomer and the three children as a family. Some of the language in these first three chapters applies to Hosea’s family literally. Some of it applies to the nation (all 12 tribes) figuratively. Some of the language applies to both but in different settings.

It is in Hosea 3:1-5 that Hosea is told to recover for a fee his wife from the slave market. She had fallen so far away and down that she was no longer just a prostitute of desire but a slave owned by a master. After re-purchasing her, she was quarantined by Hosea. This is about a future with which Hosea was not a part of…yet. Israel fell into bondage by totally mixing with those who were heathen; i.e. simply put non-believers but perhaps very religious. This is more than symbolism. It is prophecy; prophecy that has come true in part and some that remains in the timing of God the Father. Always remember that God identifies Israel as HIS bride. Jesus identifies the Church of believers as his bride.

The first born of Hosea, Jezreel, means two things per Israel as referenced in chapter three of Hosea. The ten tribes to the north plus the Kingdom of Judah to the south will be scattered to the four corners of the earth. This has been fulfilled. The Valley of Jezreel, also known as the Valley of Megiddo, is where Jesus will begin to regather the same Tribes of Israel. But a price had to be paid. That, my friends, is the Cross of Calvary. Now the price has been paid, but recall there is a hiatus between paying the price and full reunification of all Israelis. Hosea sequestered Gomer after buying her back from the slave market, but we cover this in our next article; chapter 3. [C.f. Read Hosea 1:11]

Back to Chapter Two

Back to Chapter Two

Note in the first verse of Hosea 2 that the “Lo” has been dropped from the names of LO-Ammi and Lo-Ruhamah. We can assume from this that we are no longer seeing God look at them as “LO”; i.e. NOT to any longer be HIS children scattered to the four corners of the Earth. This is a future tense as in prophetic. But then in the next two verses we see that Israel being stripped naked and made a wilderness was not fulfilled for another 120 years. This is when the Southern Kingdom of Judah was “stripped” of her people by Nebuchadnezzar. Now, all of the lands of David and Solomon were laid bare. Its occupants scattered abroad to the hinterlands.

Hosea 2:4-6 takes us back to prophecy and the path to it. “I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths. … Then she shall say, ‘I will go and return to my first husband, for it was better for me then than now.’

This wall or barriers to Israel finding her way to or out of self-destruction will be a path bordered by thickets, briars, dangers, and wanderings. Amazingly we see this coming together almost daily and in recent history.

We have discussed possible bible codes per names in previous articles. If we read Hosea’s children’s names as one statement it would read…”Retribution, the hour of punishment has come. I will show no more mercy. You are guilty as accused; no longer my children.”

Hosea 2:9-12 spells out the lack of mercy and the retribution. Verse 13 explains the WHY…but, in verse 14 we find an incredible forgiveness. I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.” …and speak tenderly to her? This sounds more like affection than it does continued retributions. Hosea 2:14 gives us more insight.

And there I will give her vineyards and make the *Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.”

*The Valley of Anchor takes us back to Joshua 7 and a man named Achan. Space does not permit but Achan had committed a sin for which all of Israel under Joshua was suffering. Here he paid the ultimate price as did his possessions and family. This released Israel from more retribution from God. This is why Hosea states that the Valley of Achor is a door of hope. It is where the wandering Tribes of Israel were released from additional consequences of Achan’s sin.

In Hosea 2:18, then through the end of chapter 2, we find the beginnings of rewards for being chosen by God. This passage is often quoted and pictures depict, but few today know the address of this NEW covenant mentioned in Hosea between God and Israel.

(ASV) And in that day will I make a covenant for them [Israel] with the beasts of the field, and with the birds of the heavens, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the land, and will make them to lie down safely. [Hosea 2:18]

This passage seems a bit of a stretch to parallel or juxtapose the world to this promise between Israel, God and nature itself. Hosea specifically points this covenant to Israel beginning in the Valley of Anchor.

It may be of particular value to understand this is END TIME Prophecy. V19 says in the NKJV…”I will betroth you to me FOREVER.” Forever means forever. It is the beginning of eternity; an eternal promise. The final verse in Hosea 2 is both exciting and promising.

Hosea 22:23b Then I will say to those who were not my people, ‘You are my people!’ And they will say ‘You are my God.’” [C.f. Hosea 1:10]

Rev. Dr. Jstark
Written April 2020

PS: Gavin Finley, MD wrote the following in May of 2004. It is so pertinent to us today.

We want a revival. But we want it our way and on our terms. We forget that we serve a sovereign God. For many of us the very idea of God upsetting our carefully maintained command and control systems in the status quo is a real shock. Most of us are completely unaware of the end-time Revival and how it will happen in the trials and travails of the woman of Revelation 12. We have not been told about this before. But we must face the Holy Scriptures squarely and honestly here. We must search the scriptures and discover for ourselves what the Bible is telling us in true and faithful Berean fashion. Then we must believe what the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Spirit is telling us.