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 51 (Part A)

time-.jpg

The final chapters of both the Book of Jeremiah are the final chapters of the world as we know it. The Hebrew word *Yome [day] can mean a time of day and night; 24 period of time. However, there is an additional translation of the same word. According to Strong and Thayer it can mean:

*“a season, space, time of trouble, an age or period of time[paraphrased for understanding].

The King James puts it in verse 2 (Jeremiah 51) “shall empty her land in her day of trouble…” The Medes and Persians [Achaemenid Empire] occupied the land and conquered the peoples of Babylon. King Cyrus sat on the throne of Babylon. Does this sound like it was EMPTIED? Jeremiah 51:2 in the ASV, YLT, ABP, ISV, ESV and many other translations indicate the same thing. The Medes and Persians did not, per history, devastate Babylon. They snuck in through the river Euphrates after stopping up its flow, captured ad killed the leadership. They did not destroy it. They only occupied it. One may easily suggest it is a reference to the Babylon of the anti-christ of End Time.

V1… “I will send foreigners against her.”

Secular history reports that both the Babylonian Chronicles and the Cyrus Cylinder describe Babylon being taken “without battle”, whereas the Greek historians Herodotus and Xenophon report that the city was besieged. The Book of Daniel implies that Babylon was taken in one night and that Belshazzar was killed. The total destruction prophesied in Jeremiah 51 was not fulfilled at this time. This means Babylon became part of Persia; today it is within the territory of Iraq. More on Babylon can be found in Revelation and Isaiah including the proverbial Whore of Babylon in End Time.

We should go back to verse 1 to explain the term Leb Kamai…”Thus says the LORD: “Behold, I will stir up the spirit of a destroyer against Babylon, against the inhabitants of Leb-kamai…” Leb Kamai basically is a reference to “those who rise up against me.” Who is the ME in this vers? It is God! This is without doubt a reference to End Time when there are those who rise up against Jesus or the End Time following the thousand year reign of Christ and Satan is released for a short time gathering a great army to “rise up against Jesus.”

It may very well be that Jeremiah used a kind of code [Leb Kamai] which neither Babylonian security nor modern Scripture theorists have been able to crack. http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Leb-kamai.html. It may also simply mean those who rise up against God, Christ, Holy Spirit.

Jeremiah 51:5 & 6 continue this thought of End Time judgement. Once again Jeremiah mentions Israel and Judah as God’s chosen. Guilty? YES! Forsaken? No! Verse 6 tells us that Jeremiah says to “flee the land of the Babylonians before her destruction” [ESV] However men like Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah remained in Babylon long after the King Darius defeated the Babylonians releasing the Judeans to return to their land, rebuilt the Temple, and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Perhaps the next verse (v7) helps our understanding. It speaks of the Babylon to which End Time evil is identified, even the Whore of Babylon, as [ESV]:

Babylon was a golden cup in the LORD’s hand, *making all the earth drunken; the nations drank of her wine; therefore the nations went mad.

*“making all the earth drunk.”

This is not just the historical territory of Chaldean Babylonians, but the entire world to which Jeremiah is referring. Recall that Abraham originated from the biblical land of the Chaldeans. This is a reference to a much greater population and territory; i.e. all the earth.

Jeremiah 51:8 could easily be understood as sarcastic in tone. “…wail for her and take balm to her for her pain; perhaps she may be healed.” In light of those who will survive the “time of Jacob’s trouble [tribulation]” and after the millennial reign of Christ, people will be measured and judged according to the intent [kavanah] of their heart. Satan will raise a huge army to try and return the world to destroy as many as he can. If he can destroy them before accepting the King of kings as savior, they will join him in the Lake of Fire. Babylon is the symbolic “world” at this time. Then will come this Great White Throne judgement.

51:9 “let us each go to our own country…” This points out that the world recognizes that they as humans are not in charge of the earth. Satan is bound. There is no longer any point to fight a lost battle with the King of kings.

In verse 10 & *11 Jeremiah returns in thought to the biblical time of the Jews in Babylon; the vindication of the Jews (Judeans). If this is in fact relevant to just that time in history, why would men like Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and the future queen Esther along with men like Mordechai remain in Babylon? Simply put… this passage is in reference to two different periods of time; the time of the 70 captivity and End Time meaning the world itelf. Return each one to his own country…[ESV verse 9].

*V11 also says to “sharpen the arrows.” It sounds or reads like it a defensive move of those in Babylon. It certainly isn’t the Jews who are told to sharpen their arrows as God ordained the Medes and Persians to conquer Babylon without even a battle. The snuck in as previously mentioned in this article.

51:11b (NASB) “For it is the vengeance of the Lord, vengeance for his Temple.” This seems to have little to do with the biblical event of the Babylonian captivity. Fact is, it is the anti-Christ’s abomination of the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem. He sets himself up on the throne within the Temple requiring all to pay homage to him. He has offerings of abominable sacrificed to him in the Temple and on the Alter of God.

It gets more clear and obvious that this prophecy in chapter 51 has dual meanings as we continue to the next verses in Jeremiah 51. Read verses 12 and 13 then look at v14 through 18. Verse 17a says it all (NASB) “All mankind is stupid, devoid of knowledge.” When we are devoid of knowledge, there is not a chance of understanding.

Verses 19-24: Jeremiah once again brings Jacob/Israel into the scripture. He is no longer addressing the Babylonian captivity or Judean release. God is telling us HE has a covenant with Jacob/Israel; a covenant that does not apply to the rest of mankind. Jesus in the New Testament makes provision for the rest of us.

[NASB; Jeremiah 51:19-24]shatter

He says, “You (Israel) are My war-club, My weapon of war;
And with you I shatter nations,
And with you I destroy kingdoms.
“With you I shatter the horse and his rider,
And with you I shatter the chariot and its rider,
And with you I shatter man and woman,
And with you I shatter old man and youth,
And with you I shatter young man and virgin,
And with you I shatter the shepherd and his flock,
And with you I shatter the farmer and his team,
And with you I shatter governors and prefects.
“But I will repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea
for all their evil that they have done in Zion before your eyes,” declares the Lord.

If one does not like what is quoted above from the NASB bible, that is precisely what is stated in ‘v17a’ in the previous paragraph…“All mankind is stupid, [because they are] devoid of knowledge.” Without knowledge there cannot be understanding. Without understanding, we make poor choices or none at all.

Jeremiah 51:24b: “before our very eyes”(ESV)… Jeremiah could not be speaking in the first person being his own eyes as God initially punished Babylon the city-state 70 years after this fact. Jeremiah would have been long gone. So, whose eyes is Jeremiah writing about? This too is End Time prophecy. The world will see this punishment brought upon the anti-God forces of its armies. In short, this is the forces of the king of the north (anti-Christ), king of the south, kings of the east…confirmed in the next verse (v25)… (ESV) “I am against you, declares the Lord which destroys the whole earth. There we have it. Jeremiah finally identifies these enemies as the whole world. Babylon is symbolic of this prophetic destiny; imminent and eminent. (Jeremiah 51 part B is next week)

miniJim

Jeremiah Chapter 49 Part one

(The Prophecy against Ammon, Edom; 49:1-18)

Chapter 44: Jeremiah makes his final appeal to his fellow countrymen (a remnant) to abandon their worship of the “queen of heaven” meaning the Ashtoreth dance Pole.

Chapter 45: Baruch, Jeremiah’s scribe, is assured by God that he will have a good life similar to “the plunder of war taken by the victor.” Baruch was faithful and now God rewards him.

Chapter 46: The near and distant future of Egypt. Over 100 years earlier the prophet Isaiah had predicted a similar fate of Egypt…conquered and subjugated by the Assyrians. In C46 it is the Babylonians who attack and defeat the Egyptian “mercenary” army after defeating Assyria.

Chapter 47: The Philistines of Gaza or Philistia are overrun by the Egyptians then the Babylonians overrun them on their way to defeating Egypt.The Sphinx and Pyramid of Khafre, Cairo, Egypt

Chapter 48: Moabites. These offspring of Lot occupied the former lands of the Tribe of Gad. They helped Nebuchadnezzar conquer the Kingdom of Judah then in turn, were conquered by Babylonians, their supposed ally.

Chapter 49: This is where we are with this article. It has to do with several territories that fall to Babylon, God’s instrument of judgement. Ammon is another descendant of Lot. For additional information besides what is follows, go to Ezekiel 25:1-11.

Ezekiel 25:43 “Say to the Ammonites, Hear the word of the Lord GOD: Thus says the Lord GOD, Because you said, ‘Aha!’ over my sanctuary when it was *profaned, and over the land of Israel when it was made desolate, and over the house of Judah when they went into exile,”  [*perhaps a futuristic insight to the antichrist’s profaning of the Temple]

Ezekiel 25:4 … therefore behold, I am handing you over to the people of the East for a possession, and they shall set their encampments among you and make their dwellings in your midst. They shall eat your fruit, and they shall drink your milk.

Israel helped the Ammonites by destroying their old enemies, making the later conduct of Ammon even more reprehensible. They frequently fought against Israel during the days of the Judges and during the reigns of Saul and David (2 Samuel 10). In later years they are absorbed by Arabs and became unidentifiable as a distinct people. Which Arabs? This is a later discussion.

Jeremiah 49:1 begins with a question…”has Israel no sons? Why is their land occupied by the Ammonites?” This paraphrase of verse one tells us that God is not pleased with two distinct people; the Tribe of Gad and the Ammonites. Pay close attention to the prophecy found in verse 2 of Jeremiah 49.

[49:2] “The days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will cause the battle cry to be heard against Rabbah of the Ammonites; it shall become a desolate mound, and its villages shall be burned with fire; then Israel shall dispossess those who dispossessed him, says the LORD.”

Did we catch that? Read the final sentence of verse two once again. “Israel will dispossess those who dispossessed him SAYS THE LORD.” Bear in mind that by this time, Judah was captive in Babylon and the Northern Kingdom of Israel was long dispersed by the Assyrians. So what Israel may Jeremiah be referring to per the voice of God? It can be nothing less than End Time prophecy. This land is not currently under the authority or territorial domain of the Israel of today. It is southern Jordan. There is more to happen in our or near distant future.

Of great interest is the history of Rabbah, a significant city of Ammon. Today it is known by the name Amman, Jordan. It is a war between then King David of Israel and the Ammonites but historically and per scripture of significance to him and Bathsheba. 2 Samuel 11:15 tells us this is where Bathsheba’s husband was killed in war; David’s way of ridding himself of the husband of Bathsheba.

One obvious question is “who is Milcom” in verse 2? This is another Ammonite name of their idol god Molech, Moloch… spelling is dependent on the translation one is reading. In short, the name means “a king” god. They referred to their idol as a king, a slander on king of kings. This is not their king himself but their god. Remember that these people descended from Lot, Abraham’s nephew and one he continually had to rescue. Lot sought possession getting him into trouble over and over. His descendants seem to have the same problem.

God through Jeremiah does give recognition to the lineage of the Ammonites. He calls them his faithless daughters in verse 4; the people who trusted in their wealth over God himself. This gives heed to us today. We don’t see or admit wealth is a god but this verse points out that it is precisely that…a god.

Jeremiah 49:6 is reminiscent of chapter 48 and the Moabites. Both the Moabites and Ammonites are part of God’s chosen via Abraham. Verse 6 tells us that in a future time: “But afterward I will restore the fortunes of the Ammonites, declares the LORD.” This has yet to happen in modern history. It is another prophecy or news item for us to keep an eye on.

Jeremiah 49:7 shifts the subject to another descendant of Abraham/Jacob, the Edomite. They descend from Esau the twin brother of Isaac. He was the eldest but not given the birthright of the first born. He sold it to Jacob for a plate of food. Abraham in his blindness blessed Jacob. We can see the deceitfulness of these people all through history. Not God’s will, but actuality. They were and perhaps still are so deceitful many times in scripture deceived themselves.

A rather interesting verse is 49:8 and the reference to them [Ammonites] as Dedan. The Oxford Bible says it well:

“Russia continues to build alliances with Middle Eastern nations. Sudan (Cush) and Iran (Persia) are strong allies. The Muslim nations of Central Asia also are developing ties with Iran, Russia and Turkey. The hatred for Israel by the Middle Eastern Muslim nations continues to boil. It is not too difficult to imagine the nations mentioned in Ezekiel 38:1-7 coming together under Russian leadership to mount a furious attack against Israel, perhaps from Megiddo’s’ oil fields. And who are the nations that object to and oppose Russia per Ezekiel? Exactly the ones we would expect from the present day political situation: the Western Powers as described by TARSHISH and her young lions (cubs).

But there is also an Eastern Power named that objects to the [End Time] Russian Invasion: SHEBA and DEDAN. These were ancient names for the land we know today as Arabia, especially Saudi Arabia, showing that at least some of the Arab states will not favor Russia’s presence in the Middle East.”

What happened to the Edomite people after being scattered by Nebuchadnezzar? They c49awent south and eventually established what we know today as Saudi-Arabia. Even though Esau was a direct descendant of Abraham through Jacob, he married a daughter of Ishmael; the first born of Abraham through Sarah’s handmaid Hagar. Hagar and Ishmael were not part of the blessing of Abraham or God himself. They knew the truth but went elsewhere. For greater knowledge read Ezekiel 48 as it regards End Time and these same people.

For clarity per Dedan and Sheba, In  Genesis 25 we read that Abraham married Ketur’ah after Sarah died. She has six sons by him. One of them is named Jokshan. Sheba and Dedan are his sons [Genesis 25:3]. This makes Sheba and Dedan grandsons of Abraham. The ancient capital of Saudi-Arabia is Dedan. Does anyone recall “the queen of Sheba?”

It is gruesome reading but God’s judgement on Ammon is specified as to one reason why as described in Amos 1:13. Sit down before going there to read the WHY of God’s judgement upon Ammon.

JIV NOTE: Recall our article on Jeremiah 40. The assassination of Gedaliah, a ruler put in place by Nebuchadnezzar over Judah. His murder was engineered by none other than the King of Ammon. Go back to the article on Jeremiah 40 for greater detail.

The Bozrah identified in Jeremiah 49:13 is the same Bozrah mentioned in Isaiah 63:1. It was the capital city of Edom. Bozrah is also significant to End Time and the retreat of Israelis to a desert haven of security; i.e. the mountain caves of Bozrah; i.e. Petra. Jeremiah 49:11-18 describes the totality of the destruction of Edom.

Another aha moment is the fact that Ammon saw wealth as their god. Basrah is a southern port city of Iraq; spelled Bazra. In April of 2017, the Iraqi Parliament recognized Creek of AsherBasra and its oil fields as their economic capital. Money is their god. Go back to Jeremiah 49:4 to better connect this insight.

Perhaps connected and perhaps not, but in Bazra there is a creek named “Ashar” (Tribe of Asher”?). It is a shopping mall or bazar of shopping places accessible by boats. The picture to the right was taken in 1915. Why might this creek’s name be similar to the name of the Tribe of Asher? The Encyclopedia Britannica states that over 4,000 “Jews” lived in Basra in 1911.

(Jeremiah 49:23 – 39 follows in our next article; Part 2)

miniJimJ.Stark

January 2018

Jeremiah Chapter 39

This chapter is the beginning and fulfillment of what Jeremiah had been prophesying for over 20 years to Israel, its people, rulers, and religious sects. There are several components to this chapter:

  1. The capture of Jerusalem (Last of the cities of Israel to fall)
  2. Jeremiah protected by the Babylonians
  3. Removal of Judean people from Israel to Babylon (the first of three transfers)
  4. The fate of King Zedekiah
  5. Assurance of and to Ebed-melech
    1. He was the Ethiopian who rescued Jeremiah from the cistern back in chapter 38
    2. This may not be his real name as it reads more as a title; Ebed: a servant; Melech: [of the] king.

Zedekiah had originally been put on the throne by Nebuchadnezzar several years earlier when he removed King Jehoiachin after initially conquering Judah/Jerusalem. Zedekiah was a vassal king to Babylon. In short…he owed his allegiance and crown to Nebuchadnezzar. Christians too often seek a truly close relationship with God only in a time of trouble.  When the trouble goes away, the tendency is to think one is not needing God until the next trouble pops up. Zedekiah had decided he could rebel as long as Egypt came alongside with its forces against Neb. Pharaoh Necho brought out his forces as agreed between him and Zedekiah, but then changed his mind and returned to Egypt (Jeremiah 37:5-7).

hands help

We need GOD’s help ALL the time!

This left Zedekiah all alone without help. A very weak kingdom was Judah. When Zedekiah saw Neb’s men sitting at the city gate (39:4) they panicked and fled Jerusalem. If it was only Zedekiah and a few of his court who fled, they may have escaped. But the minimal armed forces of Jerusalem fled with him. A group this size was not easy to stay stealth and the Chaldean army caught them. We read how he (they) escaped by going back to Ezekiel 12:12…they broke a hole in the outer and inner walls of Jerusalem and fled. The double wall design had two purposes; 1) To specifically provide an egress or escape route if the city was invaded and 2) a type of thermo-pane-wall (double) to keep the enemy at bay once they broke through the outer wall.

JIV NOTE: Personally, this incident fascinates. Israel under the auspices of Joshua entered the Promised lands via Jericho. Now over 800 years later, the last of the vestiges of the former Israel as a nation ends “on the plains of Jericho” [verse 5]. Is there poetic justice, irony, or thought knowing this nation of people came full circle beginning at Jericho then ending at the same location?

Just as under Joshua and centuries earlier the Israelites slaughtered the sinful inhabitants of Jericho, (v6) “The king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah at Riblah before his eyes, and the king of Babylon slaughtered all the nobles of Judah.” History repeated itself!

There is another even more fascinating insight to this event at Jericho.  We have often wondered about the Magi and the Star of Bethlehem. Who were they? We know they were astronomers, studied the stars and were of the Zoroastrian religion. Here is what secular history along with the bible tells us:magi-

Rab-mag: chief (Rab) of the magi (mag); was brought along with the Babylonian expedition to Jerusalem in order that its issue might be foreknown through his astrological skill. Mag is a Persian word, meaning “great,” “powerful.” The magi were a sacerdotal caste among the Medes, and supported the Zoroastrian religion. The name Rab-mag is of interest…this chief of the magi was brought along to assure victory. When Israel marched on Jericho centuries earlier, Rahab (very similar name and meaning) was saved and through her came Jesus many years after… in order that its issue might be foreknown. Magi visited Jesus when he was yet a baby. Rahab was the mother of Boaz, the great grandfather of King David. Jesus descended from the line of King David.

Jeremiah 39:9-14 tells us that Jeremiah was released from the prisons of Zedekiah and protected by the Babylonian guards; probably because his many years of prophecy had now come to past, there were a significant number of his fellow Judeans that dispised him. Now that what he had prophesied came true, they had even more reason to hate him as their royal courts, leaders, and religious rulers had been openly slaughtered by Nebuchadnezzar. Verse 39 takes us back to the above indented paragraph concerning the discussion of the RAB-MAGI (saris). They came to the rescue of Jeremiah and honored him just like 600 years later the magi from the east came to the babe Jesus and honored him.

The Babylonian armies initially removed 10,000 of the best people of Judah taking them captive to Babylon. This would include Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego (Book of Daniel). This was only the first of three forced removals of people from Judah/Jerusalem; most likely dates are 605, 597, & 586.

NOTE:

Jeremiah 39:15 takes us a step backward in this historical event recorded in Babylonian records and archaeological discoveries of these records. Jeremiah 39:15-17a… The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah while he was shut up in the court of the guard:  “Go, and say to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will fulfill my words against this city for harm and not for good, and they shall be accomplished before you on that day, but I (God) will deliver you from danger.

…jumping to verse 18: “I (God) will surely save you (Ebed-Melech), and you shall not fall by the sword, but you shall have your life as a prize of war, because you have put your trust in me, declares the LORD.”

 

miniJimRev Dr. Jstark
October, 2017

Jeremiah – Chapter 31 (Part 1)

Dr. JNOTE: Jeremiah 31 is a rather long chapter and covers much so it will be divided into two parts. This is part 1.end time.jpg

Chapter 30 to 33 is eschatological; i.e. End Time centered.  It is about ISRAEL and God’s promise to forgive them in the end for betraying HIM as a people and as a nation. Remember that the Old Testament is about a nation (Israel) and the New Testament is about individuals. God is the husband of Israel and Jesus is the husband of the church of believers. This distinction is seldom taught but straight out of scripture.

(God) Husband of Israel – Isaiah 54:5; Jeremiah 3:14; Hosea 2:16.

(Jesus) Husband of the New Testament church – II Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 19:7-9.

CAUTION: There are several references to the God-head husband in Revelation but read it with due caution. Most of the references in Revelation is a reminder and promise of God as husband to Israel/Jerusalem; not Jesus and the church of believers.

The very first verse in Jeremiah 31 is specific… (ESV) “At that *time, declares the LORD, I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they shall be my people.” A side note: God is not talking about the church. He is specific in that it is God of all the clans of Israel. The dichotomy of the realm of Jesus and the Father God is in the words used. They are distinct yet in most ways, parallel. Parallel does not mean the same path. This is often argued by those who don’t fully understand why the Old Testament Covenants are Israel and the New Testament Covenants do not nullify the O.T. Covenants, rather they are specific to born again individuals.

*That time is a continuation of chapter 30 being a prophetic view for Israel and End Time. This is covered in verses 1-9. God assures his people that in That Time, he alone will protect their existence and they will not be eliminated from populating the earth.

Israel has been an unfaithful wife but Jeremiah 31:3 is specific. “I (God) have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” God continued his love for Israel even when she abandoned him over and over. An Old Testament and very specific example of this relationship is the life of Hosea (Hosea 1:2-4). Hosea is a God-given example of his relationship with Israel. It is THE THEME of the entire Book of Hosea. If space allowed, which it doesn’t, this would be a good time to give a review of Hosea but the reader/student can do this on his or her own.

Verse 5: Again you shall plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant and shall enjoy the fruit.

Verse 8: I will bring them from the North Country and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, the pregnant woman and she who is in labor, together; a great company, they shall return here. (Here being Jerusalem).

Is there any reason to attempt to spiritualize these verses??? NONE, but history and bible revisionists attempt to warp its obvious meaning. These verses are straight forward and must be taken as God intended Jeremiah to present them to the captive Judeans now in or under Babylonian control. However, the problem comes in when we misunderstand that God is not talking about 70 years later when Daniel reminds the King Cyrus (the Mede) of the promised release and return. God is telling Jeremiah about a time even today is yet to come. Watch the news today and study the Apocalyptic End Times. We are extremely near this time if not one foot not already in the doorway. Everything is in place even as you read this article.

We know that this TIME has not yet occurred as the promises found in Jeremiah 31:9, 10 & 11 have not yet happened. Israel and Judah have yet to reunite as a single identity of people even though Gentiles have corrupted their identities by calling all of them Jews. The word Jews is never mentioned in the Bible until the nation of Israel has divided and the King of the Northern Ten Tribes prepares to go to defend itself from the “Jews” of Judah [I Kings 12:24]. This is the first time in scripture the word “JEW” is ever used. However, and depending on which Bible translation is referenced, some scholar’s point to II Kings 2:6 where most of the translations correctly use the name “Jew” as an identity of the Tribe of Judah.

The next several verses in Jeremiah 31 continue to explain (Prophecy) how God will reunite all of Israel (descendants of Jacob) and what will be waiting for them via God’s own hand. Note that the church is never mentioned or even indicated to be a part of any of this eventuality. This is God’s Covenant with his chosen. Jesus’s followers have a similar but different Covenants. In short, this is when God intervenes in world events and returns his blessing upon his chosen sons of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The world (other nations) will recognize this fact and whatever the New Covenant God enacts with ISRAEL, we can only speculate.

Jeremiah 31:17 makes it totally clear; “There is hope for your future, declares the LORD, and your children shall come back to their own country.” We are discussing a covenant with Israelis here, not just Judean Jews. Why hope in the future and not then? Verse 18 explains this if one understands how an unruly or untrained calf is treated by their shepherd; one that continues to violate the “rules of the shepherd” and repeatedly wanders off. The shepherd will break the leg of the animal making it totally dependent upon the shepherd to carry it. This is what Hosea points out with his prostitute wife exemplifying how Israel treats their God-husband. God will need to break the leg of Israel in End Time so that she can do absolutely nothing on her own. They will then realize there are totally dependent upon their God (shepherd).hope

Verse 21 of Jeremiah 31 is of particular insightfulness. It hints of other bible passages and promises being fulfilled. “There is hope for your future, declares the LORD, and your children shall come back to their own country.” There is hope for Israel but it will be many generations later and through their children’s children. For there is a new thing on earth that God has or was about to initiate. Most commentaries avoid discussing it but we will offer suggestions; i.e. V22 “and woman will encompass a man.”

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, “encompass” means: to completely go around; group a task or tasks; a thick fog; encircle. Encompass: sâbab (H5437)

  1. Some translations state that a woman will protect a man. But, is this a “NEW THING” as stated in verse 22? Doubtful as even back in the time of Jacob when he had issues with his twin brother Esau, the women lead their return and reunion upon the death of their father Isaac. In a sense, they lead the way to protect Jacob from the fury of Esau.
  2. The control phrase is “God is creating a NEW THING on earth.” In a world that had traditionally held women at bay and in a sense, servitude, God is going to bring women to the forefront; beginning a form of dominance over their male counter-part.
  3. Some commentaries see this as a hint of the Virgin Mary bringing Jesus into the world by birth. This could mean that the strategy of God has now officially changed. He is moving from a nation to individual relationships with the God-head. That is shifting from the Old Testament concepts of Judaism to the New Testament relationship between God (Jesus) and mankind.
  4. In the spiritual relationship which the prophet has in view, this male/female relationship will now begin to be inverted. Israel, the erring but repentant wife, shall woo her Divine husband. The history of Gomer in Hosea 2:14-20 again presents a striking parallel. A like inversion of the normal order is indicated, though with a different meaning. Men traditionally woo the woman.
  5. Israel will eventually press herself to her God-husband and seek him out for eternity.
  6. Personally, this author sees it as the beginning of role reversal. This is very evident in today’s society and cultures with exceptions like in Islam. Men have defaulted to women to take leadership roles, head of households, guiding the man instead of the man guiding his family and wife.

This is an oft debated verse. We leave it to your discretion and interpretation as to its meaning. It is there so it is something that God intends us to grasp. It most likely suggests that someday God will make things on earth as different as a woman controlling man; role reversals

miniJimRev. Dr. Jstark

 

Jeremiah – Chapter 19

potters hand.jpgOnce again Jeremiah writes at the beginning of a chapter…”and the Lord told me to________.” Chapter 18 finds Jeremiah visiting a potter’s shop to see how a potter formed his pots; reminiscent of God’s creation of Adam. Now he is going to use a pot to demonstrate to the leaders (Civil and religious) of Judah how God is going to deal with them for their sinful and reluctant hearts.

JIV: There is something more than meets the eye and it is found here in chapter 18. Why would God have Jeremiah VISIT a potter’s shop? I have read up on pot making. It can be formed, shaped and made functional when it is soft clay; pliable to the molding of a potter’s hands. Once it is fire-hardened, it can only be patched or tossed away. When Adam and Eve sinned, their bodies became cracked or destined to die for it is now “been appointed once for a man to die” (Hebrew 9:27). In the meantime, God will patch us up spiritually if we are pliable spiritually.

Yes, Judah still has the Temple at this time in their history but they have forgotten that it is to be a place of monotheistic worship; i.e. one God. It had become “just another place of Judean worship but no longer just one God. They were still making sacrifices but one will shudder to learn they were sacrificing their own children to foreign gods. Some theologians suggest it is excused in their minds as parallel to Abraham taking his own son Isaac up to sacrifice him. It sounds more like it is post-birth abortion.

Deuteronomy 12:31 (see also Leviticus 20:2-5, Jeremiah 32:35, Ezekiel 20:26, Isaiah 57:4-5) tells us: You must not worship the Lord your God in their [foreigner’s] way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.

These people (Tribe of Judah and their Levite priests) already knew this passage from Deuteronomy, Leviticus and Ezekiel. In the time of Jeremiah, it is several hundred years after these passages were written in Israeli histories. Even if they thought it may be similar to the Abraham and Isaac history, it violates these Old Testament and Hebrew books/scrolls.

If you, the reader, read this website’s article about SHIN then this next paragraph will make more sense. It has to do with the Valley of (Ben)Hinnom, sometimes identified as Tophet. This is a location south-east of Jerusalem where their garbage, animal bones, and wasted sacrifices were dumped and burned. This is also where the bible tells us these Judeans required their children to “walk through the fire” in honor of Moloch. Not much different than today’s abortion clinics…a child dies. The word “Tophet” means drums. The drums were beat so loud that the cries of children (babies) being sacrifices could not be heard. As if they didn’t know it was wrong? God did and so did they. Why else beat the drums loudly to cover up cries if it was a right thing in God’s eyes?

Valley of (Ben)Hinnom was renamed by God as the Valley of Slaughter. There is so much more to this but not in this article. We will address it more as we go through Jeremiah and later chapters.

JIV NOTE: Verse 3b of chapter 19 says: (ERV) “…the God of the people of Israel, says: I will soon make a terrible thing happen to this place! Everyone who hears about it will be amazed and full of fear.”  This is a prophecy soon to happen and parallel to End Time. The invasion (Armageddon) of Jerusalem may very well come through that valley and from that direction. To come from the other direction would require troops and machinery to cross two valleys and mountainous land. This also refers to the direction of Nebuchadnezzar’s (Babylonian) invasion of Jerusalem after he finished dealing with the Egyptian army. In a bit of what some so-called historians would call a coincident, this valley is also the placement and ritual of heathen god worship by Judah and their leadership; Valley of Death.

Jeremiah 19:4 amplifies the JIV NOTE.

An interesting but evasive to this author’s understanding or piece of mind is, why this is even mentioned in the bible; i.e. the bottle or pot Jeremiah used in his demonstration of God’s destructive plan for Judah is called a “burbuk” or “bubuk.” That name represents the chugging sound a liquid makes when coming out of a thin-necked bottle or pot. If someone has an idea or opinion as to its application or implication, e-mail me at drjstark1@gmail.com. Please provide evidence as to the conclusion or thoughts. I have plenty of opinions. Archeologists of the 20th century have found an amazing number of burial or crypt sites in this same area of Judah.

For a deeper understanding of this historical area, click here… http://www.kinghussein.gov.jo/his_nabateans.html

petraPetra: Not mentioned in Jeremiah 19 but relevant as we will see in later articles. It is speculated by some theologians that this is to where the people of Israel/Judah will flee in End Time Tribulation. This impressive city was hidden away in a cleft in the rock with access through a narrow crack in a mountain. The crack is over 1200 meters long and 3 to 6 meters wide, flanked by 100-meter high canyon walls. Why hide a city? http://nabataea.net/who.html NOTE: The Nabateans were also known as Edomite’s. But then, Genesis 25:13 gives us another possibility. It is Isaac’s half-brother Ishmael’s eldest and first born son’s name (Nebaioth/Nebayoth).

Jeremiah 19:5 is a very specific declaration. God says that the Judeans “burned their sons” and that “he did not ever tell them to do this; it never even crossed his mind to do such a thing.” However, this sin was but one reason God was holding Judah accountable as even more sinful than their northern cousins in the then nonexistent Kingdom of Israel (10 Tribes).

Jeremiah is told in 19:7-9 to instruct prophetically to the leaders of Judah their horrible consequence for betraying their God and as His chosen people. Verse 10 then says for Jeremiah to break the Burbur (pot) in front of them. We find that the death blow on Judah by the Babylonians will be so extensive that there will remain no one to bury the dead and no place left to bury them. God says “he will make this land (Jerusalem) like Topheth; a place of death.

Verse 13 in chapter 19 needs explaining. It mentions “roof offerings.” It is obvious in this verse that offerings of sacrifice were also done on roof tops. But why? The answer is geographical. Most of this land area is flat and has no “high places” upon which to lift up their offerings/sacrifices. This is also a parallel to the New Testament command to “lift up the name of Jesus.” This includes the eternal sacrifice made by Jesus when “For he was lifted up on the cross to pay the debt of our sin.” Isaiah 6:3 is a great example of lifting up for the correct reason.

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.

Jer 19:15  “Listen, everyone! Some time ago, the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, warned you that he would bring disaster on Jerusalem and all nearby villages. But you were stubborn and refused to listen. Now the LORD is going to bring the disaster he promised.” [CEV translation]

When we take Jeremiah 18 and 19 together as the content, we get the context of the potter working us, molding us, making us. In chapter 19 the potter breaks us when we become as useless as a cracked pot. This is God’s message to all of Judah. They still didn’t listen.

miniJimDr. J. Stark

Jeremiah – Chapter 12

jeremiah

There are three divisions in this chapter: (Jeremiah 12:1-6) which register’s Jeremiah’s complaint, (Jeremiah 12:7-13) which recounts God’s judgment upon Judah and her enemies, and (Jeremiah 12:14-17) that promises the return of Israel from captivity and the conversion of Gentiles, both of which are conditional.

“Wherefore… doth the wicked prosper …” (Jeremiah 12:1)? Jeremiah got to the point at once; and the problem here presented before the Lord in faith and humility was indeed an old one. Habakkuk had struggled with it; the patriarch Job (Job 21:7) was perplexed by it; and the Book of Psalms devotes at least two chapters to a discussion of it (Psalms 37 and Psalms 73).

Why do the wicked prosper? Why is crookedness a prime prerequisite for success in this world? Lord, you plant these scoundrels, and they grow. Why? They are pious frauds who mouth words of religion but have no real love for you in their hearts.”

God’s answer to Jeremiah is somewhat shocking. The Lord rebuked him. We might paraphrase in this manner:

Look, Jeremiah, why should you be bothered about the prosperity of wicked men? If, in your race for me, you have been worn out by men, what are you going to do when you have to run against horses? If you have trouble feeling secure on level ground, what is going to happen to you when you have to pass through the “pride of the Jordan?” You have hardly seen anything at all yet. Buckle your seat belt, the worst is yet to come! NOTE: In essence God is telling Jeremiah why be distracted by the successes of the wicked or this world. I called you to prophecy the destiny of Judah and Israel, not the earth-bound prosperity of the evil. Jeremiah is asking the wrong question of God.

  1. The values focused upon in Christianity are not temporal and physical at all, but eternal.
  2. The favor and prosperity enjoyed by wicked men are not marks of God’s approval
  3. God’s world is an orderly world; and there are certain rewards and penalties that derive from that order. It happens that in many instances wicked men are more skilled or aggressive in his or her goals, ambitions, and (earthly) achievement(s).
  4. The success of people of this world is that they make no other choice but this world in which to live and prosper. They think the grave ends it all.
  5. This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.

Jeremiah 12:7 refers to a house. This is not the House of the Temple but Israel as a people. The two teachings in Jeremiah 12:7 are (1) the Lord removed his presence, or Spirit, from the Jewish temple, and (2) he forsook the apostate nation, the “righteous remnant” alone being exempt.

It is apparent that Israel along with other heathen nations prefers a god one can see, touch and move to other places. The invisibility of God-Jehovah is their issue. Truth in their eyes comes only by seeing. Very forgetful memories have the people of Judah.

Reading a glowing book

Verse 10 of Jeremiah 12 is also something of interest to the bible student. The word Shepherds in this verse is sometimes translated “pastors” from the Hebrew. Some translations suggest the best translation should be “rulers.”  However, this is not the point in this verse. It is what they have done to God’s flock that is primary. “They have trodden my (God’s) portion under foot; striped my vines of its fruit; laid waste a once bountiful land.”

This is another one of those dual or double-meaning verses. Sheep graze the land and often pull up the grass by the roots. They leave the land desolate by their eating habits. What isn’t eaten to the root is “trodden under foot.” The second thought is the sheep being Israelis. They have grazed God’s grace and left no remnant of belief and faithfulness (seeds) behind through the upbringing and training of their children.

The next verse points out the desolation of the land. Recall that when the twelve Tribes of Israel first moved into this land, it was a land of “milk and honey.” It was a land area we call today the Levant; rich soils and great crops with plenty of rain. This has all changed and gets worse as we move to chapter 14 a b it later.

Verse 14 [a new paragraph within chapter 12 changes the subject] is both a double promise to both Judah during this time in history and to Judah’s neighbors in a future as discussed in Daniel 11. His warning is against “all mine evil neighbors that touch the inheritance which I caused my people Israel to inherit” [ESV]. Note very carefully that this verse does not identify the land as Israel’s but God identifies it as “HIS LAND by calling other nations “MY NEIGHBORS.” There are two things in this verse. God will pluck or remove the evil peoples next door from their land and remove the Israelis from their Promised Land. The neighbors who take advantage of this temporarily vacated land will themselves be *“plucked out of their own home and land in the future.”

*To understand this better, one might wish to go back to the Book of Daniel articles to re-read his prophecies. In particular, read chapter 11 of Daniel. This is events of a future 300 years after Jeremiah was writing his book.

But the very next verse also states that God will eventually “…bring them again [this could mean after the 70 year captivity in Babylon] every man to his heritage and every man to his land” [End Time prophecy and the Millennial Reign of Christ.

Verse 16 is a promise that also is an indication of End Time prophecy; i.e. yet to be fulfilled. It is a verse with promise: “…if they [non-Jewish peoples or Gentiles] will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, as Jehovah liveth; even as they taught my people to swear by Baal; then shall they be built up in the midst of my people”. All this will be fulfilled during the reign of the Messiah during the Millennial Reign of Jesus. God is here talking about the Gentile races, not Israel itself. He is talking New Testament times, belief in Jesus and God, but written in the Old Testament some 600 years before the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.

The end of this chapter as written in the Contemporary English Version is self-explanatory…

Jer 12:15  But later, I will have pity on these [foreign] nations [people] and bring them back to their own lands.

Jer 12:16  They [foreign people] once taught my people to worship Baal. But if they admit I am the only true God, and if they let my people teach them how to worship me, these nations will also become my people.

Jer 12:17  However, if they [foreign nations outside of God] don’t listen to me, I will uproot them from their lands and completely destroy them. I, the LORD, have spoken.

The Christians today are also God’s people; i.e. the one-body church with Jesus at the head; not intended to refer to or infer any particular congregation within any denomination or church building. V17 is totally End Time New Testament prophecy… if they [foreign nations outside of God] don’t listen to me, I will uproot them from their lands and *completely destroy them. I, the LORD, have spoken. 

*The Great White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20:11-15 (Matthew 7:23; Mark 9:43-48; Romans 2:16; Hebrews 9:27.

Amen,

miniJimRev. DrJstark

January 2017

In Search of Purpose

Young people today are looking for their purpose in life. The world offers external stimuli that caters to the feelings and emotions of the younger generation. The Rev Paul Hoffmasterproblem with the secular approach is the ever changing satisfaction level of the recipient. When the level of acceptance begins to diminish, something new and exciting must be offered to fend off complacency. The world strives to feed the hungry seekers with high energy experiences that it hopes will fill the void in their lives. The problem with these approaches is they are temporary and ever changing. Apologist Ravi Zacharias once said, “People listen with their eyes and think with their feelings.” So many people are influenced by what they read and hear. Whatever goes through the air waves seems to carry an hypnotic affect on the hearers. If it is presented through the media outlets, many believe it must be right. Television and its cohorts, the news, and social media, all carry an invitation to experience truth through opinionated editorials. The evidence of this is the post election exchanges. To hear people’s reactions to the election evidences the biased rhetoric they have adopted from their selected sources. Young people are swayed to a large degree by what they see and hear. The world’s invitation to personal fulfillment is only a temporary fix to a permanent need.

What is the Church doing to counter the world’s offers? What can the Church do to attract young people from the wilderness of endless wanderings? Young people are looking for honesty, truthfulness, and integrity. They are tired of trying different things that continue to change seasonally. Young people listen to what they see and if it doesn’t fulfill their void, they will reject it for something else. Since the Church is made up of people, the younger generation will judge the validity of its claim by Christians themselves. If they see hypocrisy, they will dismiss the Church as just another movement that is trying to enlist their involvement. The Church is failing to understand what the younger generation is saying.

The Church seems to be caught up in the world’s methodology. Music is changed to cater to the emotions of the hearers. If you were to take the words out of Christian contemporary music, you could not tell the difference from the world’s music. Many churches are having two Sunday morning services; one a traditional worship, the other a contemporary gathering. Instead of keeping the unity of the Believers, there is a division. Family worship was just that, but today many young people never sit with their parents due to competing services or programs. One local church advertised a second service with an invitation that if they felt uncomfortable with worshiping in their sanctuary, they could come to their alternate service that meets in their gym. Pastors are shedding their suits and ties for jeans and sandals. The efforts that the Church is taking to reach the unchurched is meeting with little or no success. Yet the Church charges on with the hope that somehow they will find an answer for numerical growth.

The biggest problem facing the Church today is Christians who are not complementing Biblical teachings. It is not the type of worship that draws people to the Church, it is the One whom we promote. The younger generation wants unfaltering Truth. The kind of Truth that will set them free! They don’t want a cleaned up worldly approach. They want Truth with integrity.

In these changing times, it is not time for the Church to change from what has worked for generations. It is the proclaimed Word, not the logistics that makes the difference. It seems we sing “more like the world, we shall ever be,” instead of singing, “more like the Master I will ever be.” When we stay faithful to His Word, God will add to the Church!