Archive for the ‘Christian’ Category

I personally have come to the conclusion from reading the scriptures as well as biblical commentaries and also from physical evidence we can see and derive about our universe, that our existence is nothing but a huge sim game. Quantum physics proves that our local reality is just that…a reality that only exists only within the boundaries of the physical universe and outside of those physical limits, our reality that we so glibly refer to as the real world, ceases to exist (something in quantum physics called the Planck lengthNeils Bohr and Albert Einstein also spoke about these boundaries). Therefore, from this observation, the eerie, sort of smokey and mysterious reality we refer to as the “spirit world” suddenly takes on much more significance, for there are inferences and direct references all throughout the bible about how we are pawns in the spiritual warfare taking place all around us. The book of Job is a microcosm and a cliff-note version of the rest of the scriptures including the behind-the-scene script of Satan. The prophet Daniel was given a glimpse by the angel of the massive warfare going on and a hint of the demonic forces behind the world powers. Isaiah asked for his servant’s eye to be opened so he could see a small example of the army of the Lord that was present but unseen. The Psalms are riddled with pictures of how we are helpless without the Lord, and his immediate protection from the evil that is intent on destroying us. There are many more examples of the ultimate reality of the multi-dimensional world of our Lord, but I feel those example above are enough to prove my point.

God bless, Jim

1-25-20

I’ve been familiar with the story of Cain and Abel all my life but until I really started re-exploring the Holy Word of our Creator and Savior, I never actually noticed or really paid close attention to what I was reading or what I was being taught. In the past, I would read the scriptures much as one would read a required novel in school for credit; without a lot of enthusiasm or joy, but simply reading the words to get a bare-bones grasp of it in case I was tested. Now when I read the tragic tale of these two brothers, I see a lot more than I ever did before, somewhat similar to looking at an old familiar picture you have glanced at all your life but suddenly noticing the background scenery in that old picture for the first time.

Before we delve into the story of Cain and Abel, I want to mention that Genesis covers a huge chunk of time, especially in the early chapters and I want to point out a few things that show there are a lot of small items not covered but implied that are easy to miss if you’re not looking for them. For instance, the scripture doesn’t explicitly mention that Adam and Eve had a lot of kids. In fact Genesis 4 opens with the statement in verses 1 and 2 that Adam and Eve had Cain and Abel, but Genesis chapter 4 implies in verse 14 when Cain mentions there will be a price on his head for murdering Abel that there at least a few other siblings. Also as a side note, we find in chapter 4 verse 2 the first mention of sheep in the bible. The fact that Abel was a keeper of sheep, implies God had created sheep to be domesticated and kept, watched after and protected from the beginning of our existence after the fall. I believe we as students of the Most Holy Tome ever written need to be sensitive to these hidden constructs.

To get back to our story, as we read Genesis chapter 4 we see what seems to be a test for the boys from their version of a Grandfather…The Lord. It’s as he is seeing what they have learned from his lessons He has been teaching them. An example of one of these lessons is a subtle lesson in Genesis 3:21 that God shed innocent blood to provide covering and protection for them by clothing their parents with animal skins that replaced the paltry, unacceptable cover of leaves from the plants of the ground, and that The Lord expects an offering in kind to remind of what he has, and will do for us to protect us (the first instance of shedding of blood for our protection and salvation). It is revealed to us in verse 4 and 5 that Abel offers a fat firstborn lamb and Cain offers the fruits of his toiling the ground. Verse 5 also tells us that The Lord accepted Abel’s offering but rejected Cain’s. Afterward, Cain got angry and his mood darkened but God called him off to the side and explained to him why he had accepted Abel’s offering in the manner of a life lesson. When I first read this, I was of the mind that Cain had probably accepted God’s chastisement and explanation and then maybe Abel started goading him and Cain’s anger got the better of him…but…what if his mood stayed dark and he brooded and he didn’t actually accept God’s chastisement and decided to get even with his pure, sweet, innocent brother? (this is basically the version I was raised with; the evil, malevolent Cain and the jury is still out on his motive and I’m not sure the latter one works for me). I think his attitude matters because of the Lord’s reaction to the murder of his brother. The Lord could have struck him down and told Adam and Eve to produce even more offspring, but he didn’t. Instead, he punished Cain by cursing the fruits of his labor, forcing him to have to work harder and banished him from his family. When Cain in verse 14 complained that his siblings would hunt him down like a dog and exact revenge (another inference…the eye-for-an-eye rule that the Israelites would practice later on), the Lord could have said, “well Bub, you should have thought of that before you started going around committing murder!”…but he didn’t. He made sure no harm would befall Cain from his apparent siblings and he made sure he was protected by placing a mark of protection on him for all to see..does that sound like a reaction the Lord would have if it were a malevolent, premeditated, cold-blooded murder? After Cain was exiled to the land of Nod, Cain’s descendants, whose name meaning are reverential towrd the Lord, later went on to serve the Lord. It sounds like the lessons the Lord was impressing on Cain stuck and was passed down by Cain to his offsprings.

So this is the way I think this may have played out…verse 8 tells us Cain and Abel were talking about the whole sacrifice thing out in the fields and (knowing brothers) Abel probably started bragging about his sacrifice and goading Cain, and then Cain, most likely in a fit of rage, killed him. Seeing what he had done, he buried Abel trying to hide the evidence. Of course when you kill a major percentage of the Earth’s population in one fell swoop1, it would be hard not to notice the loss even if you weren’t God. Obviously, since God happens to be the omnipresent creator of the universe, He noticed. So God caught him, questioned him, punished him and banished him. There are multiple lessons to be learned here, but let’s just concentrate on a couple of major ones.

The first lesson to be learned is the acceptable sacrifice to the Lord. God explained to Cain that the spilling of blood of the healthy firstborn sheep is what is required to defeat sin. Genesis 4:7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee [shall be] his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. (KJV) Even more than that he also reminded him that Satan, the author of sin, wasn’t satisfied with deceiving Eve (which I’m sure Cain knew all about), but he was swirling all around them at all times like an evil wind, looking for an opening to blow their barriers away, exposing their weaknesses and frailties much like predators stalking the sheep in his brother’s fold. This is the second inference in the scriptures of the pattern, or model, of the need for the shedding of innocent blood to protect us and to help keep sin away from the door of our soul. Because Cain wasn’t protected by the offering of the acceptable sacrifice, he as was vulnerable to the evils of Satan as a sheep outside the fold is vulnerable to wolves, and regardless of motive or intent, he ended up committing sin by murdering his brother.

A second lesson to be learned from this chapter is the Lord’s reaction to the sin. We are told that Cain murdered his brother. In many societies this is punishable by death, but the Lord has a peculiar reaction to this apparent heinous crime. He shows compassion and grace to Cain. In this way, Cain is a model of us humans that blow it on a daily basis, but are saved through the Lord’s compassion and grace.

Thirdly, I believe Cain is a model or type of Israel. Much the same way Cain caused the death of Abel and was shown mercy and was given protection from those who would do him harm even while exiled. Israel, even though they were responsible for plotting the death of the Son of God, God punished them in an odd way for this heinous act, he blinded them but is also protecting them from those wanting to eradicate them until he brings them back into the fold, which is according to Paul in Romans 11:25 until the fullness of the Gentiles come in. After that event, Israel will once again take center stage in the world’s arena.

God Bless, Jim

revised 1-25-20

1 Think about this…(to throw a number out there) if there were 10 kids and Adam and Eve, that’s a population density of 12 people. You knock off one of them, you have just decimated 8% of the population of the world…

Recently, I started thinking about Cain, Abel and the first recorded sacrifice, and I believe that Cain’s sacrificial mistake was primarily based upon not really paying attention to the desires, wants and needs of the Lord.

The common viewpoint I was taught early on is that Abel’s sacrifice was accepted because his sacrifice was based solely on faith, while Cain’s sacrifice was borne from his reliance upon his own works. I don’t believe that to be the case, because even though Cain was a farmer and did produce a sacrifice from the toils of his labor, Abel was a shepherd and therefore also produced a sacrifice from the toils of his labor also.

From the very beginning of the scriptures, we read that God teaches us about the importance of the shedding of blood. This early in man’s existence, that was something odd, as all people were vegetarians and were not allowed to kill animals for sustenance. The first inference of the necessity of the shedding of blood was when God clothed Adam and Eve with skins. He could have whipped the skins up out of thin air, but that is not probable, so the Lord would have killed an animal for the purpose+ of using the skins as coverings. This act also would have been the first example of a sacrifice and I believe it would have most likely been the skin of a sheep, since that was most probable purpose for them at this time.

For most of my life, I was taught to be self-reliant in all things, It wasn’t until the Lord saved me that I slowly started to learn that self-reliance is not the way to go, but to rely on the Lord in all things is how I should be living my life. That was a very tough lesson for me to learn, and the knowledge did not come over night. Cain was a farmer and to offer the toils of his labor would have been the natural thing to do. I do not know how the Lord attempted to explain his expectations to them, but apparently it went in one ear and out the other with Cain. I have lived most of my life as Cain did in his early years and when I look back I would have been a whole lot better off if I had relied upon the Lord instead of myself. The automatic nature of my “natural man” is to take on the burdens of life myself and to be self-reliant. The way I prevent that thought process is to constantly remind myself of the innumerable ways the Lord keeps blessing me and where I was when I relied upon my self, as compared to where I am when I rely upon the Lord

While I am on the subject of Cain, I feel the way Cain is portrayed in the scriptures, leads to an unfair assessment of him through potential translation errors, for he is lumped in with the “ungodly”, a term that creates completely awful connotations with us, however the Greek word simply means a lack of reverence toward God. Of course Cain went on to commit murder, (later in the scriptures we read that David was guilty of this sin also, but the Lord viewed David as a man after His own heart) but the Lord made sure he was unharmed, even though he was banished to the land of Nod. I believe Cain repented and asked for forgiveness at some point, for when we look at the meanings of the names of Cain’s descendants in the Hebrew, we find he named them names that were reverential toward God.

Jim

Is America a post-Christian nation?

Posted: December 11, 2019 in Christian

During the middle of the twentieth century, it was common for preachers in America to teach about how we were blessed to live in such a God-fearing nation, a nation born with a freedom to worship our Lord, Jesus Christ as we desired without interference from the government. This sentiment was echoed in our schools, the halls of Justice, The White House and Congress.

Today, as we look around, it’s glaringly obvious to see that the America we currently live in is not the America of my youth. What has happened to our God-fearing nation? We as conservative, God-fearing Americans happened, or rather, we didn’t happen. The voting citizens of this great nation became so comfortable with our easy lifestyle and we as Christians (or people like me who turned his back on Christ) became so apathetic in our belief that this nation would never reject God, that we decided that someone else would take care of things as we grilled and played sports and watched television in the comfort of our cushy existence. We, the conservatives and Christians of America let the erosion of the culture of conservatism happen right under our noses. The American Christians have been like the proverbial frog placed in tepid water that is boiled alive before he realizes what happened. We allowed Satan to create holidays promoting the occult and demonology right under our noses as we blindly voted for his minsters and those at his beck and call. We allowed Satan to invite himself into lives and our government offices a step at a time while we smiled and welcomed him in, one vote at a time, and then went back to munching our popcorn and watching our movies while he silently and skillfully manipulated our lives with lies and deception behind our backs like a quiet, effective slow acting poison.

In the 1960s when elected radicals like Madeline Murray O’Hair1 appeared on the American political scene and became instrumental in influencing the United States federal courts into enforcing legislation that forced public schools to stop reading the bible, where was the tidal wave of public outcry to force the courts to reverse their decision? There was a small murmuring but we were generally politically quiet. When the famous landmark court decision named Roe VS Wade was enacted, forcing all American taxpayers to fund the legalized murder of our children, where was the explosion of conservative Christians voices to force the lawmakers to create amendments to the State Constitution to override the Court’s decisions? It wasn’t there, or at least it wasn’t loud enough or forceful enough to be heard, for it would have taken more effort to fight this baby-killing, population-control legislation than most Americans were willing to exert.

One of my father’s favorite sayings was, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”. Agnostic and atheistic anti-Christian groups have been allowed to dictate law and legislation on the state and national levels of the American government, while the ‘silent majority’ sat back and kept their complaints and grumblings to themselves, to the point where the ‘silent majority’ is swiftly becoming a ‘silent minority’ and we are no longer considered a “Christian Nation” as was proudly stated by former president of our nation, Barack Obama2. I recall listening to an interesting radio interview in 2001 where the guest stated, “for the aberrant to become normal, what is considered normal has to be marginalized.”. That was a very interesting observation at the time and when I started thinking about the odd events that America accepted as “progression” during the Clinton administration, I became afraid that this was a foreboding of what was beginning to happen in America…little did I know that was just the tip of the iceberg.

It is now eighteen years later and if you are a conservative, a Christian, a constitutionalist today in America, you are considered the fringe elements of society and potential terrorists according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Look all around us, our government, schools and society today accepts the precepts of all world religions with the exception of two; Christianity and Judaism.

Where personal responsibility and respect used to be the norm, they have now been replaced with; “I’m not responsible for anything”, “the government will take care of it” and “I’ll sue you if I become offended,”. People grew up feeling safe and didn’t lock their doors, now they are afraid to walk down the street. Our youth used to respect the laws, now it is a badge of pride if you’ve been arrested for a violent crime. We as a nation have forgotten our heritage as Israel did, and the bible brings the parallel between Israel and America to light in the following scriptures in Deuteronomy and also in Hosea: Deuteronomy 32:18-22You neglected the Rock who begot you, And forgot the God who gave you birth. “The LORD saw this, and spurned them Because of the provocation of His sons and daughters. “Then He said, ‘I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end shall be; For they are a perverse generation, Sons in whom is no faithfulness. ‘They have made Me jealous with what is not God; They have provoked Me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation, For a fire is kindled in My anger, And burns to the lowest part of Sheol, And consumes the earth with its yield, And sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.(NASV) Hosea 4:1-3 Hear the word of the LORD, You children of Israel, For the LORD brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: “There is no truth or mercy Or knowledge of God in the land. By swearing and lying, Killing and stealing and committing adultery, They break all restraint, With bloodshed upon bloodshed. Therefore the land will mourn; And everyone who dwells there will waste away With the beasts of the field And the birds of the air; Even the fish of the sea will be taken away. (NKJV)

I fear unless we learn from history and this once great nation makes a sudden change of course, we will go the way of the northern kingdom of Israel and be destroyed because we have already far surpassed it in corruption and idol worship. For example: from within our schools and from the seats of government, United States citizens are being inundated by scholars and elected representatives on a daily basis and we are slowly being forced to accept that homosexuality is an acceptable alternate lifestyle and the current iteration of ‘civil rights’, while at the same time, the God of Israel and Christianity for all practical purposes, have been rendered illegal in the United States. Today modern science wholly rejects the reality of creation as a silly myth and has replaced it with absurd and unprovable theories to elevate their religion of randomness while denouncing the Christian God. The bible has a few words to say about where we as a nation are currently in Paul’s letter to the Romans where God passes specific judgment upon nations and cultures that rejects the creation: Romans 1:18-32 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. (NASV)

This passage from Romans sounds like it was written specifically for America where we have already been given over to our degrading passions and depraved minds. Also, about the attitude of the Scientific community and it’s arrogant attitude about the scriptures it has this to say: II Corinthians 2;14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. (KJV)

Why hasn’t America been judged yet? I agree with Chuck Missler’s opinion on why the United States hasn’t been judged and conceivably, it is because of this passage in Genesis. We are basically alone in the world in our support of Israel, and that support is quickly slipping away. Genesis 12:2-3 And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (NASV)

What can we do to turn things around? This scripture from Chronicles, even though it was given by The Lord to King Solomon regarding Judea, tells us that there may still be hope, but we, as people who are called by His Name, have to become diligent in our plea to the Lord and we also have to become diligent in our self-examination of our sins and shortcomings. II Chronicles 7:14 “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (NKJV)

I personally have to rely on the Lord and the Holy Spirit to teach me to become much more diligent than I have ever been. I saw an email in the fall of 2010 relating to the November elections. It stated that every evening at 8 PM, central time, Christian should devote a few moments to create a mass prayer for our nation and the candidates. I thought it was a wonderful idea, but I couldn’t seem to find the discipline to set aside, even that small amount of time. Before the 2016 elections there were signs around asking folks to prayat4.com for our nation. As has been proven by the lack of interest and the massive amount of inaction on the part of purported Christians in America over the last several decades, we are our own worst enemy, or, to quote Walt Kelly: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”3

Jim Bussell

12-11-19

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madalyn_Murray_O%27Hair

(2) Obama, Barack. “ ‘Call to Renewal’ Keynote Address.” Obama.senate.gov. Washington, D.C., 28 June 2006

(3)http://www.igopogo.com/we_have_met.htm

Strange Gods in My Life

Posted: November 23, 2019 in Christian
Tags: , , ,

 

I am a former pagan and strange gods are nothing new to me.

While I was still practicing polytheism a few short years ago, I discovered the God of Israel and Christianity via Chuck Missler audio books that were given to me by a cousin and I became fascinated by the Missler Beyond series. I subsequently added this Judea/Christian God to my list of gods I would honor, placing Him kind of at the “Big Kahuna” level. I assumed this was an adequate gesture and He would be pleased with this, so I continued on with my life. A few years later, I turned to the Christian God in desperation concerning a three-decade addiction and He immediately responded and saved me (being the only god that had ever interacted to me in an entirely positive way) so I became highly impressed and I started reading and studying His word where I quickly discovered that my placement of this God at the top of the heap was not adequate at all and was actually insulting to the Him, as I discovered when I read  the first of the ten commandments in Exodus chapter twenty.

My Lord has forgiven me of my past and has brought me into His fold, but recently I started wondering about the whole concept of strange gods from the aspect of the biblical standpoint. An example I will start with is a well-known Christian entity that is the face of Christianity to most of the world…the Catholic Church. In no way am I trying to bash Catholicism here (they just came to mind as an example), and I will be the first to admit that I do not fully understand their religious concept, but I still have had exposure to their practices from looking about as well as reading about their beliefs.

Jesus said in John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (NKJV)

I am familiar with some of the medals and pendants that the Catholics sell with Saint this and Saint that designed for the recipients to pray to for protection from various specific things, and I am slightly familiar with the rosary beads that are used in conjunction with a rote prayer to Mary, mother of Jesus. I don’t know about you, but John 14:6 seems pretty clear and succinct and all the icons of saints to hold and pray to and prayers to mother Mary are prayers to strange gods, are they not? It seems to me that those that use icons of this person and that person for protection and those that pray to Mary are, by their actions, saying that Christ as our intercessor is not adequate.

However, if I am to be honest I also have to look inward and use the same ruler on myself that I am willing to use on others. So, what about myself? Am I better than this institution I just mentioned, or am I simply casting stones from my own glass house?

I do admit, I prayed to strange gods for better than two decades without a lot of positive results and it seems that I am not alone. Apparently most of the nation of Israel, including the priests, prayed to strange gods in the form of Teraphim for most of their history, prompting the very first commandment; Thou shalt have no other gods before me…but they persisted.

I, as well as most of the people alive today, have even more of the scriptures before us than the original sons of God and with our instant and mobile information at out fingertips, it is more readily available than at any other time in history, so there should be no worry about having access to the Word of our Lord…that’s correct, isn’t it? You would think that we would have fewer strange gods in our lives because of this instant and wonderful access to the throne of God…unfortunately, that is not the case.

I still have to constantly sweep for Teraphim and strange gods in my life. I feel it is the basic nature of corrupt humanity to elevate ourselves and rely upon our own strengths, instead of turning to the actual strong shoulders in our lives. Whenever a harsh burden has been placed upon my shoulders I re-actively and almost instantly take it on and try to pridefully muscle my way through the burden instead of allowing God to take it away from me.

The question I have to ask myself is this…am I rejecting my Lord and rejecting His help that He promised, therefore perhaps elevating myself to a status equal to His own? Am I sort of making myself a strange god, trusting in my own worth and spirit instead of my Father? Christ quoted from the Psalms (Psalm 82:6) when He threw this accusation of making themselves “gods” at the Pharisees in John 10:34 (Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”’?). Yeah, unfortunately, I believe I have to admit that I think that may be the case…and that is a very scary thought. Allowing strange gods into our lives is a very easy thing to do…getting rid of them is much, much harder.

God Bless, Jim

Israel has been one the dominating and driving forces behind world politics for several decades now and political questions regarding the future of this seemingly tiny, insignificant nation seem to be at the center of many of the world’s problems today. The question regarding Israel’s future is also a sticky subject that helps create divisions within the body of Christ as many churches deny Israel has a prophetic future, which, in my opinion, denies the integrity of the scriptures.

That being said, if we could all try to becomes Bereans (Acts 17:11) and scripturally verify the opinions of some of our church leaders while allowing the text to speak to us as we study the scriptures for ourselves to see what the Holy Spirit has to say, we will find that the bible develops and carries a few major themes from cover to cover. The primary theme, I feel, is the coming of the Messiah, His death and resurrection on our behalf and His future as the final world leader. Another major theme that the Holy Spirit writes about from Genesis to Revelation is Israel, it’s beginning, it’s history and its future. I could pull scriptures from Genesis through Revelation to prove the continuity of the woven web of the scriptures, however, I believe I can take a few chapter from one book of the Old Testament, written six hundred years before Christ1, and use these chapter to answer the questions that deals with an event that, in part, is yet to happen! Isn’t God’s word wonderful, that it is structured to allow us to do this? The book I am referring to is the book of the prophet Ezekiel.

Following is a quick synopsis of this fascinating book.

Ezekiel was a prophet of God that was born into a priesthood lineage in Judea during the reign of Jeconiah (also known as Jehoiachin). Ezekiel lived most of his adult life in exile in Babylon and became a prophet after his famous encounter with God riding the ‘wheel within a wheel’ (Ezekiel 1:16 & also chapter 10) chariot being guided by four living creatures, which most likely were Cherubim.

For a person like me that has always found math and the sciences fascinating, Ezekiel has always been one of those rare gems of literature that stands out. From the first chapter he throws these strange descriptions at you of his encounters with God that you try to get your mind around. I picture his descriptions of the conveyances of the Glory of God to the best of his ability, from the perspective of someone living 2600 years ago, as being similar to him trying to give a description of a flashy ’51 Mercury, chopped and bobbed with immaculate paint and replete with chrome and spinners and side pipes, while traveling with some escorts circling in front and behind on fast shiny motorcycles (I can most definitely see God appreciating a fine, ’51 Merc). This first chapter sets the stage for the flavor and style of the rest of the book.

So what does Ezekiel say about Israel? The first several chapter are dedicated to warning the unfaithful children of God that they are getting ready to be hauled to the woodshed and punished by being sent into exile into Babylon. Chapter 9, verses 3-7 paint a pretty clear picture of the anger of God toward his chosen people: ¶ And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which [had] the writer’s inkhorn by his side; And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old [and] young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom [is] the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which [were] before the house. And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city. (KJV) Chapter 10 gives us a vision by Ezekiel where God packs up and leaves the Temple because he considered it defiled. (This is one of many places throughout the scriptures where you can almost picture the Lord, shaking his head and mumbling, “Aye, yi, yi, what am I going to do with these kids!”)

Can you imagine what a faithful prophet, such as Ezekiel, seeing these vision that God is presenting to him; seeing the abominations of his people basically thumbing their noses at the Father? Can you imagine how he must have felt when he saw God order an angel to mark the faithful and order the other angels following him to slaughter every man, woman and child who didn’t have the mark of faithfulness to the Lord? Can we begin to understand what was running through Ezekiel’s mind when he saw the Glory of the Lord departing his Sanctuary in the Holy Temple at Jerusalem? I can’t, not really, but I think the preceding chapters of this vision that tell of the children of Israel worshiping idols and profaning and defiling the Temple, answers the question of why they were blinded.

The next several chapters of the book deal with judgment on Israel and on different nations and eventually to the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians during the twelfth year of exile (Ezekiel 33:21). At this point Ezekiel does something strange. He takes you from sixth century, B.C. and suddenly flings you into the future. Ezekiel 34 shows God examining those who are shepherding the children of Israel and pronouncing judgment on them. I believe these shepherds are idioms of the host nations of the Jews throughout history and God’s displeasure with them, until verse 22 where he talks about gathering his sheep together under his protection and speaks about how they will be safe with David as their prince. This is one of many places in the bible to make reference to the House of David being in their land in the end times, or as the question puts it, in the future.

The next few chapters of this wonderful book build upon the children of the Lord being once again in their land and receiving the blessing of the Lord, all the while hearing the rumbling of the nation’s gearing up against them. Chapter 38 tells us about the nations preparing and assembling themselves to go to war against Israel and about God talking to them and reminding them of a curious promise he made to them long ago2. Ezekiel 38:14-17 tells us how God is reminding the leaders that he set them up for this attack on his people, an attack designed to wipe the aggressors out once and for all: Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know [it]? And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army: And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes. Thus saith the Lord GOD; [Art] thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days [many] years that I would bring thee against them? (KJV). Chapter 39 starts out with something even stranger. Verse 1 & 2 are telling these aggressors that God is controlling the pace of the battle and is in charge of the events as they unfold. It reminds me of the same situation in Jerusalem six hundred years later where Christ set the pace and controlled the events leading up to his death. (Ezekiel 39: 1,2) “And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal; “and I will turn you around and lead you on, bringing you up from the far north, and bring you against the mountains of Israel (NKJV). Pretty cool, huh.

This odd chapter continues with after battle descriptions that would seem familiar to DOD analysts, because it seems to describe a detailed after action report of a nuclear conflict. Verse 21 of chapter 39 changes gears again and gives us Gentiles a brief synopsis of the history and reasons for Israel’s punishment and their eventual forgiveness in the end. Verse 24 also seems to answer why they were blinded. (Ezekiel 39:24) “According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I have dealt with them, and hidden My face from them.” (NKJV)

Chapters 40 through 42 give really precise descriptions and measurements of a Temple in Jerusalem that has never existed…yet. Oh, yeah, remember back in chapter 10 where we read about God packing up and leaving the Temple? (Ezekiel 10:18) Then the glory of the LORD departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim. (KJV) Chapter 43:2-5 describes to us the return of the Lord to his new Temple in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 43:2-5) And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. It was like the appearance of the vision which I saw—like the vision which I saw when I came to destroy the city. The visions were like the vision which I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell on my face. And the glory of the LORD came into the temple by way of the gate which faces toward the east. The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple. (KJV)

I think this is fairly good evidence that God isn’t finished with Israel yet, don’t you?

I really need to add this is only one place in the scriptures that tells us God is not done with Israel.

What about the everlasting land covenant God talks about in several places in the bible?3

What about the book of Joel?

What about Paul stating the Jews are blinded only until the Church is out of here in Romans 11?

There are several more places, but those will do.

Jim

1http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ezekiel

2 This promise to Gog by Ezekiel, is one of those strange example of prophecy where we are given the foretelling today and we are told that we will be reminded of the warning centuries down the road. This is another good example of God being able to see the ‘big picture’ from beginning to the end.

3 I have a friend that tried to convince me that when God said everlasting and forever, relating to these covenants, that God really didn’t mean forever and everlasting. I still don’t understand that one…Acts 17:11 ya’ll.

The first time I read the book of Leviticus, I was surprised about the specifics permeating the book. Leviticus lets us know that the Lord is very specific in how he wants to be thought of, worshiped and praised with specific punishments for violations, specific atonement for sins etc. The first half of the book deals mainly with the priestly rituals, while the last portion of the book deals more with the ethical injunctions and codes of living while stressing the holiness of the Lord throughout the whole book. If we mankind adopted the statutes laid out in the book of Leviticus we would much better off, for not only are there basic common sense rules regarding the treatment of each other, but there are the hygene aspects of the codes and of course, the main point…the recognition of the Holiness of our Lord and His expectations of worship and praise. Of course, I’m not advocating reverting to the Mosaic Law, but the basic tenants remain; the Lord is specific in how he wants to be treated, worshiped, spoken of and thought of and that will never change.

As a sidebar, I also understand Christianity a little clearer by reading Leviticus. For instance, I had not really paid attention to what a scapegoat was but Leviticus 16 explains that there would be two goats, one offered for atonement for sin and the other one would be released but expelled from the shelter and sent out into the wilderness. As I think more about this I realize that I could spend hours drawing parallels, but there is one parallel that leaps out at me.

I see how Christ was our scapegoat for he took on our sin and was then expelled and hidden form his Father’s eyes as the scapegoat was when it was kicked out to wander in the wilderness. That is why he couldn’t refer to God as Father, but had to refer to him as Lord, because he was hidden from God’s eyes while he was wearing our sin. He was no longer the perfect, sinless Son of God but he had become the sin of the world at that point. He became our scapegoat by taking on our sin upon himself while also becoming the atonement sacrifice offered to the Lord. Leviticus 16:15-16 tells that the goat of sin offering was killed and it’s blood was sprinkled upon the mercy seat and before the mercy seat because of the transgressions of the children of Israel and for all their sins. As we recall, Christ was pierced and his blood was spilled just like the sin offering.

I never really understood what a scapegoat was, nor did I care about it because, after all,  this was just another of those odd Old Testament references that didn’t have any application in my life. The more I read the scriptures, the more I understand that everything mentioned in the scriptures are put there for our behalf. Even though the scapegoat is only mentioned three time in the scriptures, (all are in Leviticus) the scapegoat is about Christ who became a scapegoat for us to carry our sins away in the wilderness. Now, whenever I hear someone mention a scapegoat, I will look at it in a different light be thankful we have a scapegoat.

Leviticus 16:15-16 “Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. “So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins; and so he shall do for the tabernacle of meeting which remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness. (NKJV)

“Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the LORD and the other lot for the scapegoat. (NKJV)

 

“But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness. (NKJV)

 

“And he who released the goat as the scapegoat shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. (NKJV)

God Bless,

Jim

11-22-19