Article #28 – Daniel 9

And his 70 7’s Verses 24 -27

We are devoting this section of our Book of Daniel Study to a much misunderstood prophecy; i.e. Daniel’s conversation with the angel Gabriel per the end of Judean Babylonian captivity, End Time, and an end time future Israel. We begin by clarifying to whom this message is referring. This is answered in verse 24 of chapter 9.

Dan 9:24 “Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.

“Seventy WEEKS are decreed…” This is in stark contrast to the number 70 mentioned earlier in this chapter. Daniel 9:2 states “seventy YEARS.” It is not a switch of words but a switch in times prophesied. This use of years in early chapter 9 and weeks later in chapter 9 is the fork in the road of the same main road of prophecy. Daniel 9 is talking about the people of Judah in the early verses; the people of all Israeli Tribes in the latter few verses.

“…about YOUR people” This targeted [as explained in a previous article] message/prophecy of Daniel 7:4 to the end of the chapter, is written in Hebrew. Why? It is to and about the Hebrew people called Israelites. This in no way suggests this includes the Church. Gabriel is talking to DANIEL and about Daniel’s (his) people. This does not include the generic mention of Gentiles or the Gentile churches. Keeping within the context of chapter 9, Daniel just finished an incredible prayer (Article #27) regarding the “people of Israel.” Gabriel is telling Daniel about a future Israel, a future Jerusalem, a future Kingdom of the world.

“AND (about) your Holy City (Jerusalem)” This holy city is not about some other city in the world where there is a center of debate, power, or global focus, past or present. It is Jerusalem! It is easy to see that this city has consumed much of history even since this Gabriel-to-Daniel revelation up to this present day. Only God has the rights to Holy. Only he is sovereign. Only he can proclaim a city as Holy. Gabriel is not talking about the city of Jerusalem but the Millennial Holy City of Jerusalem.

“…to finish the transgression” What is transgression? Interestingly in the Lord’s Prayer the word transgression is also used in some translations; i.e. “forgive us our transgressions”. Transgression means in both the Book of Daniel’s Hebrew (peh’-shah) and the Greek (debts, transgressions, sins; of-i’-lay-mah or par-ap’-to-mah) error of its ways. Daniel 9:4 is specific…TO END or FINISH THE TRANSGRESSION. The 70 year Babylonian captivity was about over but the errors of Israel’s ways still exist to this day. Can anyone even suggest Jerusalem is now without error or conflict? Gabriel is telling Daniel that an end time is coming when it too will end in Jerusalem.

“…to put an end to sin” Now in verse 24 we read that not only will the transgressions of and in Jerusalem be ended, but so will the way of (all) sin. In order for this to be even partially true, Satan must be handicapped or bound in such a way as to have no influence over man [see Revelation 20:1-10]. This should end any debate or question per the millennial reign of Jesus IN Jerusalem. This is not to be some other god by another name. That is blasphemy and violates the second commandment.

“…and to atone for iniquity” Atone? “Religious believers are known to atone for their sins, but even students can atone for past failures by acing a later exam or two. But, even if this “supposed” student aced every exam thereafter, s/he still has the blemish of the failed exam. The word atone came to the English as a contraction of the words at and one. This verb means to “make amends or reparations for an offense or wrong doing” [Google search]. However there is a difference with our earthly definition of atone and that of God. Jesus atoned for our sin at the cross of Calvary. But! It is conditional atonement; “If we believe Jesus is the son of God and is the resurrected Messiah”. That will be atonement, but not as suggested in the above student exam example: as if we never failed a previous exam.” Only God can do that. This should give a better understanding of our sins being cast as far to the east from the west [Psalms 103].

JIV NOTE: Mark 7:6-9 is paramount to our denominational ways of worship, multiple doctrines of faith, and the fallacy of denominational practices. This author has be questioned many times as to “which seminar did you attend and within what denomination were you ordained?” My answer is…I belong to the same denomination as Matthew, Paul, Mark, Silas, Barnabas and the Roman jailor who accepted Christ. Half of the time I am then asked, which denomination is that?

“…to bring in everlasting righteousness” Everlasting? Is there any question as to the meaning of everlasting? O-lawm’ in the Hebrew means: “properly concealed, the point of vanishing.” Back up one paragraph in our discussion of atone[ment]. Human atonement suggests that a couple of aced exams atone for a previous lower test grade. Everlasting or o-lawm’ means there will never be another oops on an exam (Romans 8:10-12). Sin will then be put to death. Satan is no more. To even think one can atone for a bad grade is too much like works equal salvation.

Now for the down-side to this article and Daniel 9:24 if in fact it is a down-side. Gabriel tells Daniel to NOT record some of what he is told. It is to be sealed up as regards what he saw and heard. This means much of the specifics are not recorded by Daniel.

Verse 25…(NIV)Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One,[a] the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.”

This moment in history.

Between this moment in history (chapter 9) with the soon Babylonian supported restoration of Jerusalem, to the coming of an anointed one… we have a defined period of time. “There shall be seven weeks.” This means 70 sevens or 70 X 7 = 490 years; each identified but not necessarily concurrent periods of time. Not concurrent? Not probable per the wording. Each of three segments identified is self-contained. First is a period of 7 sevens. Next will be a period denoted as 62 sevens. This adds up to 69 prophetic years of two specifically identified as periods of time; 7 + 62 = 69. The math leaves one of the 70 sevens still unidentified. This is addressed in the final verse of Daniel 9…

Verse 27 And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week [7years], and for half of the week [3 ½ years] he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”

This (he) is the anti-Christ in this final or 70th week. No wonder Daniel was told to seal it up. Only the Father knows. Matthew 24:36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

To keep this less confusing than other commentators often make it, let’s look at it as it is intended and as it is written; in three sections of non-concurrent or overlapping events. It is three identified periods of time that of themselves add up to the number 70.

7 weeks times 7 equals 49 prophetic years. This is how long it took to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem AFTER King Cyrus released the Tribe of Judah to return to their homelands and rebuild the Temple. This extended period of time is discussed in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Zerubbabel brought the first of his tribe back to Jerusalem but they only laid the foundations for the Temple. Then they ceased that work in order to rebuild their own homes. They hadn’t even bothered to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem.

62 additional weeks times 7 equals 434 prophetic years. This year-count does not begin when the people under Zerubbabel’s leadership returned. It begins when the Temple is completed and rededicated.

*The missing and final week of Daniel’s 70 sevens is 7 equals 7; one prophetic week; this is the 7 years of the Tribulation, anti-Christ, and the last or final desolation of Jerusalem.

*We are told in Daniel 9:24 that this final 7 prophetic years will be troubled times; time period often identified as Jacob’s Trouble. Once again, Jacob is the progenitor of the twelve Tribes of Israel. These are the Israelites. This is not the Church as some wish to associate the event. Jacob fathered the Tribes of Israel. God through Jesus gave birth to the Church.

To graph these events on a calendar only subjects the entire scripture in the final four verses of Daniel 9 to human speculation. Take scripture for what it says. These are three identified periods of time. Currently are in what the bible refers to the “Time of The Church” or sometimes called the time of the Gentiles. This is true up to the final 70th week. Scripture is explicit; this (final week) is the time of Jerusalem, Israel, Jacob’s Trouble. NOT the Church. That is theological and denominational speculation.

Rev Dr. Jstark
February 2020

Decoding Daniel – Part 1

               An In Depth Classroom and Home Bible Study

DEEP


The Book of Daniel reveals God’s sovereign control of history from 605 B.C. to the Second Advent of Christ. This prophetic writing contains hundreds of predictions that revolve around five basic themes.

1. The Rise and Fall of Four Empires
2. The Coming of the Everlasting Millennial Kingdom
3. The Coming Princes
4. The Time of Israel’s Distress
5. The End Times

My objective in Decoding Daniel is to show history revealing prophecy and prophecy revealing history. Yahweh is the Lord of time and history. They are one and the same; not one a story and the other facts of history. They are both part of the same historical facts.

He is sovereign over the world, though considerable power and freedom of will have been given to human and angelic beings. Because of this freedom, a great conflict within the physical and spiritual realms is revealed in the Book of Daniel as humans, angels, Satan and God strive to control the future. Today they are cloaked in what man calls politics. Do not be swayed, That is a farce of Satan in his attempt to confuse facts. (Recommended reading: Satan’s Confusing Counterfeits by Joe Crews)

God elects to relate to humanity in such a way that humans become a factor in His life and He becomes part of our lives. Paul is strong on this point in his Philippians letter. Because of this interaction, prayers, dreams and visions play a significant role in the events of this book (Daniel) as God reveals the rise and fall of future empires and princes.

Although biblical history shows that God changes in the way He feels, plans, and acts in response to our response to Him, there are boundaries to His change. The LORD responds to human actions without compromising His revealed, unconditional plans and purposes. In addition, He never violates His legitimacy, righteousness and holiness. The future God has mapped out in the Book of Daniel will occur. His prophecies we find in history textbooks of the secular world proving many of these prophecies have already happened.target

Interesting side note… The fact that Daniels accuracy is so on-target, secularists and even some religious sophisticates claim the Book of Daniel had to be written after the fact of history itself. In other words, it was and remains too accurate to be true. Hmmmmm?

From the beginning, man’s history has been the story of rebellion against God. Instead of developing morally, humanity continues to head down the slippery slope of decadence, declension and destruction. For this reason alone, God is able to foretell the future with absolute accuracy as He overrules evil for His plans and purposes. Although in some of Daniel’s prophecies evil may appear to be victorious, God is working behind the scenes for good [Romans 8:28]. Joseph characterized God’s sovereign rule over evil for good in this same way in Genesis 50:20: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Prophetically, the Book of Daniel is the key that unlocks eschatology; the study of the last days. It is indispensable for understanding Christ’s predictions and the Book of Revelation. Many of its symbols are employed in diverse ways in the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ. [Recommended web site: http://www.biblestudyhour.net/Apocalypse.html] Below is an extract from its pages.

God’s plan for the world is unfolded in amazing detail in Daniel. *Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream of the Great Image, Daniel’s dream and visions of the Four Beasts, and the Ram and Goat, along with Gabriel’s unveiling of the Seventy ‘Sevens’ provide the framework for prophetic history from 605 B.C. to the second coming [Advent] of Christ.

Daniel is written in prose and it differs from other prophetic books of the Bible which often have their oracles written in poetry. Consequently, it appears in the Hebrew Scriptures among “the writings” and not “the prophets.” Nevertheless, Daniel cannot be read like a narrative or novel since it contains images and symbols that need to be understood before God’s plan for the future can be understood. One cannot grasp its prophecies without first knowing a great deal about the rest of the Bible and the secular histories in which it is founded.

The kinds of predictions in the Book of Daniel are twofold:

  1. There are “types” or “foreshadowing’s” concealed within the narratives themselves;
  2. There are revealed dreams and visions of future events, people and places.

 

The prophet has deciphered the dreams and visions with the help of the Spirit of God. Herein a significant part of the outline of God’s plan for “the times of the Gentiles” has been decoded by the prophet. However, translating the details of this period is often left to the readers. My hope is to aid in this task by:

1. Connecting the symbolism decoded by Daniel to historical events, people and places.

2. Interpreting and connecting the symbolism that belongs to yet future events, people and places based on other prophecies contained in the Scriptures.

3. Discovering and interpreting the “types” in the narrative sections.

4. Explaining the words that have been closed up and sealed until the time of the end. In no way is it within my knowledge and study to open what has been sealed by God but we can possibly determine WHAT has been sealed. Someday the hidden will be revealed to all creation.

Practically, the Book of Daniel abounds with personal applications. Daniel himself models a godly life, blessed by God from teenage years through old age. A question section appears at the end of each chapter and will be discussed in our Bible Study containing a few applications gleaned from Daniel and others mentioned within that chapter. These questions can and will be an active ingredient for gaining knowledge and understanding. What we desire to do with gained understanding is an individual’s call. We will add secular historical evidence supporting Daniel’s incredible incites of wisdom and understanding of the times.

Chronological dating of Old Testament events varies slightly among church and secular scholars. Many variations arise from the Biblical writers themselves. Some count the ascension year as the first year of a king’s reign, others do not. Earlier scholars date the fall of Jerusalem in 587 B.C. and Artaxerxes’ decree to rebuild Jerusalem in 445 B.C. I have opted (JIV) to follow the scholars who date these events as 586 B.C. and 444 B.C. Not a biggie considering it is only a give or take of one year. None the less, it is my hopes to self-explain as we progress through this great study and grasp understanding while offering convincing evidence this is the true Word of God and true history all in one.

Somewhere during our study will be a chronology of Daniel with supporting facts. We can divide Daniel three ways: 1) Take it as it is presented in most evangelical Bibles; look at it through its chronological order; 2) divide it between the two languages that it is written in: 1-2:4a (Hebrew), 2:4b – 7 (depending on how one looks at tense, voice and whether Daniel is being quoted or is his own quote) is written in Syriac/Aramaic. 3) Chapter 8 – 12 is written in Hebrew.

The Book of Daniel has been a battleground of “higher criticism.” For instance, liberals view this book as Pseudepigrapha, written to inspire the hopes of the Jewish victims during the Seleucid persecution of 170-165 B.C. I (JIV) believe it was written by a prophetic Daniel at the time of the 70 years Jewish (not Israeli) Babylonian exile, perhaps into the rule of Cyrus of Persia. One’s beliefs and interpretation of Daniel can be a litmus test of conservative or liberal orthodoxy. The interpretations of Daniel’s prophecies sharply divide pre-millennial views from a-millennial views. The reader should find that the explanation in this commentary is conservative and (JIV) pre-millennial Tribulation. Enough evidence and scripture will be provided to validate this position. My basis is that the covenant made between God (pre-Jesus’s N.T. times) is not yet fulfilled and the covenant with the Church (body of Christ) is under a New covenant… the church.

Next Week- Decoding Daniel Part 2


Rev. Dr. James Stark
original copy 3/20/2013
Revised March 2, 2019

The Bridegroom & Bride

relationshipA few years ago a Russian newspaper reported a light-hearted poll of 100 Soviet households. In 90 of the homes, the wife described herself as the head of the family–and the husband agreed. In nine families the husband said he was head of the household, but the wife disagreed. The only husband whose wife named him as head of the family was told by the newspaper that he had won an award. When asked to select his prize, he turned to his wife and asked: “What shall I choose, Maria?”

If Christ is the groom, then who is his bride? The synoptic Gospels don’t really answer that question, but the rest of the New Testament does. And the answer probably doesn’t offer much help to people hoping Jesus’ marital status could shift the debates over women in ministry or the definition of marriage in a contemporary society where political correctness is accepted and God’s commands are debated. In Ephesians 5 (one of the more controversial passages of the Bible), the apostle Paul tells his readers, “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.” Christ’s wife, at least according to Paul, is the church; all believers—not an individual human woman.

That the church is Jesus’ bride gets confirmed in Revelation, the final book of the Bible, which serves as a prophecy for the end of the world. In this apocalyptic vision, Jerusalem, a proxy for God’s people as a whole, is described as “a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” Later the narrator says, “One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.'” Here, the wife is again Jerusalem, and the Lamb is Jesus.

The image of Christ as groom and the church as bride infuses Christian theology and writing. Pastor and best-selling author Timothy Keller preaches frequently on the topic, including a sermon called “The True Bridegroom,” where he compares God to a husband whose wife (the church) is constantly challenging on him. A classic hymn includes these lines in its opening verse:

The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord / She is his new creation by water and the word. / From heaven He came and sought her to be his holy bride.” Countless books have been written meditating on what the Bible means when it calls Christ a groom and the church his bride.

The answer is in a simple Ephesians 5 text but our culture does not want to accept it. So does that make God wrong and political-culture persuasiveness correct?

Political correctness and political party jockeying for votes want all differences between men and women eliminated. Stay at home dad and working mom is more readily accepted then the centuries old norm of mom at home and dad works to pay the bills and maintain the family standard of living.

Why does the Word of God even mention Ephesians 5:21- e.o.c. if it is so hotly debated in so many cultures; the exception being Islam? Why is not that previous of verses 15 – 21 included in this discussion? Are they distinctly different context than 21 forward? A different chapter but mismarked in our translations? Topics too confusing? Instructions that no longer apply?

I am going to make this somewhat simple for all of us and let your own knowledge and understanding take on it be the dominant factor: it is significant that the Bible never says, “Husbands, get your wives to submit to you.” That is not your responsibility, men! It never commands the husband to be the head of his household. Rather, it states it as a fact in the course of discussing the wife’s role. What God’s Word says to the wife is her responsibility.

In other words, it is not God’s responsibility to get individual humans to submit to Jesus as head of the body (church) or the church to submit itself to Jesus as the head of the church. It is up to us as individuals and the church as a God-centered part of the body of Christ to do as it commands. If it was God’s job to force submission, then Israel never would have gone astray. If it was up to Jesus to force submission of his church, then there never would have been the 7 churches discussed in Revelation 1, 2, 3.

“Submission” in English is only a shadow of the Greek and Aramaic definition. One of its synonym’s is “to be open minded.” I close with Isaiah 55:8…The LORD says: “My thoughts and my ways are not like yours…”

Dr. JStarkcropped-minijim1

 

Acts 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

cropped-minijim1Rev. Dr. Jstark
May 2018

Jeremiah – Chapter 29

And the beat goes on… Jeremiah 29:11 is one of those controversial and taken out of context verses. Jeremiah empowered by God’s promises to Israel is speaking of Israel in this verse using as present and far-future tense. Using the YLT (Young’s Literal Translation) it reads:

29:11… “For I have known the thoughts that I am thinking towards you–an affirmation of Jehovah; thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give to you posterity and hope.”

continue

more to come…

 

Let’s however begin with the 29:1 then explain the controversy of verse 11 a bit later.

Jeremiah laments that he is “left in Jerusalem” while his brethren and fellow Judeans have been taken as captives to Babylon. The royalty, skilled labor/craftsmen, and the brightest of the youth (including Daniel) have been removed to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar hopes to leverage their skills, contacts, and *governing potentials. These are mostly men of value to any economy, politics, and society.

*Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed Nego became government officials of Babylon. So did many others whose names have not been recorded in scripture.

King Jehoiachin and the royal leaders/family are no long residents of Jerusalem and never will be again. This includes a truck load of prophets, priests, and religious leaders. Jehoiachin’s (aka: Jeconiah) uncle Zedekiah is placed on the throne in Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar.  This eventually becomes another issue for Nebuchadnezzar but we will address it later in our study. A letter is sent to Nebuchadnezzar and the captives in Babylon that points out that it was God who allowed ol’ Neb to even capture Israel and the people of Jerusalem…”Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all the captivity, whom I have caused to be carried away captive from Jerusalem unto Babylon.”  In a very real sense, this letter reminds all of them that Jeremiah warned and they refused to listen. He (God) is also putting Nebuchadnezzar on notice. We find this in the Book of Daniel.

Basically God tells these captives to dig in and thrive because they will be there for quite a while (70 years). God even explains that HE does not want their numbers to diminish but increase while there.  Let’s go back several lessons for a minute. God promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob the Promised Land. It included a much greater territory than they ever conquered or occupied through the Judges, Saul, David and Solomon, and the divided kingdoms; about 800 years by this time. He promised that if they follow and worship him, HE will expand their borders. Well, Israel did not follow God but God is not slack in his covenants in either the Old or the New Testaments.

The Assyrian captivity and dispersion of the northern Kingdom of Israel 120 years earlier spread these people into lands that were to be Israel’s if they kept their end of the covenant. They didn’t. So they (Judean-Israelites) do occupy the land but are not rulers within them the same is true of the southern borders of the covenant with Israel. Sooooo, Babylon takes them captive moving large numbers of Judean-Israelis east of their small homeland. By doing so, they now occupy lands God had promised them; BUT…they are not rulers within this territory.  God actually tells his chosen people to work with not against their captives. He tells them to pray to him for the welfare of their captivity people in Babylon. WOW!

prefer liesAt the same time God through this letter and Jeremiah once again cautions these Judeans to not lend listening ears to the false doctrines and prophecies of those within their midst. Go back to our article on chapter 28 and re-read how Jeremiah dealt with on of them named Hananiah. It cost him his life for his false statements. You can believe several of these false prophets moved with them into captivity. God had ill plans for them but they are not recorded in scripture. Prophesying is one thing but to do so (lie) in God’s name….!!!! (See 29:21 to 26; 30 to 32). God will deal with all false teachers of the Old Testament and today per the New Testament. Vengeance is HIS!

Now we get into the controversial discussions of Jeremiah 29:; i.e. verses 10, 11, and 12. Here they are in the ESV:

Jer 29:10   “For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.

Jer 29:11  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jer 29:12  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.

The primary issue is that it appears according to history as we know it, God did NOT make things better for them. Fact is, they got even worse after returning to Jerusalem 70 years later. There were the Greeks, Romans, Turks (Ottomans), WW I, WW II, Arabs and eventually Islamists. So where is the promised prosperity? This is where one must understand that God is referring to a distant future meaning when Jesus returns and sets up his millennial kingdom in Israel. Things are still going to get even worse for these people, i.e. Jacob’s Trouble in the latter half of the Great Tribulation. That is at least 2,700 years in the future from this time Jeremiah is lettering.

Author and blogger Mary DeMuth has another worthy opinion. She says, Jeremiah 29:11 Doesn’t Mean What You Think. As she explains, “the heart of the verse is “not that we would escape our lot, but that we would learn to thrive” in the midst of it.” There is some value to her thoughts but the fact is Jeremiah is referencing a prophecy yet to be fulfilled even today.  Of course this is not what the new captives wanted to hear. They wanted to make it a short tenure in Babylon then return to the “prosperity” of their home in Judah. Therefore, it is easy to conclude that they didn’t even fulfill this commandment; i.e. to pray for the prosperity of Babylon, not just their personal health and wealth. Most of those taken into captivity would die during the 70 years. (More on this in a later blog)

Dr. Coffman puts it: The crowd of false prophets similar to Hananiah were circulating the same falsehoods in Babylon; and the letter in this chapter was written by Jeremiah in order to counteract and frustrate the evil campaign of the false prophets.”  It is no easy task to accept what one does not want and then learn how to live with it in praying for the prosperity of one’s enemies; in this case, the Babylonians.

Jeremiah 29:14 makes verse 11 clearer and more obvious. God restates that he will regather all of Israel from all of the nations where they have and continue to this day to be scattered. What is the condition? ”When you finally decide to follow me” says God. This explains the WHY in the second half of the Great Tribulation; aka: Jacob’s Trouble. God needs to FORCE these bull-headed people into finally accepting and seeking HIM.

God even tells these exiles, through Jeremiah, that those who remain in Jerusalem, the poor farmers and undesired of Nebuchadnezzar, he will (verses 17-19) bring upon them the things that later bible writers like Daniel and John of Patmos (Book of Revelation) prophesied; pestilence, the great sword, make them a horror, a curse, burden and reproach  to “all” other nations. We see this in the daily news today. It is a prophecy yet to be completed. This is another example of this author’s often noted statement… “God says, if  you ____, then I will ____.

Today we are at the threshold of seeing this Jeremiah 29:11. We are opening the door of this End Time history soon to be played out. It is all around us; nation against nation (meaning territorial and political fighting) and kingdom against kingdom (meaning political, racial, religious, petty family feuds, political and literal fighting and sabotage, fake news, spreading of the soon to be southern kingdom of Daniel prophesies; i.e. Islam, border wars, … You name it. This is what the passage in Matthew 24:6 means when correctly translated.

miniJimDr. J. Stark

August 2017

Jeremiah – Chapter 26

Jeremiah 26 (The Trial of Jeremiah continues)

“…believing that they (Judeans) were safe from the consequences of their actions (Jer. 7:10). As a result of their continual rejection of God’s Torah and their belief that the Temple would guarantee their safety, Jeremiah announced that the Lord would destroy the Temple of Jerusalem in the same way he had allowed the sanctuary at Shiloh to be destroyedhttp://jbq.jewishbible.org/assets/Uploads/421/JBQ_421_5_mariottiniuriah.pdf

herewegoagainWe all know the old saying, “here we go again.” This is poor Jeremiah’s task once again even after so many years of warning his people to actually sound like it is him who threatens them, even after his trial of sorts in chapter 2 (and 26). We pointed out in two previous blogs per this Jeremiah study that the people of the Kingdom of Judah held the Temple (Jerusalem) in greater esteem than they did their worship of God. In fact, those in Judah felt God had an kant to them since the Temple stood in Jerusalem; not the place of worship their northern brothers (cousins from the ten other tribes) had set up in Samaria; now defunct and emptied of Israelites in the Kingdom of Israel.

JIV NOTE: Chapter 26 is history prior to chapter 25 and 24; it was the first year of Jehoiakim’s rule as king. Chapter 24 is after Jehoiakim is taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar. Chapter 25 is during the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s rule and the first year of Nebuchadnezzar’s rule in Babylon. In a very real sense, Jeremiah is not a sequence of events but a list or recorded history of them. I as the web page blogger will eventually summarize Jeremiah putting the chapters into a sequence for the sake of the bible student and blog reader.

If we think back in secular-bible history, perhaps the reader may just now be discovering and made aware of this knowledge, *Shiloh was the former place of worship (a tent) prior to the Temple being built by Solomon. It is where the Ark of the Covenant was placed then stolen by the Philistines. It was as now in Jeremiah, a time that the people had fallen back into self-gratification over worship of Jehovah God. At that time of the Judges (400 years) and King Saul, King David, then King Solomon (120 years), Israel was a confederacy of tribes, then a combined nation; not two separate kingdoms North and South with individual kings. The Kingdom of Judah was always ruled by descendants of King David.

*Psa 78:60  “He [God Jehovah] abandoned his place at Shiloh, the Holy Tent where he lived among the people.”  (here we go again)herewegoagain

Where is Shiloh? Here the tabernacle was set up after the Conquest ( Joshua 18:1-10 ), where it remained during all the period of the judges till the ark fell into the hands of the Philistines. It was in central Palestine, totally secluded, and forgotten until it was rediscovered by Dr. Robinson in 1838. It was in the Tribal Territory of Ephraim on the north side of Bethel (http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/shiloh/).

Can God change His mind? Read Jeremiah 26:3 “…if they change (their ways), then I will change my mind about my plans to punish them…” (ESV).

However 26:5 pretty much establishes the weak probability of these Israelites (Tribe of Judah) paying attention to Jeremiah. It says, “I have sent my prophets to you again and again, but you did not listen to them.” If they didn’t listen “again and again,” it is highly unlikely they will do so now, but God is patient. (here we go again)herewegoagain

Verse 6 of Jeremiah 26 is and became the consequence of the Judeans not changing their ways and returning to their God-Jehovah. It tells us that God assures them that not only will the Temple in Jerusalem be demolished with Him abandoning it like in the Tent of Worship in Shiloh, so will the great city of Jerusalem fall to rubble; all at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar.

JIV NOTE: Since this is a dual or parallel prophecy in Jeremiah, it is also a prophecy of End Time yet to happen in history; i.e. Zechariah and Revelation prophecies. Consequences are similar. (here we go again)herewegoagain

It must absolutely be pointed out that there is a Hebrew word of huge significance to the End Time parallel prophecy of Jerusalem in 26:2. It is the use of the word “curse” in the King James Version. In the Hebrew this word is qelâlâh, pronounced *kel-aw-law’. It means total vilification by others. Is this not what is happening right now in our time? The status and acceptability of Israel as a whole and Jerusalem in particular is vilified by nation after nation, Arab after Arab, global leaders, Hollywood stars, Prime Ministers, Presidents (not Trump however), and even large numbers of those nation-states that are members of the United Nations.

So does the reader still think that End Time is a far-off distant event? Think again my friend. Read the newspaper and watch the news. Even the fake news has some degree of prophetic truth….”deceitful warnings and news intended to lead people astray.” (here we go again)herewegoagain

*kel-aw-law’ (total vilification) is from the root word kaw-law’ in Hebrew; “the end, finished, completed, terminated, destroyed, or to cease.”  Remarkably, it is the same word used in End of Time prophecy discussed in the Old Testament.

Jeremiah 26:6-11 point out the typical human response. If one kills the messenger that action somehow voids the message. The rulers and people call for Jeremiah’s death. How similar to the life of Jesus some 600 years later. Killing the messenger was the solution to voiding his message. The Priests and religious leaders during the time of Christ thought: crucify Christ; void his message. How dumb! Go ahead and jump off of a 1,000 foot cliff after being warned it is a death jump. Don’t text while driving. Just visit the doctor but not follow his instructions. YES, just kill the messenger then take that leap. We will be safe because we killed the messenger. (here we go again)herewegoagain

Jeremiah does not back down at the threat of death by the hands of his tribal family members and Levite Priests. He simply says to do with him as they see fit but cautions them: to kill a true prophet of the Lord is to bring condemnation upon themselves and their precious city/country/kingdom [v 14 & 15]. This makes them decide that perhaps there is precedent to let him speak and go in peace. Jeremiah 25:19 reflects a time past when during the reign of Hezekiah the Prophet Micah gave the same warning as Jeremiah. He was released.

However, as the old Rock n’ Roll song goes…”and the beat goes on….”. Jeremiahs prosecutor(s) say:  Jer 26:20  In the past there was another man who spoke the LORD’S message. His name was Uriah son of Shemaiah from the city of Kiriath Jearim. Uriah said the same things against this city and this land that of Jeremiah.

Jer 26:21  King Jehoiakim, his army officers, and the leaders of Judah heard Uriah and became angry. King Jehoiakim wanted to kill Uriah, but Uriah heard about it. Uriah was afraid, so he escaped to the land of Egypt.

Jer 26:22  But King Jehoiakim sent Elnathan son of Acbor and some other men to Egypt.

Jer 26:23  They brought Uriah from Egypt and took him to King Jehoiakim. Jehoiakim ordered Uriah to be killed with a sword. Uriah’s body was thrown into the burial place where the poor are buried.  [ERV]

We have two different consequences for two different prophets who carried the same message. As students of the Word of God (Old Testament), we must wonder by now why God has been so patient and why these people of Israel so stubborn? Perhaps if we look closely at our own lives, we should ask the same question. The question to be made in Jeremiahs “day in court” before the people and leaders is which precedent do they follow; death as in the case of Uriah (King Jehoiakim) or life as in the case of Prophet Micah (King Hezekiah)?

Verse 24 gives us the answer… “There was an important man named Ahikam son of Shaphan who supported Jeremiah. He kept Jeremiah from being killed by the priests and prophets”  (ERV).

JIV OBSERVATION: Many of us know about the prolonged movie series Star Wars. Many of the character actors are Jews; especially the heroes. Note their names and the parallels with bible names but usually with a slight change in their spelling. Ahikam is very similar in name to the Star Wars good guy Anakim. No spiritual application in this suggested correlation of names, but check out some of the other names. Here is today’s modern church and modern Christian…we know more about Star Wars than we do about the true historical beings in the bible. Go ahead and do some movie and bible study on your own. Don’t simply take my word for it. Seek and you shall find. (here we go again). This comparison is loaded with aha moments.herewegoagain

miniJimRev. Dr. Jstark – June, 2017

Purim 2017 is Today –Sunday

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Purim banner, holiday greeting

­­Book of Esther… (Purim 2017 is March 11th and 12th)

In the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, on its thirteenth day … on the day that the enemies of the Jews were expected to prevail over them, it was turned about: the Jews prevailed over their adversaries. – Esther 9:1

And they gained relief on the fourteenth (Adar/March), making it a day of feasting and gladness. – Esther 9:17

[Mordecai instructed them] to observe them as days of feasting and gladness, and sending delicacies to one another, and gifts to the poor. – Esther 9:22

Purim is a time of recalling the story and bible history of Haman, Mordechai, Queen Esther and King Ahasuerus; aka: Artaxerxes. As Jews of Judaism sit to eat and drink, there is no limit to how much they drink as long as Jews/Judaism do not misbehave (i.e. sin) for if they are drinking to fulfill the mitzvah, a mitzvah should not cause them to sin. There is no limit to how much they can sing, dance or relate insights into the strange but true story that took place a bit more than two thousand years ago. Purim centers on those who descended from the Babylonian captive Jews who did NOT RETURN to Jerusalem after being released from Babylon captivity; at that time called New Persia.

Ad d’lo Yada means that Jews/Judaism can drink until they no longer know the difference between blessed in Mordecai and cursed in Haman. Drinking to the point of being drunk is a point that Judaism is at odds with most other religions. In some religions alcoholic beverages are strictly forbidden and in other religions being drunk is forbidden. Judaism however makes it a mitzvah (which means only on this one day) and indeed Jews/Judaism must understand why!

The origin of Purim and the mitzvah of the festive seuda meal dates back to the majestic banquet that King Ahasuerus (also known as Xerxes or Artaxerxes) made in the capital city Shushan; see Daniel 8:2. Ahasuerus was the king of one hundred and twenty-seven countries or city-states. He ruled the world from India to Africa. This banquet lasted one hundred and eighty days (six months!) and was to celebrate King Ahasuerus unification of his kingdom. Drinks were set out and all participants could enjoy as much as they desired; no one was forced to drink or to stop drinking.

The king drank so much that he became drunk. In his drunkenness he boasted of the beauty of Queen Vashti. He ordered her brought to him and his ministers naked, that all should realize that indeed she is the most beautiful woman in the world. Vasti not being drunk of course refused. The king was incensed that she refused his (drunken) request and he ordered her to be eliminated. How, we do not have those details but she is never again mentioned in scripture or secular records. We can use culture of that time to speculate. If one even dared to enter the presents of the King without being asked, it meant instant death.

JIV NOTE: Many modern day women libbers point to this instance of denying the request of a husband as creating the right of other wives to do the same thing as at this time in history. Those in the king’s court feared that would happen in Persia and demanded a quick and threatening punishment for Vasti. We still do not know of her punishment but knowing the now Arab and Islamic world from this same area, it was probably very severe even though she was probably right.

After her elimination the selection of the king’s new bride began (and subsequent queen). We know this was Esther. Mordecai was Esther’s uncle. After Esther was established as the queen he heard of a plot to kill the king. He reported it to Esther who reported it to the king who investigated and found it to be correct. The king had the would-be assassins executed. But somehow he ‘forgot’ to give a reward to Mordechai.

In the meantime, the wicked Haman the Amalekite, the greatest anti-Semite in his generation, had become appointed Prime Minister of the greater Persian Empire. He was a descendant of Amalek who had no historical love for the Jews having attacked them when they left Egypt; i.e. Amalek was a Canaanite descended from Ham.

Note that knowledge from our Old Testament college course connects a few dots with this information from the Book of Esther; i.e. Egypt, Israel, 12 spies in Promised Land, Amalekites giants and the wandering of Israel.

Haman had a huge ego and he wanted all to bow down before him when he became Prime Minister of Persia. Mordecai was the only one (and only Jew) that refused. This of course infuriated Haman. Haman began a plot to exterminate not just Mordechai, but also his people the Jews of Persia/Babylon.

Mordecai told Esther that she should realize that the reason God anointed her to become queen was in order to rescue her people. It was up to her to do something. She knew that the king’s weak spot was a good brew and although they did not have Jack Daniels and Johnny Walker in those times, they did have strong wine. She held a drinking party for King Ahasuerus and Haman. King Ahasuerus wondered why she invited Haman. He also noticed that Haman was feeling quite pleased with the high status accorded to him by the royal family of Persia (formerly known as Babylon; now Iran).

The king asked Esther the reason for the party and she declined to tell him telling him that at another party she will reveal her purpose. In the meantime the king went back to his palace a bit suspicious or at least quite curious of Haman.

The Old Testament tells us that very same night, the king could not sleep; Esther 6:1. He requested his scribe to read to him from the Persian archives. When the reader mentioned Mordecai and how he saved the king’s life he asked what reward had he been given. The reply was nothing. Ah ha, the king reasoned because he did not reward this man, no one has come forward to tell him what is going on between Esther and Haman. He wanted to know why Haman was invited to Esther’s party!?

scroll.jpeg

Haman had other plans for Mordecai the Jew who would not bow before him. He built a high gallows to hang him. Unfortunately for himself and fortunately for the Jews of Persia (today’s Iran), at the next drinking party that Esther arranged for Ahasuerus and Haman, she revealed to the king that Haman planned to kill her. She being a Jew was under the wicked Haman’s death decree to eradicate all Jews.

The king became infuriated. Being bit tipsy ran out of the room to think. Haman realizing his personal jeopardy and difficult predicament fell to his knees in front of the queen to beg for mercy, but being also a bit tipsy fell onto Esther. That was just as Ahasuerus re-entered the room. Imagine the shock of Ahasuerus  to see his top minister lying on top of the queen! He did not hesitate one moment to call for the guards to take Haman and execute him immediately. As the Bible tells us in the book of Esther, Haman was hung from the very gallows he planned to publicly hang Mordechai.  This was between 486 and 465 B.C. This is recorded in the bible and Persian records.

The events described in the Book of Esther began around the years 483–482 BCE, and concluded in March, 473 BCE. This is the same location from where Daniel had a vision (Daniel 8:2).

A quote from my Levite Priest friend in Tel Aviv: “Thus through drinking and drunkenness the Jews were saved from destruction. Therefore to commemorate the miracles that happened then, we today imbibe more than normal. Jews are generally not drinkers and therefore this is a difficult *mitzvah to perform. But when one considers that G-d directs the entire universe even to the point when each leaf that falls off from a tree it is guided by G-d to where it will land, we must realize that G-d will protect us if when we drink our desire is to fulfill the mitzvah of Ad d’lo Yada.”

*Mitzvah means “for one day only.”

P.S. Like manmade denominational rules, this is a Jewish celebration not ordered or sanctioned by God.

 

Murphy James

Jeremiah – Chapter 11

If someone says to another, no longer go here, do this or that, it can be taken two different ways. One might be a punishment of the individual being told to NOT, the other may be a boycott of the here, this, or that. The latter is what God is telling Jeremiah in 11:14. He says to him, [ESV] “Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble.”

The “this people” to which is referred in verse 14 is those living in Judah. Jeremiah loved his Tribal people and had previously begged God to overlook their sins ONE MORE TIME. The people of Judah had pushed God to the end of his patience. His judgement was pending and almost upon them. He knew Jeremiah’s love for them and his attempts to get them to do away with their idolatry. Matthew 10:14 is similar to God telling Jeremiah to “let it go.” “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.”

[Oddly enough both verses in Jeremiah and Matthew are V14. There is no scriptural implication by this but it will help the bible student to remember the verse addresses].  

book of lifeGod is giving Jeremiah the same marching instructions in chapter 11 that Jesus gave his disciples in the book of Matthew chapter 10. It is not our job as Christian witnesses to bring people to the Lord as much as it is our responsibility to bring the Word of God to them. Every decision for Christ is a personal one. Brow beating is never suggested by God (O.T.) or Jesus (N.T.). This is the job of conviction and that is part of the job description of the Holy Spirit.

The first few verses of Jeremiah 11 are reminders of what God had done for Israel as a whole. This includes by default a consequence for not recalling God’s intervention on multiple occasions on behalf of Israelis. The covenants or promises God made with Israel (and the Christian Church) always include an “If you do______, then I will do _____.” Of course, this also means if Israel or today’s Christian (church) does not fulfill his or her end of the covenant-promise, God is no longer obligated to fulfill His end, thus a consequence is in order.

Verse 4 specifically tells Jeremiah that God is talking about the agreement I (God) mane with Jeremiah’s ancestors when He brought them out of bondage in Egypt 1,000 years before Jeremiah’s time. ‘Listen to me and obey all the commands I give you. Then you will be my people and I will be your God.’ We would be wise to continue doing the same today…obeying his commands. However, if one does not study the commands of God and Jesus we will not know them. In secular terms, ignorance of the law is not a defense in court.

Verse 5 is the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob fulfilled their end of the covenant as did Moses and ultimately Joshua. This resulted in several million Israelites ending up in a fertile and Promised Land. God said to Jeremiah, “You are living in that land today!” many Christians today think us immune to punishment if we do not follow the prescribed “way of living” in the Christian life. This is the message of Satan, not God. Two examples:

Proverbs 3:11-12 (NIV) My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

Proverbs 15:5 (NIV) A fool spurns his father’s discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.

We can add a third example in Hebrews 12:11… “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

Jeremiah 11:9-11 is the consequence. God is no longer going to listen to their cries. In a modern way of thinking, it is similar to making a promise for reprieve or safety but once that is gained, we forget our end of the promise. It is the basis of the saying, “foxhole Christian.” God says I will no longer listen to their pleas. This then takes us up to our opening statement when God commands Jeremiah in verse 14 to NOT PRAY FOR THEM. But we must not skip the meaning of 11:13. It is saying that Israel has as many different gods as are the cities and villages in Judah. The streets in Jerusalem number fewer than the number of idol alters in that city alone. It is the final straw for God.

Earlier in Jeremiah we discussed that the people of Judah felt safe because they had the Temple in their city. God is telling Jeremiah that it isn’t the temple (sanctuary in modern terms) that will save and redeem, but it is God alone. This may help one to understand. If one carries a picture of Jesus on his or her person or carries a bible to church, somehow this is good enough? Even asking this question begs of silliness.

olive tree.jpgAt verse 16 God makes a comparison with a young, strong Olive tree that is nourished by its planter. God had fulfilled one of his covenants by planting the offspring of Abraham in the Promised Land. The blessing of the olives was plentiful but by this time in history, Judah was taking all this for granted. God therefore is going to pull them out of the Promised Land (garden of plenty) and transplant them in a foreign land. The analogy continues when Jeremiah discovers his fellow villagers in Anathoth are out to kill him. He becomes the tree they wish to cut down.

By verse 20 Jeremiah is no longer defending his people of Anathoth, Jerusalem or Judah. He is calling for God to fulfill his promise of a consequence for not obeying; refusing to rid the kingdom of idols, confess their sins to God, and worship only him. Specifically, those men of men of Anathoth who connive to kill Jeremiah will be punished. They will be left with no heirs. Not all of Anathoth, but those who threatened Jeremiah will pay for their threats.

Behold, I will punish them. The young men shall die by the sword, their sons and their daughters shall die by famine, [v23] and none of them shall be left. For I will bring disaster upon the men of Anathoth, the year of their punishment.” [ESV]

Preview of our next study article

Jeremiah 12 brings a very interesting question to the study table. Why does it seem that the evil people prosper while those who wish to follow God-Christ seem too often to come up short? This is very much contemporary today. We will see this in full in our chapter 12 discussion.

miniJimRev. Dr. Jstark
January 2017

Jeremiah – Chapter 4

“If thou wilt [KJV & the JPS; Jewish Publication Society]….” are the opening words of chapter 4. There is not a single covenant or promise in the bible not prefaced with something ifsimilar to “IF THOU WILT,” then the condition of what it is God expects in return for his extra blessings. If we commit, then God will commit. If we don’t commit, then God is not held to a different standard since it is HIM who sets the standards; not the other way around.

Jeremiah had the same message to both the dispersed throughout the known world Tribes of the Northern Kingdom and the still existing Kingdom of Judah. Although Jeremiah already knew the people, leaders, King and Synagogue members would not listen, he still carried the message. We are not called to save souls, but to share the Word of God and our testimony.

As the CEV translation puts it in 4:1… The LORD said: Israel, if you really want to come back to me, get rid of those disgusting idols.

The ESV translation says… “If you return, O Israel, declares the LORD, to me you should return. If you remove your detestable things from my presence, and do not waver,…”

No matter how it is translated it boils down to If we; then HE will…! But, Jeremiah 4:2 does not stop there. He explains the credentials of the Lord: swear to the Lord who lives, is truth, is just in judgment, and righteous, [then back up to the last sentence of verse 1] then shalt thou not [be] remove[d]. Judah is facing the fact that Babylon is on the move and conquering the nation-states around them. Once they were subject to Assyria but Nabopolassar, King of a re-established Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar’s father, defeated Assyria in 609 B.C. (secular records). Nebuchadnezzar later conquered Judah in two separate stages; 597 B.C. and 587 B.C. He reduced the population of Judah each time. People like Ezekiel, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego went with the first deportation.

NOTE: Parts of Assyria and Babylon fall within and overlap modern day borders of Iraq. The reader should keep in mind that all Israelis are Semitic, but not all Semites are Israelis. Abraham had other sons through Keturah [Genesis 25:1] and we must not forget Ishmael. His descendants are also Semite but today we know them as Arabs.

shovel in the ground in the vegetable garden, on a background of green onions

Break up the fallow ground

Verse 3 of chapter 4 actually begins a new paragraph. Jeremiah changes thoughts. “For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: “Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.”   The next several verses explain what Jeremiah is telling the leaders of Judah. At verse 7 he explains the consequences and prophecy of not “breaking up the fallow ground.” We might say in modern terminology in 7-9, the alarm clock has been set. Choice is still available for the people and leadership of the Kingdom of Judah but it is either/or and no neutral choice. In verse 7 we read that “the destroyer of the Gentiles” is about to descend upon Judah; i.e. Nebopolassar conquered the Gentile nations then his son, Nebuchadnezzar captured and deported Judea/Jerusalem.

Jeremiah, a true prophet of God, and those who called themselves prophets but were not of God and falsely tickled the ears of the king of Judah, had many run-ins and collision courses. We will learn more about these as we progress through Jeremiah. Jeremiah 4:10 sets the stage for this and is a point in history where Jeremiah himself challenges God… “LORD God. You have not told the truth to the people in Judah and in Jerusalem. You have told them, “You will have peace”. But soon the sword will kill us.’ Jeremiah is looking back at previous and historical promises (covenants) God made with His chosen people and to what the false prophets were saying (Jeremiah 6:13,14). Simply put and as already pointed out in our opening paragraph, Judah did not stay faithful to God, so God no longer was held to his promise of safety. In simple terms, it is similar to one breaking a treaty. Once an agreement is violated, then the other party is no longer held to his agreement or terms.

For the student of Middle East studies and bible history, this website gives a great brief perspective. http://www.worldology.com/Iraq/assyrian_empire.htm

The circumcision of the heart referred to in verse 4 is explained in verse 14… (ESV) “wash (circumcise) your sins from your heart.” Verse 13-18 goes back 120 years; a reminder that what God did to the Kingdom of Israel, the ten northern tribes, is about to happen to Judah and the now absorbed Tribe of Benjamin. See verse 15 for the specific identity where often the Tribe of Ephraim is synonymous with an identity of the northern tribes.

At verse 19 we once again get a change in Jeremiah’s topics or paragraphs. This verse is a bit like one with a bad case of the flu and one’s abdomen is telling him or her there is cause for great alarm. No time remaining to consider alternative solutions. To carry this further, verse 20 where it reads “SPOILED” one could just as easily have used the analogy from the flu and insert “SOILED.” Gross? Yes, but the truth is not to be denied. “IN A MOMENT” (4:20b) says God through Jeremiah.

At verse 23, then continuing through verse 29, Jeremiah goes back to Genesis 1:2. With this retreat, he prophecies forward to Luke 21:5-38, the book of Revelation, and the Book of Daniel when the mountains tremble, the birds flee, Jerusalem being in total chaos. God uses a vision and example of this end time event back in Jeremiah 1:13-15. It happened in 587 B.C. and will repeat itself during the Apocalypse of the Tribulation.

Verse 27 is a one-way promise from God himself. It is true of this time in scripture and of End Time as also portrayed in scripture. Similar to Daniel 11 if one wishes to do a bit of self-study.

“This is what the LORD says,

‘I will destroy the country.

But I will not destroy the whole country.”

Verse 30 of Jeremiah 4 is very pronounced and profound. Both the Northern Kingdom of Israel (sometimes referred to as Joseph; i.e. Ephraim his eldest son from Egypt) and the Southern Kingdom of Judah are referred to as the “wife of God.” The website found at http://www.hope-of-israel.org/yehovahswife.html is a good source for additional information per Israel as a whole being identified as a wife (of sorts) to God. Exodus 19:5 (through 8) is sometimes referred to as the “wedding vows between God and Israel. Exodus 19:5 is God’s vow and Exodus 19:8 is Israel’s vow.

Exodus 19:5  “…you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples,…”  (husband’s vow

Exodus 19:8 “…All the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.” (a wife’s reply)

Also look back at Jeremiah 3:8.

We can summarize this portion of our study in Jeremiah 4 with the words of Hilda Bright, a blogger and studied individual. She uses the Easy English Bible and commentary. The following are her words commenting on verse 28 through end of this chapter (v31).

Verse 28 Jeremiah describes the earth as a person who is sad. The sky becomes black because the light has gone (verse 23).

Verses 29-31 The people in Judah heard the enemy coming nearer. So the people ran away. They were afraid of the arrows that the enemy used. The people in Judah tried to find safe places to hide. They went into the woods and into caves in the cliffs (Isaiah 2:19). Jeremiah describes how Judah tried desperately to be at peace with the enemy. He describes Judah like a prostitute. The prostitute puts on bright clothes. She paints on a black powder round her eyes. It makes her eyes look larger and more attractive. But it was no use for Judah to make herself look beautiful. Judah’s ‘lovers’ were Egypt and Assyria or Babylon. But they hated Judah and they wanted to kill her.miniJim

Rev. Dr. Jstark – December 2016

 

 

Appendix:

Source Date Events
2 Kgs 25:1; Ezek 24:1-2 10 Tebeth =
27 Jan 589 BC
Beginning of final siege.
Jer 34: 8-10 1 Tishri =
29 Sep 588
Release of Hebrew slaves at beginning of a Sabbatical year.
Jer 34:11-22; 37:5-16 Between Tishri 588 &
Nisan 587 = Oct 588 to Apr 587
Babylonians temporarily lift siege due to approach of Egyptian army. Slaves taken back. Jeremiah arrested as he attempts to go to Anathoth.
Jer 34:22; Ezek 30:20-21 7 Nisan =
29 Apr 587
Egyptians defeated. Siege resumes.
2 Kgs 25:2-4; Jer 39:2, 52:7;
Ezek 33:21, 40:1
9 Tammuz =
29 Jul 587
Wall breached. Zedekiah captured.
2 Kgs 25:8 7 Ab =
25 Aug 587
Nebuzaradan arrives at Jerusalem (cf. Jonah 3:3) from Riblah in Hamath and begins consultation with commanders in the field regarding the pillaging of the city.
2 Kgs 25:9-19; 2 Chr 36:18-19;
Jer 52:12-25
10 Ab =
28 Aug 587
Nebuzaradan leads forces into Jerusalem (cf. Jonah 3:4) to pillage, destroy, and burn the city and its temple.

 

Revelation – Chapter 20

There is plenty to discuss in this short chapter but as usual, we will take the approach of Dr. jStarkidentifying or defining the significant and major points made by the Apostle John. Revelation 20, 21, and 22 could easily fall in sub captions of 1) the fall of the dragon (Satan), 2) The new Heaven, and 3) The New Earth; a closing well deserving our attention.

A Revelation 20 outline subhead form looks like this:

  1. Millennial or statement per the thousand years,
  2. Satan’s final judgment,
  3. The Great White Throne judgment of those resurrected to face their eternal decision on earth while alive.

We could add the Battle of Gog and Magog along with the Lake of Fire but these will fall into our discussion of the above outline of a, b, & c.  In chapter 19 many theologians and commentators would identify as Armageddon and chapter 20 as the Battle of Gog/Magog. Either way, keep in mind that both battles follow the 7-year Tribulation. Yes, there will be wars and rumors of wars [Matthew 24:6] but these lead us up to and into the Great Tribulation. Satan is alive and well and can cause such destruction that Jesus has to return to the earth less there are no humans left alive [Matthew 24:22].

Hosea the prophet clearly tells us that the latter days are a specific time when the Tribes of Israel will return to the State of Israel. They are dispersed throughout the world; the four corners of the earth. [Isaiah 11:12]. However, Israel today is mostly those descended from the Tribe of Judah. They are the New Testament Jews who crucified Jesus. “Jews” descended from those who were exiled for 70 years in Babylon. Only a very small remnant returned. There has yet to be a massive return of Israelites from the other 11 tribes. We mistakenly try to identify the Jew as all-inclusive of Israelites. In the first five books of the Bible [written by Moses] he never Identifies Israelis as Jews. The word Jew is the Anglo-Saxon/Greek version of Judah or from the country or territory of Judah; the predominant people in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus Christ on earth. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jew_(word)]

The sequence so far is: Church Rapture – 3 ½ Tribulation plus 3 ½ years of Great Tribulation – The return of Jesus to the Mount of Olives – the earth shudders, shakes and divides along natural fault lines (including the one geologists say goes right through the center of the Mount of Olives – Armageddon – the beast and false prophet captured, judged, and thrown into the Lake of Fire – birds of the wild feast on the dead the dead 200 million man combined army in Har Megiddo 55 miles north of Jerusalem who try to attack Jerusalem – THEN CHAPTER 20: the beginning of the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ on the Throne of David in Jerusalem.

This is the point at which one can get distracted by or caught up in the theological positions of a-millennialism [no millennium], postmillennialism [all after the fact including Christ’s return; the power of the church binds Satan not the angel from heaven], and premillennialism [the position of this website since it makes most sense without drawing at straws or spiritualizing factual scripture throughout the Bible]. We are deliberately side-stepping the minor disagreements between the classical and the dispensational premillennialists; both for the sake of the reader of this blog and its authorJ.

A lengthy but good discussion on Revelation 20 can be found at: http://www.centralbaptist1873.org/downloads/revelation/Outline%20for%20Revelation%2020.pdf.  Not yet studied by us, website blog appears to be solid.

We won’t get into the theories of what the key or chain may represent in verse one. The bottom line: this angel has the power to grab, hold, restrain, and bind Satan in such a manner as his personal powers are useless to either escape or to any longer influence the peoples and nations of this world. Powerless until the thousand year millennium is over. One might ask as we addressed in the previous blog, “why must Satan be released even if it is but for a short time after the millennial reign of Jesus and God?”

Good question. The answer is hidden in plain sight. If Satan is able to assemble a huge army after the thousand years of “iron scepter” (Revelation 2:27; Psalms 2:9; Revelation 12:5) rule of Jesus, it is obvious there are still those who do not Love or Accept Jesus as his or her Savior or King. Satan’s last stand (phrase borrowed from Custer’s Last Stand) will be judged. Satan first, then the books (plural) are opened and each person is judged according to his or her deeds; i.e. different levels of eternity in Hell (?).

Taking a slight step backward, be mindful that Jerusalem is the bride of God (O.T.) just as the church is the bride of Jesus Christ (N.T.). Let me borrow a quote from:  http://tedmontgomery.com/bblovrvw/emails/thewoman.html

The Church did not “replace” Israel; rather, it was grafted into Israel. At a future time, Israel (Zion) will receive all of the blessings promised to her millennia ago by God (Isaiah 45:17, 51:2,3,16; Jeremiah 50:4,5; Ezekiel 36:1–37:28). Also, the “woman” does not represent only Jews, who are descendants of Judah, since they are only one of the twelve tribes of Israel. (Read Revelation 11 once again or revisit the blogs in this website of Revelation 11, 12, 13, and 14)

Verse 4 of C20 is significant:revelation-20

(paraphrased) The souls (not bodies) of those beheaded, who had not worshiped the beast, his image, or taken the mark of the beast. These must be the Christians martyred DURING the tribulation and probably the voices of those “souls” heard under the Throne (Revelation 6:9) asking for justice (Revelation 6:10).

This, as hinted to in Revelation 6:11 and as previously discussed in this series of Revelation blogs, could be one of the two 144,000 mentioned in Revelation 7:4 and again Revelation 14:1-5. It matters little as to if separate or different groups of 144,000 per Revelation 20:4. Those who die, for their witness of Jesus Christ during the Tribulation, will “Live and reign with Messiah (Christ) a thousand years.” (Also read Isaiah 51:11)

However, verse 6 should not be overlooked per a resurrection. This can get to be sticky theological detail here but here is the quick kick of it all. Being that if there is a pretribulation rapture, those who are the bride or church of Jesus Christ are already gone; i.e. Rapture. Those who die for their witness during the Tribulation are resurrected in verse 4.

Easy answer to the obvious question… who is left on earth before this resurrection? Answer: those who rejected God (O.T.) or reject Jesus (N.T.). This is how we get the first and the second resurrection. The dead in God/Christ are resurrected for the Millennial Reign. Recall from previous blogs in this study that millions have died by now via Satan’s effort to destroy mankind. Millions have also died at Armageddon; Tribulation ended. We calculate that between 1/3 and ½ of the world’s population have died within a short period of time. Then Gog and Magog deaths. No problem with overcrowding on earth.

The second resurrection is those who died without God or Christ. This is the Great White Throne judgment and capacity is no problem since “the heavens [sky] and earth flee the presents of God.” We see this verse in Revelation 20:11. But first let’s not skip some important discussion beginning in verse 7; i.e. Satan’s final judgment.

If unbelievers are wrong and chapter 20 is right, they have a serious and eternal problem of resurrection, judgment, and Hell. If I am wrong as a believer, then I will simply die like the rest of the world’s population; past and present. You decide but there are only two options. Reject Christ and possibly be wrong and the judgment correct, or accept Christ and be safe regardless of end time. Being a believer is not a safety net; it is a life style!

As already mentioned, Satan is bound a thousand years. When released, he raises an army the sized or “like the sand on the seashore; [then] march the breadth of the earth, surround Jerusalem [V9c], but never get to fight. They are devoured by fire from heaven… only to be raised in judgment in the second resurrection shortly thereafter. They see a second death; one of eternal punishment. I have been asked many times; what might Hell be likened to? My best guess is like the fire or burning of a deep-rooted hate, or lust for something one cannot get or get over. This feeling will be stamped into one’s mind to the power of ten, never to leave or be replaced by another thought while camping out at the lake of fire.

In verse 10 we are reminded that the beast (anti-Christ) and his false prophet are already in the Lake of Sulfur waiting for their cherished and loving Satan (pun intended) with very warm and open arms of welcome. Thanks for joining us you devil!!!!!! The beast and false prophet have already been there a 1,000 years. That is plenty of time to develop a very warm welcome for their master deceiver… Satan.

Finally, chapter 20 closes on the subject of the Great White Throne Judgment. We previously discussed some of this but allow us to point to or remind the reader-student the exposé of a few additional facts.

  1. The earth and sky flee from the presents of “him who is seated on the throne.”
  2. The dead resurrected, small and great, stand before the Great White Throne.
  3. The BOOKS are opened; books that have recorded his and her life and deeds while on earth. This opens up the possibilities of greater or lesser punishments but does not eliminate the fact of a judgment.
  4. Another book (singular) is opened and those whose names are written in the [Lamb’s] Book of Life are given life with God (trinity). These are possibly those who are still alive on earth but repent of their sin before the judgment day of reckoning. (emphasis mine)
  5. V13c: (NIV) “…and each person was judged according to what s/he had done (while on earth). (emphasis mine – see #3)
  6. “If anyone’s name is not found written in the Book of Life, s/he is thrown (accordingly) into their Lake of fire for eternity.” (emphasis mine)