(Part 5) End Time is a contiguous event…

There are five On That Day sequential events to keep this study of End Time distinct:

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

2 Timothy 3:1-5

Verse 1: But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. To know, ginōskō, means “to know absolutely” [ginōskō; G1097, Strong’s]. Have NO doubt or question of its actuality. It will be evident to all. None can or will then deny it. Some, if not many, will think it circumstances as supported in verse 2. Mankind will try to ignore or refute anything when s/he does not know or understand, or it is self-serving to deny the truth. Check out verses 2 – 5.

This is the last half of the 7-year tribulation. This phase of “that day” explains what is going on in the world and specifically Israel. Times of difficulty is not singular. It is a continuum of difficult days. It is no joking matter but could be like one saying…” If it wasn’t for one’s bad luck, s/he wouldn’t have any luck at all”. This is not, however, an issue of luck, good or bad. It is inescapable. A fierce, perilous time [Strong’s G5467] like never before and never will be again. Matthew 24:21.

Verse 2: For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy…” Look around society today. Is there evidence of this today? Is it getting worse? This time period today is the hem of the garment of what is yet to come. People will be totally sold out to being:

  1. Lovers of self
  2. Lovers of money
  3. Proud
  4. Arrogant
  5. Abusive
  6. Disobedient to parents (authorities)
  7. Ungrateful
  8. Unholy (wicked by choice; denying God even exists)

Verse 3: …”unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despising of good…”

Consider today’s society. Do we see today as in verse three that people willingly call good evil and evil good? Even more concerning is, there will be people who know better but willingly accept these deceptions of truth; probably his or her attempt to be politically correct. Some will try hard to eliminate any history s/he feels is contrary to their personal or group agendas (kingdom against kingdomLord’s Prayer). This includes personal or group agendas against some other or other’s agendas. We do not need scripture to point this out. Just look at and follow the secular news. Smash & grab, BLM trumpeting points, KKK, district attorney’s refusing to call crime for what it is, cop killers, destruction of properties just to destroy, gender cancellation, the fight over a baby’s right to birth, political greed, etc. This splitting of sides is exactly what Matthew 24:7 means when it says, Kingdom against kingdom.” Agendas today are colliding in open warfare.

Verse 4:”treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…,” and the list continues. Does one see even one of these items listed as not currently true in society? To say “yes” would in and of itself be slanderous, arrogant, a despiser of truth. Although these societal and cultural differences have existed for thousands of years, they are accelerating; no longer subtle issues within a divided global society.

 JIV NOTE: We often hear the passage found in 11 Thessalonians to let no man deceive us. Less often do we hear the passage in 1 Corinthians that says, Let no man deceive himself.”

Verse 5: …” having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” Keeping this discussion simple, if there is one God, (capital “G”) why are there so many denominations, religions, multiple definitions of right and wrong, pew dwellers, people making a laughing joke out of Christianity? Answer: Mankind’s free will to make God what HE wants it or him to be.

Is it church-goers that best define worship or is it the dedicated believer? Can one worship with unbelievers, those who attend church more out of habit than true worship? Sadly, there is even a division between doing church-like things instead of true worship and recognition of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Is it an appearance of godliness but no recognition or experience of the power of God? God’s power is being denied beyond salvation in some of the most conservative churches and denominations. Might it be that worshipers only find time for the symbolism of the workings of the Holy Spirit if it is a line-item in the church bulletin? Perhaps some prefer the Holy Spirit to not even be in attendance in the weekly worship service. The real question is “what do people (Christians and pew dwellers) define as worship?” Can true worship be so if unequally yoked with unbelievers IN CHURCH?

We find all of this as a lead up to the actuality of end time. These are the warning signs of which true believers must be aware and take notice. Without this knowledge one will not even see it coming; even when it has begun. We already know that Christ will return in a cloud like a thief in the night [1 Thessalonians 5:2] , at the twinkling of an eye. There is no room or time left, when this happens, to find the time to reference the Bible truths to see if something is Bible-based, or an aberration. Blink once and one will understand the time it will take for this to be fulfilled.

Have you ever wondered during the past few months if the seven-year tribulation has already begun? I know that it hasn’t yet started because Scripture says that we will be with the Lord before the antichrist establishes a covenant with Israel that starts the clock ticking for this time of God’s wrath (Daniel 9:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8). [Jonathan Brentner]

*Here is the real question for personal preparedness and study leading up to not only knowledge but understanding. Do the events discussed up to this point come during or prior to the beginning of End Time Tribulation? Go back to verse 3:1

What we see in this world today is a prelude, the seed soon to blossom. This is the setting of the stage for the beginning of the Tribulation in that day.  We call it End Time. Just as these seeds are taking root, as found in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, these casualties on earth will grow in intensity.

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2022

At the twinkling of an eye between understanding and choice leaves NO TIME for a choice. It will then be too late. Many are not even actively seeking knowledge [I Corinthians 15:52] but only desire religious activities.
Read from bottom to top of this list

*Action

Choice

Understanding

Knowledge

Awareness

(Part 4) End Time is one contiguous event

There are five On That Day sequential events to keep this study of End Time distinct:

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

If what God created was good, according to Genesis 1:4, 1:10, 12, 18, and 25, how did it go bad? (cf. Genesis 1:31). Not only was it good, but some translations say it was VERY GOOD. Let’s not ignore the Serpent in the room. SATAN. Sin did not begin with man. It began with Satan. End Time has as much to do with the history of Satan and his fallen minion angels. Why? This battle between evil and good began with Satan while he still resided in heaven. As true of humans, one of the greatest challenges is wanting something so bad, one is willing to destroy it to keep it out of their hands. This is Satan at work on earth!!!

Satan wanted to be the ruler of Heaven. Jesus referred to Satan as “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). Satan’s initial ambition was to rule the heavens. He had to settle, albeit temporarily, for another of God’s creations, the world itself. Bottom line is this battle is between two powers…God and Satan. Here is a try battle of the only super-natural superpowers: God and Satan. We are living in the time of this battle of good and evil. Yet, the evil one or son of perdition has not yet been revealed. This guy is not Satan. We already know about him. This is the Antichrist who is yet to be revealed.

Lucifer was a creation of God. He is “One of these angelic-like creatures—which is actually called a “cherub” (Ezekiel 28:14,16)—was named ‘Lucifer’ (Isaiah 14:12), and Lucifer wanted to [be glorified] glorify himself instead of the Lord Jesus Christ. Lucifer wanted to be ‘like the most High’ (Isaiah 14:14): he wanted to be “possessor of heaven and earth’”.  He desired the praise that the Lord, the Creator, alone deserved. This creature fell into sin, and was re-named “Satan” (Hebrew for “adversary”): Satan became God’s chief enemy (*Ezekiel 28:11-19)…” (by Shawn Brasseaux; emphasis)

NOTE: Satan is also identified in scripture as the *King of Tyrus in Ezekiel 28:12-17. Keep this in mind as we study End Time. Satan wanted to be LIKE the most High. There is but one God. Satan did not create God; God created him. Satan knows this but his pride drives him to be desired and worshiped by others. After all, Lucifer means the morning bright light.

Here is an issue seldom found in commentaries and not likely to be heard from many if any pulpit. Do oneself a true discipleship practice. Examine in several bible translations of the words found in Ezekiel 28:16”the merchandise of thy (Satan’s) trading.” This should prick the curiosity of Bible students of what was or may have been going on prior to the creation of earth? Merchandise? Trading? A strong curiosity with all the universes, planets, suns, stars, other galaxies we know of that exist light-years apart. What was Lucifer in charge of while in heaven as a cherub? Consider the impossible. How many years back in eternity did Satan begin existing as a created being? Is the scientific phrase “light-years” a distance also created back in Genesis 1?

 JIV: Other galaxies are not our concern in this commentary, but this end of earth certainly is. Satan was a cherub angel. To find a description of a cherub, go to Ezekiel 10:14. A huge curiosity. Later in ahabiblemoments.com we will have a short commentary series on angels, their roles, their existence, there very being and responsibilities in heaven and on earth.

Continuing in this vein of aha or thought, cntrl/click on Ezekiel 28:19. This means there will be no “forever on earth” for Satan. This is God’s judgement yet to come following the Millennial reign of Christ on earth. Sounds a bit like the ending of End Time. Satan is more than an enemy to be defeated according to Ezekiel 28:19b. Satan will be and is fighting for his very existence. He knows it because God told him it would be his destiny.

JIV NOTE: God created *all things to be glorified by his creation (Revelation 4:11). Since we are created in the image of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we tend to desire being recognized by others for the things we accomplish in life. But… what may be these “things” in life to be credited to us as individuals? (2 Corinthians 5:10).

All things mean just that…all things: man, beast, nature, galaxies, universes.

Satan has a primary responsibility for the end time tribulation because of his challenge to God’s commands to worship God alone. He wants to be an equal to God as is Jesus. Perhaps in a very real way, he wanted to be in the shoes of Jesus. Not as a sacrifice for the sins of the human race, but as an object to be praised, worshiped, and ordained of God and perhaps a god in his own rights.

The one who withholds Satan is removed [2 Thessalonians 2:6–7]. Satan desires nothing less than to destroy God’s chosen people of Israel. Such is the rationale for the multiple invasions and multiple attempts to destroy Jerusalem over history. The tribulation is about the end of earth AND Jacob’s Trouble during this 7-years of history; one that is yet to be written. We find this in Jeremiah 30:7. But In That Day, Satan too will have an ending. A final destiny that puts him out of commission.

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2022

Closing thought: 2 Thessalonians 2:6–7Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,”

(Part 2) End Time is one contiguous event…

Where and how to begin this narrative commentary series has been a struggle. It seems like one GOOD starting point is, the refilling of the Promised lands of Israel with Israelis. This comes from Ezekiel 37:1-14. Here is this passage from the NKJV: The dried bones of old and *all of Israel recreated…(NKJV). Then work backwards to scripture passages that describe end time events and how it will influence mankind and cultures.

*Some respected theologians suggest this is the second chance of all mankind. Hebrews 9:27 is used to reject such a thought. BUT…read this verse. It is appointed unto man once to die, then judgment. Is this a second eternal death or life with God. This concept blended with the renewed dry bones of Ezekiel 37 suggests “a second chance.” One MUST also consider (Jeremiah 30:4-10). Do not ignore that the passage in Ezekiel 37 states *all of Israel recreated…(NKJV).

37 The hand of the Lord came upon me [Ezekiel] and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed, they were very dry. And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

The Valley of dry bones are the bones of God’s elect, past, present, and future of the chosen of Abraham through Jacob. Why this is the elect from Jacob, not his father Isaac and grandfather Abraham? Abraham and Isaac had sons that did not constitute the make-up of the elect i.e., Israelis. They were/are Esau and Ishmael. All Israelis are Hebrew but not all Hebrew are Israeli. The valley is given no name. This means it is analogous to a generic place but certainly within Israel and from the four corners of the earth.

The dry bones are the descendants of Jacob; the 12 Tribes through his 12 sons. Jacob was renamed Israel by God himself. This makes him stand out from his father Isaac. Isaac was not renamed. Jacob and Abraham were renamed. Abram to Abraham and Jacob to Israel. Abraham means “a father of many nations”. Ishmael (Abraham’s son) and Esau (Isaac’s son) had a multitude of nations come from them. They, however, were not the anointed. Jacob (Israel) was the anointed of God to be the father of the Israelite nation.

So, I answered, O Lord God, You know.”

Ezekiel is stating the obvious. In man’s eye, to put life back into the DRY BONES of the ancients is inconceivable. Only God possesses the gift (spirit) of life. He is pointing out that life itself originates from God. God alone breathes life into any and all creation. We seldom hear that the life within all nature comes from God. This passage emphasizes “dry” bones of humans. This means and includes the bones of the ancients of Israel, and perhaps, the obvious; mankind will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgement.

Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely, I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.” ’ ”

Hear the word of the Lord? [shâma‛] is the Hebrew for the word “hear” in this verse. It means to “hear intelligently as in obedience.” No longer will it be a mystery to anyone. One must be cautioned…this does not mean absolute obedience by all will follow. It remains to be seen of this revelation and resurrection of “all Israel”. 

Zechariah 12:10 states…“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication…” This is the oft discussed second chance of all Israel past and present. The Spirit of grace and supplication still requires a response by those identified in this passage. The only thing promised by God is the opportunity of a second chance. This is not an automatic reprieve but an opportunity. (cf. Romans 11:27)

In a very real sense, this is God’s calling of Israelis from the four corners of the earth. It includes the Old Testament Israeli graves, the historically massacred, those who died prior to and during phase [1] of our chart posted in the introductory blog of this series.

The word “prophecy” in Hebrew is “naw-baw”. It means to “sing or speak by inspiration of a future event” (Strong’s #5012).

So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.

Genesis 2:7 says God breathed life into his creation. The rattling of the bones coming together did NOT happen at that time but were envisioned. Ezekiel was seeing a future re-creation of all who existed and were born into one of the 12 Tribes of Israel.

Go back to Ezekiel 37:6…: “…and now you will KNOW that I am the Lord”.

Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly *great army.

Why Ezekiel describes this renewal of life to all who are of the DNA (like it or not) of Jacob/Israel, is not clear as to his use of the term army. He could have said the nation of, the people of, those who descended from Jacob, but he calls them a army.

“…from the four winds…” Where have we read this before? This is the calling together of all Israelites. One might identify this as a total family reunion to which all Israelis will be in attendance. We see similar verbiage in Revelation 7:1-4. Examine these four verses in Revelation while keeping in mind this commandment to Ezekiel.

In the New Testament, the word for “spirit” becomes the Greek word pneuma, with the same meaning as its Hebrew counterpart. In John 20:22, when the risen Jesus appears to his disciples, John records a remarkable event: “He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’’” This is a reminder to us of who first breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life. [David Demick on December 1, 2004]

NOTE: These bones resurrected become, as we read in verse 10, an “exceedingly great army”. The sheer size or population of Israelis then present on earth will be so great, it adds reasoning to why the great size of the New Jerusalem…’1,200 furlongs by 1,200 furlongs as stated in Revelations 21:16. This distance is about the same as Michigan to central Florida; New York to Omaha, Nebraska…1,500 miles. Not convinced? Cut-and-past or click on:

https://www.metric-conversions.org/length/furlongs-to-miles.htm

11 Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. 14 I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,” says the Lord.’ ”

“The whole of Israel.” Can this be clearer? It is the entirety of any who are from the twelve Tribes of Israel.

“…and bring you into the land of Israel!”

This passage, verse 11 – 14 (above), is nothing short of actuality yet to happen. It does not mention the members of the Christian church. They have been raptured according to 1 Thessalonians 4:17. The difference between the rapture and the 2nd advent of Christ is first, the uniting of believers with Christ in the clouds; the latter is Christ’s return to earth for his millennial rule over earth. In between these events we have the Tribulation…”Jacob’s troubles” (Jeremiah 30:4-10)

Eternity: one of two places. Both destinations are permanent, but neither is a grave.

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2022

Crown of Jewels? End Time

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

Remember: We teach but You decide

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Regarding jewels.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Malachi 4

Malachi 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is about Israel – Not the Church of believers

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


Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet

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

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

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

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

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

Rev. Dr Jstark
2022

Malachi 3

Malachi 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We Teach but You Decide

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rev Dr Jstark
2022

Malachi 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We Teach but You Decide.

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2022

Zephaniah 3

Zephaniah 3

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

WOE!!!

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

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

NOTE: The “she” is Jerusalem

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

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

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

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

What is in Your heart?

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

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

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

DEVOURED!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2022

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

Habakkuk 3  [cntrl/click to read Habakkuk 3]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We Teach – You Decide

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We Teach – You Decide

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

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

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

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2022

Micah 7

Micah 7:1-10 [cntrl/click on Micah to read this portion of scripture]

Turn in your Bible or online to Micah 7. Follow along as we narrate verse-by-verse commentary.
https://www.bible.com/bible/114/MIC.7.nkjv

Micah 7:13 Yet the land shall be desolate Because of those who dwell in it, And for the fruit of their deeds.

HOW IS OUR FRUIT

It isn’t often a good practice to begin in the middle of a narration then retreat to the first verse, but…(here we go)

The land shall be desolate because of those who live in it. One needs to understand what happened over the time between Canaan being a land of milk and honey to a desolate land? This statement appears about 20 times in the Old Testament. Today we see the same land as sandy, dry, almost without grazing lands. Which is reality and which is actuality?

Canaanites descended from Ham, one of three sons of Noah. God gave each of them an opportunity to be blessed of him when Ham, Shem, Japheth, and Noah exited the Ark. Exodus 3:8 names the descendants of Ham who were living in the land of promise and plenty. God blessed Ham’s descendants with a land of plenty. BUT…they evolved into an evil people rejecting God. Their punishment from God came through the Israelis. Joshua and the twelve tribes conquered much of the land and moved in. After hundreds of years, Israelis, all who descended from Shem (one of the three sons of Noah) fell into the same rejection of God. Their worship was ritualistic. The Assyrians, Babylonians, and Romans were Gods’ instruments to remove them from what was once the land of milk and honey; just as God used Israel to eject the wicked Canaanites from such a bountiful land God used others.

Micah 7:13 states that the land became desolate because of who dwelt in it, not global warming or some influence of mankind on the lands or atmosphere. It was man’s rejection of god who created all things. The question is who is the “who” that dwelt in it? It was all who have lived in the Promised Land that made it desolate. Desolate because it was a land of promise that had gone unattended for hundreds of years. God withdrew his blessing on the fruitfulness of the land, but it will be returned to its milk-and-honey state when Jesus sits on the millennial throne in Jerusalem. (Amos 9:11-15) Now we return from verse 13 to our beginning point in Micah 7:1.

Micah 7:1 We will take a different tact in explaining the woe of verse #1. Go back to when Israeli’s left Egypt, considered entering the Promised Land, but retreated to their 40 years of wanderings in the wilderness. Direct one’s attention to Leviticus 23:9-14. This is the Feast of the First Fruits given to Moses by God…a perpetual statute throughout the generations in all your dwelling places.” Micah sees that this is no longer a matter of concern for his fellow Israelis. In Micah 7:1 he addresses his plea for what is no longer a satisfaction or appreciation for what God has done for all of Israel.

Micah 7:2 he continues. Israel is no longer a united chosen people of God. They have segmented into those who have and those who have not, taking from each other by in today’s verbiage crook, hook, deception, and thievery. Micah calls it “by blood.” The “NET” referred to in verse two means trappings. Today we would call it the fine print in a document.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com Fine Print

Micah 7:3 has an interesting twist to our way of understanding. This verse references the value of two hands instead of using only one hand. They, Israeli leaders, do evil with both hands. The Hebrew, להישׂיב, means to make good with both hands in one’s evil deeds. The NKJV says it well: They scheme together meaning those who are the haves against those (including family members) who have even less. This speaks volumes per what the Kingdom of Israel was like in their last and final days as a kingdom.

JIV NOTE: Micah prophesied prior to the Assyrians destroying the Northern Kingdom of Israel and was still living long after their dispersion. He prophesied and saw it fulfilled.

Micah 7:4 God identifies through Micah that even the best of these evil doers was like a brier, perhaps like those of a rose bush; a thorn. The sharpest of these evil thorns (leaders) is even worse. The prince, the judge, and the great man, agree in their ill designs of gain.

The perplexity, the last word in verse 4, means the time is coming when even the evil doers will be at a total loss as to what to do. They will be painted into a corner with no “DEALS” left to get them out. They will be treated just as they have treated their subjects; stripped of all authority and influence. In just a few years from this time in Micah the Assyrian invaders will strip them of clothing, shoes, belongings, and shelter while marching them hundreds of miles across desert lands to relocate them in foreign lands. (read the articles on Which Way Did They Go.”) JIV INSIGHT: Many of these Tribes from Northern Israel settled in the mountains of what we know today as Afghanistan.

Photo by Keira Burton on Pexels.com

Micah 7:5 is a brazen warning. In short it means guard one’s words for they will fly to the ears of others in wild and fast gossip. This is something like the social media of today. Even a well intending good deed or word will not go unpunished by some. Sadly, Micah could not find any good deeds being done by his own people. Both hands were busy laying hold of the possessions of others. The next verse is without question…

Micah 7:6 is clear. Let us understand the first word in verse 6…”For.” It is so often overlooked or put in a back closet of only part of a statement or sentence. The Hebrew is kee’. It means an assurance what follows in this verse will actually happen. One could translate this word to be forasmuch, inasmuch, or whereas. Thus, it means even in a casual relationship of all kinds, people will turn against one another. In short, the enemies of a man (person) can and will include those in or of his or her own household. Micah 7:7 explains Micah’s position on all that he has prophesied in the previous 6 chapters of his book. “Therefore I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me.” In essence he is saying to his fellow kindred, you are welcome to join me but that is your choice to make. It is not mine to make for you. He continues his self-perspective in verse #8.

Micah 7:8 Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The LORD will be a light to me. Joshua stated this back in Joshua 24:15…as for me and my household, we (I) will serve the Lord. Joshua was facing the odds against going as a united twelve tribes of Jacob into the Promised Lands after Moses first led them out of Egypt. He was one of twelve spies Moses sent into the land of plenty. All of the spies proved the land to be a land of bounty but ten of the twelve feared the people living in Canaan. Joshua (and Caleb) wanted to move in with God as their true leader. Micah is basically stating the same thing in verse 8.

Micah 7:9 Micah is saying, I leave you in the hands of God. I, as will you, be judged for my sins. There is no escape. I confess my sins as also should you…but you won’t.

“…Until He pleads my case and executes justice for me.” Micah could be looking prophetically toward the New Testament which, at his time, was yet to happen. Christ will judge and plead forgiveness of our sins when God finally executes judgment (see verse 19). The time is coming when all will see the light but not all will be a part of that light.

Micah 7:10 is like one saying to another, show me your God; show me your evidence. This person is the one identified in the previous verse as seeing the light but not being a part of it.

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2021