Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

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…

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.

Anyone that has had exposure to the Christian religion is aware of the world’s greatest antagonist, Satan and the prominence as the number one bad guy throughout the bible.

Recently, while studying the bible, I have been examining some of Satan’s attempts to thwart the plan of God and I believe I have stumbled across an example where Satan may have missed one of the links and prophecies pointing to the birth of the Messiah. I am becoming convinced that Satan missed this link because the Holy Spirit excluded it from the official record (the Torah), though I think historical record and a little circumstantial evidence proves my point.

From the standpoint of mankind, Satan is an ultra-powerful supernatural being. The bible tells how Satan is an angel and we know from reading the scriptures that angels can wipe out scores of thousands of humans in one fell swoop (read 2 Kings 19:35 where an angel slew 185,000 Assyrians one night). However, that being said, Satan is a creation and is not a god and has limitations which includes the fact that God has to reveal something before Satan can know about it.

We read from the very beginning of the bible to the very end of this greatest historical novel of all times that Satan has attempted to destroy the lineage and the path of the Judean royal line throughout the scriptures to prevent Christ from being able to reign upon David’s throne and to claim the title of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Satan may be supernaturally powerful from our perspective, but he is not all-knowing and uses the holy word of our Lord as a prime source of knowledge to plan his attacks upon the royal line of God. Obviously, God understands this, but adds the information to the scriptures knowing full well Satan will use it in whatever manner he can to thwart the plan of salvation and at times it seems like he has succeeded, but in the end, God always prevails.

I truly believe that Satan missed having the knowledge of watching for the precise signs to point to the location and the time of the birth of The Christ and I feel the information that led the “wise men” to find the Messiah came directly from the prophet Daniel and the book of Daniel is where we first read about the Magi and it is a book that details an historical story line as well as a timeline that I feel is extremely exciting. You will find many links and article and posts about the possible history of the Magi that showed up in Jerusalem, but I know of no one else that has my viewpoint as to why these strangers from a different culture suddenly showed up (the reason for this simply could be that I haven’t looked hard enough).

As a child, knowing the story of Christ’s birth, I always wondered who these guys called the Magi (or wise men) were. I would ask others, but all anyone that I asked could say was they were wise men from the east and they would leave it at that, which meant that I was always left a bit unsatisfied with these answers, so I want to explore a little deeper into just who the Magi were.

Historical research indicates that the Magi were members of the Medeo-Persian Priesthood1 and we find that Daniel was chief of this priesthood according to Daniel chapter 4. Daniel 4:9 “Belteshazzar2, chief of the magicians, because I know that the Spirit of the Holy God [is] in you, and no secret troubles you, explain to me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and its interpretation. (NKJV) This scripture tells us Daniel held the office over these magicians to the court of Darius, the ruler of the known world. At that time in history, Daniel was probably the second or third most powerful man on the globe.

We also read in Daniel 6 the familiar story of the lion’s den. After Daniel leaves the lion’s den and is found unharmed, King Darius created a decree that was sent to all the nations of the earth stating that all nations under his rule must fear and give reverence to the God of Daniel (Daniel 6:25-28). To me, these scriptures seem to set up a series of conditions that gave Daniel the ability to spread the influence of the God of Israel and also importantly (and in my opinion) the specific prophecy he would receive about the birth of Christ in Daniel chapter 9. These conditions cited in the scripture indicate a link to the appearance of the Magi that suddenly appear unannounced in Judea (which creates much consternation and fear in Herod3) bringing gifts for the newborn Messiah. In my opinion, it wasn’t until after the Magi showed up in Jerusalem to request an audience with Herod, that Satan finally received his first clue as to where the baby Messiah was and he wasted no time in reacting, as we read about Herod sending out the command to kill all the male children within a certain age within the area of his rule (of course God already knew about this and had Joseph and Mary skedaddle with the baby Jesus in their arms for Egypt, which places them beyond the influence of Herod’s decree). To me, this is one of those events where the bible implies a Messianic prophecy that didn’t make it out of the Holy Spirit’s editing room for us to read, though Daniel seemingly knew the specifics of it and it seems he taught his dedicated followers to pass on this prophecy down through the centuries to their successors. Remember, Gabriel gave Daniel the specific day Christ would present himself as the Messiah and was told he would be crucified, and it is not a stretch of the imagination to assume he gave him a specific prophecy of the birth of our Savior also…kept out of the official record so Satan would be taken by surprise.

So what happened? The fact that five hundred years later this imposing procession of important foreigners (Magi from Parthia4) suddenly shows up at Herod’s doorstep in Jerusalem while following a special starand looking for the new born king of God’s chosen people, means they had to be there following some precise instructions, and the fact they were descendants of the Median Magi priesthood that was under the leadership of Daniel the prophet several centuries earlier, even though their nation worshiped strange gods, screams direct linkage to me.

Where am I going with this? My personal opinion is that Satan is totally familiar with the Holy Word and knows every word, every nuance, every prophecy, every covenant, every commandment and every screw-up of the Israelites in there. My thought is that this prophecy that guided Daniel to instruct the Magi to pass the prophecy down through their ranks from generation to generation was missed by Satan because it was left out of the record, causing him to ignore these pagan priests that are conveying the message of the expectation of a Jewish Messiah appearing under certain miraculous conditions to their following successions of priests. OK, if that’s true, why was it left out? We could throw out conjectures all day, but I believe this visit by the Magi gives us an indication, on a much smaller scale, of what celebrations should have been taking place in Israel if the Jews had paid attention to prophecy and had known to look for the Messiah, is one possibility. Another possibility is their visit was an end-run around Satan’s deception campaign, which in part, was designed to prevent such an announcement to be heralded, but the Magi succeeded at announcing to the Jewish leadership that the Messiah and King was among them. Or maybe it’s a combination of the two thoughts. Regardless whatever could have happened, the Jewish leadership were, once again, asleep at the wheel and ignored this event, which is only one of the most important events this creation has ever witnessed, and the single event that started the clock for the greatest love story ever lived, and the purpose of the creation.

Because Christ as the Messiah was rejected by the nation of Israel, The Lord turned his back on them as prophesied throughout the Torah, (Hosea’s prophecy is my favorite) which resulted in the catastrophe in 70 AD and the diaspora6 of the Jews.

I have a non-traditional view of the scripture, according to many of my acquaintances, so in my mind’s eye, I see God discussing with the others in the Trinity over steaming cups of nectar, his script for our universe before zapping us into existence. We all know what happened…Lucifer (who had become the Satan) threw a wrench into the works, apparently causing the Lord to rewrite the script of our complicated SIM game7, so to speak, even though I feel our Lord set up Satan so he would cause his own fall because of Satan’s addiction to the real killer, pride. I am always looking for patterns and, I guess conspiracies and one pattern that I see is; after the Jews turned chicken and refused to invade Canaan the first time, The Lord sent them wandering for thirty eight years before they were allowed to occupy the land. Fast-forward several hundred years and we have the Jewish nation reject God again by rejecting His Son. Thirty eight years later, the Romans destroyed the temple and massacred over a million Jews in the process of the siege and occupation of Jerusalem. I can’t help but wonder if this was simply a modified script from the original one I had imagined above, one where possibly the Jews accepted him and thirty eight years later, the chosen people, with Christ as their King, started the rule of the earth from Zion. Just as they had captured and occupied the promised land so many years ago.

In hindsight, we can look back and think, “what dorks, these guys had these prophecies about the Messiah, mainly the one from Daniel chapter nine, right there in front of them and they ignored it and see what it got them.”. Before we get all holier-than-thou, we need to look at ourselves. Heck, forget religion, here in America, our leaders ignore and reject our own constitution, they reject moral judgments and teachings, much less the teaching of the scriptures and we’ve only had a couple hundred years to do it in. At least Israel seemed to hold it together a few hundred years longer than that.

God Bless, Jim

1 http://ldolphin.org/magi.html

2 Belteshazzar was Daniel’s Persian name

3 There had to be many, many more than three Magi to cause the apoplexy that Herod seemed to demonstrate over seeing them

4 http://www.biblestudy.org/maps/parthian-empire-large-map.html

Numbers 24:17 tells of a star in prophecy, but after reading it in context, I don’t see the link to the prophecy of Christ’s birth…

6 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diaspora

7 I personally think we are some sort of giant SIM game where our reality is all smoke and mirrors and the real reality is what we refer to as the ‘spirit world’. The apostle Paul supports that view in Ephesians 6:12

While studying the book of Hebrews, which was primarily written to the Jews, I started thinking about the problem the Jewish believers faced in the first century and I took a look at the dilemma that the Jewish people found themselves in when confronted with the teachings of the author of the book of Hebrews (which I believe to be Paul). Part of the issue covered by the writer of Hebrews in his instructions and lessons to the Jews about Christianity concerned their predicament about the Old Covenant and also about the Temple that was still the centerpiece of Jewish worship that was still prominent in Jerusalem when the book of Hebrews was written about 68 AD.

I believe part of the Jewish quandary with what was being taught to them by the Hebrew writer was that all Jews were raised and taught and instructed from a child that the Temple was the Holy Place of their Lord. They would have known about the Messiah and were anticipating him but most likely most of them had no conception that the Messiah was to totally overturn and upset their whole religious system. Historically the evidence seems to support just the opposite, most Jewish people were expecting a Messiah that would come swooping in and save them from the oppressive hand of the oppressive Roman rulers that had dominion over these proud Jewish people. This attitude reflects and shows just how far the Jewish leadership had veered from the actual meaning and intention of the word of God in the Torah that they had before them about the coming Messiah.

To the Jews that heard the teaching of the Hebrew writer, the concept of taking and turning their backs on a part of life that they had grown up with, a religious system that was the linchpin around which their lives revolved, a religion that had been hammered into them so deeply it was an ingrained part of their life and was a daily, weekly and seasonally practiced and sometimes a legally required ritual would be difficult for any devout Jew to accept. If what these followers of Christ were saying and teaching was correct, the Jews were expected to believe that the covenant that God had handed down through Moses and that was exemplified by the beautiful temple standing in Jerusalem was no longer in effect and was being replaced by a new covenant that had no actual temple as a place to worship. Additionally the fact that their respected teachers and leaders, the Scribes and Pharisees, were disparaging these rabble-rousing Christians and constantly throwing stumbling blocks and sowing doubt and confusion wherever they could about this cult of heretics among the regular populace, while persecuting anyone that started professing belief in the chief heretic called Jesus Christ, had to cause a lot of anxiety among the believing Jews. All of these things would create a situation that would be akin to selling an ice box to an Eskimo and would require some extraordinary salesmen. We find that God had such super salesmen such as Paul, Barnabas, Titus, Philemon, Peter, James and Jude, as well as others…and even then it was a tough sell to the Jews as we read in these epistles.

To accept and believe in the Christ and this new movement called The Way, was possibly a guarantee of being looked upon with derision and possibly ostracized by your community leaders while the threat of persecution or death would be looming above the believers like the sword of Damocles. We need to remember that first century Christians met in homes and private areas, partially to try and escape prosecution because they feared for their lives. To a degree, it may not have mattered that the Torah from beginning to the end was a giant road-map full of prophecies and guide posts pointing toward Christ the Messiah. Or that the Messiah had been among them and had been executed upon that cruel tree by their leaders, because knowledge to all this information relied on access. While most of the population of the world was illiterate, I believe Judea would have had a much smaller percentage of illiteracy. However, even if a large percentage of the populace may have been literate, copies of the Torah were expensive and therefore, few and far between, so the people would rely on the Rabbis and leaders of the local Synagogues for their information and inspiration and interpretation of the scriptures. In today’s world we have a tendency to hold our Pastors and Ministers in high esteem…be they right or be they wrong (why do you think there are so many blasted denominations) why should the first century Jews be any different? On top of all this we need to remember it would have been common knowledge that all of the original disciples of Christ were martyred, tortured and killed except for John the beloved, by the Jewish leadership. No wonder first century Jews had a difficult time keeping the faith. What’s our excuse?

God Bless, Jim

(10-9-19)

The Way https://www.blueletterbible.org/nkjv/act/9/2/s_1027002

Have you ever thought about what language God used to speak to Adam and Eve? How about when the Trinity speak amongst themselves, what language do they use? Have you wondered what language that Adam and Eve spoke between themselves, or about what language Satan used to speak to Eve and what language Adam and Eve taught their children?

If you listen to scientists and archaeologist, you would learn that they probably grunted, snapped, spit, and growled out unintelligible sounds while beating the ground with sticks and dragging their knuckles as the walked…not the same picture we read about in the scriptures, is it? I wonder which is correct…God’s view or mankind’s view of our past…I think I’ll go with God’s view.

We read in Genesis chapter 11 that all the earth spoke the same tongue until after the flood where we learn that the grandson of Ham, a chap named Nimrod, really developed some great ideas and went forth conquering and building cites and before you knew it, he had built the first world empire, apparently centered, in the land of Shinar1 (later known as Babylonia…for reasons we will quickly discover). Nimrod had some outlandish delusions of grandeur and also in Genesis chapter 11 we find that he and his followers decided to build a tower to heaven…not only to build a tower, but the greatest and loftiest tower ever and to populate the earth and basically spread the word that Nimrod, and not The Lord, is the greatest (makes you wonder who Nimrod’s hero was…it certainly wasn’t The Lord). He and his followers sought to elevate themselves to a higher and greater level than the Creator (it certainly sounds like Satan was behind this and it also sounds like what is going on today, doesn’t it?). This shows human nature is perpetually self-elevating since Satan appeared on the scene, hawking his snake oil and influence upon humankind and sin was produced as a result…anyway…later in Genesis 11 we find that they built the Tower of Babel which is the root of the word Babylonia and babel also is a word meaning confusion.

The bible tells us God came down and visited Babel and that God caused Nimrods people to all start speaking unintelligible tongues to each other, therefore stopping Nimrod’s plan in his tracks. If you study the text carefully you will discover that the people that were affected by this were primarily the descendants of Ham (Nimrod’s father, Cush was the son of Ham and the grandson of Noah). Genesis 11:9 implies to me that those that were in this area were scattered and suddenly they could not only not understand each other, but by default, they also wouldn’t be able to understand the language of their relatives in other areas and those only one generation older, the other sons of Noah; Shem and Japath.

Fast forward a few hundred years and we find The Lord choosing Abram as the root of a family and later a nation that the Lord creates as His children, a nation he called after the God-given name of one of Abram’s descendants, Jacob, which God called Israel (at least when he was being good…). Abram’s ancestor was Shem and he came from an area, that I believe, wasn’t affected by the dispersion of language…in other words, I believe that the language of Abram was the language of Noah and the language of Adam…Hebrew2.

Why do I think this? There are indicators, one of which is Hebrew is one of the more precise languages ever known. What else?

Hebrew is one of the only languages known that have numerical values ascribed to the letters. This allows fast, easy and accurate copies of the text to be made…if the numerical value of the page being copied and the numerical value of the page where the text is copied to match, then it assures accuracy.

Hebrew is the base language of the only language system where the letter not only creates an arbitrary sound that speaker and listener agree to, but the shape of the letter also looks like the object that is the base meaning behind the letter. Therefore it is one of the easiest languages to learn.

Hebrew is the language The Lord chose as the language of His people…do you think they spoke Hebrew just by chance, when we learn that there is nothing in the bible by chance? I don’t think so.

What about Greek, the language of the New Covenant, which also is very precise, which also has numerical values attached to the letters and both these factors afford a precision which helps eradicates ambiguities of the text. Personally, I haven’t wanted to take the time to research the root of Greek, but because exhibits many of the same qualities as Hebrew, I strongly suspect as we dig deeper, we will find God’s hand was right there creating this language that is also used to convey His precious and very coolly important word.

God Bless, Jim

P.S after I had written most of my theory, I discovered it is old hat to some, for I stumbled across this neat website that says basically the same thing I thought of…burst my bubble will ya…

http://www.jewishmag.com/58mag/hebrew/hebrew.htm

1 Genesis 10:8-12

2 There is a form of Hebrew called Ugaritic that has been discovered in some very ancient writings in an area of what we know of as Canaan. In itself, it offers some additional insights to biblical Hebrew, but there are those that attempt to use it to discredit the bible. Ugaritic and Hebrew are similar languages that are derived from a common root, just as Spanish and Italian are similar languages because they are both derivatives of a common root, Latin.

I know I probably can’t do this justice, but I decided to tackle some subject matter that highly interest me and the patterns that they seem to represent. This subject covers the time between the creation and the Flood of Noah, and deals with some controversial beings called the Nephilim. To those that have no idea what Nephilim are…here’s a link to start with (there are many, many more references that could be cited, but maybe this link will help you start your own in-depth investigation into this eerie subject) http://www.nwcreation.net/nephilim.html

I like patterns. I look for patterns to assist me with understanding and remembering thoughts, items and concepts whether at work or at home. Therefore, I see patterns within the scriptures that I believe were intentionally woven into the fabric of the Holy Word to allow us to tie events and concepts together for our edification, our remembrance and our worship. With that in mind, I wish to begin this topic with some patterns I see represented in the bible. In my mind, I feel that the Nephilim represent Satan and sin, and that Enoch represents the saved children of God and Noah represents the remnant being saved from the judgment of an evil, unrepentant world. So, let’s see if I can tie these thoughts and patterns together.

To start at the beginning of the scriptures, the Holy Spirit tells us in Romans that Adam was a model, or a type for Jesus. Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. (NKJV)

I remember when I first read this I thought, “hold on, how in the world is Adam, who fell, like Christ?”. I owe the clarification of this comment to Chuck Missler who explained it in one of the 40,000 recordings he has made (OK, maybe not 40,000, but he has made a lot of fascinating instructional and inspirational recordings…). He explained it this way; Adam and Eve lived a guileless, perfect existence in a perfect environment, but Eve was deceived by Satan and because of this deception she chooses to defy God. Adam, knowing he would suffer along with her, (God told them they would die) made the conscious decision to stay with her, therefore taking on her sin. This caused their existence to radically change and the curse of death was heaped upon them, as well as the environment in which they lived. Christ chose to become human and to be born in our cursed existence and take upon himself our sin of death, to provide a pathway for us and creation to throw off the curse of death and re-establish the perfect world again in the end, thus reversing the curse that began with Adam and Eve. When explained this way, the connection between Adam and Christ makes perfect sense.

OK, so we know that the scriptures are full of patterns and types for us to look for and digest, so we can understand the meanings of them and apply the meaning to our lives. Let’s look at a few that I feel tie together the Nephilim, Enoch and the Flood.

1st Pattern…The Nephilim. I learned in history class about Greek and Roman gods. It seemed each and every one had superhuman strengths, they were huge imposing creatures that struck fear in the hearts of mere mortals, similar to the superheroes that we read about in comic books or watch on the silver screen. When I was a kid I never would have imagined that the basis of these legends had their root in the history of mankind and was recorded in the Word of God. Genesis, Deuteronomy, Numbers, Joshua, Samuel, Chronicles and Ezekiel1 most have references to these aberrant humans that were the result of the union of fallen angels2 and human females. It is very easy to infer from looking at the Hebrew meaning of the passages that the genetic code of all the offspring and their descendants would have been altered, corrupting the purity (or perfection) of the DNA of the children of the Lord (which would eventually become the Israelites) if they had been allowed to intermingle. I feel this was an early attempt by the original adversary, Satan, to corrupt the DNA code of man and prevent the future birth of the perfect human, Christ. For this reason, the only way to accurately insure that corruption of the line didn’t happen would have been to reformat the Earth, so to speak…hence, Noah.

2nd Pattern…While all this attempt to corrupt the human genomes by Satan though the Nephilim was taking place around the globe, there was a seventh generation descendant of Adam named Enoch that we are told in Genesis 5:22 and again in verse 24 walked with God for three hundred years after the birth of his son, Methuselah at the age of sixty-five. There is a Jewish tradition that Enoch was born on the 6th of Sivan3 which is the Jewish Feast of Weeks, or as we know it, the Day of Pentecost and we are told in Genesis 5:24 that three hundred sixty-five years later the Lord took him, or translated him, and according to Jewish tradition, he was translated also on his birthday (what a present!). The parallel between Enoch and the Church jumps right out at me…both were ‘born’ on Pentecost, Enoch was born amid a world of decay and corruption but found favor with God and followed his commandments and so subsequently God snatched Enoch from the sin and corruption of the world before he destroyed it. We are told in I Thessalonians 14:16 and 17 that the Church will be caught up to be with the Lord, just like Enoch was.

3rd Pattern…The days of Noah were dim days indeed for the Earth. Satan had, successfully it seemed, corrupted the line of man with the Nephilim so the birth of a pure Lord born of the line of David wouldn’t be able to take place. Genesis 6 speaks of this tale of woe where starting with verse two the Holy Spirit tells us that Sons of God (‘ĕlôhı̂ym)4 came down to co-mingle and produce offspring with the daughters of man (‘âdâm)4 and the product of those unions were the Nephilim, or ‘giants’ as the modern translations render them. Primarily because of this corruption of the human race, God decided to destroy life on the Earth. However, Genesis 6:8 is a short but very sweet verse to our ears because it simply says but Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord (KJV). Because Noah found favor with the Lord and his gene pool was pure (or perfect), The Lord chose to keep Noah, his family and male and female of all flesh safe from destruction as he wiped the impure seed of Satan’s attempt at destruction of the race of man from the face of the Earth. What are the lessons to be learned from Noah? Noah is a model of the remnant of the Children of Israel as we see in Isaiah 11:11, Jeremiah 23:3, Ezekiel 11:17, Micah 2:12 and Romans 9:27 which will be protected and saved from the judgment of the Earth by fire, just as the Flood was a judgment of the Earth by water.

Looking at the history of mankind before the flood, we see that the patterns there are exemplar to the history of mankind after the flood. Perhaps we should really take a close look at the lessons God has laid out for us and dig deep to find the gems and jewels of information hidden beneath the surface of these first chapters of the Book of Genesis.

Jim Bussell

P.S. While researching this I came across some interesting websites pointing to the Book of Enoch. Apparently it was discovered that the Ethiopians weren’t highly influenced by the Early Church leaders thus their bibles retain some characteristics of some of the early canons before the Early Church Fathers did their editing, resulting in the Book of Enoch being included in their scriptures. Supposedly the passages that Jude quotes about Enoch’s prophecies in Jude 14 are found there implying that he was familiar with the text. Also fragments of the Book of Enoch are included in the Dead Sea Scroll remains and, if we can believe the carbon 14 dating, these copies were ascribed around 200 BC. It seems most scholars believe the Book of Enoch was not written by Enoch himself, but it retains a good enough pedigree, that a healthy biblical library maybe should include one as historical reference. The Book of Enoch was translated from the Ethiopian text in 1906. Here is one interesting website: http://exodus2006.com/ENOCH.HTM

1 Genesis 6, Numbers 13, Deuteronomy 3, Joshua 14 & 15, II Samuel 20 and I Chronicles 20

2 fallen angels = sons of God. All of the earliest writings, as well as the Kaballah refer to sons of God as angels. It wasn’t until the 2nd century AD did a reference to sons of Seth appear in the writings of an early church father, Augustine. To consider the sons of God as righteous men, doesn’t really play in my mind as the scriptures tell us that the offspring of this union were giants, or when you look at Strong’s definition (H5303) they were not only giants, but were tyrants, bullies. You may have some children that are badly behaved, but to have aberrant offspring, there has to be something else in play, other than human to human unions. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sons_of_God

http://www.khouse.org/articles/1994/101/

4 from Strong’s Concordance courtesy of E-Sword

 

 

With the volatile situation in the Middle East all over the news lately, I have recently become interested in the historical links between the conquest of Canaan and the surrounding area today and so I decided to do a little research.

We learn in the bible about the covenants the Lord has made with His firstborn children, the children of Israel. We also read in several places in the scriptures, references to the Jews and the conquest of Canaan, the promised land, where the Israelites fell short of doing what God commanded them to do whenever they were sent to attack and conquer the land of Canaan. Let us take a quick look at these areas and see what we can glean from the price the Jews paid, and continue to pay, for the lack of completing what The Lord commanded them to do…to kill and conquer and to not take hostages in the battles for these areas.

First, let’s look at the region of Bashan of the bible. A major city in the region of Bashan is Golan. We know the area today as the Golan Heights with Golan still as the major city of this hill country. Og of the Amorites was one the major king of the area during Joshua’s time and as you recall, Joshua didn’t utterly wipe out all the Amorites, these highland mountaineers are described as powerful people of great stature, “like the height of the cedars”1. In fact, Joshua got duped by the Gibeonites, a branch of the Amorites, into signing a treaty with them, against advice, and later The Lord ended up punishing His people for not honoring this ill-fated treaty when Saul killed a bunch of the Gibeonites and King David had to decide which punishment the Israelites would receive in 2 Samuel chapter 21. It may have been a horrible treaty, but this is an example that shows The Lord always honors His treaties and covenants.

Next, let’s look at Hebron2.. During the time of Joshua and the Canaan conquests, Hebron was under the control of three sons of Anak who was considered a descendant of the nephilim (Numbers 13:33) and also referred to as Rephaite3 (Rephaim) Anak is also linked to the name Anax in Greek mythology which was a king of giants and considered about 18 feet tall.Today, Hebron is the largest city in The West Bank.

OK, how about Gaza…Gaza is located along the western coast of Canaan (Israel) bordering Egypt and after Joshua and the tribe of Judah failed to completely eliminate all the Anakim (nephilim) from here, as well as Gath and Ashdod, and the rest of the the area as they were directed (as we read about in Joshua 11:22), it became a major city of the Philistines and remained a major thorn in the side of the Jews all through the book of Judges. Gaza happened to have been the city where Samson pulled the temple down around him in Judges 16:21.

A couple more…

Gath was the hometown of Goliath and his four brothers and David took care of those guys.

Ashdod is another coastal city near Gaza and was the city of Philistia where the Ark of the Covenant was taken and it kept pulling down the statue of Dagon, night after night…too bad they didn’t have video cameras…it would have been a fantastic thing to watch…

What do all these areas have in common? They are all locations within Canaan where Joshua was ordered by the Lord to utterly destroy the kingdoms within the land of Canaan. I used to have problems with apparent cruelty of Our Lord to kill not only the soldiers, but the women and children of these nations within the borders of Canaan until I studied about the nephilim and I realized the purpose behind the orders (destroy all signs of the corruption of the human genome). I truly feel because they didn’t fully carry out the orders of The Lord’s commandment and utterly destroy their enemies that lived in the above strongholds four thousand years ago. The Israelites are discovering that the dweller of the areas are once again a major thorn in the side of God’s people. I believe there is more to this than just the failure to eradicate all traces of the nephilim. We have found from the bible that demons are territorial and the failure to wipe out the races of the nephilim within their borders also meant that whatever demons (demons would be a study in its own right) Satan also planted in those areas are most likely still there doing their bidding for their master, just as they would have in the Bronze Age when Joshua fell short of fully obeying The Lord. The results we read about in the papers on a daily basis.

What is that you say? You don’t know who the nephilim are? Look here: http://www.nwcreation.net/nephilim.html

God Bless,

Jim

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

2 http://www.burlingtonnews.net/hebron.html

3http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rephaite

4http://www.theoi.com/Gigante/GiganteAnaxAsterios.html