Zechariah Chapter 9

“In that day”. We sometimes fail to grasp this can be a past or future tense statement. Bible study demands one keeps content and context together in scripture studies. It is not unusual for God through his prophets to make a statement “in that day”. We have all heard of someone speaking of the good ol’ days or in short, back in that day we did such-and-such. Have you ever heard of someone saying, “go ahead and make my day”? This too is an example of something yet to happen “in that day”. One must examine the before and after in scripture to capture the essence of past or future tense. At times this is buried within the pre or post paragraphs, sentence(s), or verses i.e. the context of subject. Zechariah has many examples of “in that day”. He is usually talking about two different futures. Israel’s soon-to-be future and a future Israel yet unfulfilled. This is chapter 9:1 through 14:21…mostly future tense; in that day, one yet to come.

Included in this passage is a curse upon or a pending judgment in that day against enemies of Israel. This is the real meaning of the first three verses in Zechariah 9.

Zechariah 9:1 explodes with future tense. “The eyes of man, as of all [kole] the tribes of Israel, [shall be] toward the Lord”. All (?), if any of the tribes of Israel possibly had their eyes set upon the Lord at this time in Zechariah’s life is a baseless deduction. The eyes of man [aw-dawm’] means all humans created by God through and since Adam. The Hebrew word aw-dawm’ in this translation means the same as it does in the name given to Adam in Genesis father of mankind: red dirt.  We should mention the word “burden” as in the burden of the word of the Lord. This burden means an ultimate judging of sinners. Jesus came into this world so that all [Kole in Hebrew, Pas in Greek] may be saved. Since all will not be believers, it is a burden of responsibility regarding pending judgement. God does not wish this burden, but it is coming. [The Hebrew kole and the Greek pas for “all” means without exeption]

“The eyes of man … shall be toward the Lord”: These Phoenician cities mentioned in this chapter on the Mediterranean coast were known for their skill and wisdom (Ezekiel. 28:12-15), and Satanic influence (Ezekiel. 28:11-19) [bible-studies.org].

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/bible-canaanites-wiped-out-old-testament-israelites-lebanon-descendants-discovered-science-dna-a7862936.html

Zechariah 9:2

JIV NOTE: 2020 DNA research have determined most Lebanese DNA is like the former occupants of the lands of Canaan. Tyrus and Zidon (Sidon) were in the land of Phoenicia. Phoenicia today is within Lebanon. During the military conquests of Alexander the Great these two cities were demolished and have not been truly rebuilt as of 2020. This same area was renamed Phoenicia by the Greeks who believed they originated from Canaan.

Zechariah 9:3 is another issue in and of itself. This verse mentions Tyre. These people had piled up for themselves significant amounts of wealth. They were located to the west [cf. Joshua 19:29] of the lands settled by the Tribe of Asher (Israelites). The city itself consisted of an island and mainland territory. Verse 3 states “they heaped [gold] up like dust of the land”. Their wealth came from making the rare and royal *purple dye.” No wonder Alexander the Great determined to conquer it. Plus they were a major trade route. *Tyrian purple is made by boling snails in lead pots for seveal days.

Zechariah 9:4 is prophetic [in that day] at the time of Zechariah’s prophecies 520 B.C. to around 480 B.C. Some of what he prophesied was fulfilledwhen Alexander the Great [in that day; 332 B.C.] invaded the eastern Mediterranean Sea area; 200 years or so after Zechariah.

JIV MOMENT: Might the reader recall King Ahab and Jezebel of the northern Kingdom Israel (Book of 1 Kings 17; 1 Kings 18:17) and prophet Elijah? Jezebel was the daughter of a king of Sidon [Zidon]. Do not confuse Zidon, Phoenicia with Zion, Israel in history.

Additional insight: Daniel died only a few years before Zechariah began prophesying.

Zechariah 9:5-9 continues to list the pending travesties of anti-Israel nations and powers, in that day. Each nation has its own story. It is a wonderful thing to read secular archeological discoveries that underscore the happenings in the prophecies found in Zechariah 9 alone.

Zechariah 9:10 returns us to the history and prophecies of Israel. This is God’s scripture defining his Millennial Kingdom. We read about the chariots [translated cavalry] of *Ephraim [a surname used for Israel] and the horses of Jerusalem.

*Ephraim was the dominant tribe of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. JIV: This is the tribe that had difficulty pronouncing the “sh” sound. They pronounced shibboleth ‘sibboleth’ [cf. Judges 12:6]. Ephraim and Manasseh were the two sons of Joseph in Egypt.

And his rule is [in that day; future] from sea unto sea, And from the river unto the ends of earth (Zechariah 9:10c). The pronoun “his” in verse 10 is Jesus. His rule will be to the ends of the earth. The words “cutting off” in v9:10a means no more wars…in that day of the Millennial Reign.

Zechariah 9:13 is controversial in its meaning or implication. To bend Judah as the bow and make Ephraim the arrow is not simple to understanding. To begin grasping this meaning re-read verse 12.

“(Re)Turn to the stronghold, O prisoners of hope! Even [in this day] today I declare I will return double to you.” Israel has had an eternal hope for their Messiah. They are prisoners of that belief. They do not believe in the second advent of Christ since they are holding out for the first advent of their messiah. Muslims believe the same thing per their 12th Imam. They both are prisoners of the hope mentioned in this verse. They falter not in their wait for this day to come. It will come but that moment will be the second coming (advent) of Christ to earth with the setting up of his millennial kingdom in Jerusalem.

“I will return double to you”. Amazingly some commentaries skip past this part of 9:12b. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown declare in their commentary state, Great as has been thy adversity, thy prosperity shall be doubly greater. They reference Isaiah 61:7 which is good theology. Let us not forget the entirety of the Promised Lands to Israel were never secured and occupied under their kingships. This doubling could just as easily identify their Millennial land mass, the New Jerusalem. We already studied earlier in Zechariah 2 that the man with the measuring rod showed Jerusalem was not large enough to hold all the people who will occupy it. The New Jerusalem will be 12,000 by 12,000 Strada; 1,500 miles square [cf. Revelation 21:16].

JIV: This is the distance between upper Michigan and mid-Florida. Let this covenant with Israel settle in one’s mind. Now look at any map of the Middle East. Israel today is less than 80 miles wide and only 20 miles at its narrowest point.

Zechariah 9:13 is one of those controversial verses in multiple commentaries. God said through Zechariah that “he will bend the bow of Judah and fill it with Ephraim”. Judah will be filled with Israelites from all Tribes of Israel. Bending the bow increases the space within it. All Israelis will be gathered from the four corners of the earth. The world in their carnal minds will gaze in wonder asking, how can this be?

The Greece mentioned in this verse is not the Greeks as in that country. Very often the non-Israelite is identified in scripture as a Greek i.e. a Gentile, not a Hebrew Israeli. The bow is bent and is *filled with returning Israelis from the four corners of the earth. A very expanded New Jerusalem. Again, see the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21:16. This means ALL, not some.

*Israelis from Jacob/Israel is God’s quiver of arrows.

The confederated armies of the world will line up against Israel, but the sons of Zion will revolt against the attacking Gentile nations. God’s spoken word and tongue will destroy these invaders without the help or military might of Israel.

How do we know this is an understanding of this passage in Zechariah? The rest of this chapter is a double underscore. NOTE: A double underscore is an accounting term meaning a conclusion on a balance sheet or an accounting worksheet.

Zechariah 9:14 is the ultimate result of this entire chapter and the basis for the rest of Zechariah through chapter 14. In a very real way, this is the definitive verse for Zechariah’s writing.

Using the NKJV for verse 14: Then the LORD will be seen over them, And His arrow will go forth like lightning. The Lord GOD will blow the trumpet and go with whirlwinds from the south. Does verse 14 require additional explanation or amplification? This is God’s battle. Not the battle of men. Evil will be defeated. Satan and his minions will fall. The world will recognize how wrong it has been but by this time it is too late for them. Please note once again. This is Israel in the balance, not the modern-day body of believers. They are already Raptured.

We know this is God’s battle since verse 15 to the rest of this chapter states that fact. [NKJV] “The Lord their hosts will defend and save them.” Romans 12:19 “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

P.S. While Christians look for Jesus’ 2nd coming, the Jews await the Messiah and Muslims await the 12th Imam. Only one is correct…in that day.

We Teach – You Decide

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2020

Zechariah Chapter 6

Zechariah

The New King James Version [NKJV] subtitles chapter six under two categories.

  1. A Vision of Four Chariots (6:1-8)
  2. The Crown and the Temple (6:9-15)

The first vision finds Zechariah “…behold[ing], four chariots coming from between two mountains, and the mountains were mountains of bronze” [NKJV]; four chariots, two mountains, mountains of brass/bronze. The chariots are described well by the color of the horses drawing the chariots. Earlier in Zechariah we found horsemen and horses (chapter 1:1-17) under the Myrtle Trees. They roamed to-and-fro evaluating the world then filed a moment-in-time report with God. These four chariots out of the four corners of the earth are judgment. It is easy to consider that this is God seeking and considering reclaiming earth as HIS kingdom (to come) and pur Jesus on the throne in Jerusalem.

Before a military mission even when preplanned we would send out scouts in advance. Consider these charioteers as God preliminary scouts.

Some commentaries want to identify the four horse drawn chariots with the four empires of Daniel’s visions. If this is so it is only their judgment that is being revealed. Since the Assyrian and Babylonian empires expired by the time of Zechariah, plus, the Persian empire is the current world power of this time. These chariots would be coming to take the vengeance God promised in Romans 12:19 and Deuteronomy 32:35. This vengeance here is End Time judgement. One would be studious to understand that the horse drawn chariots in Zechariah 6 come AFTER the report is filed in heaven by the horsemen in Zechariah 1.

JIV NOTE: The color of the horses does not seem as significant in this passage as it was in Daniel’s and John’s visions. Why? There are conflicting translations of horse colors in multiple translations and commentaries. The End Time translations of horse colors is definite.

Particularly intriguing is Zechariah 6:5 [YLT] “…`These are four spirits of the heavens coming forth from presenting themselves before the Lord of the whole earth.” The four chariots and riders have presented themselves to the Lord prior to being assigned their mission on earth. This takes us to another curiosity; the two mountains mentioned in Zechariah 6:1. One would think that something sent from the Lord of Heaven would come out of heaven. Instead they are seen by Zechariah as coming from between two mountains…mountains that are not mentioned by name. To try and give definition to the two mountains other than they are described as “mountains of brass” is speculation. However, it would be a safer venture to figure these mountains are Israeli mountains to the east. Vengeance coming from God’s Holy City, Jerusalem. We might suggest a leaning toward the valley mentioned in Joel 3:2, 12.

I will gather the armies of the world into the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will judge them for harming my people, my special possession, for scattering my people among the nations, and for dividing up my land. [NLT]

The nations are roused and brought to the Valley of Jehosephat with a mountain on both sides. This is location is where the mountains split at the coming of Jesus. We explore this in greater detail in Zechariah 14.

In the usual Scriptural symbolism red speaks of war, black of famine and death, white of victory, and grizzled of pestilence (Ezekiel 14:21, Revelation 6:18).” [Daniel Luck]

JIV NOTE: Rather than get hung up or distracted by the color of the horses, what we do know is this is End Time and preparation for final judgment. Refer to Revelation 7:1-3 for a refresher study of the four angels standing on the four corners of the earth readying for final judgment.

JIV INSIGHT? Revelation 7:1 states there will be four angels holding back the winds from the four corners of the earth. Common sense says this means just as before tornados or a huge storm strike, the winds go silent. Perhaps this is a clue or a sign when God will return to reclaim his kingdom earth. All winds will cease over the entire globe.

Since these four chariots are described in Zechariah 6:5 as “the four spirits of heaven” the symbolism includes the presence of four angels either on the chariots or described as chariots. These are the angels or spirits who have been “standing before the Lord of all the earth.” These are powerful beings/spirits and commissioned by the Lord himself.

Do not automatically assign a nation such as Russia or another northern country as the one being referred to as “the north.” The Hebrew uses the word tsâphôn. It means (Strong H6828) a dark and gloomy unknown place, hidden. The word south [verse 6] is têmân in Hebrew. Again, it is not a location as much as it is a direction. Strong’s 8486 defines têmân as meaning “to the right hand of a person facing east.”

The fact that Zechariah 6:8 states that God’s Spirit is at rest is a bit of an oddity…unless we understand that God’s Spirit will not rest until judgment has been completed. This probably means it is a post-element of this vision. God’s Spirit is at rest because evil has been judged in the north, dark, unseen hidden place. It could also mean that the decision has finally been made to judge the earth (go back to verse 5 where it states it is now “the Lord’s earth” so no more waiting. God’s Spirit is at rest because there is no turning back. The call has been made. God’s End Time plan is now in full swing. End Time as we know it is no longer. It will be NOW TIME. This is not the new heaven and the new earth, but Satan has be boxed up for 1,000 years.

The Crown and the Temple (Zechariah 6:9-15)

First, let us understand who the “captives” are who are mentioned in 6:9. These are those who returned from Babylon; Judeans. It is obvious if one reads the verse closely. What jumps out when studied is the mentioning of only three names, Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah. The meaning of these three names taken in the order they are listed means “robust is God’s goodness; God knows”. Is this another bible code? We do not know but once again people of old had meanings attached to their names. Today names are given without much consideration of meaning. In our studies persons, places, and things often have definite meaning. Mentioning these three men, Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, by name does reflect the basic meaning of this passage and the actions of the God of Israel. “robust is God’s goodness; God knows”.

Once again, carefully read any passage of scripture. The goal should never be to get from point “A” to point “B” in one’s reading of scripture without grasping what is written between these two points. Some translations use the plural crowns. The Young’s Literal Translation, as does the New King James Version, both very literal in translation, say “crown”. No need for theological debate as to crown or crowns. It is singular as in crown. The unusual per this passage is that the crown is placed upon the head of a priest. Not just a priest but the HIGH Priest. Priests and kings are two distinct positions. In this passage of Zechariah, we again see into post End-Time.

JESUS KING of kings

There is but one who will be king and High Priest after the return of Jesus Christ; that is Jesus himself. He will be crowned with many crowns. He is of the line of Melchizekdek in Genesis 14:18. Abraham also gave tithes to him when they met. Jesus is assigned that crown by saying in Genesis 14 that Melchizekdek is both king and high priest. Jesus is of this line as explained in Hebrews 7. He will wear the crown of the King and the mantel of High Priest, the ultimate authority.

Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, in Zechariah 6:11 is symbolic of Jesus Christ when he sets his throne in Jerusalem to rule the world for 1,000 years. We see this symbolism in the following verses [6:12, 13]. When the crown is placed upon the head of Joshua son of Josedech Zechariah pronounces the coming “branch” that will be the one wearing the crown of crowns. Verse 13 is more definitive. It states that there will be no question as to High Priest and King of Kings wearing the same crown. It reads in the YLT “…And he hath sat and ruled on His throne, And hath been a priest on His throne, And a counsel of peace is between both.”

Rev Dr. Jstark
2020

Article #11 in our Daniel Series

Daniel 2:41

And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.

Unlike the previous empires, Rome was never defeated. It divided into the eastern and western ‘legs’ with the eastern leg [Byzantine] outlasting the western portion by about 1000 years). Since the demise of the western portion, parts that made up the old empire have had their day at ruling; The Ottoman Turks, the French under Napoleon, The Germans, the Dutch, the Spanish and of course, the British Empire. Even America (USA) was founded by people from the old Roman Empire. As we come to this verse we are told of a phase of the (Holy) Roman Empire of which our secular history knows nothing. It is reasonable to conclude that it is yet to come, something that is confirmed in subsequent verses and chapters of this book. We are told this final phase of the Holy Roman Empire will consist of feet and toes, partly potters clay and partly iron – not a good mixture for these two will not stick together. This kingdom will be divided, yet there will be the strength of iron in it. The Antichrist will NOT unite but will divide. There will always be deserters.

Daniel 2:42

And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.

This verse hints at the strong part of this kingdom ruling over the ‘partly broken’. This easily fits the era of Antichrist. More on this as we get to chapter 11; Daniel’s view of a future yet to become history.

Daniel 2:43

And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

It is easy to just read over this verse and continue with the interpretation; however, if we read carefully there is a strange remark. We are told that, just as iron was mixed with miry clay in the vision, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men. Who are the ‘they’? From the context, and the fact that they mix themselves with the seed of men, would seem to exclude them from being the seed of men themselves. Chuck Missler (among others) sees this as an allusion to the Nephilim (offspring of fallen angels?). The first mention of these beings is in Genesis 6, the flood came to wipe them out, but we read they still existed (DNA) after the flood (Gen 6:4) only to be finished off by Joshua and then finally by David (remember Goliath & his brothers?). However Jesus said: “as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man” (Luke 17:26). Might it be that the Nephilim (offspring) of fallen angels are set to make a return as part of a major End Time? Perhaps this may be the fallen angels themselves and their offspring. (For more on this subject see ‘Alien Encounters’ by Dr Chuck Missler & Dr Mark Eastman.

Daniel 2:44

And in the days of these [future] kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

This verse confirms that the final phase of the Roman Empire is a future not yet lived out, for ‘in the days of these kings….”. The simple fact that these kings have not yet reigned and from the context it is clear that they must reign – nor have they been destroyed, nor has the God of heaven set up a world government (which is the whole subject of the dream), shows that this is yet to be fulfilled. But when it is fulfilled it will be the end of man’s rule and the beginning of God’s eternal kingdom that will stand. 1,000 years later it is the Great White Throne Judgement and eternity for all will be in one of two places. None will be left in the grave.

Daniel 2:45

Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

JIV NOTE: Jesus Christ calls himself the “CORNER STONE.” [Ephesians 2:19-22] “the stone cut out of the mountains without human hands”

There are those who would try to suggest that all prophecy has been fulfilled, and that Christ’s kingdom was established at His first coming in and through the church. Furthermore, it is proposed that the church is now to fill the earth and subdue it in the name of Christ; but this seems to be faltering if not coming to a stop. Churches have rituals, liturgies, routines, and a bulletin but the Holy Spirit is often missing. Today’s church is fill with unequally yoked memberships.

One of the underlying points is a non-literal interpretation of scripture, particularly in regard to prophecy. The emphasis is on getting people into the church (nothing wrong with that on the surface) but at the expense of watering down the word of God so as not to be ‘offensive’ (and there we have a two-fold and real problem – to present a sinner with a gospel that says he is a sinner on his way to hell unless he repents and puts his trust in Jesus, is always going to be offensive until such a person is brought under conviction by the law – see Psalm 19:7 / Rom 7:7 / Gal 3:24). By watering down the gospel message and not presenting the law, the modern church becomes nothing more than a caring social club. A group that will yield to popular opinion, and political correctness every time. The church today is a mix of unequally yoked people; some believers, some just religious, and some unsaved or members of the “praise team” musical talent. How does the Book of Acts play out today if and when the worship service is unequally yoked worshipers?

As even a casual reading of this chapter (and these last few verses in particular) will show, this simply cannot be, because the church is not a political kingdom but it has been made just that. The kingdom that God establishes here will be a Theocracy. The fact that the church exists alongside political ‘kingdoms’ in the world today shows that the church is not the stone cut without hands, for once that stone smites the feet of the image, it all comes crumbling down and there will be no more opposition. The fact that the church has opposition in this order of things shows that it cannot be the kingdom that Daniel sees in his vision. It is also clear that the stone that is cut from the mountain is done so without hands, i.e. supernaturally. Jesus Christ our Rock! (See 1 Corinthians 10:4; Deut. 32:4; 2 Sam 22:2; Ps 18:31; Is 51:1; Matt 16:18; Acts 4:11; Matt 21:42-44; 1 Peter 2:8)

Psalm 2 – Jesus will rule the nations with a rod of iron – this hasn’t happened yet! We are too busy today claiming His love and ignoring his justness. We miss or ignore the full meaning of God’s Love. It also means He loves JUSTICE.

Daniel 2:46

Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odors unto him.

Nebuchadnezzar makes the classic mistake of worshiping the instrument and not the source. Daniel had already made the point that it was not because of his ability, but rather it was because of the God of heaven that he was able to interpret the king’s dream.

Daniel 2:47

The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.

Neb didn’t get it! The dream wasn’t to show Nebuchadnezzar that God can reveal and interpret dreams, but to show him that it is God who rules in the kingdoms of men. It is He who puts one down and raises another up,“he removeth kings, and setteth up kings” (Dan 2:21). As Jesus said to Pilate:“Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above” (John 19:11).

Nebuchadnezzar will get another warning that it is God and not him that is running the show, but as we will see in chapter 5, he once again misses the point and is humbled before God and man in dramatic fashion! Keep in mind Jeremiah 33:10…”God says, I will send for my servant Nebuchadnezzar…”Also keep on mind that God influences but does not interfere with Free Will.

Daniel 2:48-49

48 Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.

49 Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.

So Daniel is promoted and ensures that his friends are too. As a result of these four Jewish young men the wise men of Babylon were spared from being cut in pieces and their houses being made a dunghill. Were they grateful? The answer is an emphatic NO! In fact as we move into chapter three we will find these wise men conspiring against Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach) and Azariah (Abed-nego) and trying to get them killed. Their principle motivation; jealousy. After all they represented the greatest minds in the kingdom but had been made to look foolish by four teenage Hebrew slaves.

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

 

Jeremiah – Chapter 23

Little is new to this chapter of Jeremiah. God once again requests that Jeremiah go to the King of Judah and restate and remind them of God’s promises but only IFif the Judeans and leadership of Judah follow God’s commandments. There is a bit of “new look” in that God refers to the leadership of the Kingdom of Judah, both secular and religious, as shepherds. But according to the claim of in verse one, how have these Judean leaders scattered them and driven them away?

This is a two-fold answer:

lost sheepFirst: By them not being an example unto God, the sheep have followed in the examples set and taught by of their so-called leadership. They even have hired false prophets who claim ‘all is well.’ After all they claim, “we have the Temple” is what they stand behind so we (Kingdom of Judah) are protected even if God isn’t front and center in their individual lives. They saw their northern cousins in the Kingdom of Israel carried away 120 years earlier and nothing has happened to ‘good ol’ God protected Teflon’ Judah for decades.  Conclusion? They must be blessed.

In the short of it, Judean leadership has chased its people away from worshiping and depending on the one true God of Israel.

Second: The religious and ruling sectors of Judah have been cruel to the poor, taken advantage of them for personal gain, lied to them, given them false prophetic hope, and slanted the judicial system to the advantage of the ruling class. Jeremiah 23:2c states, (ESV) “Behold, I (have yet to) will attend to your evil deeds, declares the Lord.” They are going to get their deserved punishment and it comes with God’s promise attached to it.

Jeremiah 23:3 jumps to a prophecy yet to be fulfilled and only will be fulfilled after the Tribulation. God will re-gather his people (sheep) scattered throughout the globe and eventually bring them home to a much larger and totally safe Israel (Zion/Jerusalem). A fascinating little comment in verse 4… “ánd none will be missing.” Any question left with this comment that NONE will be missing? Since verse 6 says the *one that will be raised up to execute a future and prophesied justice, fairness, righteousness, and rule with wisdom is named “The LORD is our righteousness.” There is only one who can fit this bill; i.e. Jesus.

*It is in his day JUDAH and ISRAEL will be saved [23:6a).

In HIS day… This is at the 2nd advent of Christ. NOTE: This verse declares that the divided nation of old Israel; Kingdoms to the north and the south, will be united in Israel (Judah and Israel) when Christ returns to the Mount of Olives and calls or brings them back to their promised land.

Jeremiah 23: 11-15 is another example of “if you (us) ____, then I (God) will _____.” God points out the injustice in Judah and then explains to Jeremiah the consequence of such a life style. Even the false prophets are accused of prophesying in the name of Baal. These prophets are so arrogant they no longer even claim to be prophets of God Jehovah; any god will be fine as a so-called prophet. However, one must still keep going back to the promise to Israel (not the church) in verse 8:

[CEV] “…instead, you will call me the Living God who rescued you from the land in the north and from all the other countries where I had forced you to go. And you will once again live in your own land.”  This verse does suggest that we are talking about an Israel after-the-fact of the Tribulation.

In a very real sense, but cannot be proven with scripture, this is possibly similar to the Promised Land for the church of real believers. We will once again live in a Garden of Eden. This is not the actual promise but it is symbolic enough to put our faith and trust in Jesus so we get to the Promised Land as believers.

Jeremiah 23:17 is very similar to today: False declarations and promises by false ministers within shallow denominations. Today’s church tends to be a mile wide and only 1” deep in the Word of God and understanding. We see banners and signs in churches and billboards that read, “God is Love.” There is nothing wrong with this statement as it is true, but only tells us of half the truth. It is what is left out by these half true statements that we discover in the last sentence of v17. According to their false prophets and many ministers today is the claim that  “The Lord has promised that everything will be fine” (CEV). What is missing is the fact that God is also a JUST GOD; Revelation 20:11-13. So, what was true of false prophesy back then is inadvertently still true today. Yes, God is love, but he is also a just God. If this is not so, then why is there any reason for a final judgment; Bema Seat or Great White Throne? We have false proclamations in the very churches we attend.

Jer 23:20  The anger of the LORD will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intents of his heart. In the latter days you will understand it clearly.

Do you catch the meaning of this verse and the last sentence? In the latter days YOU will understand it clearly. This does suggest a scenario of after the fact of the Tribulation. It also may suggest the gained knowledge is too late and the life God gave us is now on trial.

Verse 22 is very similar to what is going out from shallow preaching of the Word of God. It reads…Jer 23:20  But if *they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds.  *Who is the THEY in this verse? This is any who give out false doctrine and promises of anything God has not ordained as solid truth. Sadly and so true, those who wish to tickle the ears of their congregations fall into this same truth. They preach what sounds politically correct and not from what Ephesians 5:13 states; i.e. being a light that reveals evil; i.e. expose it, not to try and learn tolerance.

23:28b is like a summary of the above frustration of God. It asks in part…”What has straw in common with wheat declares the LORD?” Many people if not most can tell the difference between straw, hay and wheat. In a way they look similar but the difference is in its value. Wheat has a nutritional value to all; humans and animals alike. Straw fills the belly but has no food value. One can and will die of starvation even if his or her stomach is full (of straw). The straw here is the false doctrine preached via the prophets and today’s empty message sermons.

Jeremiah 23:30 is another warning too often missed by the reader and sometimes the teacher/preacher. There are two thoughts that come from this verse; the obvious and the more subtle. Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who steal my words from one another. The obvious is limited to the prophets. They sing off the same song sheet without regard to its truth. Just like we today sing songs in church declaring our faithfulness, worship and/or faith, but only sing the words without applying or intending to apply what the words say. We quote the Lord’s Prayer but don’t live the words we are reciting. Similar to today’s political battle grounds where so-called reporters say the same thing as if they have, and they have, mutually agreed upon.

The second thought is those who steal God’s words then spin them to fit motives, agendas, and political correctness.Truth Text Red Black Burst

So, in conclusion, what do we do about all of this? The answer is given to us in Jeremiah 23:33.

“When one of this people, or a prophet or a priest asks you, ‘What is the burden of the LORD?’ you shall say to them, ‘You are the burden,…”

We may find this appalling; violating every rule of political correctness by being so honest. But then, why do we need to say this exposing evil? Simple, the truth shall set us free – John 8:32.

miniJimDr. JStark

June, 2017

Jeremiah – Chapter 3

This book tells us not only of the immediate future of Judah, but end time for all including the dispersed ten tribes of the northern kingdom. However, the first verse in Jeremiah 3 has an application per some translations that can send one off with the wrong emphasis. It has a parallel meaning to what Jeremiah is being told by God.

Jeremiah begins with something the Judeans and all of the Israelites already know about Hebrew law therefore comparing it to them as a people chosen of God to be his *special people, like a wife. He IS NOT talking or making an emphasis per marriage between a man and woman but is using it as a platform to help them understand (see the learning pyramid in this website) via their current knowledge of the Law. [Awareness – Knowledge – Understanding…]

*Jesus uses the same analogy with the church of the New Testament; i.e. the church being the bride of Christ. This is addressed in greater detail in previous articles published on this website. Israel, all of the Tribes, is the bride of God.

Gavel Divorce Paper Decree Front
SUPPOSE that a man divorces his wife, then she marries another man. According to the Law of Moses, her first husband cannot return to her without defiling her second marriage. (Paraphrased). The second half of verse 1 states… “People in Israel, you have lived like a prostitute. You have loved many false gods. So do you think that you can return to me now?’ asks the LORD.”

Jeremiah then makes the analogy of Israel (Judah included) living like a prostitute.  They have taken in other gods of wood, stone, religion, all while giving very limited lip service to the monotheistic God of Judaism. Judah, even more so than did the Northern Kingdom of Israel, made alliances with other nations (kingdoms) to protect them or join them in a defense without consulting God as to their decisions to do so. They put their lives in the hands of other men and kingdoms rather than in the hands of God. In verses 4 and 5 Judah calls out to God as if they “really didn’t mean to leave him. Please get over your anger so we can be rescued from these men (other kingdoms) who wish to abuse us.” This has some rather strong resemblances to being a fox-hole Christian.

This was simply a repeated plea from the Israelites after each time of separation from their God and desperate moments (might this sound familiar personally?). If wanting to dig a bit deeper in your studies, go to the Book of Hosea and read it. You will find a brief outline of Hosea in a graphic form on the next page. Hosea actually married a prostitute and was commanded by God to do so. It was an example of things to come regarding Israel. Jeremiah is pointing back to Hosea in his analysis and warnings. Hosea was a prophet in the Northern Kingdom which by the time of Jeremiah, it no longer existed.

What Jeremiah is actually saying in these early verses of chapter 3 is: “oh Israel and Judah. You are my [God’s] wife who lived as a prostitute with other nations instead of depending on me. Do not expect me to simply dismiss your intentional acts of ungodliness. I will forgive in the end as promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but there will be a price to pay for your actions.” The oddity found in verse 11 is that God sees Judah as worse than their kindred northern cousins, long since these 10 tribes being dispersed and ceasing to exist as a kingdom after the Assyrians conquered them.

Judah had some good kings.  The northern ten tribes basically had un-Godly kings. So how might one justify God’s attitude per these cousins but two different kingdoms, that is, Israel being the worse of the 12 divided Tribes of Israel but lasting longer as a kingdom? It is not really that difficult. Judah too had several backslidden kings including child sacrifices. But the real taker is that 100 plus years earlier, the southern kingdom saw what God allowed to happen to the northern kingdom as judgment for their sins and did not learn from it. It is much like attitudes of people today when we think “it won’t happen to me.” Back up to verse 10; “they only pretend to worship or be loyal to me.”

Sunday only Christians… beware and leery of our own thoughts that Sunday attendance and desperation moments are evidence enough so that God thinks we have been loyal to him. Jeremiah 3:12 & 13 is a promise of fascinating reassurance. It reads:

V12 Go. Announce this message to the people who are in the north.

‘Israel, you have not been loyal’, declares the LORD.

‘Return to me.

I will not frown on you any longer.

I am kind and I am willing to forgive’,

declares the LORD.

‘I will not be angry for always.

v13  You must [first] admit that you are guilty.

You have refused to obey the LORD your God.

You have loved false gods everywhere.

You have worshipped them under every green tree.

You have not obeyed me’, declares the LORD.

“Return to me.” Even though the ten tribes in the north are at this time scattered throughout the known world, they can return to God in their hearts. This has still to happen even though Daniel, a student of Jeremiah’s writings, offered a prayer of confession for Israel as a nation from his captivity in Babylon [Daniel 9:1-19]. God says “I am willing to forgive.”

His one-person prayer may or may not be the confession God is seeking. Time will tell. However, in verse 13 of Jeremiah 3 we also read, “You must admit that you are guilty.” Daniel admits it, but what about the other millions of dispersed Israelites who by now have possibly forgotten that they are descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (renamed Israel)? The next line reads, “You have refused to obey the LORD your God.” It is more than confession but it also means a life lived IN GOD, just as the New Testament tells us [2 Corinthians 5:15] that we are to live IN JESUS. That means Christianity is a way of life; not just a religion. Just as true today with the lost ten Tribes of Israel, far too many Sunday Christians don’t get or don’t want this to be a condition of their salvation.

Adam Clark has one of the best commentary explanations for Jeremiah 3:14. He writes: 

“I will take you one of a city, and two of a family” – [Clark] If there should be but one of a city left, or one willing to return, and two only of a whole tribe, yet will I receive these, and bring them back from captivity into their own land.

In other words, a confession of one or two within a given family of Israel is possibly good enough for God to welcome back the entire tribe. This makes Daniel’s prayer in Danial 9 very significant. JIV NOTE: It can be noted that some commentaries simply skip past this verse therefore avoiding comment and commitment to what God is saying through Jeremiah. The answer is actually found in Jeremiah 31… (CEV) “Oh Israel, I [God] promise [to covenant] that someday ALL YOUR TRIBES will again be my people.”

NOTE: We are running out of blog space and reader patience, but Jeremiah 3:19-25 should not be skipped. (CEV; Contemporary English Version)

Jer 3:19  I have always wanted to treat you as my children and give you the best land, the most beautiful on earth. I wanted you to call me “Father” and not turn from me.

Jer 3:20  But instead, you are like a wife who broke her wedding vows. You have been unfaithful to me. I, the LORD, have spoken.

Jer 3:21  Listen to the noise on the hilltops! It’s the people of Israel, weeping and begging me to answer their prayers. They forgot about me and chose the wrong path.

Jer 3:22  I will tell them, “Come back, and I will cure you of your unfaithfulness.” They will answer, “We will come back, because you are the LORD our God.

Jer 3:23  On hilltops, we worshiped idols and made loud noises, but it was all for nothing– only you can save us.

Jer 3:24  Since the days of our ancestors when our nation was young, that shameful god Baal has taken our crops and livestock, our sons and daughters.

Jer 3:25  We have rebelled against you just like our ancestors, and we are ashamed of our sins.”

fulltimeWhat a conclusion for chapter 3; a true confession of guilt and a full-time return to honoring God as the one and only god. This means putting into second place all other things in life. Israel will eventually do just that. Though Israel today is basically populated and established by those few who descend from those who returned (536 B.C.) from captivity in Babylon, a time will come when they will be called from the four corners of the earth and return in mass to a nations with Jesus on the throne. It is verse 22 that is critical. God says, “I will tell them to come back…”

This is very likely to be an event that immediately follows the second advent of Christ when he returns to set up his millennial kingdom. Why? The compelling words are COME BACK, not go back. God and Jesus are already there setting up this Kingdom.miniJim

The Unpardonable Sin

 

  • Unpardonable sin…

    This means once committed it is not pardonable! Not now; not later; not ever. Satan are you listening?

    One of the most often asked questions is what is the unpardonable sin? What is blasphemy? Let’s take a look at what scripture tells us per these questions. However, it must be emphasized that if one is busy following Jesus and worshiping God, there is no chance of committing the unpardonable sin. Here are three synoptic gospel verses to consider.

    Jesus is the one making these statements:

    Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come (Matthew 12:31-32).

    Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation—because they said, “He has an unclean spirit” (Mark 3:28-30).

    And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven (Luke 12:10).

    Now let’s also include from our website Revelation Study the same word… “blasphemy.” Revelation 17:3 states, in part “…and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names…” Wikipedia defines it as Blasphemy is the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence to a deity…” It is a deliberate act on one’s part.

    Insulting; showing contempt; a lack of reverence? There goes the excuse of the one who says s/he is neutral per believing in a saving God and committing to Jesus. The blasphemy is found in the words, “lack of reverence.” Insulting and/or showing contempt are overt and obvious acts. But included in this definition is the simple act of not showing reverence; i.e. trying to be neutral, open minded or politically correct no matter what is the truth.

    Example: One knows that stealing is a crime. When one does not violate the law or simply does not get caught, they are not issued a penalty for their actions. When it comes to God, there is no such thing as “not getting caught” so that one does not fit in this situation. However, stealing is punishable. This is true even if up to this point it is the very first time one steals; i.e. a deliberate act on or one’s part or showing a lack of reverence for the law.

    Including the word “CONTEMPT” per the above definition adds to problem. It means getting caught and still showing contempt for the justice system and the law. A personal choice has been made. God is gracious in telling us in the above scriptures that such is forgivable if done against the son of God, Jesus. However, no such contempt against the Holy Spirit is forgivable. Just as in stealing, one made a choice and did the deed. The same is true of God the Holy Spirit. To reject him or turn ones back on him in a deliberate act is unforgivable. This is precisely why Satan does not have a choice to seek forgiveness and make everything alright between him and God. He showed contempt and there is no turning back or forgiveness.

    I recall a bible study where the instructor asked the question, “If Satan sought forgiveness, would God’s love be extended to him and forgive him.” There was great silence in the room as no one wanted to risk the fact that they believe God Is (only) Love. That statement alone, “God is Love,” is very misleading just as declaring the bible is full of stories. Stories may be true, but also may be just stories. It is very misleading to identify the Bible content as anything but history. Two books I have read include a History of the Civil War in America and “StoriesFrom the Civil War. The latter was qualified as unverified but still interesting as a read.  The author of this second book stated: “inside every story is often found a thread of truth.” A thread of truth????? What about Bible stories???? This is a gross misuse of Bible history when one relegates it to a book full of stories.

    Now back to the unpardonable sin focus of this article. None of the verses in our opening quotes from Matthew, Mark and Luke have a qualification. Satan has already done it. The Harlot (institution) will do it. The world has received the gospel of salvation but to reject it by NOT accepting God’s Provided Salvation (spiritual GPS) is akin to rejecting the civil statute of stealing. Once committed it is a done deal. There is and will be a price to pay.

    Nothing is said per who does the blasphemy or contempt. It remains a very loving and assuring statement to realize we can blaspheme Jesus or the Father God and it will be forgiven us. But rejecting, a deliberate act or not or no longer accepting HIM as holy is blasphemy. Notice in Matthew 12 that Jesus has just declared that a kingdom divided against itself (casting out demons in the name of Beelzebub) cannot stand. Without going into the detail of this history found in Matthew 12, anyone at any time can commit the one unforgivable sin. The only qualifier is one’s vocalization or demonstration of contempt for and/or claiming the Holy Spirit to be an unclean or non-existent spirit.

    So, can one lose his salvation? No! Can one surrender his salvation? Yes!

    Hebrews 13:5 “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” [NIV]

    Deuteronomy 31: 6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

    However, three passages in the New Testament say, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. Satan is already condemned but was once an angel of light in heaven. God will not forsake us, but we can at any time forsake His Spirit.

    Truth Text Red Black BurstFor the purpose of the series thinker, Let me add an after-thought. John 4:23, 24 states, “…a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” [NIV].

    miniJimJstark
    November 1, 2016

 

Revelation Chapter 22

Chapter 22 (“It Is Done” says God)

Having carried his description of Satan’s destiny and the resurrection of unbelievers to miniJimtheir conclusions in chapter 20, John now returns to the beginning of the Millennium to describe the new home of the Church in chapter 21 and the new Heaven and Earth in chapter 22 [Jack Kelly; https://gracethrufaith.com/the-book-of-revelation/revelation-21-22/#more-314].

We should keep in mind that when discussing the harlot, the Great City of Babylon and the dragon [in some senses], we are discussing political, economic, and religious institutions; each distinct. There are three different positions from which to study these three involved factors. Each of the three is connected to one another one way or another but each of these three institutions has their individual destructions; i.e. the kings and rulers; the great wealth and economies through Babylon, the merchants and those made wealthy because of her; the false prophet and false religious institution.

EXAMPLE: In chapter 17 we have the religious aspect of these three institutions: the harlot, Great City of Babylon (by name only) and the multi-horned/headed dragon. In chapter 18 we probably have the political and economic factors. Babylon is not only a false religious system but one of political impact and economies.

Word cloud for Events of RevelationIn a very real sense, chapter 20 sets the stage for the binding of Satan, the thousand year millennial reign of God and His son Jesus, the New Jerusalem and the eventual new heaven and new earth. We also find the Great White Throne judgment of those who have died in the past “since the creation of earth.”

Verse 1-5 in Revelation 22 is distinct as is Ezekiel 47:1-12 but similar in context. Chapter 21 is also a distinct point in time. We can find the WHEN by reading verses within each reference. All are end time issues. The Ezekiel passage is the millennial reign as is Revelation 20 from the binding of Satan to his release and judgment. Revelation 21:1 explains this is the New Earth and New Heaven “for the old [first] heaven and earth are passed away” [Revelation 20:11].

John is instructed to write out what he has seen and heard. Do not keep it a secret [Revelation 21:5b]. Daniel was told to NOT write all that he had seen and heard for it was for another time in history yet to be played out.  This is probably what Daniel also saw in Old Testament time. The Apostle Paul is post crucifixion and New Testament.

It is likely that Revelation 22:2, which talks about twelve manners of fruit cannot be the new Heaven and Earth. Why? Eternity by definition means there is no longer “time.” As one person (originator unknown) put it some time ago… eternity is the total absence of time. There is also no longer a need to heal nations after the Great White Throne judgment at the end of the Millennial Kingdom. We don’t know if such will still exist after the white throne judgment.

Revelation 22:5 skips ahead in its own time capsule; “..and there shall be no more night.” This suggests that since there is no distinction between a day time hour and a night time hour; there must no longer be anything called TIME. Although much of Revelation is sequential or “at the same time” reports by John, he sometimes follows a given topic through to its end before returning to the concurrent or chronological events.

A most likely scenario is that twelve manner of fruits [22:2] is during the Millennial Reign itself. We do not understand what is on the other side of the wall dividing current earth and heavens and when eternity, which by default means time does not exist, begins. We do know from chapter 21 that tears are no longer, there is no more death or sorrow, hell and hades are cast into the lake of Fire…

In a simple way, chapter 22 of Revelation is God putting his stamp of finality on his initial plan for man from the creation of earth, that is, the Garden of Eden. John is told a second time, now by an angel in 22:9 & 10 that he is not to keep this information and prophecies to himself. We read in the verses following 9 & 10 that the world will continue to be as it has since the fall of Adam and Eve up to the point of Jesus Christ and God’s “living amongst us” [21:3].

When Christ does return the second time he will bring his rewards with him. This is a point needing clarification. The Greek for the word reward (misthos) can mean a good thing or a bad thing; i.e. everyone’s JUST reward for what s/he has done during his or her life on earth [v12]. God again points out that He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last [v13].

In verse 14 we must go back to the only other times the Tree of Life is mentioned:  Genesis 2:9; 3:22; 3:24 and once again in Revelation 22:14. We begin in the bible with the Tree of Life and no one being able to pick its fruit and eat of it to that restriction being removed in Revelation 22. “Those who do his commandments have right to the tree of life.”  In some way of thinking, God will re-institute the Garden of Eden without the ability of Satan to again interfere of influence whose occupying it.

With verse 16 it is not John talking. It is Jesus himself authenticating the truths and correctness of the Book of Revelation. Jesus is declaring his position as a descendant of King David per his physical birth and right to the throne. He also has another right that is found in John 1…

Joh 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Joh 1:2  He was in the beginning with God.

Joh 1:3  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Joh 1:4  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

Joh 1:5  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

 

jesusJesus is the word; Jesus is God.

 

Can we lose our salvation? This is addressed in a backhanded way in the one of the final verses of the bible; i.e. 22:19…

 

“…if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”

 

One can only take away something that the losing individual originally had, right?

 

Jstark (M.M., Th.D. Rev.; ordained unaffiliated)

Revelation 9

(Plus a quick review)

The last book of the Bible - Revelations

In our study of Revelation, chapter nine is about the 5th and 6th angel and what happens when their trumpets sound. We recently completed our discussion of the 4 Apocalyptic Horsemen via the first 4 seals of the scroll being opened. As dangerous and attention getting as they are, things are about to get more difficult for mankind, earth and any of its inhabitation. The pre-event of chapter 9 is what John heard as he recorded in the last verse of chapter 8:

(8:13b) “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded (in chapter 9 & 10) by the other three angels!” (NIV; emphasis mine)

Paul Benware wrote in Understanding End Time…, the first four of the seven seals are known as the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. The first seal introduces the Antichrist (Revelation 6:1-2). The second seal causes great warfare (Revelation 6:3-4). The third of the seven seals causes famine (Revelation 6:5-6). The fourth seal brings about plague, further famine, and further warfare (Revelation 6:7-8) and the dividing of ¼ of the earth to death, famine, reduction, enslavement, . The fifth seal tells us of those who will be martyred for their faith in Christ during the end times (Revelation 6:9-11). When the sixth of the seven seals is broken, a devastating earthquake occurs, causing massive upheaval and terrible devastation—along with unusual astronomical phenomena (Revelation 6:12-14) [emphasis mine]

A series of 7 trumpets begin to call out their judgments at the opening of the 7th seal. Then, “ALL OF HEAVEN FALLS SILENT FOR THE SPACE OF A HALF AN HOUR” (8:1). This silence in heaven sends awesome chills as heaven has never been totally silent per anything mentioned in scripture. It is much like walking into a room or into the woods and everything is suddenly too quiet. We KNOW (YADDA) something is amiss or about to happen; it is not usually a good feeling of confidence on earth but all beings in heaven see God’s judgment will no longer be delayed. Satan’s time has run out and he knows it.

  1. Trumpet #1: (8:7) …hail, fire mingled with blood with a third part of the trees burned and all green grass burned.
  2. Trumpet #2: (8:8) …great volcano and mountain cast into the sea with a third part of the sea turning to blood. This is death to the sea creatures and ships in that part of the seas.
  3. Trumpet #3: (8:10) …’death star’ (possibly a huge meteorite) is cast to earth from the heavens. Now a third part of the rivers and spring water sources become wormwood (apsinthos: in a metaphorical sense, to be made bitter). Many (polos/polus) die due to the bitter or deadly water likely infected or made bitter by the shattering of this meteor into dust.
  4. Trumpet #4: (8:12) … Now the third part of our know universe that is stricken is the sun, moon and stars. This darkness makes night even darker and daylight less illuminant.
  5. Trumpets 5, 6, & 7 are God’s judgments on man.

This takes us to chapter 9 in Revelation; the 5th angel and trumpet. All the damage to this point by the blowing of the first four trumpets is upon physical surroundings. One-third of everything we know of and see is struck. The woe, woe, woe, in 8:13b is a change in venue. It is now mankind that is directly punished for rejecting warnings and pleadings to accept and follow Jesus Christ (New Testament) and God (Elohim) of Israel (Old Testament).

We read in Revelation 9:1, as found in a previous article in this website, about a falling star. The verse reads “…to him was given the key to the bottomless pit.” Since this star (as-stare’ in the Greek) is identified as “him,” we likely have either a fallen or falling angel; suggestion: Satan himself is finally removed from approaching the Throne of God in Heaven. [Revelation 12:10: This verse points to the already given fact that Satan “…has been hurled down” from heaven]. He uses the key he is given to open the bottomless pit. From it belches smoke; locusts emerge from the smoke to cause severe pain to man; to all who “do not have the Seal of God in their foreheads.” They are not *given the power to inflict death even though later in chapter nine we read that mankind call for death and can’t get it.

*given the power: Note that these locusts do not possess the power in or of on their own, but are given it with **limitations. This is God’s hand at work as the final hours of the earth as we know it closes.

**Limited to causing pain on man for 5 months, but not the remaining greenery of earth as is the usual target of locust.

Verse 6 is very clear. “…man shall seek death and shall not find it.” Verses 7-10 describe these creatures of torment. Interestingly, in verse 10 of chapter 9… “they have a king over them.” When Satan rebelled against God and took 1/3 of the angels with him, for he was a mighty angel (angel of the morning light and beautiful), he became the lord and king over the fallen angels. They obey him for he is powerful, persuasive, and dangerous to oppose. One might speculate that the locust might be the hoard of fallen angel-locusts who emerge from the smoke. Satan knows by now that his time of roaming to and fro on and over earth (his kingdom) is over. 1 Peter 5:8; Job 1:7) tell us that Satan has been at work since the creation of earth; seeking who he may… bring joy??? Not a chance. He is seeking who he may devour: inflict pain, sickness, disease, casualty, conflict, stress, confusion, disjointedness, mistrust, the road to destruction! (James 1:17; Acts 10:38; John 9:2-3))

The locust is the first of the three woes that John heard from an angel in heaven (8:13). I must hasten to point out Greek grammar. In 9:1 it is too often concluded that the “bottomless pit” in this particular scenario is hell itself. This does not fit well considering the final judgment, Lake of Fire and the locations of Hades or Sheol. The word used here is Phrear. It is an old word for cistern or well; something with a small mouth; narrow. The path to hell is a wide road. This misunderstanding simply does not fit. It is not Hell that this “fallen angel” opens the gate with a key. It is more closely related to Hades or Sheol; a holding tank of sorts for the dead yet to be judged. Hell and the Lake of Fire come into play after the Great White Throne Judgment. This is found at the end of the Millennial Reign of Christ on earth.

The second woe, beginning at verse 13, comes when the sixth angel blows his trumpet. This releases the four angels assigned and created solely for this purpose (v15); the second woe. One third of mankind is slain; those without the Seal of God in their forehead. It is a massive army of (evil forces) 200,000,000 strong. Fire, smoke (as in choking gases; chemical warfare?), and brimstone are the weapons of death in these few verses. This is not the massive army of mankind who assemble at Har Mageddo (Valley of Jezreel; Armageddon) to battle Jesus in Jerusalem after the 7th Trumpet is sounded.

In the closing two verses of chapter 9, we discover that even after all of this, men do not repent of their selfish and self-seeking gains (idols). In short, their continued rejection of God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit is finally judged. This continual rejection of God/Christ is amazing. The people who continue to reject Christ see that those with the Seal of God are not touched by these plagues. Such being so seems to anger mankind all the more to fully realize their pain is not shared with followers of the Almighty.

Next article begins with…”And I saw another mighty angel…” (Chapter 10 and in my opinion should not have a chapter break for number 11. Of course, these are man-made markers in the Bible as the author of Revelation, John, did not mark out chapter and verse.)

jStark3

The Millennial Reign

What happens during the Millennial Reign of God and Jesus?

I have often wondered what it is going to be like during the Millennial (1,000) Reign following the Tribulation. Let me begin by telling you there are many hints of how we will live during these years, what will happen to us, how long life expectancy will be, if work is still required, will there be families, children, animals? Let’s begin by understanding something that Isaiah 55:8 tells us:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.”

The meaning is too obvious. We need to take God and the Word of God at its word without trying to make God into something that fits our ideals. We need to understand that he makes us into something he wants. After all, if we created god then it/he is useless for eternal or even current needs or events. But God created us. That being so, he is the potter and I (we) are the clay. The clay pot does not tell the potter what we wish to look like; what shelf we want to be on; do we get a window view; or if am I going to be a tall, short, round, skinny or a corpulent pot. We are what we are so let’s get past that. What we need to know is our purpose. That is to worship the Lord God almighty, make Christianity a way of life not a religion, and realize our destiny is determined by our acceptance or neutral or flat out rejection of HIM.

Let’s avoid for now the discussion of the Tribulation (pre-post-or mid), plan of salvation, or any preaching. Let’s simply review the facts as the Bible tells us per what life will be like during the Millennial Reign of King Jesus.

Understand that this will not be a totally inclusive blog per life in the Millennial, but it will be inclusive of enough references to give us a great idea of what it will be like during the Millennial Reign.

Wikipedia defines the Millennial *Reign as:

*Often identified as Kingdom.

Millennialism (from millennium, Latin for “thousand years”), or chiliasm in Greek, is a belief held by some Christian denominations that there will be a Golden Age or Paradise on Earth in which “Christ will reign” for 1000 years prior to the final judgment and future eternal state (the “World to Come” of the New Heavens and New Earth).

Theopedia describes the Millennial Kingdom as: (http://www.theopedia.com/millennial-kingdom)

…the thousand-year reign of Christ specifically mentioned in Revelation 20:1-6. This is usually seen as the same Messianic Kingdom anticipated by the Old Testament prophets.

Let’s first realize the 1,000 years will not be spent on the beach, in churches, standing around the Throne of God in Jerusalem or flying about the universe with a pair of angel wings. All but the last are possible but not the norm for life during the Millennial Kingdom. Recall, or learn for the first time, this reign of Christ in Jerusalem will come out of and at the end of the Great Tribulation. The pre-Tribulation time will be as “the days of Noah” (Matthew 24:37). It will be wise for the reader to read through to verse 39. This is the world situation leading up to the beginning of the 7-year tribulation and the Apocalypse, Day of Reckoning, Armageddon or Day of Destruction as so many movies, books and discussions have and continue to be based upon. But this is not a written monologue of pre-tribulation events.

Mankind, along with some strong assistance from Satan, will have all but been eliminated by wars, disease, starvation, murder when Christ returns to the Mount of Olives and proclaims himself King of Kings and ruler of the world. Yes, there is a little thing called Armageddon at this point in history and yet to be played out, but this article is about life for those who survive and enter the Millennial Kingdom.

Skipping past the resurrection of some of the dead, the return of those who were (will be) in the Rapture prior to the Tribulation period, and those Christians and Jews killed during the Tribulation we get to our goal; life during the Millennial Kingdom and reign of Jesus Christ ON EARTH. It is not my intention to explain why some of these prophecies have what is known as plural or dual points in history and that which has yet to happen. We are going to simply look at life during the Millennial Kingdom; ”thy kingdom come, they will be done on earth (millennial kingdom) as it is (already) done in heaven.”

Here is the setting: Christ returns to the Mount of Olives to the east of Jerusalem; an area now known as the West Bank. He declares himself King of the world then must defeat the combined forces of the King of the North (Antichrist: Europe or the resurrected Holy Roman Empire), the king of the South (Islam?: Middle East and Africa) and the forces from the north and east:*China and Russia? These forces will gather together to invade and eliminate Jerusalem/Israel (Joel 3:2; Zechariah 14:2; Matthew 24:29; Revelation 20:8) but only after having fought amongst themselves (Matthew 24:7). Continue reading