Jeremiah 1:1-10: Didn’t Jeremiah Finish His Job?

God made it nothing less than completely clear that Jeremiah was in His thoughts and His Will before he was born, even before he was conceived.

Jer 1:5  Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

And not only that, but also that Jeremiah was to accomplish specific tasks in his life, namely to root out, pull down, destroy and throw down… and also to build, and to plant!  Now the prospect of persons existing before their birth is really interesting but, after all, that is not really our subject in this post.  Our subject is on the following verse:

Jer 1:10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.

We can read the book of Jeremiah and see that he accomplished to root out, pull down, destroy and throw down, but where does it tell of his building and planting?  The last we know of Jeremiah is that, after the fall of Jerusalem and what remained of the house of Judah, he goes to Egypt and disappears from Biblical history.

The question “Did he finish his job?” is rhetorical, after all, either God’s Word is unreliable or Jeremiah did exactly what God ordained him to do.  If His Word is unreliable, then we need not concern ourselves with it any further.  But since His Word is reliable, then you have to be curious; how did Jeremiah accomplish the rest of his God ordained task?

Now to switch topics for a moment, but… not really.  Please recall that God promised that David should not fail to have a descendant reigning over the people of Israel.

Jer 33:19-22  And the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, saying,  20  Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; 21  Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers.  22  As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.  23  Moreover the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying,  24  Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the LORD hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them.  25  Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth;  26  Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them. 

The house of Judah was taken into captivity into Babylon in the early part of the 6th century BC.  There are no recorded descendants of David reigning over the house of Judah from that time forward even up until our time.  Many will be quick to say that Jesus is our King and Savior and to that I wholeheartedly  agree.  But still, from the time of the beginning of the captivity of the house of Judah until the entry of Christ into Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, there were no kings over Judah (a period of roughly 600 years).  Now also remember that even to this day Judah does not accept Christ as their King and Savior!

Unless you don’t believe that God is reliable to His Word, then we know that Jeremiah’s task was completed, we just don’t know how.  So we have two apparent dilemmas, namely 1) that Jeremiah has a task to finish. and 2) the sun, moon and stars are still in the heavens and day and night are still on schedule so there must be continual descendants of David reigning over Israel since the days of king David to the present according to Jer 33:20,21 above.

A careful reading of Jeremiah (or a bit of research on the internet) will reveal a factoid that is little known in our day.

Jer 41:10  Then Ishmael carried away captive all the residue of the people that were in Mizpah, even the king’s daughters, and all the people that remained in Mizpah, whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had committed to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam: and Ishmael the son of Nethaniah carried them away captive, and departed to go over to the Ammonites. 11 Even men, and women, and children, and the king’s daughters, and every person that Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Jeremiah the prophet, and Baruch the son of Neriah

We were already prepared to assume that Jeremiah must have finished his work as set forth to him by God, and now we have an idea of how he was able to accomplish it seeing as he is in the company of royalty of the line of David.

I don’t claim to know when, where, or how Jeremiah finished his work, but I do now clearly see that he was well prepared by God to do just that.  Please don’t be disappointed in this post for not being able to explain just exactly how it all went down.  However you may find the following very interesting.

In the book of Ezekiel, chapter 17 sets forth a riddle from God to the house of Israel.   (Recall that Judah had two sons by Tamar and that the descendants of one of those sons is thought to have left Egypt shortly after the death of Joseph and migrated to Spain and onward.  Also recall that the house of Israel was sent into captivity in Assyria by God long long before the house of Judah was carried away captive into Babylon in the days of Jeremiah.)  Pay careful attention to the end of that chapter where God declares the He Himself will pluck up a tender twig from the highest branch of the cedar of Judah and will replant it.  Where does He say that He will replant it?

Eze 17:22  Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent:  23  In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell.  24  And all the trees of the field shall know that I the LORD have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the LORD have spoken and have done it.

In the mountain of the height of Israel!  And all the fowl of every wing (both Israel and gentiles) shall dwell under it!  And all of the kingdoms of the earth shall acknowledge Him.  Israel has seen her King and Savior riding into Jerusalem and many of the gentiles as well.  And one day, Judah will accept Him too.

Praise God for His Word.  Every day that He is with us is a good day for sure!

Learn the Difference Between Israelites and Jews

Would it be alright if we can all just start referring to the Muslims as “Jews”. After all, aren’t they all from the same family / heritage as the Jewish people. Are they not mostly descended from Abraham just as the Jews are?  Obviously you can’t just call everyone by the same name just because they are related in some way or another.

How about this?  Try swapping the terms ‘Texas’ and ‘America’ for a week.  Every time you would use the word “United States” or “America” or “Virginia” or any other state, say “Texas” or “Texan” instead.  See how quickly people lose the ability to keep track of what you are even talking about.  Very soon, with this kind of abstract jumbled talk and thinking, the history and understanding of the American people would be lost and difficult to recover.  A person who considered Texas and the United States as one and the same would completely misunderstand a history book of America.

This is the same reason so many people have so much trouble following (with understanding) the Old Testament and some of the New Testament as well.  “Israelites” are not synonymous with “Jews”.  Whenever most teachers discuss or even refer to the “Jews” of the Old Testament they are nearly always making these same exact sort of misapplied generalizations for God’s chosen people and their identities.

Take for example the riddle posed to the house of Israel in Ezekiel 17 where the Jews of Jerusalem (the final holdouts of the house of Judah) are being sent into captivity in Babylon.  How can you make sense of the closing verses of that chapter if Israel is one and the same as the Jews who were being taken into captivity?

Eze 17:22-24  Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent:  23  In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell.  2And all the trees of the field shall know that I the LORD have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the LORD have spoken and have done it.

This is a good example of how confusing it is to misidentify or distinguish the difference between Zion, Jerusalem, Israel, Samaria, Jews, Judah, Joseph, Ephraim, Jacob, house of Israel, house of Judah… etc by simply calling them all Jews.

Or, how about in 2 Kings16:5-6 where the house of Israel is going to war with the Jews (house of Judah)?

2Ki 16:5-6  Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to war: and they besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him. 6  At that time Rezin king of Syria recovered Elath to Syria, and drave the Jews from Elath: and the Syrians came to Elath, and dwelt there unto this day.

I could give plenty of other examples here but if you care to look into this further you’ll probably do that on your own anyway.  The important thing is that people begin to discriminate between the different terminologies concerning the people of Israel and their appearances in Biblical history and prophecy.  If you have an interest, then hopefully you will undertake the opportunity soon in your life to expose yourself to the enlightening power of our Father and His Word and Spirit.

If you’re satisfied to misunderstand the Bible then keep making the comparable confusion of terms like those mentioned in the examples above.  But for me, it’s already difficult enough that we have to defend against the misnderstandings and interpretations of scripture over the centuries by the meddling of organizations which are not being spiritually led.  But to add on top of that the shuffling of terms and concepts makes understanding the Bible all the more difficult for anyone who has been exposed to such babblings.  Is it any wonder that so many people do not understand or read the Bible, especially the Old Testament. Having been steeped in years of misinformation and presumptions, it’s difficult to gain an interest in resolving the questions concerning the Bible, let alone reverse the damage to our foundation done by the many years of the misapplication of the terms.

Understanding the context of the usages of these names is obviously necessary to gain proper intention of the meanings.  I hope you will look into them yourself to verify anything you question.  The following is a few examples in the usage (actual and symbolic) of several of these terms as objectively as I am currently able to understand them.

Israel

  • the name given to Jacob by God – Gen 35:10, Gen 43:6
  • the name as applied to Jacob and all of his descendants – Jdg 1:28
  • the 10 northern tribes of Israel after the split of the kingdom – 2 Kings16:5

Jacob

  • the patriarch Jacob who was renamed Israel – Gen 32:28
  • Jacob and his descendants – Isa 58:1 , Jer 31:7

house of Israel

  • the 10 northern tribes (Reuben, Simeon, Zebulun , Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph[Ephraim, Manasseh] )Jer 3:18 , Eze 37:16
  • occasionally all of the tribes of Israel – Exo 16:31

house of Judah

  • the southern tribes of Israel after the split of the kingdom (Judah, Levi, Benjamin)1Ki 12:21, Jer 5:11, Zec 8:15

Ephraim

  • the secondborn son of Joseph  Gen 48:13-14
  • the 10 northern tribes – Jer 31:20, Eze 37:16, Hos 6:4, Zec 9:13
  • the tribe of Ephraim (Joseph’s second son)Eze 37:16, Gen 48:14, Jer 31:9

Joseph

  • the favored son of Jacob – Gen 49:22-26, 1Ch 5:1, 1Ch 5:2
  • the 10 northern tribes – Eze 37:16, Amo 5:15?, Zec 10:6?
  • the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh – Eze 47:13, Gen 49:22-26 (The story in Gen 48 makes it clear that Joseph’s children Ephraim and Manasseh are the recipients of this blessing)

Samaria

  • the capitol of the house of Israel – 1Ki 16:29
  • the 10 northern tribes – 1Ki 18:2
  • don’t confuse Samaria of the Old Testament with the Samaria and Samaritans of the New Testament.  The Samaritans of Jesus day were largely the descendants of peoples transplanted into the land by the Assyrians many years before when the Israelites were taken into captivity out of the land. – 2Ki 17:6, 2Ki 17:23  See the Three Separate Captivities of Israel for more on this subject.

Judah

  • the fourth son of Jacob – Gen 49:8-12
  • the southern tribes of Israel after the split of the kingdom – 2Ch 25:26, Jer 13:19

Jerusalem

  • the capitol of the kingdom of Israel
  • the capitol of the southern kingdom of Israel
  • the southern kingdom of Israel?
  • that part of the house of Judah which remained uncaptured by Sennacherib(2Kings 18, Isaiah 36, Jer 13:19) , Zec 1:19
  • symbolic of the Jews who have not accepted Christ? – Mat 23:37

Jews

  • the people of the house of Judah (southern kingdom of Israel) and their descendants
  • the remnant of ‘Jerusalem’ which was taken into Babylonian captivity and afterward return to Judaea
  • those who claim to be of the house of Judah

Zion – a word which means basically a waymark, portent, reliable guidepost (symbolic of Christ, Truth)

  • a mountain just to the southwest of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and thought to be the location of the fortress of King David
  • symbolic of the body of Christ
  • in a sense, the house of Israel which accepts Christ as their King and Savior (the true Christians)  Matt 21:4-5

These terms are often used to indicate the 10 northern tribes of Israel which were the result of the splitting of the kingdom after the death of Solomon: house of Israel, Ephraim, Joseph, Israel, and Samaria (don’t confuse the usage of Samaria in the Old Testament with Samaria or the Samaritans of the New Testament who were actually imported into the region of Samaria after the Assyrian conquest of Samaria (house of Israel)).

These terms are often used to indicate the 3 southern tribes of Israel which were the result of the splitting of the kingdom after the death of Solomon: house of Judah, Judah, Jerusalem, Jews, Judaea, sometimes house of David* (this is usually meant to indicate the actual ruling descendants of David rather than a reference to the house of Judah).

None of this is secret knowledge, but you will have to read the Bible to verify it for yourself.  And you will almost surely need to start from the beginning and read it in order (at least once) with comprehension of everything that is being said.  Pay attention to what you are reading or else you will miss a whole world full of valuable information that you might otherwise read right over.  There is all the difference in the world between studying the Bible and reading the Bible.

For example:
Gen 1:7  And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
I have read right over that many times and completely miss that fact that according the Bible there were waters above the firmament.  I’ve looked and I haven’t seen any waters up there.  Surely NASA would have told us if they had encountered any up there.  The Bible doesn’t say that it was clouds and besides, there is no Biblical record of rainfall (or rainbows) prior to the flood.

These are the types of oversights that occur when the objective is to read the Bible rather than to understand the Bible.

Just to give a feel for what I am talking about, consider this example as well:
Gen 1:3  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. Again, I’ve read over that verse many times without catching the fact that the appearance of light (illumination) was incidental with God’s first spoken Words. Isn’t it interesting that the apparent remedy for the darkness and confusion of the previous verse is addressed by ‘confusion eliminating’ and ‘darkness eliminating’ properties of Light and Truth?

Are you interested in Gods Word?  Start by prayer and reading it.  Are you interested in finding Truth in this world?  This is a spiritual world.  You do have a spiritual Father.  You can speak to Him and you can seek His help.  It starts by taking action (which is a primary component of Faith).

For the love of Truth, quit confusing it.

Concept of Truth

If there were no constancy, no faithful reliability how could there be an almighty God?  If His word was not steadfast and dependable, then why bother understanding it since such an understanding would be not be dependable?  In the Old Testament the words ‘true’ and ‘truth’ nearly always imply reliability, steadfastness, faithfulness, fixed, unchanging, etc.  Most of the Old Testament usages of the word ‘truth’ are in used this sense.  It is this concept of truth that I think is most important to understand and observe.

The original concept of ‘truth’ (reliability, constancy) differs from many of the modern dictionary primary definitions which say that truth is essentially the extent to which something conforms to reality.  In this modern definition, truth starts off as subjective and then deteriorates from there.  This definition is a more convenient definition for educational institutions since reality is generally considered a matter of perspective (in other words, reality is subjective therefore truth is subjective).  If you can get people used to using this concept for the word ‘truth’ then you can now propose things which have no foundation in logic or science and label them as true (at least in so far as such ‘truth’ can be relied on).  For example, you can introduce ‘big bang’ and ‘evolution of man’ theories as though they are as valid as any logically or scientifically established premise or theory.  Look at any educational institution in America and you will see that this is true! (in the sense of ‘not false’), even at the university level!

‘Evolution’ and ‘big bang’ are actually mentioned along side ‘logic’ and ‘scientific method’, ‘relativity’ and ‘quantum mechanics’, as though they stem from the same reliable thought processes.  Obviously, relativity and quantum theory are based in logic and scientific method.  They can be proven mathematically.  You can’t say the same for evolution and big bang which are based on fanciful imagination, observation, and circumstantial evidence.

  Consider this Example:  It is true that some stars move much more quickly than others and some of those even stop going in the direction that they were going and reverse direction.  We can even provide time lapse photos that prove that this has occurred.

A statement like the one in the above example are the same type of observation used today to argue apparent ‘truths’ like ‘evolution’.  For the benefit of those who didn’t figure out the apparent ‘truth’ of the example above, what appear to be stars upon first examination are actually the planets (which when observed from earth actually seem to change speed and even direction).  This kind of error is more likely to happen when you fail to observe all reasonable and logical explanations and instead approach things with presumptions and preconceptions which is a common stumbling block for everyone.

When you exclude other reasonable /logical possibilities you limit your ability to understand the truth (in the sense of ‘actuality’) of a matter.  This can even persuade you to believe that truth is subjective simply because you committed yourself to a limited perspective (usually what you can see with your eyes)!  There are actually several terms for this type of failure, one of them being modern liberalism.

In short, if Truth does not exist then why would you observe rules or laws?  In fact, if you didn’t belief in the existence of Truth (by this concept of it) then wouldn’t following rules be irrational if not an exercise in insanity?

Some people believe that truth does not exist, others say that truth is subjective (which is essentially the same as believing that it doesn’t exist).  But truth does exist and it can be demonstrated logically.

Here are a couple of observations on Truth:

  • Truth is unchanging, reliable, constant
  • Truth exists
  • Truth requires no acknowledgement
  • Truth is objective, not subjective
  • Truth is independent of time, being without beginning or end

The Bible says “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.Matt 24:35  This means that God’s Word is Truth!

Consider God’s ‘first words’ according to Gen 1:3  “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”  At the first occurrence of God speaking, light appears and illuminates those parts of creation that are able to perceive/receive it.  The darkness and confusion that engulfed the earth in the previous verse now have a remedy which is Truth and Light.  God’s Word illuminates.  God’s Word dispels confusion.  God’s Word enables understanding.  God’s Word provides a view and an access into eternity.

Consider again John 1:1-5,9In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not… That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. ”  Notice how closely these verses parallel the beginning verses of Genesis.  Jesus is the Word of God.  Jesus is Light.  Jesus brings the gift of Grace through faith. Jesus offers eternal life through faith in His Word (which is Truth and Light).  When you take part in Truth, you take part in something eternal and reliable/trustworthy.  Genesis 1 is not some quick, meager condensed astronomy lesson that so many people believe it to be.  It is an introduction to Grace through Faith in Truth which is God’s illuminating Word intended to bring the world out of darkness and confusion by offering redemption through Christ His Word.

Seek Truth!

Either Life Is Spiritual Or It Is Meaningless

‘Only with the necessary chemicals making the necessary bonds can there exist the feeling of being alive.’  This is another way of stating what the evolutionist /atheist believes.   In fact, they probably don’t even consider that far into their own beliefs to realize it.  But!; if they did, this is what they would boil it down to – ‘Some chemical reaction has created in my mind the illusion that somehow I/my life is important or worth pursuing.  Oh, and the same for the people around me.  Together, these temporary chemical interactions make us important… somehow‘.

So by their own definition, life (or the feeling of being alive) is just a chemically dependent illusion. Also, every other life outside of their own is an illusion as well (an illusion based upon their own illusionary existence, illusions created by illusions in a sense).  Now admittedly, this second notion (that everyone else is just an illusion) isn’t so far fetched.  We do have dreams after all, and we believe that those characters and situations in those dreams are imaginary.  The moment we awaken those characters become ‘imagined’.

In the atheistic world, each person (by their own estimation) is pointless or temporal at best.  And on this belief (and don’t be misled, this is their belief) they base the value of all experiences, people, and other living things.  Why waste your life in pursuits that are not self serving?  And after all, there really is no cost to anyone else (and therefore yourself) if you choose to pursue your own pleasures.  As an example: Unless having children is among your goals in life (temporary and pointless as they are), why waste your already pointless life with a meaningless pregnancy and raising pointless children.   Simply continue pursuing your own self interests instead.

This is actually the most virtuous attainment they are capable of.  The other possibilities, if true, are unthinkable and even horrifying.  Because, if (unbeknownst to them) they are actually spiritual beings then they are lost at best, or darkly influenced, or even worse, themselves dark spirits.   Could Planned Parenthood, for example, exist if there were only believers in the spiritual world? –  Unless!,  unless those believers were themselves dark spirits or heavily influenced by dark spirits, an unthinkable or undesirable truth that they hope is not determined and everlasting.

If the atheist allows himself to consider a spiritual existence independent of the physical one, then they find themselves in the position of having to address what happens when the physical body is no longer able to house the spirit?  Does it go into a state of confusion much like what is described in the opening verses of Genesis?  Does it retain it’s memories after the death of the physical brain?  Does a spiritual body experience fear, loneliness, desires, happiness?  Did it begin it’s spiritual existence at the birth of it’s physical body?, conception?, or prior to either of those?  Is time even valid?  Was the physical body like an egg that eventually hatches?, and into what?

Is a spirit that denied it’s own existence capable of communing with other spirits which it doesn’t even acknowledge up to this point?  Is it possible to see a spiritual world without the indwelling of a/the spirit?   Can an acknowledging spirit commune with a spirit that denies the existence of spirits?  If spirits exist, do plants and animals have them?  Is one spirit of greater or lesser value than another?  Where is value and what is valuable?  Can temporary things be of value?

If you don’t exist as a spirit then is it possible to fear death?  Why would people fear death if there is not spiritual existence?  After all, if you came from nothing then there is nothing to fear, right?  And yet people fear death.

If life is merely a chemical existence then good and evil are merely the happenstance products of chemical reactions.  If one person’s negative reactions lead them to begin a holocaust then they are blameless in so far as they were powerless over said chemical reaction.  In other words, Hitler was merely carrying out a different version of correctness from someone else’s version of what is right.  Or!, is it that the victims or persons experiencing/perceiving such holocaust are simply unable to appreciate the actual pleasantry/good of it?  Isn’t it fair to say that in our generation, only godless (self professing spiritless) people hold such views?  And yet all the while, they are among the most rigid supporters of this “pointlessness” of establishing laws/rules which are foundationless in the absence of Truth.

In a chemical existence, there is no expectation of reliability.  Reliability would merely be a chemical illusion and therefore there is no remedy for confusion (The remedy for confusion requires that reliability (Truth) exists).

If there is no reliability, then there is no Truth.  And therein lies the scary part:  Truth Exists… which makes this a spiritual world.

Seek Truth

Three Separate Captivities of Israel – Zechariah 1:19

Most people seem unaware of the three separate ‘taking into captivities’ of the children of Israel.  Being more and more awakened to the knowledge that God, who created the universe and space-time didn’t leave it all to indiscriminance. I suspect that there is an understanding here that will unveil further understandings waiting to be revealed in His reliable Word which most of us have only scratched the surface of understanding.  Remember that the kingdom of Israel was split into separate kingdoms after the death of Solomon. The ten northern tribes (Ephraim and Manasseh numbering among them) are referred to as the house of Israel and retain the name of ‘Israel’ as part of the birthright of Ephraim and Manasseh. Gen 48.16  The southern kingdom (which includes Judah, Benjamin and Levi) are referred to as the house of Judah and are commonly referred to, in the bible, as ‘Jews’.

The Jews can be further split into two separate groups, those who were taken captive from the ‘defenced cities’ of the house of Judah (2Kings 18, Isaiah 36) into Assyria a few years after the house of Israel, and those who were taken captive into Babylon from Jerusalem many years later.

The Bible is clear in Zechariah that these three groups constitute three different prophetic references to the descendants of Israel (Jacob).

Zec 1:19  And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.

  • House of Israel (Israel) – taken into Assyrian captivity after the reign of Hoshea, king of the house of Israel
  • House of Judah (Judah) – referred to as the ‘defenced cities of Judah’, they were taken captive also into Assyria but about 10 -15 years after the house of Israel
  • Jerusalem (Jerusalem) – God had mercy on Jerusalem from the time of the taking away of Judah until Nebuchadnezzar came and took Jerusalem away captive into Babylon in the early 4th century BC (585 bc – 590 bc).

A very general outline of the three distinct captivities goes something along these lines.

The house of Israel was taken into captivity in Assyria in the latter part of the 6th century BC by Shalmanezer, king of Assyria.(2Kings 18:9-11)

Ten years later Sennacherib, then king of Assyria, took all of the defenced cities of the house of Judah(2Kings 18, Isaiah 36) and was intent to take Jerusalem as well but God had mercy on Hezekiah, king of the house of Judah, and for a time Jerusalem was spared from captivity.

In the very late part of the 5th century BC, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, began his first siege of Jerusalem and Jerusalem was eventually taken by him and exiled into Babylon.

Note that in these first two captivities (house of Israel and house of Judah) it was the Assyrian kings that took them away out of the land.  The third and final conquest of the remnant of Israel (Jerusalem) came from Babylon.

Is it inadvertent / unintended that prophecy often uses references like ‘house of Israel’, ‘house of Judah’ and ‘Jerusalem’ as though they are distinct from one another?  On many occasions ‘Zion’ and ‘Jerusalem’ are used in the same sentence as though they are to be understood separately from each other.  Yet most people think of them as one and the same and that those occasions where they are used in the same sentence is ‘just a form of poetic Hebraic expressiveness’.

Continually, Ephraim (or Israel) and Judah are referred to in objective context as distinct peoples and yet most people read right over that assuming that they are all just different names that God likes to call the Jews and that when He says these different names He actually is speaking of the same people.  That’s an odd assumption, especially since there is no basis for it.  And yet it seems to be the prevailing view among Christians in general.  The following are some example verses where two different terms are often mistakenly taken to reference the same peoples or groups.  (Psa 60:7, Isa 9:21, Isa 11:13., Eze 37:16, Hos 5:5, Hos 6:4, Zec 9:9, Zec 9:13, 1Ki 8:1, Psa 135:21, Isa 4:3, Isa 30:19, Lam 1:17, Joe 3:17, Zec 1:17)

Is it any wonder that with the confusion of terms like these that many are falling away from Christianity.  People, when confronted about notions like this (that the Jews, house of Israel, Ephraim, Judah, etc… are all referring to the same people, God just likes to mix it up a little by referring to them with different names) are forced to admit that it doesn’t make any sense (or more properly, that is doesn’t fit together very reliably).  But rather than study the Bible as though it is the Word of God, they view it as another version of world history no more reliable than wikipedia or the liberal headed university (though not as tenaciously agenda-ed).

God exists and so does His Word (Truth).  That being the case then this is a spiritual world.  Those who have considered very far into this, approach the Word of God with enthusiasm for studying it, while others begin racking up student loans and/or suffer death by wikipedia.  It’s almost as predictable now as the weather the way a non believer seeks verification through secularly governed institutions (religious institutions for example) where truth is obfuscated.

What is Faith? Is it the same as Belief?

Consider Faith as the manifestation of a held belief.  By ‘manifestation’, I don’t mean that what you believe and hope for materializes or comes to pass.
For example, take the statement “I believe that the walls of this room will turn red.”.  I don’t mean that at some point the walls become or appear to become red (for what ever reason)Instead, what I mean by ‘manifestation’ is that you go out and buy matching drapes and furniture in preparation for the walls to turn red. This is going beyond simple belief. It entails action that you take based upon that belief.

Let me point out two comprehensive lessons from the Bible demonstrating Faith in God:

In the example in Matt 15 of the woman at Canaan seeking healing for her daughter who was vexed by a devil. She besought Jesus and the disciples bid that she be sent away. She persisted and Jesus Himself tells her that He was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Undeterred, she pleads. She knows with complete confidence that Jesus is able to deliver her daughter and is convinced that her persistence will be rewarded. Having thoroughly demonstrated the power of faith for all future generations, Jesus grants her request. Her request was in line with the will of God, that is to say, it was not offensive to Him. Her faith was well placed and her belief was sustained by her confidence in it as demonstrated in her endless persistence.

In the example in Matt 9 of the woman with an issue of blood 12 years. Knowing in her own mind that if she were merely able to touch the hem of His garment, she would be healed. So she did and it was so. Jesus says a very revealing thing to her – “Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole.” He might well have said, “I hereby heal you.” but instead He said “thy faith hath made thee whole.”

In both of the cases, prior to their actions, the women already had unshakable belief. Yet it wasn’t until they acted upon their beliefs that their reward (grace) was received.

Heb 11 offers many examples of faith, each accompanied by action based upon their trust of God’s Word.

You could split faith up into two different forms:

1)  Faith that is in accordance with the Word of God.

This form of Faith results in grace (salvation for example). Since this form of Faith is based in Truth (God’s Word), doesn’t it have an eternal aspect to it since His Word doesn’t pass away? Eph 2:8 says “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” We are given Faith as a means of grace. We are not creating or earning the grace, but are making use of the gift given to us by which we may enrich ourselves and others. It’s not our work being done, it is our participation in the gift that is being done. You can choose not to participate.

2)  Faith in anything else.

Faith in anything but the Word of God is in vain since it will eventually come to naught as set forth in the Word of God. Mat 24:35 “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”

Consider one of my favorite examples of powerful faith that anyone can manifest to great advantage of the “faither”.

Read Luke 11, this is one of the “…Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find…” passages.

Then, thank God for leading you to this gift He has just placed in your hands. Pray that He allow the spirit to lead and guide you to understanding of His Word (Truth) and Strength through it.

Now, in expectation of understanding His Word, begin reading it. Isn’t this a primary step to understanding it? Don’t be afraid to seek out reliable teachers/apostles, search the internet, but test their fruits against the Word of God.  John 8:31,32 “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue (abide) in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

This works because you request AND seek understanding of God’s Word based upon a promise contained in His own Word. Don’t the results of anything that we do correspond to the motives and earnestness in which we do them. If you’re motivated by reputation among men expect to reap according to those pursuits.

Some will argue that this ‘Faith’ is a form of works which, according to scripture, will not bring salvation.  But consider:

James 2:14 “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?” This is simple belief without action. It’s like a lamp placed under a bushel that provides no light for all which are in the house to see by. A person without faith is like a lamp without oil or one placed under a bushel, or a seed which is never planted. Neither performs it’s function and may well be cast aside as unfruitful.  James 2:26  “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

Gene Scott recognized Faith as the following (ABCs of Faith):

Faith is Action based upon a Belief and sustained by Confidence that when God says something then it is forever settled in heaven!

I thank God for all of the apostles, pastors and teachers whose Faith in God’s Word was not hidden under a bushel but cast a light for future generations to see and benefit from.

Would God Quit Speaking?

Who with us would willfully choose to live their life in complete darkness and isolation?  Who would reject their eyesight along with their hearing if given the opportunity?  What if you awakened to find there was no one around, nothing to see, no stray light at all and absolute silence as well.   Would you remain in place hoping for some sort of rescue or would you try to venture off into the total silent blackness hoping to find a light somewhere in the distance?

After a what seems like a short while, you’re not only starving to death, but your tongue is sticking to your cheeks because of thirst.  The thought of a perpetual unconsciousness (the secular conception of death) may even seem to be preferable to the current realization of nothingness you would be existing in.  A couple of weeks later (if your mind survives it that long) you begin to realize that the death of consciousness which you have begun to long for has escaped you.

In the long darkness of many months you begin to wonder if you can even trust your feet when they tell you that you are still venturing onward through the darkness.  Maybe you just thought you were walking.  Maybe, in reality, your are just a head sitting on a dark shelf in the middle of nothing.  Any light, even the dimmest candle from a great distance would seem bright in this place.  After many days (let alone months or years) of experiencing that, even the slightest glow would bring comfort and hope.  Maybe that was what it was like at the beginning of the first day. (Genesis 1:2-3)

If you ever found yourself in a hell like that, what would you be desiring / seeking while you were there?  What would you be hoping?  Who would knowingly go to that kind of place?

I can only imagine what it must have been like on Day #1 at the moment when God spoke and suddenly something meaningful illuminated the darkness and lit a path out of confusion, that moment when Truth made Himself evident to the rest of creation like a savior, like a redeemer. (Genesis 1:2-3, John 1:1-7)

And now, concerning that dark hell, who would you prevent from going there and what lengths would you go to keep them from that fate?  How long would you let them wander off in that direction, themselves unaware of what lay ahead of them.   How would you go about it and what would you tell them?

There is a reason why we shouldn’t place our lamps under a bushel.  It’s the same reason that you waited on a light during the dark journey mentioned above.  There are those out there who need the same things that you (now rescued) once needed.  If that isolated emptiness were what the future holds for those that don’t seek Truth then wouldn’t you want someone to wake you up from that eventual fate.  How many people do you know that you would be willing to see suffer an existence like that?

Truth remains unchanging and reliable.  It exists in the form of the Word of God which is Jesus Christ.  That means that it has always been there and will always be there.  The bearers of it’s light in these last days are few and far between and they bring an immeasurable amount of comfort to those in what seems to be an ever darkening world.

I don’t think that it is a matter of whether God would quit speaking, but rather whether we continue to have eyes to see and ears to hear His Truth?  A teacher used to say at the end of every get together:

“Every day in His Word is a good day, even with trouble.  Jesus is the living Word.”

That is true.  So long as God speaks, there is hope for all who are able to see and hear it.  Jesus is literally the Word of God and therefore He is the light and comfort in a distracting and confusing world.

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Mat 7:12-14  Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. 13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

bratboot Every day that God is with us is a good day for sure.

Every Day That God Is With Us Is A Good Day!

Praise the LORD, call upon His name!  Consider all that He as done for us!  He has made us a blessed people and we have become a blessing in the earth because He has prospered us with the Truth of His Word and the Spirit that draws us to it.  He has delivered us from the nations and gathered us to redemption all who will trust in His Word and His great and holy name.  Make a joyful sound to the LORD.

Father You have done excellent things.  This is obvious to the whole earth.  Great is the Holy One of Israel who dwells among us!

Higher Education

nerdbod1In the beginning there was nuthin.  And then it exploded.

bratboot Whut exploded?

nerdbod2Nuthin, nuthin exploded.  Thus, evolution starteth with what we call the ‘big bang’.  And therefore God doeth not exist.  Here’s your certificate showing my approval of you.  Now that’ll be $120,000 in endless student loan payments.

bratboot Ummm, does that mean that we don’t have a lasting soul?

nerdbod1$120,000!  Next!

*:| straight faceOk, let me just check my list:

  • Just finished college –
  • There is no God –
  • There is no existence after death – 

*:| straight faceAlright then, looks like I’m ready to go to work for the company!  Next stop, social security retirement!!  And if I have any kids in the mean time, I’ll teach them everything I learned.  Hmm, if we abort this first one, that should buy us time to get the new car first.  Besides, he’ll never know what he missed, so nothing to be sad about there.   *:| straight faceCan’t wait to file my first tax return or shake hands with a congressman.  Let’s see, if I take a homestead I can save a hundred extra dollars.  … wonder who I’ll vote for president?  Should I invest in oil or solar?  Solar!… because I care! 

*:| straight faceHmmm, maybe I forgot one thing on my checklist:

  • So, knowing what I know, is there anything worth living for? –

*:| straight faceYa know, come to think of it, might as well just stick with sex and lust and if the spouse finds out, well, at worst they’ll only hurt till they’re dead.

Wow!, no wonder evil is rampant.  I can almost see why suicide would seem logical in today’s world after a good public educating.  What would it be like if you were trapped in an existence like that?  Is it really possible to care about anyone in a temporary and Godless world?  Wake up  brothers and sisters, these people are in hell already and won’t be consoled until you are there with them.  Many of them want to sue you for everything you have… or at least force your kids to attend public schools, make your daughters use “transgender” (sexual predator friendly) bathrooms …and just wait and see what would happen to those boy scout troops and Bible study groups.

*:| straight faceHold them down! Take everything they have and split it all up evenly so that we can all have a level playing field and a fair chance.  And don’t forget to check their privilege and measure their sustainability!

And such is what has become the ‘justice’ in a Godless world.  In a world like that, you hope not to exist forever.

Now, in the world created by God, everyday that He is present is a day worth living for.  Every Truth is worth seeking out.  Every day away from that other world is a day full of blessings to be counted.  Father grant us the strength to reach out to those stranded in that desolate place and be a lamp in a dark world.

bratarm  Seek Truth

 

“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week…Daniel 9:27”

Dan 9:27  And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

How many times have you heard it said that the anti-Christ would arrive and would make a covenant (or peace agreement) with Israel (for seven years) and that in the middle of those seven years he would break that covenant?  Often the same people who tell that also will say that part of the breaking of that covenant will be that the anti-Christ will cause the sacrifices and oblations to cease.

That little doctrine is based on the passage found in Daniel 9:27.  It is one of the most commonly taught doctrines in the churches today which have misled the masses for decades if not centuries.  The assumption that they make is that the person making (and then breaking) ‘the covenant’ is an anti-Christ.  Why do they assume that?  Mostly likely because that is what they were taught all of their lives.  I don’t know when that interpretation of this scripture originated but I’ve heard it all of my life from old men.

While considering all of the Biblical covenants to which this verse might be referring, if you fail to bring to memory any covenant which satan is to confirm, don’t feel badly.  I know not of a single satanic covenant mentioned in the Bible.  Seems desperate to create such a covenant out of thin air in order to explain this verse!  Where else in the Bible is scripture dedicated to documenting satan’s covenants?  Can satan even make covenants?  Since when?

It’s actually a little bit nauseating to think that the prayer and answer contained in Daniel 9 has been bait and switched into this satanic peace deal.  Friends, satan can’t make covenants and the Bible doesn’t spend time expounding on them.

Daniel 9 is a prayer for the forgiveness of Israel and that prayer is answered with a semi detailed timeline of the arrival of the Lord our Savior.  It states that 62 weeks (‘sevens’ (434 years)) from the commandment to restore Jerusalem (69 weeks from the commandment to rebuild the temple) Messiah the Prince will be come.

That places the arrival of the Messiah at the time of the baptism of Jesus.  That is the start of Jesus’ ministry.  Jesus, for those who don’t understand, is the fulfillment of the covenant that our Father promised us beginning with the blessings that He gave to Abraham many centuries before.  Jesus is that covenant!  Jesus confirms that covenant!  He confirmed that covenant for three and a half years after He was baptized until He was crucified.

Jesus caused the sacrifices to cease.  And for all of the abominations from then up to His return at the consummation, the desolation and wrath (which was prescribed for them) will be poured out upon those who committed those abominations.  The people of the prince that shall come have been here since Jesus was nailed to the cross.  They destroyed Jerusalem in 70AD just 40 years after Christ was risen.

The sacrifice of Jesus is the only acceptable sacrifice since His crucifixion.  To continue to offer sacrifices after His crucifixion is to deny that His sacrifice is sufficient.  The covenant spoken of in verse 27 is the covenant of the Lord to send a savior into the world.  Jesus confirmed that covenant.

Most church buildings teach that the 70th week of Daniel 9 hasn’t begun.  In truth though, that 70th week began at the baptism of Jesus.  We are already in the midst of the 70th week.  Israel (the woman of Revelation 12) will be nourished for 1260 days in the wilderness, the same period of time that the two witnesses of Revelation 11 will ‘prophecy’.

Me, I’m not gonna be expecting or looking for a 7 year peace deal with Israel.  And Israel isn’t who modern tradition says that they are any way, but that’s another topic for another time… God willing.  So many churches today teach that God’s chosen people will rebuild the temple and resume animal sacrifices.  To think that the chosen people of Israel, after Christ redeemed us would then re-institute animal blood sacrifices and burnt offerings in a man made temple in covenant with the antichrist…  wow, what a rats nest to try to untangle!  What a sack full of confusion!  It would be laughable if it weren’t so widely accepted.  People, if you’re listening to that in your church, you should get out!

God bless you.  Seek Truth.