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Apostasy in the Church — The Book

Collaborated by
A commentary on the Book of Jude

By
Val Lee

Also published by Amazon.com

and Barnesandnoble.com

Copyright © All rights reserved

CONTENTS

Chapters and Headings

Part 1
Introductory Preface/You and the Apostasy
Page 5

The Briefcase
Page 9

Chapter 1/Exhibit 1
Pastors, Counselors and Others Holding to One Mind and Purpose
Page 10

Chapter 2/Exhibit 2
Divorce American Church Style
Page 18

Chapter 3/Exhibit 3
Discipline Eviction
Page 27

Chapter 4/Exhibit 4
Lost Biblical Discipleship
Page 32

Chapter 5/Exhibit 5
Despairing Believers
Page 40

Chapter 6/Exhibit 6
Liberals and their Babylonian-Like Churches
Page 42

Chapter 7/Exhibit 7
The Legalistic Church
Page 49

Chapter 8/Exhibit 8
Sin’s Presence/I Must Fight the Darkness
Page 52

A Point of Evaluation
Page 58

Part 2
The Book of Jude Commentary
Page 60

Chapter 1
God’s Beloved
Page 71

Chapter 2
Creeping In
Page 74

Chapter 3
Knowing All Things
Page 78

Chapter 4
Historical Accounts
Page 81

Chapter 5
Unreality—Changing of the Colors
Page 86

Chapter 6
Angels and Doctrinal Knowledge
Page 87

Chapter 7
Sinister Villains
Page 97

Chapter 8
The Fruitless and the Productive
Page 104

Chapter 9
Fire Protection with Cleaning Precautions
Page 119

In Closing
Page 123

Apostasy in the Church
Part 1

Introductory Preface
You and the Apostasy

I am not aware of what you, the reader, are expecting as you focus your eyes on this very page. I do not know what you already surmise concerning the apostasy. I do not know if you may be one who does not possess an inkling of what the word means or implies. For you who are entering a sphere you have never entered before, you need to first discover that the apostasy refers to the falling away of the church from its original foundation. It is the renunciation of Biblical teachings in various forms and deceivingly veiled ways. It tutors an agenda of defection.

You, no doubt recognize, we all live in strange, abnormal and questioning times. Evil is on an untamed rampage and the church is not escaping from its extended razor-slicing claws. Are the razor-sharp claws of liberalism tempting you to compromise through trendy church agendas? Think about it. Are there more liberal agendas floating through your fellowship than there were in previous years and have these altered any of your former Biblical stands?

You can drown yourself in ignorance if you are in a church that is turning to less and less scriptural inductive teaching. There are so-called Bible instructing churches out there that no longer allow comprehensive scripture teaching in Sunday school. They have curved away from the course, forsaking the learning of their first love. The Bible warns us of the apostasy as it signals the last days of the church age. There will no longer be a hunger and thirst for the Word of God as church attendees will not desire sound teaching. They will not seek after doctrinal accuracy. This will result in attendees locating many teachers who will tell them all they want to hear, feeding their thirst for liberal and sensual desires. They will find gratification through the teaching of license, which enables them to enjoy everything of an agenda following world.

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APOSTASY IN THE CHURCH    Page 6

They will believe they are right in feeding the flesh as they are being obedient to church teachings and therefore obeying God. We read of these true arriving occurrences in 2 Timothy 4:2-3. However, today, they are not futuristic—they have arrived. Wake up … the apostasy is here!

I tell you, it is present! I sat in an adult Sunday school class where a teacher was teaching total heresies by using the scriptures unethically. Basically, he rewrote the Word to fit his lessons. To this day, I do not believe he was saved. He never mentioned Christ reverently as he was trying to disprove His teachings. It was totally amazing that this man, in this Baptist church, was allowed to teach anything. He held no godly qualifications, just the opposite. He had been arrested for drunk driving previously and the leadership knew it. He supported pornography, the occult, and most, if not all, liberal godless agendas. The whole thing was insane, but people held onto every word he spoke and they shared his teachings with others. A few of us let the situation be known to the head pastor, but he obviously did not care that much, as he continued to allow him to teach, just under the guidance of another pastor.

We need to make sure we are always alert to what is taking place in our fellowship from week to week to keep from being sucked into the apostasy. And it is easy to be sucked in unawares!

Awhile back, a woman was telling me she formerly did not approve of female pastors but now she does. This is a completely unbiblical stand but the claws of liberalism are beginning to imbed themselves in her through church teaching that is compromising. The books of Timothy and Titus, as well as other texts, make it clear the pastorate is exclusively for the godly male gender. She went on to say, however, that she did not approve of homosexuality. My husband, Alan, who I told later of the conversation, pondered upon her stance and insightfully reflected, “She formerly didn’t approve of female pastors but changed her mind. How long will it be before she says, well, I didn’t use to approve of homosexuality, but now I do?”

Many believers are accepting what has always been unacceptable in Christendom. Sensual agendas being everywhere present are slowly squeezing into conservative fellowships. These scheming agendas include homosexuality. Statistics were recently printed that state around 40% of evangelicals approve of homosexual marriages. I do trust this is not true as statistics can be tainted, but there are so-called believers who are justifying homosexuality more and more as it has become acceptable in most every realm.

INTRODUCTORY PREFACE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       7

To point this out more for your pondering, I read an article in a Christian magazine whereby a theologian stated the Bible does not condemn homosexuality. What a lie! Has this man not read Romans 1:20f that traces the descent of a people who yield to it as well as other passages? Christ made it clear that a sexual relationship consists of a married couple, one man and one woman, a heterosexual monogamy life union.

We must remember that liberal believers do not know more than the God of yesteryears. The Bible clearly designates what is not of God and He is not diverting. Believers and churches cannot play games of worldly compliance. Satan is cunningly aware that if he can get Christians to compromise with one area in scripture, he can soon slacken their hold on many stances that are tolerated by a liberal world. When societal acceptability is the determining factor in right and wrong, the church is in deep turbulent seas and many churches have been set adrift in these engulfing waves of change.

I held a Bible study with a friend who was a member of a large Bible believing church that was becoming society accepting for political expediency. I was very concerned about her being in this fellowship, but I did not want to disclose to her those things that were taking place that were contrary to the Word of God as I did not want to discourage her sprouting faith. I presented the situation before the Lord and asked Him to reveal to her the compromise in this assembly.

The Lord almost started answering my prayers immediately and it was if my friend got hit by a 2 X 4 when spiritual discernment arrived. The Lord continually opened her eyes to all the liberalism this church held to. She began to hear all the things that were contrary to scripture that she was deaf to previously. She then started praying for spiritual discernment herself. It was not long before she started seeking a Bible church that held to the Word without contemporary compromise.

Prayer is the key factor in obtaining and building discernment. Paul prayed for the Colossae church to obtain knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Those who do not seek the discernment of God and His Word can be slowly deceived leading further and further into the greater darkness of designed beguilement.

APOSTASY IN THE CHURCH                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               8

To get to the core of absent discernment and liberal happenings in relationship to you, you must ask yourself, is the Bible becoming less reliable according to your pastors and teachers? Are you viewing the possible rise of a liberal church community that has wavered away from wise discernment? Have you started to question certain passages through reasoning … well … this might not be applicable for today?

I do hope you are a steadfast believer who has not begun to waver in your views. If you are one who is not so sure of the accuracy of scripture due to the people around you not being sure, I would ask you to consider the case I present in this book and place before your eyes of what has come in slowly in the way of unnoticed deception. I believe as your eyes become unveiled by the facts, you will bind the Word of God to your heart as inerrant when facing this ruse.

THE BRIEFCASE

The Briefcase   page   9

I will begin my case through the presentation of the reality of the apostasy being everywhere present today. I will open my briefcase and pull from it facts I have noted and believe should be presented for your verdict.

To weigh my opening argument, you must personally learn to be observant of your fellowship, churches you know of and hear of from others. When it comes to Christian publications and broadcasts, you need to take note of their entire content as false doctrines are slipped into true doctrines so they can rarely be detected. I request you always be attentive with open eyes and ears. If you recognize the spiritual battle for your mind and heart, you will desire the discernment that clearly divulges the infallibility of scripture. Consistently studying the Word equips you for the satanic battle as it is one of our main pieces of armor; it being the sword of the Spirit as disclosed in Ephesians 6:17.

Chapter 1

Exhibit 1:
Pastors, Counselors and Others Holding to

One Mind and Purpose

With all this exposed preceding presented forewarning, I will now remove and present exhibit one. This exhibit is a photo of average pastors. I raise this photo before your mind’s eye, as I believe much of today’s apostasy lies on their shoulders. Pastors can easily manipulate congregations into liberal beliefs if people are scripture-ignorant. They can maneuver attendees to move to their tune through frequently replaying, “We have to make changes to become a contemporary excited growing church.” I have heard such words as “tolerance” and “diversity” creep into a congregation from a pastor that desired a more liberal world view.

A photo of Christian counselors can be placed right along side the one of pastors, being they also move to the same tune. Most Christian counselors seem to be cast from the same mold as today’s pastor. Most clients become patrons of counselors through pastoral recommendation. This is dangerous, as people can believe the counselor is speaking Biblical truths since their pastor recommended them. They may not question anything the counselor advises. Unfortunately, I have come to perceive that most counselors do not care about the Bible’s conservative teachings. They abide in the liberal techniques taught in universities to psycho analyze. They hold little or no concern for scriptural application to resolve issues. I have had my socks shocked off when the women I counsel disclose Christian counselors’ recommendations.

Most Christian counselors do not address sin and do not demand repentance from their clients. They employ empty worldly philosophies, terminologies and methodologies to sound intellectual so patients keep feeding their pocketbook. Counselors do not want to step on toes too much as their patients may never come back. They choose to mainly listen, but when an occasion arises to justify sins, they are often jolly on the spot.

Psychoanalysis explanations easily push away the sins that so easily entangle us, driving us deeper into worldly philosophies of validation.

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EXHIBIT 1   Page  11

Colossians 2:8 instructs us concerning those who will try to captivate us so we turn away from the solidarity of the Word through philosophies, the traditions of men, teachings of the world, etc; rather than according to Christ. We are commanded in this verse not to allow such activity. We are disobeying God when we fall into such traps that are fleshly elevating. Everyone wants to believe they are on the pentacle of every novel motivation. Christ knows our nature whereby He places warnings so we do not walk into such transient traps; so we stay stabilized in the faith and shun any desire that puffs up our ego through commanding intelligence.

I have heard believers come from counseling sessions spouting every new psycho phrase that gives no impression of them being believers who are standing on the Rock that never wavers. I sometimes wonder how much medication has been prescribed to prevent them from having to deal with the sinful heart issues.

I believe counselors and pastors walk hand in hand in their agendas. It is not unusual to see counselors aiding pastors when dealing with people in the congregation. At times, pastors seem to cling to a well-known counselor as opposed to God and His Word. I am dismayed often at what is taking place in respected churches because pastors are afraid to offend. Keeping a liberal counselor at hand can help appease and make everyone happy…supposedly.

Rarely, if never, do pastors and counselors label the sin that invades lives as vile, evil, detestable, depraved, corrupt, wicked, etc. They most never command total repentance nor explain the judgment or discipline of God. It breaks my heart to know how sin is swept under the carpet in the name of appeasement and tolerance. Drugs, lying, cheating, violence, promiscuous sex, etc, seem to cause little or no disturbance in the church of today. Of course, pastors know if they addressed these things, as they should, they would end up with a very small congregation.

Due to this, it is easy for Christian leadership to accept the teaching that society must analyze all from “a new world view.” As a result, one no longer hears, “We must view all things from the ageless ways of immutable scripture.” Now everything has to be examined in relation to it being the hottest and most stimulating approach to living for styling believers as new world participants. If things cannot be viewed through this contemporary light, they are ignored.

Contemporary-ism is one of the most sought after stimulating approaches for churches that fits into the new world order of believe-ism. I was in a church where one of the pastors kept throwing the word “contemporary” in my face.

APOSTASY IN THE CHURCH                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            12

I think he viewed himself on a mission of contemporary conversion, but I never would bite his bate. I believe I just frustrated him. A friend of mine recently left a church because the power to change her and her husband into contemporary believers was just too much for them. They have now located a church that puts no silly demands on people; holding simply to Biblical truths.

One motivating hidden agenda behind all this hoopla is pastors desiring the unsaved to be totally comfortable in a non-threatening environment where they never feel convicted by strong Bible messages. A friend told me some time ago that she heard an ad for a church that stated something to this effect, come to our church and take part in a non-threatening environment. My friend desires to write a letter to the church asking how the Bible can be taught and no one feels threatened? These ads are placed before the public as pastors believe such motivation and compromise brings in big numbers resulting in noteworthiness and larger paychecks. Today’s church has been homogenized into a new faith, not the faith of holding to the Bible alone as churchianity (habits of popular, cultural church-life) has become so prosperous.

We see as we peer within the general body of believers, that fellowships no longer hold a reputation for discipline and integrity. Consequently, you have many people attending who are unsaved. It also opens the doors for the backslidden believers. You can come to obtain many in your congregation who hold few morals and who are not normally found in church, such as fornicators, adulterers, homosexuals, pedophiles, etc. Not to mention those who have no problem with dishonesty, lies, and embezzling. Many implement these deceptive practices in business and personal dealings during the week without a thought. A Christian couple recently told my husband and me of a pastor they had several years ago, who had a homosexual practicing son and he was allowed to play the piano for the church and his personal vile actions were justified.

Everyone can feel religious in an all-acceptable, non-threatening environment where they believe their good work of attending church outweighs all the bad they live-out during the week. Often times, people refer to these churches as “seeker friendly.” They are dubbed this as pastors deliberately structure their churches so they are appealing to the world. These fellowships are a perfect fit for those who are seeking some religious experience but desire no internal change of pattern. There can be some good in this as a few accept salvation and I am grateful for this; but the tragic thing is there is a complete lack of godly close spiritual fellowship and strong Bible teaching. The church is to be going out into the world and saving, which subsequently results in the newly-saved being baptized, attending church and being discipled.

EXHIBIT 1     Page 13

This is the example presented in Acts. The church is to be made-up of God’s called out ones. There is no example presented in scripture where the unsaved become part of the church and then are redeemed. I am not saying a person who is truly seeking salvation cannot come to church, but the majority of attendees should be saved. I would say 99% of those who regularly attend church should be converted, acknowledging the church is to be a place of worship and growth for the redeemed.

An unregenerate person cannot worship God, as they have not been cleansed by the Savior’s blood and therefore are spiritually dead. They have no true concept of what they are participating in. It does not bring joy to Christ’s ears to hear the children of satan praising His name. 1 John 1:7 speaks of believers walking in the Light, as Christ is the Light, and of them fellowshipping with one another, and Christ’s blood cleansing them from all sin. Here is one verse that represents what the church is to be. We can never have true fellowship with one who has not been cleansed by the blood of our Savior.

A true pastor who loves the unsaved and only wants to increase numbers for salvation sake will evangelize by going out into the community, preaching and teaching the Word. If he has a small congregation, it is no big deal as he is obeying the Word and has right motives. Such a godly man will be teaching others to evangelize as well in obedience to scripture. He also will faithfully teach the Bible in a humble manner and not try to entertain a fellowship.

Those pastors who have sold out for numbers will try everything under the sun to get people into the door and a reader board is a must. While driving one day, my eye caught a church’s reader board sign that advertised, “This Sunday is casual day.” What a silly thing—the church imitating businesses and schools just in hopes of attracting the worldly-minded through its doors. It is a Bible-teaching church, but it appears to be willing to compromise all common sense to be like the world.

“The arts” are also a significant trait of the apostate church and used in advertising to usher all through the open doors. Why? Because the advertised arts in every form including lewdness is everywhere emphasized in the world—A Hollywood commanding culture that demands everyone tag along.

APOSTASY IN THE CHURCH   Page 14

I heard a music pastor of a Baptist church spending significant time expressing how the arts must now be part of the church to be in style with the world. Every artistic endeavor must be presented by the members of the church. He continued explaining how his wife was part of the secular worldly arts. He glorified her music talents and emphasized that believers must give to her financially as she and her group were destined for famous applauding magnification as top-billed performers.

This “we are one with the world” teaching marches onward in the church as satan’s scheming empty philosophies are enchanting most everyone. We are not to pursue every passing mode of vanity when we are to be walking in the eternal values of scripture that are of our holy Savior who hates every way that enters the church that is not exampled in His Word.

A true ambassador for Christ only represents God to the community. Ambassadors do not conform to the country they are in; they remain distinctly different as a total representative of their nation. The only way we can be a separated ambassador is not to partake in those things that do not take hold of Christ’s wise character. We cannot be making our churches silly by doing silly things.

Doing things according to the scriptures is of uppermost importance. Having great numbers in your congregation doesn’t always spell Biblical character and actions. We must be discerning, humble believers who live by the Book not judging a church’s nobility by a worldly successful mentality.

A successful mentality that governs a church, I believe, can induce Christ’s judgment. In the beginning of Revelation, Christ brings judgment upon compromising churches, as He does not justify any evil way. A worldly successful mentality always spells compromise to God’s decrees. Though Revelation and other books warn churches to fear God so successful mentalities do not enter, pastors have turned a deaf ear. We see in scripture that many false teachings were attempting to take over congregations to make them user-friendly for all.

EXHIBIT 1    Page 15

Though chastisement fell upon the churches by Christ in Revelation, churches today believe they are immune to it, being under grace, so there is little fear of God. They believe the fear of God is an old-fashioned thing anyway. They believe having a bit of respect for God is all that is required; however, 1 Peter 1:15-17 commands that we are to be holy as God is holy. We are to act holy in all our behavior; conducting ourselves in fear during our stay upon the earth. Philippians 2:12 instructs us to work out our “salvation with fear and trembling.” Churches should be recognized as places that comprise holy people who fear God, not success-seeking people.

Not fearing God has resulted in many pastors leading their congregations down the road marked “Worldly Contemporary-ism” as they deliberately passed the posted exit for “Inductive Truths.”

It seems most people today prefer to be merely led and analyzing leadership’s motives is out of the question when it comes to any church function. Yes, we are to respect and submit to leadership but only as pastors and teachers comply with the Word in all accuracy. If they are adopting methods and ideas that are extra-biblical, we have the right to question. Not gossip but go to our leaders with concerns. This is not sin!! Pastors may try to make you feel like you are in sin but you are not if you are exposing those things that are contrary to holy uprightness and the disclosing act is performed in love and courtesy.

What we behold today is satan’s plan to bring demise to the fundamental church. Men who desire to go into the ministry who hold liberal views often attend conservative seminaries. Upon graduation, they become respected pastors of orthodox churches by campaigning in sheep’s garb. They must disguise themselves as such as they are actually neoorthodox in thought and intention, not believing in the inerrancy of scripture. They believe the Bible holds no standard for truth and absolutes.

Neoorthodox ministers can speak using the terms of conservative fundamentalists, unfortunately, they mean the opposite in their presentations. This type of nonsense deceives many people.

Such shaded men will even quote noted theologians whereby the congregation easily places their trust in them. After a year or so, these expositors slowly begin to quote liberal theologians here and there. They inch in ecumenicalism and the people are slowly deceived like the frog that is gradually heated in a pan of water atop a burner; it never jumps out—not knowing death is descending upon it at a snail’s pace . We must trust in the teachings of God’s holy, sacred, immutable and inerrant Word, solely.

APOSTASY IN THE CHURCH   Page 16

Some of you reading this will say, “Yes, I have noted how some churches bring in false doctrines slowly.” Some of you are fortunate to be in a solid inductive-teaching church and you are not even aware of what is taking place elsewhere. Nevertheless, it is good for all to be educated in what is happening about us in these days of wickedness. Ephesians 5:16 commands us to make the most of our time because the days are evil.

I was in a powerful inductive teaching church and thinking all was well, but out of the blue, I started hearing strange and contradicting doctrines. I just kept praying for understanding of what was taking place and I found the pastors were following new liberal theologians. Alan and I were broken and hurt, as were many others in the congregation who began to hear the strangeness of the new teaching. The pastors after confrontation never repented and lied to cover things, resulting in a festering wound. Many did leave like us but others chose to stay as their friends attended there. I personally do not believe Christians should ever stay in a false-teaching setting. All through scripture, we are warned never to place ourselves under the instruction of those who instruct deceptively.

A friend of ours, who graduated from a conservative seminary, recently went back to his alma mater to sit in on some of the classes. He was shocked to hear so much false doctrine coming from current professors. When he attended, all was Biblically solid. He went to the president of the college to kindly express his disgust. He informed him of the false doctrine that he had heard in these classes; unfortunately, this president revealed little or no concern.

Knowing misleading doctrines are being taught in what were once reputable seminaries is heartbreaking. I have sat in churches hearing contrary teaching pour forth from pastors who attended conservative seminaries in disbelief.

The majority of people who sit under such instruction have no idea they are being deceived. Most do not care when concerned ones begin to expose. Most church attendees love and trust their overseers. People trust their preachers even when they begin to teach falsehoods. As long as teaching gradually and gracefully changes, believers are accepting. It pains my heart to witness this. Scripture takes a backseat with the approval of congregations because they were gradually deluded. They allowed their hearts and minds to be changed to please authoritative men. They feel if they hold to their previous fundamental ways, they are moving contrary to the authority of their church.

EXHIBIT 1    Page 17

In the Old Testament, the false teachers’ instruction had consumed Judah, southern Israel. God revealed how these false religious leaders ran to the occupation of ministry but He did not call them; please contemplate on Jeremiah 23:21.

You may ask, well, what do I do with all this information? I say, always seek after godly believers and leaders, but above all do not trust in man but only in God; Jeremiah 17:5. I repeat this often that it might be set in stone in your heart.

Chapter 2

Exhibit 2:
Divorce American Church Style:

For this exhibit, I will pull out two Kleenexes from my attaché case. The two tissues represent a husband and a wife. I will glue them together and let them dry. .. Now, after waiting, I will try to pull them apart without damaging them. You know, this is impossible and that is why God hates divorce.

Anyone divorcing for any reason causes great damage to many individuals. Any type of infidelity can significantly and brutally harm a marital relationship.

The religious leaders in Christ’s day enjoyed playing games with Him when it came to the subject of marriage, adultery and divorce (It is no wonder that Christ often eluded them). Christ declared to the liberal Pharisees that divorce could only take place when there was adultery, in Matthew chapter 19. Some of Israel’s religious leaders thought they should be able to divorce with the drop of a cooking pan or whenever someone prettier than their wife walked by. Sinful mentalities from age to age just do not change.

The text of John chapter 8 discloses a scene where temple leaders bring an adulterous situation before Christ—a woman caught in the very act of adultery. In this affair situation, we see only the woman was brought before Christ by the saintly temple leaders when the law declared both the man and woman were to be stoned; Deuteronomy 22:22. The religious leaders never state a man and a woman were caught, just the woman; though obviously, they could have brought the man as well.

They declare to Christ that Moses said they were to stone such women, but they were to stone such men too! When our pastor was preaching in John, Alan pointed these truths out to him and me. I had never taken note before of their great protecting bias for the man and I do not think our pastor had either.

It is quite obvious that these religious rulers would have never thought of just bringing the man. They clearly felt he was to be protected and not even confronted. They never even made an excuse for his absence and they knew the Old Testament through study and memorization. They, no doubt, believed this was man’s natural sensual tendency as we recognize from their attitude on divorce and remarriage. Christ may have written down their present and past lovers in the dirt as he addressed their wicked setup.

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EXHIBIT 2    Page 19

Segments of this scenario do occur today with differing twists when Christian leaders desire to put it all on the woman when a Christian man is being disobedient to the Word in the area of sensuality or whatever else. Some might state this, “Well, if the woman held a quiet and gentle spirit, sexual sins and divorce would never enter into the marriage.” Or “If she was always quiet when he looked at others in a sexual way, he would stop.” This is a harmful thing to think or say in light of the fact that the Christian man is the head of the home. He is the one who is to inspire and teach all purity and steadfastness. The husband is responsible to present his wife pure, without any spot or wrinkle; Ephesians 5:27. He is to keep her from being stained by the world in any impure way. Alan says he has far more responsibilities before God than I when it comes to keeping a holy home.

God’s statements placed in Malachi 2:13-17, must also be kept in thought—He does not hear the prayers of the man who treacherously leaves his wife. The Lord clearly discloses that He deals with any sin that involves unfaithfulness and the dissolving of the marriage covenant.

A woman certainly can influence to save a marriage as she exhibits chaste behavior and a quiet and gentle spirit as 1 Peter chapter 3 admonishes. These attributers can transform a man eventually as a wife faithfully practices the teachings of this passage. This involves modest dress and behavior and never flirting with other men. She must also submit to her husband’s authority in all respect as we read elsewhere in scripture. Conversely though, never is she to the placed where she is asked to sin against God.

This passage may be addressing saved husbands who are in disobedience as well as unsaved men. However, it must be noted that 1 Peter chapter 3 doesn’t totally guarantee repentance but it certainly is all-feasible. 1 Corinthians 7:16 states “You do not know if you will save your husband.” Therefore, when it comes to the unsaved, we note there are no complete guarantees for the wife. However, a Christian wife must be a witness of holiness no matter the result as we see from the Word. I will also add for encouragement, that I knew a man who repented on his deathbed whereby he declared it was due to his wife’s witness. Of course, many women don’t have to wait to the last minute to see the results and I read recently from one of our church’s emails of a husband who came to Christ.

APOSTASY IN THE CHURCH    Page 20

You, who are reading this, may be a Christian woman and you are married to an unsaved man who needs to be led to the Lord. You need to stand by your chaste, godly silent behavior. When a woman is married to an unsaved man, she cannot go to the church and ask for church discipline. This is held for only believing husbands and those who claim to be—those attending a church fellowship. You must hold to prayer, faith and endurance. It is a difficult road to travel, but the Lord holds your hand and grants endurance. May His grace be upon you, dear one.

If you are a hurting abused wife, I will tell you if your husband has committed adultery, not to give up praying for his repentance until he remarries. God has brought men to repentance on countless occasions and many marriages have been restored to Christ’s glory! There are many dilemmas when remarriage enters the picture. Repentance is always best! I point to Hosea who had to deal with his prostitute-wife who followed satanism; yet, never did he give up petitioning for her contrition. She eventually returned to Hosea but it was probably following many years of Hosea falling on his knees. His faithful heart and prayers led to her repentance and return. The book, Love Life by Dr. Ed Wheat, uses Hosea as an example of steadfast commitment and provides ways to restore one’s love life. This book does not allow any room for divorce and upholds renewed marriages.

Marriage renewal does not just happen in books, as I was told of a woman who prayed 7 years for her whoremonger-husband who divorced her. After all her years of intercession, he truly repented. Remarriage to him took place as her reward of unceasing petition. Their marriage testimony restored another couple’s marriage and I knew them and appreciated their openness to share which provided hope for others. I also have heard such stories read on Thru the Bible radio programs.

Unfortunately, today, the majority of pastors don’t care to save marriages as they want their divorce care program enlarged. Divorce care or recovery groups basically become a dating service for those who were not happy in their marriage and dumped their mate. Pastors know this when they bring in a divorce program into the church but do not care because it is a number maker.

It seems most pastors, if not all, will put a person in divorce recovery and never question if they obeyed all the scriptures concerning their past marriage. They never inquire of the women if they submitted to their husbands in all things and respected them in all things.

EXHIBIT 2   Page 21

They never ask husbands if they loved their wives as themselves and only had eyes for their wives. They never investigate to determine if they were the spiritual leaders in the home as ordained in the Word. They just set them in a divorce recovery program and will have a new marriage performed when they meet another.

Any leader who studies the Bible knows the curriculum of these divorce programs is not Biblical, but secular, deceptive and wicked.

I have a friend who was told by a pastor to join a divorce care program when her husband, who attended the church, left her. He moved out of their home when she was on a trip. Her husband had decided not to go with her when she went to visit family and friends. She had no idea that he had a plan in his decision, that of dealing with her treacherously. Before her return home, she received a phone call from him telling her he had left. I brought her home from the airport and we walked into her nearly empty home. She was in tremendous shock and pain as she witnessed visibly her husband’s cessation intentions.

Their large Baptist church refused to perform church discipline though it admitted he had no grounds for divorce. They loved on him, invited him to activities and people let him know they approved of his measures. One key woman from the church simply stated to my friend concerning his departure, “I’m sure he had his reasons.”

The pastor and others were holding to, divorce is fine if you have any kind of reason. It is so similar to Christ’s time when people divorced for any sort of cause; yet, He correctively declared, only because of adultery could one divorce. He disclosed people dissolve their marriages because they harden their hearts. My friend knew her husband had hardened his heart against her so he could rob her of everything he could get his hands on through the divorce. He refused to pay half of the house payments though he was demanding half of the income received when it sold and received it. An assistant pastor told her, not long after her husband had departed, that he should not be required to make half the payments because he had his own place now.

When she wrote to the head pastor more than once of her heartache and her husband’s unjust ways, she never received an answer. I asked a key person I knew in that church why the pastor was not replying to her and she said he was too busy with this and that; however, several months went by and it became evident that he did not care and would never do so. The leadership turned to shunning her, which placed more infliction upon her. I believe this all occurred because she stood with marriage till death and church discipline.

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She departed from that church knowing she was not wanted being one who desired to hold to scripture. Her husband called her a “religious fanatic” which people in the church seemed to happily agree with.

My friend freely admitted that she was not perfect in the marriage and that God was changing her through conviction. Her husband viewed himself as totally faultless and deserving of all the gusto he could achieve. He would never admit to me or anyone that he could do wrong.

Eventually he started attending another large Baptist church. He and the head pastor shared a friendship so he decided to switch. She approached this pastor through letters requesting he perform church discipline, hoping he would want to heal the marriage through applying Biblical commands. She believed church discipline would produce repentance.

She got nowhere with her letters and requests asking to speak with this pastor. However, after a persisting period of time, he reluctantly consented. He and a counselor—who has a horrific dishonest reputation including prison time—met with her. They were very hateful and cruel to her. This pastor also refused to perform church discipline and informed her that her husband was completely welcome to attend his church. She asked if he would be welcome if he came with a girlfriend as she was told he had one. The pastor seemed to be little bothered if they attended services. At the conclusion of their time together, the pastor did apologize for his animosity.

Previous to her divorce hearings and trial, she sent out letters inviting pastors; including those who stood with her husband so they could witness his motive of greed for themselves. She stated the time and date, but received no response from the churches and no pastor ever attended.

By God’s grace and mercy, my friend made it through, though she still wrestles with the heartache and all the memories. The church and judicial system failed her by standing with divorce, but Christ has faithfully stood by her side.

I am currently counseling a precious beautiful lady who I will call Cindy. Her husband has left her. He has had problems with pornography since adolescence and constantly lusts after other women to her continual heartbreak. She was a worker in the home and one who had always loved her husband and children—whom she home-schooled.

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Even though Christian leaders knew that Cindy’s husband was lusting after other women, involved in self-fulfillment, and treated her scornfully, they stood with him and persecuted her.

Cindy’s husband and his churched friends skillfully planned his moves before he ever walked out on her. They made sure they did all possible in an attempt to make Cindy commit suicide through their endless scrutinized cruelty and lies. They wanted her out of the way to create an easy road whereby he acquired everything he desired. I have witnessed it myself and have been in tremendous hurtful shock. Yes, there are people in the church who have no problem with murder as long as their hands do not perform it. Such people want Cindy’s holy uncompromising voice silenced.

Yes, in many ways this is similar to the other woman I counseled and spoke of above. Cindy, however, attends a different church, lives in another area; yet, she too has been rejected as if she were the sinning party. She has been cast aside as an undesirable believer who is viewed as being too sound in the Bible.

Cindy has requested church discipline, but has been told by pastors that they cannot judge her husband. One believer took him into his home to live; an ordained pastor took him hunting and involved him in other activities. He was invited to Bible study after all his crimes were exposed to the pastor and leaders. He faithfully continues to attend church, being treated as a welcomed righteous believer.

Cindy feels as if she has been seated in the middle of a church and is being stoned for her Biblical stands. She does not believe in sexual sins and divorce. She has been told pornography and lusting are not a form of adultery even though Christ announced one who lusts has committed adultery in his heart.

During the time, I was exposing and dealing with Cindy’s situation, a wife of an ordained pastor told me pornography is not adultery. Amid this conversation, she pretended to open a porno magazine and run her hand gingerly across it. She sweetly looked me in the eye, explaining, “Valerie, this is not adultery.” I replied by stating Jesus said one has committed adultery in his heart who lusts after another woman. Then she retorted with “Don’t you know Valerie that pastors and congregations are into pornography.” I eventually got up and walked out the door as I was running on overload with disgust.

Scripture commands that men are to view other women as sisters in all purity; 1 Timothy 5:1-2. There is no excuse if men, who call themselves Christians, are not doing this. Of course, women too must also look at men as brothers in all purity. If we fall, we must admit it as sin and seek deliverance. Hating sin is of all importance when it comes to the Holy Spirit moving and transforming our mindset. We cannot accomplish this apart from Christ and forsaking the mentality of this world. Memorizing scripture and praying without ceasing can strengthen us so we remain faithful to one person. We may be tempted in one way or another, but through Christ’s power, we can overcome.

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Many sexual agendas are accepted in today’s church as it parades a facade of religiosity tolerance. You can hear them preached against from the pulpit but accepted by pastors when engaging in general conversations with united friends. It often seems the man in the pulpit and the man of actuality are two different people. Pastors preach the Bible but when they are requested to enact its precepts, they refuse. You can begin to believe you are dealing with a split personality. You may hear pastors spout that they hate all sexual agendas that are contrary to scripture. Contrary, however, those same pastors will treat the immoral members of their congregation in all kindness and acceptance, standing completely behind such people.

Today’s church is acting out in strange extremities in many areas including divorce-acceptance. In general, it sides with “no-fault divorce.” Society did not even begin to accept “no-fault divorce” until 1969 when Governor Ronald Reagan signed it into law in California. This law slowly ate the whole nation as state after state complied. Divorces in the church now outnumber those in unsaved society. The first divorce census occurred in 1887 when there were .05 divorces in every thousand. I have an encyclopedia (copyrighted 1965) that states that adultery is the only grounds for divorce in New York. Historical correctness puts the church to shame. The church has fallen and continues to fall with the world and its acceptance of this decree.

Some pastors may pretend to be shocked at a divorce situation at first, but then will quickly spout the divorce laws of the land as if they represent the Gospel truth. Such occurred with a lady who spoke to her pastor of her husband’s divorce actions. The pastor seemed shocked at the sin at first but then cited the secular court agenda on the matter like a divorce lawyer. What breaks my heart further when it comes to cessation crime is the 50/50 split. Even pastors believe everything should be divided 50/50, as if this is what God declared.

My husband and I were discussing this last night and he said, and I totally agree, that when a person departs from a marriage to do their own thing, they don’t deserve a penny! Christ would never divide money, property, etc, according to a 50/50 deal. He would command “turn from your wicked ways” to the person engaging in this transgression.

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Yes, secular courts demand a 50/50 split and we must submit to the law if the church refuses to take action or one party is an unbeliever; but submitting to the law does not mean we agree with unbiblical requirements! What we see in scripture is, divorce is sin and there is no such thing as “no fault divorce.” We also know from the Word that Christ holds the church accountable for every action it takes and for everything it teaches and promotes.

When it comes to divorce contemplation, you must learn that the Bible teaches that all lawsuits between believers are to be carried out within the church, not in secular courts. 1 Corinthians 6:1-9 makes this clear! The church is the court of believers. Those above reproach and thoroughly knowledgeable of the Bible (wise men), are to be the judges in legal cases between believers. Wise men should be appointed who hate divorce as Christ does and would act accordingly.

When it comes to ladies departing from a bad marriage, I am not afraid to tell a woman if she leaves her husband she must remain single or else be reconciled to him as I Corinthians 7:10-11 exhorts. I always state this to women who desire to leave the marriage. However, it seems I am the only one teaching this. When I relay this to women, they inform me their pastors and counselors have never instructed them in this way. What happened to the inerrant Word that demands our obedience?

John the Baptizer went about letting people know of the divorce/adultery sin of Herod and Herodias. Herodias had divorced Herod’s brother to be his wife. You can well bet if John was a pastor today, he would not let anyone like Herod in his church. He would not use the trendy excuse, “As long as he attends church that is all that matters.” He would perform church discipline, and if Herod didn’t repent of his wrongdoing, he would treat him as an outcast and he would never be allowed in church again.

I Corinthians chapter 7 never encourages the divorced to remarry or to seek a mate; only the young widows are encouraged to remarry so they are not temped. The only people who have a clear path set before them when it comes to remarriage are those whose spouses have breathed their last; verse 39. And these people can only marry believers … there is no dating whoever comes along.

Jesus stated that the one who marries a divorced woman commits adultery, Matthew 5:32; and He just leaves it at that. Now this verse can be a puzzler as Christ states in the first portion that a person commits adultery if they remarry, unless their spouse was sexually unfaithful.

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Now I cannot sit in judgment on those who have remarried following a divorce who were faithful to their spouses and obeyed all the commands for men and women in marriage; but personally, I honestly have never run into this situation. In every situation I have encountered, there has been disobedient sin on both sides. Perhaps that is why the scriptures do not set an open road before us.

As I end this segment, many may feel like they need to throw stones at church windows for all the crimes that occur within. However, we may have missed the boat in assisting church leaders to stay on queue. They need protection from the evil one as they stand on the front lines of the battle zone. Much of this protection must come from an interceding, praying congregation. You and I also need to encourage our pastors to stay in the Word and keep dressed in the armor of God. Walking away from the battle is not scriptural. But standing on the Word is, even if we have to stand alone.

Chapter 3

Exhibit 3:
Discipline Eviction

This is a gigantic problem in the church today as where there is no discipline, wildness reigns and consumes like fire. This is an area that significantly involves pastoral leadership and its ability or lack of to enforce sin-control management.

I will now pull out of my briefcase a photo of an untamed fire that is getting too close to a populated area. When sin is not eliminated, it engulfs a church like destructive flames of a wild fire. To preserve a healthy church, leadership and the congregation must be on guard concerning sin’s acceptance.

The text of Matthew chapter 18 deals with bringing sin before the church when one is unrepentant. Though this is rarely practiced today, it is still commanded. Fellowships that do not fear God and disobey this ordinance of defiance correction do reap the repercussions. One of the consequences of such disobedience is the elimination of spiritual discernment. At least this is the main area that I survey that is most affected. This always leads to chaos and silliness displayed throughout the church. Silly social activities seem to be the false anchor that holds this type of church body together.

There are a few churches that perform discipline, but it is often a sham. That is because pastors believe anyone should be allowed to attend services even if church discipline has been performed without resulting repentance. Pastors and congregations often treat unrepentant sinners like those that did nothing wrong. They just sweep it under the carpet and move on without another word. This would be comparable to the judicial system allowing sentenced criminals to return to society immediately following their trials and court convictions—never sending them to prison. Presently, because of lax laws, many people have to live in fear in certain areas of our nation because few criminal are incarcerated. My cousin, who lives in California, has bars on her windows as the innocent must now be kept behind roded windows and doors for their protection with lawless ones on the loose. Many lawless ones are loose in our churches as well.

27

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Pastors make excuses for not exercising church discipline as if they have changed the mind of God. There are pastors who make themselves a god by replacing the commands of God with their words of compromise; enabling them to become a god unto themselves.

Some discipline pretexts are born out of fear—fear of the press, fear of being sued, fear of people leaving the church, etc. Some pastors will say I cannot perform church discipline on people who attend my church who are not members. However, membership is not Biblical. It was ordained solely by men. Not performing church discipline on a person for this reason would be akin to our government refusing to arrest and try a murderer because he is not a citizen of our nation. Protection of the innocent should be the name of the game. Both in the church and in society, it is necessary to bring correction to make everyone fearful of sinning.

Some good advice was handed to a friend of mine who was told you should never join a church where church discipline is not exercised. I, however, know of an influential Baptist church that claims it performs Biblical church discipline when it actually never has. The pastor simply states everyone always repents so they never have to bring sin before the church. This is a lie as I knew people in this church who never repented.

You need to be assured that the church you attend has performed it. Over a half a century ago, you could possibly find churches where no discipline was needed, but not now. Sin is bursting out the seams in most churches especially in the area of lies. Revelation 21:8 should place fear of hell’s fire in everyone’s heart.

Pastors and believers who speak lies should feel guilty, but such guilt is rarely observed in today’s church. God hates all lies; which is why He church disciplined Ananias and Sapphira through murder; Acts 5:1-11. They were deceptive concerning the sell of their property. God snuffed out their lives to make an immense point in the new church age. I believe He was conveying, I do not want sin in the doors of My church. Do you get My point?

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Since God personally dealt with Ananias and Sapphira, you might ask, “Does this mean, we do not need to deal in repentance? We can just expect God to zap them in one way or another?”

Well, the Bible teaches we are to assist in bringing fellow believers to repentance. God certainly does have His hand in it as He makes sure we all reap what we sow. In other words, He makes sure we pay the consequences of our actions.

We are also to pray for wayward ones. We are to desire their repentance and James says it is a good thing to turn a brother from the error of his way. If they become teachable, we are to admonish repentance so they can be restored back into church fellowship.

Another passage on this subject can be found in 2 Thessalonians 3:6. This verse admonishes us to keep away from brothers who lead an unruly life, not according to the tradition or teaching of the apostles. Moving down to verse 14, we see this further emphasized as those who don’t respond to this letter to the Thessalonians are not to be associated with so they are “put to shame.” This reveals believers do not accept such behavior. This action of discipline exposes change must take place before fellowship is restored. Fellowship is the reward for repentance—fellowship with Christ and fellow believers.

Grace is revealed in verse 15 as we are not to regard the person who is not obeying the letter as an enemy, but he is to be admonished as a brother. One main aspect of disobedience addressed here in Thessalonians is a brother who is unwilling to work, as he is undisciplined.

You may rightly inquire, “How we are not to associate with him, yet we are to admonish him?” I believe this teaches we keep requesting him to repent periodically so he can be restored to fellowship. He is not to be in the church engaging in fellowship; but believers can pray for him and request his repentance.

Having church discipline present in your church is like having insurance. If you are wronged, you know you have people who will deal with it. If you sin, you are held accountable.

Last week a friend came over for a time of fellowship and prayer. We discussed church discipline as one of her pastors was dismissed for scriptural disobedience. We also chatted concerning various portions of the Word. We conversed on how one should be treated who has not repented after their sin has been brought before the church. She told me this former pastor is still treated kindly and respectfully or so it seems. In Matthew 18:17, we are taught if a person declines to repent, they are to be treated like a “Gentile or tax collector.” These are two negative terms, not positive. Unfortunately, some will say Christ loved the Gentiles and tax collectors so this means we are to love them as usual and not shun them.

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Yes, Christ did love these two groups of people and associated with them to draw them to repentance, but this is not the implication here. We must also note that a tax collector was not one who was respected as he generally stole from the people. He was one who took advantage. He dishonestly pocketed some of the revenue. That is why when Zaccheus repented he promised to give back four times as much, if he defrauded anyone. Zaccheus made this statement because he knew his occupation was not reputable. This action spoke to the people of this man’s inward change through Christ’s altering power. This transformation had produced an honest heart which now held a personal relationship with a holy God.

“Gentile” and “tax collector” are set in inimical tense. It cannot be overlooked or taught falsely. If Christ meant we are to love them as if nothing happened or all was well, then He would have commanded that we love the unrepentant sinner as He loved the disciples. In the New Testament, the word “Gentile” refers to those who are unsaved. The unrepentant sinner is not to be treated like a fellow believer who is walking in fellowship with Christ. Christian leaders are to humbly ask for the repentance of the disobedient one, on an occasional basis. A wayward believer needs to turn from their wicked ways so they can once again glorify Christ.

2 Corinthians 7:9-11 speaks of proper church discipline from the proper pastorate heart with proper results. Pastors confronting sinful believers, must seek a true repentance; not a false sorrowful regret as seen in the world of fame and fortune. This is usually a temporary outward show of remorse; revealed when one is caught in the act. What God desires is a “godly sorrow” as verse 11 states “For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you; what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.”

A true repentant person will be greatly sorrowful for their sin and a lasting change will result. A church congregation will witness the change from a hardness of heart … to humility and lowliness of heart. The person will be broken just like a properly disciplined child that weeps before their parents following correction.

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The people addressed in these verses had upheld sin and rejoiced in it, but now had become sorrowful for their pride, arrogance and lack of hatred for sin.

The way to avenge sin, as we read in these verses, is for pastors to remove it from the church. It is to be hated and despised to the point of extraction. Pastors and congregational members are to hate the vileness of all defiance.

I received a threatening email from a man who recently started his own church fellowship. One of the first items on his agenda is to end my conservative voice. This directly involves my stands opposed to sexual impurity and divorce. What is uncanny, is his church is supposedly conservative and Bible-believing.

Because I will not turn and accept what is immoral, he plans to perform church discipline on me even though I have not attended his church and will never attend.

My my, our churches need prayer!

Chapter 4

Exhibit 4:
Lost Biblical Discipleship

This is an important aspect of apostasy for if people are not taught the ways of God, the church falters. Withheld knowledge = uneducated believers.

Yes, I know, you are waiting for me to hold up something to represent absent discipleship. But … I just can’t find anything in my briefcase for application. Now wait … let me see … think fast! Okay, I believe I’ve got it. I will empty out my briefcase to show you its emptiness. This is the essence of lost discipleship—emptiness. Believers feel empty and hopeless in their faith, being they are not taught the value of knowing the Word of God that brings all the answers to life’s woes.

Every age group in a church should have godly examples set before them. The believers who disciple others, whether old or young, need to own a reputation of godliness. Unfortunately, most people think anyone should be able to teach. Leaders assume believers get to know their Bible through teaching, but it is to be the other way around. You know your Bible then you disciple. If people are not Bible-knowledgeable, they can teach just about any heresy and I have witnessed it to my heartbreak. That is why pastors need to ground saints strongly in scripture before ever allowing them to instruct. Teachers have a sticker judgment; therefore they need to thoroughly have a grasp on God’s Word; James 3:1.

First Aspect
Of Lost Biblical Discipleship—
The Children:

To converse with you concerning teaching children, which greatly touches my heart, Christ left the perfect example of the importance of loving and caring for children. However, most pastors do not take His example seriously as adults and teens are always on their front burner of concern. Usually those who teach children are never even questioned concerning their knowledge of the Word.

The complaints I hear concerning children and the lack of them being taught scripture continuously increases. I was in a church several years ago and a woman in my husband’s Sunday school class was speaking of leaving the church as her little daughter was not being taught the Word which left her with grievous concerns. I told her to speak to the Sunday school administration as I didn’t desire she leave without first voicing her concerns to leadership. Unfortunately, she got nowhere and she and her husband did leave for greener productive pastures where the yearning heart in children to learn God’s Word was seriously upheld.

What is further saddening and hard to comprehend is children’s Sunday school seems to cater toward the curriculum methods of the public school system with much play time. Churches believe the newest is the best and if the schools are implementing great, new teaching methods then the church needs to pick up on it. These methods will use silly looking cartoon characters that mock the seriousness of Christianity; but leaders think it gains the children’s attention. It makes Christianity a joke, but since everyone loves Spiderman, Superman, and Looney Tunes, similar characters must be drawn and implemented into churches.

I have noticed that what accompanies silly caricature teaching is the turning away from solid Bible teaching. Presenting just one verse in a short airy lesson is most common in curriculum; whereby, play time consumes 80% of the class period.

I have found myself shocked when I teach churched children and find they don’t even possess the slightest knowledge of Bible stories including Daniel in the lions den, Elijah and the prophets of Baal, the miracles of Christ, etc. I am just blown away! When I was a churched child, eons ago, children knew the basic powerful stories of scripture. Learning the Bible was what Sunday school was all about … discipling children was taken seriously.

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Many years ago, when my two sons were young children, they enjoyed inductive Old Testament teaching. They would spout scripture facts like a Bible college student. I am thankful their teacher did not use any wishy-washy children’s curriculum in Sunday school. Every child deserves such gifted teaching of the Word.

I have a friend who relishes teaching children and she was appalled when she was asked to partake in new curriculum that made sure the children did not learn the Bible, only conservative ideas. She was mostly to supervise their playing which children participate in all week long. She changed the curriculum so the children learned the Bible, giving them very little play time.

Some years ago, an irate woman complained about a children’s Sunday school teacher at a Baptist church. She was very disgruntled as this teacher did not support Harry Potter. This teacher had advised the children to stay away from it as it was satanic, even though it allowed them to obtain many extra points in their public schools. The Sunday school superintendent stood 100% with Harry Potter and therefore stood with the yammer. Not long following, this teacher was dismissed.

In the Harry Potter book series, Harry and others are attending a school of witchcraft and sorcery. Satanic sorcery is found throughout the books. The Bible condemns demonism but few Christians care today. In Acts 19:19, new converts burnt their satanic magic books to reveal their conversion to Christianity. When was the last time you heard of believers getting together to burn their Harry Potter books or any publication related to occultist teachings? Today many believers would like to burn any Christian who would think such a thought.

Parents should be cautious and alert to their children’s teachers and what they believe and adhere to. Harry Potter is shocking and what also is appalling is there are teachers who proclaim evolution and lead children’s Sunday school classes. I was in a Baptist church where a SS overseer was greatly disturbed with the fact that people could teach who did not hold to the creation story. Of course, what should we expect when many denominations celebrate Darwin’s birthday … What is going on here?

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I am grateful there are churches that are concerned for children and desire the best for them when it comes to discipleship.

I would suggest for those fellowships that may be small or lack true godly teachers, to have one class for all. Children can learn well under a gifted instructor who is teaching adults. I have witnessed it. Children grow miraculously in this setting. There are men who can inductively teach adults, and in synchronization, teach children. They know how to perk up children’s ears while teaching great truths to adults.

Children are our most precious asset; let us care enough to get them discipled in a most equipping way. It needs to be every church’s goal to obtain teachers who are solid in the faith and in the Word. Children are the future church leaders—they must not to be overlooked and their intelligence belittled!

Second Aspect of Lost
Biblical Discipleship—
The Teens

Much of the children’s scenario can be associated with the teen and adult groups. If the mindset of the church is to entertain children, it generally runs throughout the whole assembly.

Activities occur with teens as with children, but instead of playing energetic bouncy games, they will attend the latest movies, visit coffee shops; have sleepovers, swim-overs, and scavenger hunts … just simply engaging in fun activities in the name of community association. A couple weeks ago I saw a church marquee directed to teens and it was all about fun.

The other night Alan noticed a Bible-teaching fellowship’s reader board that announced cheerleading competition; Bible learning was not mentioned or anything related to Christianity for that matter.

A Christian lady told me her daughter was part of a youth group that rarely taught scripture, but movies were big—real big. She was aghast to the hilt. The world was the name of the game, not separation and discipleship.

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This is such a common complaint with parents as you may know; but most youth pastors go with the flow for numbers sake—what else is new.

Serious Bible studies decrease numbers in youth departments—fun and rock music increases them significantly.

Therefore, we must inquire as to what kind of future church leaders are being brought up in such an environment? I think I know and I will tell you, those who accept everything as cool and trendy. These future church leaders will never scrutinize anything that comes into the church as their movie idols and rock idols would never judge.

Indulging in sin to the fullest is where the action is and it is fine in the church. Why? Hollywood is the standard. Tolerance and whatever else is promoted by the entertaining world is the mindset that is slowly eating away at our churched youth. And few youth pastors care to halt its fleshly driven influences as one mind with one world is the youthism encompassed by teens.

I do hope somewhere there are people who are inductively discipling teens in the Word and turning them away from the world. I trust somewhere there are godly, separated, holy teens who cling to scripture and are strong in the battle against sin. May they rise up in the future to be transformers and rescue our churches.

Third Aspect of Lost
Biblical Discipleship—
The Adults

I once made a suggestion to name a new church—Equipping the Saints Bible Church, but it did not go over too well and seemed to leave the pastors a bit bewildered. Unfortunately, most churches are not equipping believers. Ephesians 4:11-32 deals with equipping saints for a holy life and witness, which should be applied in all seriousness. Mature believers are to implement their spiritual gifts to teach others to exercise theirs so the body functions powerfully flow through true Biblical discipleship.

Another aspect of adult discipleship should involve the equipping of believers to stand strong in the spiritual battle. We are in a war against satan and the armor stated in Ephesians chapter 6 is to be put on for our protection and for the furtherment of God’s kingdom. Discipleship into holy living and Christian service is a great defense against our enemy that is why the whole Word of God must be taught seriously (I can’t stress this enough!) not in a halfhearted manner which is the prevalent way.

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Discipleship education should be carried out by godly, knowledgeable men who do not have to reply on curriculum; just their own personal data of the Bible. The precept of a living example of Biblical knowledge to induce application is powerfully needed in our churches for acquired godliness and outreach. Elders are to possess a comprehensive understanding of the Word so they can teach and equip without having to be ashamed. They are to be the thriving examples of application.

A woman told me last week of a pastor she sat under in an evening class and he was unable to answer the simplest Bible questions. He just had to keep saying, “I don’t know.” Apparently, the seminary he attended did not stress knowing the Word thoroughly. I am a bit familiar with this Baptist movement where scripture learning is belittled. This pastor’s lack of knowledge, however, represents many pastors who just don’t care to learn their Bibles, but every pastor is to know the Word as it is a main Biblical requirement for preachers set by God; 1 Timothy 3:2, 2 Timothy 2:15 and Titus 1:9.

As I move you to the heartfelt area of lost Biblical adult discipleship, you must be aware that there are many cold and callous teachers in Christendom just as there were in Judaism. We see in the Gospels that sincere believers wanted to be discipled; that is why they flocked to John and then to Christ. It is no different today; but many teachers are unwilling to act out of love and patience within the discipleship realm. Many want to teach their doctrines, infiltrating them into the church through cloning disciples into falseness. These apostate teachers take advantage and distort the scriptures so they have people following them not the true Biblical Christ.

I will tell you of an incident that involved a pastor’s wife who wanted to disciple a young believer into her own likeness not that of Christ. Her ill motives were often revealed through her actions as her plot did not unfold as she desired. Her disciple, who was a round peg, was unable to fit into her hole as a square peg. Her temper would flare as her anger escalated into a great tempest because her acquired disciple was not developing into her modeled example. The anger of this pastor’s wife caused her malfunctioning facsimile to become very distressed, confused and feeling totally unworthy though she was trying very hard to clone herself. But the pastor’s wife always sent confusing and contradictory messages.

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What hit a strange note was the departing act, when the pastor’s wife would give her disciple a hug and say, “I love you” at the end of each session. It was as if she felt by tagging on this unmeant verbiage, it removed all the unbiblical disdain she had just drowned her confused follower in. It eventually became clear that she never held any love or compassion for her pupil at all. She just wanted someone to adore her and hang onto her every word of bewildering rhetoric.

It must also come to be of no surprise, that she was found to be one who held many beliefs contrary to the Bible that came to revelation as lives were destroyed and torn apart as a result of her attempts at dictatorship. Hateful manipulation can cause despair to arise in hearts as there are those in churches who lead falsely. Everyone does need to be cautious concerning whom they allow to disciple them individually or in a group setting.

Christ at various times instructed us to recognize apostate believers. He taught and warned of bogus believers who would come into the church through the agency of satan to disciple people away from the Savior.

These bogus apostates will befriend true believers to disciple them. They pretend to be true followers of Christ just as Judas portrayed himself, leaving the disciples completely unawares as he ministered beside them. I believe one of the reasons Judas was allowed to be a disciple was to teach us to be very aware of whom we place ourselves under when it comes to being led.

False disciplers should be approached, if at all possible. This includes Sunday school class teachers and small group leaders. If you Biblically confront them and they refuse to repent, you need to request that the pastor perform church discipline. If he refuses, you must turn them over to Christ who judges in righteousness and disciplines. You should warn others as well in order to keep God’s teaching in the hands of those who are faithful to the Word. In addition, you must be careful not to cross over the line to gossip when exposing falseness in the church. Christ never spread slander, He just revealed what was scriptural and what was unscriptural. Christ exposed the religious leaders who appeared to be impressive so people would see the inner motor, driving them to lead the people.

He did not do it in secret or in whispering tones or to just certain ones to cause an underground uprising. He did reveal His heart to His disciples, things He did not express to others, but out of genuine concern and as a warning. He did not desire to make-fun of, nor reveal vindictive hatred toward the false religious disciplers; but He did strongly correct error so truth would be obeyed. He did use forceful words such as white washed sepultures or tombs to get His point across concerning false disciplers motives and actions. At times, we must wisely choose strong words to get our point across concerning false teachers who are leading people away into heresy. However, we must make sure there is no vengeful hatred in our hearts just that which hates sin and seeks its extermination. Vengeance is reserved for the Lord alone to perform.

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You must always be awake and alert so you look beyond the externals to the heart and motive of pastors, teachers, and anyone who disciples. You must be discerning and questioning. Do they truly aspire to build you and others in the Word and in the faith? Is it all about Christ and not about them? Do they desire to decrease so Christ increases as the uppermost discipler.

You must remember when you place yourself under others that God is never a God of confusion; 1 Corinthians 14:33. If you are forever confused by a person’s teaching, you had better be praying and conferring with the Word.

Adult discipleship can be very comprehensive. The main thing is it must be done right—Biblically. Those who sit under disciplers must be learning the Word and growing in Christ. An educated Bible church is a light to the world. A church that is not engaged in discipleship, just barely pumps a pulse as it is not nourished properly. Believers need the true milk and food of the Word to be vibrant discerning lights for Christ.

Chapter 5

Exhibit 5
Despairing Believers

Now we will move to our fifth exhibit for argument. I will pull out of my briefcase a picture of concerned believers, appearing painfully distressed. Again, you will just have to imagine this through your mind’s eye. This photo represents believers who are alarmed and who question the methods that compose contemporary churches and contemporary pastors—not the majority of Christians but a snippet.

If you look at the background area of my photo, it appears that some of the believers are running away. These are those who are leaving trendy churches but are having a difficult time finding the Biblically-traditional. Often times when they do locate such a fellowship, the leaders decide a change toward contemporary-ism believing they are out of step with everyone else. The pastors who desire to stay conservative are conveniently removed or kindly asked to step aside. This leaves many congregational members in deep despair who do not want the new fashionable ways.

These people can hold a pain in their hearts just as many faithful believers of old as we see in scripture. They can sometimes feel they are alone except for a few others who care about the apostate, societal conforming church.

The apostle Paul’s heart was often hurting due to the fact that the churches were compromising. He spoke of his concern for all the churches in 2 Corinthians 11:28-29. In Philippians 3:20-21, he speaks his heart’s distress about everyone being simply concerned for their own interests. His desire was for all to be holding the interests of Jesus Christ, which would produce a kindred spirit for the true cause. At this time, he was in prison. During his incarceration, he felt totally alone at times as he mentions how all had abandoned him in 2 Timothy 4:10-18. This did not stop him from wanting to proclaim the Gospel to the Gentiles. Despite total abandonment, his heart throb was to see people redeemed.

David felt very alone as we read in the Psalms and 1 Samuel. There seemed to be few outside of himself who truly loved the LORD alone. He was a man running for his life, as he would not turn from the vocation God had called him. He was not afraid to stand alone for the LORD though he certainly had to bear his heart to Him and rely on Him to remain steadfast.

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Elijah, in 1 Kings, felt he was fighting alone for the LORD and was all discouraged; but the LORD informed him that He had 7,000 left in Israel that had not gone the way of contemporary religious society—they had not bowed the knee to the false god, Baal, who everyone was following as to be styling; 1 Kings 19:18.

If you are a despairing believer like me, do not turn aside and join the gang. If you believe you are alone in your stances, keep on keeping on. … Stay steadfast in the hope of our eternal reward. It will be worth all the pain and sadness of feeling alone in the battle for the inerrant Word of God.

Chapter 6

Exhibit 6:
Liberals and their Babylonian-Like Churches

We leave the “Despairing Believers” to explore another view … that of “Liberals and their Babylonian-Like Churches.” You will find far more material in this category as opposed to the despairing believers who simply want a Bible following church.

Are you now ready for the unveiling of this sixth exhibit? Well, here it goes. Here stands a photo of liberal church participants. Yes, … once again, you simply have to guess their appearance. Please keep in mind as you view this exhibit that sin is rampant in most fellowships and conservatism is a joke to many so you may not see much Spirit-filled joy on their faces. Such joy only arises from living in the Spirit.

Now, I must inject here, that churched liberals can reveal significant joy; unfortunately, it is a societal happiness that is embodied from loving the world that entertains the flesh that ignites a great high.

If you could research their hearts, you would recognize they have little desire to conform to scripture, as that is not what feeds their hungry flesh. The hottest movies or concerts are their cup of tea of discussion in their adult Sunday school class. You may often hear it asked, “Did you see this or that movie?” The desired forte for Sunday School night outs, is planned pleasure. A “Video Night” brings in far more people than prayer meetings. Moreover, the videos are rarely required to be chaste and edifying. Numbers is the object for all togetherness, and the more compromise—the better. Have you noticed that? It was a sad day when vile videos such as The Titanic entered church activities. This flick from ’97 is totally depraved. It contains words that curse our loving Lord. And it is only natural that the swearing is accompanied by fornication and nudity. This movie was not filmed by God-fearing saints; it was produced by the vile of the vilest. Hollywood is not known to promote and uplift Christ and His accompanying holy and chaste attributes.

This scenario is typical and disheartening to the few who want to be fed the Word of God.

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I am even shocked by some videos produced by Christians in this day and age. I know these releases make our holy Lord weep when not every woman is covered in modesty and when they do not hold to pure, separated, edifying chaste language.

Many movies since Titanic, also holding fornication agendas, even far worse … are being accepted by believers as being good entertainment. Christians even justify actors who are homosexual; they only notice their Oscar winning merits and charismatic appeal.

The Hollywood-loving media of the jet-set tells believers what they want to hear and the Bible does not. Chastity is a foreign word to most Christians. Virginity till marriage and being faithful to one till death is like an outer space exploration of impossibility. The media’s influence has resulted in many believers having no problem being a bit promiscuous as long they know the person well, and have marriage in mind somewhere in the future. A churched lady recently stated something to the effect that she won’t have sex with her boyfriend till his divorce is final, being she has Christian morals.

Revelation speaks of the new coming unsurpassable, nonpareil Babylon that is full of immorality (not innocent modest purity and chaste behavior and dress). This culture will be styling like America in that it will be the thriving industrial and commercial port of the world. Anything of men’s desire will be purchased here—all state-of-the-art commercial delights such as fun recreational sporting toys, designer sexy clothing, décor items, food, ticketed entertainment, etc. It will proffer every delight in prosperity materialism and it will be the religious ecumenical center of the world. It will be a society that glorifies itself as queen of the world; Revelation 18:7.

America is envied as the queen of the world today. Its Hollywood/rock culture and accompanying styles are worshipped and imitated throughout the globe.

All the nations will drink of the passion of the renovated Babylon of old, resurrected and arrayed in 7th Avenue make-up of en route society. Nations drink today of the wine of styling, sensual and alluring America.

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Like America, New Babylon will sit as the prominent cutting-edge civilization as unveiled in Revelation chapters 13, 14, 17-18.

However, it will be completely beyond the imagination and sweeping far beyond America’s proficiencies and refinement. In the book of Daniel, Babylon was described as the head of gold—unsurpassed by former kingdoms and coming kingdoms. God dubs this new and upcoming civilization Babylon as it will be a contemporary clone of old Babylon in religion and in culture. New Babylon will even have a man-sculptured statue that will be worshipped by the whole world. Sound familiar to King Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian monstrous idol which is described in Daniel? This new idol will surpass King Nebuchadnezzar’s as it will eventually miraculously speak. This will lead the world into further adoration of this man-like idol; Revelation chapter 13.

New Babylon will hold to a fun in the sun type mentality so much like the fun in the sun jesus mentality of believers today—the jesus of America—the Babylon of today’s world.

This new jesus that complies with the New Babylonian styling outlook we see arriving in eschatological times, is not just a god of fun but is also a Hollywood rock and rolling jesus. The false cross of rock fun is being propagated in most Churches. The changeless Rock of Ages, who had to suffer and die for a rock and rolling mentality, has been remodeled to be in vogue with New Babylon.

However, it is the holy removed Savior that enables us to die to the flesh that is only fun-seeking. It is He who empowers us to resist satan who adds glitter to all evil; never unveiling the complete ugly consequences of self-indulgence of a self-fulfilling society.

There are many false christs who are followed in this rock and rolling age of fun-seekers. Multitudes in evangelical circles are being brought to a Hollywood jesus not the separated, sacrificial, and humble Jesus Christ of the whole Bible.

The Babylonian contemporary church is the church of satan and believers should be doing all to transform it back into its original Biblical mandate of historically correct callings and away from a rock and rolling mentality. We don’t need to be Babylonians to reach Babylonians for Christ. It is a lie straight from hell that teaches we must be like the world to reach the world. It is an antichrist lie that will continue to be present in the time of New Babylon and that is why God calls His children to come out from amongst the Babylonian mind maneuvers; Revelation 18:4.

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James 4:8-9 tells us to turn from worldliness, which presents entertaining joy and laughter. We, of the true church, are to repent of our entanglement with society so our joy turns to mourning and gloom.

Turning from worldly joy draws us to the true separated Jesus who warned that we will be persecuted as He was persecuted. Standing on Him and His holy righteous ways of godly living is our injunction even though this true Christ is not in vogue and His demands are scary.

God revealed the coming activates of Revelation 18:4-5 to warn us of Babylonian perceptions that can capture us today. It is a command to us not to partake of any styling, rock and rolling entertaining society and their ecumenical religious views of tolerance. God commands separation from society throughout His holy Word. Light has nothing to do with darkness and the love of the Father cannot be in those who love culture and society; James 4:4. We are to be strangers and aliens on this earth. Our eyes are to be on Christ our Savior alone who bore our sins in His body; lest we forget and are blinded to the alluring captivating ways that entangle us and separate us from His holy ways of living. We have nothing in common with this world that is passing away.

Knowing our Bibles as we should is a discerning shield, preventing mind penetrating, cultural allurements … we recognize right away all their neon signs of deception. Unfortunately, Believers want to imitate culture so they appear to be in fashion using the latest styling vocabulary and knowing all the entertainers and their latest releases. This mentality is present in most every assembly, which has everyone pre-tuned to the new coming Babylonian precedence. Christ cautioned, the apostasy must come prior to end time happenings; 2 Thessalonians 2:3.

Satan desires to be exalted above God and all mankind. He places his Hollywood rock mentality into man so man too wants to be on center stage of adoration and envy.

Christ was meek and lowly of heart and teaches us to follow the opposite of satan’s role model. We are never to desire self-adoration, praise, or stage worship; but to present every humble aim at Christ’s feet.

God will eventually destroy the new Babylon—the self-feeding, state-of-the-art, lustful, community that rules the world. Her unsurpassed fortunes and productions will cause kings, merchants and everyone to lament over her death when God brings her destruction, as He did the first Babylon; Revelation 18:9-19.

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The Babylonian agendas are still alive and well today, however, as sensuality is not even considered shock-able material in the church any longer. I find this truth hitting home more and more as apostasy happenings grow stronger and stronger in the church.

Not long ago, a discerning, godly lady, who doesn’t enjoy today’s shocking church agendas, told me in great disgust of a couple who are living together and it is fully accepted by a pastor she knows. They were introduced to her by him with great enthusiasm. Their fornicating, live-in situation was spoken of as being the best way to go by the pastor, as a signed piece of paper means nothing. All three, the pastor and the couple, were not ashamed in any way. My friend spoke out in complete shock of it being an act of sin. The pastor responded in an abusive tone, asking for chapter and verse. She simply could not believe her ears as this pastor knew full well the chapters and verses!

I knew a man who was very faithful to his Baptist church, but confided on the side that he had no problem engaging in sexual play as a divorced man. He received cancer not long after making this shocking statement and death overtook him quickly.

No one would ever dare to imply that he received God’s judgment as that is not modish in today’s Babylonian churches. No one thinks about the instruction of Christ stated to the lame man in John 5:14 whom He healed—“Do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.” Pastors also do not homilize on 1 Corinthians 11:28-32, which warns believers of the suffering and death that will ensue if they take communion unworthily. Most leaders would never tell a congregation that this may be the case regarding some attendees who are in pain. Too many tithing members would walk out the door. Of course, not all who suffer are in sin, as Paul was not, but held a medical complication to keep him meek.

This leads us to what has become popular in church and it is not stepping on people’s toes. What is popular is taught and all pastors and leaders seem to be well versed in the no-noes. Pastors and teachers will use illustrations from the latest sport releases and Hollywood flicks to engage their audience. A few jokes are always a must during sermon messages in this day and age so laughter fills the place. No preacher wants to be viewed as drab or humdrum, plus preachers are hired to make liberal attendees feel right at home. One world renowned pastor plays movie clips to keep his audience alert and pacified. Few Bibles are seen in his church.

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Today it is worldly referrals that revive congregations to life not the convicting powerful moving of the Holy Spirit as in days gone by. Providing a “save environment” for all who enter a church door is now number one on the hit parade of church attendee goals.

This all seems grim and it is. It is heartbreaking to see how the church has fallen in recent decades to Babylonian degrees. What is further saddening is liberal thinking believers can be placed in respected positions within the church community. And I know this all too well. … When I was attending a Bible college in Portland Oregon, I met a man and fell in love. We eventually became engaged and began to plan the wedding. I set up an appointment for a premarital exam with a respected physician who occasionally spoke at our Bible College, believing him to be godly. He was the most respected Christian doctor in the Portland area and viewed as a prominent Christian leader. Upon being seated in an examining room, he probed me with questions. He inquired about my virginity, which caused his demeanor to abruptly change. He was shocked and angered to discover I was a virgin. He inquired, “Haven’t you even tried sex” and I replied, “No.” This made him even madder and very appalled with my purity. I left his office in complete shock and bewilderment as he acted as if he had never seen a legitimate virgin before even though he dealt mainly with believers and many Bible college students.

I thought, if this man is a believer, why is he not thankful for my Biblical behavior? Why would my virginity incite him to be so angry and hostile? Previously, I had a secular doctor become strangely angry due to my virginity, but never a Christian. I didn’t expected it.

I still lack the answers over all these years, but it is obvious that the liberal world fed his true forte of hidden thoughts. I never viewed this doctor in the same respectful light again. How could a physician who is uplifted as a Christian leader hate virgins?

Everyone must beware, as there are many like this physician who had something malfunctioning within his heart. You can find similar reckless mindsets throughout the Christian community and holding leadership roles.

Oh … by the way … the man I met at Bible college and married is my precious Alan—just for those who want to know. We have been married for over 30 years, and boy am I glad I went to this college. Ladies, you can find the godliest men at a Bible school; but you also can find the most depraved—so be careful.

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The apostasy is grave and not absent from any arena in Christianity or so it seems. Just read about the personal lives of many on-stage entertaining believers in Christian publications. You can be made sick in a very short amount of time. Nevertheless, don’t throw in the towel. Pray for the Lord to bring uncompromising people into your life who will continually excite your vigor for Christ. If you are in a lukewarm church, intercede for the Lord to lead you to a fellowship that is faithful to the Word in all ways and has no aspirations to man-please.

Remember in humility that all of us can be to blame in one way or another in not always speaking out against sin as we should. All of us are capable of taking part in this apostasy of liberalness. Doing what is right in our own eyes seems wise according to society, but it always leads to the destruction of the soul. We must keep warnings before our eyes, as we are called to continually examine ourselves. May you and I do this in all seriousness and bathe daily in prayer to maintain alert steadfastness.

Chapter 7

Exhibit 7:
The Legalistic Church

The unveiling of exhibit 7 encompasses a scenario of the legalistic church. How should I place a memory in your mind of such a church? Well, let me see. Now what do you know … I just happen to have a small replica of a church in my briefcase and a little chain. I will place the church on the desk and wrap the chain about it.

There are chained churches in the sense that people are held within by a jail-like bondage. In these churches, pastors teach the Bible according to their mindset just to promote their agendas to establish their church. They can turn, twist and remold the Word to bring members into their control and bondage. Brainwashing so legalism is imbedded into believers’ brains enables pastors to maintain their doctrinal control. It keeps believers on bended knees before them not Christ. Attendees live in fear as they might unknowingly offend one in authority someday as they have witnessed such occurrences. Such an offence could place them in the doghouse where they are distrusted and hated to eternity.

There are many overseers today who are involved in rewriting and remolding the Word. They make their churches similar to jails; telling the people their church is the only true church in the city or possibly in the state. Most every Sunday they will remind the people that their denomination is the best and the only true one. They will name other churches in the area and state something to this effect about them—you should never go there or you will be in sin because they do not stand with what our church teaches or our scriptural interpretation.

To maintain harsh doctrinal controls, legalistic pastors will say people who study and are educated in the Word are trouble makers and gossips. Pastors will even incite their loyal followers to look down on those who intensely study, as they are a threat and may stimulate an attitude of grace.

Such preachers do not teach comprehensively. They simply mold sermons by placing scriptures here and there to establish their own principles which are never to be questioned. Because they leave congregations ignorant of most scripture, these congregational members believe all that descends from the pulpit; even though they are being placed under laws that are not scriptural by any means.

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If one does engage in personal comprehensive Bible learning and a pastor catches on, they can be in troubled waters whereby they might become too fearful to study beyond church dictates. A pastor can catch on to such a one as they usually start proclaiming the Word in its purity and they are excited about it. I know … I have been there. When the Word comes to life in you, it flows from your innermost being.

Alan and I were members of a legalistic church, but one day the light switched on. Suddenly, I began to be excited about the Word. I brought scriptures to women in enthusiasm as I knew it was all true and alive.

Being so entrenched in this church, it took the Spirit’s enlightening power to open our eyes so Alan and I could see beyond leadership’s strangling hold. I am so thankful we serve a gracious God who can remove our blindness when we don’t even know we are blind. Needless to say, things did not set well with the overseers who belittled the Bible. Alan and I left the church after realizing that we could not depart from the truths of scripture to follow men’s words.

There are many overseers today who are involved in rewriting and remolding the Word. They make their churches similar to jails; telling the people their church is the only true church in the city or possibly in the state. Most every Sunday they will remind the people that their denomination is the best and the only true one. They will name other churches in the area and state something to this effect about them—you should never go there or you will be in sin because they do not stand with what our church teaches or our scriptural interpretation.

The Sadducees and Pharisees added to scripture, which put many burdens on the people, which they could not bear. They were unbiblical demands that were not of the law but solely of man. You will notice in the Gospels how Christ attacks the religious leaders for making people hold to their traditions, the traditions of men. Just because a pastor states something does not mean people have to adhere to it; only if it is verified in scripture. There are people who believe they must jump if their pastor says jump or they are in sin. They believe if they expose any false doctrine, they will be headed for hell’s damnation. However, the Bible makes it clear throughout that it is our duty to test everything taught. We are to resemble the Bereans who diligently searched the scriptures for verification of all that Paul and Silas presented concerning the Christ; Acts 17:10-11.

There was a lack of scriptural humble teachers in Christ’s day. He revealed that the scribes and Pharisees had seated themselves in the “chair of Moses” or taken authority they should have never assumed. They taught the Old Testament but did not live by it nor did they desire to. They told others to, but they did not. When it came to obeying the religious leaders, Christ commanded the people to do and observe as they teach Moses, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger; Matthew 23:2-4.

EXHIBIT 7    Page 51

Though the Jewish religious teachers lacked every bit of compassion, Christ did not let the Jews off the hook completely in the area of obedience. They were still responsible to obey the Word even though they had proud, pompous, sinful religious leaders. Even though Christ knew these pious persuaders would eventually murder Him as they were murderers from the beginning; He still desired the people submit to them as they taught the Law of Moses and the rest of Old Testament scripture. The Bible untainted is the authority no matter who teaches it.

In conclusion to this legalistic presentation, you truly need to be on guard for those who preach and teach for self-elevation and manipulative control as the religious teachers did in Christ’s day. Being in the Word and learning it thoroughly is the protective vanguard that can prevent you from moving to a fellowship filled with spiteful dogmatism, where no loving grace dwells.

Chapter 8

Exhibit 8:
Sin’s Presence/ I Must Fight the Darkness

Yes, you are right; it is hard to show an illustration that covers the whole aspect of sin so I request you imagine that I am holding before you a painted representation of a black heart. That is the color of our lives when we allow sin in. Christ is the one who washes our hearts clean through His blood; resulting in a clean, white metamorphosis.

In 2 Peter chapter 2, we are warned that people will try to bring sensuality into the church, but these people are not to be part of the church. They must be excluded from the body. They are ones who have eyes full of adultery as they follow sensuality as we read in verses 2-14. These people come into the church spouting false words, not true Biblical doctrine, because they indulge the flesh, holding to corrupt desires. They hold no fear of God and His judgment. They are like animals that need to be captured and killed because they glory in deception and have a goal to deceive the church into accepting liberal sensual agendas. The warning here is emphasized throughout scripture so we stay close to those who are faithful to the Word alone. Now tell me, when was the last time you heard a sermon on this topic so you could be advised?

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An incident was relayed to me of an occurrence in our area of a man who was faithful to Christ and His Word. Some people in the church did not like this man who was so strong when it came to teaching the Word and who refused to adhere to a tolerance mentality. He was booted out of his church underhandedly. Some people were left stunned by their leadership’s performance of being intolerant of a man who wanted the Word proclaimed. However, they possessed no power to override the decision.

I love my church and my pastors, but as I pen this book, at this very minute, I am hurting as I am in a state of church correction. I am very conservative but I never thought it would lead to discipline.

Our church has beautiful orchestra music. It also teaches the Bible solidly and I love Sunday school and church. I was told when we first came to the church that it held to conservative stands when it came to music. I mistakenly felt this would be the type of music I would always hear.

However, this Sunday following church, I received a rude awakening. I was to be a teacher for Vacation Bible School and was going through this week’s agenda with the staff. I was very surprised to find there was to be an electric guitarist leading the music. Not only was I surprised by the electric guitarist, but the music was blasphemous as we sang to Christ as if He were a mere detective who wanted us locating clues. I could not sing the words to the music as it completely belittled Christ—our holy righteous omnipotent LORD. I was very hurt with much of what I witnessed when the whole program came to life.

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Because I cannot worship God to the world’s rock beat and silly words, I phoned the VBS leader explaining I would attend the beginning exercises after the music portion ended. She seemed to understand a bit, but later on, one of the pastors phoned and let me know he did not want me teaching and being a part of VBS if I could not stand behind the electric guitar. I had to stand with everything completely.

Later the VBS leader, to my surprise, also let me know in a rude way that she too was opposed to my conservative voice.

Everything today is so odd to me because fifty years ago most pastors would not have even thought of bringing a guitar into the church let alone an electric one. Church music consisted of choirs accompanied by piano and organ. The congregations basically sang hymns. I am old and I remember!

When I was speaking to our beloved pastor, I mentioned how I would sit in the car at a former church and sing hymns and come in during the preaching time as I just cannot sing to the Lord with a rock band. It breaks my heart. He informed me I was wrong and stated if I can’t completely go along with all that is part of a church, then I cannot attend. Everyone has to agree on everything that takes place in a church according to him. This is something that deeply saddened me and I have cried, but at the same time, I am grateful that my Lord holds all my tears in His bottle; Psalm 56:8.

It is hard to bear these words of reproach by my pastor as most churches today do not have choirs and organs but rock drums, electric guitars, etc. This leaves me without a church. I also can never go along with the contemporary mindset of the majority of churches. This also would leave me without a fellowship because I follow the Bible and its teachings on coming out and being separate from culture. I cannot stand with the contemporary methodologies, terminologies, psychology, liberal curriculum, etc, that has now overtaken fellowships. I cannot stand with the liberal theologians that many pastors adore now. I cannot be part of anything that takes away from the fullness of the measure of Christ; anything that belittles or humanizes Him. I can’t be part of that which in any way does not attend to scripture 100%.

I wrote a letter to our pastors yesterday and here is a portion. In it I informed them where I stood so they know whether to have me participate in anything or not in the future.

EXHIBIT 8    Page 55

“… I will also never applaud anything of any worldly mindset that is not 100% Biblical and separated from this world and its methods and activities.

I am so thankful that God brought The Life and Dairy of David Brainerd into my life who, as a missionary to Indians, hated this world and all that was of it and only desired to walk in meekness and humility. It is absolutely the best book I believe available on the example of what the Christian walk should resemble on this vile earth. He was one who sincerely hated his life and was willing to die for His Savior in an instant. I quote page 85 from this book ‘… God was so precious to my soul that the world with all its enjoyments was infinitely vile. I had no more value for the favor of men than for pebbles.’ Page 91 …’my desires seem especially to be carried out after the weanedness from the world, perfect deadness to it, and to be even crucified to all its allurements. My soul longs to feel itself more of a pilgrim and stranger here below; that nothing may divert me from pressing through the lonely desert, till I arrive at my Father’s house.’ Page 120… ‘was again distressed as soon as I walked hearing much talk about the world and the things of it. … Oh, I thought what hell it would be to live with such men to eternity.’ ”

I know many pastors would stand with my pastor in his litigation as they would think I deserve it because I stand on the Word and not what is trendy and lax—that which overlooks the sinful ways of the world. Pastors and others have informed me they do not desire I stand opposed to those things that are present in churches that are unbiblical. They do not desire I stand in opposition to those things that slap Christ in the face and all He died for. He died for all sins and when we stand for anything of a secular nature, we slap Him in the face as He commands us to come out from amongst them and be separate. The love of the Father is not in those who love society’s culture and its productions; cultural friendliness is banned in the scriptures. Those who stand with it are enemies of God; James 4:4.

What do I do now in light of this discipline for refusing to conform to the world’s outlook? I just keep writing and trusting God, praying this book will be published in His timing. I know Christ will heal me from this pain as He has consistently mended my soul. He has a reason for everything and we know from James chapter 1, that we learn endurance from all our hardships.

This has not been the first time I have been stifled by a pastor. I would like to state some of the silly things pastors have told me to keep me under their thumb of obedience to prevent me from exposing false doctrines and evil desires.

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“You will cause a church split if you let anyone know you believe in predestination.” Yes, it is silly, but it was an attempt to keep me from revealing those precious scriptures in the Bible that teach predestination. This occurred many years ago in a legalistic Baptist church when I was part of a ladies Bible study group. Of course, I believe all who call upon the Lord can be saved, but predestination is also taught throughout the New Testament. This is one of those mysteries no man can entirely explain. This church taught their doctrines were superior to scripture. I was also told I could not teach scriptures that did not comply with the church’s creeds.

I was commanded not to send emails exposing the false teaching of The New Perspective on Paul by a pastor of a Bible church. This false doctrine humanizes Christ and belittles the authority of the New Testament. It teaches Jesus and Paul sought their own egocentric agendas. These New Perspective concepts take no strong stands against homosexuality, promiscuous sex, etc. The doctrines please anyone who just desires a taste of religion as it is referred as the theology “for everyone.” It encompasses doctrines that please every palate. The pastors of this church wanted to control me so I wouldn’t disclose the lies of these teachings. I, of course, am to be in subjection to my husband and leaders of my church; however, when men who call themselves pastors become heretics, it is not inappropriate to expose their doctrines through Biblical precision. These pastors were consistently requested to repent by men in the church who interceded in the distressing situation of lies and deception. Alan also did what he could in relationship to this plight that suddenly took our church by storm.

I was told by a pastor that a teenage girl would be destroyed if she was informed she was dressing very immodestly. I have, no doubts whatsoever that she has made many men stumble. This gal wore very revealing attire and looked like a hooker and others were not afraid to say so behind her back. She spoke before a missionary banquet in the shortest of skirts and in a tight knit top. She also had not problem dressing in very low tops, revealing pants, etc. How can a Christian lady not know when she is dressing differently from modest society especially if she has been raised in a conservative Christian missionary home?

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My husband and I were told by a Baptist pastor that we could never tell what was accruing in a sister church where my husband had been a youth/assistant pastor (In this fellowship everyone was departing due to the head pastor’s very known dishonesty). This Baptist pastor stated it was a sin to tell the truth about a wayward pastor. Basically, he stated it was impossible for a pastor to do wrong within this Baptist denomination.

All these reproaches have brought great pain, but Christ always brings His steadfast love, which renews by the grace of His Holy Spirit. What further blesses my heart in all this is Christ’s words where He stated all things hidden will be made known; Matthew 10:26.

In today’s apostate church, I just have to expect to be hated by many for standing on God’s Word alone … for if I call any disobedience to God and his Word a vile wicked sin, believers look at me like I came from Mars. This is because no one wants to label sin as God does. Making light of it makes it easier to swallow and accept.

I must admit here that I am not perfect and Alan and I would be swift to tell you we have done things that appall us today as they went along with the flow of church leadership and bad example not checking every way with scripture. There have been times when we should have listened better to the aged who warned of the influence of changing Christianity. This is what I must remember so I walk in grace with fellow believers and pray continually for discernment for the church, which is composed of redeemed fallen men who are simply made of dust. Moreover, God is mindful of this; Psalm 103:14.

In Acts 13:10, Paul addressed a magician as one full of deceit, a fraud, a son of the devil and the enemy of all righteousness. These are perfect terminologies for the unsaved and those in chosen sin. Paul was not afraid to lay it on the line with the unsaved or those in desired disobedience.

The text of 2 Corinthians chapter 6 speaks to us in admonishment so we do not engage in the deeds that represent the ways of darkness. It speaks of us being separated from evil as we are to shun all lawlessness. We are only to surround ourselves with that which is righteous. This is because we have nothing in common with unbelievers as is stated in this ever-neglected passage. There is no calling for us to be imitators of darkness so we can win the lost. Sin is black darkness and we must set no room for tolerance. As believers, we must make sure the white light of Christ is ever visible even in these days of hovering sinister clouds that anchor themselves over churches.

A Point of Evaluation:

You may be forming opinions in your mind at this point after analyzing, pondering and wondering if your church or others are apostate from my preface arguments. You may be thinking that I just contributed more to the confusion and you are not willing to make a firm verdict.

As I present my closing argument, the Jude commentary, may you accumulate solid answers. May its scriptural truths evoke revival transformation in the heart of every person that reads and studies it. The church in general needs revival to bring it back to the place of respecting God’s decrees. The agenda of getting it to fit into today’s society so it sits unnoticed must be eliminated.

All we observe today was predicted by Christ in the Gospels and enhanced upon by the other New Testament books, including Jude, to convey to you discernment and warning.

If many questions marks still loom in your mind after reading through the entire book, I would advise you to keep delving into the scriptures and praying for God’s discernment and enlightenment. He is the one who holds all the answers to every troubling way and day.

Before you probe Jude, I would like to write a bit about salvation—being saved unto Christ and delivered from the lake of fire. John 3:16 is a promise of salvation to those who ask Christ to be their Savior. He came and died for lost sinners like you and like me on a cross of suffering and shame. You can ask the Savior to save you and give you a new life so you are no longer under the bondage of sin.

You can be saved today if you have not already made the decision to follow Christ. You can simply say, Heavenly Father I thank you for sending your son Christ Jesus to die for me, and I now ask that He cleanse me of my sin by His precious shed blood. Please take control of all my life. Thank you that Jesus died for me out of His great love for me. In Jesus’ name; amen.

If you pray this sincerely, you can know you are going to heaven when you die. You do not have to pray this exact prayer, as you can pray from your heart in your own words by acknowledging who Christ is and what He did for you. 1 John 5:11-13 assures us that we have eternal life if we have the Son. The person who does not have Christ controlling their lives owns no assurance that they are going to heaven when they die. Those who do not have Christ will be thrown into the lake of fire as their names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life; Revelation 20:10-15.

Part 2

The Book of Jude Commentary

Historical Prelude

Jude, who penned this book for our Lord, was the half-brother of Christ. James, who authored the book of James, held eldership over the large church at Jerusalem and was a brother to Jude. These siblings were the sons of Mary and Joseph. Remember Joseph kept Mary a virgin until the supernatural birth of Christ. God blessed Mary and Joseph with other children following Christ’s birth. If you turn to Matthew 13:55-56, you will note that Christ’s half-siblings are mentioned. Christ lived with four half-brothers and an unknown amount of half-sisters.

Though God performed many miracles in the nativity account that surrounded Jesus’ earthly family, we also recognize that Christ loves all and He stated those who do His will are the true members of His family; Matthew 12:49-50. Due to this truth, I believe neither James nor Jude identified themselves as being brothers to Christ. I also perceive it is owned to the fact that Christ now reigns in all glory, majesty and splendor apart from His earthly inherited tent; 2 Corinthians 5:16.

Growing up with the perfect Christ was a noble privilege though James, Jude and the rest of Christ’s family did not fully recognize this till they obtained saving faith. Christ spent the majority of His life with his family, thirty years; while approximately three years were dedicated to His ministry. Christ, out of His own grace and love, was placed with within this God-fearing family via His faultless timing.

Mary, His mother, was all-exceptional; one with a pure and obedient heart.

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She illuminated humility and grace. She was feminine, holding a quiet and gentle spirit which is precious in the sight of God. She was no women’s libber! No doubt, her desires encompassed soon being married, being a homemaker, loving her husband and children, if God so blessed her; Titus 2:4-5.

If you turn to Luke 1:30, you will read how Mary “found favor with God.” This exclusive message was delivered by God through the angel Gabriel.

She, no doubt, knew of Gabriel through scripture, being one who comprehended the Old Testament and its teachings of the predicted Messiah. It was the angel Gabriel who revealed the promised Messiah in Daniel 9:21f.

Mary was told of something miraculous that had never occurred and will never occur again. She, a pure virgin, who walked in chaste behavior was going to bear a Son by the power of the Most High. He would be a “holy Child” and “called the Son of God;” Luke 1:35. What an astonishing thing to contemplate on!

God knew this was a hard pill to swallow for this unmarried woman; therefore, He lovingly brought comfort through Gabriel by informing Mary of her relative, Elizabeth; verse 36. She knew her relative was old and past childbearing age; yet, she too was to miraculously give birth. Mary was not alone in this time of miraculous works. Gabriel reminds Mary that “nothing is impossible with God,” verse 37, concerning Elizabeth’s astonishing conception. Mary is totally assured of God’s power to perform mighty works of allowing a woman to bear past her time. She recognizes that such a tremendous miracle did not cease with Sarah, Abraham’s wife, as disclosed in the book of Genesis. A similar statement of assurance was presented to Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 18:14, where God asked, “Is anything two difficult for the LORD?” The God of yesteryears is the God of today. We must not walk in smallness of faith. This is the message presented to Mary, the mother of God and the mother of Jude. Faith is the glorious victory in overcoming all doubt.

God ministered to Mary with just the right prescription. He knows how to heal any scriptural doubting we may hold. He can move beyond what we ask or think.

God opened the way of comfort for Mary through Elizabeth so she would not feel alone in this unusual situation that could prove to be most embarrassing. God is all-able to bring people into our lives that can assist us through the deep roaring seas of tribulation where we need faith and endurance to face today and tomorrow. But we also know as believers that no person can minister to us like the Lord as 1 Peter 5:7 discloses. He oversees every one of His children as a guiding Father who is omnipotently superior to any earthly father … that is why we cast all our cares upon Him.

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There may be times when God will separate us from others so we can learn total dependence upon Him. I have been here and I know how important this lonely, painful lesson is. No matter what our circumstances, we can always personally feel His presence as we seek Him through prayer and the scriptures that hold all the answers.

Verse 38 is most remarkable, as it reveals Mary’s total heart of submission … so unlike Elizabeth’s husband. Though Zacharias was godly, he lacked the submission and faith that were found in Mary. Mary replies, “May it be done according to your word.” This is what we all should say when it comes to applying God’s Word! We are to be those who love all the inerrant scripture—longing to apply it without question. What lessons can be learned from this one statement made by Mary.

Mary most likely held great excitement in her heart knowing she was the fulfillment of prophecy. She was the virgin spoken of in Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” Mary was the woman who every young maiden desired to be, the one to bring God in man form into the world. This is incomprehensibly miraculous for us to totally grasp.

Mary’s quick response in faith to Gabriel’s words concerning Elizabeth displayed she held no doubts concerning what God could do. She arose to travel to Judah, in a hurry; verse 39.

The details involving Gabriel’s next task is found in Matthew 1:16-25. This involves Joseph’s part in the holy advent of Christ’s birth. In Matthew 1:16 Joseph is called Mary’s husband. This is before Gabriel came to Joseph with the miraculous news. This is because they were married in decision, but had not joined together in being united under one roof through consummation. The engagement period in Israel represented a marital vow that was not to be broken unless adultery occurred. We see from John chapter 2 that the Jews engaged in wedding celebrations which Mary and Joseph had not partaken.

(Many will say Jesus was mocked for being illegitimate by the religious leaders as seen in John 8:41. I don’t believe this; I believe the Pharisees were just trying to justify themselves before Christ by saying they did not come from an act of fornication. They did not live where Jesus lived nor desired to go to this mocked land of Nazareth. They seemed to assume he was born in Nazareth as they called him a Nazarene.

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The religious leaders did not appear to know of His birth which occurred around 30 years previous in Bethlehem or of the miracles that surrounded it which proved Him to be God-man. Never do we see this discussed among them.

If Jesus was known as being of fornication, why was the family completely welcomed into the Jerusalem temple after Jesus’ birth? Why weren’t Mary and Joseph ridiculed and put out?

Jesus, as an infant, was transported to Egypt by his parents as Herod wanted Jesus dead; and, of course, so did satan. God’s directives came by way of two dreams to direct the paths of this young family. Both dreams were angelic warnings. The first warned them of Herod’s murderous plan to eliminate Jesus; whereby, they were instructed to flee to Egypt, and stay until the Lord told them to return. The second angelic warning proceeded Herod’s death, when Joseph was directed to return to Israel, but not the Judea area, as Herod’s vile son reigned in his stead. The religious leaders never kept tabs on this unknown baby though phenomenal happenings surrounded His life.

When the people from Christ’s hometown speak of Him, Matthew 13:55-56, they ask, is not this “the Carpenter’s son” and “his mother called Mary?” They did not state, this is Jesus, the son of Mary, and we do not know who his father is.)

Only God knows the timetable on all the nativity events perfectly. No time, in hours, is provided, concerning Mary leaving for Judah and the time needed in preparation. It is possible that she married Joseph before her departure. The Holy Spirit was to overshadow her, and it seems she would not depart until she knew for sure that she was pregnant through this miraculous way. God wanted Mary to enter into the marriage covenant so she would not suffer disgrace, as an unmarried pregnant woman. The LORD graciously sent Gabriel to Joseph as He totally cared for the ordained plight of this godly daughter of Israel. Joseph, somewhere in this story, obeyed God and took Mary for his wife.

Mary left her home to go and be with one of kindred spirit as Elizabeth was family, united with God and phenomenally pregnant. Mary knew Elizabeth had an open heart and home and she could go there any time and be received in love.

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God spoke the way through Gabriel or she would not have known of God’s other little baby miracle in fetal development. Isn’t it interesting that God chose to have John born of a woman, whom Mary loved and respected … an actual relative.

I sincerely believe that Mary’s family stayed with Elizabeth when they came to Jerusalem for the various feasts of holy days. They probably thought it an honor to stay with a priest who served in the temple. Mary seemed to know Elizabeth well as there seemed to be no question concerning her going to her home unannounced.

Elizabeth was six months with child at this time. John was six months older than his cousin Christ Jesus. Why did it happen like this? Perhaps so Elizabeth could encourage and minister to Mary. At least, this is what I believe. She was a godly older woman who could comfort this young pregnant gal, she being pregnant too through an act of God.

Mary is reassured she is loved when she is welcomed by Elizabeth and John. This is wondrous fulfilled prophecy we see in verse 41. Remember, Gabriel informed Zacharias that John would be filled with the Holy Spirit while in Elizabeth’s womb. John leaped in the womb when Mary arrived. What a small bundle of large comfort for Mary. This certainly reveals the ways of God that are beyond full comprehension.

I wonder if Mary and Elizabeth studied the Old Testament passages together concerning the Messiah since they were both aware what Mary was caring the fulfilled prophecy—the Messiah. Elizabeth was impregnated with the Messiah’s forerunner.

Mary knew the scriptures well and she may have already held all the passages in her heart concerning the Christmas promise. She was a knowledgeable woman who rested in God’s Holy Scriptures. In Hebrew Messiah means “anointed one.” Christ translated means “anointed one.” Jesus means “savior.” Christ Jesus equates “Anointed Savior.” God, is the only holy anointed one, never being subject to sin. Many have been anointed to perform God’s will in scripture such as prophets, priests and kings, but they were not holy anointed God. Our “Anointed Savior” is the only one who can cleanse us from our sin by His precious blood.

Obviously, God has revealed much to Elizabeth, as she knows Mary is carrying her Lord God; verse 43. She also knows Mary responded with belief when the angel came to her, verse 45, as she exclaims, “Blessed is she who believes what was spoken to her by the Lord.” What is humorous about all this is her godly, priestly husband did not and she knows it! She is excited to have one in her midst who did not question the messenger from God Almighty. Now … do not get me wrong as I have no doubt that Elizabeth was a godly, submissive wife who did fully respect and love the man God gave her. Their marital relationship certainly was preordained of God just as Sarah and Abraham’s.

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Verse 46 begins the “Magnificat,” Mary’s exaltation of God in canticle form. She rejoices in the Lord, her Savior, as His humble bond slave. We learn from this verse that Mary walked in the absence of pride and arrogance. She was filled with godly humble attributes. I am sure she instilled such elements in Jude, James and her other children; though such attributes cannot be fully apprehended until salvation, which was experienced later by these sons and daughters.

Mary also was given insight to know that every generation will count her blessed and is not that what Christmas is much about. The knowledge of her privilege of birthing God Himself is going forth into every new generation, being highlighted every nativity season.

She continues in offering her praise for the attributes of God—His omnipotence (being all powerful), His omniscience (being all knowing) and His omnipresence (being everywhere present). This involves Him performing great and mighty acts as overseer of all. She mentions His holiness and mercy that stretch from generation to generation. She includes His ability to scatter the proud and to bring rulers down. She stresses His ways of exalting the humble ones and bringing food to the hungry, while sending the rich away empty handed. She concludes with the fact He is well able to assist Israel and stay faithful to her descendants.

What does this tell us of Mary? Well, … that she was an intelligent educated young lady. She knew the Word of God. She sought to memorize it as she quotes Old Testament passages, many from the Psalms. People say women from this era were untaught and stupid. Mary reveals just the opposite. She obviously grew up in a home where God was revered by her mother and father. She was instructed in the Word of God thoroughly. This should not surprise us as we witness the wisdom of Elizabeth who was her relative. Elizabeth was clearly intelligent and educated too. This type of fervent caliber was probably evidenced throughout Mary’s family. Mary was reared to be a godly wise woman. Many women in the Old and New Testament were wise and intelligent; some held mighty power.

Mary stayed with Elizabeth three months. This means she probably stayed for the birth of John as Elizabeth was six months pregnant when Mary traveled to see her. She had to come a distance, approximately 100 miles. There were no cars and paved thoroughfares then, so more time must be added to John’s womb incubation. Elizabeth may have been close to 6 ½ months pregnant when Mary arrived.

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It would make sense that Mary stayed a short time following the birth to assist. Since Elizabeth’s relatives rejoiced with her at the birth of John, verse 58, it is possible that Mary’s mom traveled down to celebrate too and then took her daughter back to Nazareth. However, it must be noted, nothing is stated concerning Mary’s mother and father being participants during this maternal time. Only God knows if they were still alive. We do know Mary had one or more siblings as her sister Mary (holding the same name) was at the tree of crucifixion when Christ was crucified; John 19:25. She was the wife of Clopas or Cleopas and Jesus appeared to his uncle, Cleopas and possibly his aunt, Mary, too following the resurrection;  disclosed in Luke 24:13f. I personally believe He appeared to both his aunt and uncle, knowing they beckoned Him to come into their home.

The wonders of this entire setting of miracles are completely beyond what we can grasp in our finite minds. There is so much going on behind the scenes of this remarkable true tale.

We note at the beginning of chapter two of Luke that a census was to be made “of all the inhabited earth.” What a span to cover! Of course, this was orchestrated by Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus. Rome was the ruling empire at this time and it oppressed Israel who looked toward a Messiah that would deliver her. God had another plan, however. Messiah would not rule Israel or the world until much later, when He would return a second time.

We read in verse 3, that everyone had to register in their own city—the city within the tribe of their heritage. If you turn in your Bible to the back, in the map area, you should locate a map of the divided land of Israel. It will show you the divisions according to the 12 tribes of Jacob, minus Joseph and Levi, but including Joseph’s sons, Manasseh and Ephraim … much too much to go into now. There was a designated city for each tribe to register.

Joseph and Mary were of the tribe of Judah, so Mary had to return to this southern area of Israel once again. Remember this is the general location where Elizabeth and Zacharias lived. Mary traveled from Nazareth with Joseph to a different city this time—Bethlehem, just south of Jerusalem. Elizabeth obviously didn’t reside in Bethlehem as they had to locate a place to stay.

We do not know for sure, but Elizabeth and Zacharias may have visited Mary and Joseph after Christ’s birth, since Jerusalem and Bethlehem were so close in proximity.

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Remember the Temple was in Jerusalem where Zacharias served as a priest though they resided somewhere outside of this area, as he obviously had to travel home when not officially ministering in the temple; Luke 1:23.

In verse 6, we observe that Mary gave birth to Jesus in a lowly manger area or in a type of primitive barn where the animals were lodged as there was no room in the inn for this unique couple. Jesus lived a life of a humble servant for mankind and there was no better way to represent this but through this lowly birth.

His growing up years with Jude, James and his other half brothers and sisters are silent; they are not revealed to us as God saw no significance in us knowing of these.

Christ putting Himself in this family is fulfilled prophecy,  being Joseph would have been on the throne reigning as king, and not holding a simple carpenter position if the kingly line of David had not been made void at the time of the Babylonian captivity. When Babylon invaded Judah, this ended the Davidic line of the reigning kings. According to the Davidic lineage, Christ had the right to the throne of David through Joseph, being his first born son—adoptively speaking that is. Joseph’s family ancestry traced back to David is disclosed in Matthew chapter 1 and Mary’s bloodline to David in Luke 3. As Joseph’s first born, Christ would have reigned as king succeeding Joseph. See Luke 1:32, Revelation 5:5 & 22:16 and Isaiah 9:7 concerning the prophecies of the Davidic Messiah.

As God, the creator of all—Colossians 1:13-19, Christ held the right to the throne in all aspects.

Viewing Elizabeth’s age, she could have been Mary’s blood aunt. Both Elizabeth and Zacharias were of the line of Aaron, the priestly line; Luke 1:5. Zacharias was “of the division of Abijah.” The Abijah line was of Aaron which we confirm from reading 1 Chronicles 24:1-10. In Ezekiel 44:22, it states a priest can only marry a virgin or a widow of a priest. It was very important that a priest and his wife be above reproach as they represented the righteousness and holiness of God.

God recognized this exceptional couple with obedient hearts for Him alone. They walked blamelessly, not allowing the world to influence them in any evil manner; Luke 1:6.

Christ would have received priestly blood from this family line of Mary’s. Remember Christ was king, priest and prophet on earth. God appointed prophets; therefore, it was not an inherited calling.

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Of course, Christ is God and therefore our priest by all authority, which is the only true and eternal power. Christ is Priest according to the order of Melchizedek because He has no beginning or end; Hebrews 7:9f. He is our only priest because He is omnipotent God; therefore, there is no need for a blood-inherited vocation.

We see God the Father’s great love in putting Christ in a family that was probably the most devoted to Him in all the Holy Land. God the Father made sure His Son was loved, protected and heard His truths. This would, of course, have been Christ’s truths as well. Christ moved in the Old Testament as part of the Godhead, teaching His Word which godly men recorded.

Both Jude and James became members of this inimitable family. They came by way of natural birth. God had a plan for them too.

These sons found wonderful role models in their parents not to mention God … Him being a born member of their family. Elizabeth and Zacharias certainly must have held some influence in their lives as well.

No doubt, Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, Zacharias, and others told these children of the miraculous miracles surrounding their cousin John—his birth and his dedication to God. They most likely witnessed this dedication themselves when visiting John and his family in Jerusalem.

What is bizarre, is Jude and James saw it as no special privilege to grow-up with Christ. In John chapter 7, Christ’s brothers ridiculed Him and wanted him to attend the Feast of Booths in Jerusalem so he could be arrested and persecuted. They knew it meant certain death as it was not a secret that the religious leaders wanted to do away with Him. They wanted Him appearing in public so he would be an easy target. This is all hard to comprehend, but satan was at work to deceive all, including Christ’s family.

Christ’s half brothers certainly recognized His complete righteousness, but their hard hearts and pride kept them from acknowledging that He was indeed the Messiah. They held hate for their half-brother; perhaps they were jealous of His present notoriety. I believe it is possible that Joseph’s brothers loathed Him for the special, insightful gifts God had bestowed upon Him and not them. Joseph’s special heart for God is revealed in the Old Testament book of Genesis.

Jude and James undoubtedly heard of their mother’s appointed time with God who revealed the forthcoming birth of Christ by the Holy Spirit’s intervention. They also must have heard of the powerful working of the Holy Spirit when their mother went to visit Elizabeth, as these women both prophesized the omnipotent ways of God.

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Jude, James and the other two brothers and sisters only knew second hand of the miracles of Christ’s birth. There may have held inadequate feelings; never being able to live up to Christ’s sinless life.

Christ was preaching at age twelve, this viewed in Luke 2:41f. (After this chapter, we never see Joseph mentioned so I believe somewhere between the temple teaching and Christ’s ministry, Joseph died.) Christ, while living in the home, I believe, was always speaking of the ways of God. Therefore, He was preparing and teaching His siblings and mother for their future faith in Him, which He knew, would come about … He knowing all things. When Jesus’ parents found Him in the temple, He asked, “Don’t you know I had to be about my Father’s business?” Obviously, He felt they should know. They couldn’t have forgotten the momentous events of the nativity that arrived by the Father, though it was almost 13 years ago that the heavenly disclosures occurred that foretold of His ministry—Luke 1:35, “And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”

Jude, James, and the other two brothers, sisters and mother did not receive Christ as their Messiah immediately. It appears Mary did not believe until sometime before the crucifixion, though she did refer to God being her Savior in the “Magnificat;” Luke 1:47.

At the time of the cross, Jesus tells Mary she will be placed in the care of John, His disciple. Since Mary became a believer, Jesus desired she be in a believing home—it will be exciting to hear her salvation story when we arrive in heaven since it is not disclosed in scripture.

John, being such a compassionate man, seems to be the obvious choice to us as well. Jesus certainly revealed a special concern for His mother at this time. Remember, Mary was told that a sword would even pierce her own soul; Luke 2:35. She suffered monumental pain seeing her son on the tree though God graciously warned her of what was to come. It is also interesting to note that this last statement to John concerning Christ’s mother’s care, John 19:26-27, was His last act of love prior to death.

We read in Acts 1:12 that Jesus’ brothers were with Mary in the upper room praying, so it is obvious that God opened their eyes to believe too. I would guess the sisters believed as well since God brought His grace to the rest of the family. Christ spent thirty years with His earthly family and we know He is spending eternity with them as well. Not that Christ’s earthly family is more important than any of us; yet, it is remarkable to think about this astonishing grace that brought James and Jude to be so exceedingly used of Christ.

Verse Exposé

Chapter 1

God’s Beloved

Jude presents himself in a humble light as Christ’s bondservant; in no way elevated above any other believer by position as Christ’s half-brother or author of this letter. He does identify himself as the “brother of James.” People knew James as the overseer of the famed Jerusalem church, as I stated previously, which encompassed thousands.

The book of James is the earliest known New Testament manuscript.

Jude is only known to us today by this book and his relationship to Christ as seen in the Gospels. This note of him being the “brother of James” obviously added to the book’s authenticity.

This letter is written to the “beloved.” This is an endearing term used for believers who are simply redeemed by grace; no believer has been found holding qualities that merit God’s love and compassion. It is a privilege and a delight to be called, “beloved.” It is akin to being born into an extremely affluent family where one never deserved or achieved the wealth.

“Beloved” is not used for distant relations but those close to the One who loves. No one is closer to the heart of God than His own children. This love is intimate; revealing an unparalleled human relationship. Though humans may use this term, though not frequently in this day and age, there is no way human love can ever match God’s love. We can never even begin to comprehend it. We can never grasp the love God has for the unsaved. There is no greater preserving love than the love Christ has for us on an intimate, personal level.

Jude informs us further that this book is written to believers in Christ and who are “kept by Christ” (NASB). The KJV Bible renders “kept” as “preserved.”

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Preserved is also true to the Greek word “TEREO” which signifies the preservation of the believer in Christ. It is assuring to recognize this encompassing security. This security is a gracious promise to us, a gift from God. We also find this truism in Romans 8:38-39 where our Lord informs us that nothing can separate us from His love. Words are used in this passage whereby we can picture those things that may try to separate but always fail. Life and death can set immediate images in our mind, good and bad, but we get the picture. Even in death believers cannot be separated from God; we are kept for eternity. In life, with its hardships, we are preserved and held by loving hands; Psalm 37:24. Those things listed that are created as well as height and depth can be easily captured in thought so we keep these things in mind when going through our trials; when we might lack the faith.

Verse two of Jude states some of the attributes we receive in Christ: His mercy, peace and love. This verse is a prayer that Jude prayed for these believers, for them to be increasing in these gifts of grace. We too can pray for the increase of these gifts for fellow believers and ourselves.

Of course, we need the mercy of God in the confessing of our sins, acknowledging we fall so short in these fleshly bodies. We also know we have His forgiveness through the price paid on the tree. Peace is what unbelievers can see in our lives and thus covet for themselves, which provides witnessing opportunities. The Holy Spirit is in us so we do not walk in hopeless fear and distress, come what may. It is a peace that surpasses all understanding; Philippians 4:7. Therefore, we should walk in thanksgiving for this blessed gift of the Spirit.

Love, in this verse, is AGAPE. Charity may fit better than the word love in this society of sensuality and self-seeking allurements. This is more than a feeling; James chapter 2 makes this clear, as our faith is to reveal love in action. We are to care and minister to our fellow believers in Christ. We are also to reach out to the lost that they may be saved. Another way we reveal our love for God is obeying His inerrant Word as Christ told his disciples, love is keeping His commandments. Much more can be stated, knowing true charitable love is intensely expounded upon in the scriptures and worth our study.

In verse 3 we witness again the word, “beloved.” Jude wants us to be reassured that we are God’s beloved. All others may forsake us, but God’s love is always there for us. There are believers who are in prison for their faith in many overseas countries, thus they feel alone. However, they can feel God’s gracious personal love filling their hearts daily; resting in the fact that they are His beloved.

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This term of love can be rendered as endearment and is used only for us who are in Christ. This follows through with the fact that we also have a common salvation reserved for us in Christ. Jude is expressing his heart of love for these believers so they stay steadfast in Christ through the truths revealed in this book.

Chapter 2

Creeping In

Jude was written in 65 AD and though the church was young, false teachers were already sneaking into assemblies. Therefore this book was penned to forecast what can take place once false teachers are allowed to run amuck in the church. Christ warned about all that we see today in fellowships in Matthew 13:31-33, where He predicted the church apostasy. I truly believe when Christ spoke of the growth of the Gospel by using a mustard tree seed that grew into a large tree, that He is speaking of the fate of the church becoming successful, prosperous, and accepted. Revelation chapter 3 reproves the Laodicea church; it became lukewarm due to the fact that it had become wealthy. It was mostly apostate for this reason.

The church today is a huge organization, known for being the wealthiest conglomerate in the world. It certainly did not start out this way! Many have chosen to be apart of it just for appearance and prestige sake. Matthew 13:32-33 speaks of the birds of the air coming to rest in its branches. Since birds are fowl and added to the tree, I believe they represent the false teachers and unsaved who come and feel right at home in its branches, or I would say, “Pews.” I also adhere to this as birds represent satan in verses 1-9 who comes and takes away the seed of the Word of God.

I surmise that the leaven in verse 33 represents the false teachers as well since leaven is always viewed in the negative in the Bible; it represents that which pollutes and ruins. Matthew 13:25 speaks of the tares that invade the kingdom of heaven or the church which seems to tie this whole following section theme together.

I have to ask myself, “Why the church is so huge when the road to heaven is narrow and few follow it.” (Matthew 7:13-14) These two verses are stated just a few pages before the Matthew chapter 13 passage which reveals the church being encompassing. It certainly seems that something is amiss.

Due to these warnings and others stated by Christ, Jude did not want these believers led away from the true Biblical faith. He did not desire they become compliant to teachings not of God that would slither in through false teachers. That is why Jude states through God that they need to live by the faith of the saints, which is represented by steadfastness.

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Faith in God was seen throughout the Old Testament, but faith’s greatest level has come to New Testament believers through the fulfilled knowledge of Christ, and bestowing of the power of the Holy Spirit.

It is a great thing to have faith passed down to us. In 2 Timothy 1:5, we read how Timothy was taught the ways of God by his grandmother, Lois, and his mother, Eunice. Paul completed the discipleship but obviously appreciated the grounding that was embedded earlier by these godly women.

In verse 4, we arrive at the reason for this God-written letter, transcribed for us by Jude. People, not obedient believers, had “crept in unnoticed.” They are the condemned and the ungodly … not living by the moral upright ways of Christ. They teach license or that one’s behavior need not be above reproach.

I was recently reading an article in a newspaper that justified little lies. The article represented many in the church who see lying as no big deal as God does not care that much. They had a picture of a man standing before a stained glass window in a church to spread the propaganda that God shows little or no care concerning such behavior. This is a type of license.False teachers treat grace as license.

In Jude the word “licentiousness” is used, the adjective form. These who refuse moral Biblical guidance might state that under grace, you do what you want as you are already forgiven. They would never provide forewarning to the fact that believers should stay as far away from sin as possible to prevent them from reaping what they sow. They would be the ones to proclaim, “No one can live up to Biblical standards so why even try that hard.”

These believers belittle Christ through disrespecting Him and by not teaching others to hate sin. When they engage in this, they deny our only Master and Lord, Christ Jesus. This is done by presenting a slight semblance rather than His true identity.

It is interesting how false teachers love to have an appearance of religion which is how they creep into congregations unnoticed. Though today most church doors are held wide open for them in the name of love. However, such an agenda pours hatred upon believers as leadership does love them enough to protect them from satan’s agents who want to distort the scriptures.

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This is just one aspect of license as it seems to be unending today in our church society that is lax in every evil way, to believers’ destruction.

Many people who represent religion can spout the Bible and deceive the multitudes and drag them into every sinful action imaginable and all in the name of religion.

In 1 Kings chapter 21, vile Jezebel, the queen of licentious false worship, implements God’s Word to plan and justify a murder. She even proclaimed a fast for all the people. By this, she appeared to be trying to accomplish God Almighty’s will. She knew in order to put one to death; a law violating accusation had to be by the witness of two. She produced two false witnesses to lie and state righteous Naboth had cursed God and the king—who was her husband, Ahab. Exodus 22:28 forbids cursing God or the king. Leviticus chapter 24 commands that one is to be put to death if they blaspheme or curse God.

This whole scenario arose as King Ahab wanted Naboth’s vineyard so he could plant a garden, as his property was adjacent. Does that sound like a sweet endeavor for a king? Ahab offered him money or a better field, but Naboth desired it be left in the family. Ahab went into depression as a result; whereby, Jezebel determined to please him by inventing a murderous path to take possession. This greed-filled act of execution was accomplished through her implementing a righteous appearance, cunningness and resourcefulness.

Through her trickery and the rehearsed lies from false witnesses, Naboth was stoned. As soon as Jezebel lived out her plan, she told Ahab to quit sulking and take the land.

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Many false teachers can quote scriptures and hold an appearance of righteousness to lead the people astray as they put their trust in those who seem so holy. These false teachers know where to purchase the highest quality wool on the market to appear as the most innocent of Christ’s sheep. But Christ refers to them as being ravenous wolves; Matthew 7:15. Paul warned the Ephesians, Acts 20:29, that savage wolves would come in not sparing the flock when he departed. No one today would dare to label false teachers as Christ or Paul did, which has brought the church to the mess it is in.

The apostle John was concerned about false believers coming into one of his churches. In 2 John, he acted cautiously by telling this home church not to even allow anyone in the door who did not abide in the teaching of Christ; verses 9-10.

Chapter 3

Knowing All Things

Focusing back on Jude 5, we see a reference to the addressed believers as knowing all things. They certainly held insights granted to them by the Holy Spirit concerning the Old Testament. It is nice to know we have access to knowing all things through owning the Scriptures. However, we can be blinded in knowing all things when we are in bondage to the things society struts. I know as I have been bondage to the things of this world that clouded my discerning outlook. Because I desired a cloudless view of my life in Christ, I had to shed some activities of conviction. Three main hindrances from my past come to mind. These gripped me when I was in my twenties and single. One was the television, which I viewed just about every night. I knew every show on every channel. … I was known as a walking and talking TV Guide. I cried out to God amidst conviction and the fact that a brainless machine produced in me a state of unreality. I looked at this world through rose-colored glasses and never truly witnessed a society dying in its sin and headed to hell. Evening shows always made people appear pleasant, and even bad guys were not that bad, just in need of a little social reform.

If my memory serves me correctly, I prostrated myself in grief and asked Christ to take away my desires for this idol-machine. He quickly answered my sincere groaning and I never felt like this was something I had to engage in again to bring some temporary entertaining satisfaction. He taught me to use my time far more wisely and away from that which does not generally teach modesty, holiness, innocence, undefilement and a love for Christ.

Another area in which He convicted me concerned my love for rock music; I was totally in bondage to this rebellious, sensual beat. I cried out to Him once again in great anguish for deliverance. By His omnipotent transforming power, I was able to enjoy lovely and pure music with a rhythm of peace and tranquility. I encountered a closer relationship to Christ when I forsook this beat of the world.

Sensuality was the third thing whereby I had to prostrate myself before the Lord. I was dating a man who was attending seminary to be a pastor, but he did not incite me to a holy relationship with him. We did not go all the way nor did we ever come close to removing our clothing; however, we were in bondage physically through holding, kissing, etc. I knew sensuality was not to have a part in my being. All these feelings were to be held for marriage. I was simply being used and that became very apparent.

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At first, I thought our dating was an answer to prayer, as the Lord knew I wanted to take part in ministry and this man was headed for the pastorate. However, he felt no conviction nor did he see our relationship as one that needed to be transformed to purity. He did not desire complete innocence.

Later, when I met Alan, he let me know he did not want to kiss a woman until he was engaged to her and then only briefly to prevent temptation. I never felt I was in sensual bondage while dating him and we did not kiss until our betrothal.

Before meeting Alan, my pastor had encouraged me to break up with the man I was in bondage to. At this time, the Lord granted me the discernment to recognize the relationship was not of Him. My pastor was also the one who counseled Alan and me and performed our marriage ceremony. We are still very grateful for his holy discipleship and his continuing godly friendship. He lives in southern Washington today.

I do not say these things to imply I am no longer tempted and never need to cry out to God, but these were my largest, sinful hurdles that clouded my eyes from having a full vision of truth and wisdom. The more we remove sin the more we gain insights and truths from the Word. There are always rewarded blessings when we do things God’s way not ours.

Returning to Jude, I believe these believers did not have a halfhearted love for the Word as Jude is able to go immediately into Old Testament historical facts. God employs Old Testament truths here to clarify His points. It seems obvious that these believers held copies of the Old Testament since these references are set before them as known facts. Many of the illustrations in Jude are Pentateuch accounts. The Pentateuch is also referred to as the Torah or first five books of the Old Testament. Moses wrote the first five books, which teach the early history of the Jews and the law. Penta means five in the Greek. Decalogue is a word used for the Ten Commandants meaning, “the ten words” which are held in the Pentateuch.

I believe these Christians obviously spent countless hours learning the scriptures, as Jude does not speak to them as if they are ignorant of the Old Testament. I am sure they would put us to shame by their knowledge—by the fact they knew all things.

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In centuries past, even the unsaved knew the Bible in America. Economic affluence and access to broad literature was not a common thing and only the few scholarly wealthy owned many books. In this era of impoverishment by today’s standards, if a book could be had, it was the Bible that was purchased. It was read and spoken of everyday by most every person.

It was the main textbook used in education. In the nineteenth and early twentieth century, many schools also possessed the Blue Back Speller authored by Noah Webster which was taught along with the Bible. This book implemented the scriptures in teaching grammar. It presented the Word in such a way to make scripture applicable for students. This speller is still marketed.

Chapter 4

Historical Accounts

As we continue in the text of Jude 5, we see Jude referring to the time of Israel’s departure from Egypt as is disclosed in the book of Exodus—the second book in the Old Testament. Jude states, “The LORD, after saving a people out of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.”

Moreover, history records it took mighty feats to deliver a people out of Egypt. Even though miracle after miracle was displayed before the Egyptians to put to shame their animal and insect gods, they refused to obey the LORD and allow the Jews to depart from their enslavement. The consequence was the death of every firstborn Egyptian.

This was the way God chose to remove His people from this pagan land where they were dreadfully abused. All other warnings went unheeded. God brought many plagues on the land but not until the death of Pharaoh’s firstborn son, did he allow them to leave. He had been his heir to the throne, no doubt. You can imagine Pharaoh’s grief, which I’m sure was there even though he was totally hard hearted. Even the hardhearted can feel some affection for close family members.

His grief must have immediately turned to anger. The desire to continue to manipulate, manifested itself swiftly as Pharaoh sent his army in pursuit of Israel. He did not know that he was sending his soldiers to their death doom as in his mind, he was always the conquering victor. His entire regiment was drown in the Red Sea after God forged two miracle walls of water, which allowed His chosen to walk through the sea on dry ground. These walls of mounted Red Sea water fell on Pharaoh’s forces that raced behind, rushing to overtake. God graciously and miraculously delivered the Hebrews from this land of enslaving bondages.

One reason God had to remove these Jews from Egypt was to get the world out of them. However, they moaned and groaned shortly after being divided from this land where they had no employment opportunities. God wanted them completely dependent upon Him but they cried for their independence. He desired they not be lured again to Egypt’s pleasantries.

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However, their new home of desert wasteland décor caused them to look backward to city life.

Egypt’s thriving kingdom was the envy of most. It had the uppermost educational opportunities, technology, massive architectural feats, unsurpassed medical treatments and discoveries, gourmet food galore, elite social parties, religion … you just name it … even Jewish slavery.

Because the Hebrews never desired to be completely separated from this country club state of luxurious affairs, God had to continuously discipline them through infliction—sometimes deadly chastisements.

Today God wants to get the world out of all believers, but they, like the Jews of old, refuse to come out and be separate from sin’s bondage. Therefore, He has to discipline the children of the true church. The same sin nature these Jews held onto is being held onto by Christians. They want to be indulging, taking in all the delights of secular civilization. Satan knows what he is doing when he makes all things pleasing to the eye gate and palate.

Unfortunately, the Gospel of today does not teach cultural abandonment because that is not pleasing to the mentality of sensual man who wants it all and now.

Because of the Hebrews incessant and unrelenting unbelief, God destroyed the first generation that departed from Egypt. All due to the fact, it would not let go of its apron strings. They were denied entry into the Promised Land because they could never receive their passports due to Egyptian technicalities. It seems a waste that they were delivered from Egypt and died en route. Yet, God was ever gracious and longsuffering. He provided chance after chance so they would respond to His heeded warnings.

Even Moses could not enter this land because he struck the rock instead of speaking to it as commanded; Numbers chapter 20. He was, however, able to view the Promised Land before his death on Mt. Nebo; Deuteronomy chapter 34. It is impressive to note in Deuteronomy 32:4, that Moses referred to God as “The Rock” which is symbolic of this incident and its consequence.

Moving to verse nine in Jude prematurely, we read more of Moses in relationship to Deuteronomy chapter 34.  Jude 9 reveals God buried Moses. This was obviously following the angel Michael’s encounter with the devil. We will study this verse further when we travel down to this section.

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The point of Jude 5, is God brought death upon the Jews after leaving the Promised Land. Nobody gets away with not reverencing God and His commands. Our God is a consuming fire as Hebrew 12:29 reveals and we are not to take that fact for granted. Just choosing to obey God on our terms is never without consequence; nor ignoring and not applying certain portions of His written Word.

Jude 6 reminds us of the fall of satan and his fellow angels who joined in conspiracy when they strove to function apart from God’s supremacy and righteousness. The fallen angels or demons mentioned here are not the ones who plague the world as these are under bonds in darkness for eternity. It appears from this verse that our kind God did not unleash all these vile and unclean creatures on the world that fell with satan. By God’s grace, He obviously only allowed a certain number to dwell on the earth. In this verse God reminds us that there is eternal judgment for our waywardness and fallen angels will be judged as well for their deeds.

Isaiah 14:12-19 speaks of satan or lucifer when he was cast from heaven due to his pride and his desire to ascend above God. He, at one time, was a stunning angel who held much power but it all went to his head. God referred to him as the “star of the morning, son of the dawn.” Lucifer may have been the highest in authority and the loveliest of all the angels. He, in time past, shone when he chose to walk in righteousness and holiness.

This passage reveals this evil creature’s motivation that drives him to constant jealous mischievousness. He is jealous because God rules the world not him. His desire is to destroy all mankind as everyone is made in the image of God, whom he hates, despises and envies.

I believe he still holds hopes to dethrone and take God’s place, which is impossible as he is the defeated foe. He possibly thinks by derailing believers, he can gain great power by defaming God’s name.

Believers today, like lucifer, lose their holy shine when they bend to his ways, perceiving they can gain everything, but actually lose all.

It is no wonder that people today want to walk in the pride and arrogance that motivated satan so others will look up to them instead of to God. It is a sad thing when pastors desire God’s glory for themselves, revealing they are walking hand in hand with satan’s desires.

This comes about through adultery committed in the spiritual realm where one does not desire to conform to the admonishments of scripture including those stated in Jude. James 4:4 exposes this when declaring, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

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There are multitudes of applications for this verse. One application can be to desire the praise and admiration of men whereby we make ourselves enemies of God. Through desiring the admiration and praise of others that arises from the agendas of the world, we uplift and exalt ourselves in undermined ways.

Putting others down is one way man can selfishly exalt himself. Desiring to be number one is seen commonly in society. A minister can appear on television just for the sake of gaining popularity and notoriety.

We must always be watchful of our pride, as it is part of our flesh that wants to take over and quench the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. Believe me, I know!

Jude 7 moves us further into the take note warnings of our Lord. He places before us Sodom and Gomorrah. The people of these cities represented a society that held no moral bounds. You can read of this gross immoral situation in Genesis chapter 19.

We know homosexuality owned this society. They were in bondage to sexual promiscuity, which grew and grew to unbelievable lengths just as we see occurring in our own nation. No one, including our politicians and religious leaders, has been able to put any kind of lid on it. We have to live with this increasing grotesqueness everyday. There is no place we can run to … there is no withdrawing from it. I was talking to a woman the other day and she was saying remember when no one even knew what homosexuality was all about? We discussed the sadness of the situation, as this activity was virtually unviewed forty years ago. Most people never saw it nor did they want to.

The consequence to not holding to chaste moral codes is eternal fire, as we read here in Jude. God plainly states in Hebrews 13:4, “Adulterers and fornicators God will judge, but the marriage bed is undefiled.” God does bring judgment on those who break His moral codes of decency, purity and modesty. 1 Corinthians 6:9 warns us that no unrighteous person will inherit the kingdom of God, including fornicators, adulterers, effeminates, homosexuals, etc.

We witness in God’s love for us that He is very concerned that we reap the profit of keeping ourselves pure and unstained by the world. If God did not cherish us, He would not have given us this love letter full of warnings for our personal benefit. Jude is a book of warnings so we are on the lookout for those who would image us into general society.

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We are called to be a peculiar separated people. We should never be ashamed of being different. The Jews too were called to be a peculiar people but they desired to be styling, conforming themselves to culture. Consequently, they paid the penalty in powerful ways. If they would have obeyed Leviticus 20:23, which commanded them not to follow “the customs of nations,” they would have spared themselves unbelievable heartache.

Chapter 5

Unreality—Changing of the Colors

Dreaming seems to be the main subject of verse 8. The false teachers dream and this dreaming is a kind of dreaming that defiles the flesh. Obviously immoral thoughts and dreams consume their lives; they involve themselves in everything sleazy and vulgar awake or asleep. These people do not live in reality just everything that represents lust!

Jude is a portrayed reality of God’s truth. Certainly rejecting the truth and reality of Jude is a mark of false teachers today. I find many believers today, if not most, live in a dream world not wanting to take seriously one word of warning found in this revealing book of veracity.

“Defile” has a weighty word emphasis. We as believers never want to defile ourselves with the things of society that removes our purity. The Greek word used here is “MIAINO” and it means to stain as one changes the color of an object. It would imply a change in a person—a negative change, that which turns one away from innocence to evil. I know respected people in the church who are bent on turning innocence to evil. Two of them are leaders in churches and they incite pornography and lusting. They have no problem in removing natural innocence from children as well. They are respected in Bible-believing churches and though other leadership knows of their agendas, they care little since deceivers know how to appear like saintly chameleons. I have been hated for saying their agenda is sinful. Alan and I have known them for years and had thought them to be godly until all was exposed.

When sin takes hold of our life, we do change our image like a lizard its color, we shed the righteousness of the Holy Spirit. His holy attraction is quenched; deemed no longer useful to us, so His inner beauty is not visible in our being. When He is disregarded, people only view a fleshly depraved shell of a person.

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Chapter 6

Angels and Doctrinal Knowledge

The authority brought forth in this verse seems to point heavenward as the sin of the flesh stands in opposition to God and His holy kingdom of angelic majesties. If you turn to 2 Peter 2:10-12, you see angels and their authority spoken of and the evil ones who despise them. This refers to self-serving evil men who gratify their own desires, holding no respect for God or His angels. We are never to worship or adore angels, yet we are called to respect their God-given authority. I personally refer to 2 Peter as Jude’s sister book, as the teachings of Jude are repeated throughout.

God commands in 1 Corinthians 11:10 that a woman should have something on her head during worship, for the sake of the angels. Obviously angels look in on the church service and in the Greek it means God’s angels not evil beings as I have heard implied. A division of respecting angelic authority is women wearing the head covering. Verses 8-10 and 12-13 state a woman is made in the image of man therefore she needs a symbol of authority on her head. This speaks to when she is praying or prophesying (telling forth God’s divine counsel) in church. Some fellowships believe a woman should always have something on her head (always in the public realm). Yet, I do not deem this to be true from this passage. This section is referring to the assembly of the church since we move into the Lord’s Supper in the proceeding verses and this remembrance is done as a corporate church body.

I personally find it interesting that men have no difficulty obeying verses 4 & 7 in this 1 Corinthian passage, as I never see men wearing hats during a Sunday sermon and even young boys are taught by their dads to remove them when entering a church building.

Part of this Corinthian passage also involves obedience in the aspect of women having long hair; verses 14-15. Both the Old and New Testament teach the differential aspect of male and female. Most men and boys do have short hair in obedience to God’s Word, verse 14, which is also interesting to note.

A woman’s hair is her glory, verse 15; it is not like men’s hair that is usually plain and thin and looks bad when it is left to grow long. In general, men have not been provided with the luxurious hair that compliments women that provides a crowning glory and an additional modest covering.

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Today some women in society worship masculinity in that they covet to obtain the same professional positions as men. They will even resemble them in appearance and dress in hopes of gaining masculine respect. This greatly bothers me as God willed that men and women not wear the same type of clothing; this was specified in the Pentateuch; Deuteronomy 22:5. God stated that such a thing was an abomination to Him.

Competing with men in sports assists women to hit the goal of total gender oneness or so they think. God makes it clear, however, that He does not believe in unisex!

The competitive sex aspect seemed to be part of homosexual societies, which is why I believe God commanded the distinctions. Femininity was part of His design that was never to be marred. Women throw away a precious part of themselves when they move to worship masculinity. A one-sex society is very boring and entirely destructive.

We have witnessed in America the differences between males and females diminished with homosexuality making a bold appearance in society. A hundred years ago, women wore long hair, modest feminine long attire and hats to church. Men were expressively masculine. If women, of a century ago, were to rise up and judge our obedience today to the Lord in these aspects, I wonder how we would fare. I have to admit to you that I wear pants most often but I am definitely feminine. When attending Sunday morning worship, I wear a dress. I do don a hat for church and have long hair. Feeling feminine is a joy and I see it as Biblical. Alan enjoys my femininity too … imagine that.

As I have read books from the 19th century, I have found most Christian women desired to obey all of scripture. They recognized pagan culture and society should never affect Biblical truth and our adherence to it. Therefore, they kept America’s culture conservative by not swaying off the Biblical path—being salt of the earth that persuaded most others to act in a Biblical manner, not pagan.

Jesus and His followers were persecuted for not submitting to sensual culture and society. In Leviticus 20:23, Christ revealed that His children were not to conform to culture or customs of secular society. Jesus and his disciples would not have been constantly confronted if they would have blended in as believers do today.

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Christ never chose to associate with false teachers and prophets—the scribes, Sadducees and Pharisees. I want to fully emphasize that Christ and the disciples never fellowshipped with the religious, popular leaders outside of Nicodemus and possibly a few other Pharisees who were sincerely seeking souls.

Billy Graham changed the climate by fellowshipping with those who did not adhere completely to the Bible. However, many did not even recognize this was taking place and still do not. He was the only significant spokesman who uplifted ecumenicalism in the rooting of its movement. He was a key component in bringing forth the apostasy and ushering in the beginnings of the one-world religion which resembles the apostate church revealed in Revelation, Matthew and 2 Thessalonians that will be ecumenically encompassing.

Franklin Graham stated: “In the early years, up in Boston, the Catholic church got behind my father’s crusade. That was a first. It took back many Protestants. They didn’t know how to handle it. But it set the example. ‘If Billy Graham is willing to work with everybody, then maybe we should too’” (The Indianapolis Star, June 3, 1999).

Bill Graham spouts much false doctrine to lead true believers into following satan’s religious lies. He has walked the liberal inclusive road for years.

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In Newsweek, August 14, 2006, Billy Graham stated: “I would not say Islam is wicked and evil. … I have a lot of friends who are Islamic. There are many wonderful people among them. I have a great love for them. I have spoken at Islamic meetings in Nigeria and in different parts of the world.” When asked whether he believes heaven will be closed to Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus or secular people. Graham said, “Those are decisions only the Lord will make. It would be foolish for me to speculate on who will be there and who won’t … I don’t want to speculate about all that. I believe the love of God is absolute. He said he gave his son for the whole world, and I think he loves everybody regardless of what label they have.”

These are heretical statements! They are contrary to the Word of God in every way. The only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ and His shed blood for mankind’s redemption. False prophets will not place anyone in heaven no matter their sincerity. Those who worship the false idol gods of the Buddhists and Hindus will never locate a place in paradise. Revelation 22:13-16 informs us that idolaters are not allowed into heaven along with sorcerers, immoral persons, murderers and those who practice lying.

Now don’t get me wrong … I am very thankful for those who have come to Christ through the Graham ministries. We all have to be grateful for the multitudes of conversions.

However, elevating people such as Billy Graham leads people down an all-deceptive road of false-doctrine-confusion. No matter the fame or popular of any believer, we still have to be cautious of all they teach and do; we must compare all their words and actions to the Word. We do not accept all that a person does and says, even if they appear to be mightily used of God. God and His Word have to be our only and final authority in all things.

I am informing you of this for your own personal good as we can never follow man or woman only the inerrant, holy, undefiled Word of God. We must remember that no amount of Christian good works can override sound doctrine.

In Christ’s day, there were those who were false disciples and were doing good works in Christ’s name, but He made it clear they were out for their own agendas.

To remain on the right path, one that does not follow men, we need to sustain vigilance. This vigilance must be constantly aimed at the Bible. It must hold first priority in our hearts whereby we give it our best time. It is this book that allows us to gain the discernment that everything in it is for a reason … to produce spiritual maturity within and to vanquish all that is false.

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We must remember though, being just hearers of the Word, which would include just being readers as well, withholds obedience production. Obedience sprouts great discernment and internal uplifting blessings. Questioning God’s Word always births confusion and consequence.

We must exercise the faith that everything in God’s Word is true and for our benevolence. The Word assures us of itself. 1 Timothy 2:16 states that all scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproving and correction, for training in righteousness. 2 Peter 1:21 states, “No prophecy of scripture was ever made by human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

Having this faith in the Word is the key to rising above any appealing false teacher and their deceptive presentations.

When the Jews in the Old Testament turned from the written Word to do their own thing and followed false religious teachers, they were severally spanked by God. Many received a premature death sentence. This occurred as a result of them not respecting the angels who gave the Word. Hebrews 2:2 and Galatians 3:19, teaches the Word is unalterable that the angels delivered. Anyone who defied it paid the consequences.

What God is getting at in Jude and the other applicable passages on this subject, is every believer must stay on task and not let any person turn another away from all that has been passed down to us by God through the agency of angels. Even if much of this seems incomprehensible, we do not turn our backs on all the facts that are presented. We walk by faith not by sight. Exercising faith can enable the Spirit to bring us to a loftier place of comprehension.

We see ultimately in Jude that when we observe the Old Testament Jews and their lack of obedience to the law found in the Pentateuch, that they were walking in disrespect for angles as the law was given to Moses by angels, sent from God. They were and are to be valued as the messengers who delivered it.

Many of Christ’s earthly quotes were from the book of Deuteronomy, the final book in the Pentateuch. He didn’t throw the Old Testament away nor should we. He stated, Moses wrote of Him—John 5:45-47 and one major prophecy of Him is located in Deuteronomy 18:15.

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Verse 9 of Jude further instructs us concerning angels, observing Michael the archangel is mentioned. Michael means “like God.” He disputed with the body of Moses. … now, why would he do this? Well, if we turn to Daniel 12:1, we see Michael has the position of overseeing God’s people, the Jews, and Moses was a Jew. Daniel is referring to Michael’s protection of God’s people in the tribulation period. Being the archangel, it is believed that Michael is over all angels as the chief of angels. He is also referred to as the “great prince” in Daniel 10:13. Christ is going to come again bearing a voice like the archangel; 1 Thessalonians 4:16. We know from this verse that Michael has a most prevailing voice to match his exclusive role over God’s people. Someday we will be able to personally experience all of heaven’s glories including Michael and the other angel beings.

Daniel 10:21 speaks of Michael’s fortified protection over Israel when Persia and Greece would be at war with each other. To refresh your historical memory, Daniel was taken captive during the time of Babylonian rule, eventually the Media-Persian World Empire arose. Ultimately, the Greeks gained power over the Medes and the Persians. Rome later came to supremacy and that takes us to the time of Christ as Rome reigned over Israel at that time.

I will take you back to the beginning for a more composite history lesson. Egypt commenced world kingdom history, as she was the first ruling empire who reigned for thousands of years. The Assyrians then raised their hands to gain world power and arrested northern Israel, making her a captive slave. As time pressed on, the Babylonians defeated the Assyrians and gripped the world as no other empire in history. It was the kingdom of gold, unfolded in Daniel 2:32 & 38.

The Jews of Israel worshipped, paid tithes, learned scripture, etc; but held many sins they chose to ignore which provoked God’s holocaustic judgment. This judgment was death and captivity. God marched in with sword, pestilence and famine and those who were not killed were taken into captivity. Two main captivities took place in the Old Testament—first, the northern portion of Israel, which consisted of ten tribes and their designated lands. They were exiled to Assyria. One hundred and thirty-six years later, the southern portion of Israel, Judah—consisting of two remaining tribes—was removed by King Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon.

To understand the land division you need to note that Jacob, also called Israel, had 12 sons whom the nation of Israel descended from. The land was divided amongst those who ascended from these sons. However, Manasseh, and Ephraim, Joseph’s sons, replaced Joseph’s tribal portion of land as Levi, the priestly tribe, had no designated section of property, being they served in the temple. This change allowed Israel to still be divided 12 ways.

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A Bible atlas is a must if you do not have adequate maps at the back of your Bible or within your notes in a study Bible. Maps can also be located by doing an Internet search by typing in the area of location with the words, “historical maps.” If you have adequate maps, you can see how the land of Israel was divided amongst the 12 tribes. You should also have a map that portions the northern and southern kingdoms after Israel was split. A New Testament map will reveal Israel’s division into districts during the time of Christ, which included Judea, Samaria, Galilee, Decapolis, and Perea.

God sent out a warning of the arriving captivities through many true prophets over the years who forecasted doom and gloom to both the northern and southern kingdoms for their rebellious actions. However, the Jews did not repent.

After the northern kingdom was removed by Assyria, the southern kingdom of Judah sought the advisement of false prophets. They wrongfully reasoned that nothing could befall them because they worshipped at Solomon’s sacred temple. They believed God would never destroy their place of worship established by Him so they were secure. The false prophets basically told the people they were righteous and God would not judge. They made the Jews feel holy, religious and safe. Their message was, “Your ok and I’m ok.”

God had allowed the southern kingdom of Israel, Judah, to remain as they still had some redeeming qualities. However, these soon dissipated which prompted God to enlist the great Babylonian military force to bring judgment on Judah and many pagan nations. There were three main Semitic captivities under Babylon, the first involved Daniel and noble youths, the second occurred during King Jehoiachin’s reign, and the last seizure took place under King Zedekiah. It was during the third invasion that Solomon’s temple was destroyed as well as all of Jerusalem. This all arose under the hand of Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, who was appointed by God to judge Judah, the southern kingdom. Their sin had superseded that of the northern kingdom. This judging event was orchestrated under the authority of Archangel Michael, who as I stated, is the guardian of the Jews as the book of Daniel reveals. Of course, God dictates Michael.

You should note that every angel mentioned in the Bible is of male gender as they never possess feminine names. There is no mention of any angelic female. “Why?”

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It is due to the fact that angels were created countless eons before Eve ever stepped on the earth. Eve was made in the image of man. Man was made in the image of God as we read in 1 Corinthians chapter 11. Angels are most always depicted as female by society, but this is not according to scripture and fact.

Michael the archangel was assigned to intervene concerning the body of Moses as we read in Jude 9. God did not want Moses’ remains worshipped, at least this is what I believe, so God buried him personally in the place known only by God; Deuteronomy 34:6. God was protecting the body of Moses from satan’s evil cunning devices. Satan desires to turn people from a righteous, true and living God to worship men (dead or alive) or the things made by men; Isaiah 2:8, Acts 7:41 and 17:29.

Sinful men will worship just about anything as we even observe today in America. The New Age movement worships spirits in crystals, nature and various other things. Roman Catholicism has many idols—imaged saints that are prayed to. Satan would have loved to have obtained Moses’ body to place on display for public worship. Satan wants men’s attention drawn from God in any possible way. If he could have obtained the cadaver, he could have positioned men’s attention on Moses who has always been acclaimed for his outstanding walk with God that equipped him to lead 5,000,000 or so people around a desert wilderness for 40 years with few mishaps.

Some people will worship that which they felt was once close to God. That was why the Shroud of Turin, which was supposedly the burial cloth of Christ, received such publicity. It was proven “a fake” fabricated by men. It also did not comply with the scriptures concerning the linen wrappings (plural).

It is also important to note that Michael, though the most powerful and authoritative of the holy angels, does not rebuke satan as we see in conclusion to Jude 9. We are in the wrong when we think we can rebuke him; we are never given a command to do so. No where, that I can find, did the apostles rebuke him. They did rebuke his followers. Jude 8 taught us that we cannot rebuke angelic majesties and satan is the highest ranking evil angel.

Now you may view many charismatic people on television theatrically rebuking satan, but only the Godhead has the authority to do this and Jesus did rebuke him when on the earth. We can ask God to rebuke him for us, I believe, but this is all. We have to maintain caution in Christianity so as to never exert our liberties beyond Biblical bounds to boost the power of our ego and the power we feel we hold within. The Holy Spirit is to be controlling not the other way around.

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Verse 10 of Jude, speaks more of the tares that try to infiltrate the faith. They revile God and the ways of God; the things they cannot grasp in their sinful flesh which eventually leads to their eternal demise.

We are to study God’s Word so we are never ashamed of our lack of knowledge and taken in by these tares. Lack of scriptural knowledge can also limit our conception of a Holy God whereby we can teach false doctrine concerning deity, whereby we lead others astray by our deceived selves.

A great way to research doctrine is to implement study aids. It is important to own a detailed Bible Dictionary such as Unger’s; two concordances, one compact for quick reference, such as Cruden’s and an exhaustive Concordance to research Hebrew and Greek root word meanings, such as Strong’s. The Old Testament was recorded in Hebrew and the New Testament was mostly documented in Greek. Strong’s Concordance has its own website, whereby you can research words without cost: http://www.eliyah.com/lexicon.html

Alan, my husband, was once leading a church service and he spoke something out of jest, but the pastor believed him because he respected him as a teacher and did not think he would kid around. Alan humbly apologized and was cautious henceforth. We never thought anyone would take what he said seriously.

Everything I write or teach needs to be scripturally scrutinized. You and I should never believe another until our own Biblical investigation confirms it. The enabling power of the Holy Spirit grants us insight to understand the Word.

Always remember obedience to scripture is a must! That is why it must be taught accurately and should obtain your personal conformation. Some think they do not have to observe scripture unless it convicts them. This is false doctrine that prevails everywhere. Nowhere in the Word does it teach we are allowed to overlook exhortations until we receive conviction. This is simply an excuse to apply license.

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The tares, we read of in Jude, are not those who care about the exhortations of scripture and therefore they will suffer destruction, “By the very things they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, they will be destroyed by.” “Why?” Because there is a coming judgment by the hand of Christ, the One they did not take seriously.

Most everyone knows God created mankind with instinct as Romans 1:18f declares. God has penned His truths of creation on all men’s hearts of instinct through His seen evidence. Men who deny there is a God are without excuse, as He has exposed His omnipotence through creation and man instinctively accepts it or rejects it. When man rejects the creator, He opens himself up to many sins and desires of the flesh, including sensuality. Men easily can act out like animals and we see this increasing consistently in our society in many forms; many unmentionable forms.

Chapter 7

Sinister Villains

In verse 11, Old Testament wicked sinister characters are laid before us to teach us to reject their behavior for godly living. You have seen thus far the importance of learning the Old Testament, which provides greater insight into the New Testament. Once we grasp the truths of the New Testament, we must take the time to learn the Old Testament. A great deal of it is quoted in the New, and examples in the Old emphasize the truths in the New. When you see portions of scripture laid out in the New in all capitals, this tells you that these verses first appeared in the Old. Most Bibles will have references to the right of these verses where you can turn to read the original declared scriptures.

These evil villains, cited from the Old Testament with depraved hearts, easily represent people we see in today’s general society as men’s base fascinations never abandon him.

The first person God presents to us through Jude is Cain. He takes us back to the beginning of mankind as he was a son of Adam and Eve and we find him cited in Genesis 4:1-17.

Cain is the first bad guy presented in scripture, where Abel, his brother, was the good guy who loved and followed God. Cain committed the first murder in history because God accepted his brother’s spiritual sacrifice not his. Cain would most likely be in a church today if his birth had been delayed, as he viewed himself as a tithing believer. Also, remember murderers do not usually spend life in prison these days and some get off through technicalities. I knew a man who attended a Bible believing church and most likely still does, who killed a man and got off and holds no remorse for taking a life. I know because his words and attitude disclosed this. Cain seemed to hold little or no remorse for taking Abel’s life. The church most likely would let him in the doors without question as believers state no one is to judge.

I heard a pastor on the news declare that he could not judge a mass murderer who attended his church and was a deacon until his arrest. The pastor revealed no sympathy for the victims and their families; only acceptance and forgiving love for his deacon. It is a very grievous thing when Christians do not weep and get angry over sin, especially the expelling of innocent lives. It is a sad thing when believers do not think it is for them to judge what God has already judged as evil and deserving of death.

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Cain jealously hated his brother Abel because he was viewed as righteous in God’s eyes. Psalm 37:32 aptly declares, “The wicked spies upon the righteous and seeks to kill him.”

The subsequent verse introduces us to Balaam. He was a seer for hire in the Old Testament. He being a false prophet was willing to curse the people of God for money. Balaam represents people who come to Christianity for pious gain whether materially or socially. Many agendas can be hidden in desperately wicked hearts.

Frequently, this mindset involves the secular business workplace. A respected lady in our Christian community mentioned to me how her son, a physician, needed to be attending a large church so he could increase his patient clientele.

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When I attended a business college, church attendance was encouraged for fleshly fulfilling purposes. Of course, everyone has to earn a living, but using the church for material and personal gain in very evil. We need to choose a church that holds the highest Biblical standards, not based according to its size and leave secular enterprising agendas outside its walls.

God stopped selfish enterprising Balaam in his tracts by having Balaam’s ride pronounce a reproach against him. This was on the road that Balaam thought would lead to devilish accumulation. What a sight this would have been; beholding an animal that holds a cursed name telling off a man! Balaam was on his way to plan mischief with Balak, King of Moab. Balak wanted Balaam to curse the children of God, the Jews, offering great fiscal rewards for this satanic task.

What is most ironic is Balaam thinks nothing of his burro frankly speaking to him and in angry agitation tells him off. Fortunately, the donkey lets him know just who he is dealing with, listing his faithful hoofing credentials.

Numbers chapters 22-25 expose us to Balaam. Verse 11 of Jude informs us that Balaam committed error. Balaam is also condemned in Revelation 2:14-16 as he led the children of Israel into many sins. He held the scent of greed wherever he trod. He can represent many today who use gimmickry so people will give to their cause in the name of false Christianity. Balaams are everywhere present in Christianity and they seem to be significantly increasing in number.

Balaams are people who serve God expecting substantial monetary rewards. Pastors who are Balaams love large collection plates filled to the brim and thousands in their congregation to adore them because they have put their church on the map of success. There are pastors who will refuse to oversee a fellowship unless the price is right and the price has to be significantly right. Balaams are in Christianity for what they can get not what they can give. Many televangelists are Balaams and you can tell by the shinning rings on their fingers and their silk, tailor-made wear.

Balaam and Balak were both immoral in intent. They desired to own the Jews so they would follow after false religious teachings and engage in sexual promiscuity of pagan kind. Balak was not being successful in getting the Hebrews, God’s children, to stumble. He determined if they could not beat them, then they should get them to join them. Balaam and Balak instigated a plan whereby they would introduce the men of God to the lovely, enticing Moabite women. Resultantly, they would intermarry without a thought, not seeing what lay beyond the sensual delights of these godless babes of moral destruction.

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Balaam and Balak succeeded to a degree because many desired to follow their immoral religion of fleshly delights. In Numbers chapter 25, the bodily, alluring daughters of Moab became triumphant in their persuasions of idol worship and sex; whereby, the Jews followed and God’s judgment hatchet fell.

Balaam sounded very godly and even prophesied in the name of the LORD and in truth. He was a powerful preacher who knew about God and His Word. He held all the acquired godly-appearing ingredients to deceive God’s children.

The scriptures also reprove Balaam in 2 Peter 2:12f. This passage reveals the agendas of false teachers who entice others by fleshly desires and consistently pay the consequences as Balaam did “as black darkness has been reserved for them.”

Korah, follows Balaam on Jude 11’s villain list; he also was corrupt and self-centered and his ways are set before us in Numbers chapter 16. He opposed the authority of Moses whereby the earth “opened its mouth and swallowed” him “up,” like a whale swallowing a fly. He was rebellious to God’s righteous ways of living. He did not hold an obedient heart to God’s truths and commands. He wanted to be number one … not last. He had no desire to be the little unnoticed toe in God’s working body, but had to be the commanding head and nothing less. 1 Corinthians chapter 12 teaches us that no part of the body of Christ is better than another. The heads that conduct the church body, the elders and teachers, are not better than those who silently perform unnoticed ministries, who represent a little part of the functioning—the toes. However, of course, we must submit to and respect church elders as they present God’s Word accurately for us to obey.

In the New Testament, Christ proclaimed the last shall be first and the first last, as humility is the core of faith. Christ was meek and humble of heart—Matthew 11:29. He is our example of not holding any kind of elevated mindset. Neither the uplifting of men nor the fame of men is of God.

Verse 12 of Jude reveals that people like Cain, Balaam and Korah are in our churches as they eat with us. The “love feasts” mentioned here occurred prior to communion in early church times. The Corinthian church educates us concerning the love feasts, which have been discontinued because believers abused this time. The Corinthians ate, drank and ignored the poor believers in attendance, not allowing them to have any food during this remembrance of Christ’s death and resurrection.

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1 Corinthians chapter 11 speaks of the church being despised due to its cliquish partiality and drunkenness. We see here God is very concerned about what takes place in every church and it should never act according to a haughty, self-indulging mindset.

God did not command the love feast dismissal; believers just chose to end them. It certainly would not be wrong to have love feasts today if performed out of love of Christ and the uplifting of Him alone. We see from the text of 1 Corinthians chapter 11 that the communion service followed this time of people fellowshipping around a dinner.

We read in Jude 12 that the beguilers were partaking of this pre-communion meal and most likely the bread and the cup as well. Today, everyone is invited to take communion in contemporary congregations with no questions asked. One does not need to have a testimony to take the cup and bread. This allows false teachers to even appear more spiritual for acceptance sake. They do not fear taking the cup unworthily as they have a satanic agenda to fill that does not encompass fearing God. They have no true dread of God and His punishment, just a desire to deceive and recruit.

While contemplating these various aspects that surround communion and who is to partake, I thought of George Muller (1805-1898) who had a far-reaching evangelistic ministry in England. In regard to his church services, I was struck by the fact that one had to prove their salvation through godly faithfulness, humility and not being entangled with materialism before they could break bread. 1 Corinthians 5:11 exhorts us not to associate with covetous believers and a great deal of scripture deals with walking humbly before our God and others. George Muller was very cautious and what he required was not contrary to the Word. We would have far superior fellowships today if this was applied; we wouldn’t have many sitting in the pews taking communion unworthily.

We read these false believers in Jude were hidden, even during the pre-communion meal. They blended in and knew how to play the Christian act or part. Such ones are those who seem godly yet will try to introduce doctrines that are worldly and unscriptural. It reports that they are “hidden reefs.” These reefs are as hidden sandbars in the ocean. Ships run into these undetected destroyers to their ruin. These reefs or false teachers can destroy a congregation as they lead others by example, by insisting whatever feels good is good. They bear no good fruit, because they don’t love Christ and His Word with all their hearts, but love the worldly ways of self-centered pleasure.

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They only care for themselves and their own agendas. They are not on fire for the Word of God. They do not constantly speak of God’s truths and how Christ is working in their lives.

Human reefs can ruin us if we do not live solely by scripture—walking in all godliness, holiness, and truth. Galatians 1:10 states, “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were trying to please men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” This is a profitable verse to memorize in that it can assist us in never following deceived influences who teach contrary to scripture. Galatians deals with church attendees who influence by presenting a tainted Gospel. It addresses people-pleasing believers who wanted to be part of a tolerance-centered congregation and therefore they wouldn’t eradicate the false teachers. Jeremiah 17:5 is also a great verse to commit to memory in this area, as it declares, cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes man his strength.

On-fire Christians who apply God’s Word will detect reefs, those who are not spirit-filled believers. Perhaps not right away. But through observation and paying heed to what they say, they detect something is amiss. They take note of their actions that reveal something is not right here, which sounds an alarm of warning in their spirit.

Many Christians want to think the best of others and will hope that what they perceive cannot be true when it is in a negative scope. True love wants to believe the best. However, in many cases in today’s church, disappointment can be a norm when wanting to locate a true dedicated obedient believer who will not eventually slap them in the face in one way or another with some false teaching.

All through the centuries, believers have had to walk in caution in the Christian sphere. Paul stated that he had to be constantly on guard due to the false brethren; 1 Corinthians 11:26.

Bible translator, William Tyndale (1494-1536) died by the hands of a false believer. A worthless man by the name of Henry Philips brought William Tyndale’s ministry of Bible translating, printing and distribution to an abrupt end through his acting achievements.

Tyndale knew if he was caught for this illegal activity that it could mean death; he being the most wanted man by Romish religious clergy. This ruling religious sect did all they could to stop his small as a hand New Testaments from landing in the palms of commoners which he smuggled into England through ingenious schemes.

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Philips successfully pretensed himself as a friend by establishing a close relationship of trust. He gained Tyndale’s certitude by posing as a dedicated fellow believer in Christ and His Word. You can imagine Tyndale’s shock and pain when this faithful friend implemented espionage to trap him with evidence of his underground work. It was like the kiss of Judas upon his face. Tyndale was arrested, strangled and his body burned at the stake near Brussels, Belgium all because of a “hidden reef” he befriended who had hateful murder hidden in his spying heart.

In Revelation chapter 2, Christ exalts the Ephesus church for not tolerating evil men and putting to test those who called themselves apostles, and found them to be liars. Philips was found to be lair and a deceiver but not until a powerful dedicated life became a burnt sacrifice.

In the Ephesus church, the evil destructive ones were removed before they could bring harm upon believers through the Ephesians discerning scrutiny.

Chapter 8

The Fruitless and the Productive

As we continue to observe verse 12 of Jude, we note these false hidden teachers are autumn trees without fruit. I believe the “no fruit” and “bad fruit” found in scripture are mostly synonymous.

We can test church attendees by observing their fruit production—Matthew 7:15-20. We can sight both good and bad fruit through the wisdom of Christ’s words found in this Matthew passage. The good fruit would be detected in a person through a holy heart of loving obedience to the Word. Not that a true believer never has a sinful thought or action, but the overall person walks in general uprightness. The good fruit also produces more of the same godly crop.

Christ’s given insight on the bad fruit reveals it is not an inner godly, long lasting harvest. If you look beneath the beautiful skin, you detect all the destructive blemishes.

When it comes to personally observing bad fruit, I have come across much through inspection. And I must admit, it sometimes takes years before the blemishes appear outright. False teachers and false believers can fool Christians for years as they can act so good on Sunday. They can be grand theatrical performers but eventually the make-up wears away.

Some teaching tares will pace themselves to perfect synchronization knowing just when to start bringing in false doctrines—after they have believers eating out of their hand. These doctrines begin to appear when they feel assured they have won everyone over to their trust. Therefore, you and I must never be passive, but on the alert and on guard so we do not follow and become rotten fruit as well, which is their goal in leading others down their harvest path. Their false doctrines are placed upon others so the domino effect of never ending evil falls on everyone and everyone falls down like Humpty Dumpty. Everyone self-destructs and no true witness is left. This is what the consuming apostasy is all about and it is consuming most everyone slowly today in a tolerant teaching environment.

When I have been under teachers who introduce false teaching, I think I cannot be hearing this. In the past, I have prayed for the Lord to correct me if I am wrong in how I am interpreting something.

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However, I would find upon study that what I believe is the truth. About this time, I would usually bounce things off of Alan wanting to be cautious and not too judgmental. He, being discerning, would share his thoughts and concerns. We would usually stick it out until we could not bear hearing doctrines that were out of sync any longer. This type of thing has hurt Alan and I deeply. God has led us together in cautioning discernment, which is important to a marriage.

I have a friend who has been a math teacher in the public school system for years. She has taught with various ones in her career who she never would have guessed were believers by their words and actions. Once she was shocked to learn that a couple fellow teachers were pastors’ wives and one of these ladies was formerly on staff with “Campus Crusade for Christ.”

She learned these so-called Christian women of position could put on a great show at church, but act totally carnal when in the secular school system to blend in just right. One teacher holds a position in a Baptist church but she owns the foulest of mouths; swearing unceasingly.

We can see the essential importance of learning how leaders act outside the walls of the church before we place ourselves under their teaching and authority. Before a man can be placed in a pastoral role, the church must learn what kind of reputation he holds in the community as is taught in Timothy and Titus. He must be one who is above reproach in every way as one who brings pure honor to the Savior.

We also see a phrase in Jude 12 that points to self-centeredness as these people only cared for themselves. Such people believe they are number one when it comes to importance as we view often today. They watch out for number one and what number one believes. It is always “ME time” for them. They believe everyone is to tune themselves to the words of number one; not the holy One. These types of people are empty in all ways and have no fear of God … being described here through a visual aid—“clouds without water, carried along by winds.” This aptly describes anyone who is caught up in man-made thinking and activities. They think they are on center stage when it comes to accomplishments, but in reality they are empty like waterless clouds that bear no good productive thing.

Jude 13 continues this exposure of the disgusting attributes of these tares through more visual aids—they are wild waves of the sea who cast up their own abominable foam. They are wondering stars for which black darkness is reserved for them forever.

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This verse just doesn’t fit into contemporary Christianity does it? Today’s easy believism and positive believism would hurl out anyone through any church door for thinking negative of any godless person who comes to take part. Everyone is beautiful who comes to church no matter their wicked lifestyles. How God must weep over the apostate church!

Joel Osteen, the pastor of America’s largest church, over 30,000 members, states his church “is open for everybody.” He refuses to condemn homosexuality, abortion and anything that would cause the world to hate him.

“Friday Church News Notes, September 29, 2006, – At a recent book signing in Boston, Joel Osteen, pastor of Americas largest church, said he doesn’t believe it is his calling to condemn homosexuality and homosexual marriage. When Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, was asked his opinion about gay marriage, he gave the following vapid reply: I never feel like homosexuality is God’s best. I don’t feel like that’s my thrust … You know, some of the issues that divide us, and I’m here to let people know that God is for them and He’s on their side.”

Paul was hated by those who were made to feel guilty by his writings on holy living. Pastors today do not want to be hated; they want to be loved by everyone for fame sake.

Joel Osteen was selected by Barbara Walters as one of the 10 Most Fascinating People in 2006. This is the first time a pastor has appeared on the annual television special. Osteen focuses on a positive message and refuses to preach on negative issues such as repentance and judgment. You will not hear a sermon on hell at his prestigious Lakewood Church. Walters stated, it was Osteen’s “positive message and huge congregation” that led her “to pick him.”

If any of the prophets and apostles were preaching in today’s world, they would never be selected in a positive way to represent the American way of adoring fascinating people. Christ was martyred for not submitting to culture and so were many of the apostles. They would not consider it a privilege to be seen as famous and desirable from the world view. They would be mocked today for their prudish, unwavering ways.

Christ warned, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way;” Luke 6:26. “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.

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Remember the word that I said to you, the slave is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My saying, they will keep yours also;” John 15:19-20.

Enoch was not a man-pleaser but spoke the truths of God devoid of likable compromise. I believe he had his times of persecution and rejection, knowing he preached the judgment of God.

Verse 14 of Jude sheds new revelation upon us concerning Enoch who we read of in Genesis chapter 5. In Genesis, we are not made aware of the fact that Enoch was a prophet, but here in Jude it is disclosed. Enoch lived before the flood, so I would guess he prophesied of the world water rushing inundation and the great oncoming judgment that we read of here where Christ comes with “many thousands of His holy ones.”

Enoch was an exceptionally righteous man as God did not desire that he suffer death so He raptured him to heaven, therefore “he was not.” The Hebrews 11:5 KJV text states, he was “translated;” this equates with he disappeared or was raptured.

Enoch was Noah’s righteous grandfather. He was of the godly line of Seth; Genesis 5:3. Seth looked just like his father, Adam, as we are told from this verse. Mormons believe in the “mark of Cain” being present today. They teach the black race descended from Cain’s evil genealogy. However, the godless line of Cain was completely annihilated at the time of the flood. Only Seth’s genealogical tree continued; his brother’s did not.

We find Enoch’s faith spoken of in Hebrews 11:5 (the faith chapter) which teaches us God removed Enoch from the earth because “he was pleasing to God.”

Enoch is our example of being pleasing to God by fully recognizing God does not lie and therefore warned of God’s coming judgment. From Genesis to Revelation the Bible has warnings of the “wrath to come” or the “day of the Lord.” Christ, the prophets, apostles, etc, pronounced words of doom due to the fact that nothing like it has appeared in the way of judgment in the past; including the world wide flood of Genesis.

If you read Revelation and related Bible scriptures, you see it needs to be preached as Enoch did and as Jude does here. It is all neglected in this day of worldly apostasy where humanism reigns even in Christendom.

You can recognize by verses 14 and 15 of Jude why Enoch’s warnings are needed, as these verses state “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”

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These verses in Jude are magnified in an envisaged presentation in Revelation. The apostle John witnessed it through a staged reality performance from God and wrote it all down as it occurred to inform you and me. Revelation mainly deals with the tribulation. Revelation pronouncements should cause believers to sit up and take notice. It ought to incite fear of what is to fall upon all unbelievers whom Enoch referred to way back at the beginning of time. These are all inerrant disclosures.

In chapter 6 of Revelation, we read of the opening of 7 seals of a book. These seals unlock the wrath of God upon the earth when broken. Here Christ removes peace from the earth. Peace is one of His gifts bestowed upon mankind so most live in some type of ordained respectful order. The majority of society does not engage in murderous rampages. However, when the Lord God eradicates peace from the earth, men will slay one another commonly. We also note from this chapter that God will bring famine and pestilence upon mankind in a way never witnessed before as it will affect the whole earth. Man will also be mauled and devoured by wild beasts. Animal rights activists will be silenced during this time when God allows these creatures to torment men as never before.

An earthquake will devastate beyond Richter scale registering revealing incomprehensible magnitude. And the sun will become black as sackcloth; the moon will turn to a bloody state and stars will be allowed to enter earth’s atmosphere falling upon mankind. Every mountain and island will be moved out of their places.

If you read towards the end of chapter 6, you will see that mankind will hide himself in caves and will call for the mountains and rocks to fall on him as he will not want to face the Lamb of God—Christ who is all holy and hates all sin. This verse reveals there will be no atheists—everyone will know Christ is avenging the sin of the world.

And no that is not all—God will destroy a third of mankind by fire, smoke, and brimstone through a mounted army of two hundred million. He will destroy a third of the earth, a third of the trees, grass, creatures of the sea and ships a sail. He will strike a third of the sun, moon, and stars.

Furthermore, the waters of this earth will turn to blood and man will be smitten with every possible plague. Hell stones, a hundred pounds each, will fall from heaven upon men.

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This is just a taste of Revelation’s avenging pain orchestrated by Christ arriving upon mankind in this great day of tribulation that will descend from a pure and righteous God.

I believe, I have provided you with a little mirror to reveal a few of the upcoming events that explain why Enoch took the occasion to warn mankind of the great tribulation from the beginning of time. We are ever so much closer to end time catastrophes … we all need to take heed and take the delivery of the salvation message more contemplatively. When Paul witnessed to Felix in Acts 24:23, he discussed with him “righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come.” Felix was a Roman administrator who lived a loose pleasure-filled life and needed to fear the judgment to come upon all that he might embrace Christianity and repent.

Today there is a movement that removes the arriving tribulation judgment that is preached in Revelation, Acts, Jude, and in numerous Biblical books. This captivating deceived movement places us in the kingdom age today if we just grab hold.

There are people in churches who are rewriting Revelation to their own condemnation. Revelation 22:18-19 dooms those who add to this book …they will receive the plagues contained within and those who subtract will be banned from heaven.

Many pastors and teachers are proclaiming false precepts, adding and subtracting from Revelation without any fear. They eradicate the coming judgment and most everything else avowed.

This teaching can be referred to as Christian dominion though those who present it do not refer to it as any doctrinal stance; they simply proclaim it. The Bible teaches that Christ will rule in the Kingdom age from Jerusalem and He will bring death upon all who oppose him before He takes His earthly throne.

Revelation chapter 19:11-21 announces:

Christ is coming on a white horse. He is going to judge and wage war. His eyes are a flame of fire and He wears many crowns. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood and His name is the Word of God. From His mouth comes a sharp sword and with it He will strike down the nations and He will rule over them with a rod of iron. He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty! An angel will come and stay to the birds, “Come and assemble for the great supper of God so you may eat the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of kings, and the flesh of the commanders and the flesh of men, both free and slaves, and small and great.” And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Christ who sat on the horse and against His army.  

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The pagan warriors’ blood spilled their defeat, which paved the way for the Mighty Son of God, King of Israel, to introduce millennial peace to the earth. (Revelation chapter 20, Ezekiel chapter 34 and 39:1-12, Zechariah 2:10-12, 8:3-8, etc.)

Despite these unmistakable teachings, many Christian songs are being composed and sung in churches that imply we are dwelling in the kingdom age though nothing has been fulfilled as of yet. Some of this composition is arriving from the Vineyard movement. It implies that we should be reigning with Christ right now on the earth—believers must bring it on. It instructs the changing of the world socially, economically, educationally and spiritually, to usher in the kingdom. This is totally divergent to scripture, it being man’s desired belief system. It is brainwashing and it is working because so few believers know their Bibles today including the book of Revelation.

Dominion doctrine teaches that any god-acknowledging people, through their own instrumentation, must commit to bring peace upon the earth through humanitarian endeavors. All humanistic, religious-minded people are intricate in this effort. Ecumenicalism is the glue of this movement.

Dominion apostate doctrine maintains one basic belief: Christ will not return until the ecumenical church maintains global control—it is within reach and it is being done; so it is kind of like, we have arrived.

This doctrine falsely and deceptively teaches that the church has replaced Israel and so the church is our hope of kingdom come. Yes, it is wishy-washy and full of entangling confusion. God is not a God of confusion; which must always be retained in mind. Every believer must be on guard so they aren’t sucked into any bogus new agenda thinking.

The book of Jude dismantles apocalypse false doctrines plus other misleading dogmas of today.

Looking at Enoch’s quotation further, please notice he used the word “ungodly” four times in Jude 15. This world is going to suffer from a coming judgment that will be rained upon “all” of the earth’s ungodly. Therefore, we must bring Christ’s message to as many as possible.

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It is not about ushering in a humanitarian habitation; it is about the saving Gospel message that must include warnings of the judgment to arrive. It must be preached with Enoch’s warning passion.

This verse should also stir believers’ hearts to obedient fear, knowing every Christian must strive to live by God’s standards. We will all stand before His judgment seat, and be tried by fire in regards to our works; 1 Corinthians chapter 3. We must be wise enough to realize we will not be judged in light of American cultural standards, but by God’s holy perfect standards.

This coming judgment is to set fear in all believers so we walk in a godly manner while upon the earth. 1 Corinthians 3:3-4 warns us not to walk in a fleshly manner or like mere men. We are to walk in godliness so people recognize we are not of this world or of American culture, but simply ambassadors for Christ. Enoch lived this way, being not of this world, living and speaking of those things that are eternal and possess everlasting value. He chose not to identify himself as part of the local community. His identity card revealed he was united with God alone. He was one with God in preaching the coming judgment.

Verse 16 of Jude brings all this into context as those who are false teachers don’t possess the heart, mind and soul of Enoch. They are earthly-minded, reeking of arrogance, craving earthly gain and they implement flattery to grab hold. They speak of themselves and their accomplishments, not warning of the coming judgment of God. They own no true concept of living holy separated lives through regeneration.

Malachi chapter 4 warns of God’s judgment on the arrogant or proud person. It states, “For behold a day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze.”

Jude and Malachi are warnings to me so I desire to put on humility. It is wrong for me to build myself up or give myself praise. This truth in Jude speaks to my heart in a great way as my flesh always wants to exalt itself. Praying for humility and being delivered from pride is a continual prayer of mine when my flesh raises its ugly, hideous, deceived head.

I also recognize from these warnings that I am never to make fun of another as this proclaims a proud statement of, “I am better than you.” I will Someday give an account of every word I uttered and I know I will be made ashamed as I fall very short. May Christ continue to mold and change me into His image before my time arrives when I come before my Lord for analysis of reward.

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The scriptural warnings of Malachi and Jude are for my benefit and yours. What may assist us with these verses is to shine a brighter light of reflection upon them by picturing the proud, self-seeking, typical salesperson. Such a one loves to flatter for business success and will pretend they are one in thought with whomever they approach. I think all of us have been flattered by a salesperson for their personal, proud financial gain and our personal loss.

We must always make sure we never buy into such gimmickry and never implement it ourselves for our own personal financial success. The Lord blesses honesty, humility and forthrightness. Arrogance and flattery are not to be part of the believer’s heart in the church or outside. They are the implementations of the world for carnal personal achievement.

Verses 17 and 18 embrace another warning concerning end times and those who mock the scriptures—the recorded words of Christ, the apostles and prophets. Remember, 2 Peter 3:2 commands us to abide in the teachings of the holy prophets and the apostles as they wrote the words of Christ. Mocking scriptural truths occurs because there are those who want to pursue “their own ungodly lusts.” Of course, this has been the prevailing theme in this little letter of Jude. It is repeated as a warning for us to be careful of those who feed the flesh … not to get close to them so they influence us. This would include those who are flirtatious toward you. These people are very dangerous holding evil motives in their heart. They are in the church as you probably well know if you are allowing your eyes to be discerningly open.

This verse in Jude is reaffirmed in 2 Peter 3:3-4. Peter deals with people mocking because Christ still has not returned as scripture predicted. They view the Word of God as false and therefore lethal license can be implemented. They may arrogantly state, “Nothing has changed in the world, so the Bible must not be true.” These people are excuse-makers. They use this excuse to live according to what is right in their own eyes, following after their own lusts. They have no fear of God seeing so many getting away with wickedness or so it appears. Those who truly believe scripture recognize no one gets away with any unrepentant way and all stated consequences in Revelation and elsewhere will arrive.

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It is sad when someone points out a wayward believer to me who seems to be getting away with murder. I always assure them a day of reckoning will come as God says, He is the “God of vengeance” and we can leave this in His hands. Psalm 94 is the vengeance song, which we can pray for those who despitefully use us and others for personal gain. This Psalm reveals the pain one goes through when they are being persecuted for righteousness sake. Not long ago I encouraged a hurting woman who was in persecuted pain to pray this psalm. I also pointed out the uplifting truths of 2 Thessalonians chapter 1 for her encouragement. This passage deals with Christ bringing judgment upon those who persecute the righteous.

We are also to pray for the repentance of anyone who is in sin so they once again bring glory to the Savior. We cannot walk in bitterness or hatred toward another. When Stephen was being stoned for proclaiming convicting truths to the Jews, Acts chapter 7, he begged God not to hold the sin against them in modeling the example of His Savior when crucified.

In 2 Peter 3:14-17, Peter is addressing those untaught and unstable ones who mock Paul by stating his statements are hard to understand and therefore they distort them. These were people who misrepresented Paul’s writings as well as the rest of scripture as we read here. These people will always be hanging around so we must be aware. I know a man who attends church yet he enjoys spitefully making fun of Paul. I often pray for him to feel conviction so his heart changes. Leadership does need to confront such people as no one is to despise the apostles’ teachings; 2 Thessalonians 2:15 and 3:6; 1 Corinthians 11:2 and 4:17-21.

We note throughout the book of Jude, people in the church desiring to walk according to the flesh. Therefore we know they are not filled with the Holy Spirit, they are devoid of the Spirit, as we see if we drop down to verse 19. As I stated before, those who are filled with the Holy Spirit are recognizable as they speak about all of God’s Word with enthusiasm and on a continual basis. These Spirit-filled ones do not care if they are considered socially unacceptable because this criterion of society approval is no where found in scripture. Of course, I do not mean we walk in a silly manner by displaying silly behavior. Christ, our example, always portrayed a wise and discerning manner. If we feel we lack in wise, dignified behavior and speech, we can ask God to change us. Proverbs is a powerful book for instilling wise conduct and I have needed to seek its wisdom often.

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In Jude 19, we read more of the warnings about these people who come in the door of churches. They are “worldly minded.”  Worldly minded and worldly worded walk hand in hand.  Many missionary pamphlets I have received display an in-vogue appearance. I hate to pick them up as they make me sick to my stomach, as they imitate every new craze to make every believer feel like they are on the pinnacle of showy astuteness. Those who publish these periodicals do not offer an appearance of people who are of the Holy Spirit, just the opposite. They portray those who are of the cutting edge of humanitarianism, which is viewed as very posh in today’s secular society. They implement most every new released phrase of explanation so you will want to give to such an in-grove organization. They rarely speak of persecution … more likely how the world loves them for their bountiful compassionate efforts that do not threaten like the Gospel message of repentance and regeneration.

As we delve more into Jude, we see these false teachers as those who produce divisions as well as everything else we have noted. I know of a pastor who has caused three or more church splits in the area of Boise, Idaho. It was not that long ago that he had left behind a bunch of dismayed people. However, he has moved on to start another church, which has already acquired a large building. He is eloquently impressive.

Elders, who solidly hold to the Word, will not be producing church divisions. It is most always those people who bring in their own personal interpretations who cause splits. I have noticed how easy it can be for a man with leadership qualities to deliberately start attending a troubled church, simply for the purpose of causing a split so he can have a ready-made church. Self-motivating people can simply start a separation by stating negative things about leadership that are unfounded, and take the diabolical steps from there. Easy!

Jude is completely applicable for us today including in the area of being watchful of those who want to divide churches simply so they can hold a position of arrogant authority in order to do their own thing according to their own way.

As we move into verse 20, we turn to those who represent true and sincere believers and the exhortation for them to build themselves up in the “most holy faith.” I love this phrase which calls for holiness conformity, being it is absolutely opposite of anything that is of this sinful world. It can never offer the “holy faith” we have in our Savior. God’s Holy Word is matchless and through it He fashions us to be His conformed. Of course, this conformation can never reach sinless perfection. However, it does take hold of continuing maturity whereby we never become complacent in the faith.

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“Praying in the Holy Spirit” is the next phrase of this verse. It is interceding according to the scriptures. The verses are endless that we can pray to the Father in the name of Christ as we search throughout the Holy Word. Sunday, our pastor was teaching on prayer and one illustration he gave was to pray for husbands to love their wives as their own bodies. This is directly from the Holy Word and we know it is according to the Holy Spirit’s perfect will holding the power thereof.

I enjoy interceding with Colossians 1:9-13 for fellow saints to grow in their faith. These verses cover everything a person needs for godly maturity. It encompasses believers advancing in perception, power, steadfastness and so forth. I plead verse 13 for the unsaved, interceding for so and so to be delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of His beloved Son. I also enjoy praying many other scriptures, for I know if I entreat in this way, I am supplicating according to God’s perfect will in His Holy Spirit.

We are next commanded to keep ourselves in the love of God; verse 21. We can turn to 1 Corinthians chapter 13 and get a greater grasp of this love that is not self-centered and never demands its own way. It is a love of charity, a sacrificial love not a sensual love. We can also see it demonstrated at the conclusion of the book of John in chapter 21, where Christ inquires of Peter of his love for Him. Christ tells Peter if he loves Him, he will feed the sheep, meaning fellow believers. What it stresses completely is implanting God’s truths, and it must not be done in a sheepish manner but with all Christ’s authority and power. If we truly love fellow believers, we will desire their growth unto spiritual maturity. A man teaching another man or other men is best (men should not place themselves in tempting situations by teaching a woman). A woman teaching another woman or other women is also best. Women are not to exercise authority over men by teaching them; 1 Timothy 2:12-14.

Now God did use Priscilla to teach Apollos, Acts 18:24-26, but she did it in conjunction with her husband as head. She would have never taught men in the church, though she was gifted and intelligent, as she walked in obedience to the apostles teaching in conjunction with scripture.

Acts 21:8-9 addresses Philip the evangelist who was a deacon in the Jerusalem church. He was the one who introduced the Ethiopian eunuch to Christ as witnessed in Acts chapter 8. Philip had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses. His prophesying daughters spoke the Word of Christ, but were not preachers or teachers over men.

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God can bless women significantly through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but they must be implemented in conjunction with their calling of being of a quiet and gentle spirit that doesn’t want to usurp authority over men.

We know “keeping ourselves in the love of God” can also entail personal sacrifice for our Savior’s testimony. Christ states in John 21:18-19 to “Follow Me” and these verses boldly signify unto a martyr’s death which was specified for Peter as a warning of his pending martyrdom which would arrive when he became elderly. Peter followed unto death as did some of the other apostles because he loved the Savior unto death. We know following Christ has meant unto death for countless believers since Peter. Even today believers in various foreign lands follow unto a martyr’s death to display their undying love for the Savior.

Jude points us to the most marvelous truth of all at the end of verse 21 and that is our eternal hope of being with Christ forever and ever! We are commanded to wait anxiously for this time of eternal life. It is not a sin to yearn for heaven and the sinless embodiment we will receive. Being disappointed that Christ did not receive us today into His heavenly home is a good thing. We get tired of battling sin and having this hope set before us allows us to continue on despite the heaviness of the fight at times. A happy ending is awaiting.

We are to have mercy and walk in mercy according to Jude 22. Some believers may be struggling in their faith and we need to encourage them to keep on keeping on. Barnabas was an encourager in the early church and we all need to be encouragers as this world is very wicked, yet alluring. The battle can be fierce at times and simply phoning someone who we know is in a spiritual battle can lift them up and assist them to stand firm. Frequent calls to them and asking if they want to cover a few verses in a particular book in the Bible during every conversation can cause the troubled one standing on troubled waters to be benefited.

Taking the time to disciple a weak and hurting believer has numerous rewards. This is certainly exercising mercy on those who may be doubting.

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New believers are weak and suffer with many doubts and we need to be sensitive to this and make sure someone is aiding them in discipleship. Going verse by verse through the book of John is a good place to begin as new believers need to learn about their loving Savior. They usually have many questions and mature believers in the church need to be always available for their inquisitive minds.

Chapter 9

Fire Protection with Cleaning Precautions

We now move onto our responsibility of reaching the lost. We do not desire that anyone burn forever in the “Lake of Fire” as revealed in Revelation 20:20 which is a forthright teaching on the final fiery judgment of the unsaved. “Snatching them out of the fire,” as we read in Jude 23, is a requirement bestowed on us. This example was left to us by the Lord as He sent the apostles out into the streets to reach the lost no matter the personal price which included the disdain of convicted hearers.

Sitting around and just enjoying life with no thought of others is not of the Lord. We are to sacrifice in order to snatch people “out of the fire.”

When it comes to wives and mothers, we must recognize our first call is to be workers in the home. I personally love this call. However, desiring to do the work of the service is also a call, but never to the neglect of my home.

If outreach ministry to women and children does this, then I must discontinue. If my home is not filled with constant love and devotion, I must back off. If my home is not clean and managed, then I must back off. My children are now grown, but when they were in the home, I made them a priority; but not in neglect of my husband. I often tell ladies who are not feeling they are doing enough that they must remember their first call is to be a worker in the home, loving their husband and children; Titus 2:4-5.

We cannot have our husbands and children feeling neglected as we follow our own agendas of service. We were called in Genesis to be our husband’s helpmate not an uppity women’s libber, having no respect for natural domestic attributes. The home front must always be protected and guarded. We have many disturbed homes because they are not protected by a stay-at-home attentive sentry.

Time for outside ministry can come when the children leave the home if a woman’s husband allows. God wants Christian homes to be a major witness in obedience to His Word.

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A woman may not think she is accomplishing much for the kingdom when she is shinning forth brilliantly as an obedient hardworking submissive wife and loving mother. She retains more impact on the watching world than she ever can imagine. This planet is filled with unfaithfulness and she can be a light amongst an adulterous and sinful generation; Mark 8:38.

One thing that has assisted me in desired outreach and still does is sending out salvation letters—mailings I send randomly to people listed in the phonebook. They state the Gospel message and include a challenge to receive Christ. I have a letter saved on the computer and I print copies off. Another thing I engage in, is handing New Testaments to ladies and I leave tracts in restrooms. These activities do not cause me to neglect my husband and home.

There is a bit more to Jude 23, as we must keep ourselves pure when we go into this vile world to reach those lost in wickedness. Secular influences and ways are never to pollute. Our garments must always be pure and unstained as we walk in sin-avoidance.

Awhile back, I bought a white leather jacket from a lady at a yard sale. She was definitely of this world and her jacket reeked of it. I took it home and cleaned it up … all in an effort to remove its smelly sinful past. However, after all my attempt of purifying it, it still festered of the world’s involvements. I ended up placing it in a closet with a vanilla air freshener. It eventually removed the scents I abhorred. Then I fastened a metal tea set broach to distinguish my feminine personality. Now it has been transformed—looks and smells nice, and people like it; but I still think of where it came from on occasion. Yucky!

I know if I had bought it off a rack all spankin’ new, without a past, I never would have had to deal with it. However, I also never would have thought so thoroughly through this verse’s meaning.

We are to “hate” the sinful “garment polluted by the flesh.” Hate paints an accurate portrait of how we are to view all of society’s ways that are divergent to the Word of God. It is a strong word but God placed it in Jude to get our attention. Sin and disobedience are not to be looked at in a flippant manner. The things the world seeks after are not to be the things we seek after. To even hate the garment means we hate the sin so much that we can’t even stand the garments that took part in it. If we don’t hate the sin, we can be tempted to take part as Galatians 6:1 gives warning of.

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Every sin is to be abhorred by us without compromise or agreeing. We do not state, “Oh yes, I understand why you fell into that sin so it’s not that bad.” It can be easy to hold this type of attitude because our flesh desires to please for acceptance sake. We must always be alert and on guard so we do not forsake our holy Lord’s teachings.

To illustrate this more clearly, let us examine Jacob when he held a desire for revival. In Genesis 35:1-4 God told Jacob to worship at Bethel in the Holy Land. With heart-filled obedience, Jacob instructed his people to remove everything that smelled of godlessness, including their garments. This was part of their cleansing from pagan defilement. They were to put on garments that represented righteous and pure living. They were called to be a peculiar people as aliens on this earth just as we are today. Our dress should mirror holy and modest living not entanglement with a sinful society. We should hate garments that mirror an indecent and amoral culture.

Clothing formerly was referred to as a “habit” meaning what represented a person’s habitual activity. We still witness this in the labor world as various garments tell us how a person makes a living. It is easy to recognize a construction worker, cook, farmer, maid, mechanic, and on and on. A habit symbolizes a calling, rank or function. Jacob wanted cleansing from habits of the world in dress and action. He wanted a new calling placed upon God’s people that revealed new habits of life that came from new habits of dress.

Believers today are to discern that the garments worn by sinners = the representation of humankind’s polluted ways. It is what makes a garment or the skin dirty or polluted. We want to be worthy to walk in perfectly laundered white garments with Christ when we arrive at our heavenly home; Revelation 3:5.

The theme of purity is carried on in Jude 24, where we are encouraged to be faultless or unblemished before our Savior. “Blameless” is set before our eyes in this verse that takes the theme of being unpolluted further. Christ is able to keep us from stumbling so we can come to him blameless without any pollution that soils. He is able to make us stand “in the presence of His glory, blameless with great joy.”

Isn’t it nice to know He can keep us from falling or stumbling? He is completely omnipotent and therefore very able to keep us close to Him so we never stumble. We need not fear ever moving away from Him. This can only happen if we sincerely choose to do so. He knows our hearts and He is totally able to strengthen us to keep us from turning away. We have this duplicated in scripture through the promise found in 2 Peter 1:10.

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If we practice God’s righteousness and are growing in the faith, we will never stumble. 2 Peter 1:4-8 lists the qualities we need to be increasing for faithful enabling. Of course, this doesn’t mean we will never displease our Lord by thought or action, but by holding tightly to Him, we will never forsake Him for a sinful life.

Jude 24 and the verses in 2 Peter can be memorized for consistent encouragement and growth. If we keep building ourselves up in this most glorious and holy faith, we are never “useless or unfruitful.”

Wow, I have actually reached the concluding verse of Jude, verse 25. This is further praise to our Great God and Savior, who is “the only God and Savior.” Notice “the only.” We must be aware of the fact that there have been many false-christs and there are many today in our religion-filled world. We are warned of these antichrists in 1 John 2:18. Antichrists are most always presented possessing a few attributes of the true Christ for deception purposes.

Christians worship the true, immutable Christ. Let us praise our great God and Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord through awarding Him “glory, majesty, dominion and authority before all time and now and forever. Amen!”

Our eternal home is forever just as God has always been and ever will be. Christ’s children need never fear their future destiny. They are promised eternal life not temporary or just for a thousand years … but everlasting.

IN CLOSING

I now close and snap my briefcase. It is time for you to personally decide if the apostasy is here, as you have now weighed all my arguments with Biblical presentations. I trust these have provided insight for you, the reader, and they provoke you to be a more diligent studier of the Word; recognizing its total application for today’s world.

I request once again, if you are one who has never sincerely given their life to Christ, please do so now. Romans 6:23 teaches, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The End

July 18, 2009 Posted by | Apostasy, Apostasy in the Church, Bible, Bible Commentary, Christian Books, Christianity, Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment

Jeremiah – The Message and Messenger—Chapters 1-16

© Val Lee

 
“Jeremiah – The Message and Messenger”
All Rights Reserved/© Val J. Lee 

No More Pure, Living Water

2 Peter 3:2:
You should remember the words spoken by the holy prophets
and the commandments of the Lord and Savior spoken by
the apostles.

Chapters 1-16 Explained

Jeremiah holds a special place in my husband Alan’s heart and mine. He was one who was willing to stand alone for God as the rest of God’s people went after the world and the things of the world. Jeremiah gave a message that no one would heed; yet, God told him to declare it. Why? Because of God’s unconditional love for all. His message still had to be proclaimed even when none chose to listen. The people of God still worshipped at the temple and had an appearance of godliness, but also followed after the surrounding, styling cultures; choosing not to be a peculiar, different people.

God raised Jeremiah to this calling because he truly loved and cared for his fellow Jews, God’s chosen race. Jeremiah is referred to as the weeping prophet, because his heart held the love that God held for His people who had gone their own way. He wept because God’s beloved had caved into the glorification of the sensual. I behold in Jeremiah and throughout God’s Word that the Lord’s people become half-hearted when they cave into the gratification of the senses.

Background:

Jeremiah was written as a book of warning of God’s approaching doom on a sinful and rebellious nation that preferred to do what was right in its own eyes.

The northern kingdom of Israel, consisting of ten tribes, had previously been removed as captives of Assyria, 136 years prior. The Benjamin area, where the temple is, and the area of Judah, are all that remains of Israel during Jeremiah’s time, this being the southern kingdom of Israel. If you own a study Bible, you can turn to the map area in the back. One of the maps should reveal how the land was divided amongst the 12 tribes. The land was divided according to these tribes when the people entered the land under Joshua.

Verses 3-5, turns our attention back to Judah, consisting of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. To review again, if you turn to the maps in the back of a study Bible, you will see the tribal area of Benjamin. (You can also locate the twelve tribal map areas through an Internet Bible information search.)

None of the kings of the northern kingdom where of the line of King David, only the southern kingdom held to his genealogy. The kingdom split after Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, took the throne in 930 B.C. Rehoboam was very wicked and the Jews rebelled resulting in the northern tribes choosing Jeroboam for their king. He had served under Solomon over the forced labor. He too was extremely evil.

Jeremiah’s ministry was approximately from 627-586 B.C., during the periods of Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah who reigned as kings. Josiah reigned 33 years, doing right in the sight of the Lord. Josiah was exceptionally godly, yet his sons were ungodly and three of them ruled as kings over Judah. Jehoahaz, the first of Josiah’s sons, reigned only three months and was taken captive by Pharaoh Necco of Egypt and he expired in Egypt. Jehoiakim, his eldest son, ruled 11 years. During his reign, Judah began to be confronted by the kingdom of Babylon; and Egypt also caused them distress. Jehoachin, son of Jehoiakin, was the last vile king to reign within the direct line of Christ, before captivity. The next king to rule in the Davidic line will be Christ! It was during Jehoachin’s reign that the southern kingdom was taken captive.

Zedekiah, Jehoachin’s uncle, and youngest son of Josiah, was a puppet king of King Nebuchadnezzar. He rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar and was also taken captive with the last of the captives. There were actually three captivities under King Nebuchadnezzar. The first ensued when Daniel and others were removed to Babylon; Daniel chapter 1. The main one was under King Jehoachin and the last one was under King Zedekiah, which included the remaining Jews in Israel. This last captivity included the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem.

The prophet Zephaniah proceeded Jeremiah; and Habakkuk was Jeremiah’s contemporary.

Chapter 1

Jeremiah was destined to be a priest as his father, Hilkiah, was of the priestly line of Aaron, Moses brother—verse 1.

Hilkiah, a high priest (chief of the priests), was a godly man who rose to the task of revival during the time of King Josiah. The Word of God had been cast aside. The people did not even know what the Scriptures commanded. Hilkiah found the book of the law (2 Kings 22:8f), which was then read to the sin-filled nation of Judah. The truths of God brought the Jewry to its knees in repentance of all idolatrous acts. The closed temple was repaired and reopened. Godly worship again reigned in the southern kingdom of Israel, under righteous King Josiah.

God called Jeremiah from the priestly entitlement to be His prophet, just as He did John the baptizer in the New Testament.

As we move into verse 4, we recognize God’s special calling of Jeremiah, being called before he was born as God’s prophet to the nations, not just Judah, though Judah was the main nation he addressed. Those who have given their lives to Christ have also been called to His adoption as His spokespeople, before the foundation of the world (explained in Ephesians 4:4-5), which God performed through the kind intention of His will. Many other portions of Scripture speak of our unique position in Christ through His calling and choosing us by His loving grace.

Jeremiah responds to God’s calling as Moses did, declaring he cannot speak. Jeremiah also explains he is but a child; verse 6. No worries! God will provide him the words to speak—His words; verse 7. When we are stating God’s words, we have no need to worry about our verbal presentation. We can rest completely in the word sufficiency of God, even if young. We do not need to be knowledgable of any religious books, only the Bible, where we find total truth, without misrepresentation.

God informs Jeremiah in verse 8, that he is not to fear those who do not want to hear the truth of God’s Holy Word, much of which the Jews felt they could ignore. They were going to be cruel to Jeremiah for his unbending stances that would never compromise with society.

Verse 9 is a personal prayer of mine, for God to put His words in my mouth as Val Lee’s words are meaningless unless they are in line with the Word of God. Moreover, I pray for His thoughts to be my thoughts as Jeremiah certainly walked in the mindset that stood in line with God’s Holy Scriptures.

Jeremiah, in verse 10, was to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and overthrow, that would be all false teachings contrary to God’s Word. Also to build and to plant and Jeremiah still does this today in our beings as he bears the truth of God that plants good seed in our hearts and minds.

As we move into verse 11, we come to where God moves into judgment concerning Judah or the southern kingdom. Jeremiah refers to a rod from an almond tree and a boiling pot, both represent the negative. A rod is to be applied as discipline to strike with and the boiling pot to consume in great and terrifying wrath, seeing God was to discipline His rebellious children. When God refers to the north, He is referring to Babylon—this nation moving downward toward Judah in fighting array and force. This will engulf all the inhabitants of the land, not just some, verse 14.

Pious Judah, will be judged by the godless Gentiles as we read in verse 15. This would be very humiliating for self-righteous Judah who views the other nations as consisting of godless dogs. This is Judah’s judgment for worshipping false gods, the work of their own hands.

Here are a few of the false gods that Israel worshipped:

Baal was the most noted false god of this time. Baal means master or lord. He was also designated as “the son of Dagon.” (Dagon was the god of the early Philistines. If you remember in 1 Samuel chapter five, the Philistines stole the ark of God. They placed the ark next to their god Dagon; subsequently, this false god fell on its face before the ark of God which brings a big smile to our faces. The Philistines were avenged with tumors as God’s hand was set against them. They were so plagued that they did all in their power to return the ark to the land of Israel. They truly experienced the chastening hand of God for their disrespect of the Creator of all.)

Baal was the storm god and when people heard thunder they believed they were hearing Baal. They believed Baal determined the fate of their crops. They worshipped him in temples and outdoors in fields and on the hilltops referred to as “high places,” so noted in Scripture. These high places held chambers for male and female prostitution.

To quote Unger “Baal worship always had a subtle attraction for the austere Hebrews bound to serve a holy God under a rigorous moral code.” Of course, there is nothing new under the sun, and today many believers go the way of the world to escape the righteous Word that commands holy living and not license. Baal-ism was attractive to the Jews as it presented a life of licentiousness or license.

Molech represents the essence of evil and he is mentioned in Jeremiah 32:35. Molech accepts the sacrifice of children and Jeremiah says the Jews were offering their daughters to Molech by passing them through the fire. Palestinian excavations have uncovered evidences of infant skeletons in burial places. Apparently, one of the rituals in the Middle East involved babies being placed in the hands of an outstretched Molech, which were heated and the infants were burned to death when positioned in these hands. I do not know if this was practiced by the Jews but they did offer children by fire to Molech. Today in the name of the god of promiscuous sex, babies are burned to death with a saline solution while in their mother’s womb.

Solomon himself worshipped this most wretched god and built an altar to him; 1 Kings 11:7 and 2 Kings 23:13. Solomon loved the world and compromised to please sinful man. His wives worshipped false gods, so to appease their pleas that he comply, he relented to their idolatrous example when he was old. He was very lukewarm in his faith as a compromiser with the ways of society and culture.

The “queen of heaven” is a goddess of fertility whom Jeremiah exposes. She was a goddess for the ladies whom they brought raisin cakes to. My husband had blood drawn at Mercy Medical Hospital in Nampa, Idaho awhile back. As we were leaving, I noted the statue of Mary with a crown on her head. She is often depicted this way in Catholicism as one of her titles is the “queen of heaven.” God, in Jeremiah, strictly admonishes His people not to worship the “queen of heaven.” (Jeremiah 44:17 & 25)

Ashtoreth is another prominent goddess of fertility, but not mentioned in Jeremiah. Solomon worshiped this goddess too as several are mentioned in Scripture that he went after in disobedience to God, who eventually chastised him.

There are many false gods mentioned in the Bible, but these are the main ones repeated.

~

Returning to verse 16 of Jeremiah chapter 1, we see the works of man’s hands are exalted and not the ways and works of God. Man often times ignores who gave him the abilities he possesses, though nothing of what he fashions will pass on into eternity, knowing he brought nothing into this world nor will he take anything out of it; 1 Timothy 6:7. The earth is passing away and all of its lusts, but the one who does the will of God abides forever. We are not to put stock in that which is material or made by man.

Verse 17 is a warning to Jeremiah to be obedient to God or God will bring judgment upon him for not holding and proclaiming His words. Jeremiah was called of God, but he could still refuse as we all have our will that can conform to God’s or can choose not to.

Encouragement is lavished upon Jeremiah in verse 18 as God reassures him of His great shelter placed about him illustrated by a fortified city, pillar of iron and walls of bronze. This was his protective invisible gear against opposition. It was unseen but it was there, and we will perceive it, studying through this book. Jeremiah always continued on no matter what befell. We have similar gear which is the armor of God which encases us when we walk in obedience. We read of this special protection provided for us that safeguards us against satan in Ephesians chapter 6.

Further encouragement is delivered to Jeremiah’s ears as God lets it be known that He will always deliver him from his adversaries. This also discloses to Jeremiah that it will not be an easy road—these disobedient Hebrews will always be attempting to stop the message of God’s Word.

Jeremiah Chapter 2

As we delve into verse 1 of chapter 2, the Lord reminds us that the Word of God came to Jeremiah, not the words of mere man. Remember in chapter 1, verse 7, God was going to tell Jeremiah what to say.

Venturing into verse 2, God tells Jeremiah further what to speak to His disobedient children. In chapter 1, verse 5, we learned Jeremiah was consecrated for this calling, being he was set aside as God’s ambassador while in the womb. We too are set aside as believers to proclaim God’s Word, as we also were chosen before the foundation of the world, as we witness in Ephesians 1:4-6. We maintain the same unique birthright position as Jeremiah did, but under the New Testament economy of grace.

There will arise a time when sinful men will no longer exalt their unproductive, selfish, worldy agendas, for they will be abased. The pride of men will vanquish; Isaiah 2:11,12, & 17.

God becomes romantically poetic in this verse, reminiscing of the Jews former devotion of love. They, being like one, who had given their lifelong nuptial vows in the covenant of marriage, would follow Him anywhere. The LORD takes pleasure in the remembrance of their faithfulness to Him when He led them from Egypt, onto the wilderness March, to meet their the land of bliss. This, their fulfilled wedding gift.

He proclaims they were holy to the Lord in verse 3! They were His chosen ones, yet they fell away and the guilt came upon them as they compromised and did what was right in their own eyes, forsaking His commands of loving obedience. They forsook their first love—the very best love was lost.

The LORD refers to the Jews as the first of His harvest. In James 1:18, we see as New Testament believers, we were brought forth by the Word of Truth, so we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.

We hold a spectacular position, so did Israel, but it is easy for Christians to take their chosen, called election and throw this gift back in the face of God through not being totally dedicated to Him and His Word. We basically respond with, “We don’t want Your love and blessings that follow obedience, submission and lifetime dedication.”

Verse 3 also warns us that evil came upon them for their disobedience. In Hebrews chapter 12, verse 5-6, which is quoting Proverbs 3:11, we see God is a God of discipline who deals with His disobedient ones. In the church at Corinth, some believers were sick and some had died as they partook in communion in an unworthy manner; 1 Corinthians 11:30. God is very serious concerning submission and bringing Him glory in a righteous manner.

In verse 5, we witness more of the unconditional love of their Savior, who saved the Hebrews out of Egypt. God reveals the compassion of His heart for His people by inquiring of them, why they have forsaken Him after He has met all their needs? He led them through the pitted, desert land, verse 6, to deliver them from Pharaoh’s hand. I know nowhere else in Scripture where it reveals, God led the departing Hebrews around these “pits” on their wilderness march. He led them even in deep darkness. Exodus 13:21 reveals He did this by a pillar of fire by night, and they were protected by a pillar of cloud by day, that no doubt, shielded them from the bright sun of the desert. We serve a very gracious and mindful God!

Verse 7 goes on to state this unconditional, sustaining love brought God’s people to the land of milk and honey. It is so easy for me to forget all God has done for me; thus, to reflect over the previous years of His great and daily abundance which He bestowed upon me, is a productive exercise so I remember to engage in thanksgiving. God guides, directs, and protects everyone in countless ways. I believe, we are unaware of many things or we take them for granted such as the air we breathe moment by moment that sustains our lives.

The failure of worship, adoration and praise extended even to the priests who were to be examples of faithfulness; verse 8. They who handled the precious Word did not even take the time to know the God of the Word. And those who were to be God’s prophets, went after the false god, Baal.

A key statement here explains, they walked after those things that did not profit. I have to ask myself, how many things do I follow after, that have no eternal value nor bring glory to the Savior? If I am Christ’s child, I need to be constantly seeking those things that bring glory to my righteous, glorious, holy, pure, innocent, modest, decent, etc, … etc, Lord. I must use my time on earth for things that represent the things above where my mind is to be set. I hear it said, “You are not to be so heavenly minded you are of no earthly good.” You know, I have never met such a person—one who is too heavenly minded. The majority of believers I meet are too earthly minded for any heavenly good, as they are so involved in the passing pleasures and entertainment of this earth that is passing away. If you read Christ’s letters to the seven churches in Revelation, not once does He reprimand them for being too heavenly minded, just the opposite.

Hosea had been a prophet to the northern kingdom, Israel. In Hosea 4:2, some of the sins of the land are exposed … swearing, deception, murder, stealing, adultery, violence and bloodshed. Verse 3 provides us with an observation as to how far reaching and consuming disobedience to the Word can be! It causes all people to languish along with the animals, including the birds and fish of the sea—they all disappear.

Now isn’t that interesting, it is sin that causes wildlife and aquatic life to be removed when transgression consumes the land, not air and land pollution, but sin pollution!

Advancing into the next paragraph, God recites the silliness of forsaking Him, observing the Jews removed themselves from the Lord’s righteous glory and followed after the unprofitable, as earlier explained. God wants us walking in wisdom and common sense, but these attributes can be easily withdrawn when we turn to the temporary and selfish desires of the flesh and culture.

The sad cry of God’s heart is felt when we move to verse 12 and the following. He is always hurt by our sin and disrespect for His Word. He, the fountain of living waters, has been cast aside for vanity and temporary pleasure.

Verse 13 is a visual photo to us—we can visualize wells hewn out in stone that hold no rain water as there is a crack in the rock where the water leaks. These people no longer possess the pure living water of the LORD, but wasted, polluted water.

The following verses go on to explain how they are consumed by lions; those who hold no compassion and just want the smell of death. This passage speaks of the coming destruction. Here, Cairo, Egypt is mentioned, which was Memphis at that time, and Tahpanhes, both in NE Egypt. Judah was horrifically plagued by Egypt. Egypt was eventually consumed by Babylon as well, following Judah’s captivity.

Having shaved the crown of their heads represents slavery, seeing that would be their forthcoming appearance. Being shaved was not in line with Jewish law and represented the humility of their disobedience.

Verse 17 places all the blame on Israel! They couldn’t respond with, “Well, the surrounding nations had so many appealing ways that we just couldn’t say no. We wanted to be styling with everyone else. We didn’t want to be seen as weird, different and out of style.”

God continues to inquire of them, how could they not be totally devoted to Him when He led them personally in the way? He led them through the wilderness and up to the present time. This truth is viewed in Psalm 121:4, “Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”

God becomes sarcastic in verse 18, as He deals with their stupidity—He delivered them from Egypt and now they’ve enslaved themselves again to Egypt and other nations through their lusting after their cultural ways. God removed His children from Egypt, but He could never remove the Egyptian heart that desired all the world had to offer. Egypt was the place to live and a styling vacation spot … with the posh on display … gold, silver, costly garments, flashy home décor, exotic food, education, medical advancements and on and on. Not forgetting their arid climate.

The Jews disloyalty will cause God to use their own wickedness to correct them; verse 19. We all reap what we sow! If we sow iniquity, we will reap the consequences! This is basically what this verse is teaching.

The last phrase is so key … the dread of God is not in you! We are to fear God as He is a God of judgment; plus, we know the fear of God is the beginning of understanding. If we don’t truly dread our wrathful God (Philippians 2:12) we end up down a road that is all destructive! We truly see God’s wrath unleashed upon the godless when we focus in on the eschatological times of Revelation.

The following verses deal with Israel and the false gods she deceitfully chases, believing God doesn’t see her hidden sins that are performed on the hills, where the idols were placed, though they held no loftiness as lifeless images.

God tore off Israel’s Egyptian bonds; yet, she re-chose the sin of bondage. Sin always produces bondage that allies itself to satan. We are only free when we exercise His moral and upright ways in our lives which arises out of our deep love for our Savior.

God planted Israel as His chosen, a most precious and prevailing position, but they threw this celebrated stance back in God’s face to His heartache. They were at one time faithful and glorified Him, but now all has been discarded.

In Luke 8:8 & 11, we see a good planting in productive soil brings glory to God. Verse 11 tells us the seed is the Word of God. When God’s teachings are not received seriously, it becomes foul and unfruitful in our hearts.

As we traverse on, we see once one is intertwined with sin, verse 21, it brings a true cheapness, like overdone makeup. The depth and insightfulness that comes only from God’s Word is replaced with the worldly, cheap, sensual beat that has no deep refined instrumentation.

Judah is to the point of lying to God, pretending she is loyal and true, just as an unfaithful wife might attempt to convince her husband that she has always been the devoted mate to avoid the scalding water of his wrath.

Judah is stained with an irremovable stain that cannot be hid from her God who is omniscient, knowing all things. She can go to worship, sing the songs, hear the Word and appear holy, but God knows what is hidden within. She is walking in defilement though she lies and says, “I am not defiled.” The world and its ways are vile, but she enjoys it too much to confess it. God reveals the inner person in verses 22f.

To note a New Testament contrast, turn in your Bibles to Matthew 23:27. You will note Jesus Christ here is pointing the finger to the religious hypocrites who possess an external righteous appearance, but He, being God, knows their wicked sinful hearts. Reality reveals that these heads of faith actually held within them that which resembled dead man’s bones and all uncleanness. These Jews were compromisers too!

Verse 25 reveals fact, as Judah states, she will follow after the strangers and not her faithful heavenly Father.

Verse 26 of chapter 2 reveals a heart attitude of Judah as she is only ashamed when she is caught in her sin, not when in the practice of it. Also there is not a place of true repentance. We’ve seen politicians, athletes, etc, who would never admit they were wrong until they are caught and often times their confession is halfhearted and not always on the mark of true revelation and exposure. David, himself, did not repent of his sin with Bath-Sheba till Nathan brought the matter up to him in the tale of the little pet ewe lamb.

God calls for His people to be ashamed of their sin before Him; He who is all righteousness and purity. He is our standard never men! Even Israel’s godly leaders had turned to evil, their priests and prophets. They were the religious leaders of the time and they had all chosen a wrong road.

False prophets and teachers who infiltrate the church are exposed throughout Scripture, including 2 Peter and Jude. Even Christ warned us of their presence in our churches. Judas was the first false tare who we recognize in the New Testament. No one even suspected him as he was among the others who performed so many miracles, stayed faithful to Christ, etc.

Many of the false ones know how to walk the walk and talk the talk; yet, whenever they get a chance, they will state a false teaching here and there, a teaching of culture or society that is not Scriptural or of a separated stance.

These teachers become more prominent in the church in the last times as believers will no longer long for the deep and convicting teaching of verse by verse study. They will desire teachers who present very little Bible and only that which makes them feel good, not that which causes them to fall on their knees in deep repentance. They are not desirous of gaining continuous, higher ground as the hymn writer expressed it: “I’m pressing on the upward way, new heights I’m gaining every day, still praying as I’m onward bound, ‘Lord plant my feet on higher ground.’ ’’

I don’t believe in worldly advertising for churches; but nevertheless, I have never read a billboard for a church that states, “Come and learn how to suffer for Christ.” Gaining friends and having fun appears to be the fancy by which churches want to advertise and present themselves in these last days.

In verse 27, God addresses the new age movement of the time, noting the Jews were worshipping the earth and the things of the earth, such as trees and stones. I was told of a man who decided to become a Native American though he was not by nationality. He would go up to the mountains to commune with his father-god of nature. People of this false faith truly believe the spirits are in the trees, rocks, etc; and these must be left undisturbed. We witness how this movement has grown as wilderness American soil is now not to be cultivated for man-made purposes to the insane extreme.

Romans chapter 1 addresses people worshipping the creation rather than the Creator, suppressing the truth that God has made Himself evident to man through His manufacturing attributes. After a society turns to a nature mentality (The evolution of animals, vegetation, stones, etc.), abandoning a Creator mentality, it then begins a downward, degrading path, where it even approves of homosexuality. This eventually results in a culture’s demise. The great kingdom of Rome is no longer, as it fell deep into these lustful, indecent and immodest ways. They diverted from all the chaste and prudish ways of holy God!

The culture of Judah is on its way to demise, and her discipline for her allegiance to the New Age religion will soon be felt.

When it settles down to reality and God’s discipline, these Jews will all of a sudden call on God to save them. They won’t call on their false idols to save them as those gods have no mouths to speak nor ears that hear (see Psalm 135:15-18). The end result is found in verse 18, they become like their idols; obviously lacking all common sense, truth and decency. However, reality doesn’t strike until terror is biting their heels.

Verse 28 portrays God in His sarcastic humor, as He challenges His people to let idols arise and save them if they can when His wrath strikes. This is similar to Elijah, 1 Kings 18, who told the false prophets to yell to get Baal, the storm god, to respond to them. He too mocked the stupidity of man-made religion.

Many people today worship the television in the sense that this is where they acquire their humanistic, cultural philosophies; yet, it wasn’t the television people ran to on 9-11 for hope; it was God. People picked up Gospel tracts as if they were worth a million dollars in New York City. At the Columbine school massacre, people ran to the churches, not the psychiatrists sent by the state.

Advancing further into Jeremiah chapter two, we see in verse 30 that God attempted to chastise His children but with no results. God is longsuffering, but only for a season.

Judgment placed on disobedience is for New Testament believers too, as we know from Hebrews 12, Revelation chapters 2-3, and other portions of Scripture.

We read in verse 30, that these people killed the true prophets. This is powerfully exposed in Hebrews 11:36-38.

Verse 31 reveals how faithful God has been to His children, always present for them. He has not been in the wilderness nor hidden in darkness. This truth proclaims God’s unconditional love for His people through His omnipresence. He has never failed them nor forsaken them even when they have chosen the wrong paths.

We move away from God, He doesn’t move from us! The second we repent, we know He is there and always has been, just waiting for that call of re-communion.

The deep heart hurt and cry is felt as we read verse 32 of God’s spoken words—Judah has forgotten God! Yes, God, the One who loves this nation with all His heart. This people, as a whole, have not even thought of Him—“for days without number!” It is akin to a bride forgetting her wedding dress and its ornaments. It seems absolutely impossible that Judah would forget the One who is to be her first love. Israel is the bride of Christ and so is the church. Both the true Jews and the true church will be united with Christ one day.

Judah’s personal wickedness is addressed in verses 33-35. She is so evil she even teaches the surrounding nations how to fall further into sin.

This nation doesn’t even care for its innocent poor population. James 2:5 and 5:1-6 disclose how detestable this is in the eyes of our Lord. God chose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of His kingdom. Partiality is a devious sin when we love the socially acceptable in men’s eyes above the ones who do not fit into worldly, uppity society.

God confronts Judah with reality by saying, you did not find the poor breaking into your home, whereby you believe you can justly ill-treat them. There is no reason for this, as it is just spiteful prejudice. They truly believe they are better than others. The Jews reveal how they are walking in denial in verse 34, stating, they are innocent. They turn their back on all sinful disclosure, including how they treat the undesirables.

They believe they are under grace alone and no judgment or wrath would arise from their God who is all love. Warning believers that there are consequences to disobeying the Holy Word was just as deplorable to the people back then as it is today!

Verse 36 speaks of them changing their ways, that of always walking in instability to go with the flow. This is certainly exposed in James chapter 1; people are tossed here and there by the instability of their ways not holding fast to Christ alone. They love to explore the newest trendy ways that change from year to year. Malachi 3:6-7 discloses God does not change, that is why we are not to accept new philosophies and methodologies that do. When we accept worldly ways and compromise, we are seen as unstable souls and our witness can become a matter of mockery.

The coming judgment of these actions appears in verse 37—they leave their land in humiliation with their hands on their heads. Many were killed and many were taken captive by Babylon. Judah trusted in the surrounding culture, but it would be that society that would bring forth its demise and captivity. When we trust in society, loving its fun, entertainment, materialism, etc; not being wise to its diabolical propagation—its outward deception of counterfeit presentation, we are consumed and enslaved by it.

Jeremiah Chapter 3

The sanctity of marriage and its vowels of life, is serious. It is as a covenant made with God and is addressed in the first verse. We know in this age that this covenant is not witnessed in the earnest and grave manner it was a century ago, when divorce was not a simple legal option.

Verse one is basically quoting Deuteronomy 24:1-4. This was a situation of divorce allowed by the law when a woman was found to be impure by her husband. She was not the chaste virgin he believed her to be. She lied. Even though virginity holds a place of mockery today, we know that women and men are to come together as chaste virgins through the marriage vowels stated before our holy LORD. Of course, many believers have turned to a pure mindset after being saved from a lustful past. God forgives, restores and renews as we see with the woman at the well. I believe God sees a couple as pure when they marry, if they pursued purity after coming to Christ.

Scripture also admonishes us to be chaste virgins before our Lord in the sense of walking in purity and not being stained by this moral-less world where chastity, modesty, and decency are hated.

When the movie Titanic was released, I was deeply hurt, as all of God’s calling for purity was cast aside in this drama that even Christians praised. Believers are to walk in all purity hating the sins that sent Christ to the tree of crucifixion, including nudity, pre-marital sex, swearing, and all the vileness of the world that was portrayed in this production.

Why did many observe nothing awry in this movie? I have no idea. I also do not know why believing parents let their young children view it. Why Christians even expect godless, vile Hollywood to produce decent programs is beyond me. They are not God’s called out and separated ones. We are not called to reform the unregenerate. This can only be accomplished by the new birth. Believers think if they complain enough, Hollywood will acquire a Christian mindset, even when producers have no spiritual discernment to begin with. Hollywood brags about the fact it is amoral, and that is why it is known to be full of pedophiles. This ugly fact has been testified to by former child actors, male and female.

In 1 Peter 3:2, we note a woman of chastity being able to win her erring husband back to the Lord (acting chaste toward other men). This type of woman today would be respectful in her behavior. She would not be flirtatious nor dress to attract the opposite sex. She would not be a woman who would set her mind on alluring men such as movie stars, Christian entertainers, or the neighbor next door. Her mind and heart would be set on her husband alone.

We are to possess pure minds. What we set before our eyes can pollute a godly mindset. We can turn to what is improper by what we seat ourselves before. I know personally, I have a far purer thought life when I’m away from worldly entertainment. I was formerly addicted to the television, but God released me when I cried for deliverance from this bondage as a young person. There are many people who are held so gravely in the bondage of entrainment that they could not go a week without it.

In verse 1, God is speaking of pollution, sin pollution that can occur when a man divorces his wife. Because she is not wanted, she goes to a man who desires her. Then, out of the blue, her previous husband decides to pursue her, even though she has been with another man. She then decides to return to her original husband. (Believe it or not, I have heard of similar situations.) Why is this wrong? Because we know God ordained one woman for one man. It bears the appearance of harlotry not purity. God’s children are not to go from mate to mate; this being abhorrent. If one divorces and remarries, then they must remain with their new spouse. A woman may feel guilty because she broke her original marriage vowels, but she must receive God’s forgiveness and stay with her current husband for life.

Of course, a woman may want to return to her former husbands for other reasons … Maybe this new husband is not an adequate provider or doesn’t pay her as much attention. Whatever the situation, she is not to pollute the land and return to her first husband.

We also view in verse 1, forgiving and imploring love arriving from God. Israel has played the lover with many false gods; yet, God is calling her to return to Him and be faithful to Him alone. It is remarkable love with conditions of faithfulness. No one can love Israel as God can. No one else looks out for her best interests that of eternal blessings beyond imagination.

Verse 2 moves into the idolatry of these Hebrews. They are pursuing many gods like an Arab in the desert who is a thief, just waiting for his next victim. It’s as if Judah can’t get enough gods to be in bondage to. The Arab thief is never satisfied either, no matter how much wealth he pockets by the edge of a sword.

In verse 3, we witness more of God’s curse on creation as He is withholding the rain, specifically the spring rain. How can crops grow without spring rains? No rain … no food. Today, Israel is a desert land where once she was a land of milk and honey. Obedience brings blessings; disobedience, great hardship. God commands in Zechariah 10:1 that we pray early for spring rains. We must seek Him for a blessed harvest long before the produce is planted. God can bring drought to America too if we take blessings for granted.

We see an interesting phrase in verse 3, that of Judah possessing a harlot’s forehead. A godly chaste woman covered herself with a veil, a promiscuous woman did not or she wore a very little one that did not cover her forehead.

In 2 Samuel 13:18, we see the dress of a virgin as we view David’s daughter, Tamar. She is dressed in a virgin garment for the king’s daughters. It is long sleeved and consists of modest robes. Because her sinful half-brother, Amnon, raped her, she tears her virgin garments in shame; no doubt, feeling unworthy to now don them; verse 19.

How many women today would consider it an honor to wear modest virgin garments? In today’s society, girls want to wear the garments of a harlot, very immodest and revealing. Modest virgin garments that cover the body would certainly be mocked today; but God, who calls women to dress modestly, endorses them; 1 Timothy 2:9.

Returning to verse 3 in Jeremiah, we see Judah is unashamed in serving other gods; reemphasizing verse 1. On the flip-side, we witness she likes to pretend she loves God; verse 4. Judah calls God her “Father” and feigns being God’s friend, wanting Him to guide. This would be similar to people attending church on Sunday, listening to the message, singing the hymns, praying, taking communion; yet, doing as they choose during the week without asking themselves, “Is this pleasing to my holy and righteous LORD?”

Judah recognizes God is angry with her; verse 5; yet, with no desire to turn away. She truly does not fear God. Fearing God is the beginning of understanding.

God speaks to Jeremiah in verse 6 in disgust concerning Judah as He asks him if he saw the wicked idolatrous ways of Israel (the removed northern kingdom of ten tribes of Israel)? God is asking Jeremiah this question during the rule of Josiah, the righteous king of Judah. Israel was taken captive by Assyria many years previous; however, Judah never learned from Israel’s sins and consequences.

God desired that Israel repent, but she did not. God cannot understand why Judah never learned a lesson in this. Today, society can witness people being haled off to prison for drug abuse; however, it never prevents others from following suit. The total wisdom of God is rarely desired in any society.

Verse 8 speaks of God divorcing Israel. We can’t have a better picture of this than with Hosea who was a prophet to Israel, the northern kingdom, and was told to marry a harlot to portray God’s heart toward Israel.

In the book of Hosea, we witness Hosea remaining faithful for Gomer even though she had many lovers and children by them, as well as by Hosea. Gomer finally leaves Hosea, because of her obvious desire to be with many other men. However, Hosea did not give up on desiring her return and eventually bought her, as she had become a slave to be auctioned. This illustrated the fact, God would eventually bring Israel back from captivity to the Promised Land. He would bestow His love on these Jews once again. The prodigal son is also a picture of God’s desire to forgive and restore the repentant person.

In counseling women who have wayward husbands, I request they pray the prayer of Hosea. He asked for Gomer to be hedged up with thorns, for a wall to be built against her, whereby she could not find her paths. Also that she would not overtake any lovers so she would return to him; Hosea 2:6-7.

The new age movement is addressed in verse 9 again. I spoke to this earlier in 2:27 when it first surfaced in Jeremiah. Judah looks earthward instead of heavenward for answers.

God desires we follow Him wholeheartedly, never halfheartedly. He reprimands Judah for not turning to Him with all of her heart. Deuteronomy 6:5 commands us to love the LORD our God with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our might. Judah disobeyed this command and God was going to bring frightful judgment. As followers of Christ, we are not to love Him with just 10% of our being, or 50% nor 90%, but with all our heart!

God is very disappointed in Judah as she is now even more wicked than Israel. Here, God pleads with Israel, not Judah, to repent and return to Him; verse 12.

Also in verse 12, God declares He is a gracious forgiving God. He simply asks Israel to repent. It is always so simple, but few follow this road. Psalm 103:13-14 explains God’s heart of loving His children, as He has compassion on His children who fear Him, just as any father does. He knows our frame and that we are but dust. This puts us in our rightful place. We have no reason to walk in any pride, being composed of dirt and exhibiting the stupidity of dumb sheep. What would we do without our Shepherd?

Verse 15 addresses a future time, when the Jews will be led by shepherds, those who will feed them on the knowledge and understanding of God’s Word. We know this is referring to the millennial period—the next verse speaks of having no need for the Ark of the Covenant as there will be no need to even remember it.

Isaiah 65:17 speaks of the future when God creates a new heavens and earth when former things will not be remembered nor come to mind. Heaven will be so wonderful and fulfilling we will not have a desire to remember this sin-filled earth nor will we think upon it in time.

We so look forward to the period mentioned in verse 17 of Jeremiah, when all will call Jerusalem “The Throne of the Lord.” All the nations will be gathered to it and no one will walk again after the stubbornness of their heart.

We know after the Babylonian captivity both Israel and Judah became one nation again and this will be true during the millennium as well; verse 18. This however, will be a total union in love without disputes.

As we return to verse 19, God reveals the pain and hurt of having Israel turn from Him. We too grieve God’s heart whenever we turn from Him. God views this as treachery, when we put other things before Him.

Verse 23 refers to the hills being a deception. Why? Because that was where the idols were always placed. David in Psalm 121 reveals his help came from the LORD, not the hills where he looked. The idols were positioned on the hills.

Sin can be all-consuming as we perceive in verse 24. It devours the labor of fathers, and the flocks, herds, sons and daughters. Sin affects the land as we saw earlier. In Jonah 3:8, when Nineveh repented, the beasts had to be covered in sackcloth and ashes, as well as the people. And in Jonah 4:11, God spoke of saving the animals and the people.

Verse 25 is a great prayer of repentance that God desired His people pray. He requested that they simply state that they had sinned against the Lord their God from their youth till this day. A prayer of salvation can be very simple too if it comes from the heart of repentance. One simply asks Christ to save and cleanse them from their sins and take control of their life. God makes it simple for us simple folk.

Jeremiah Chapter 4

God is speaking to Israel, the northern captured kingdom, in verses 1 and 2 of chapter 4. He desires that this chosen nation would reach the nations for Him through Israel turning from detestable things. God wanted the Gentiles saved in Old Testament times as well as in the church age. He desired that the other kingdoms glory in Him just as Israel was called to do. God loves all men and desires all be saved; that’s why we are called to present the Gospel throughout the world and to our neighbors beside us.

James 4:4f addresses God’s disobedient ones, the Jews in the New Testament; yet James was also written for everyone’s learning just as the book of Jeremiah. In the book of James, the Jews had become a friend of the world and God warned they would pay their indebtedness for doing so through His discipline. Repentance was required. In Jeremiah, Israel and Judah had become God’s enemies through their compromising ways. James states compromising with the culture, always produces hostility toward God. He separates from us—true fellowship is lost. God never changes from generation to generation! Whenever we seek the world for answers and not God’s holy ordinances, we become God’s enemies. Society, which is ruled by satan, will justify most all evil and the Bible is not the standard, as holiness is a foreign word to this world.

Years ago, I was filmed for a response to a local news editorial concerning sex education in the public schools. The manager informed me, she had never seen the word righteous before reading my counter reply for airing.

Here are a couple verses from the hymn, More Holiness Give Me: “More holiness give me, more striving within; more patience in suffering, more sorrow for sin; more faith in my Savior, more sense of His care; more joy in His service, more purpose in prayer.”  Third stanza: “More purity give me; more strength to overcome; more freedom from earth stains, more longings for home; more fit for the kingdom, more used would I be; more blessed and holy, more Savior like Thee.” This hymn reveals what God desires for all His people and what I feel is the heart-cry of these verses in Jeremiah.

Verses 3-5, turns our attention back to Judah, consisting of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. To review again, if you turn to the maps in the back of a study Bible, you will see the tribal area of Benjamin. (You can also locate the twelve tribal map areas through an Internet Bible information search.)

This was the land God allotted to the tribe of Benjamin who descended from Jacob’s son Benjamin. The people living in the area of Judah, below Benjamin, descended from Jacob’s son Judah. Judah is referring to the entire southern kingdom, consisting of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Jacob had twelve sons. The northern captured kingdom, removed by Assyria, consisted of the other ten tribes.

Verse 5 and following speak further of the future Babylonian attack on Judah when many will be killed and made captives. When verse 6 speaks of Zion, it means Jerusalem, the holy city, which is in the area of Benjamin. Verse 7 speaks of a lion; this would represent King Nebuchadnezzar who destroyed kingdoms to enlarge his rulership in his thirst for power. We do know by God’s grace that he eventually became a believer through Daniel’s witness and God’s discipline.

In 1 Peter 5:8 satan is described as a lion, because through his craftiness he desires to destroy all of mankind. That is why we are never to waver and turn to the philosophies and teachings that come from his kingdom—the earth. Those teachings that contradict God’s Word eventually bring destruction to the hearer. This is satan’s plan to lead us down the path of destruction through cultural philosophies that sound reasonable and are flesh-fulfilling, but produce God’s discipline. Satan despises all mankind because man is made in God’s image.

God, in verse 7, is straightforward about the consequences of disobediences; if they don’t repent their land will become a waste without inhabitant. This is a result of the fierce anger of the Lord; verse 8; who hates all sin! We will see this anger of our righteous LORD powerfully unleashed again when judgment falls on the entire world as witnessed in Revelation. Pastors formerly taught on God’s fierce anger, but today it is avoided as not politically correct for the contemporary church. How sad, knowing such preaching brought many to our Savior in centuries past.

Verse 9 speaks of the differing responses of suffering people. “The prophets will be astounded.” This would be the false prophets who truly thought the people were righteous in God’s eyes, as they held a form of godliness. They believed this form of religiosity overshadowed the fact that they were not obeying all of God’s commands for holy living. This verse also states, “hearts will fail” and “priests will be appalled.”

Jeremiah pours out his heart in verse 10 as he feels the justice coming to his fellow Jews is not justifiable. He even boldly exclaims, “God has deceived this people.” However, Deuteronomy 28:15 declares, God will bring many curses on the Hebrews if they don’t observe all His commandments and statutes. Verse 32 of Deuteronomy 28 and following state, they will become enslaved to other nations if they disobey their holy God.

Verses 11 and 12, back in Jeremiah, foretell God is going to bring judgment and there will be no reason to winnow and cleanse the grain that was grown. The people will be ruined and so will the land.

We become redirected to the power of King Nebuchadnezzar in verse 13.  His chariots cannot be halted and the swiftness of his horses will prevail. Job 39, verses 19-25, speak of God’s omnipotence in forming the stately horse. God declares the inner workings of the horse that craves battle. The horse exalts in his strength and power; therefore he inwardly laughs at fear, being not dismayed; Job 39:22. In verse 25, when the trumpet sounds, the eager horse exclaims in his mind, “Aha!”

Moving further into Chapter 4 of Jeremiah, God exhorts His Jewry to wash their hearts from evil for their salvation; verse 14. We desire to be washed whiter than snow and we are in the eyes of God, thanks to Christ’s shed blood, which cleanses us from all sin.

We additionally witness that God desires that they practice a pure thought life as He desires that no wicked thoughts lodge in them. 2 Corinthians 10:5 commands us to take every thought captive in obedience of Christ. We are not to harbor any thoughts that are contrary to His holy ways. We do this by not allowing the speculations and lofty teachings of culture to have any place in our minds. Anything that contradicts God’s holy and inerrant Word should not be dwelt on, knowing it forfeits our knowledge of God. Ephesians 4:17 warns us not to walk in the futility of our minds. We are not to dwell on those things that don’t bring us closer to our Lord and King nor those things that produce anger, pride, and the sensual and so forth.

We are to think on those things that are lovely, pure, honorable, right and worthy of praise, etc; Phil. 4:8. The music that we regard should cause us to dwell on all those things that are lovely, pure, and honorable, like listening to a lovely symphony piece that puts our mind on quiet waters and green pastures, such as Psalm 23 proclaims. Of course, setting our mind on the Lord is of utmost importance! Those things that encompass our being should be representative of a gentle spirit, Philippians 4:5; and that which encompasses humility and lowliness of mind.

This is opposite of what the world teaches as it desires celebrities to applaud and to exalt as stars. It is so wrong when churches possess an entertainment mentality to please the world which exalts the talented. There was a time when the choir sang from the back of the church as the congregation faced the front, thus forsaking the uplifting of human talent and applauding, etc. Those things that brought haughtiness of mind were to be shunned in times past.

Telling jokes seems to be of all importance in the contemporary church and in entertaining Christendom, which often sets the mind on fleshly enjoyment; yet, not one joke is recorded in all of Scripture. Yes, God certainly has a sense of humor, being noted in the book of Job regarding creation, yet this humor is to exalt the greatness of our Lord and King alone. The teaching of God’s Word is to be witnessed in all seriousness of mind when we gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing on our fellowship. Glitter and lights of showmanship do not cause our holy Lord to rejoice in man’s prideful self-exaltation.

God lets it be known in the following verses that inflicted pain is on the way as Judah has rebelled against God; verse 17. Rebelling is not conforming ourselves to God’s ways but to the ways we desire. These ways lead to a bitter end; verse 18.

Verse 19 turns our attention to a speech expressing the anguished heart of Jeremiah as God reveals the coming tragedy to the land. Jeremiah does not desire that his people suffer and so his heart aches for them. He says, “My heart is pounding in me.” God has allowed him to hear the battle cry and the sound of the trumpet. In Revelation 9:14 there will be the sound of the trumpet which will result in a third of the earth being destroyed, a far greater catastrophe than what Jeremiah was to experience.

Moving on in Jeremiah, we see him witnessing the devastation of the land. He even sees, by the will of God, his own tents being destroyed and his curtains; verse 20. God, no doubt, is giving him factual visions that disturb him.

We can understand more of the “heart” of Jeremiah by studying Lamentations which was also penned by him. Lamentations was written after the destruction of Judah. Lamentations follows Jeremiah in the Bible. If you turn to Lamentations 3:15-18, you view Jeremiah’s sorrowful heart, which states, God has broken his teeth and has made him cower in the dust. He speaks of forgetting happiness and having no hope from the Lord. Of course, Jeremiah rose up to praise God again, but the devastation was a frightening thing to live through, similar to experiencing an atom bomb or a 9-ll catastrophe. God’s judgment and discipline are never fun, that is why we have His Word to exhort us to holy living. He does not desire our sorrow.

God speaks in verse 22 in response as he lets Jeremiah know that His people are foolish and do not know Him, that is, His character of righteousness. They have “no understanding.” Why? They don’t study His ordinances. We are commanded to study God’s Word in the New Testament so we are approved unto God. They did not desire to be approved unto God, learning and practicing His truths. God is saying they are without excuse as they have access to everything. Also, Jeremiah by God’s grace was sent to warn them, but they consistently refuse to listen to him.

Psalm 50:21 is a very revealing verse; aptly disclosing the people thought God was just like them! We make a huge mistake when we think God enjoys the things we do or thinks the way we think. I believe we are living in the time of the apostasy because believers think God is like them, enjoying today’s culture and ways like they do. They are sadly mistaken! He is not impressed with the arts or any other thing that brings them entertaining joy. Isaiah 55:8 proclaims, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the LORD.”

Jeremiah speaks again in verse 23, quoting Genesis 1:2. He sees that the area of Judah will be “formless and void.” Jeremiah witnesses the result of the fierce anger of the LORD being accomplished probably through a vision. I believe this is referring to the total destruction of the area. Jeremiah continues to express what he sees, as even the hills move “to and fro;” verse 24. There is no man left; this is because the people were either killed or enslaved. Even the birds have disappeared. Nothing remains for the birds of prey to consume; every dead human has been devoured.

In verse 27, God begins speaking again, informing, He will not execute a complete destruction. This is by His grace. God always preserves a remnant. In Isaiah 11:11-12, God reveals He will gather the banished Jews from Israel and Judah. This foretells their preservation and return to the land, the post-captivity era. The following verses continue to relay the ruin, as God will not change His mind.

Verse 30 states how the women will attempt to make themselves beautiful in a worldly manner in hopes of winning the hearts of the Babylonians, but it will all be in vain as these fierce warriors only care about enlarging their borders for world domination. They are there to kill and destroy not to engage in romance.

Reality strikes in verse 32; a woman in labor, bearing her first child, is pleading for her life in vain. Her murderers have no compassion even on a woman birthing.

Jeremiah 5 Prelude:

 Cassidy the Cat

My cat Cassidy, who loves only me, hating all other persons and animals, enjoys curling up in a black and white ball on my lap. She also covets snuggling. (She is peering at me right now through the window, saying, “Let me in;” in her own way, of course.) If Alan, my husband, enters the room, she sits up and gives him the evil eye. He will look down at her and say, “Yes, I know, you want to be alone with Mama.” The moment he leaves, she encircles my lap and coils in simulation, relishing the gratifying contentment of owning only me.

Being alone with Christ in fellowship as I study, pray, and sing hymns is a fountain of living blessing. Holding a private session with my Savior minus any interruptions is my greatest joy. I do not appreciate it if one enters the room and interrupts my precious moments. God’s truths are powerful, persistently timely and daily enlightening and I don’t desire to miss any of their delights.

Jeremiah Chapter 5

As we enter the scene in chapter 5, verse 1, God is pleading for just one, just one righteous man to be found in the land. We hear this calling-plea today in America. It is a saddening thing when a court judge is removed for upholding the Biblical truths our nation was founded upon, especially in light of the fact that our original laws came forth from these holy writings. On February 29, 1892, our US Supreme Court declared, “Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind.”

Of course, we just can’t blame our government completely knowing that many churches prefer not to teach doctrines that are offensive to a contemporary society. Unfortunately, the church frequently serves no better example. It is not strange that our society, which also views itself as contemporary, would see no need to embrace that which is often viewed as old-fashioned. When there is similar rhetoric descending from our pulpits, how can we expect this government to govern differently? The Ten Commandments exhorts us not to commit adultery and so does the New Testament; yet, how many pastors overlook divorce and remarriage in their assemblies? How many preach against it? Many commandments that are reemphasized in the New Testament are cast aside, to tickle the ears of those in an assembly. Preaching against coveting—desiring that which has not been allotted to us—is not cool for a materialistic society. Of course, one could go on and on.

Looking further into verse 1, part of seeking justice in the land is desiring truth. Of course, the Ten Commandments are truth and certainly basic for a righteous rulership, as the only truth for living we possess is God’s Word. The Ten Commandments are reemphasized in the New Testament, excluding the Sabbath Day and keeping it holy. A few places where you locate the Ten Commandments (actually nine) is Romans 13:1-10, Galatians 5:14, the book of James, Philippians 2:1-5. You easily see the commandments are far more expounded upon with more expected in the way of obedience with us having the Holy Spirit’s power within. Romans 5 teaches us that walking obediently to these commandments, shields us from legal trials.

God made it clear, if He could find just one who sought truth, He would pardon Judah and she would not suffer the consequences of compromise. However, that never became her desire.

In verse 2, we witness the Jews wearing an external appearance of righteousness as they would say, “As the Lord lives.” This statement makes it appear that they held a personal, close relationship to God; but it was only a façade—not lived out through their hearts. Through James 4:15, we interpret that we are still to refer to God’s will if we desire to pursue an endeavor—“If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” We apply this through a heart of righteousness, which the Hebrews did not possess; distinguishing, their being was filled with religious deception.

In verse 3, Jeremiah cries to God inquiring, “Do God’s eyes look for truth?” Jeremiah thinks God is unjustly smiting His people even though he acknowledges they refuse to repent. In this verse, the LORD lets it be known that He attempted correction, but there is no change. They make “their faces harder than rock” which certainly displays a heart that speaks, “I don’t want to be different from the crowd and I will not change for You, God.”

Moving us to verses 4 and 5, we note Jeremiah making excuses for his people by saying they are poor and foolish. Here Jeremiah sets forth his own solution—he’ll just go to the great and speak the Words of God. They know the Word of God. He believes this will result in everyone getting right with the LORD. However, he discovers they have already hardened their hearts and they won’t break them in repentance. They had let go of God’s guiding hands, His “yoke” and “bonds.” They refused to see the protecting love of the LORD that showers the upright with blessings. Jeremiah spent a great deal of his life attempting to bring truth to the people; yet, all in vain due to their set-in-stone sins.

In verse 6, Jeremiah acknowledges that they don’t seek the values of God; therefore, they must be destroyed by beasts as their transgressions are many and their religious facades are numerous. They are the pretenders.

God takes the place of speaker and inquires in verses 7-8, “Why should I pardon Judah when her sons have forsaken Me.” The Lord reveals these men have followed false gods. God warns in Psalm 135:15-18 that those who make and trust false gods become like them. We do become like the people and things we spend our time with. If one is consistently seated before the television and movies, they are going to spend their time speaking those things that surround the entertainment realm. If one spends time with one who enjoys telling dirty jokes, they will start retelling those jokes. I knew a pastor who engaged in such behavior. He lived a short life. I must restate, what we spend time with consumes our being through its outpouring. If we spend time in scripture, we will be sharing positive fruitful Biblical truth with others.

This verse states as well, they have committed adultery—sexual unfaithfulness—when they were to hold to one’s mate for life. They were lusting after other women and harlots. They were not holding their thoughts and actions in check. In Matthew 5:27-28, Christ plainly warns that no one should commit adultery, quoting Deuteronomy 5:18. The Lord adds more substance by stating, a man can also commit the sin of adultery by lusting after another woman. Of course, women can lust wrongfully after men as well.

In verse 9, we see God’s attribute of vengeance which is also revealed in the New Testament. Vengeance is to be performed by the LORD; Hebrews 10:30 and Deuteronomy 32:35. God is a consuming fire when it comes to dealing with the sinful and unrepentant. This conflagration of judgment will fully be revealed when the unsaved will stand before him. God is saying because they are not true to their wives for life that He has the right to punish and bring judgment upon the land of Judah! God certainly has the right to avenge America when we see infidelity so rampant in society and in the church.

Undeserved grace is seen in verse 10, as God states, “He will not execute a complete destruction,” but He will strip away the false branches. We read in John 15:2-6 of branches being removed, branches that don’t bear fruit. Those who don’t abide in Christ, will be cast into the fire and burned. This is illustrating apostates I believe.

The sin of treachery is presented in verse 12. God says both the northern and southern kingdoms have been treacherous against Him; they made Him to be someone He was not. They presented Him as one who overlooks their sin, believing that no misfortune—sword or famine would ever arise due to their disobedience. Verse 13 reveals it was the false prophets who declared this. They lyingly taught false grace—the Lord simply turns the other way when they cast aside the Word of God. He pays no attention to the sin of His chosen ones.

The New Testament teaches us about false prophets in many portions including 2 Corinthians 11:13f. This passage discloses they disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. They know how to enter our churches and play the Christian act, at least on Sunday. These vile dudes are revealed clearly in Jude. They modernize the Bible to their mindset. They aren’t ones who love inductive Bible teaching and application. 2 Peter, chapter 2, discloses how they will move among us introducing the heretical ways and practices of the world, bringing swift destruction upon themselves, which we witness in John 15. They use false words, not holding to Scripture alone! As we move further into chapter 2 of 2 Peter, we witness God’s anger is against them as He will cast them into hell. Trekking further, we see Old Testament examples being cited in Peter to reveal how God’s wrath is placed upon sinners.

God directly speaks in a personal form to Jeremiah in verse 14. He blesses Jeremiah by stating, because he has not compromised the message; God’s words would now be fire in Jeremiah’s mouth. These words would be the convicting fire of the truth of God’s inerrant and holy Word in judgment against sinners. Hebrews 4:12 reveals God’s Word is living and active! None of God’s Word has died. It is still wholly relevant for today. It is living and true just as it was centuries ago. Contemporary-ism does not murder any of its live content. This verse further reveals that it is sharper than any two-edged sword, “piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit.” A pastor may speak dully the living words from Scripture; yet, the words can still convict the one who is not practicing its truth.

The spoken words of Jeremiah were never dull as he was a fiery preacher of the truths of God. He spoke through the powerful, convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit. Yes, God is a God of love and grace, however, His wrath, anger and vengeance cannot be cast aside. The fear of God is the beginning of knowledge! It can bring a hell-destined sinner to his knees.

We also learn, reading the next phrase, the words spoken by Jeremiah would “consume them” as fire. God is a “consuming fire” as noted in Hebrews 12:29. Unfortunately, such messages on this attribute of God are rarely and seldom heard. Of course, these sermons are most needed to be spoken from arenas where the multitudes of lost ones gather. Those in strong churches are usually snatched out of the fire: therefore, they mainly require the meat of God’s Word for uniform growth. Yes, a powerful Gospel still should be presented to one who is searching, as they slip in amongst believers; although, a church is to be careful of those who are false teachers who attempt to slip in as well.

When it comes to speaking forth the judgment of God, pastors should not neglect educating their congregations on the wrathful attributes of God. Whereby, believers desire to reach the lost, knowing hell’s fire is not a figment of one’s imagination or a playground for partiers.

In Jeremiah 5:15, our attention is turned to Babylon, which is bringing into play God’s judgment. We read this nation of power is enduring and ancient. It has been in existence since 1830 BC, at least. We first read of this area in Genesis 10:10, when Babel is spoken of. God removed everyone from this compressed area for world migration.

This verse also speaks how they will be unlearned in the language of these people. Babylon spoke Aramaic and Jews spoke Hebrew. Aramaic naturally became the world’s prose that Jews had to adopt. Even Christ spoke Galilean Aramaic on earth when He quoted portions of the Old Testament.

Verse 16 is a fierce verse as the Babylonian army was not to be reckoned with; they were mighty and their quiver was an open grave. This obviously revealed their mastery of striking the human mark without fail. David and his men were described as mighty men in 1 Chronicles 12:8. They had faces like lions and they were swift as gazelles on the mountains. These warriors were also feared in their day, long before the great Babylonian Empire surfaced.

God further informs Jeremiah in verse 17, returning to the passage, that these people will devour all their food, children, herds, vines, and trees. They will also demolish with the sword their fortified cities in which they trust. We see throughout the Word of God, we are not to trust in the things made by men’s hands or hold great admiration for them.

We as believers, in this wicked world, should never trust in the city or country in which we dwell, believing it will shield us. David in Psalm 20:7 states, “Some trust in chariots and horses, but we trust in the Lord our God!” Isaiah 40 teaches God elevates as well as destroys kingdoms at will; therefore, we learn we should never anchor hope in them, only in our Lord. God is condemning the people in verse 17, back in Jeremiah, for trusting in Jerusalem’s might when they should only trust in the LORD.

Verse 20 refers to a people who are not inductively listening to God’s Holy Word. They are equipped to do so with ears and eyes, but they use them not. God, in verse 22, reveals they are not fearing or trembling before their all-consuming God. Philippians 2:12 warns we are to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.” These two verses, one in the Old and one in the New Testament, should educate us on how we must reverence God who is not to be taken for granted!

Progressing into the passage, we see the omnipotence of God displayed. He has made sure that the sea has boundaries even during a storm. If one desires to buy an oceanside home, they should investigate where God’s established boundaries have proven to be steadfast. He controls all and nothing lies outside His declared limits. When my husband and I were in Aruba on our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, Hurricane Ivan struck fiercely, removing the stretching, man-made beaches, which reestablished the shoreline to its original God-created boundaries.

In verse 23, God further explains His omnipotence in creation. He gives rain in its season, both autumn and spring rains for our harvest time. That is why we observe Thanksgiving, thanking Him for the abundance of food He allows men to reap in the fall; as well as remembering the Pilgrims and His blessings of provision bestowed upon them.

God does not always bless people with harvest. We hear often of drought in other nations. Here God is saying He is withholding these good things from them due to their sin; verse 25. Obedience produces blessings of harvest, sin eliminates many blessings.

Verses 26 and 27 reveal there were wicked men among them, those who take advantage of others and therefore have become great and rich. Sounds like many politicians today who support godless lobbies for their contributions.  Often these lobbies are orchestrated to remove the privileges of the righteous by eradicating moral laws of uprightness. Some lobbyist agendas include allowing evil to reign through the murder of unborn children. These same people will also lobby for homosexual rights and for promiscuity to be displayed legally. The ACLU fights to allow pornography to be put before children that they may be used sexually. Many of these groups lobby angrily also in hopes of removing Christ and the Bible from all government domains.

We observe these wicked ones in Jeremiah’s time also did not care for the lowly such as orphans who need special love and attention. They do not defend the rights of the poor. This resembles politics today, as the rich often gain the greatest tax breaks, not the average working person. Married people have been penalized for not living in sin. If people choose the sinful lifestyle, they receive a greater levy break under democrats.

God states again, in verse 29, that He has a right to avenge as He has listed many sins that are reigning in this kingdom.

Verse 30 concludes this chapter. God exposes that the priests were ruling on their own authority, not God’s. They obviously were not using the Scriptures for exhorting, or they bent and twisted them to justify their personal doctrines. These Jews loved hearing priests and prophets who refused to dig deep into the true ways of God.

Jeremiah Chapter 6

Chapter 6 is key to the book of Jeremiah. It sums the substance of the message of Jeremiah. It should remain instilled in your mind. Its wisdom should overtake your heart. It should be read over and over again. It should be marked in your Bible as a place to seek wisdom and guidance in this age of blatant apostasy.

The entry section of this chapter is directed to the tribe of Benjamin, whose God-bequeathed area included the prominent city of Jerusalem. Other close cities are also cited as Babylonian targets of war. The Lord is revealing to them that destruction is coming even to the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Babylon’s intelligent military strategy is revealed in verses 3-6, coming dressed as shepherds, or so it appears, to scout out the land. Who will suspect these disguised ones with their sheep? They determine to attack at noon and night for best advantage. At noon, people would possibly be eating, therefore not alert. In the evening, the enemy can hide in the thickness of the black night. It will be at night that they attack the palaces, which would most likely have posted sentries who can be caught off-guard by stealthy maneuvering.

God has declared that Jerusalem must be punished for its oppression! She is wicked, verse 7, noting “violence and destruction are heard in her.”

God has attempted other methods of discipline as parents might try with disobedient children. Sickness and wounds did not cause the Jews to repent as Jeremiah 2:20 reveals. God was striking their sons but to no avail. The verse discloses they accepted no chastening.

Please remember the Corinthian church, regarding the fact its members were sick and dying due to sin and it seemed Christ’s chastening brought no repentance; therefore, illness and death were amongst them—1 Corinthians 11:30.

God warns the Jews in Jeremiah that He will alienate Himself from them and will make their land without inhabitant; verse 8. It is not a pleasant thing when God deserts His people. And it will not be a fun time when they are removed from their homes and land to dwell with the heathen who have little or no knowledge of the Holy One.

God will not leave any person in the land. He will remove all, as one who moves their hand over a vine to insure all fruit is gathered for harvest; verse 9.

Even though Jeremiah persistently warns these Jews from a loving heart that reveals God’s love and concern, they refuse to listen, as their ears are closed; verse 10.

The last phrase of verse 10 is quite insightful as the Word of the Lord has become a reproach to them; they have no delight in it!

How many believers today do not delight in the Word of God and even dislike much of its poignant teachings? How many Christians actually cherish having time to study and rejoice in the Holy Scriptures? If they do not, this type of attitude is very distasteful in the mouth of our righteous Christ.

Amongst the persecuted church, the Word of God is very precious, like sought-after diamonds! In a magazine that tells of persecution, I saw a photo of women secretly huddled in a crawl space for Bible study in China. They praise and learn of God in the darkness. They know they can be imprisoned or murdered for their faith. Yet, they are very hungry for the Word and are willing to take the chance for Bible study and fellowship. Would you meet in a crawl space under a house to hear God’s Word without all the worldly allurement that American churches entice people with today?

The government churches are safe places to worship for the Chinese, but they are not the on-fire churches that meet in a crawl space, in an attic or out in the forest. Yet, these are the churches that thrive in number without a fancy stage and sensual rock music with special lighting. These faithful Orientals simply “sing to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in their hearts to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:13) Most often, it must be done quietly so no one turns them in.

American Churches are silly and blind to what dedicated truth is all about. And if you don’t think the world sees how silly they are, then think again. I believe they do and this keeps people from wanting to hear the true Gospel message when it is brought to them. Unsaved folk will sometimes watch so-called Christians on stages, televised by religious networks. They see the fancy clothes, gems, and the fact these people only follow God for wealth and fame. Of course, I am not saying these performers are necessarily true Christians.

Does not God have a right to judge us, as He did Israel that no longer took the Word seriously when it came to separating from society’s influence and sensual allurements for personal gain and fame? Israel also saw no reason to absorb the whole Word of God in all seriousness, reverent respect, honor and obedience.

Today’s pastors don’t desire to be obedient, going out to preach the Word on street corners and in public places, so they turn their churches into social, entertainment, recreational centers.

The persecuted Hmong people of the Orient run from village to village proclaiming the Gospel, though it often times means death or imprisonment. They aren’t afraid of what people think! They are the despised slave race of China, brutally abused by those who see them as socially unacceptable. The women wear modest clothing, a head covering in worship and the services are humble and lowly—very pleasing to our humble and lowly Christ! The lust and delight of the eyes are not important for their services that often meet in the forest’s seclusion.

To reveal how ridiculous Christianity has become, a pastor dressed as a clown in the pulpit every Sunday and told jokes to attract people to his fellowship. Another church brought in a stripteaser to perform, to entice outsiders. Does God not have the right to judge America as He did Israel?

Verse 11 reveals Jeremiah’s disappointment over Israel’s lack of love for God’s Word. He explains, he is full of the wrath of the Lord and he is weary of holding it in. Jeremiah formerly was concerned for the fate of his people; now he sees the reality of their sin and wants judgment. He states their many sins, including being greedy for gain. The church leaders even partook in the transgressions; verse 13.

Are not pastors greedy for gain, as they want the greatest numbers in attendance in church no matter the compromise with culture? This also provides a large, comfortable salary for all pastors. Though our pastors should be paid for working diligently in the ministry, some pastors today are paid way beyond what they perform. Many pastors will not evangelize outside the church, engage in congregational visitation, or hold other services outside of one Sunday sermon. Having a long rock concert with shallow, non-convicting Christian lyrics, and a short please-all sermon is basically the extent of many a pastor’s service in the church. Oh, and yes, with a bit of counseling thrown in for good measure.

Of course, members participate in this mindset as well, wanting to be in a large church which they can brag about. How many of us, when we hear of a church, ask how many people are attending, to ascertain how sizable it is, so we can judge its worldly success? We are silly and sinful too!

How many people parade their business in church for greedy gain or attend church only for trade-success? Does God not have a right to judge us as well!

Verse 15, truly lays it on the line as punishment is due, as the Jews no longer even know how to blush! Blushing is prudish and seen in America as something to be made fun of; yet, very commendable in God’s economy. A person can lose their ability to blush in today’s society by simply watching a couple hours of television with its immodest and immoral ways. Christian videos do not even promote modesty. Modesty in the Greek means “dressing in bashfulness towards men and in the fear of God,” according to Strong’s Concordance of old. Women are commanded to dress modestly in the New Testament. If people aren’t acting modest, dressing modest and walking in all moral uprightness, they should not be set before our eyes in the name of entertainment. We are to set no evil thing before our eyes!

Immoral people are not to be allowed in church either. Believers are not permitted to associate with those who say they believe, but are living immoral lives; 1 Corinthians 5:9-12 and 6:9-11.

In verse 16, we perceive staying with the ancient paths is most important. This may sound very old fashioned for those who want the new and exciting roads. But new and exciting roads are ever changing and never bring lasting satisfaction. New roads are always sought, as the old ones become classified as out-of-date, and worn from overuse. God reveals, however, that people will find rest for their souls if they follow His ancient path. NO path of this world gives rest to the soul! Old fashioned, godly ways should not cause us to be ashamed. We need to stand for the old fashioned!

Holding to the ancient paths would be following the ones the great patriarchs, prophets and apostles followed. Jeremiah was certainly one who held to the ancient path and reaped spiritual blessings despite the rejection and hatred cast upon him by God’s lukewarm people.

God’s words are never old-fashioned in His economy of truth. Christians may reject those passages they consider not for a hip and styling generation, but all were given in wisdom and are enduring in the eyes of our most holy and separated God who never changes. God views the ancient paths of wise pursuit as “the good way,” or we might say, the good street. If we walk this road, we grasp Psalm 103:3 that declares, He pardons our iniquities and heals all our diseases. We have noticed throughout the book of Jeremiah that this is the yearning of God—He desires to remove His chastening hand. Blessing and healing arise from obeying this “good way.”

We also perceive from James 5:16, that we can be healed of disease if we confess our sins, seeing sin in light of the ancient paths. Of course, God can say, “No” if the disease will bring Him glory or it is our time to leave this world, which is passing away with its lusts.

We notice at the end of verse 16, in Jeremiah, that God’s children are not interested in the ancient proven ways of God’s holy truth. They want to emulate the styling society of their time, a society who sees God as old-fashioned, not fun and entertaining.

Walking further into this section, the consequences of facing the invading Babylonian army reappear. The Lord proclaims in verse 19 that this disaster is the fruit of their plans. Not plans ordained by the Lord. We can note an example of reaping harmful fruit if we turn to Luke 12:16-21. Here a rich man had reaped an immense substance of crops that he stored in great barns, but he did not even begin to imagine that he could fall dead that night with no eternal hope. He invested naught in the eternal fruits of God; but only in the fruits of materialistic, earthly accumulation.

In Jeremiah verse 20, we see that the offerings of the people to God are meaningless. Why? They did not give because they loved the Lord with all their hearts, souls and minds and His Word. It speaks of them offering to God even costly goods such as frankincense that came all the way from Sheba, which was SW of Arabia (a kingdom that encompassed Yemen and Ethiopia), and sugarcane which was shipped in from the tropics. We know fragrant frankincense is a significant gift of kings, being it was presented to Christ after his birth—Luke 2:1-12. Even though these gifts cited in Jeremiah were considered elaborate, they were rejected by God, as He knew the hearts of His people were not pure and holy and given solely over to Him.

God makes it be known again, in verse 21 of Jeremiah, that His people will perish without any partiality; for fathers, sons, neighbors and friends will all be slain by the sword of the Babylonians. More verses follow that elaborate on this catastrophe. Terror will be on every side and Hebrew lamentations will be most bitter.

In Lamentations 1:1-2, Jeremiah pours out his heart as Jerusalem is now desolate, a city that once was great is no more. This is no future prophesy, but living reality of sadness and gloom for Jeremiah who laments over the land and people of God. We also witness Jeremiah is broken in spirit over the fact that his people are now forced laborers under King Nebuchadnezzar.

Routing ourselves back a book, again in Jeremiah, verses 27-30, we note God has given Jeremiah the task of assayer. He is to judge the purity of the Jews in their allegiance to the Lord. We observe they have no valuable qualities. They possess rebellious hearts and they gossip. They tell tales on each other, probably most not true. It’s interesting how we can make people look bad by adding or subtracting from facts. Many people like to tell tales so they will be liked for the negative knowledge they hold on others or supposedly do. Some people relish sitting with the office worker who enjoys making fun of the boss.

Years ago, I remember being so discouraged when I began attending a church and was invited to a gathering of members. It ended up not being a place I desired to be, as they had roast-pastor’s-wife for lunch. Everything was stated in spite; yet, nothing of major consequence was spoken. They just wanted to make her look bad without the ingredients. As a new attendee, sitting out in an attached room not knowing the people well, I was taken back and hurt that respected people in the church were engaging in this.

When my husband and I lived in upstate New York, I knew a beloved,  humble, young lady who had been delivered from gossip after a guest speaker preached at her church in the power of conviction. She was the church gossip until she repented that night. I would have never had guessed her previous occupation of gossiper had she not shared. God certainly washes us whiter than snow when we allow Him to.

Verse 28 speaks of the Israelites being “bronze and iron,” not costly gold. They held corruptible sins within. Purity of substance could not be ascertained in these people.

In verse 29 of this section, we set our eyes on the fact that no matter the refining God is performing, the wicked are not separated.

No happy ending to this chapter or any in Jeremiah.

Jeremiah Chapter 7

I would like to quote a pastor who went to be with the LORD about 20 years ago:

“We are living in a day when men think they can rush into the presence of God and treat the Lord Jesus as if He is just a buddy. May I say to you that He is high and holy and lifted up. If He should appear in your church next Sunday morning, nobody would rush up to Him; nobody would become familiar with Him! Everybody would go down on their faces before Him. That is the picture the Word of God gives.”

This is most true, acknowledging we no longer know Christ after the flesh. He is glorified God who has a two-edged sword extending from his mouth; Revelation chapter 1!

Studying Jeremiah, we have discovered Judah has become too familiar with God; no longer fearing His wrath that falls upon the ungodly. They believe God is all grace and since they are His chosen people, no judgment will arise from their disobedience. They believe they have eternal life as His children; therefore, how they behave, is of no relevance. It is easy believe-ism not reality.

Today, salvation is very much emphasized in Christianity, but making Jesus lord or master often is not. Romans 10:9 proclaims that if we confess Jesus as LORD, and believe in our heart God raised Him from the dead, then we will be saved.

In many churches today a godly, reverential atmosphere is not found. The fact that we are coming to worship a holy, righteous and elevated God is not emphasized. Making no one feel uncomfortable is often today’s goal; presenting a “non-threatening atmosphere” is all the rage. Well, in this Jewish area of the Southern Kingdom, Jeremiah refused to sit satisfied in their “non-threatening environment.”

Entering verse one, we leave the Hebrew poetry of the last few chapters and return to the narrative. In this verse, God commands Jeremiah to go to the gate of the Lord’s house, or temple, to proclaim His truths.

God tells His disobedient people who are coming to the temple to worship Him; to amend their ways and deeds so they can continue to live in the land; verses 1-3.

Today, I feel we need some Jeremiahs to stand outside of today’s houses of worship to implore believers to turn from lukewarmness and worldly attitudes.

In verse 4, Jeremiah proclaims that they should not rest in the fact that the temple is there in Jerusalem, believing it to be a fetish of protection. The false teachers were telling the people that God would not destroy Solomon’s temple as that is where God dwelt, but God does not dwell in things made by man’s hands. Nothing can contain God’s greatness and immenseness; 1 Kings 8:27. The highest heaven cannot hold the person of God. Even though the heavens contain planets that are trillions of years away, this massive expanse is not impressive to God who cannot be contained in all the heavens. We simply can’t even begin to imagine how big God is. We know from Isaiah 66:1 that the heaven is God’s throne and the earth is His footstool. In the scheme of things, we know the earth does not even show up as a dot in comparison to the mammoth planets in the distant universe.

Believers today may believe God will not bring judgment on America due to the fact we are covered in churches, but we cannot rest on that which God has not stated. God sees the hearts of those who frequent the church buildings. He is not interested in the structures, no matter their beheld beauty, set within state-of-the-art design. He knows if the hearts of those who are attending are wholly obedient to His inerrant Word or not.

In verse 5, God gives the provision for their lasting protection, as it rests solely on their obedience to Him. If they are to stay within His hedge of protection, they must repent or amend their ways and follow His statutes.

The edicts of God from verses 5-6:

1. They must practice justice between a man and his neighbor.

2. They must not oppress the alien, the orphan or widow.

3. They must not shed innocent blood.

4. They must not take on the beliefs of false religions or false gods.

In regards to us, the first injunction commands we practice true justice; we don’t take sides according to who we like the most, rather than according to facts of truth.

Focusing in on injunction 2, God’s unconditional love for others must be practiced in today’s churches. Partiality is sin! Romans 12:16 commands us to not be haughty in mind, or in other words, we are not to think we are any better than others. We are to associate with the lowly or those no one else would want to be with, due to various factors such as being mentally challenged, not stylish in dress, not attractive, uneducated, so on and so on. We are not to take part in any evil behavior of elitism.

We should not desire to dwell with the most popular in our churches or the rich or the beautiful, this representing vanity. We are to love those who love Christ, His Word and walk obediently with no desired perks.

Injunction 3 would represent any hate we would harbor toward another. The Bible makes it clear that hatred resembles murder; Matthew 5:21-22. Christ compared murder to hatred and even stated one who says, “You fool, shall be guilty enough to go into fiery hell.”

Contemplating the fourth, we know “not walking after other gods” or religions certainly pertains to us today. This would include not following after any worldly or empty philosophy—Colossians 2:8 and 1 Timothy 6:20. We don’t follow any teaching we hear in the media or from society that does not represent the total truth and example set in Scripture. We don’t adhere to false religious beliefs in the name of acceptance or tolerance. This is all evil and wicked in God’s eyes. The ecumenical/emergent movement is not of Christ! I am referring to all religions merging into one lane. True believers are to be washed clean of every religious lie, every teaching that does not conform to Biblical holiness 100%.

Verse 8 should speak to every one of us in warning, as they were “trusting in deceptive words.” Deceptive words have no eternal value nor do they aid the believer in becoming more conformed into the image of Christ. We must pray continually for spiritual discernment so the words and ways of man never become a part of us.

Verse 9 is the Ten Commandments restated in a one verse, condensed form. Adultery and stealing are the only ones added that were not stated in verses 5-6.

Adultery, as we know from Christ’s admonishments, also involves desiring to be with any woman or man in an inappropriate way. Marriage for life, one man with one woman, in total commitment, is the only legal way according to God. How sad that we now live in such a sick day, that we have to clarify a man with a woman in marriage! When Christ spoke of marriage, everyone knew He meant a man with a woman.

In the marriage vowels, it is stated that all others are to be forsaken. That is what Christ meant; never wondering if another will meet one’s needs to a more fulfilling degree. We must guard our minds, knowing they can easily wonder to points off limits!

The church commits adultery as much as the world. The divorce rate is even higher! Marriage until death is not adhered to seriously in the church nor was it in the time of Jeremiah.

God can always work marital miracles through prayer. We are bound to our mates as long as we live; 1 Corinthians 7:39. Often when one remarries, they still will speak of one or more past mates depending on the case, and often will continue a friendship with a former spouse. Most strange indeed! Bonding just doesn’t go away through taking a new set of marriage vowels. It leaves many weird associations. Of course, the secular world encourages people to remain friends with their past spouses. However, marriage means forsaking all others. Now if children are involved, their must be civility, but not a close friendship. It should be a business-like association.

Personally, if I had been born a man (perish the thought!) and called to the pastorate, I could never remarry divorced people. It is impossible for any pastor to know if any person was completely not at fault in a divorce situation. Pastors do not live with their congregational members 24/7 to see if there might be another side to them. Sometimes even Christians will withhold sex for power or to get what one wants, thus leaving another to be endangered through temptation. Many tricks can be played in a marriage. I know because I have counseled various women. Only God knows if one is completely innocent and godly in all ways.

Addressing the Jews sin of stealing, we know this involved them taking possession of what never belonged to them. Returning money to a store when we realize we received too much change is a witness in honesty. Recently, my husband noticed the bedsheets, we thought we purchased, were not on our sales receipt. We, of course, made it right with the store.

Stealing can also involve a business charging way too much for items for the purpose of taking advantage of others. Putting oneself first is what invokes a person to steal. We need to trust God for our increase, through honesty, not using worldly methods to increase our pocketbook beyond His will.

Verse 11, is one of the verses from Jeremiah that is quoted in the New Testament. We know Christ was very disheartened by the temple or the house of prayer’s activities, as it was being misused for personal gain; Mark 11:17. This verse in Mark quotes Jeremiah verse 11.

We can see many similarities between the temple and churches today. They were both to be:

1. A house of prayer

2. A house of worship

3. A house of singing

4. A house of giving money in offering

5. A house of speaking God’s Holy Words

Yes, there are many differences too. But nowhere in Scripture do we witness any commands for the church or temple to be doing that which is not given as an example to follow in the Word, including using people for substantial gain.

Verse 12 represents sarcasm for this people who believe God would never allow the place of worship to be destroyed. God basically challenges them to visit Shiloh if they do not believe. Shiloh was in the Northern Kingdom in Ephraim and was destroyed by the Assyrians. Joshua 18:1 speaks of how Shiloh was the original place of worship for the Jews when they entered the Promised Land.

Yes, there are many differences too. But nowhere in Scripture do we witness any commands for the church or temple to be doing that which is not given as an example to follow in the Word, including using people for substantial gain.

This was where they set the tabernacle for the people to worship, long before the temple was constructed in Jerusalem. It was a sacred place to the Jews. God calls them to remember that He made His name dwell there at the first.

Verse 13 refers to God’s love and care, for He rose up early to remind them of Himself. He called to the Hebrews, but they paid no heed! He was diligent in His love; they were not.

Because they paid no heed, verse 14, God is going to bring judgment on these Jews by destroying the temple just as He did Shiloh. He is going to cast them out of His sight; verse 15. He doesn’t desire to be with His disobedient children—the compromisers.

God gets very harsh in verse 16, as He commands Jeremiah not to pray for these people anymore. God will not listen as they have fallen away from the true path of moral uprightness. 1 John 5:16 tells New Testament believers not to pray for the sin leading to death. This could be deliberate disobedience to God on a continual basis, as we see here with these people who maintain a great hardness of heart to the voice of God.

In verses 17-18 God asks Jeremiah a question regarding His command to Jeremiah to refrain from praying for his brethren. God knows a question mark has been placed in this man’s mind, as he asks, “How come.” The LORD wants Jeremiah to live in reality of how evil these people have become by further explaining that they worship other gods and are not faithful only to Him. Just as we want our mates to be faithful and true to us in marriage, God wants His people to only hold to His ways and not be influenced by an adulterating crowd.

In verse 18 we sight the mention of the “queen of heaven.” This is satan’s disguise in female form. This title is most likely referring to the sensual worship of Ashtorath, the mistress of Baal. The goddesses, Venus and Diana, held this title also. In the present age, the false Mary of the Catholic Church assumed this title for worship. As mentioned before, this is one of her names and why she so often is pictured with a crown on her head.

The Lies of Idolatry:

The Queen of Heaven is one of Mary’s titles in Catholicism. She is the Catholics’ intercessor. Their doctrine holds to the belief that she was taken up to heaven while alive. Satan disguises himself in the image of a false Mary.

You can locate many heresies in the teachings of Catholicism that worships those the church elevates as saints. They appeal to different saints according to their needs. They will lie and say they do not worship the saints, but they do! They lie continually to recruit. I have been lied to more than once that they might recruit me. I caught them in idolatrous lies! They tried to get me to worship Mary after telling me they do not worship her.

Ourladyweb.com/mary-prayer.html

On the next to last page of info at the above link, you will notice Mother Teresa signed a petition to make Mary one who redeems with Christ. God’s Word states: “There is one God and one mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5) Mother Teresa was a pagan idolatress, a heretic, whom satan used. She tried to appear Christian to persuade people into her false religion.

This is a portion of a Catholic website, two separate inner sites, with inapplicable quotes removed:

Mary is the Queen of Heaven:
The kingdom of heaven belongs to believers.
Since Mary is the first and best Christian,
we call her ‘Queen of Heaven’.

More of their heresies:

When Jesus was crucified on the cross and about to die for our sins, Jesus, himself, gave His mother to us as our mother and all of us to His mother as her children of my home. “I am the Queen Of Peace. I am the Mother Of God. I am the Mother of All People On Earth”. Our Lady to the Visionaries in Medugorje …

~

The first Catholic quote below, reveals how people can be sucked into this religion as some truth is stated. A bit of the true Gospel is presented to recruit those who are not solid Christians. Remember Mary only remained a virgin up to the time of Christ’s birth, and the Bible states she had other children, four sons and daughters; Matthew 13:55-56. She was not sinless and she calls God her Savior in Luke 1:47. The Bible exposes her godliness, but never places her on a pedestal above other humans. Even in Christ’s day they tried to elevate this woman saying blessed is the woman from whom Christ was born. The LORD countered this Catholic mindset by stating the contrary, “Blessed is everyone who hears God’s words and obeys” (Luke 11:27-28).

Remember it only takes one drop of poison to make a large glass of clear water poisonous.

Two more quotes:

“Because when we disrespect the Immaculate Heart Of Mary as the Immaculate Conception (Mary was sinless), Mother Of God, our Eternal Mother, etc., in doing so we in turn disrespect the Sacred Heart of her Son as well…Yes, us Catholics are Christians, are saved, and someday will be in heaven with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I know this to be true because Jesus made this promise to all of us in His word, the Bible.”

“Mary is our intercessor: To ‘intercede’ means to pray for someone. We believe that people in heaven can still pray for us, and that applies to Mary first of all.”

Here is another website exposing the Catholic beliefs of Mary:

http://www.cephasministry.com/virginmary.html

History: Apocryphal writings fueled Mary-worship with their claims of her sinlessness and perpetual virginity. In 431 A.D., the Council of Ephesus dubbed Mary the “mother of God.” Fifth and sixth century veneration (reverence) of Mary can be traced directly to Ephesus and the false goddess Diana. By the 13th and 14th centuries the medieval Church saw Mary as a source of grace and power, a mediator who could keep God, the vengeful judge, from striking down sinful mankind.

At the Council of Trent in 1546, the veneration of Mary became official Catholic doctrine. She was declared sinless, and in 1854 Pope Pius IX added that her conception was immaculate as well, preserving her from original sin. The Vatican Council of 1870 ratified Mary’s immaculate conception and further stated that the popes were infallible.

Newsweek Magazine, August 15, 1997. 40,383 signatures attached to a petition asking the pope to exercise the power of papal infallibility to proclaim a new dogma of Roman Catholic faith: that the Virgin Mary is “Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix of All Graces and Advocate for the People of God. In the last four years, the pope has received 4,340,429 signatures from 157 countries – an average of 100,000 a month – supporting proposed dogma. Among notable supporters are Mother Teresa of Calcutta, nearly 500 bishops and 42 cardinals, including John O’Connor of New York … If the drive succeeds, Catholics would be obliged as a matter of faith to accept three extraordinary doctrines: that Mary participates in the redemption achieved by her son, that all graces that flow from the suffering and death of Jesus Christ are granted only through Mary’s intercession with her son, and that all prayers and petitions from the faithful on earth must likewise flow through Mary, who then brings them to the attention of Jesus. This is what theologians call high Mariology, and it seems to contradict the basic New Testament belief that “there is one God and one mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5)

It is a great thing when the media quotes Scripture to correct false dogma. God can move in the most unexpected places.

~

The virgin birth is completely key in Christendom, but not from the Catholic perspective. Unfortunately, the virgin birth is rarely even emphasized in today’s Christianity, even around Christmas time. This is due to the fact that chastity and modesty have become a joke within Christianity that follows Hollywood-minded sexual agendas and craves New Age mysticism. A couple newer Bible translations have removed “virgin” from the texts involving Christ’s birth, and another makes the miraculous conception questionable. “Virgin” is in the ancient manuscripts and it is impossible to hold it in question.

(Unfortunately, there are major errors in many new Bible versions. The Greek is translated correctly when it states, the “only begotten Son” in John 3:16. If you delve into a Bible version, where “begotten” is removed, you know you have a Bible that holds heresy. It was removed for sales purposes. Many do not want to believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, being the only son of God. They covet a Bible translation that tickles their ears.

Today’s publishers want all faiths buying their Bibles. Apostate changes, over several decades, have occurred because the church is bound to the ecumenical/emergent movement. Very sad indeed. Please check your Bible. KVJ, NKJV, and the unrevised NASB are good translations.)

Verse 20 discloses God’s attributes of anger and wrath, as He is a God who hates all sin! We will witness these attributes in their fullest power when His wrath and anger are unleashed in the last days. This anger and wrath, being generated in Jeremiah’s time, is due to the fact, the people spite God; verse 19. There is no true reverential respect and acknowledgement.

Loud is quite key to the culture of America, nothing reverential. If you speak to restaurant owners, they will tell you this is what America thrives on today, disclosing how they must have many televisions for all to view and loud rock music playing.

I believe America wants to hide in the irreverent noise to blot out her increasing sins. Unsaved society and even believers don’t desire to think of a wrath to come that will be poured out on all ungodliness through a completely holy and righteous God who died for all sin. Every transgression is vile in His sight. That is why our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, had to be sacrificed for us; even to the place where men could not even look upon him; but desired to hide instead. He was completely distorted by his torturers; Isaiah 53:1-6. He was even crushed!

I also believe Christ was not comely when He trod this earth as he had no appearance that men should be drawn to Him; Isaiah 53:2. Today, everything seems to rest on attractiveness and the worldly allurements attached to this, but such vanities had no value in the eyes of our humble and lowly Christ.

God’s anger explained here in Jeremiah reveals all will feel it, from man, beast, trees and fruit. Remember in Jonah 4:11, when Nineveh repented, God revealed how many animals were spared from His wrath. They too had to be covered in sackcloth to reveal repentance; Jonah 3:8.

In the concluding phrase of verse 20, it states how this anger and wrath will burn and not be quenched. Fire is certainly the way of God’s judgment as we view throughout Scripture, even to the end, when everyone’s name that was not found in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire; Revelation 20:15.

Verse 21 confronts the Jews in their heart attitude of sacrificing to God. They simply performed it out of service, not because they truly loved their Savior. The burnt sacrifices, unlike the thanksgiving peace sacrifices, were not be eaten; Leviticus chapters 4-9. I believe God says go ahead and eat flesh because they were not offered through sin-awareness and a love for God. These vain bestowments meant nothing to God.

We must be sure when we give to God that our sacrifices are done out of love for God and not just because we feel we have too. The New Testament makes it plain that our giving must not be done out of despairing obligation. We know also that unbelievers must not give because they do not love God; their actions are not mingled with a proper pure heart that has been washed in the blood of Christ. They have not been made white as snow.

In the Third Epistle of John, we read the evangelists were above reproach. One visible reason being, they took nothing from the Gentiles. Gentile giving is an abomination to God. This is why pastors, evangelists and missionaries must be careful when it comes to offerings.

Verse 22 speaks of God’s understanding and grace; this visualized when He first brought them out of Egypt. He did not lay on them immediately all the sacrifices and offerings He would require, He just asked them to obey Him. These sacrificial laws came later, as they continued to follow.

We see something similar to this in the New Testament—Acts 15:19-21 James the head elder of the church of Jerusalem, tells the believers not to trouble those turning to God, but to keep the commands simple for these new converts. He tells them, just command these new believers to stay away from things contaminated by idols, and pre-marital sex and from things strangled and from blood. These issuances mostly seem to deal with false worship. James tells new believers they need not worry about their growth as Moses is preached in the synagogues every Sabbath and they will be challenged and will mature. This obviously was before churches were established in most cities.

We also note in the following verses, back in Jeremiah, that they were unworthy to sacrifice due to the fact they were not walking in obedience. We see in verse 23 that obedience brings blessing. They were throwing away blessings through their disobedience.

Verse 24 is a revelation verse in proclaiming backsliding. We go back and not forward when we don’t obey the Lord completely. Many churches are backslidden from compromise and they lose out on the blessings of total obedience. This state occurs when leadership walks after its own counsel instead of Scriptural exhortations.

Verse 25 proclaims the unconditional love that we see God continually bestowing on these disobedient children of His. God, out of His love and grace continually, brought prophets to proclaim His ways even though they were unheeded. God made these prophets even rise early in the morning to go and preach because God loved His people so much.

God, once again, informs Jeremiah that these people will never listen to him; verse 27. Basically, it would be akin to God telling a pastor he must preach every week to his people, but letting him know they will never give any heed to what he says.

The only reason Jeremiah must obey and proclaim is because God has to reveal His sacrificial love continually, whether people truly listen or not. We all must be educated regarding God’s love! Everyday, He brings blessings to the unsaved, those who curse His name. Nearly every person has a roof over his head, food on the table, and clothes to wear; because God desires to reveal His love for every person. Romans 2:4 explains the kindness, patience and longsuffering of God leads us to repentance.

In verse 28, God tells Jeremiah to say that this nation did not obey God or accept correction. This led to all truth perishing. James 5:16 commands Christians to confess their sins to each other that we may be healed. We can be healed from the consequences of our sin through confessing our wrongdoings to God and each other. Proverbs 28:13 declares, he who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will prosper. Israel was not willing to comply to this and prosper with blessings. They were fools.

When we wonder from God, truth is cut off from our mouths because the Word of God is not being proclaimed through us. What comes out of our mouth when we disobey God is the rhetoric of the world and not the powerful Word.

Verse 29 commands, “cut off your hair and cast it away.” Cutting off their hair would reveal great mourning and sadness. Keeping their hair according to the Law was important to them and cutting it off was never a part of their Biblical culture unless it was to mourn. They were to mourn the fact that God has rejected this people and they were now the “generation of His wrath.”

Further verses declare their compromise with idols as they even seemed to be present in God’s temple. They acquired the popular religions of the world combining them with Judaism which was despicable in the eyes of God.

False religions even caused the Jews to burn their children in worship to the gods; verse 31. We see in 2 Kings 23:10 that they sacrificed them to the false god, Molech, who was supposedly referred to as the protecting father. What a  hideous and mournful joke!

This is similar to Planned Parenthood who views themselves as a group needed to protect the family, also receiving government funds for massive income. Yet, they burn babies like the Jews in Jeremiah’s time. One popular method of abortion is saline solution burning and it is exercised in the name of the god of promiscuous sex, which Planned Parenthood and other liberal organizations promote.

Burning children was something so abominable to God that it never even entered His mind. Today, however, it is an acceptable, legalized evil. How incredible!

God continues to reveal that this sacred place of false worship, Topheth (west of Jerusalem, the place where they sacrificed their babies), will become a graveyard for the Jews. These idol worshippers will be food for birds and beasts. In time of severe, violent war battles, taking the time to ship bodies back home is not a priority. My father-in-law, who served in WW11, speaks of the mountains of bodies of soldiers he witnessed. It took time to care for the bodies; and fighting to survive and win battles was the priority.

Chapter 7 ends in sadness as the joy that is usually located within a thriving nation will come to an end, even the voice of joyful marriage.

Jesus Christ addressed end times in Matthew 24:36f, when people will be marrying, totally unaware that God’s judgment is soon falling.

Jeremiah Chapter 8 

We see in the first verse of chapter 8, not a pretty sight. It declares prophecy, when tombs will be opened and the dead drug out—kings, princes, priests, prophets and all those who once inhabited Jerusalem. In verse 2, it appears that all these deceased Judean Jews were those who worshipped the host of the heavens (stars, moon and sun). They were not faithful to holy God. They did not remain loyal to the Word of God; thus, a vile judgment upon their remains will be part of the Babylonian desecration as explained by Jeremiah.

Societies easily turn to animal-like tendencies when God is no longer desired. He is the one who convicts of sin and demands holy obedience through civilized behavior. It is easy for men to turn their attention to anything on the earth or in the heavens which does not condemn or expose; however, it is at the price of demoralization.

This all progresses into verse 3, which reveals death will be desired over life when judgment falls on Judah. Only a remnant will remain alive. Those of this remnant will have survived many atrocities that took their loved ones, neighbors, religious leaders, etc. The temple where they once worshipped will be razed to their dismay as well as their homes.

All this will result in the deepest plaguing depression. The desire for their own death will encompass their being as they are led captive to Babylon.

Verse 4 returns us to Hebrew poetry as God again explains His reasons for His verdict. He covers the fact that they were not repenting even though they knew they were walking down a wrong path. They would not stop and turn back to return to the right road. They deliberately chose to stay lost in their wilderness of disobedience.

The “apostasy” that we witness throughout Jeremiah is restated here. God is pointing His finger at them in verse 5, observing it is now a continual state of not staying true to their first love, the Lord their God.

As I have stated before, there are the apostasies of the churches which God continually exposes in the New Testament. All around us we witness it as well, as the church compromises to please sinful man adopting the ways of the world that accommodates sinful man. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 informs us the end-times-apostasy comes before the antichrist arrives on the earthly scene.

We see deceit accompanies this apostasy, as we return to Jeremiah. Their speech is not of Biblical truth. They speak what is not correct. They do not desire to speak words that are pleasing to the ears of the Lord. They obviously speak words that justify inappropriate thoughts and actions. Holiness is not their standard of conduct.

The hymn, “May the Mind of Christ My Savior,” reveals what the true desires should be for a believer in God. Verses one and two are poignant, “May the mind of Christ my Savior live in me from day to day, by His love and power controlling all I do and say. May the Word of God dwell richly in my heart from hour to hour, so that all may see I triumph only through His power.” The children’s song, “Be careful little eyes” what you see, ears hear, feet go and so on, is a song that should be sung by adults as well as by children on a regular basis.

Continuing on to verse 6, God states everyone turned to his own course or did what was right in his own eyes. They charged into sin like a horse charges into battle. It was not an after thought, but true desired sought-after defiance.

As we enter verse 7, we discover some of the points to God’s omnipotence that should keep all believers in check. If we would dwell on His wonders of creation, we would see rebellion to such an awesome God is truly foolish.

God tells us of His wonders of flight as we look at the stork in the sky, which is always a marvel to behold. Starks know what they are created to do. They know when they are to migrate, mate, etc. They don’t fight against their creator and His designed plan for their lives. Other added birds are the turtledove, swift and thrush, all uniquely and marvelously made. They too know their migration times.

There is nothing outside of God’s overruling control. The New Testament reveals God even knows when a sparrow falls to the earth. Matthew 6:26 and 10:29 reveal how our heavenly father feeds the birds of the air so they never want. God also lets us know we are of far more value than they. Mother Nature controls nothing, God controls everything!

God says His people don’t know the ordinances of God. But they should because even birds know their planned purpose.

Alan and I had a teacher at Multnomah Bible College, Dr. John Mitchell, who had the whole New Testament memorized and much of the Old. He knew the ordnances of God! I certainly wish I had the Bible memorized.

Verse 8, discloses they are deceiving themselves, but not actually. Everyone knows when they are being dishonest about their sin, even though they may deny it and act ignorant concerning it. Walking in denial does not mean they don’t recognize their sin; it is just that they refuse to deal with it. Their desire is to feign innocence through a facade. Wisdom must cover our heart when dealing with those who pretend they are blind to sin. They are dangerous people.

Many years ago, a teen came and spoke to Alan and me, as he had engaged himself in pedophilia acts. (We were involved in youth ministry for many years in the past) He acted as if he was in total denial not remembering what he had done. However, his words revealed he knew exactly what he had done. He was held accountable before God and the laws of the land even though he claimed mental-denial.

God reveals in Jeremiah how the wise men refuse to use the Word of God when they counsel. Many counselors today do not only hold to the Bible. Most Christian counselors won’t even refer to it; how reminiscent of the wise men or counselors of Jeremiah’s day.

Today, counselors think the certified, educated experts know more concerning relationships than God Himself. If counselors implemented the Bible, they would ensure far better results. Especially, if they made their clients memorize portions that pertain to their situation.

I must admit, that I am surprised how easily a Christian counselor will recommend divorce when Scripture holds the answers to the difficult situations of life. They also rarely or never state to a woman in a problem marriage, “If you leave your husband, you must remain single in accordance with Scripture or be reconciled;” 1 Corinthians 7:11 and 39.

Jumping back into verse 8 of Jeremiah, we note that apart from God’s Word there is no true counsel, no true wisdom! One can’t simply say, “The law of the LORD is with us” and then teach contrary or implement man-made wisdom. None of us can implement man-written books or manuals and expect righteousness and truth to be achieved. Only the Bible is the answer to everything.

God addresses the lying pen of the scribes also in this verse. They certainly seemed to be adding and subtracting from the law when they wrote or spoke it. We observe in the New Testament, scribes not presenting a truthful heart. They continually attempted to trap the Savior by deception. Christ exposes their evil hearts in Matthew 23:27f. It appears in later Old Testament times, their nature was not any different.

The scribes of Jeremiah’s day and of Christ’s day wrote Scripture manuscript copies, penned laws, acted as judges and jurors. They certainly gloried in their power and loved their traditions over the Word of God.

The counselors or wise men “are put to shame” as we read here. They could not be trusted. The wise men were usually stationed at the Jerusalem gate and they performed as judges and counselors. There were some godly men who held the wise men positions in times past. It was before the wise men that Boaz presented his case in order to obtain Ruth’s hand in marriage. The Proverbs 31 Man was a wise man; he sat at the gate with the elders of the land; verse 23. Job was counted as the wisest of the wise men in his time and he acted as judge, attorney, counselor, investigator and king, as we see from Job chapter 29 and 31:16-23. He was well-respected at the gates of his city.

The guilty sentence, again and again, is pronounced on these people, which involves the removal of all they hold dear, including those who surround them; verse 10.

Greed is also a plague of these people which is why God must judge. Like most humans, they always want more; and are even willing to use others for their own personal gain. This is fully examined in James chapter 5 in the New Testament.

Christian organizations and causes are sometimes formed only to fulfill a need of greed. When you give to an organization or cause, you need to thoroughly check out their reputation. Even missionaries have been known to take advantage of people as they sit in a pleasant location, enjoying the scenery and an easy life. I have heard it stated something to this effect, if you give to a missionary, you might want to visit them on the mission field to verify their ministry usage of funding.

I know of two local Christian causes that do not appear to be above reproach in their dealings and motives. They also have questionable people in authority. In this world, you always have some sly people who know how to rally believers, because they know we, Christians, can easily get angered over evil agendas. We can be swayed to give to those organizations that claim to expose without investigation. Often, the only thing that is accomplished, is it places money into greedy pockets. Laughter can be heard behind closed doors. Christians must always investigate the validation of reputation—good or bad.

False trust can also be placed in the church when it comes to funding. I learned, not long ago, of a person who took a church for thousands. He was a respectable attender, appeared totally dedicated, and promised to perform construction work for the church if he received so much money. When granted the money, he left the church without fulfilling his promises. He believed no Christian would have the nerve to confront.

“Deceit” is disclosed in the conclusion of verse 10. We saw it first mentioned in verse 5. It is certainly something that is very appalling to our Lord; therefore, He wants to make that clear. God comes against the prophets and priests, who were to teach the Word as pastors do today. These prophets ministered out of greed through deception. Unfortunately today, there are some pastors who are greedy for gain and they will not take a pastorate unless the price is right. Being called to pastor and relying on God for one’s provision is not the way of today and the dollar amount is what determines a place of ministry not a specific calling of God or so it seems.

These prophets and priests in Jeremiah, never seem to get to the sin issue. They do not produce a healing from sin by exposing the people’s unethical ways. These religious leaders don’t repent and they don’t call the people to repent. They just “say peace, peace,” verse 11, or in other words, “all is well” or “no worries, mate.” There is actually no peace as doom is looming upon the horizon.

Peace, peace if the catchphrase of today’s church. I just learned of a publisher that is exposing the New Age mentality that is becoming more and more prevalent in the church. This publisher is now being referred to as a “hate” organization because it exposes through the Biblical light what is evil. They refuse to shake satan’s hand and approve of the demonic world and its false spirituality now taught in the “emerging church.” This false church movement does not teach that everyone reaps what they sow when they play with satan and his agendas of sensual license and worldly spiritualism.

We notice as we traverse further into verse 12, that these Jews are unashamed of their sin and they do not care that they no longer “know how to blush.” This is a restated phrase from 6:15 to reemphasize the lack of innocence in these people. In Hosea 6:5, God condemns the Northern Kingdom of Samaria for being incapable of innocence. In Matthew 10:16, Christ commands us to be as shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. That is a great innocence to ponder! When has a dove ever set something evil before its eyes or pondered a road of greed?

Mourning Dove © Val J. Lee

Mourning Dove © Val J. Lee

Doves:

Doves are clean (they love to bathe) and can be tamed. They pose no threat to humans or other animals. The Dove is the most famous bird of love. They have been associated with love and marriage for thousands of years. Their loyalty to each other and their joint care for their family is legendary.

Though this is true, it is the most hunted bird by sportsmen.

The dove symbolizes the Holy Spirit in Scripture due to Christ’s baptism. John the baptizer personally viewed the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus in the form of a dove.

The dove also denotes a new beginning and a promising future. This displayed when a dove confirmed, dry land awaited Noah and his family. Thereby, providing humankind a fresh start with life.

~ 

Because these people don’t desire to be labeled “prudish,” they are going to fall, through God’s punishment. He promises in verse 13, He will ‘snatch them away,” and all the produce gifts of the land that have been amply supplied to them—the grapes, figs, etc.

God goes on, telling them in the last phrase, all He has “given them will pass away.” Deuteronomy 6:10-12 informs us of all that was provided for the Jews when they entered the Promise Land—houses full of all good things, wells of water, vineyards, olive trees and food for their satisfaction, came from the LORD. However, God gave them a warning—to watch themselves and not to forget the LORD who delivered them from Egypt’s bondage.

Verse 14 reemphasizes their plight as they have sinned against the LORD and now they are doomed.

As we travel into verse 16, we see attackers will arise from the land of Dan, west of the tribal area of Benjamin where Jerusalem lies. A thundering of horses will be heard. You have possibly experienced a time when you heard many thundering horses on a prairie where their pounding hooves quaked the earth. Now, if you were to hear this sound, being totally aware that these horses held murderous enemies who were commanded to terminate, you would be petrified. This is what occurred in Israel. These sin-laden Jews watched as murdering Babylonians pursued them with swords drawn.

In verse 17, The Lord uses a metaphor of venomous vipers to describe what the Babylonians will resemble. They will bite the Judeans like a snake! Adders are poisonous, so we know the illustration is of certain death for many.

Jeremiah addresses his sorrow in the beginning of verse 18. He is faint by all the evil that will come to his people whom he loves. God’s personal care and love have departed from these Hebrews; their true King’s personal presence has exited the scene. At the end of verse 18, God speaks of why He has abandoned His people as they have turned to graven images.

Exodus 34:14 informs us that God’s children are not to worship any other god, for His name is Jealous, He being a jealous God.

A few weeks ago, I heard a speaker tell of his ministry work in India. One thing he stated to us was “Youth with a Mission” has compromised by telling this society that they could still worship other gods and just add Christ to them. They believed eventually they would remove their false gods. What false doctrine; as God makes it clear that it is an abomination to worship any other god or gods. Revelation informs, idolaters will burn in the lake of fire; 21:8 and 22:15.

Verse 20 is an often quoted verse “Harvest is past, summer is ended, and we are still are not saved.” I recall as a young person, a man consistently sitting close to the front of the church, hearing the salvation message over and over; yet never yielding to Christ. What will such a man say that stands before the judgment seat who heard the truth countless times when many had no opportunity to even hear it once?

It is important to have a sorrowful heart for those who have not come to the Savior. When the Day of the LORD comes, those who are not saved will be cast into hell. That is why we must herald the salvation message.

(Gilead is the fertile mountain region east of the Jordan River. Balm refers to the fact, there was no medicinal, soothing remedy anywhere.)

Jeremiah cites his woe further, explaining he recognizes there are physicians in the land but no restoration of health is occurring. Why? Because they are ill due to sin and no blessings of deliverance can come even through a doctor’s hands.

James 5:16 informs us we are to confess our sins to one another, pray for one another, so we can be healed. These people would not take part in any confession of sin, as they were righteous in their own eyes.

~

Dear friends, may I present Jeremiah,

A man after God’s own heart verified through his love and sensitivity to the ways of God and love for others. He was one who was dedicatedly engaged in the service of the LORD, not being entangled by the things of this world. His fellow Jews had fallen deeply into coveting the surrounding amusements of their godless neighbors. 2 Timothy 2:4 lets us know, that one who is truly a child of God is not to become entangled with the affairs of everyday life, so he may please the true God who enlisted him as a soldier.

In a written description, Shirley Temple disclosed how she met her husband, Charles Black, in Hawaii. One item that drew her to this man was the fact he had never heard of her. He was placed in a military academy at a young age and had no access to movies, being his whole life was military; thus, he did not entangle himself in the affairs of everyday life. Shirley wanted to ensure that Charles was above reproach, being a one-woman-guy, so she requested that J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI investigate him. He affirmed the fact that Charles, a very handsome man, was above reproach toward women in his behavior, which caused Shirley Temple to entrust herself to him in holy matrimony.

We need to follow the command of Timothy and be those who entangle themselves in God alone. Jeremiah is a quality example to us through his separation and dedication.

 Jeremiah Chapter 9

A dichotomy seems to be set forth in verses one and two of Chapter 9. In the first verse, Jeremiah is experiencing deep grief over what is to become of his people, not desiring to see his people slain. However, we read in verse 2 that he wants to just flee from it all and forsake his people. Why? They “are adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men.”

Have you ever just wanted to get away from it all like Jeremiah; capturing in your mind a simple cabin in the southern Idaho desert, in the early spring or fall? (I don’t mean in the sizzling summer or freezing winter.) Having no desire for anyone to disturb you as you long to be isolated with your righteous and holy Lord?

It’s very easy for us to want to see sinners saved; yet, to flee from all the grotesque vileness around us, at times, sounds very tempting. Often, I hope Christ will take us home soon so we can be delivered. At other times, I desire He tarries for the sake of bringing more souls into His kingdom. He is still saving in miraculous ways around our globe.

Adultery can be very depressing when it seems to enclose you all-around, so too in Jeremiah’s day. One theologian stated something to the effect that divorce and remarriage is America’s way of committing legal polygamy. I know a woman who claims to be saved (reads her Bible, attends church, sings in the choir, etc.) and has had several husbands. Sadly, she has explained, she simply couldn’t see herself staying with the same man her entire life. She does enjoy sounding like a victim in Christian company. I believe her words represent the truth behind a great many divorces though it would never be spoken in a church.

Many believers seeking a divorce claim being victimized so they can be set free to roam with Christian sympathy. He or she may even state they tried counseling so it appears they now have no other alternative. However, God always knows the heart that can never hide from Him.

You may say, but what if a woman says she was treated cruelly? Well, in my counseling and observation, most women (not all) who claim victimization, usually know how to push the buttons to make a husband angry. They can do it with pleasure to get back at a husband for whatever reason. This persists in a cycle as both husband and wife engage in a tug of war for command. Women will also withhold intimacy to be sinfully vindictive and this naturally causes a man to be angered. This is willful disobedience to God on the wife’s part.

Women can detest the words—submission, respect and winning their husbands without a word—2 Pet. 3:1-2. However, I have seen God maneuver within the heart through the truths of His Word, maturing to obedience. He can renew a steadfast love, whereby a couple begins to walk in a quiet and gentle spirit. It is not painless or something that metamorphoses overnight.

Alan and I will be the first to admit it has only been by God’s powerful grace that our marriage has survived, moving past 30 years. We have had great battles with the world, the flesh and the enemy. However, I am grateful to pronounce that we are still in love, which comes through seeking Christ daily. Marriage is a continuous moving exertion not a shot in the dark.

Prayer for our marriages has to be a consistent ingredient mixed with affection, kindness, sacrifice, generosity and gentle-wise communication and on and on. A marriage where the couple demands their own way lacks these important components which empower them to run smoothly like a tandem bike.

Malachi 2:13-17 also combines the words adultery and treachery as men were dealing treacherously with their wives forsaking their marriage “by covenant.” The covenant enacted with God for life; whereby, they were to abstain from all others. God exhorts these men who are unfaithful to honor fidelity with the “wives of their youth.” God goes on to emphasize that, “He hates divorce.”

It is noteworthy that God is not paying attention to these wicked men, who cry and groan as they present their unheeded offerings; Malachi 2:13. We see something comparable to this in the New Testament; God tells men their prayers will be hindered if they do not honor their wives and live with them in an understanding way. God does intervene for slighted women in marriage. He punishes men who are unkind and not honoring. No one gets away with sin that is why we never give up praying for our marriages. Prayer is exercised faith. In sinful marital situations, God can convict to repentance. It cannot always guarantee the outcome desired as man exercises free will, however, miracles of marriage renewal occur daily.

As we move to verse 3 of Jeremiah 9, we read “They bend their tongue like a bow,” not telling truths but falsehoods. We might say, someone is speaking with a forked tongue resulting in lies not fact spouting forth. The media certainly knows how to present lies. It covets justification and cover-up. They will tell you a woman has a right to choose, but when was the last time they televised abortions for the public to decide if it is indeed murder? They resort to slogans to conceal factual data, not revealing exactly what abortion is—the murder of children. They do this with every unbiblical agenda.

“Rights” is what everything evil seems to hide behind. Of course, our society, in general, veils everything of the liberal view through deception, using cover-up terminology.

They were growing in evil, from “evil to evil,” as verse 3 continues its declaration of why Israel is doomed. This could happen to any ungodly nation including America as Isaiah 40 proclaims.

If we were to attempt to tie all these verses in Jeremiah together in relationship to our country, we would have to admit America is in a pit of degradation as was Israel. I do think this admission is an easy one for the honest perceiver. A hundred years ago, all unbiblical behavior was illegal. I already mentioned abortion which was not legalized till 1973. No-fault divorce hit America in the 70s as well. My 1965 revised F & W Encyclopedia, states in NY, no one can divorce except for adultery. (I wonder where that came from?) Premarital sex, homosexuality, immodesty, etc, were all forbidden in general society.

Drug abuse was nonexistent outside of the opium smoked by Orientals in hidden underground dens, which were in the Boise, Idaho area around a century ago. I’ve seen a portion of an underground tunnel in historic Nampa, Idaho.

Yes, sin was evidenced in America, but it has definitely increased from “evil to evil” in past decades, also substantiated in other cultures. In our nation, there was a time when people never thought of locking their doors; they could have never envisioned needing an alarm system for their home. However, locks do travel back to ancient civilization. The most antiquated lock was located in the palace ruins near Nineveh in Iraq; they believe it to be 4,000 years old. This lock consisted of a large wooden bolt to secure a door, which had a slot with several holes in its upper surface. The holes were filled with wooden pegs that prevented the bolt from being opened.

When it comes to crime, many former harsh laws have been rescinded so the offender is left with many rights and the good guy is often trampled upon. This includes children who have been raped by pedophiles. A prosecuting attorney needs a mountain of evidence to prosecute anyone and many key facts are often thrown out to assist the criminal.

A hurting phrase closes verse 3, “They did not know Me.” God loved them and wanted them to know Him. I am one who can feel the wounded heart of God and so did Jeremiah. God always moves to the pinnacle of things! Do we strive to know God better each day? This certainly is something I need to practice, knowing Him more and more, not the practices of the world. They lacked a true knowledge of God, through a true love for Him and His Holy Word, this being observed throughout Jeremiah.

Verse 4, reminds us again of our communities being ridden with corruption as they were in Jeremiah’s day. I have dwelt in neighborhoods where I could not depend on my neighbors, and so possibly have you. In my previous neighborhood, I had to phone the police on regular occasions, keeping their number close by. Currently, we live in a caring neighborhood where we feel safe. This was a magnificent answer to prayer.

I have certainly been deceived by neighbors just as Jeremiah discloses in verse 5. Some neighbors enjoy using those they know are believers, viewing them as just do-gooders who wouldn’t know a black sheep if they saw one.  There are many deceptive foxes in this world that are very convincing, as they seek the unsuspecting sheep.

Deceptive neighbors can include anyone we may be in contact with. One giveaway for recognition, as we see in Jeremiah, is they are slanderers. One to be trusted would not be one who thrusts hate at others through a tongue of hidden deception. Some people will refuse to be friends with those who do not tag along with their accusing ways of making others appear bad. Of course, we know there are plenty of believers who will compromise with slanderers to keep friends or gain friends. If we love God above all else, we will not fall into this sinful trap.

Jeremiah speaks how the people have taught their tongues to speak lies, midway in verse 5. Alan sees this at the penitentiary and he has to use differing techniques with both offenders and staff to reach the truth.

Of course, we all know the repeated scenario of the man who tells his wife he loves her and is eternally faithful when he is playing around continually and doesn’t plan to stop. All such lies eventually catch up in every true story! You see, sin only gratifies for a season and can only be hidden for a time. When all surfaces, all those who trusted in this man, now feel betrayed—the wife, children, other family members and friends. The pain is excruciating to the victims! God declares in Numbers 32:23, “And be sure your sin will find you out!”

One may believe it’s no big thing to deceive slightly and it doesn’t hurt anyone. It can come down to something as common as one calling in sick so they can head for a day of pleasure in the sun—like one of Alan’s officers who phoned in sick. Another one of his officers saw this man at the park, and he certainly was not ill. This truant officer claims to be saved and attends a Bible-believing church. When Alan confronted the man, he justified everything, but Alan laid it on the line especially with him professing to be saved and attending church. It was obvious that this officer had taught his tongue to lie. It did not go off on its own tangent! If people can justify one lie, they most likely rationalize many other lies as well.

God informs Jeremiah; his dwelling is in the midst of deceit and in continuance He states, it is because of this deception, they refuse to “know Him,” this being reemphasized from verse 3. God wants to underscore this as being the root problem. Today’s believer can participate in deception by merely implying to others that some sin is not that evil. If we truly know God and His Word, through spending much time in study and prayer, justification of wickedness in any form would be absent from our lives.

Verse 7 returns us to the refining fire of God’s discipline. He speaks again of assaying them which we originally dealt with back in chapter 6.

Deceit is viewed for the fourth time in verse 8. Do you think God is trying to thump on something? It is obvious that God hates it! His hatred for deception reaches into the place of getting people to believe we are something we are not by playing the Sunday church game; where, during the week, people would never guess we are believers by our words and actions. I have a friend who knew a lady in the workplace for an extended period of time, never guessing she was a believer, but came to find out she is a Baptist pastor’s wife, and formerly ministered with a Christian organization. My friend couldn’t believe this liberal-mouthed woman was actually a believer. Of course, the two-faced woman put on her natural, secular appearance as soon as she left the church’s premises.

We can be deceptive with others by being unkind to our spouse, children and even pets when at home; believing we can let our hair down, yet putting on kindness when we meet with those outside the doors of our home. I witnessed a Christian lady speaking cruelly to her family members for no reason; yet, when the phone rang, she answered, sounding like the most pleasant woman in the world. Such behavior is completely baffling, but it reveals our natural flesh of wanting to put on a good show before others. We should be respectful to all including those we live with. If we don’t yell at people on the phone, at church, in the store, etc, we shouldn’t yell at those who dwell in our home. Of course, yelling is wrong, period! Christ never left this example. However, I am guilty and have had to ask forgiveness more than once. I have had to apologize to my family members on occasion for my treatment of them; far more than with friends. We do well to treat all in honor.

To add more illustration to the deception game, I will state, salespeople are great at duping. They know all the ropes. It is easy to be their victim until you catch on. Have you noticed sales people claiming to be Christian if they find out you are one? I have experienced this several times. And if I refuse their business, they quickly remove their believer mask and treat me like the dung of the earth, just for not catering to a sales pitch clothed in trickery. I know a Christian lady who bought into such an act and she lost thousands of dollars to a phone swindler.

Verse 8 continues, detailing neighbors speaking peace, but inwardly setting an ambush. We have a man in our subdivision who knows how to do this well … Kindly speaking peace to us; but upon getting the chance, will ambush us with held-in-hate. However, I must state, we feel very blessed to live around kind neighbors who look out for one another.

God goes on to disclose, as judge and jury, He has the right to bring a judgement of punishment and revenge on a nation such as this!

In verse 10, Jeremiah walks on the stage wailing and weeping for this unrepentant nation that he loves. He speaks of taking up a dirge, or a song or poem of mourning for the dead. Not only for the Jews who will die, does he cry this dirge, but also for the demise of the land and its beasts. Birds and cattle will have no desire to be present in this cursed kingdom. Birds spell life with their need for an abundance of trees and vegetation. I love to hear and observe the birds outside my window, pecking on the window, feeding and chattering at my feeders. It would be very disheartening if all of a sudden they were no more. What if there were no more cats? Now that would truly be something to wail about.

Verse 11 specifically points to the Jackal. This is one beast that does not mind living in desolation, being a scavenger dog that cleans up the leftovers. Without compassion, it says bring me your dead. Job chapters 38-41 reveal how God oversees all His creation and all are fashioned for His purpose and pleasure. Some, like the Jackal, were specifically designed to remove the stinking garbage of the earth, even if it be human.

Jerusalem would be a heap of ruins, “a haunt of jackals.”

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The jackal is a scavenger dog that feeds on dead carcasses holding the same characteristics as a buzzard; they both spell death and lifelessness. The jackal feeds on a variety of insects, rodents, snakes, and young antelope. It possesses coarse short fur and inhabits holes in the ground. It mates for life, being a monogamous creature. Yes, one good thing can be said of it.

The jackal is a nocturnal animal, so it does most of its hunting in later hours. Occasionally, the jackal will be sighted in pairs in the late afternoon. It is a pack hunting canidae.

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In these vivid Jeremiah verses, we are witnessing a color photo of natural life beaming with multihued birds, sprinting deer, roaming cattle, and on and on that spells an occupied, green, cultivated civilization which will divert to a photo of black and white lifelessness. Existence is crushed into dirt, everything fragmented. Anything of the lush color of vibrancy is as if it never were.

All inhabitants will be removed as verse 11 closes. For review, there were 3 captivities of Babylon:

First – 605 BC – Daniel, Meshach, Abed-nego and other knowledgeable, handsome youth, including royalty, removed to palace of Babylon—Daniel chapter 1.

Second – 597 BC – Jeremiah’s current predictions regarding.

Third – 586 BC – King Zedekiah removed with remaining Jews. City of Jerusalem destroyed (temple included)—2 Kings chapter 25 and Jeremiah chapter 39.

Verses 12-14 disclose the reasons for discipline and the desolation of the land as they chose not to obey all of God’s Word, only that which was convenient for their contemporary society. Honoring the Sabbath, tithing, sacrificing, temple faithfulness, practicing circumcision, etc, were still obeyed through rote. Their compromise, pleasing the surrounding trendy nations, brought judgment, as well as their self-centered fleshly desires.

The justice for forsaking God’s holy and inerrant Word is presented in verse 15. The LORD will give them wormwood (a bitter woody-herb that brings forth convulsions, etc.) and poisoned water to drink; all synonyms to represent the coming doom. These are things that will also be present during the tribulation period which will inflict the entire world.

As we read verse 16 of Jeremiah 9, we notice it speaks of God scattering His people among the nations. This is certainly made visible in the book of Esther, where we view King Ahasuerus ruling over 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia within the Persian sector of Babylon; Esther 1:1. We witness in Esther, the Jews had become scattered throughout these provinces as the proclamation to annihilate them was proclaimed in all these regions.

Jeremiah speaks of God sending “the sword after them” (meaning when they are held captive in Babylon) and this was made very evident in Esther, but the Jews sought the Lord’s protection, and they were preserved through the godly intercession of Esther and Mordecai. Turning to God in this threatening situation presented in Esther, brought abundant blessings and security. If only Judah would have responded in such a way during the sermonizing of Jeremiah!

Verses 17-20 are presented to warn Jerusalem of the death and the mourning that will ensue. In Israel, women were hired to cry for the dead, those who would wail and those who would mourn. There were no men hired, of course.😄

The mourning for the annihilation upon arrival would be true grief, not a put on, as their voices will be great from Zion or Jerusalem. Verse 19 refers to those who will be deported from the land as well; escaping death, but wishing they had perished as we read earlier in Jeremiah.

In verse 20 and following, we read the dirge, or mourning song, restated from verse 10. God is attempting to get His point across of the importance of turning away from their worldly behavior. Death coming up through the windows certainly paints an inlaid memory. This demise is all-consuming, entering the palaces, killing children and young men in the town squares.

Corpses of men would be as dung on the open field; verse 22. Further, we read “Like the sheaf after the reaper.” Reaper of death reminds us of the tales of a death reaper coming to a dying mortal. The sheaves represent bunches of bodies piled like gleaned wheat. When in war, it is difficult to locate live men to bury dead men. In Judah, the dead will be gravely visible with many falling at once and the bodies everywhere cast; “no one will gather them.”

This is not the only devastation Jerusalem came to experience, there were other times the enemy marched in, including Rome in 70 AD. There is going to be another great extermination as we read in Ezekiel chapter 9, this will be during the Great Tribulation. Ezekiel 9:4 explains, a man will be commanded to place a mark on men’s foreheads, those with a tender heart, who sigh and moan over the sins of Jerusalem. All other lives of men, women, and little children will be extinguished by six other men … none spared!

I believe these remarkable godly Jewish men who hate all sin (who certainly are a brand of Jeremiah) are the 144,000 Jews due to the fact in Revelation 7 they are taken from every tribe of Israel. Revelation 14:1 speaks of them having the name of Christ and the Father “on their foreheads” and they are the ones who will sing a new song on beautiful harps strung by harpists.

These men are exceptionally righteous, being pure virgin males who “kept themselves chaste.” Jeremiah too was a virgin as God called him to celibacy. These 144,000 are so powerfully pure and righteous, they pursue “the Lamb wherever He goes!”

These are exceptional verses to show to Jehovah Witnesses, 7th Day Adventists, Mormons and all who believe they are the 144,000; as well as those who get caught up in books that Hollywood-ize the true makeup of these virgin righteous males who are spared in another coming epoch of Jerusalem devastation.

Committing to Memory verses 23-24 of Jeremiah 9, would be very wise for all of us. We are commanded to only boast in the Lord, never in our wisdom, strength, or riches. God is the only One deserving of true honor and praise, especially due to the fact that every ability we possess is a gift from him and due to no one else.

Verse 24 emphasizes the Lord’s attributes that are worthy of praise that He exercises; His lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness. These are the attributes He delights in and so should we. Not the materialism, methodologies, technology, architectural feats, trendy styles and beats, special tech effects, etc, of this globe that is passing away. Rejoicing in the essences that magnify our Savior is His directive to us.

Punishment is the name of the game in verses 25 & 26. These Jews obeyed God, being circumcised in body but not in heart. They were not separated only onto their Maker, being truly devoted to only Him. Deuteronomy 30:6 commanded the Israelites to be circumcised of heart, loving the Lord with all their heart and soul. Unfortunately the hearts of the Jews in Jeremiah’s day clung to the manners of the other nations; not following the teaching of 2 Kings 17:15b, which is repeated in various ways throughout all of scripture including the New Testament, “And they followed after vanity and became vain, and went after the nations which surrounded them, concerning which the LORD had commanded them NOT TO DO LIKE THEM.”

If I wear a covering atop my long hair to church but am not submitting to my husband, it is meaningless before Christ, just as circumcision meant nothing to God if His people were not lovingly obedient.

God speaks in the last verse, of all the surrounding nations who have influenced Israel, revealing names. The Jews fashioned themselves to them not HIM. These nations clipped their hair at the temples; the Jews were not allowed to cut this hair; Leviticus 19:27. The Egyptians shaved their heads and bodies and the other godless nations never held to the LORD’S exterior standards.

Jeremiah Chapter 10

Any statue or art piece viewed in a worshipful manner is like worshipping a scarecrow in a cucumber field; verse 5.

Exodus 23:2 implores us not to follow the crowd in doing evil. Parents give this instruction to children continually asking them, “If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you?”

Parents see this tendency emerging at a young age when raising offspring, but often fail to recognize it in themselves. If their “mature” generation follows after whatever spells creative and exciting, it is viewed as excellent, being innovated from the culturally refined.

Even though God’s children were warned way back in Exodus not to follow what everyone else was doing, they were ignoring this powerful command during the time of Jeremiah. Judgment was about to fall like weighty balls of hail on these who desired to partake in what everyone else was doing. It is so much easier not be peculiar or is it? The consequences of discipline by God’s hand outweigh the temporary acceptance of others if one was to thoroughly contemplate it through to the bitter end.

Verse 2 of chapter 10 of Jeremiah, warns Judah not to learn the ways of the nations. We are to be imitators of God, not the nations of this world, including the US! We are not to follow the crowds of the global populace in their actions and ways.

In America, some believers enjoy delving into the hottest books on the NY best seller list. They also relish reading about all the new corporate trends that hasten prosperity for early retirement. They enjoy researching the recent developments in behavioral psychology as disclosed from sinful unregenerate man. They want to know what steps to take in becoming more “green.” Sad scenario for God’s separated, called out ones.

We live on a lofty hill in this country of fulfilled desires. The world views us as the nation to imitate when it comes to most anything in the way of entertainment and style. America is viewed as the Babylon of the modern world. In Jeremiah’s time, Babylon was the place where society set its eyes to learn the ways of the world. In end times, there will be Mystery Babylon (actual name not disclosed by God), not in ancient Babylon’s exact location, which has moved 14 miles from the Euphrates River—the center of end times prophecies. Because destroyed Babylon no longer owns pristine river access, it is no longer a logical construction local. Plus, God stated ancient Babylon will never be rebuilt. But some place in Iraq (most likely in this country), will arise. Many American, carnal folk of the New Age mentality, forecast the happening of a Babylon-type city, across the seas, in days to come.

God warns His people in the next phrase not to be in bondage to fear, specifically what is beheld as one observes the heavens or weather. As God’s chosen, we should know and understand God’s omnipotence over creation and His sustaining ways over the earth. We should never be terrified of the signs of the heavens. It is the way of the pagan and unredeemed to be concerned about forecasted foul, atmospheric conditions. Of course, it is their lot to continually complain about the weather as well.

Today, the jars of creation can make fearful the common man. So many seem to fear global warming from the sun’s supposedly increasing rays upon the earth. People seem to forget it wasn’t that many decades ago that scientists were predicting global cooling, causing everyone to fear that we were returning to the ice age. God is conveying here that He oversees all, and nothing is out of His omnipotent control, including all the predictions and ramifications being calculated about by atmospheric scientists.

Verses 3-5 poke much fun at idols, those things made by man’s hands. These images are so independently powerful that they have to be balanced so they don’t fall on their face. Yes, I am joking. Furthermore, they must be carried about like a kitten in one’s arms. ☺

They cannot speak or bring good or harm. Isaiah 44:12-18 illuminates this further, in the agenda of it all. One main disclosure is the fact many are shaped to look like men. Man loves to elevate himself and many do engage in this through self-worship. Often we hear “I did that or I will do that.” Sinful man loves spending about 90 percent of his time talking about himself. We all can be guilty of this, most certainly. No wonder man likes idols that resemble him!

This passage continues to reveal the folly of it all. A man selects a tree and cuts it down. With half of the felled tree, he warms himself, setting it ablaze for cooking a meal.  Then worships the other half, made in his image. He falls before it in self-deception! What a joke! God is right when He explains, idols are like scarecrows in cucumber fields—Jeremiah 10:5. God is poignant in man’s outrageous stupidity.

We see in verse 6, the proclaiming of the omnipotence of God; viewing the contrast between Almighty God and idols. No similarity at all is anywhere present as there is none like Him! He is great and in His name is might! Who would not fear Him? And all will, when every knee will bow down and confess Jesus as Lord to the glory of God the Father! He indeed is worthy of all worship, honor and praise!

Verse 8 returns to the folly of idols, in light of all this omnipotent, proclaimed truth. How could anyone who knows of the true God, engage in such an abomination? Well, they did because everyone else was doing it. Even though Jeremiah revealed God’s omnipotence, as well as the prophets throughout history, this did not turn these people away from doing what was trendy.

As we travel to verse 9, we see the “work of skilled men” in making idols that catch the eye. Satan knows he must make things attractive for men to partake of what is contrary to Scripture, and we recognize in this verse that many idols were made with silver, gold, and costly fabrics that are pleasing to one’s eye. Just as men love to look good, they love to make the idols that resemble them look just as swanky.

Today, there are fancy idols in America, not only in foreign lands. America houses various religions where people bow to images, burn incense before them, etc, that are made by man’s hands. We formerly attended a church where two oriental children cherished being present to worship the true and living God. They dwelt in a Buddhist home that was filled with idols and demonic influences. Coming to church was their escape from their parents’ worship of things made by man’s hands; averting the spiritual battle that raged in their home where they often felt the presence of demons.

© Val J. Lee

© Val J. Lee

A Rabbit Trail

I hope you don’t mind if we divert a bit and go hopping on a lovely rabbit trail, sided with exquisite flowers in a range of varieties and hues; a trail that brings into view the expectation of emerging last days.

Happening to take note of the words, “work of skilled men,” I wanted to address Daniel 12:4 that speaks of the last days in reference to knowledge increasing. Many theologians believe this to be technology—man’s increasing skill with brain and hands. Never before has skill been elevated to this great pinnacle of invention. The machine age did not even enter historical embodiment until the 1800s. Nothing resembling complicated mechanisms existed in centuries past; and since their introduction, nothing has triggered their decline, simply the opposite. God put an end to the tower of Babel in its success of achievement; however, He has chosen not to do so in this era.

This portion of Scripture in Daniel also speaks of many going back and forth. Never previously has travel been so universally effortless, being routed with nearly a thought or hardship. It was just a century and a half ago that the majority of people traveled by wagon or horse, making it grueling and tedious. Travel by ship was time-consuming, taking months to cross an ocean blue. Trains trekked in limited locals. Most people didn’t make traveling a habit as is done today. Yes, more and more prophecy seems to be directing us toward the rapture. Only the LORD knows the approaching time, but it can be motivating jumping to a side trail in Scripture on arriving promises.

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Once again we return to the omnipotence of our LORD, contrasting between that which is of men and that which is of God. Verse 10 teaches the LORD is the true and living God. He is the everlasting King! Images and art made by men have no life or meaning as we read earlier. Remember, they have to be carried. God never has to be wheeled about. Statues and other artworks can be shattered and most have been destroyed over the centuries. God will never be destroyed and His time will never end!

“At His wrath the earth quakes.” No, we cannot blame the earth’s inner layers or any San Andreas Fault as God makes everything apparent, it shakes at His will. We know increased earthquakes will come before Christ’s stand on the earth as sin increases. Of course, when Christ comes to reign, when sin is passed, there will be no need for His wrath to be displayed in such a way.

LA Earthquakes:

Geography and Seismicity

“Northridge is about 32 km northwest of downtown Los Angeles and is within the suburban San Fernando Valley, which is a sprawling region of residential neighborhoods, apartment complexes, low-rise business and industrial parks, and shopping malls. The area’s biggest and best-known geologic fault, the San Andreas, passes about 100 km to the east and north of the San Fernando Valley.

The earthquake occurred on a thrust fault along the northern fringes of the valley. The near-record strong ground motion generated by the earthquake was an indication of the significant risk presented by thrust-fault events of moderate magnitude. Accelerations in the range of 1.0g were recorded over a large area. Similar accelerations, including large vertical accelerations, have been recorded in the past, but at isolated locations and in very limited numbers. Numerous detailed EQE investigations have pointed out that such ground motions were typical in the epicentral areas of many past earthquakes, particularly thrust-type earthquakes such as those in San Fernando in 1971, Coalinga in 1983, Chile in 1985, New Zealand in 1987, and Armenia in 1988.

While this is a major earthquake in terms of its damage, there is no indication that its occurrence has reduced the probability for a stronger earthquake in the next 30 years on a major fault in the Los Angeles region. The probabilities remain in the range of 5% to 10% per year that a major earthquake will strike Southern California. It will be most destructive if it strikes on a major fault such as the Newport-Inglewood Fault or on the San Andreas Fault in the vicinity of Riverside.”

1971 San Fernando Earthquake and Comparison to 1994 Earthquake

“This was the second time in 23 years that this region has been affected by a strong earthquake. On February 9, 1971, a magnitude 6.6 event struck the San Fernando Valley, about 32 km northeast of the epicenter of the 1994 event. The 1971 earthquake caused 58 fatalities and about 2,000 injuries. At the time, the 1971 earthquake was the most destructive event to affect greater Los Angeles since the magnitude 6.3 Long Beach Earthquake of 1933, and it prompted an extensive reevaluation and update of the building codes. Direct damage to buildings and other structures exceeded $0.5 billion (1971 dollars).

Interchange (Interstate 5 and State Route 14) was also badly damaged in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. The San Fernando Valley was a recently developed suburban area in 1971. More than 90% of its houses and other buildings were constructed after the first earthquake design requirements had been incorporated into the local building code in 1933. The greatest number of earthquake-related fatalities occurred in the collapse of several 1920s and 1930s concrete-frame buildings at a hospital.” End of article.

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As we read further, Jeremiah states, the nations cannot endure God’s indignation. Yes, in America we do not endure this indignation relentlessly, but when catastrophes have arisen they have been grueling to endure for those who have experienced them. God is sovereign, however, and we are not to question even if we fall victim to a catastrophe, knowing we are all sinners deserving of His earthly wrath. God has been gracious to America, causing us to give thanks with a grateful heart through His many bestowed blessings upon our country that witnesses little ongoing devastations.

This portion of Scripture is to point out who truly rules over all, and it is not things made by man’s hands! As verse 11 proclaims, false gods did not make the heavens and earth; therefore, they will completely perish someday. There will be nothing made by man’s hands in heaven!

Verse 12 continues in praise for God’s attributes. Here we review creation’s story originally recorded in Genesis. He formed the earth by His power. Why is He telling these Jews, who know the Scriptures, these things? Because the unredeemed and lukewarm believers can influence us away from His omnipotence, rightly witnessed by the number of theistic-evolutionists running amok in today’s assemblies. These false teachers explain Genesis from an allegorical perspective. This is the apostasy of lies. It is sad to note that TE is now taught in Nazarene Universities. We are warned to have nothing to do with anyone who does not present God’s Word that is true, down to every jot and tittle, when properly translated. Bible teachers must hold true to the most ancient of manuscripts—the most accurately translated Bibles, those not adding cultural and ecumenical twists.

Billy Graham is theistic-evolutionist friendly as he stated, “How you believe doesn’t affect the doctrine. Either at a certain moment in evolution God breathed into one particular ape-man who was Adam, or God could have taken a handful of dust and blowed and created a man just like that” (“Cooperative Evangelism at Harringay,” United Church Observer, July 1966).

It is heartbreaking to have to acknowledge, in this day and age, that most theologians speak out of both sides of their mouth and this is a perfect illustration. They have lost the faith that comes by continually hearing and adhering to the Word of God.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theistic_evolution

“Many Christian denominations support or accept theistic evolution. For example, on 12 February 2006, the 197th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, the day was commemorated by ‘Evolution Sunday.’ The message announced that followers of Christ do not have to choose between biblical stories of creation. Evolution was taught in classes and sermons at many Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Unitarian, Congregationalist, United Church of Christ, Baptist and community churches.”

The world was established by His wisdom, not His folly. It takes little to recognize His wisdom in creation. Isn’t it interesting that all beings have eyes and ears opposite each other and a nose in between with one mouth? Now if evolution is true, how did such a wise way of creation come from absolutely nothing that owns absolutely no intelligence? Absolutely nothing would be far lower in aptitude than the most brain damaged person who ever lived. How did such creative harmony with artistic productive functioning arise? We know researching the intricate eye spells intelligence beyond measure, extending above anything simple man can contrive. It is a silly game to play in this realm of stupidity.

God, by His almighty hand, “stretched out the heavens,” rightly concludes verse 12. But wait … God is not finished with presenting His truths, as He continues to explain His omnipotence. His voice resembles a tumult of waters in the heavens. This would be a massive noise beyond our finite and earthly audio attainment. Who can even begin to imagine the clamor our God can produce? His power is limitless and the noise that follows. By listening to Niagara Falls, we may gain a tiny note of the acoustics resounding in God’s secluded heavenly home. Unfortunately, I am sure the comparison is totally lacking.

We are also taught here, “He causes the clouds to ascend from the end of the earth.” An obvious question arises here. How much water is stored in a single cloud? The facts are mind-boggling. “One inch of rain over one square mile equals 17.4 million gallons of water weighing 143 million pounds (about 72,000 tons), or the weight of a train with 40 boxcars. The precise mechanics of how a cloud forms and grows is not completely understood…”

Man can explain little of God’s might. He cannot enlighten regarding the great amount of moisture in our atmosphere, nor how roaming fluffy clouds can carry millions of gallons of water.

No meteorologist is needed to elucidate why we encounter such a range of weather conditions; God performs it all at His prescribed will. “He makes lightning for the rain.” It doesn’t control itself, neither falls by atmospheric will, only God! How big is your God?

“He brings wind out from the storehouses.” It may not be a scientific analogy, but it is visual truth. We experienced stalwart winds last night in our valley that kept me awake; all brought in by the hand of our Lord!

“Man is stupid and void of knowledge;” verse 14. How apropos with the above statements that should bring us to our knees in acknowledgement of who He is and how stupid we are! Aren’t we grateful He understands that we are but dust? Men cannot even begin to comprehend the universe; yet, he boasts in his complete ignorance of how things are designed. Yes, I am stupid and void of erudition! My extremely limited data is comparable to a retrieved drop of water from the ocean, while all the rest of the drops in the oceans, represent his interminable knowledge.

This verse again returns us to man worshipping silly images of men or whatever deceives man. For anyone to believe that an image has the power of a god or something of heaven is absolute nonsense. We are never to look at things made by man’s hands with excessive ah or admiration. Everything of this earth is passing away, only that which is of God will survive, meaning only us who have put our true trust in the living Savior.

Our pastor was recently stating how even carrying a wooden cross in one’s pocket is as a fetish. We don’t need things made by man’s hands to cause us to dwell on our great God. We have the living God living within us if we are truly saved from our sins by Christ’s shed blood. Yes, we take communion which is a symbol of His sacrificial death, but we don’t need to constantly carry grape juice and bread around with us in our pockets to continually remind us. The symbols are to allow us to focus on Him in remembrance of His work during worship; not for us to view them as the literal body and blood. Which they obviously are not, as Christ is exalted above all the heavens, absent from the flesh He held on earth, now dwelling in His glorified body. We no longer know Him according to His former earthly flesh—2 Corinthians 5:16. His earthly flesh no longer exists; He moves as living, commanding God of all in the heavens. God is spirit. He also, however, appears as a slain lamb, as seen throughout Revelation. He was commanding, controlling God when on the earth, but dwelt in flesh that decays. No fleshly thing is part of Him this day, nor ever will be again.

When many a year younger, I used to view the Bible as a fetish, being I had great fear consuming me due to demonic activity I witnessed in a church. I believed if I set an open Bible out, it would protect me from demons. However, even though it holds the words of God, it is still made by man’s hands and cannot protect me from evil. It is the Words of Life in the book that protect me, as I claim and rest in God’s truths. When Christ was tempted by satan, He didn’t throw a scroll holding the Words of Scripture penned by Him. He quoted the truth held in the Old Testament scrolls—His words of truth. It’s the quoting, believing, memorizing and submitting to the Word that are the components of our protective armor. Many people have Bibles in their homes that are never opened; they seem to believe that owning one is somehow redeeming.

Biblical common sense is what a believer submits to. As verse 14 reveals, there is no breath in things made by man’s hands; therefore, we attribute no power to them. I must repeat, only God deserves our complete devotion and admiration.

At times, I ponder on Jeremiah’s life and wonder if he ever wished he dwelt in a different era where the people were not so compromising with surrounding societies. When I evoke memories of several decades ago, when the church was a separate entity, minus the consuming ways of the world, sometimes I wish I could journey back to that period of marked distinction between Christians and non.

There was a time, even in general society, when respect for Biblical principles was everywhere present. To example this, I was recently reading “The Canyon County Community News,” as Alan’s Aunt Ruth had written an interesting article on the beginnings of the JC Penny store in Nampa, Idaho. After reading this article, I moved to another that perked my eyes, as it dealt with a former public school teacher for the county. It spoke of her faith in Christ, which she passed on to the students as she taught them the Bible daily. The account spoke of no hindrance to her daily exhortations, as that was when it was proper to have Bible teaching in secular, learning institutions. This had been legal since the establishment of our nation. In short time past, Christianity was considered part of normal life in America. Of course today, no Bibles are permitted in government schools, as lies of heritage abound. Historical correctness does not establish the rules of our day.

Verse 16 of Jeremiah 10, continues proclamation of the omnipotence of our Lord and God as it states He is the Maker of all. Israel is the tribe of His inheritance and the Lord of Hosts is His name. Lord of Hosts refers to His sovereignty over myriads of angles, countless stars, all creation. There is nothing outside of His complete control. All that is happening is allowed by His reigning hand, under His grace, that desires the salvation of all men. Though we too, dwell in an evil period, God is still on the throne awaiting the time of judgment and end of rebellion.

Israel is still the apple of His eye and Jerusalem will be where Christ sets His kingdom. His eyes are continually set on His disobedient ones who have rejected the Savior, but someday Israel will make Christ Lord, as well as her surrounding nations.

“Pick up your bundle” is a phrase that informs the people that they will not be able to take everything with them including the kitchen sink; well, actually not their wash basin, when removed from their land; verse 17. It is a visual that labels them vagabond, slave, and worthless human; those that have to be removed from their home in bonds to a distant place. Then God says they will be slung out, it is like the throwing of stones out of one’s yard. They will be removed as valueless and useless rocks.

Before Christ enters our life, we are unproductive and worthless; we offer Him nothing but filthy rags of sin. Yet He takes us in, places a robe on us; adopting us as His royal children. This all performed when we call upon His name, being saved from a life of slavery and bondage.

In order to be saved, we need to see our lost state, which Israel did not; she refused. God would have saved then immediately from their destined slavery state if they had repented. An old hymn testifies in the first verse, how Christ died “for such a worm as I.” At least it did originally state this until people complained that such a phrase damaged one’s self-esteem. In my newer hymnal, the words have been changed and not to protect any innocent ones, to this—“for sinners such as I.” It makes unredeemed men appear nicer so they can feel so much better about their lost state. Yes, we are sinners, but a true picture of our helpless state can rightly be presented by a worm. These modernists of our time cast old Isaiah’s truth aside as the Jews did. However, this is truly how God sees us as the Jews are called worms and we are no better; Isaiah 41:14. God also informs them, in this same verse of Isaiah, that He is One who redeems worms and He will redeem them. Isaiah is akin to Jeremiah, though a hundred years previous, as he too revealed the Babylonian invasion and captivity. He was sawed in two for this truthful proclamation. I like to state repeatedly, so it is engraved in our memories, the admonishment of 2 Peter 3:2. This verse commands us to remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets, and this includes Isaiah and Jeremiah.

The Jews were to be placed under siege by the Babylonians, being they did not listen and heed God’s true prophets. Any disobedient way we allow into our lives places us under siege or bondage. We don’t have to be led away in bonds. Anything that possesses no eternal value that we enjoy can place us in chains. That’s why James implores—“May your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.” This laughter and joy arises from cultural-fun, not through rejoicing in Christ’s holiness. We all must continually ask, What is my source of joy; is it truly Christ and His most holy ways?

“That they may be found” what an interesting phrase amongst this destined sorrow through distress; verse 18. No, God never gave up on them nor does He give up on us. This punishment was for the good of these Jews. It was for their repentance. All discipline seems terrible, yet it leads us forward in our walk with Christ. It directs us into greater maturity as we read in Hebrews chapter 12.

Jeremiah is empathizing, as he uses the first person pronoun to speak of their incurable state in verse 19. Jeremiah seems to want them to know how they will feel when all is destroyed, how they will react in their helplessness, being unassisted.

We change subjects in verse 21 to focus in on the shepherds or their spiritual leaders. Today, we often times use the term shepherds for spiritual leaders too and so did Christ. Christ told Peter to shepherd those who came to the saving knowledge.

These shepherds here in Jeremiah were neither close to God nor His Word and were misleading the people with false doctrine. God says they are stupid. The Hebrew word also means destructive. Whenever pastors don’t hold to God’s holy and inerrant Word alone, they are acting in stupidity and this destroys the people. Many unbiblical ways have entered our churches through compromising pastors. Whatever is trendy, the shepherds will follow, and sometimes they follow for social acceptance amongst believers or fellow pastors. This leads many believers down deadly roads of sin, as too many follow leaders over the Word of God.

Because of the compromise in Jeremiah’s time, the followers (or flocks) of these shepherds would be scattered. They were scattered in theology due to stupid teaching and example, and they would be scattered when the Babylonians came as well.

Tickling the people’s ears by telling them compromise is good got these shepherds nowhere. Those who teach do receive a stricter judgment; James 3:1. God lays it on the line with these spiritual leaders, as He did concerning the Sadducees and Pharisees in the New Testament who were headed for the lake of fire.

Verse 23 is key in reminding us that our lives are ultimately directed by the God above; our way is not in ourselves nor do we direct our own path or steps. Proverbs 20:24 basically states the same, explaining man’s steps are ordained by the LORD, and how then, can man understand his way? Acts 17:28 tells us that every person in the world lives, moves and has their existence in God. No one could stand, move, see, hear, bat an eyelid, and on and on, apart from their creator!

The steps of these Jews were going to be directed to a place not of their choice! God is the one who ultimately has control of all lives. A place of slavery is not a road one would personally choose, but God knows what is best and what will bring these people to their knees in humility.

The humility of Jeremiah and his sinful state is expressed in verse 23. Don’t we all need God’s mercy daily? Jeremiah was a godly, uncompromising man, but he knew he was a sinner deserving of God’s wrath, and we all fall into this category of truth.

Jeremiah had a heart possessing a desire to be close to God. He moved through the grace and forgiveness of the LORD, yet desired righteousness and justice to dwell in all the earth. He was obedient and wanted all to bow before God in this same cooperation. He desired the justice of God poured upon those nations who did not fear Him, and those who would level Israel. Verse 25 is speaking in past tense so I assume he means Assyria, knowing they had made the northern kingdom a wasteland. Egypt also had been a thorn in Israel’s side, as well as Moab and Phoenicia. Though these nations were thorns imparted due to Israel’s sin, Jeremiah still desires justice, observing they do not worship the King of kings.

All this travels back to the fact, God will bless those nations that care for Israel and will curse those who do not (Genesis 12:3 & Galatians 3:8); even those positioned to spank Israel. Though the land of Israel is deep in sin today, the same curse still applies. Therefore, I am grateful America is standing in aid of her to a small degree. We too can be spanked for compromises. Some of our leaders in recent time, have shown tremendous disrespect for God’s chosen ones.

To illustrate this perhaps better, suppose God desired to purify His church in America through allowing an enemy into its boarders. Let’s say we decided to surrender to this ruthless, destructive nation that was invading the land through terrorist bombings, though we held the power to overcome. America felt it should be sympathetic to its cause, being this nation believed America had always been malicious to it, desiring its oil or whatever. Suppose this nation that took possession of America, closed or destroyed all our truth-held churches. By performing this ill-will, all the chaff and lukewarm believers suddenly held no interest in meeting together, knowing it could mean death for them if they were discovered. As a result, the remnant church became on-fire, even through great persecution, resulting in many being saved. And the wishy-washy believers and ecumenicists became unheard of. Though this fictitious invading nation brought about a good result, God would still judge these people for their sin, just as He did Assyria and Babylon; and later Germany for her atrocities to the Jews.

Jeremiah Chapter 11

One key thing in this chapter that must be understood is the fact this is not about Jeremiah, it is all about God and His convicting Biblical truths that are not fleshly-pleasurable. These are God’s authoritative words being set forth by Jeremiah and this is clearly understood through verses 1-3 of chapter 11. Who will argue with that? Well, most every person in the remaining southern kingdom, the area of Judah. Many so-called Christians question the entire Bible today, refusing to adhere to it because it is not tolerant and not non-threatening. Pastors teaching through the Bible verse by verse is almost unheard of in this young millennium age. The hearts of men are indifferent to the Word of God because men like things their way and they have not changed through the ages.

Verse 3 emphasizes God’s supremacy and omnipotence, “Cursed is the man who does not heed the words of the covenant!” What is this covenant? What God commanded the forefathers of these Jewish people. Verse 4 is very calculating in exactness, rightly acknowledging God graciously brought them out of the house of slavery, the iron furnace of Egypt. This lovingkindness came with a ultimatum that they understood as Jews—the descendants of Jacob. They were to listen to God’s voice and obey. Very simple!

We see the words covenant and oath repeated again and again in the first section of chapter eleven. The emphasis is on contracts that are not to be broken. A Scriptural covenant involves positive and negative promises by God. There are always dreadful consequences when men disavow the terms and conditions of obedience to the laws of God. Obedience to the Creator of life produces blessed fruitful repercussions. A covenant resembles an established law. If we are law-abiding citizens, obeying the covenants or laws of the land, we, in general, live in peace. If we determine to disobey the laws of the land, there are dreadful consequences. This is very true regarding God’s Word and its conditions as well.

The utmost covenant is the grace covenant, “The New Testament covenant in His blood.” (1 Corinthians 11:25) Under a new documentation, we possess the grace covenant that is total forgiveness of sins for the one who surrenders their life to Christ, who offered His blood for all. Part of this new, dispensational covenant was revealed through the covenant God made with Adam, Eve and satan, though not an official listing. This was the first pledge regarding consequences of sin, specifically what Adam and Eve had to bear, and all future generations. Here the Messiah is promised as the One who would bruise satan on the head and satan would bruise Christ on the heal; Genesis 3:15. When fulfilled, it ensured that the curse of sin would loosen its powerful grip on those who were reborn through Christ.

A covenant we witness continually is the rainbow covenant. It was unveiled to Noah for all humanity; actually, every living creature; Genesis 9:11-16. This covenant was enacted following the flood to reassure man that God would never again overflow the entire world with H2O. This covenant is totally immutable; man can do nothing to change it. No matter how great the sin of mankind, God will never violate His one-sided rainbow covenant.

The Abrahamic Covenant is an oath made by God to Abraham and his descendants, the Jews; Genesis 12:1-3. This covenant also included a Promise Land deed for Abraham’s descendants. And we know Christ will establish His kingdom and His throne in Jerusalem from which He will rule the globe. All is destined for this unveiling—Revelation chapter 20, Zechariah chapter 12, Psalm chapter 2, etc.

The Abrahamic Covenant also involved Abraham’s descendants outnumbering the stars Abraham could count; Genesis 15:5. This was fulfilled by the time Israel left Egypt. There were approximately 2.5 million departing Jews. God blessings of procreation continued—He moves beyond what we can ask or think. Today there are approximately 13.2 million Jews in the world.

Another covenant, which we are most familiar with, is the covenant of the Ten Commandments. We have witnessed many sad legal battles concerning these words of God because the desire of men is to have them desecrated. We find these basic rules for living in Exodus 34:28f, and various places where it is tucked within the Bible Scriptures, including Jeremiah’s penning. The Ten Commandments are a portion of the Mosaic Covenant (all the laws bestowed upon the Jews). They were to be obeyed by the Hebrews to receive benefits of security and well-being. Godly obedience produces blessings.

The Ten Commandments are repeated in the New Testament in various places, as I mentioned in a previous lesson.

They are included in Romans chapter 13, but the Sabbath command is excluded. The church meets on the first day of the week in remembrance of Christ’s resurrection—Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 16:2. This is because believers are in the dispensation of the New Covenant of Christ’s blood. The church is to obey nine of the Ten Commandments. The church recognizes holy requirements for living has increased, knowing born again Christians possess the power of the Holy Spirit within.

When it comes to obeying the seventh commandment, not committing adultery, Christ made it clear that men are not even to lust after other women. Christian sisters are to aid men by dressing modestly—in a bashful, proper manner that doesn’t display tempting skin. Job was a tremendous example of not lusting, as he would not even gaze upon a virgin. He had made a covenant with his eyes; Job 31:1.

I include amongst the covenants, the Mosaic laws of consequence, simply dubbed by me. You locate these consequences by promise in Deuteronomy 28:15f. God has guaranteed penalties throughout His Word for disobedience. One of these comeuppances taught that Israel would be led away captive by a foreign nation or nations if Israel chose to worship other gods. Imagine that! God fulfilled His Word to the Jews in Jeremiah’s time and previous to. The rules of this pact included the withdrawing of blessings if the Jews packed away the Mosaic covenant as old-fashioned, as if they no longer heeded it, as they trekked in uppity, self-reliant society.

In the New Testament, God never declares the church will be removed to captivity if she rebels, but God does promise discipline in Hebrews 12 and other texts. Believers are told they will reap what they sow in Galatians 6:7. God created the world in such a logical way that if a farmer plants corn seed; he will reap corn, not aromatic mint or any other produce. No one gets away with disobedience to God. Yes, there is forgiveness and renewal, but consequences can remain. For example, if a man murders a person and becomes a Christian in prison, he is not automatically set free to rejoin society.

The Davidic Covenant entails David’s throne and it being everlasting through Christ, who was born in the line of David.

There is also the Marriage Covenant. In Proverbs 2:17, God speaks of marriage as a covenant made with Him, that of lifetime commitment—high fidelity. Christ reaffirmed this covenant of lifetime faithfulness in the New Testament.

The final approaching covenant is that of Jeremiah 31:31, where God reveals “This is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

In Jeremiah 11:5, we observe God reiterating His covenant of the Promised Land being theirs. Israel was once their homeland of milk and honey. A blessing they threw away, causing it to be transformed from an oasis to a desert as witnessed today. Jeremiah asserts this blessing of Holy Land ownership by proclaiming, “Amen, O Lord.”

The church was once a place of blessed truth, but it has become a wasteland of doctrinal failure.

Verse 6 is God’s command to Jeremiah to be a street preacher or open-air evangelist. Alan and I partook in open-air evangelism down south in Georgia and Tennessee in ‘82. We stood on street corners in cities presenting the Gospel to whoever would listen through preaching and testimonies. When we presented the Gospel outside the World’s Fair in Knoxville, the police wanted to arrest us, but could find no grounds. (No, I did not preach, simply gave my testimony; though I did teach children in housing projects) We didn’t cover as much territory as Jeremiah who had to proclaim God’s Word in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem and to many nations.

It is wonderful to proclaim God’s Word in the open-air. However, Jeremiah didn’t have a trained group of people assisting him. He was basically alone and always the unwanted one. He was not fashionably dressed, manicured, or prepped to impress. No one desired to hear His words from God, as they were not walking in the heavenly talk.

God stresses in verse 6, that they are not to be simply hearers of the Word, but doers! This is reiterated in James 1:22 for us today.

God loves His people; this is why He consistently warned them to obey His voice; verse 7. He did not want to survey the Jews suffering the consequences of disobedience to His covenants and teachings.

God re-stresses His covenant in verse 8, which is over and over again presented in this section. God says these Jews are stubborn—never wanting to obey. We see they walked after the “imaginations of their evil heart.” This is Christianity today as well. Christians are commanded to dwell on truth, but they prefer the imagined. This is why they crave to be entertained. God says in the last days people will turn to fables. It is unbelievable the silly made up things I have heard taught in churches and how often fable Hollywood productions are referred to as if they are real. Yes, we live in a day like Jeremiah’s.

In Jeremiah’s era and in ours, we see men accepting men’s teachings and rejecting God’s. The Jews had a form of religion in Jeremiah’s time, as do many people in the world today. We have observed that the Jews were still worshipping on Saturday, sacrificing and tithing; but disobeying other areas of the covenant.

God continues in verses 9-10, addressing the fact the Jews were breaking His covenant in the area of idolatry. They were not to set any other gods before them; Deuteronomy 5:7. God says it is “a conspiracy” because they conspire to break His holy law. These are strong words but very true whenever one finds ways to disobey God and justify it. It reveals the inner heart of disobedience, as it devises ways to defy the LORD and His oracles. As my husband and I have dealt with the false doctrines in churches and elsewhere, it is obvious that it is a conspiracy against the God of the Bible. His power of truth removed from the scene is a deliberate conspiracy.

The Jews probably enlisted excuses to shun Jeremiah’s words, perhaps saying, “Well, that was what Moses wrote, but that was simply his opinion.” Such logic is proclaimed today when people want to disobey the New Testament. They will state, “Well, that was just Paul’s opinion.” When they contend the Bible, they never say, “Those are God’s words,” they just name Bible authors. They forget the Word is God-breathed not man-made. Many false movements are in Christendom today because they remove the true Author—God when disputing the Word.

We can tell by reading verse 10 how God is feeling about all this, as these Jews turn back to pagan ways. It’s akin to society deciding it wants to live like ancient native Indians and follow the New Age religion, but everyone knows it is the old age religion of paganism with a new name. It’s the way of insanity.

God cannot understand why the Jews are desiring this sinful lunacy—turning from Him to images; living as their crude ancestors lived. It all represents the broken covenant. Like one would break their marriage covenant so has Judah, desiring freedom and new lovers. The sadness of God can be assessed throughout these verses.

Verse 11 surges into God’s dealings as justice must be handed down from the Judge of judges. It is the sentence of inescapable disaster. When the unsaved stand before God at the close of earthly time (Revelation 20:11-15), they will also be handed a sentence of inescapable disaster. The people whom Jeremiah addressed are ones we will possibly see in the future if we are allowed to view all judgments. John the apostle may have seen some of them when he viewed the judgment seat of Christ when he stepped into the time tunnel of future events.

When the disaster of Babylonian invasion arises and God takes no heed of their cries, they will run to their lifeless gods, being there will be nowhere else to turn; verse 12. What a scene can be set before us, as we envision the invading enemy and these Jews bowed before their little wooden people, begging them to stop the conquering terror. Their gods were no different from the wooden, carved toy soldiers of children’s play.

God, being the wise God that He is, lets the diminutive Jews know they cannot stop massive Babylon from invading. Now wouldn’t they know this? Well, time changes but not people. Jews then and believers today can believe you’re ok and I’m ok philosophies and proclaim them. However, in time of distress, positive thinking will not bring any comfort nor produce true answers. Repenting from the ways of society and only following Biblical doctrine is the answer to all adverse circumstances for all ages. Living on the fringe of drifting clouds of ever-changing agendas is endless fluff.

In verse 13 God addresses how many gods they serve; nothing escapes His notice. Today’s ecumenical movement encompasses all religions with many slants on believism. Judah claimed to follow God but all the other gods of other nations as well. It was tolerance then and it is still called tolerance today. If you go to the internet and research the World Council of Churches, you may readily read the Gospel. Unfortunately, as you continue on in your research, you will grasp their agenda that all religions on the earth are to be accepted. They want to sound Christian to lure you into the same falseness that reigned in Jeremiah’s time. Most false religions will spout a bit of the Gospel to appear to be true. We must beware of satan’s devices. There is only one true God and He is the God of the Bible with no additions and subtractions.

Verse 14 is full of deadly punch! Jeremiah can no longer pray for his people; he can no longer intercede for their repentance or salvation! What a thing to be told as he so loves his fellow Jews. This is repeated from chapter 7, verse 16. Obviously, it is very tempting for one to desire to pray for those they love. It would be a hardship on me to be told this. When we studied chapter 7, we saw how the same command is taught in the New Testament in 1 John 5:16-17. These were obviously very wayward New Testament believers that John was referring to, not being spirit-filled and living only for Christ.

In verse 15, God says His beloved has no right in His house or temple. She, His people, were coming to His house unwashed, bearing hearts and minds filled with worldly vileness. They were filthy and lewd in their activities. Here we see an image of temple life. They were coming to the temple sacrificing spotless lambs to cover their lewd sins and then rejoicing in forgiveness. God, however, was saying NO to forgiveness, being they had no change of heart; there was no turning away from the vile world and its lewd ways. The LORD knew they were not sincere. They did not desire their hearts to be washed, displaying purity. There was no pursuit to live lives in holiness and separation.

Our pastor relayed on Sunday the conversation between father and son when he was a tike and caught in transgression. When his father confronted him, he would humbly claim he was sorry. His wise father would respond with “Don’t be sorry, be different.” This is God’s desire for everyone when they come to Him admitting their sin and seeking forgiveness.

I heard a testimony of a former Catholic who had regularly attended a Catholic church drunk. He sometimes had to be carried forward to take the eucharist. He sadly revealed, sometimes he was so drunk they had to force it down his throat. He was so grateful to be set free of religiosity through Jesus Christ. Religion cannot save, only the Jesus Christ of the Bible can deliver from sin and save unto eternal life. Works and religiosity cannot save! People are empowered to obey God as they are saved; they receive the Holy Spirit who enables righteousness.

To gain more understanding of God’s hurt heart regarding the Jews in the book of Jeremiah, let us relate it to marriage. It would be similar to a husband coming home and finding his wife with other men on a continual basis. She, being a violator of their lifetime marriage covenant, would be thrown out with her lovers.

Ultimately, beloved Israel will come home to only one God in the millennial kingdom. The Lord’s faithful devotion to His people will blossom into true united love one day!

Verse 16 of Jeremiah chapter 11, speaks of the wondrous poetic love God had for Israel in His calling and choosing her as His nation that was to be an example of God’s truth. He testifies of her beauty comparing Israel to a green olive tree that bears beautiful fruit. This short, amiable poetic phrase of love states volumes of God’s fondness for Israel. This nation was to bear beautiful fruit of faithfulness for her gracious husbandman, but she refused. Removing this bad tree (Judah) is the only solution, ensuring God’s holy name will no longer be disgraced by rotten hypocrisy.

In relationship to today, rotten hypocrisy is usually spoon-fed to a congregation or class. I am always tremendously hurt when I hear congregational members who have been indoctrinated or brainwashed. They, like Mocking Birds, mimic apostate teachings without question. They willingly turn from inerrant Scripture because they enjoy sinful man’s teachings or because they are totally ignorant of the Word and will believe anything a leader will speak.

Christ proclaims in Matthew 7 that false teachers will be cut down and burned. Christ warns that we will know these false ones by their fruits. They will not be bearing righteous fruits of solid teaching. They will speak words that confuse, being out of alignment with the Bible. Those who follow them will also teach doctrines that contradict true Scripture and their lives will not be holy and conformed to true Bible theology. They will be as the confused world. The true and living God never rears confusion.

In Jeremiah, we are dealing with the false teachings that crept into the nation Israel. The common Jewish hearers allowed themselves to be influenced through compromise as seen in verse 17. They willingly followed the false deity—Baal—their main form of counterfeit worship. Their religious leaders would not condemn any idolatry, but also partook and propagated many false gods and doctrines.

The Jews would believe anything they heard from the temple preachers, excepting Jeremiah—the religious nut. What self-respecting religious person would ever want to associate with him? They wanted their idols, a liberal living mode and social acceptability. They did not desire to hear Jeremiah proclaim the condemning Word of God that is sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing deep within them to convict, as it is quick and powerful—more potent in intent than any experienced, attacking warrior. It delves deep within, exposing the thoughts and intentions of the heart; Hebrews 4:12. It is intrusive!

We also perceive from this verse that their lewdness was performed by choice. They knowingly performed it against themselves. They were without excuse.

In verse 18, we enter a section that deals with a personal situation of Jeremiah’s, that of persecution. Jeremiah stands alone for God and His pure Word, resulting in the people desiring his demise. They want to do him in. One uncompromising voice is one too many in the eyes of these idolaters. I have noted that if there is only one voice disputing evil, satan still wants it silenced and he will hit it with all his might.

God graciously lets Jeremiah in on the schemes of these wayward Jews. He identifies all our thoughts and desires. Not one of our thoughts escapes God’s notice. This is why we must take every thought captive in obedience to Christ. I know, I must confess my evil thoughts whenever they arise; those contrary to Christ’s righteous ways. I must not walk in mindless futility. I am thankful I serve a forgiving God who is full of mercy and grace.

Matthew 9:4 speaks of Christ knowing the evil thoughts of the scribes who desired to silence Him. These thoughts arose from their wicked hearts. Man is unable to keep anything from the Creator of all.

Jeremiah 11:19 addresses the humble scope of Jeremiah. He was a gentle lamb, yet his opponents were planning to lead him to the slaughter. We witness the gentle spirit of Jeremiah; he only desired God’s truth proclaimed. He held no desire for fame and fortune. He walked in meekness and lowliness of heart. Christ, being perfect, walked more humbly than Jeremiah on this earth.

Our God had to be led to the slaughter as a gentle lamb; it was part of His plan. When the Jews murdered Christ, they believed He would be remembered no more. He is worshiped now and will be through all eternity.

Though Jeremiah’s community desired he be led to the slaughter, it was not part of God’s plan. Jeremiah lived a long life though filled with persecution, pain and rejection. Jeremiah did not have true faithful members of a church to encourage him on, though He did have the LORD and He is more than adequate!

True Christians must uphold and encourage those who stand true to the Word. Such stamina is a difficult thing to maintain in this day and age. We do not desire that faithful believers fall by the wayside due to obstacles. All of us must make sure we are dressing in the full armor of God daily with the Sword of the Word outstretched; Ephesians chapter 6.

Jeremiah had no idea of the evil plan of these conspirators; verse 19. Here we see Jeremiah represented by a tree—a good tree that bears profitable fruit of righteousness. It was this good tree the Jews desired to cut down. It doesn’t look good if all the trees in an orchard are dead but one. This is not complete conformity. The odd one must be done away with even if it is the only one bearing fruit. Today the church must look like the world so it doesn’t appear separated or different. It must speak the rhetoric of the world, bear the sensual dress of the world, own the materialistic mentality, etc; even though the world is a dead tree that is going to burn along with all its paraphernalia.

These Hebrews foolishly believe if they stifle Jeremiah and his godly preaching, his messages will be contemplated no more. However, whatever God desires to remain will remain. Jeremiah’s body has long gone to dust, though not by their hands. He is still remembered, his words are still preached and he is residing with the LORD in paradise. This cannot be stated of the Jews who followed false teachings of compromise.

Jeremiah wants God’s vengeance unleashed in verse 20. He wants his enemies avenged so life will be easier, so he doesn’t have to live in constant fear. The natural man always desires the easy, flowery path. Pain and rejection are not fun. It is not pleasurable having to look behind you continually, wondering if the person following you conceals a deadly knife. But all those who live godly are told they will be persecuted and Jeremiah greatly was. New Testament believers are taught to rejoice in deadly persecution; we are privileged to share in Christ’s pain.

Verse 21 addresses the pleasant and undisturbed life—just quit telling the truth of God and you will not be bothered. Jeremiah can choose this route, being hatefully offered by the men who live in his hometown of Anathoth. The people of Anathoth represent Jeremiah’s neighbors and family; this being where Jeremiah was raised; 1:1. This was where the priests resided. Jeremiah’s father was a priest and Jeremiah was part of the priestly line. It is Jeremiah’s own who want to bring forth his demise.

Jeremiah responds with a “no.” He will not succumb to their threats and promise of life for silence. He continues to expose the lies that contradict Scripture! He preaches the doom of the priests who live in Anathoth. They will pay for misrepresenting God and rejecting His prophet. This assured to Jeremiah by the LORD. His justice is coming and all those who desire Jeremiah’s demise will perish by the sword and their sons and daughters by famine. No one gets away with sin. God will not even permit a remnant to remain in the area of Anathoth.

In Revelation, believers will await the vengeance of God on those who persecuted them and it will thunder down.

Jeremiah Chapter 12

Chameleon

© Val Lee

Huge Chameleon of Barbados

Verse 1 of chapter 12, Jeremiah declares God’s righteousness; this is prayerful adoration for this holy attribute of our LORD’S. Jeremiah continues reflecting his heart by imploring with a question, which certainly pertains to this attribute of righteousness. He inquires of the LORD regarding justice—an element of exercising righteousness—as Jeremiah is witnessing the prospering of the “wicked.” This may sound familiar, remembering the Psalmist brought this same troubling situation before the LORD in Psalm 73:3.

Jeremiah is additionally troubled by the fact the “treacherous” live at ease. God’s discerning one recognizes that righteousness cannot prevail without judgment. Righteousness and wickedness are not synonymous! Something must be done.

This can be troubling for all true believers as they witness the present state of affairs. Wickedness is persistently mounting from bad to worse. And God, who is merciful, is not striking people with lightning every time they engage in evil.

Of course, Jesus Christ hates all sin and does not care to hear His name blasphemed countless times, every minute, throughout the world. He is  longsuffering so He curtails judgment that men might repent.

My husband was speaking to me regarding the number of lesbians who are employed at the prison where he administrates as a lieutenant. When first hired he knew of none. He continued to relay his thoughts concerning the lifespan of this nation that keeps resembling ancient Rome to greater degrees. Rome, at one time, was the ruling world power that appeared indestructible, but doom eventually fell upon her. Judah appeared to be a nation that would never suffer demise, however, it did. Only God knows what is in store for future America; the timetable of gracious longsuffering is in His hands.

When we think of past and present evil prosperity, we should not overlook the very hot place these people will be spending all eternity if repentance remains absent.

Jeremiah lets God know in verse 2 that He planted them, as if God did not know He was the maker and preserver of the Jewish nation! Jeremiah states they have taken root and they even produced fruit and the Lord is near to their lips. These people may be praising God, even speaking great things of God, chameleon-like, but Jeremiah lays truth on the line. He knows their true un-blending color. They are simply providing lip service, not rendering their heart love to God. They do not truly mean their actions and words. They obey with robot-like programmed service. Jeremiah perceives they are two-faced—praising the living God with one side of their mouth; yet, giving religious acknowledgment to false deities with the other.

It distresses steadfast Christians when they observe hypocrisy in many church attendees who act out the dedicated role on Sunday. Yet, during the workweek, take on the fleshly part of their script, a total nauseating role reversal.

I have had to ask myself regarding some church attendees, “Are these truly the same people I saw on Sunday?” I have been with people who appear to love the LORD with all their hearts, but when they get around the “in crowd,” they act accordingly. I have been left in shock regarding the fact they are self-blenders. They do not even display a minute etching of Christianity when they believe it is not appropriate. Yes, chameleons. May God severely reprove me if I have ever appeared to others in this manner.

Jeremiah, in verse 3, reminds God of the fact he does not compromise and he stays ever true to his Savior or in equivalent terms, never appears as the chameleon. He tells the LORD to examine his heart. He is not afraid of what God will see; he is His faithful one. When we are close to the Lord, we never have to fear Him peeking into our hearts to take notes.

Continuing further into this verse, Jeremiah requests the LORD’S judgment be placed on those who serve God only outwardly. God commands, “Set them apart for a day of carnage!” We know a day is coming when Christ will separate the tares in our churches from the actual true harvest of believers for judgment and that may not be too distant into the future. Matthew 13:47-50 refers to the saved and unsaved as the good and bad fish. The bad fish will experience an eternal destruction in the furnace of fire. The good fish (those who have given their lives to Jesus Christ) will glory in heaven.

Just as believers desire for Christ to come and rule on the earth where all things will once again be blessed, so Jeremiah wanted the Promised Land to once again be blessed in its original beauty—when it was a land of milk and honey; where the countryside did not wither and was occupied with many animals, including birds. When Christ returns to the earth (Acts 1:11, Revelation chapter 20, Zechariah chapter 14, etc), there will be abundant beauty and peace. We cannot even begin to fathom this. When the Jews were moved into Babylonian captivity and the land laid waste, it was probably hard for them to grapple a time when it would be rejuvenated again; but it was, within 100 years. When the Jews returned after exile, they did rebuild and they restored the land to beauty by the grace of God’s agricultural and architectural hand. Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah were the significant ones in producing the beginnings of this in Jerusalem.

I love verse 5 and have kept it in the back of my mind. It certainly has been an encouragement in time past and present. It tells me if I get discouraged when living in a time of peace, how will I survive in time of war? If I’m not fleeing from armed enemies, yet, I feel faint, what would I do if I was actually being pursued by them?

Believers in many lands are being imprisoned and slaughtered for their faith; these facts are confirmed in articles and through other sources. Yet, I live in a nice neighborhood, in a pleasant home that has many conveniences. My country affords freedom of religion, speech, etc; but I can still get discouraged just as Jeremiah did from circumstances.

The verse proclaims: “If you have run with the footmen and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses. If you fall down in a land of peace, how will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?”

Horses were going to charge into the land and people were going to run, but they could not rush far from these mounted Babylonian soldiers with thrust swords. If Jeremiah ran to the Jordan River, how could he easily cruise through the trees and shrubbery that line that stream and escape unscathed? God wants Jeremiah to toughen up as James 1 proclaims to us. We are to learn endurance as we encounter trials and tribulations. We are to be training ourselves through holding onto Christ for what may come next that is not a picnic in the testing of our faith. Jeremiah was able to stand when he faced the enemy, but it was heart-wrenching and emotionally painful. By grace, he was toughened-up and learned endurance through God’s boot camp. As I stated before, Lamentations tells the story of this broken man who persevered. This crying gentleman loved his fellow Jews, witnessed their demise and captivity, but did not cave into self-destruction. He knew it was their chosen lot, but he was still hurt and disappointed. He could only hold onto God’s hand through it all.

God continues in verse 6 by informing Jeremiah that he is in harm’s way. Jeremiah’s brothers and other family members have dealt treacherously with their own. They are only pretending to be Jeremiah’s faithful family before his face. God warns Jeremiah not to believe in their false-loving ways. We learned previously that Jeremiah’s family lives in Anathoth—where the priestly Jews dwell. These religious leaders have formed a murderous conspiracy to do Jeremiah in (chapter 11). Though none dare call it conspiracy, it is. Jeremiah was born into a heritage of priests who were called to holiness, but this plot has been formed by the priests to stop his message of truth. Remember, it was the priests and religious leaders in Christ’s time who did Him in (though all according to God’s will). They continually tried to trip Him up, but you cannot trip up the Creator of the universe. Because they could find no fault in Him, they created a false case against Him that He might be tied to the tree of crucifixion.

In Matthew 10:34f Christ warned us that our own family members would come against us for standing on Him. One’s enemies could come from his own house. In Muslim countries, family members will attempt to harm or kill their own who have become believers. There was a boy in my son’s class at Nampa Christian whose father is a high-ranking priest in the Muslim faith. This Muslim priest tried to kill this son and other members of the family for turning to Christ before they fled to America.

Even in the good old USA, believers can be shamefully treated by family members for being on-fire for the Savior, even by those who call themselves Christians but don’t believe one should be overly vocal about their faith nor live a forthright holy life. Many do not believe you should take the Bible too literally. Most sad indeed.

Of course, our attitude in all our trials of faith should parallel Philippians 3:8 where Paul states he counts all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus as His LORD, for whom he suffered the loss of all things, but counted them as rubbish so that he could gain Christ.

This was certainly Jeremiah’s attitude too, knowing what awaited him in the eternal heavenlies—him being forever with the LORD.

In verse 7, God speaks forth His heart for His adored nation who is the beloved of His soul. He will have to turn over His beloved to her enemies, as she has become the enemy of God by shaking her fist at Him for His holy ways of conviction. She is like a lion roaring against God’s truths. Here we see God speaking in Hebrew poetry to touch the heart of us readers so we obtain true understanding of His righteous ways of judgment that arise from his fatherly heart. In the New Testament God exhorts us to pray, “Our Father which art in heaven”… Do we truly understand how much of a Father He truly is, in His love for us? These verses certainly give us a clue. We too are “the beloved of His soul.” If we truly understood this, I think we would do all we could to live in holiness for the One who loves us so.

God ends verse 8 by saying he has come to hate her, the beloved of His soul. What a sad commentary of love that once was.

God speaks of hate in the New Testament in John 8:25 where we are commanded to hate. We are commanded to hate our life in this world so we will keep it to eternal life. Christ wants to present us as pure virgins, betrothed only to Him; 2 Corinthians 11:2-4. We must keep ourselves separated from cultural ways to achieve this. We must separate ourselves from all the false jesus’ that are arising today and are being presented in churches that do not stress separation from the world—its ecumenicalism, its philosophies and its methodologies.

God hated the sin of Judah and we are to hate sin too, that which is inherent in this world. If the Jews had hated this world then the hate of God would have never touched them.

The unsaved global population of today can be delivered from God’s hate or coming wrath by turning their lives over to Him, that is why we proclaim Jesus Christ’s truths of love for lost sinners.

In verse 9, we see the results of God’s hate—God will bring the wild beasts to devour the Jews.

The shepherds in verse 10 would be the religious leaders who have become false teachers who were called to pastor the people of God. Jeremiah 50:6 speaks of how the pastors or religious leaders have turned the people away from God. Today shepherds or pastors who are even in fundamental churches can turn people down false roads through the compromise of the world and contemporary false theology, which includes the “emergent” ecumenical movement.

There is hope for the true uncompromising believer in today’s world and it is stated in Jeremiah 23:4f and that hope is Christ who will set up godly shepherds during the millennial reign of Christ. Even in these days of compromising apostasy, where one may have a difficult time locating a church that solely rests on the Word alone, completely apart from cultural ways, we hold hope in the true Shepherd who is coming to lead us away one day.

In Groton, Massachusetts, Alan and I assisted in a church pastored by Pastor James Sheppard who was a powerful man of God. He taught inductively the Word and preached solidly against the ways of the world and sin. He was a faithful loving shepherd with an appropriate name.

The people in Jeremiah’s time allowed false shepherds to lead them. The people did not hold to the example of the Bereans as seen in Acts 17:10f. The Bereans diligently sought the Old Testament daily to check the teaching accuracy of those who called themselves shepherds and found them (Paula and Silas) to be true. Unfortunately, in Jeremiah’s day, the shepherds were false teachers and led the Jews astray and the results were death and devastation.

Looking further into the New Testament concerning shepherds, we read in 1 Thessalonians 2:7-11 of Pastor Paul who informs the Thessalonians how they (the shepherds) moved gently among them like a nursing mother, tenderly caring for her own children. These shepherds revealed a fond affection for the Thessalonians, which resulted in Biblical truth being implanted in their hearts through proclaiming to them a non-compromising Gospel. We read how the nursing lambs became very dear to the shepherds through this process of nurturing discipleship.

We are assured in these verses of 1 Thessalonians that the people were discipled in complete love, care and concern as Biblical truths were imparted. We also view the fatherly side of these godly men who exhorted, encouraged and implored these Thessalonians. They were being exhorted in the ways of Christ through godly behavior, learning to be blameless and upright as their shepherds were. Of course, Timothy and Titus are books that give the godly requirements for shepherds who tend us too. These are Scriptures that we need to heed so we are never placed under false shepherds who teach and live by error.

Jumping back into Jeremiah, verse 12 informs us that the sword of the Lord is devouring from one end of the land to the other. Revelation 2:16 speaks of the Sword of Christ’s mouth that will make war with the church in Pergamum for this fellowship tolerated false teachings. May this be a warning to any compromising church today.

We read in verse 14 of God’s anger which will come against Judah’s neighbors who have harmed them. God did deal with Egypt as well as with the Ammonites and Moabites as they too were devoured by Babylon.

Verse 15 offers hope as God will restore these other nations through His compassion. The LORD also informs them that if they turn to God’s ways, these Gentile nations will be built up and blessed. If they don’t submit to God’s ways after the captivity, these countries will be uprooted and destroyed; verse 17.

Jeremiah Chapter 13

We begin this chapter with the words of the Lord coming to Jeremiah in an unusual request for him to purchase a linen waistband and wear it. Now that is an atypical appeal coming from the LORD. No other request of this sort was made by God in recorded history. Jeremiah’s obedience was a visual lesson to the LORD’S people, as we will see.

Jeremiah was to travel to the Euphrates River; verse 3. This would be quite the trip! Why not the Jordan River, which was only 19 miles from Jerusalem? The Euphrates was a great distance. Afar Babylon lay along this river, a distance of 720 miles from Jerusalem. Jeremiah possibly did not travel that far, as he could have traveled up north a bit, which would have been less of a journey. But still a great distance from home. He may have had to travel 500 miles or more. It may have been akin to traveling from Boise, Idaho to Seattle, Washington. But it must be remembered, there were no paved roads and flashy fast cars back then.

Why the Euphrates? I believe it was due to the fact Judah was to be removed to captivity at this charted point. They were to be exiled to Babylon where the Euphrates lies and the Tigris—a bit farther east. Babylon was the point at which these two rivers held the closest proximity in present day Iraq, though the topography has shifted and ancient, destroyed Babylon now lies 14 miles from the Euphrates, as I have pointed out previously.

Jeremiah, being God’s servant, obeyed without question even though this long trek was probably not pleasant. Now, we do not know if he walked or rode a donkey. He would have certainly needed provisions and a tent in the wilderness, which could have been placed on a donkey. Daily entrées may have arrived through a personal hunt.

When he reached the distant shoreline of the river, he was told to hide the linen waistband in a crevice of a rock. Why that garment would need to be hidden, I do not know; except for the case of illustration. I might say this can demonstrate how one attempts to hide their sin but never with success. The Jews are hiding from the truth of God revealed but with no success.

This reminds me of my cat, Cassidy, our sneaky female, who loves only me. Our male cat, Alfredo, who loves everyone, is never sneaky nor runs away. It seems Cassidy can read my mind. When I am thinking I need to put her outside because she is being too rambunctious, she seems to sense my desire of capture. She will run behind the bed where it is not worth my bother to get down on all fours to crawl into the little space to retrieve her. She knows I will get her if she hides elsewhere, but not there. My cat that is wicked at times has success. A time of judgment is coming and God will make sure all wicked people will be humbled. There will be no successful hiding from God.

After many days, Jeremiah heard God’s voice again. This new verbal command was for Jeremiah to retrieve the garment. Now it does not say God’s presence appeared just His voice. When God spoke to Samuel when a child, he only heard the LORD’S voice; 1 Samuel chapter 3. God speaking to Jeremiah and other prophets was an ongoing verbal communication. Today God speaks through our hearts if we are teachable and desirous of His holy truths. In light of this, we do have to test the spirits by the inerrant Word of God. The Scriptures are the true test of anything experienced. God’s inerrant Word travels in truth beyond experience. We are commanded not to take any stand on visions, messages or angelic sightings; Galatians chapter 1 and Colossians 2:18. Everything must be tested with the Bible, being God never changes.

In Genesis 5:22 & 24 it states that Enoch walked with God three hundred and sixty years. I believe this may have involved verbal communication as well as righteous obedience. If you want to read more of Enoch, Jude 14-15 refers to his prophecy of the apocalypse. He certainly knew of Christ, being he prophesied of Him. Perhaps he walked with Christ in an actual way of footing it as the disciples walked with Christ literally and learned from Him. Enoch’s walk was spiritual and could have been physical as well. The original Hebrew word used in Genesis 5:22 for walk” is “halak” and it literal means to walk or go and is used throughout the Old Testament. Halak is used of Abraham in Genesis 18:16 when he walked with the LORD toward Sodom; though only a short distance.

Enoch practiced the presence of God in more ways than one; so much so that “God took him.” There was never a burial plot, no place to set flowers. If Christ believers are removed soon to heaven by rapture, being no more on the earth and of the earth, there will not be any need for funerals, carved tombstones and flowers. There will be no need for sorrow.

Returning to Jeremiah, we know Jeremiah buried the linen waistband deep in the earth, as he had to dig for it. He did not simply place it under a rock. Upon retrieving it, Jeremiah found it to be ruined. This was a visual lesson to the people of Judah how God would destroy the pride of Judah and Jerusalem. This can be a visual lesson for New Testament believers as well. We were bought with a price, with Christ’s blood, which made our hearts whiter than even a linen garment. White garments will be the dress of heaven’s citizens, as we read in the book of Revelation. When we allow sin into our lives, our styling worldly pride ruins us on many fronts and it removes our white or pure testimony. We can become worthless in our walk as Judah became worthless in her walk with God.

God has always called His people to humility through total dependence on Him. Paul came in humility to the churches as we witness in 1 Corinthians 2:1-3.

Lowliness represents a life that is 0% dependent upon ourselves, but 100% dependent on the LORD. Both the Old and New Testaments verify the humility trail is the path all believers should hold to steadfastly.

1 Corinthians 1:29 informs us that God is not impressed with any man as no flesh will glory before His presence. Nothing in man or about man impresses God. Albert Einstein never impressed God. Today none of man’s technological achievements, media endeavors, or humanistic agendas warrant any merit. What impresses the worldly man of this age of minuscule wonder gadgets, emerging whatnots, digital media and agendas for change are totally meaningless to the God of all wonders.

In David’s praise to God in 1 Chronicles chapter 29, he acknowledges in verse 14, that all things come from God and from God’s hand the people returned tithes to Him.

Acts 17:28f tells us that we all live, move and exist by God’s power; therefore men should repent and serve Him.

Verse 9 proclaims the LORD is going to destroy the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem! The southern kingdom thought she was so trendy and styling, holding to God and the ways of the world at the same time; but the Jews are going to fall on their faces in truth and reality. They are going to see they are nothing and have nothing to brag about when they are stripped bare of all their external worldly ways. 1 John 2:15-17 lays God’s truths more on the line in this area. God explains if one loves this world and its things, the love of the Father is not in him. The lust of the flesh and eyes and boastful pride of life is not from the Father, but is from the world, which is passing away. It is wise to ask ourselves, “What is this doing to matter a hundred years from today.”

Verse 10 addresses further the wickedness of God’s people, specifically their stubbornness. I think we can all relate to this negative trait, as we have all been guilty from day one. When it comes to obeying God’s set truths, our LORD will not listen to excuses that arise from a stubborn nature that mostly thinks of fun and believes God only wants His people having fun. From childhood, this attitude is engraved in man. Most every child would rather play than clean their room. Adults would rather be playing or attending socials than serving God in hardship.

This verse continues to teach through review. Again we learn God’s people allowed the religions of culture to influence them, including idolatry. They became consumed in false ways of man-created beliefs. This religion of men ignited the pride of the Jew! God calls them “evil,” “an evil people.” He is most blunt, more blunt than most pastors today. How many pastors would call anyone in their congregation evil for taking part in man-manufactured decrees of religion? God is all-wise and He tells it like it is. He is not a man-pleaser.

The falseness of the Jewry stems from imagination, not Biblical reality. I believe the invention of imagination plays a huge part in what we witness with the acceptance of every belief system in the church.

We witness further in verse 10 that there is another segment to the illustration of the waistband. The Jews will be made as worthless as the band. Some will be annihilated and others made into slaves. No one will admire them as being the renowned people of God. Their nation will be trampled under and they will be dispersed without land and home.

God looks at the waistband in a positive past tense at the end of verse 11. He remembers how the kingdom of Israel was once made to cling to Him like the waistband or a belt clings to a man’s body. Their destiny was to cling to God alone, producing “a people for renown, for praise and for glory.” God’s righteous plans are always for good not evil for those who willingly obey Him; Psalm 1.

If we peek at Joshua 2:9-11, we see a time when Israel was distinguished for God’s praise and glory. Rahab was one who testified to this. She spoke to the spies in these verses, revealing how she knew the LORD had given the Hebrews the land, and that the terror of Israel had fallen upon her people. All the inhabitants of the land had melted away. She continues in this text to testify of God’s miracles that removed the courage of the Canaanites. They were being annihilated, via the Jewish people. She offers further praise and glory to God by stating He is God in heaven above and the earth beneath.

Back in Jeremiah, verse 12 takes us into the temple where the ceremonial drink offerings were conducted. Jeremiah inquires if the people are obeying and keeping all the jugs filled with wine because God wants to know! The people respond stating they know they are to keep the jugs filled with wine. Exodus 29:40-41 refers to the drink offering poured before the Lord and Numbers 28:7.

God uses this question to let the people know how consuming His judgment will be, even upon them who are ensuring things are performed properly in the temple; verse 13. He compares this act of obedience to drunkenness, as they will most likely be so filled with sorrow and woe that they will stumble about as one drunk. They will be so out of it that they will not appear to be in their right senses.

God is going to dash them against each other having no pity, sorrow or compassion in this verdict; verse 14. We can view this through a larger, crisper telephoto of explanation if we turn our Bible pages forward to Ezekiel chapter 5, verses 1-6 and 10-12. Ezekiel foretells how a third of Jerusalem shall burn in the fire at the center of the city, and a third will be struck with a sword and a third scattered to the wind, which most probably means moved into exile. Verses 10-12 speak of the great hunger that will arise from all this, as fathers will eat their own sons and sons will eat their fathers. There will be a deadly famine exercised through God’s judgment, leading to cannibalism.

God hates every sin! Sins are never to be overlooked in our lives! We must deal with them daily as they attempt to raise their ugly heads in our minds and through our actions. Sin is powerfully destructive, being brought before the eye through the waistband illustration. God has to cut it out of our lives and it can be excruciating discipline.

Verse 15 introduces Hebrew poetry that flows to the end of chapter 15. Verse 15 is a verse of grace and a verse of love. It is calling Judah to humility, so repentance can reign. Repentance will lead the nation into future blessings, granted through God’s mercy. This is the only antidote for this calamity of dreadful doom. God wants them to heed and swallow the facts.

Verse 16 of chapter 13 begins with a call to worship the LORD through giving Him glory. He is the only One who deserves glory, never us.

These people were walking in sinful pride and stubbornness; therefore, it was impossible for them to worship God in all humility and dependence. They could not bow in genuine praise and adoration. Embracing false teachings and religions places an impassable barrier between God and us unless repentance occurs. People can fall deep into sin and when they do, they lose sight of what they have lost, forgetting what sweet fellowship with Christ was like. They are blinded to their past relationship, it becomes mind absent. This denial keeps them falling deeper and deeper to the place of no return; 2 Peter 2:20-22.

Any false religion can hold to a form of godliness, often times using and applying Scripture; but when it comes to walking in total humility and reliance upon God, it totally misses the boat. It sinks. Most deceptive teachings will elevate “religious” man and his accomplishments, not seeing he is lost beyond any self-redemption. Falsely led people of various religions believe their works for the advancement of their faith will ensure a heaven of some kind. You observe this with Muslims, Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses; and no doubt there are many more, being many cults exist in this fallen world.

Previously, verse 15 commanded God’s people not to be haughty; this being stated before they were called to worship God in verse 16. We cannot enter into a time of praising and glorifying God with an arrogant heart and mind. A position of bended knee and bowed head can remind us of who God is and our lowly state. It can remind us that redemption arose through Christ’s grace alone, not us being worthy of His attention because we were so cute and adorable.

The verses in this section are a summons to repentance. A documentation that these stubborn people are headed “into deep darkness;” verse 16, and in more ways than one. The darkness leading to stumbling “on the dusky mountains” is a reference to when they will cross to Babylon if reforms do not arise.

Verse 17 reminds us that pride comes before a fall; Proverbs 16:18. They are going to stumble on the road to Babylon; this will genuinely produce lowliness. We read Jeremiah will cry over their held-onto arrogance that brought such steps. He is a humble man who will weep greatly, as tears will cascade down his face while in sorrow’s dark pit. What a tender heart of love, a savior’s heart. No wonder the LORD loved him so.

Ireland Sheep © Val J. Lee

Ireland Sheep © Val J. Lee

It is interesting that Jeremiah is still referring to Judah as the “flock of the LORD” in this verse, even though God has rejected the nation. However, Jeremiah, being God’s foreteller, knows their descendants will return to the land in obedience and they will once again be His flock. Christians are Christ’s flock; He is their good Shepherd. He is gracious to guide us stupid sheep back to Himself. We often turn down a wrong path and must be reguided with the crook of His stave to His correct way.

Looking at this future tense lamentation, verse 17, we witness the grievous sorrow that will overtake this sensitive and loving man. The Hebrew poetic conveyance is beautiful, yet painful of heart: “My soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and my eye shall weep sore and run down with tears because the LORD’S flock is carried away captive.” We can see this prophecy of sorrow fulfilled in Lamentations 2:11. Lamentations was composed completely in Hebrew poetry. Here Jeremiah declares how he is crying to the point he cannot even see! At this juncture of his writings, the terrors had actually befallen Judah. We witness his spirit being poured upon the earth. Here Jeremiah also refers to the destruction of the people of Jerusalem and even greater grieving is produced from the fact that little ones and infants faint. One of the aspects that made America mourn grievously over 9/11 was the actuality that children died too; a toy animal found, made our hearts cry out for this metropolis of NY.

We should be most concerned with the fact that Israel today does not serve Jesus Christ and she is a country in distress. Her rebellion pains are like labor pains and they pain God’s heart and should ours as well. Israel is chosen of God as Christians are chosen of God. She requires our prayers.

Returning to our path in Jeremiah, we see the king and queen mother addressed in verse 18. The king is King Jehoiachin and his mother is Nehustia. It was not unusual for the queen mother to reign beside her son. We note this exampled in 2 Kings 2:19. Here Bathsheba sat on her throne to the right of Solomon.

You can read about the exile of King Jehoiachin, who reigned three months; whereupon, he was exiled with his mother in 2 Kings chapter 24. This is the account of the humiliating withdraw from their wicked rulership that the people loved, being everyone’s hearts were bent on evil. Their beautiful crowns definitely came down from their heads as Jeremiah predicted. This continually occurred with many wicked kings who ruled the nation of Israel, who were found personally harvesting the evil that they planted. Under King Manasseh, Jerusalem’s streets flowed with innocent blood, including that of babies who were offered to the gods; 2 Kings chapter 21. One of the reasons for the Babylonian captivity was the sins of Manasseh, and we will see this in Jeremiah 15:4 and it is repeated in 2 Kings 24:1-4.

Hitler maintained a very wicked regime with most Germans choosing to go with his flow, turning their heads to his atrocities. But there was one in particular who toiled to slash Hitler’s holocaustic ways before any nation arose to free. His name was Kurt Gerstein. He was a German Christian Bible teacher who joined the vicious Nazi SS to spy on the death camps, gathering incriminating evidence in an effort to destroy Hitler’s satanic extinguishing methods of torture. He offered stacks of documents exposing Hitler’s institutions of death to many government officials including American and British intelligences. But none would listen. Bible churches should have made a stand but cast no care. The idolatrous Vatican signed an agreement with Hitler.

“This concordat with Nazi Germany was negotiated by Cardinal Pacelli, who in 1939 became Pius XII. Undaunted by his wartime record, the Vatican is now attempting to have him declared a saint.”

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1949565,00.htm

“In the Reichskonkordat, the Vatican promised that German Bishops and their subordinates will be obedient to and honour the Nazi state (Article 16). It has promised that German Catholic educators will teach children patriotic love for the Nazi state (Article 21). It has requested and received the Nazi dictatorship’s promise to enforce internal Church decisions (Article 10). Cardinal Bertram of Breslau has called on Catholics to avoid all subversive or illegal (by Nazi definition) activities.”

http://www.concordatwatch.eu/showtopic.php?kb_header_id=752

Please see Catholics with Nazis photos:

http://www.nobeliefs.com/nazis.htm

If you do a search on the Internet you can locate a photo of Hitler greeting Muller, the “Bishop of the Reich” and Abbot Schachleitner. “On April 20, 1939, Archbishop Orsenigo celebrated Hitler’s birthday. The celebrations, initiated by Pacelli (Pope Pius XII) became a tradition. Each April 20, Cardinal Bertram of Berlin was to send ‘warmest congratulations to the Fuhrer in the name of the bishops and the dioceses in Germany’ and added with ‘fervent prayers which the Catholics of Germany are sending to heaven on their altars.’” (Source: Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII, by John Cornwell)

Remember, according to the Catholic faith, the Vatican is sovereign and faultless.

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Kurt Gerstein, who was uncompromising, died in a French prison.  http://www.auschwitz.dk/sobibor/kurtgerstein.htm

The world finally intervened when infamy struck the personal borders of nations.

Our great God did not allow Hitler to reign for many decades, which we graciously offer thanks.

Jeremiah was faithful to speak out against compromising government leaders such as King Jehoiachin, as well as the false religious teaching of his time.

Today heresy proclamations consume the formerly strong church. When bold, Scripturally-sound believers expose those who are false in doctrine, they are branded as troublemakers by leadership just as Jeremiah was branded. They are viewed as being too nitpicky for today’s church culture and labeled gossips. Many believers just close their mouths in fear knowing they will be told they are not submitting to leadership if they question or expose. A great false guilt-trip is laid upon them. Dictator-pastors know exactly what tactics to enforce upon congregations so all lay silent as the grave. It seems these leaders were all taught in the same school of deceptive ways.

I was told many years ago not to tell anyone I believed in being chosen or in predestination as Scripture teaches. A pastor’s wife dreadfully informed me if I did, I would cause a church split. Leadership knew I believed in evangelism and did evangelize. They knew I believed all men could be saved who called upon the Lord, being I had stated so. But the word “predestination” was never to be spoken by me or I was in sin! I was not submitting to church authority. I was also told, by the head pastor, I could not teach or counsel using the Bible unless it coincided with their church doctrines. This was in a very conservative Baptist soul-winning church. I did appreciate the fact the church went into the community regularly to present the Gospel and I loved taking part in this.

False teachings and society’s methodologies boldly walk through the front doors of most churches as evil has become brash and accepted; it no longer has to sneak in a secluded, back entrance.

Many denominations that held a conservative Biblical stand not long ago have fallen into worldly compliance. These churches will quote Scriptures, state the Gospel, etc; but accept new ways of interpretation so they can pull all they can through the doors. Everyone’s ears receive imaginary fingers that touch their ears so they feel tickled, and are tickled-pink because church attendees hear what they want. All can hear what they crave, except for the uncompromising, godly old-fashioned believer that exists in few numbers today.

Verse 19 states there will be nowhere to flee when Babylon’s military might arrives. If they run south to the Negev area, the cities will be locked and there will be no one to open them. All of Judah will have been taken into captivity, including this far southern area.

Verse 20 commands Judah to look into the future and envision Babylon coming down from the north as the future will soon be reality. Here it speaks of the flock that was given to them, their beautiful sheep. I believe “them” could be speaking of the religious leaders (though commentators seem not to agree with me). However, they were the teachers. I don’t believe this is addressing Jerusalem because how could all the city dwellers be teachers? (Verse 21) We have seen in the past it is the religious leaders who taught the people and they were false teachers.

When it speaks here of former companions ruling over them, I believe this could refer to the fact there is no more stations held in importance, no more resemblance to a caste system whatsoever. Those lowest in rank will tell the religious leaders—the pompous elevated ones—what to do. King Nebuchadnezzar could have placed the submitting Jews in the positions he desired for assistance. It was not unusual for a king to put captives in positions of support who promised compliance to the new regime.

Verse 21 ends speaking of the pain of a woman in childbirth. Now most married women know what kind of agony this involves and it is not like the little pain of a hangnail. It is excruciating and you just want to die believing there could be no worse pain in all the world. This illustration, I believe, tells the religious rulers and prophets, they are going to be humbled to the place of great pain. There is nothing grand about being treated like a worthless slave.

We see they will come to the place of asking, why me? (Verse 22) God tells them when they come to this place, to remember His words that explain that it is due to the “magnitude” of their iniquity. “Magnitude” educates us in knowing that this punishment was for no small sins. Of course, believers know “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and there was never one righteousness outside of our blessed Redeemer; Romans 3:10-23. Here, however, God is dealing with the gravity of reality in the depth of wickedness they had fallen to. The New Testament writers spoke of severity too, which came to believers who sought license in their behavior.

God continues to explain how vile and immoral they are, having now to be shamed. This shame will be completely magnified to the fullest measure when these people stand before the judgment seat of Christ where we will possibly view their terror and humility.

“Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots;” verse 23? What a common phrase heard! Did you know it came from the book of Jeremiah? The rest of the phrase is not commonly heard, “Then you also can do good who are accustomed to doing evil?” God reveals at this point, it is impossible for them to become teachable to the ways of holy living. There is no hope offered. Being under grace through Christ, we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which enables us to live godly.

We do acknowledge that believers can choose to live in sin and there can be a point when God takes believers home who are unteachable and unchangeable. When believers bring shame to His holy name, discipline in drastic measures can ensue. It is totally God’s call, but believers must be made aware, and 1 Corinthians chapter 11 makes this call clear.

“Drifting straw” that is the expressive picture we behold in verse 24, descriptive of the Jews who will be exiled. They will be left homeless as the wind.

Idaho Rough Road

© Val J. Lee

Who is responsible? God! He is not pulling any punches. This is His judgment though the Babylonians will believe it was instigated through them and accomplished by their supremacy in military might. When we enter glory, we will witness how events were not orchestrated by man’s hands. The plainness of sight will reveal that it is the one and true God who predetermines all things for His glory and righteousness.

We witness things graphically in verse 26, as God is angered by their lack of shame when they plunge themselves in false religions that hold no moral standards of purity. God declares their true lewdness will be exposed before all. They were “neighing” or lusting, being totally lewd. We know the men were involved in adultery as we previously read in chapter 5, verse 8, where each one was “neighing” after their neighbor’s wife. God addresses their prostitution; this appears to be both in relationship to going after other gods and sensuality. However, in this timeframe, public disrobing was considered totally unacceptable, unlike today where people will reveal whatever they desire, almost just short of nudity in some cases. There was a fear of immodest public shame; no one wore bikinis or anything of the like.God informs them further of His grounds for discipline, explaining they have trusted in falsehood; verse 25! They heeded the false teachers and prophets without “examining everything carefully” with the Word of God; 1 Thessalonians 5:21. Trusting in a person or persons will always lead us down a pitted washboard road. If we are faithful in the study of all God’s Word, there is less likelihood of being led astray by any so-called Christian leadership.

Living in New Testament times, believers do not have to bear their own shame as Christ bore it all. He took all our filth upon His sinless Self. He stood in our place so we do not have to be exposed in such a manner. He has regenerated us, giving us pure desires so we no longer are in bondage to that which is sensual and immodest.

The immoral, sensual ways that we see in Jeremiah are still clung to by the world. Satan still dresses them in glittering wrappings and places them all about. They can even lure believers. When Satan captures Christians with his pretty bait, they often depart Bible teaching churches. They would much rather be seated in churches that are lukewarm, that do not cling to the Word’s inerrancy.

A lady relayed to me of her pretty daughter who once held strongly to the Bible and its teachings, but when she decided to leave her husband and engage in adultery, she settled for a church that enables everyone to feel welcome no matter one’s lifestyle.

God ends this chapter—though chapter and verse divisions were contrived by mere men—with an apropos question, “How long will you remain unclean?” We know we need daily cleansing through being in God’s Word and asking His forgiveness so we do not become stained by this vile world and lured by satan’s fancy state-of-the-art packaging.

In Luke 11:34-35 Christ informs us that the lamp of the body is the eye; when the eye is clear, our whole body is full of light; but when it is bad, our body is full of darkness. He also tells us, if we are full of His light there is no darkness, and we are fully illuminated with its rays. What a beautiful picture is framed before us to contemplate as we dwell on the pure beauty that can be held within us if we choose not to put any evil thing before their eyes and in our hearts. Through one’s pure lifestyle, innocence can be witnessed; the wholesome chaste light of the Holy Spirit can draw others onto our Savior.

Jeremiah Chapter 14

fawn-hgh-in-white-frame-low-copyright_edited-1

In Jeremiah’s day, fawns were abandoned 

Jeremiah desired to persuade men with the words of God in order that they would be saved from immediate coming doom and the eternal wrath of God. We too need to be persuading men toward God that they may be saved unto eternal life. I, personally, need to be more diligent knowing the Lake of Fire is not an imagined allegory, but a stated approaching destiny for unregenerate man.

In 2 Corinthians 5:9-11 we are entreated to draw men to Christ. This poignant passage discloses that we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ and therefore knowing the fear or terror of the LORD, we persuade men. Knowing the horrific destination of the unsaved, we need to care wholly for all, warning all of the wrath to come.

When I pass out tracts or Bibles, I like to add a sentence or two to persuade a person who is not sure to take the Gospel salvation message. The other day, a lady and I were speaking to a Catholic man and he hesitated to reach for the tract, believing he already knew the information. I stated he might want to read the tract and he did take it. We also pray for these people who receive the Gospel message, as we know God’s Word never returns void, though it can be rejected. Also, through experience, we know it can be passed to the appropriate hand.

Satan hates believers placing God’s truth in unsaved hands, knowing the harvest is plentiful and the laborers few and he wants to keep it that way.

Some people try to discourage the giving out of God’s Word by saying it is numerically ineffective. That is where we need to always rest on the commands of Scripture alone, which instruct us to go into the entire world with the truths of Christ. Commands are not for analysis sake, but for application through simple faith and obedience. False teachers have influenced many through their discouraging rhetoric, dispiriting believers into not giving the truth in public places.

street preacher in London

London Street Preacher © Val J. Lee

If Jeremiah had considered statistics, he would have been in a sad state of affairs, as no one listened or paid heed. God even told him he would reach none with the truth. Jeremiah, being an obedient servant, simply proclaimed God’s Word leaving the results to His Savior. We are called to proclaim truth in all the world, not first sit and determine if it will be profitable or not. If one believes their city will not respond to them because a pastor, another believer or some Christian program told them so, who is actually their Lord. Often times it is trouble-free to rest on data, sit in an easy chair and watch TV, instead of believing in the power of the Gospel to save.

Over the plenteous years of my life, I have seen numerous programs come into churches that are unbiblical for reaching the lost. These various programs are applied because immense results are advertised and the methods happen to be presently trendy. These programs always seem to fizzle out in a year or even after a few months. To this day, I have never witnessed even one yield greater results than God’s command for just going out and preaching the Gospel where the unsaved dwell.

Satan always desires that we see man’s progressive programs as more important than God’s written Word. This is how he impedes the Scriptures by prompting us to look into books, articles, videos, etc, for compromising easy-to-do outreach promotions that keep us in our fleshly comfort zone. These diversions keep believers from searching the Scriptures alone for outreach commands.

Satan attempted to thwart the words of God spoken through Jeremiah by putting forward false teachers that made everyone feel quite comfortable as compromisers, at least for a season … now a new season begins that of consequence for compromise. The season of relaxation has passed. Judgment begins in chapter 14, commencing with the infliction of drought, which spells no production of produce—ensuring hunger. This is one of the pronounced woes of warning from God’s Word proclaimed through the spokesman, Jeremiah.

Someday, into the future, the rapture will take place and the tribulation will unfold. God’s truths concerning judgment will be painfully felt. Unfortunately, people will still wear their hard and unbelieving hearts that defy God, just as in Jeremiah’s time. The period of the apocalypse will produce many woes including hunger, disease and death by an angel’s sword; Revelation chapter 6. Three of the main ingredients for justice that the LORD brought upon Judah.

With all that we have read in Jeremiah concerning the Jews and their hardness of heart, it is difficult to believe that many of these now starving and parched people, were the very ones who partook in the revival led by King Josiah and Jeremiah, not that long ago. Even though Josiah was the grandson of the most heinous king who lived in that time, Manasseh; Josiah still arose with a heart that loved God in totality, as we read in 2 Kings 22 and especially 2 Kings 23:25.

In review from chapter 1, remember Jeremiah’s father, Hilkiah, was the high priest during Josiah’s reign. As Josiah sought to repair the temple for true worship, the Book of the Law was located by Hilkiah. Its closed and unheeded words were reopened which established revival. Jeremiah’s father was used of God to introduce righteousness during Josiah’s reign.

Concerning this time of revival under Josiah, it is key to note 2 Chronicles 34:33. This is a tremendous verse, revealing, during Josiah’s lifetime, the people did not turn from following the LORD. Can you imagine how wonderful it would be to live in a period where everyone around you loved and obeyed the LORD; including governing heads of state? After Josiah’s death, all changed. His godless son, Jehoahaz, became king; and the people once again turned to the religions of the world to add to their worship experience. They engaged in what is called today the new spirituality or emerging or emergent trends.

Living in America, we have witnessed the effect godly leaders create when they reign, and how quickly a nation can turn and justify evil if government headship embraces that which is contrary to Biblical directives.

The famine that we witness here in Jeremiah should have never arisen; being the spiritual awakening should have kept the people close to God for a lifetime. Regrettably, even today, when believers bear the privilege of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling and reside under grace, they will still turn from a lifetime commitment.

Because of Judah’s utter turning away from the revival truths of the past, this dreadful scene of drought is presented in Jeremiah 14:2, which effectively sums-up the situation—“Judah mourns.” This is the narrative of this chapter placed in a nutshell.

No, I won’t stop here as more must be stated in reference to the devastation. This superb God-proclaimed Hebrew poetry speaks to our hearts, especially such phrases as “her gates languish” and “They sit on the ground in mourning.” We cannot help but understand that this was a very grievous time for these people who have continually replied with a “No” to their God.

In this section, servants search for water and none is found, leaving them to cover their heads in shame, recognizing they are unable to meet the needs of their noble masters. When we fail, it is easy to desire to be undetectable so we do not have to show our face, maybe yearning to fly to some distant land out of sight and reminder. The farmers in Jeremiah’s time are also shamed and desire obscurity, knowing they can harvest no produce to sustain any person.

Taking our eyes to verse 5, we see a doe even abandons her young for there is no grass. The Lord God graciously created these remarkable animals, which reveal true caring devotion. Hereby, placing this visually described scene of His dutiful creation, we truly recognize the sadness of this deadly famine, which reached to all creatures, great and small.

© Val J. Lee

© Val J. Lee

Doe and Fawn facts:

Deer mate between October and January so the female usually gives birth sometime from May to June. At the time when a fawn is to be born, the doe secludes herself for the birthing. The fawn or fawns are born with fur and their eyes open; weighing 4-8 pounds. Fawns nurse almost immediately and walk within hours. Their coat is reddish-brown, dappled with white spots to help camouflage them in sunlit foliage.

Deer are usually silent. However, a fawn will bleat for its mother and a mother will call for her baby with a whine. In 3-4 weeks, the fawns begin eating grass. At this time, the doe and fawn return to the doe’s family group. Fawns are usually weaned at 4 months of age. By early fall the young fawn will weigh approximately 60-80 pounds. A doe and her 1 or 2 fawns reside together for approximately 1 year.

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Now donkeys are not as precious and lovely as deer, but they are suffering too as we see in verse 6. God wants us to know this as well. These Donkeys are in such a state that they even pant like a dog or jackal and their eyes fail, being there is no vegetation for proper nutrition. Job 39:1-8 describes the intricate manners of both deer and donkey created by our LORD and King. In this text, God informs Job that little man cannot even begin to comprehend the ingenious ways of God who manufactured each animal to His purpose and design. This book is a great recourse of encouragement and joy. The Lord reveals to this man, Job, and us that all creatures are remarkable and wonderfully crafted by Him! Some animals were fashioned in oddness just to leave us in bewilderment and laughter. Simply think of all animal life in the world today that we can view through educational networking that leaves us in awe of our most incomprehensible God; whereby, all things move and exist and have their being.

In verse 7, back in Jeremiah, we can almost hear Jeremiah pleading with God for mercy and grace. He admits they have sinned and their apostasies are many, despite this, he wants his Savior to be their hope and deliverer. He further states they have sinned against God. When we sin, this is whom we come to first for forgiveness and then others. Psalm 51:4 tells us we sin against God and Him only.

Yes, we always hurt others too when we do what is right in our own eyes and we need to ask their forgiveness. Undoubtedly, God is the true One whom we ultimately sin against. He has set the standards of right and wrong behavior.

Romans 6:1-6 divulges we are not to sin that grace may abound. Looking at these folks in Jeremiah, they certainly believed in abounding grace through carnal living; totally ignoring the fact, they were disgracing and defaming their Lord that they claimed to serve.

God can never be presented in any way that is deviant to His Word. They had been voted in by Him to be His representative to the observing world and now they have shunned their own party—God! They now must be voted out for a season; until they return to party loyalty.

Believers today, as we read in Romans, are united with God in the likeness of Christ’s death and resurrection. Therefore, our old nature that desires to sin should be done away with. Sin is never to be united with our Holy LORD. We, as a result, are to view our old desires for sin as crucified. Through this obedient observance, we never betray our commission as His representatives.

Verse 8 of Jeremiah proclaims that God is hope and He is the Savior in times of distress. We know today, He is also the Savior of the world as John 4:42 and 1 John 4:14 proclaim. There is no true universal savior besides Christ.

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Yellowstone Park

Drawing back to these distressful times in Jeremiah, we read in verse 9 that Jeremiah is asking God if he is like one who is just passing through on a journey. We might say, like one traveling from Portland, Oregon to Yellowstone Park in Wyoming, and deciding to spend a night in Boise, Idaho, not caring for Boise in one way or another. Jeremiah also inquires here, why is God mighty, but yet too weak to save them from this famine?

At this juncture, reverence and worship are offered to God. He is the LORD! We are taught through Jeremiah that questions and inquiries must be made in light of the fact that our God is sovereign and makes no mistakes! Through this bold but humble worship, Jeremiah concludes with pleas for God not to forsake them.

God reveals in verse 10, that He is willing to give answers to those who truly seek Him in humility and honesty. He graciously answers Jeremiah’s inquiry. The LORD reminds Jeremiah that these people “have not kept their feet in check.” What a powerful statement! It is so like the children’s song that cautions, be careful little feet where you go, be careful little eyes what you see and ears hear. We must keep our whole beings in check!

God says because they are not being kept in check according to His holy Word and ways, He is going to remember their iniquity and will call their sins into account.

We must remember not everyone who calls Jesus Lord and does good works will be allowed into heaven. Jesus will say to some, “I knew you not.” Those who truly know Him should be ones who keep themselves in check through pure living, loving their righteous and holy Savior with all their existence.

“Do not pray for the welfare of these people;” verse 11. This is God’s third command to Jeremiah not to pray for His people; review 11:14 and 7:6. But Jeremiah loves these people so much, it just comes naturally. This would be similar to you or I being told we cannot pray for a wayward child. Our hearts would naturally pour out our pain and desire for their repentance.

Verse 12 speaks of their works; fasting and sacrificing that mean nothing to God, knowing their hearts are not pure and innocent in all areas. When they go to the temple to offer their commanded offerings, they are ignored. They cannot have one foot planted in the unprofitable ground of fleshly-fun activities and expect God to heed their obedience in temple commanded service. It is all for God or none. Their deference must come from loving God with all their hearts, souls and strength, which would equip them to turn away from false teaching and teachers who had incorporated foreign methods with true worship.

The false pastors in the Old Testament desired the Jews worship in an inclusive tolerant way. Deuteronomy 13:6-11 is a warning to all who would seek to imitate that which is not solely Scriptural. No one was to “seduce” the Jews away from pure worship. It commanded the killing of one who desired to falsely worship in an ecumenical way, combining the religions of others with Judaism. This wholly reveals how much God hates ecumenicalism or the emergent mentality.

It is obvious from the Old and New Testaments that no religious philosophy is to be combined with worshipping God. Of course, regarding the church age, killing heretical believers is not permitted. They are simply to be removed from the church. We are to pray for their repentance.

We are reminded again, in Jeremiah, that the false prophets were ear-pleasers (verses 13-15), telling the people all they wanted to hear. Life would always produce comfort and prosperity. Alan and I sat under a Baptist pastor, many years ago, who basically taught that as long as you were faithful in church attendance and tithing, you would be blessed. You were doing everything God wanted of you. It was as if the Bible consisted of only two commands.

In verse 14, the false teachers are certainly sounding spiritual by the fact they are claiming visions. Today, with so much emphasis on experience, one can hear of unusual visions, and these revelations rarely, if ever, line up with Scripture. Christians do lie and twist things to sound spiritual so others view them as hovering on a supreme level of spirituality. This is no different from Jeremiah’s discerning viewings of religion in his day. Religious shepherds were claiming false visions for popularity sake. Power play was the name of the game and still is today.

People will relate to visions and experiences to manipulate and control others—making listeners believe they are inferior if they had no remarkable revelations. We know if anyone was to have a vision of Christ, they would fall like a dead man before Him, and it would not be about them and their experience, it would be all about Christ in His magnified heavenly state.

John fell like a dead man before Christ. Paul was blinded by His glory, observing he fell helplessly before all holy God, Jesus Christ. I have never heard anyone explain, they saw Christ and He had a sharp two-edged sword extending from His mouth to conquer all evil, as John witnessed in the book of Revelation. Nor that His voice was like many waters and it cast great fear upon them. People who truly have seen the LORD Jesus in all His glory, distinguish how wicked and vile they are, being ones who fall totally short of His glory even as redeemed ones. Humility and fear totally consumed their being before His bright holiness. We are to test the spirits and we test them with the Word of God.

Jeremiah exposes that these false teachers were also involved in divination. A desire to be elevated can lead into dealing with demons through witchcraft practices. People love to scare others so they are viewed as the controllers of life.

Today, one may desire to sound with-it by discoursing on the most popular books on the market, which often involves reading of the occult. They are always the best sellers. God forbids reading about or speaking about divination, which can involve fortunetelling, spell-casting, speaking to the dead (actually demons), drugs, drinking blood, channeling, etc. Any sorcery activity of any kind should not be dwelt on. Our thoughts and ways should continually be centered on Christ and His holy righteousness. Both Testaments condemn anything related to witchcraft and sorcery. All compromise leads to futility and deception.

Dwelling on anything that has no eternal value is walking in futility and deception. Ephesians 4:17f, Philippians 4:8, Romans 12:2, and Colossians 3:1-2 inform us where our minds are to be kept and that is on Christ. And on those things that uplift in a lovely, righteous and chaste manner. Our thoughts are to please the Savior as I have emphasized previously.

The Jews should know by this time the prophets have lied and they should no longer heed them. They are in the midst of famine that the prophets stated would never arise. However, similar to today, people expect leaders to lie to them once in a while. How many people still follow politicians and their agendas though they are filled with deception and lies?

God has not sent these prophets; verse 14! What a statement. How many today are serving God on their own, never having sought Christ’s direction? They simply thought it was a good idea and would pay lucrative wages. You can well bet these false pastors in Jeremiah were living in luxury compared to others, receiving abundant tithes from their followers.

God, at this point, informs us teaching false doctrine leads to discipline; these men were headed for a savage, deadly end; verse 16. The New Testament parrots these same truths of consequence.

How about the listening followers of the false teachers? Are they judged too? Yes, the Jews knew truth from error, being they were religious and knew the commands. They should have paid heed to Jeremiah! He taught the Word without compromise. They knew all the sins Jeremiah listed were contrary to Scripture and that they were disobeying. Therefore, the declared judgment for them, in verse 16, is just.

If we choose to listen to compromising preachers or teachers, we are held accountable. When presented doctrine is wishy-washy, sin resides in the listeners. It is no different from these Jewish congregational members. We cannot hold silly excuses and play ignorant.

False teachings often arrive in video form for Sunday school classes and Bible studies. A well-dressed, well-spoken, so-called theologian will use all the technology of Hollywood to make his presentation state-of-the-art, even rivaling the secular and sensual producers. Liberal theologians will be interviewed for their fleshly take that is totally silly from Biblical standards. Unfortunately, because church attendees are not separated from the world’s carnal entertainment, they are prime to receive what is presented in the best of staging.

One video series involves figuring out a repugnant man, Charles Templeton; merely because he was renowned at one time, as an associate to liberal Billy Graham.

Viewers observe author, Lee Strobel, interviewing Templeton. He does not meet with him to call for his repentance; he attends like a secular reporter on assignment. The production includes interviews with another false teacher, Bishop N. T. Wright. He is presented as a reputable Bible expositor. This man is blasphemous of Christ and His holy Word. This is totally exposed through his writings and teachings.

Like most Christian videos today, it was produced in high-tech style to entertain, through propaganda, the Bible illiterate Christian masses.

The Bible puts it rightly; they left us because they were not of us; 1 John 2:19. The answer to why he left is simple and uncomplicated. Nothing needs to be pursued according to the Bible. Fame has nothing to do with it! Fame is irrelevant in Christianity. To make one think in a wise way, why did not Lee Strobel interview the unknown man, who lives down the street, who abandoned Christianity long ago? It is because Christians are apostate and strive for the famous who are the notorious ones.

Lee Strobel is completely in sin, as we are called by God, throughout Scripture, to shun the unrepentant false teachers, not present them in living color on a large screen. They are not to be allowed to attend our churches, even in video form.

There are many film series making their run in so-called Bible churches that uplift famous, blasphemous Christian pastors and teachers who spout their liberal theologies. Men who even approve of homosexuality (including NT Wright) and who hate Christians who hold to Scripture. It certainly makes you wonder how many people, who call themselves Christians, are truly washed clean in the blood of the Lamb. Many still seem to be filled with vile filth. People need to recognize what internal cleansing is all about. (1 John 5:10-13)

My husband and I have known of people who experience salvation; yet, remain in churches where lukewarm or false doctrine is present because that is where the entire family attends or precious friends. They don’t want to be different. Of course, not! Their priorities are all wrong and they pay through lack of spiritual growth. They remain quite worldly and speak falsely concerning doctrine.

We know of a couple, who after many years of choosing not to leave the family church, finally recognized their need be watered with the Word to grow. They now attend another church. There is excitement in their voices for the LORD. We contentedly praised God when we heard.

Some may see the end of verse 16 as being harsh as God will “pour out their own wickedness on them.” We must grasp God is just and justice will be most harsh when all unsaved are thrown into the Lake of Fire. God is the true judge and this will be just punishment for those who reject Christ the Lord. God does not act out of what is not deserved; therefore, it’s not according to sinful man’s design of tolerance.

Tenderness and love are expressed in verse 17 and the following. Jeremiah so loves these people and cries for them “night and day,” for he does not desire that they suffer so extensively for their sins, though he knows God is equitable.

In closing of this chapter, Jeremiah wisely reverences the LORD in all humility, even though he is desperate in his pain for his people. We witness, also in these verses, that Jeremiah does not disassociate himself with the sin of the people. He states “we” throughout and says in verse 20, that “we” have sinned. Jeremiah knows he is walking in obedience with God simply through grace. I will add, Jeremiah is not fellowshipping with evil people, he simply recognizes that he too would be lost without God’s truths abiding in him.

I have had to ask myself, do I have a heart akin to Jeremiah’s that is so broken over those who are going to hell that I cry for them night and day? Yes, I pray for the salvation of the lost, and my heart hurts for them; but I do not cry night and day . . . No, I fall very short! Jeremiah also interceded with sincere prayers. He did not don a pious, spiritual voice of superiority, but cried from his inner being, filled with true sadness over these lost ones. He hired no renowned orator to instruct him on praying, he simply interceded from a humble heart of pain.

We learned in Jeremiah chapter one, that God created Jeremiah while in the womb for ministry. He placed in this summoned man the most compassionate and unselfish heart. The same type of sensitive heart the LORD owns. The same type of heart Christ presented on the earth, which led Him to the tortures of the tree for you and me.

As Jeremiah pours out his heart of disbelief on what is now present, and what will befall God’s people, he asks the Lord not to disgrace the throne of His glory and not to annul His covenant with the Jewish race; verse 22.

We have already covered the covenants that God made with mankind, including the Jews in chapter 11; but I’d like us to read a couple of passages concerning the endurance of the Abrahamic promise through prophecy. Jeremiah 31:33-34 reassures the nation Israel that during the millennial period, the obedient Jews will have God’s law written on their hearts and they will be forever His people, and they will know their Lord. He will also remember their sin no more as it will be forgiven.

In the New Testament there is a noteworthy text concerning Israel; Matthew 19:27-28. Here, Peter is asking Jesus if the faithfulness of the disciples will be rewarded. The disciples have left all to follow Christ and Peter desires to know if there is any compensation for them; verse 27. Christ informs Peter of a day when the twelve Jewish disciples will rule on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Is that not interesting, that the twelve were chosen in number to match the twelve tribes of Israel? Of course, this matched perfectly with Christ’s earthly ministry and the church age as well. In Revelation 21:10-14, we read New Jerusalem will come down from heaven, having twelve foundation stones bearing the names of the twelve apostles. God is omniscient beyond all human measure!

The last verse of Jeremiah 14 ends with praise to God. Jeremiah acclaims all hope lies in God and He has done all these things. God implants both the bad and good. All results for His ultimate glory. The evidence of this harsh judgment being a good work of the LORD was witnessed when the righteous remnant returned to the Land, equipped to do God’s will and bring glory to His name; thus revealed in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.

If God had not punished, sin would have only deepened beyond remedy. Many people sit in prison because their parents spared the rod and spoiled them. Now, what was needed in the way of human correction, is unobtainable.

Jeremiah Chapter 15

Bird of Prey (Regal White Falcon) © Val Lee

God’s chosen ones became food for birds of prey

Enough is Enough!

This is the attitude that seems to stem forth at this point in Jeremiah, entering chapter 15 and verse 1.

God is not going to yield to the intercessory prayers of Jeremiah … His patience has ended. Nonetheless, it is not because Jeremiah is not a godly, faithful man. God assures him, He would not even heed Moses or Samuel at this point.

Yes, God had listened to Moses, such as when he stood as an intercessor for his erring people; Numbers 14:11-16. At this point in Hebrew history, the chosen were not trusting in the LORD and not listening to Moses. It was easier to deny God’s power and preserve themselves, walking the cowardly road. When facing the intersection of fate, they wanted to walk backward. They were too frightened to take the next step. There were giants in the Promised Land and the Jews were simply “grasshoppers” in their sight. (Numbers 13:32-33)

God did not want to put up with their silly lack of faith any longer. He wanted to smite these Jews and create a new crop through Moses’ progeny. Moses stood in the gap, strong and persistent. He wanted these back-walkers preserved. The LORD, out of grace, did pardon at this time. However, God did annihilate the first generation of the wandering Jew; He only allowed their descendants to step into the Promised land. (Hebrews 3:16-18, Jude 5, 1 Corinthians 10:1-11, and the book of Numbers) Joshua and Celeb were the only exceptions, due to their persevering faith. They were the exclusive ones, preserved from the first generation, who were allowed to enter.

Regarding Samuel’s beseeching, (1 Samuel 12:17f), he prayed for the weather of judgment on the Jews on the day of wheat harvest. God and Samuel were angry. The Jews desired a human king, and no longer the King of kings to rule them. They had been called to be a separated, holy people, ruled by the Creator of the heavens and the earth. However, they decided they wanted to be just like the other nations; not wanting to miss a cool beat. All the other nations had human kings so why couldn’t they? God sent thunder and rain upon them to destroy their harvest. It stormed insofar that the Jews thought they were doomed to die. They pleaded with Samuel to intercede once again in mercy that they might not be “swept away.” God turned away from His thundery anger; yet, not without strict warnings provided through Samuel.

Returning to Jeremiah, we understand now that God’s “No” to Jeremiah’s pleas for his people has nothing to do with partiality, just facts. Jeremiah loves the LORD and walks obediently, and if this plea had been in God’s will, it would have been answered with a “Yes.”

God can say, “No” to any godly person’s prayer if it is best and just for the circumstance. Such an answer can bring forth great pain; howbeit, the wisdom of such an answer will be discerned in time.

Most Christians have lived with a “No,” that they became thankful for, as time marched on with the wisdom of hindsight. I certainly have.

In verse 2, God tells Jeremiah to inform the people where they will be led. Most will walk to calamity, down death’s designated streets—”Sword” and “Famine.” Those who survive will travel the long overland road to Babylon. Verse 3 speaks of four gruesome types of destined fatalities, including being drug off by dogs and birds of prey.

In Ezekiel 5:12 we read that a third of these disobedient ones went to death by sword, another third to famine and the final third to captivity. The survivors became an object of horror among the nations, very grotesque even to imagine through the mind’s eye. They were not a pleasant site to behold, seeing their bodies bore the visible scars of sinful consequence.

When we study the book of Revelation, we see in the forthcoming doom of the world that judgments are divided into thirds, as exampled in chapter 8, verses 7-13. Here, a third of the earth will burn to its destruction—a third of the trees and grass, creatures, ships, and on and on. Earth’s topography will take a drastic change. God’s appointed wrath will be no laughing matter nor was it in Jeremiah’s era.

Manasseh’s name is dropped in verse 4, as he was one wicked and vile, despot-king. He escorted the Jews down all avenues of evil. What is unsettling, is he ascended to his throne via his prominent, godly father, King Hezekiah.

(Scriptures produce a violation of thought that plays in our mind when a very wicked king sprouts from a godly king. David fashioned at least three wicked, offspring princes who walked through his palace. What a bafflement! His heart walked hand in hand with God. Though, we must admit, David failed as a father in many instances. Of course, we all fail those we love at various times. Where would we be without the grace of forgiveness?

It is a grievous thing when a person from a God-fearing family shuns the LORD. We must be mindful that everyone has a freewill and God did not create personal puppets. He is not one to twist the heart in the opposite direction it desires to go. We choose him out of a personal love for Him. Christians know they have to make a daily commitment to follow Christ. It is not an automatic thing that comes without effort. It takes continual prayer, Bible study, and fellowship to maintain a close walk with our Savior.

I will also add here that a man must have children who believe in Christ to be qualified for the pastorate. He must have his household in order. There are many godly qualifications God has established for eldership; all expounded in Scripture—specifically in the books to Timothy and Titus.)

We read in 2 Kings 21:6 that Manasseh had his son pass through the fire. Manasseh, in other words, murdered his little boy by burning him to death! He engaged in the false worship of the gods, and they demanded baby and child sacrifices. (Wikipedia discloses some of the civilizations where remains from baby and child sacrifices were discovered. Example:

(“… Greek and Latin sources speaking of the offering of children by fire as sacrifices in the Punic city of Carthage, a Phoenician colony. Cleitarchus, Diodorus Siculus and Plutarch all mention burning of children as an offering to Cronus or Saturn, that is to Ba‘al Hammon, the chief god of Carthage … Paul G. Mosca, in his thesis described below, translates Cleitarchus’ paraphrase of a scholium to Plato’s Republic as: There stands in their midst a bronze statue of Kronos, its hands extended over a bronze brazier, the flames of which engulf the child. When the flames fall upon the body, the limbs contract …

There are also skulls suggestive of child sacrifice dating to the Maya periods. Alike the Aztecs, the Mayas performed child sacrifice in specific circumstances. In the Classic period, some Maya art depict the extraction of children’s hearts during the ascension to the throne of new kings and at the beginning of the Maya calendar.

In one case, Stela 11 in Piedras Negras, Guatemala, a sacrificed boy can be seen. Other scenes of sacrificed boys are visible on painted jars.”)

Verse 16, of 2 Kings chapter 21, informs us that Manasseh shed “very much innocent blood” that filled Jerusalem. What a reigning tyrant! Who would want to dwell within his regency?

Manasseh also practiced witchcraft, implementing divination. He held to a Harry Potter mindset.

All his activities were satanic, and thus he provoked the LORD to anger.

You would imagine from the Biblical commentary regarding him that he was unredeemable. Not so! We learn from 2 Chronicles 33:12f, that he came to repentance, and bore good fruits. Through God Almighty working in his life, he tore down the false, demon gods of Jerusalem.

No one is beyond God’s outstretched hand of redemption. Paul was rightly considered the “chief of sinners.” He oversaw the murder of Stephen and imprisoned believers. He was resolved to extinguish the voice of Jesus Christ.

Many believers in that day viewed him as unredeemable. Fortunately, God, out of His grace, saved this evil man to a most righteous, productive state. All righteous things are possible with God; Matthew 19:26.

Paul sacrificed his all for the Gospel. We learn from his God-breathed teachings daily. God placed inerrant Scripture on his heart to pass on to the church.

Even though Manasseh repented, the damage to Judah was still present; his sins were passed down to the proceeding generations. Manasseh’s rebellion had to be rightly punished.

Despite Manasseh’s change of heart, the Jews continued to hold tightly to Manasseh’s wicked heart. Generations of Jews had come to imitate his ways. The sins of Manasseh had to be removed from God’s people.

We can repent of sin, but that doesn’t mean the consequences disappear. Wisdom teaches us that consequences just don’t fade away. We all reap the repercussions daily of being part of a sinful earth.

Due to Abraham’s and Sarah’s sin regarding Hagar (Genesis chapters 16 and 21), we experience constant unrest in the Middle East; and America lost many beloved ones in Iraq due to the war on terrorism. Middle East strife will continue until the Millennium. There is a reason why God commands one man and one woman come together as one in holy matrimony for life.

I am elated to hear of the Christian young people who determine to stay pure and not kiss until they marry. I have a friend who has a daughter on the mission field. Her husband is a pastor. Her “first kiss” was on her wedding day. She kept herself pure and unstained for her marital vows.

Returning to Jeremiah, God reveals in verse 5 that no one will have pity on the city of Jerusalem! Kingdoms will recognize the Jews are simply receiving their just comeuppance, as a people who have deserted their LORD and King.

They are backslidden; verse 6. This is the second time God points this out. In Proverbs 14:14 we read the backslider in heart will have his fill of his own ways.

At this point it is obvious, God is tired of relenting and being longsuffering with no results. God can only bear the sin of a people for a stage of time.

He is a holy God! He cannot stand to look upon sin! He is completely righteous, pure, innocent and undefiled. He absolutely hates all that is done that is contrary to His holy, inerrant Word.

Verse 7 continues to unveil His wrath. He is going to cause Judah’s dear children to die, leaving families bereaved of their young ones. He is going to destroy Jews of all ages since they have not returned to Him. Some might ask, “Why the children?” Because God knows they will someday walk perfectly in their parents’ idolatrous steps, slapping Him in the face in order to do their own thing.

Of course, God does not desire to bring pain to families! We have to rest in the fact He is omniscient (all-knowing). He knew they would not repent of their loathsome ways from generation to generation unless He punished in total severity.

God repeats truth over and over again; unfortunately, it never sinks in. Many people learn from repetition, but these people did not.

Verse 8 informs us further of this travailing—Judah’s widows will be numerous before Him, as the sand of the seas. A great number of Jewish men did perish when they were struck with the swords of the conquering Babylonian army. They did not own a chance of defense.

Generally, most women are left alive during war. Many soldiers will think twice before they kill defenseless women.

In the recent eight-year war with Iraq (formerly Babylon), we observed far more men dying in warfare than women, even though female soldiers assist in time of war. Fortunately, American female soldiers, at this time, were not allowed in combat zones; whereby, fewer deaths incurred.

Isaiah lived approximately 100 years before Jeremiah, yet he too spoke of the coming wrath of God upon Judah; Isaiah 4:1. He foretells, through God, how seven women will take hold of one man and will tell him they will eat their own bread and wear their own clothes.

When men are scarce, women can get desperate and visa versa. In the American wild west era of old, men were anxious to have women join them on the barren prairies or in the rugged mountains. If a single woman moved west, she always was flattered with a great amount of suitors who were seeking a wife.

Jeremiah continues on to paint before us a picture of anguish and grief, to allow us to see the fearful heart that will attack mothers when the destroyer arrives, and their young men are no more.

You can begin to imagine the pain a mother, who once had “seven sons,” experiences when they all are murdered by the slicing and dicing ways of the heartless Babylonians; verse 9. We read here of her labored breathing and her pining away! What does she now have to live for?

No hope is offered, as God continues to let them know He will pass their survivors over to the sword.

Verse 10 opens with Jeremiah speaking his heart, standing as one rejected and hated. He wishes he was never born. Everyone curses him as if he had borrowed money and never returned it.

Why is he so loathed? Well, we all know it is due to the fact, he refuses to turn to the route of easy compromise. He refuses to tell the wayward Jews what they want to hear—that it is fine not to take all the Scriptures seriously. It’s okay to blend them into your own personal way of thinking and living.

God so loves Jeremiah that He continues to bring reassurances in his depth of depression; verse 11. He tells him someday “the enemy” (the Babylonians) will “make supplication to you.” Will this be so? Does it eventually occur? Yes, remember, God never lies! Turn to Jeremiah 40:1-4. We see a marvelous thing in these verses, that of God working through Babylon and King Nebuchadnezzar. This king’s captain of the bodyguard, Nebuzaradan, is moved to kindness toward Jeremiah, assuring him he will look after him if he chooses. God moved in Nebuzaradan’s heart to show respect for Jeremiah who predicted his army would come and destroy Israel.

Also, glory is given to God by this Gentile guard, owning the fact, he has spiritual insight to know this captivity is God’s spanking punishment for His wayward children. This man may have not been saved; however, at times, unbelievers know better how believers should act than believers.

I heard a true story of a person who attended a dance, where someone knew they professed Christ, and they inquired of them, what in the world they were doing here, where they didn’t belong?

All things work together according to God’s will for this planet, not excluding wars and disasters. We know King Nebuchadnezzar arrived at the place, where he could give glory to God. Through the miracle of the fiery furnace that we read of in the book of Daniel, he witnessed three lives untouched by the raging heat, when Christ appeared with Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. This occurred after the first Babylonian captivity when only a few, designated, gifted and royal lads were taken from Jerusalem, including Daniel.

King Nebuchadnezzar learned to fear and respect God, which I believe transmitted to respectful treatment toward Jeremiah during this third Babylonian captivity of Judah.

Daniel, while in Babylon, most likely had heard of Jeremiah when in this distant land; and may have requested that special kindness be bestowed upon him. Of course, this is a “may” as Scripture does not say.

As we move further into this chapter, we see God restating the same judgment as proclaimed before, only using different illustrations in hopes to grab hearts with the pronounced doom.

Fire always seems to accompany the wrath of the LORD in both the New and Old Testaments. In verse 14, returning to Jeremiah chapter 15, God speaks of the fire kindled in His anger that will burn upon these Jews.

In the next section, Jeremiah is crying out to God to take vengeance on his persecutors; verse 15. He is not ready to die! He does not desire his brethren take his life, nor the LORD take his life. He reminds God, His Savior, that he has been faithful to His Word. He is keenly aware that only God can save him.

Jeremiah speaks of eating the Scriptures which were a joy to him, a delight to his heart. He knew they were composed for his betterment. It was a joy for Jeremiah to be God’s child and to study His Words which were composed for Jeremiah and all men. Yes, even Gentiles. Various accounts of Gentiles coming to faith are recorded in the Old Testament, including Ruth the Moabite.

Jeremiah was assigned by God to appear before Gentile nations, chapter 25, to warn them, they would receive God’s judgment for not complying to His Word. Jew and Gentiles were both to pay for their sins of Scriptural disobedience.

There is no substitute for the Word of God; nothing shines truer, fuller, or brighter. No wisely composed words set to formal speech can fully recount its sweet fellowship of wisdom.

The “joy” that Jeremiah describes is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that arose when he dove into the Scriptures. Jeremiah walked joyously in the Holy Spirit as one who did not neglect His quiet times with the LORD.

Though Jeremiah was a man of tears, torment and sadness, he still walked in God’s overriding joy when delighting in His Word.

Jeremiah reminds God, it was for His sake that he suffered rebuke. The Jews in Jeremiah’s day would not cease their attempts to end the message of God’s messenger.

Of course, part of being a follower of God, is being willing to be ridiculed and deeply hated. Christ was ridiculed and hated unto death.

People wrongly believe if they can extract a godly person, they will no longer feel conviction.

It was love for God’s people that brought Jeremiah to tears and sadness. Though they hated him, he wanted them saved. Love is another fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Jeremiah’s love and tears were a picture to the Jews of God’s heart for them, as stated previously. Though, God loved them far more than Jeremiah ever could. God loves perfectly! He always kept a tally of all their hairs on their heads, just as He numbers our hairs; Matthew 10:30. The LORD knew repentance was for their best interests; unfortunately, He could not make them. He could only set a person like Jeremiah before them to reveal the love He held for His chosen ones.

In the New Testament, we are called to weep with those who weep and to rejoice with those who rejoice. Paul, who was full of the Holy Spirit, cried for three years for the church of Ephesus; Acts chapter 20. He knew when he left this church, he would see its members no more. He also perceived that after his departure, satan’s wolves would arrive by stealth and would attempt to destroy this fellowship and the work of the Holy Spirit.

Despite all the pain and suffering that came with serving the LORD sacrificially, Paul never lost his joy of serving.

This passage in Jeremiah is not the only text whereby we witness a godly man, eating the truths of God. In Ezekiel 3:1-4 the words of God that Ezekiel was to speak were given to him to eat and they were sweet as honey.

In Rev. 10:9f, John was given a little book of prophecy to eat and while it was in his mouth, it was sweet as honey, but in the stomach, it became bitter! This was to disclose the ramifications of the dreadful calamities scheduled to assault the earth during the great tribulation. Man’s self-will is not a pretty sight when placed beside its equivalent consequences.

Returning to Jeremiah, we observe further Jeremiah’s conversation with God; verse 17. He reminds God of his faithfulness to Him. He did not live according to the “merrymakers” or in other words, those who love the gratification of the flesh. We know Jeremiah was out faithfully proclaiming the truths of God that men might be saved. He was not a fun-seeker, but a soul-seeker.

Jeremiah also reminds God that he is a quiet man, not one to party or exult. He was the wallflower who sat alone and took life seriously. He received God’s Words of warning soberly, where the fun-seekers did not. This is not different from today. Only a few Christians take God’s Words seriously, hating the party-fun agendas of pleasure.

Jeremiah speaks on with his suffering tale and inquires of God if He is like a deceptive stream that is unreliable? He wants to know if God is a God who plays games with His presence and work in a person’s life who has been found faithful? Is God one who is always coming and going like a stream that flows strong in fall and winter; yet, evaporates in the summer heat? Jeremiah knows the true character of his faithful LORD, but he dares to inquire anyway, being he is disheartened in the ministry. He is lonely, having the role of one who must tread on alone in perpetual pain.

Of course, God loves Jeremiah with all His heart and answers in His abundant grace. He tells him if he will return to his commitment; not seeking out the vile Jews and their “wicked,” manmade, liberal religion, He will restore him. (verse 19)

God does not demand that Jeremiah perform a list of works. He simply asks Jeremiah to “return.” That is all He requires of us, a heart offered solely to Him in love and dedication. This type of heart automatically washes away all sediment.

Facts are the facts and Jeremiah will simply have to learn to live with the cost of being God’s disciple. He must become skilled in tribulation; not allowing rejection and persecution to turn him away from the ministry God has called him to perform. He must continually speak God’s words as God’s “spokesman;” verse 19. He must bear the heart pain.

Jeremiah has never had to make up anything to speak. God has told him exactly what to proclaim. It has been no guessing game. When we set forth the Bible’s truth, it is never a guessing game. We simply speak God’s Words as Jeremiah did.

At this point, Jeremiah is crying out to God to remember him, to deal rightly with his enemies who feel Jeremiah has no right to judge. Of course, we know it is God’s judgement not Jeremiah’s. When we speak the convicting Scriptures, we put forth God’s judgment which is always to be set forth in season and out of season.

Jeremiah is eyeing the pain of discipleship. He has to get ahold of things, to remain strong in service. This is no place for the weak-kneed.

God views this conversation with Jeremiah as a time of re-commissioning. Jeremiah is rededicating himself to the Savior’s service.

Jeremiah has not fallen into sin and needs to repent of awful acts. This has to do with following the LORD no matter the cost.

Jeremiah replies again in the affirmative to God’s calling, as he did when he was first summoned.

The LORD then sets forth the rules of this recommissioning. Jeremiah must be faithful in presenting the truth, even if the Jews combat him as one who lacks grace and mercy.

God commands Jeremiah not to turn to the false tellers; or in other words, don’t become like the liberal, Judah Jews of licentiousness. They could never be accused of being judgmental, being those who are accepting of every evil way. (Jesus Christ commanded in John 7:24 that we not judge according to appearance, but according to righteousness.) Jeremiah must not take part in their compromising ways. He is never to seek their counsel, knowing they would not advise from the Scriptures in true doctrine.

Jesus Christ never fellowshipped with the false religious leaders in His day. He never sought their advice nor did He need their advice. He knew it all, and they knew nothing of real truth. He only confronted them in their sin, exposing their wicked, murderous ways that were leading them to hell’s destruction.

The influences of Jeremiah’s people were not to rub-off on him; contrarily, his godliness was to rub-off on them.

Unfortunately, it was the conviction of this rubbing off of the truths of Scripture that caused them to desire Jeremiah’s demise.

God assures Jeremiah that no harm will come to him for the LORD is with him to save him from the wicked and violent; verses 20-21. Jeremiah will stand like a wall of bronze through God’s power. Who can harm such a wall? What promising, loving words of comfort!

True believers can be assured that God holds their hands through it all; Psalms 37:24. He is there for His persecuted children.

What we observe here, is God restating what He told Jeremiah from the beginning in 1:18-19. The LORD informed him, he would be a pillar of bronze and iron and no one who fought against him would succeed; that the LORD would deliver him.

We too need to be reminded that God is omnipotent and holds our every breath, and we need not relent to the enemy of our souls.

Jeremiah Chapter 16

Kokanee Salmon © Val J. Lee

God’s people would be hunted like fish
(Kokanee Salmon above)

We begin chapter 16 with God telling Jeremiah the reenlistment requirements for combat service. Jeremiah must spiritually sign on the dotted line if he is going to remain faithful in duty. He must comply to the provisions that God will lay down.

Reviewing the concluding verses of the last chapter, we recognize this all arose through the uncertainty of Jeremiah. He needed assurances from God restated; the reminders of His faithfulness set before him.

He held questions similar to these: Would the LORD strengthen in future battle? Would God’s spiritual armor always cling to him? Would God faithfully stand beside? God’s protecting promises were stated to him in 1:18-19.

Jeremiah wanted God to tell him nothing had changed, that God had not abandoned him since his first calling into soldiering.

Jeremiah had requested that God take notice of him and remember him; 15:15. It is a blessed thing that believers can go to God anytime and cry out their hearts before Him.

Jeremiah had made his separated stands amidst loaded, ground attacks—almost unbearable torture from his liberal enemies.

God brought to Jeremiah the words he desired to hear by reminding him of the promises made at the beginning of their personal relationship, recorded in chapter 1.

(We, as Christians, must continually be in God’s Word to be reminded of His presents of love and faithfulness given to us. These gifts never fail or alter.)

God assures that even though the ungodly would engage in formation strategies, attempting to destroy Jeremiah, God would always protect him. The LORD is Jeremiah’s perimeter of defense of protecting love. The enemies would never gain fatal entry.

The specifics of returning to active, full duty is recorded in 15:19. Jeremiah had to determine if he was truly ready for combat; if he had the strength to endure all the hatred placed upon him by the partiers because he had no desire to carouse. The enticers wanted him to stop the spiritual nonsense and party with them—the “merrymakers.” They wanted him in the off-duty, civilian zone forever.

Jeremiah makes the decision, he will not surrender to the enemy. He loves God and is ready for his new orders. God will “restore” him as His enlisted spokesperson; 15:19.

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Departing our review, we focus on God’s first reenlistment command in verse 2. Jeremiah cannot take a wife and raise children. He cannot enjoy the step of taking a lovely bride. He can never see a son follow in his steps of ministering for God.

Jeremiah’s personal protection seems to be the reason for this difficult injunction. Though Jeremiah’s heart probably sunk to his feet, God was thinking totally of Jeremiah. He must shield him from unquenchable pain! Jeremiah holds a faithful heart of gold. It would have probably destroyed Jeremiah to see his wife and children suffer and then perish. God makes it clear, He is going to kill the sons and daughters of Judah.

Additionally, we recognize, locating godly people at this time is nearly impossible; therefore, this would hold true in locating a spirit-led, dedicated wife. A compromising wife would not be a good influence on God’s servant.

(When it comes to the church, believers are commanded to come out from amongst the ungodly. And believers are not to marry the unsaved.)

Jeremiah stands alone in separation from satan’s beguiling ways or so it appears.

We learned from the previous chapter that Jeremiah was a man who sat alone; 15:17. It seems he had no one to share his table with; he being different—an alien from the norm.

He also dealt with terrorizing, murderous pursuers. No doubt, having a loving wife to come home to, could reduce his pain of isolation and persecution.

Jeremiah’s second enlistment requirement involves the realm of life and death. He is not to enter a house of mourning. He obviously could not minister to hurting grievers; verse 5. Jeremiah had a compassionate heart and having one like him console a mourner would bring some peace of mind. Though of course, none who mourned would desire to hear any of his heavy-duty preaching. They would want that left outside the door.

It is interesting how some people desire a pastor to come and comfort them when a death occurs in the family; however, they never want to attend church and hear a powerful sermon.

God gives Jeremiah His reasons for this tough, isolated soldiering; that being, He has removed His lovingkindness and compassion from these people. How desperately sad for them to have these gracious attributes of God withdrawn! I hate to think how I would survive without them. What emptiness would engulf me! Sin, however, blinds people to what they have lost through their self-chosen deception.

Verse 6 speaks of “cutting.” This was completely pagan back then and it is now. In our country, a few decades ago, it was unheard of; but now, cutting is extremely prominent among teens and young people who love to watch themselves bleed for various reasons, such as being depressed or in grief. Unfortunately, 14 to 24 percent of all teens and young people cut themselves. Unbelievably, we have become this pagan as a nation.

News information video: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/wellness/teen-ya/story/2011/02/Teens-share-Internet-injury-videos/43962874/1

Cutting is condemned by God in Deuteronomy 14:1. His people were not to take sharp objects and cut themselves in grieving. You may remember the Elijah episode of 1 Kings 18:28, when Jews partook in “cutting” to wakeup the false god, Baal, in hopes he would override the power of God. Of course, these backward Jews were not interested in Scriptural obedience. This was true in Jeremiah’s day as well. When the Word of God is thrown away, anything goes. You simply have to look at present day society and its lack of wise behavior to understand this. It is overflowing with silly and unproductive conversation and behavior.

As Americans become more godless, pagan rituals become more visible. The article below relates to teenage girls but I know it is very prominent among teenage boys as well, as various ones have related information to me in this area. I knew a girl who engaged in cutting before becoming a Christian.

Cutting

“Self-mutilation, or ‘cutting,’ as it has come to be known, has become so prevalent among teenage girls that it has been dubbed the ‘new-age anorexia.’ Some teenage girls, between the ages of 13 and 19, regularly practice self-abusive behaviors. Some burn themselves, others find ways to inflict bruises on their bodies, but the majority of self-abusers cut their flesh with razors, knives, shards of glass, or anything sharp they can get their hands on. Because they are so careful and adept at covering their scars, most of these kids appear perfectly normal on the outside. But under the bracelets, watches, and long sleeves, lie the physical manifestations of their inner pain, torment, and anguish.” (Courtesy of Family Forum)

We certainly desire that this generation would come to learn of Christ’s saving love for them.

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Verse 7 speaks of the cup of consultation which was a gift of wine for the funeral meal. This verse informs: There will be no comfort chalice offered in mourning in this all-consuming Judah devastation.

At this point, a third enlistment command is given to Jeremiah by God, another of separation. He is not to engage in feasting or eating with these condemned people who will soon have nothing to rejoice in. All blessings that produce celebrations such as weddings, plentiful harvests, wayward children coming home, healing in the family, and on and on could not be engaged in. He was to withdraw himself from communal rejoicing. He was not to associate with these worldly, unrepentant people of God; verse 8. Today, unrepentant believers are to be shunned, such as those who do not respond to church discipline; Matthew 18:17. We are further entreated to stay away from every brother who leads an unruly life and does not follow Biblical traditions; 2 Thessalonians 3:6. We must shun brothers and sisters who are sexually immoral, dishonest, who get drunk, etc; 1 Corinthians 5:9f.

Verse 9, back in Jeremiah, makes it clear that there is going to come a time when the weddings will end and the joyful voices that accompany them. There will be no voice of gladness in anything.

We read of a similar scenario in Luke 17:26f, where it speaks of the day of doom for the Jews at the time of tribulation; these too will be celebrating wedding unions, financial prosperity, planting for harvest; but sudden destruction and judgment will fall upon them.

My husband and I experienced the tail of Hurricane Ivan in September 2004, when in Aruba; seeing first hand how quickly the hand of God can move to destroy. Many states and Islands mourned the destruction that arose, via the hurricanes of that season. Ivan was one of the costliest hurricanes in history. We observe through devastation that it would take nothing for God Almighty to destroy the whole earth in less than a second. He is most gracious and long-suffering that men might repent.

Patagonia Volcano
Patagonia Volcano

On top of wind-defying disasters, we, at times, have concerns regarding volcanoes. Twenty American states own them. There are around fifteen hundred volcanoes in the world.

Mount St. Helens in Washington State may erupt again. Today it is the number one monitored volcano in North America. It is one of the most scientifically observed volcanoes in the world. “It’s the volcano most likely to explode,” says Bill Steele, director of the Seismic Monitoring Program at the University of Washington in Seattle. 

Alan and I remember Mount St. Helens 1980 eruption when living outside of Portland, with everything being blanketed in ash. It was the first and last day I lived in a colorless world. All was gray, even the sky. It prompted me to be very appreciative for God’s manifold color palette, which ultimately reappeared as time slowly passed.

Volcano Rumblings:

My husband, the insightful man that he is, spoke to me of the news media and what their scientific experts were stating regarding Mount St. Helens’ future. They came across like they were in charge of the mountain and its happenings. Therefore, we should listen to them and trust them, like presiding gods. However, they have no idea regarding any possible eruption. It is not in man’s charge and who is he to even think so.

But this was also how it transpired previous to the first eruption, the scientists wanted men keeping their ears tuned to them for all answers through the airways. But they fell short diagnosing the power of God’s hands; see Psalm 104:32.

The resulting death toll and travel distance of the ash and storm was so baffling to them. Our nation witnessed 57 deaths. It ash-coated towns 250 miles away. Winds blew 520 million tons of ash eastward across the United States, and total darkness swallowed-up Spokane, Washington.

(The mountain also experienced eruptions from 1847 through 1857.)

Report from Long Beach Weather:

Recent Observations: On February 10 and 11, 2013, a swarm of seven small but locatable earthquakes occurred on the south side of Mount Hood (outside of Portland, Oregon). Similar earthquake swarms commonly occur a few times per year and represent no change in volcanic activity.

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We must be grateful to the LORD for His daily graciousness, knowing we are kept from harm the majority of our lives.

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Christians are aware that catastrophes related to earth and atmospheric unrest will increase as time moves forward. The days will increase with evil and man will not take these things to heart. They will refuse to repent no matter the many calamities that fall upon them from God. It’s wholly insane to witness how people throughout the Bible scoffed at God’s warnings concerning devastating, deadly judgments, originating with Noah’s floatable, animal craft.

In verse 11, God assigns His instructions to Jeremiah for when the people ask “why” regarding the murderous devastation, arriving by the hand of God. He is to say because you forsook the LORD, and your forefathers walked in ecumenical idolatry, not in obedience to God’s words. Further, Jeremiah is to declare, they performed the same vile wickedness as their forefathers, even more so.

We have learned from Jeremiah that Israel first erred when she wanted it all. She desired what all religions had to offer, taking a bit of this and that from the surrounding cultures. This resulted in total saturation. She also added a dash of Judaism. Now Judah has countless gods and beliefs. Soon the sons and daughters of the land will not wake up to worship their images—their adored heroes of earth and sky.

The key teaching in verse 12, reveals they have not listened to God. They have not given any heed to His Word through Jeremiah or obeyed the written texts of the LORD. The judgment for all their false, external religiosity is pronounced again and again, and it is the forthcoming exodus.

A return promise offers hope in verse 15, a pledge to restore God’s chosen people to their land. Their captivity was to be 70 years of punishment; 25:12.

Idaho Fisherman © Val J. Lee

“Fishers of men” is what we observe in verse 17. The soon to be scattered Jews will, after 70 years, be gathered like fish, hunted down and returned to their land. God’s people would be collected from the mountains, rocks, etc. Christ used “fishers of men” to illustrate evangelism outreach.

Today, Jews are remarkably returning to their land and this is consistently broadcasted. It is like the Jews are being fished out again and have been since the end of WWII—when they desired to escape the anti-Semitism that engulfed much of the world. What Hitler meant for evil has turned to some good, being Israel became a nation again in 1948. This twentieth-century migration continues into the twenty-first.

In the end times, the Jews will be in their land, before being deported once again. A temple is explained in Revelation chapter 11. This chapter and chapter 12 also refers to the exile of Jews in the tribulation.

Jewish Migration to Israel, News Segments:

Today, approximately five million Jews, more than a third of the world’s Jewish population, live in the land of Israel. The Jewry composes eighty percent of the population of the land, and they are currently in political control of the land.

Jews continue to immigrate to Israel in large numbers. Immigration to Israel is referred to as aliyah (literally, ascension). Under Israel’s Law of Return, any Jew who has not renounced the Jewish faith (by converting to another religion) can automatically become an Israeli citizen.

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“A new life begins today for Washington resident, Tova Serkin, one of about 420 U.S. and Canadian Jews who will board a flight in New York this afternoon to immigrate to Israel. More than 1,500 Jews plan to move to Israel this year, substantially boosting a North American immigration rate that has averaged 1,300 people a year since the 1980s. The ultimate goal is to bring 100,000 Jews to Israel within the next five to 10 years.”

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Verse 17 testifies of the omnipresence (being everywhere present) of God, as He says His “eyes are on all their ways” and their iniquity is not “hidden from His face.” We never conceal anything from our God who knows our thoughts and plans that are divergent to His virtuous and holy desires, before they are even contemplated; Psalm 139.

We do not witness grace in verse 18! God declares they are going to repay doubly for their sin. Hell is certainly going to be a dreaded place of hot torture. Unfortunately, people feel today it is too harsh for a loving God and represents over payment for sin. Some Protestant groups believe hell just implies man’s separation from God. Sugarcoating Biblical condemnations will lead one to that fiery place.

You see the heart that communes with the heart of God in verse 19. Jeremiah proclaims the LORD is His strength and stronghold. Not any silly religious theology of contemporary society.

We also learn from verse 19, the nations will arrive from the ends of the earth and will denounce “falsehood” and the things that own “no profit.” They will turn to the LORD of the Bible, forsaking all false beliefs that contradict. Isaiah 19:21-25 provides this coming happening with more detail, where the nations are named.

God’s omnipotence ends this chapter, reminding us of His power and might—His “name is the LORD.”

The Jewry, in time, came to know this truth through individually witnessing the chastisement that assailed them in power and might! They learned of the true God and there was none else! The Bible informs us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction;” Proverbs 1:7. This is where wisdom is rooted.

In His love for you,

Val Lee

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Your hope: Paradise

Further Jeremiah commentary chapter reviews; please click on: Jeremiah Chapter 17 Commentary Review

All Rights Reserved

Photos © Val J. Lee

March 27, 2009 Posted by | Bible Commentary, Case for Faith, Christianity, Hitler, Jeremiah chapters 1-16 Commentaries, Jews, Uncategorized, White Falcon Photo | , , | Comments Off on Jeremiah – The Message and Messenger—Chapters 1-16

Queen Esther/Looming Holocaust—the book

Also published by Amazon.com

and Barnesandnoble.com

Copyright © All Rights Reserved

Segments can be used with permission

By Val Lee

 

 

 

Historical Introduction

 

Most every believer requires strengthening bestowments in the area of encouragement. Isaiah chapter 40 is the perfect place to turn for mind renewal and faith strengthening. It proclaims the omnipotence of an overseeing God—our God who watches over us. Verse 17 explains, “All the nations are nothing before Him; they are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless.” Verse 22 reads, “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.”

Verse 23f reveals God rules over all governmental authorities; He establishes rulers and judges and later, often votes them out of office. Christians are commanded to intercede for all in authority; 1 Timothy 2:1-2. Prayer is vital today as threatening leadership governs many sectors on our globe. Even in our nation, there are unjust laws, some which permit the removal of innocent young life. Heavenward petitions can produce hope and answers in troubling times such as ours. Prayer altered perilous times historically. Grim and hopeless data would be the substance of all history books if God never defeated wicked rulers, which He performs in His time, according to His will. He is a just God who hears the supplications of His people, which is why Nero, Hitler, Stalin, Hussein, etc., only ruled for a period in history. Prayer removed wicked Haman from the scene in the book of Esther. 

The concluding verse of Isaiah 40 is completely apropos for the book of Esther, as it states, “Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” Esther prayerfully waited on the Lord and He granted her the power to walk in great strength in death’s face. At first, death reality struck Esther like a sword, piercing through her secure palace door. However, God provided her the fortitude to fulfill her predestined calling whatever the incurring cost.   She was even willing to be annihilated for her people, the Jews—God’s chosen.

 

Many of us have had to face cruel world reality and it can hit unexpectedly and painfully. Death, disease, hardship and persecution are indubious. You may be hurting because world reality is shoving you this very moment. God’s grace and courage upheld Esther, may it faithfully uphold you.

 

We as believers have much to be grateful for as we are upheld by our Savior through it all. The unsaved own no eternal hope when reality pain strikes them. The Bible teaches that most of earth’s population walks about in spiritual deadness—people being dead in trespasses and sins; Ephesians 2:1-5. If we were to picture this world in accuracy, we would see it as a snatching flaming graveyard; Jude 23. This is why we must reach out, holding forward sincere concern and the Gospel hope. Esther reached out to deliver others in loving concern and God’s omnipotent miracle upholding hand, transformed events.

 

I will cite a slight overview of the Old Testament and bring us to the period of Esther sequentially with a compiled walk-through.  In the book of Genesis, we note the conception of the Jewish race, which consists of God’s chosen people. The Jewish race began with Abraham and Sarah, who gave birth to Isaac.  Isaac married Rebecca, and they conceived Jacob, who became the father of twelve sons who fathered the twelve tribes of Israel (Israel is also a designated name for Jacob). The Jews who came forth from these twelve sons produced a great people of God who formed the nation of Israel.  The land of Israel was divided according to these twelve tribes for them to inhabit.  Each tribe had a section of land allotted to them. Joseph was one of the twelve sons of Jacob, and Joseph’s descendants were provided a section of land, though not in his name. It was deeded in the name of his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Through them, Joseph’s descendants received two portions of land as designed by God.  God appointed the sons of the tribe of Levi to serve Him as priests; therefore, they did not require any bequeathed land placed in their tribal name.  However, they could own land within any tribal area.  Thus, we have the land of Israel divided twelve ways.

 

To aid your historical understanding further, it was during the time of Joseph’s stay in Egypt as a ruler equal to Pharaoh in power that the Jews located to Egypt. They were few in number at this time, consisting of Jacob’s sons, their wives and children. Pharaoh welcomed them warmly and provided land. Centuries later, the Jews became a people of multitude and their vast strength and numbers threatened Egyptian domain. To remedy the situation, the Jewish foreigners were subjected to slavery. They grievously labored in the production of bricks. The Hebrews continually cried out to God in their languishing toil and a man by the name of Moses arose to deliver, the ordained one. Moses, through the power of God, led the Jews to the promised land of Israel (the appointed property God decreed to the Jewish race). Moses did not enter the land, but under Joshua, the Jews did.  In battle, the Hebrews defeated the land’s pagan inhabitants so they could become a great nation that feared and obeyed God. You can read of these happenings in the first five books of the Bible, called the Pentateuch. 

 

Following Joshua’s death, God appointed Judges to protect and deliver the Jews.  By placing yourself before the book of Judges, you can read of the magistrates who presided during this period.  These judges included the renowned—Samson, Gideon, and Deborah.  Samuel was Israel’s last judge who anointed Saul as Israel’s first king.  By reading 1 Samuel you can learn of Samuel’s life and be introduced to the epoch of the kings. The books that record the lives of the kings are 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 and 2 Chronicles. Samuel also anointed David as Israel’s second king, who replaced godless Saul, who eventually perished in battle. Solomon, David‘s son, secured the throne through God’s predestined hand, following David’s death. Solomon erected the first temple of worship—a very elaborate feat of architecture, famous throughout the known world.  Following Solomon’s rule, Rehoboam, Solomon’s wicked, godless son, ascended to the throne.  Because Rehoboam was a vile taskmaster over Israel, this nation became divided. Jeroboam, a man who had rebelled against Solomon’s rule, gained kingship of northern Israel. This area consisted of ten tribal areas. Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, ruled lower Israel—consisting of two tribal areas—Judah and Benjamin.  This lower kingdom held the capital city of Jerusalem, where the elaborate temple and Solomon’s grand palace stood. The northern kingdom was called Israel and the southern was called Judah.  Only those who descended from the line of David ruled the southern kingdom of Judah.  The northern kings were not related to David by direct descent.  Remember Jesus Christ came through the line of David as the Old Testament proclaimed He would; therefore, He has right to the throne for eternity, through His earthly birth, and as God of all. 

 

The Judah kingdom produced seven godly kings; Israel had only one.  Israel became very worldly and forsook God’s ways so she could be styling with society.  She did not desire to be a separated, peculiar, and an alienated people for God.  As a result, God allowed her to be led away captive by the Assyrian Empire, which held the most successful and ingenious fighters of the ancient world. Eventually, Judah became extremely evil, allowing the world to influence her as well. During the time of the great and massive Babylonian Empire, King Nebuchadnezzar took Judah captive and destroyed Jerusalem and Solomon’s temple. It was during this period of Jerusalem’s destruction that Mordecai (Esther’s adoptive father) and Esther were removed as Babylon’s captives. As prisoners, they were relocated to the Media-Persian area of the Babylonian Empire.  King Ahasuerus ruled Media-Persia under King Nebuchadnezzar; Esther 2:5-6. The story of Esther evolves around King Ahasuerus.

 

I believe the events of the book of Esther occurred within the time frame of the Babylonian Empire, not the Media-Persian World Empire as most believe. If they occurred during the Media-Persian World Empire, Mordecai would have been 100 years old or older.  Mordecai was Esther’s cousin and his aunt would have been far past childbearing age when she bore Esther according to such calculations.  In addition, the book of Esther states the events occurred after Mordecai and Esther were removed from Jerusalem under King Jeconiah; 2:5-7.  King Jeconiah ruled Judah during the time of King Nebuchadnezzar. Verse 7 states Mordecai “brought up” Esther. The word used in the original Hebrew text equates with, he “moved” her.  Media-Persia was an ancient empire. King Nebuchadnezzar most likely trusted King Ahasuerus with 127 of the Media-Persian provinces. 

 

Many subservient kings ruled under empire-owning kings in history. In 2 Kings 16:5-10, we see three kings mentioned as reigning over the northern kingdom of Israel. The Assyrian king, Tiglath-Pileser III, was the prominent king of the three and he ruled over a great deal of the known world before this nation succumbed to the Babylonian Empire. (When at the BritishMuseum, I viewed a large perfectly preserved black marble bust of Tiglath-Pileser III, along with large fragments of his dismantled palace that held artwork that depicted slavery. It was Tiglath-Pileser III, who placed the northern kingdom of Israel in slavery.)

 

After Mordecai, Esther, and King Jeconiah—AKA Jehoiachin—were removed from Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar, King Zedekiah ruled Judah under King Nebuchadnezzar; 2 Kings chapters 24 and 25. You see, this type of king-under-king rule was common.

 

To understand this governing of ancient kingdoms, it must be kept in mind that there were no vehicles or paved highways. Travel was difficult and slow. There were no telecommunications. A king of a vast kingdom had to own area kings, as history verifies.    

 

King Herod the Great ruled under Caesar Augustus—the king of the dominating Roman Empire under which Christ was born.  King Herod had a luxurious palace and held the reigning power over Israel, but under Caesar. King Herod exercised ruthless power when he massacred multitudes of babies, committing infanticide, in an attempt to kill the Christ child; Matthew chapter 2. He had been told the Christ baby was the King of the Jews. He envisioned this tiny baby boy as an intruding threat to his throne. Various children ruled as kings in history and Herod was well aware of this fact. (Someday Jesus Christ will rule as King of the Jews when He returns in glory.  He will be the magistrate of the entire globe.)

 

Esther and Mordecai, after being forced from Jerusalem, became inhabitants the city of Susa, ruled by King Ahasuerus; Esther 1:1-2. The setting of all cited events in Esther occurred in Susa, close to the border of Iraq, close to IranBaghdad is currently the capital of Iraq and its largest city. It is one of the most highly culturalized cities in the Middle East. It rests northwest of ancient Susa. The land areas surrounding this region (the north end of the Persian Gulf) have recorded the highest temperatures in the world, so we know Susa was not an area of cool comfort.  Through the war in Iraq, America has gained an idea of the climate and terrain of this nation.  Soldiers have reported you breathe and eat sand. 

 

With all this stated prehistory, I trust you are ready to delve into the remarkable book of Esther.

 

 

Contents

 

1. The Banquet

 

2.  Rash Behavior

 

3.  The Villain

  

4. “If I Perish, I Perish”

 

5. “Even to Half the Kingdom”

 

6.  A Sleepless Night

 

7.  Haman’s Demise

 

8.  Mordecai Crowned

 

9.  The Chime of Victory

 

10.  The Facts Recorded 

 

 

Preface

 

This little book will introduce you to a lovely, godly woman—Esther. She is one of the supreme, female historical figures of all time. Her feminine attributes stand out brilliantly in this day and age of selfish womanhood. Her genuineness should touch your life for change.

 

Esther was predestined to shelter God’s doomed people. Her walk of faith allowed her to experience the omnipotent, saving work of God in holocaustic circumstances.

 

To comprehend the content of this commentary, you need to read the Book of Esther, probing its pages for uplifting truth.

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

The Imperial Banquet

 

The curtain of the first act opens on this book and we witness an all-city generous celebration. The staging is magnificent as the glories of a wealthy kingdom are set before us. We behold an all-impressive palace. Both the poor and rich are banqueting in its massive elaborateness at the kingdom’s expense. This imperial feast will last 180 days. Wow, have you ever known a banquet to last this long?

 

It is only in this first chapter that we find the magnificence of this palace and garden area unmasked. We note hangings of fine white and violet linen are suspended by fine linen purple cords on silver rings.  Now, this is not all that we get to glimpse. There are marble columns and couches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement holding all sorts of precious stones. What a site to behold! No doubt, many people walked about with their mouths open. Most castles were not this elaborate.

 

The populace received drinks in golden vessels of various kinds and the wine was plentiful. But the host did not demand that the people drink the wine. He let the people act according to their own desires in the matter. The host is the king and he is completely cordial and sensitive to others. Yes, this has all been orchestrated by the king, who is showing off all his riches and splendor. Nothing but the best for the wealthy sovereign of this massive kingdom—the area of Media-Persia.

 

Though it appears this emperor was a boaster; actually, he was a giving man, not given to partiality, and everyone was able to partake of everything from the savory cuisine to the grandeur of the palace and grounds. Generosity was one of the king’s good attributes.

 

(I want to inject here that we must understand we are observing a pagan culture in this chapter.  This celebration and most city celebrations emphasize having a good time. This is far different from what God ordained for His nation Israel that has become interwoven into this civilization and will take center stage in the storyline. 

 

Before being captured and removed to Media-Persia, the Jews did gather in the capital city of Jerusalem for God’s decreed celebrations of thanksgiving—worshipping Him for all His provisions. Jewish celebrations were also a reflective time, as Israel’s inhabitants would remember their sin.  Designated animals were sacrificed. Such sacrificial times enabled the people to understand how much God hated disobedience and that a price had to be paid. In the New Testament, Christ became the payment for sin as the perfect and final blood sacrifice. He died on a cross for everyone and three days later, arose from His grave. Anyone can place his or her faith in Jesus Christ; yet with the consideration of the rejection that accompanies following a God of holy innocence. You can choose right now to follow Christ. You can ask God the Father to save you through God the Son, Jesus Christ. When you do, you receive abundant life and eternal life; Romans 6:34 and Hebrews 10:8-11.)  

 

You might think all ends well concerning this glorious, elaborate gathering of the kingdom. Well, … not so, something dramatic takes this merry-making king off guard and this setting scene becomes all disrupted. The Queen, Vashti, refuses to come in the presence of the king and display her beauty before the people as he commanded. He is infuriated! No one refuses the king, even the queen who wears a crown of authority. His advisors demand her discharge! They do not want a women’s lib upheaval. They do not want wives disrespecting their husbands.

 

We see in this chapter, women’s rebellion trying to raise its ugly head through the disobedience of Queen Vashti. Women are to honor their husbands as the New Testament commands; Ephesians 5:33. I find it interesting how this command of God was emphasized even during this pagan regime.  In Romans chapter one, God reveals that He has placed in all men, including the unsaved, a knowledge of His attributes—His eternal power and divine nature. God, through His grace, has written His law on all men’s hearts (Romans 2:14-15) so some order is maintained in this fallen world including in the area of a man being the head of his household. 

 

At the end of Esther chapter 1, verse 22, we take note of the fact that the king allows certain personal freedoms to abide in his kingdom such as a man having a right to speak his native language in his own home, not necessarily the Media-Persian national tongue. However, the native dialect of the wife, if different, could not be spoken. All had to be performed in respect to the honored husband. 

 

 

 

Chapter 2

 

Rash Behavior

 

The opening of the curtain of the second chapter arises and we behold King Ahasuerus coming to his senses and realizing what he had decreed concerning Vashti out of his rash behavior. He acted impulsively, exerting his power. At this moment, he misses her grievously. If he had thought about it more thoroughly, he could have saved his marriage, which God declared to be life long. He could have simply not allowed her into his presence until she apologized to him and the kingdom in total humility and repentance. He was an impulsive king and this led him to have to locate a means to correct himself on occasion. He certainly relied too much on his advisors. Of course, he simply may not have been very mentally gifted and therefore, cannot be faulted too much.

 

King Solomon requested wisdom from God, seeing he owned much inadequacy. Solomon insightfully knew he could not rule effectively apart from God. God, of course, knew his shortcomings and granted him wisdom, unsurpassed knowledge and understanding; however, sin still invaded his life and the kingdom.  Shortsightedness exists in any monarchy rule and it still plagued Solomon though the wisest of the wisest.

 

If a king was not sharp and wise, he secured his kingdom’s downfall. Most kings inherited the role. Most were trained to rule within palace walls, not learning from experience. They generally would not listen to the people regarding their needs. Ivory palaces with their inward wealth left most kings entrapped in self-glory as witnessed with King Herod in Matthew chapter 2.

 

In 1 Samuel 8:10-17, God speaks through Samuel, to reveal the consequences Israel would face as she turned from a theocracy form of government to a monarchy (This was before Samuel anointed Saul as Israel’s first king). In a theocracy, God rules not a man. That is why originally our American government was opposed to a monarchy and desired a theocracy. That is why all our original laws were Biblically enacted. That is why homosexuality, adultery, divorce, immodesty, etc., where illegal in this great land. It was to be a government by the people who feared God and acted accordingly.

 

Israel wanted to be trendy and styling, just like the nations that surrounded her. She suffered servitude travail as Samuel’s warnings came to fruition in future years regarding the demands of kings. Esther and her people suffered in Media-Persia because the Jewish kings faltered severely which led to this foreign captivity. The Jews were removed from Judah, the southern portion of the Holy Land, and were dispersed in the pagan land of Babylon

 

Returning to chapter 2 of Esther and the plight of the king’s loneliness, it was suggested that many beautiful virgins be brought to the king so a new queen could be sought. Now this was a fleshly way to get his mind off Vashti. This sensual route pleased this pagan king and this is how Esther entered the palace grounds. Esther was brought as a captive to Persia from the land of Israel and now she is made a captive of the king. She and many other women were placed in custody or arrested and made the property of the king against any say of their own.  Verse 8 speaks to this custody, “… and many young ladies were gathered to Susa the capital into the custody of Hegai, that Esther was taken to the king’s palace …”

 

It is assumed that Esther’s name was changed from Hadassah, verse 7, to the pagan goddess name Esther when she entered the palace. Hadassah means myrtle. Esther would not have changed her Jewess name so she could appear pagan. This changing of the name was a normal occurrence. We see this transpired in Daniel chapter 1, when the Jewish young men had their godly names withdrawn to be dealt pagan god titles, including Daniel. This occurred when they were made to serve King Nebuchadnezzar; they too were forcefully withdrawn from Judah.

 

No doubt, this union made under duress is not what Esther dreamed about concerning marriage. She desired to obey God and marry a godly Jew who loved and respected her. She desired to keep house, providing love and nurturing care for her husband and children; Titus 2:4-5.

 

A Jew was not allowed to marry a pagan just as Christians are not allowed to marry the unsaved today—2 Corinthians 6:14f. However, we know, Esther did not walk around in sorrow and weighed down with guilt in her plight. She knew God understood her heart and she recognized His blessings upon her. She, no doubt, remembered Joseph was assigned a pagan wife when in subjection to Pharaoh.

 

Esther and her adoptive father, Mordecai, were of the Jewish tribe of Benjamin. Her parents died and her cousin Mordecai took her as his daughter. If you go to the maps at the back of your Bible, you will see where this tribe dwelt within the land of Israel. It is closely related to the city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem was where Esther and Mordecai resided before their captivity. Jerusalem, the capital (today, it remains Israel’s capital), held the temple and king’s palaces and their tombs. It was also the main location of habitation. This was where Jews came to partake in the commanded festivals and offerings. Jerusalem was burned to the ground some years following Esther’s transportation.

 

Returning to chapter 2 of Esther, we take note of her being a godly woman of character—holding to modesty and femininity. She certainly stood out, allowing her to gain approval and a superior status in the harem; verse 9.  She was so well-educated in the ways of the Media-Persians, no one suspected her of being of the slave race of Jews. She obviously spoke the language fluently and also wrote the language as revealed in 9:29. Not all women were illiterate in Bible times, as many would have you believe.  

 

Mordecai, also being a man of character—very godly and obedient to God’s Word—cared very much about Esther and faithfully checked on her welfare; verses 11f.  

 

Verse 12 discusses all the spa preparations made for virgins before joining with the king in a marital relationship. These preparations were a year in length. Esther certainly must have been at the peak of beauty and softness when brought before the king. Myrrh, which is often warmed to sooth, was one of Esther’s fragrant beauty aids. I personally enjoy wearing this unusual, but lovely Middle Eastern scent obtained from the Cammiphora shrub. This thorny flora can grow to be 30 feet tall and is identified by its knotted branches, musty smelling leaves and white flowers. This perfume also owns medicinal properties and is applied to alleviate ulcers, sores, wounds, athlete’s foot, chapped skin, ringworm, eczema and the spread of gangrene. Besides being located in the Middle East, it is also native to North Africa and India.

 

Historically, it was worth its weight in gold. And, if you remember, it was one of the valued gifts brought to Christ when a babe and aptly signified His death. Interestingly, when the Cammiphora branches are cut, they bleed a reddish-brown resin—myrrh (meaning bitter). The myrrh color and bleeding have come to symbolize the sacrificed blood of Jesus Christ. He endured a bitter death for us. Myrrh also represents comfort and healing which is also symbolic of the Savior.

 

In verse 13, we see a wedding gift was offered to every virgin before she was brought to the king. They could acquire any item they desired from the Harem. Obviously, it was a beautiful area that had to be kept well-stocked for all these wives-to-be. 

 

We learn from verse 15, that Esther was not materialistic and desired wisdom above things when she went to the king. Her inward heart sought wise lasting counsel not riches that pass away. She did not desire to offend the king or others who were in the palace with negligent manners. (When we arrive at chapters 4 and 5, we will observe further the importance of knowing protocol.) This is Esther’s wedding day and she wants it perfect, as she seems to want to be queen. This would provide her with more advantages.

 

Esther was a godly, pure woman and went to the king as a modest rare gem. Her witness of wisdom and modesty caused her to be in favor with all those who saw her. (I believe Webster’s 1828 definition concerning modesty is absolutely perfect in regard to Esther: “Unaffected modesty is the sweetest charm of female excellence, the richest gem in the diadem of her honor.”She was not one who would have engaged in dirty jokes or misguided behavior. Obviously, the king was very impressed by her. She was a wise, intelligent woman not given to silly talk or notions of fantasy. She was perfect for the role and later she would act as an ambassador and legislator for her people. The king knew she would not be a woman who would embarrass or make a mockery of him. She held a sensitive and gentle heart.

 

After seeing the king, the women of the virgin harem graduated to the second harem as they had now been united with the king in the marriage act.  Since Esther was crowned queen, verse 17, she no longer had to live in a harem.  She was placed in the palace, awarded a large section, as revealed in 4:13.

 

We see this is an event of powerful magnitude. The king, so enamored by Esther and so in love with her, provided a banquet, and even named it “Esther’s Feast;” 2:18.  She had to be the most impressive woman in the kingdom to catch the heart of this powerful, presiding king.  I am sure everyone at this banquet is taking in the godly loveliness of this uniquely gifted woman. I believe the castle seamstresses fashioned the perfect stunning gown that made her even more the stand out.  No doubt, Esther’s impartial and gracious personality captured the hearts of those attending through regal invitation. I am sure she was the talk of the town and nation for teeming days to come. 

 

In verse 20, we view again, the submissive and obedient heart of Esther, so taught to be by Mordecai. He certainly deserves a great deal of praise for this prize he raised and home-schooled. She submits to Mordecai in every way, including not revealing her people as he instructed. God reemphasizes her conformity for a reason. In 1 Peter 3:2-4, we see the type of woman God desires us to be, one obedient to God’s Word without rebellion. Verse 2 speaks to the chaste and respectful behavior of the godly married woman. Of course, this refers to outside the marriage bedroom.  Verse 3 speaks of true adornment being internal and verse 4, the magnitude of a gentle and quiet spirit that resounds throughout the land in witness—being precious in the sight of God. Such a spirit reveals true femininity.

 

(Verse 20 of Esther emphasizes her submission. It does not state AND ESTHER PROTESTED MOSES’ LAWS CONCERNING WOMEN BY CARRYING A SIGN STATING “DOWN WITH MOSES, UP WITH WOMEN.” It does states she submitted to Mordecai in all that he told her, just as she did when in his care.

 

Women today speak evil of Paul, but under grace we have so much more freedom compared to the women under the law, such as Esther. I personally wonder why women today do not condemn Moses as a radical women-hater and male chauvinist. His writings were far, far stricter than Paul’s. Both Paul and Moses penned the words of God, not their own. The words of the Pentateuch, Moses’ five composed books, were delivered by the angels of God—Acts 7:53 and Hebrews 2:2. This reveals their God-ordained authority.)

 

In verses 21-23, back in Esther chapter 2, we witness God using Mordecai to prevent an overthrow of King Ahasuerus.  It states two men desired to lay hands on the king.  This means to kill.  They certainly were not simply going to punch him a few times and let him go.  They refused to show great respect for this highest of offices.  King Ahasuerus held the highest office in the entire Media-Persian empire, consisting of 127 provinces; 1:1.  

 

It was no accident that Mordecai overheard this plot of assassination.  God did not want this kingdom in chaos at this time. If King Ahasuerus had been murdered, these men would have had to murder all those loyal to the king, including his royal family. They most likely would not have hesitated to kill Queen Esther. They would have brought in a complete new government with new heads of provinces, etc.  It would not have been a pretty sight and God knew these men would have brought even more evil within this pagan plighted land. King Ahasuerus had ascended to the throne by birthright not murderous ways. God had worked in the lives of all the rulers placed over Israel since her captivity, completely by design.  Romans 13:1 teaches, “There is no authority except from God and those which exist are established by God.”

 

Queen Esther acting as a knowing informant, verse 22, reveals the plot and exalts Mordecai’s name as a faithful and upright citizen who acted honorably by saving the king’s life. In this, the Queen reveals her faithfulness as well. 

 

Romans 13:2 is excellent instruction, for it states, those who resist the governing authorities receive God’s condemnation. The judging result concerning these two convict culprits was lethal. They were hanged on the gallows; verse 23. These sentences to death for insurrection would have placed fear in many who might have attempted to steal the throne. The Bible further states in Romans 13:3-4 that rulers are a cause for good behavior; therefore, we must have a fear of doing right for governments do bear a sword.

 

 

Chapter 3

 

The Villain

 

Entering chapter 3, we are introduced to Haman, the villain of our story, who takes center stage in more ways than one. Where it seems King Ahasuerus should have promoted Mordecai for his loyalty, he decides to promote Haman as overseer of “all the princes that were with him;” 3:1.

As Haman now held this most important title, people were to bow down and pay homage to him, actually worship him like a god. There is no doubt this is what Haman desired. Mordecai, being a man of God, would not compromise even though he knew disobedience could cost him his life. He could never honor an Agagite and transgress God’s decrees. Haman’s people, the Agagites or Amalakites, had been the enemies of the Jews since Moses.

Obeying God was Mordecai’s first and only priority. I believe Mordecai’s story is recorded in history, due to the fact most people would think, “What’s the big deal?  I want to live in peace.” He stands as one who is strong in his faith in God and His Holy Word which states emphatically, “We are to have no other gods before us;” Deuteronomy chapter 5. We must always obey God before men and their laws. This truth is set before us in Acts 5:29. In this text, we witness Peter and the apostles boldly stating to the Jewish authorities, “We must obey God rather than men.” However, this right we hold as believers, should never excuse self-centered government rebellion.  

 

Sinister Haman

 

Haman was a sinister Agagite. God let us know Haman was of this decent, addressing him as an Agagite, placing this information before us in Esther 3:1. 

 

The Agagites were Amalakites, as we learn from 1 Samuel 15:8.  Haman was called an Agagite—after Agag, the king of the Amalekites as we read in this verse.  These people were cursed of God for their Antisemitism. We read of this curse in Exodus 17:14. God demanded they all be destroyed in this text and He declared He would annihilate them completely. We rejoice here because the Jews fought against their enemies, the Amalekites, and were victorious. Amalek was the king of these people at this time, Exodus 17:13, before the time of King Agag. 

 

In 1 Samuel chapter 15, the Israelites are once again battling the Amalekites (The Amalekites once occupied parts of Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.  King Amalek was the grandson of Essau—who fathered the Edomites; Gen. 36:12.) and God is demanding the death of every Amalekite. The Jewish army obeyed the LORD and all the Amalekites were destroyed that were present at the location of this battle. However, King Saul disobeyed God and allowed King Agag to live; whereby, the prophet Samuel had to hack him to death in obedience to God’s command.

 

I believe Haman, being a descendant of Agag, identified that the Jews had slaughtered his people in two main chronicled battles. This owing to the fact he was an educated man that earned an A+ in history to gain the position he owns in this kingdom. These deflating and humbling combative facts, no doubt, incited his furry to engulf the entire Jewish population. Mordecai’s insurrection of refusing to pay homage, 3:2, was just a spark that set off his fiery rage.

 

Mordecai was acting in obedience to God (Deuteronomy 25:17-19) and would never bow down to Haman—of Amalakite descent. It was not wrong to bow before authority, as we witness in 2 Samuel 24:20 where Araunah bowed his face to the ground before King David in respect and honor. In Genesis 23:7, Abraham bowed to the people of a pagan land. In 1 Samuel 24:8, we witness David bowing his face to the ground and prostrating himself before King Saul. 

 

We read in Esther 3:6 that Haman did not desire to place his hands on Mordecai alone when he found out who his people were. It was at this time that he determined to destroy all the Jews. As we delve further into this chapter, we observe Haman coming into the presence of the king owning a complete knowledge of the Jews; verse 8. In verse 9, we observe Haman informing the king that the Jewish religion is contrary to the Media-Persian belief system; implementing it as an excuse to entirely annihilate the Jews in their 127 provinces. Verse 10 informs us that Haman is an enemy of all the Jews, not just Mordecai.

 

The Jews were commanded to always remember the Amalekites and what they did to them when they came out of Egypt. They were to blot out their memory and they were never to forget! I believe, the Agagites were eventually annihilated and blotted out as God stated in Exodus 17:14.  It may have been through Queen Esther that God’s curse of death for the all Agagites (these antisemitists) was carried forth, removing their remnant completely.   

 

~

Verse 7 reveals Esther has now been queen five years when all this begins to comes to pass. We know this by the fact she became queen in the seventh year of King Ahasuerus’ reign; 2:16. And verse 7 states the king has now reigned twelve years. 

This new scene opens with Haman casting a lot in order to find the most appropriate time to talk to the king concerning the destruction of the Jews. He will not appear before the king unless he feels superstition is on his side. This casting of lots is referred to as Pur or Purim.  (No one seems to totally understand this concept, though it seems to resemble the throwing of the dice, as a stone or other object was thrown that held markings. The displayed markings determined destiny or so thought.)  approaches the king in verse 8. He must incite the king to believe the Jews must be destroyed—they being rebellious to the king’s ways. Haman knows he must put forth a good act to convince the king. 

We witness here Haman even using money to bribe the king. However, King Ahasuerus tells Haman he can keep the money and the demise will be carried forth; verses 9-11.  It is interesting the king didn’t even care to learn who these people were or their reputation within the kingdom. It certainly appears their nationality was not mentioned.  As I stated before, this king trusts too much in man. Jeremiah 17:5 declares that if a man trusts in other men he is cursed. God and His Word must be our only stable trust.  

The Israelites were to be completely abated in one day, including all women and children; verse 13. This would be accomplished a year from the enacted decree. It was time-appropriated in consideration of the transit interval needed for the death warrant declaration to reach every distant province. 

(Daniel 6:4-13 holds a resemblance tale. Here, we see Daniel is hated for his faith and commitment—much like Mordecai. A plot is formed for Daniel’s demise. This king is also used as an evil pawn … as was King Ahasuerus. Here too we read of a death signed decree. In verses 6-9, we see King Darius being wrongly persuaded to destroy all who will not worship him only as god. If anyone disobeyed, they were to be cast into the lion’s dreadful den. These evildoers knew Daniel would not compromise nor turn away from God Almighty as a faithful Jew even if it meant death. They knew Daniel was no coward or compromiser.

Daniel had learned of the petition, but still he prayed with open windows, boldly and resolutely. He was willing to perish for God. He was a tremendous witness—not trying to please all, and not denying the Scriptural commands. He was thrown to the lions, but God shut the lions’ mouths. We know God was gracious at this time as many of the prophets were killed for not compromising. Of course, their eternal hope was well worth their suffering and execution.) 

Mordecai would not compromise and did not fear death when he refused to bow down to Haman. God made sure, through His grace, that Mordecai and Daniel were both preserved through their circumstances.  

We see the foolishness of this edict signing even further as verse 15 of chapter 3 states, while the king and Haman were eating and drinking, “the city of Susa was in confusion.” The people were abruptly informed they had to kill their Jewish neighbors and their children a year from today.  Many of the Media-Persians, no doubt, had come to love these humble people and now they are told they have to murder them for no reason. It might be noted that some of these people possibly had some in-laws who were Jews.  If one had a son or daughter who married a Jew, they would have to kill their son-in-law or daughter-in-law and their own grandchildren who held Jewish blood. What confusion indeed! Of course, intermarriage was a sin, but many Jews disobeyed. 

The falling dead are what people are envisioning at this moment and it is on this dreadful scene that the curtain falls.  

 

Chapter 4

“If I Perish I Perish” 

We have now arrived at Esther chapter 4; here, this factual drama heightens in intensity as it marches on in intrigue. Toward the closing of chapter 3, we witnessed the Jewish death decree announcement.      

As we view the current scene in 4:1, Mordecai is in deep and grievous mourning. He displays his grief in a visual way as he wears socially unacceptable clothing—sackcloth. (Sackcloth was made of coarse dark goat’s hair, the substance of sacks. It was far from attractive. Often grievers would add ashes to their sackcloth or sat in them. This sackcloth and ash display often revealed a repentant heart toward God as well. And I do not think it is wrong to assume that the LORD used this tragic decreed situation to convict the Jewish populace of sin. God desired to draw His people closer to Himself and away from the cultural ways of the pagan Media-Persian Empire.)

Please note there was no rioting, simply a peaceful demonstration. The Jews calmly represented their woes. Haman painted them falsely before  King Ahasuerus. God made sure the truth concerning their obedient citizenship was made known through their witness before men. 1 Corinthians 4:5 informs us that what is hidden in darkness will be brought to light by God and He will disclose the motives of men’s hearts.  Every hidden desire and motive of Haman was eventually brought to light through God who hates every hidden evil thing.

 

Even though the king and Haman do not know of Mordecai’s blood connection with the queen, her maidens and eunuchs certainly do as they report to her concerning Mordecai’s grievous activities; verse 4.

 

Esther is queen and, no doubt, second in the land in importance as empress. She has multitudes of persons in her attendance and under her command. We know she is dearly loved by her servants as we observe through their respect—they are concerned by all that effects the queen. Many may have come to a belief in God due to her witness. Remember, Naomi in the book of Ruth, brought the woman Ruth of a pagan land to a saving knowledge of God through her righteous representation.

 

Esther has been queen six years now and possibly has as many as four children by the king. She may have bore a couple of sons; the elder would be heir to the throne if Vashti’s son or sons perished. The Bible does not state Esther was barren and for a queen to be in good standing with the king, she needed to produce princes. God has thoroughly blessed her; therefore, I personally believe He allowed her to reproduce.  The king did not know that by signing Haman’s edict, he signed the queen’s and their royal offspring’s death decree.

 

Esther inquires into Mordecai’s mournful display, as her heart is broken for her adoptive father who is not acting within a normal state of mind. She wants him to retire his garment of mourning so she no longer has to worry. However, he totally refuses. He will not! He attempts to make her understand by thoroughly informing her of the looming holocaustic situation. He also orders her to plea for her people before the king. Yes, he is commanding the queen; verse 8.

 

In verse 11, we observe this pronounced massacre is naturally producing anguishing turmoil within Esther. She is in devastating shock! And not only does she have to endure the mournful news, but she must plan quickly a presentation before the king. She has not seen the king for thirty days and she is to address the issue of her death decree before him. It is interesting to note that Esther has kept a mental calendar—noting every passing day she has not been with her king and husband. She obviously has missed him. As far as she knows, he may be displeased with her as he was with Vashti. With his many concubines, he may have found a new love. You can imagine the thoughts that were running through her mind at such a time.

 

Traversing further into this stirring tale, we see more of the powerful character of Mordecai displayed before us. He now undertakes the commanding role as defender of his people. He is no longer simply Esther’s protector; he is now the one who must lead and encourage the deliverance of his people and Esther. As Barak was the encouraging force behind Deborah in the book of Judges so is Mordecai to Esther.

 

As Israel’s prophet for this time and setting, he foretells to Esther what God has disclosed to him. Though it does not say God, we know He is the one who has revealed His truth to Mordecai. Never once is God mentioned in this little book, but His providence, protection and guidance are completely distinguished. Mordecai dreadfully reveals Esther’s fate of death and her children if she does not respond to God’s calling to be Israel’s redeeming intercessor; verses 13-14. Today, Jesus Christ holds the position of redeeming intercessor for all believers in the heavenly realm.

 

Verse 14 also speaks to Esther’s family line. Mordecai reveals if she remains silent, she and her father’s house will perish. She and her children will die and God will allow it. Her silence will be a sentence of death placed upon her for shunning the LORD’S calling for her life. It seems obvious that she was made queen for such a time, to preserve God’s people alive. These were the most serious words Mordecai ever spoke to his adoptive daughter and Esther cannot run and hide from them; there is nowhere to go.

 

This brings us to greater exposure—more of Esther’s godly qualities set before us; verse 16. She is willing to die for her God. “If I perish, I perish.” (All believers today are called to die for their faith if necessary. Christ said people must consider the cost of following Him. Every Christian must be willing to lift up a cross and follow no matter the price, and many have followed unto death.)

 

We also witness further the ruling authority of Queen Esther in this verse. She, being one of the most powerful reginas on the earth, orders the Jews to pray and fast for her. She understands the power of fasting intercession. She will fast and will order her maidens to fast with her. She orders Mordecai to oversee her fasting commands. She is mindful of God’s omnipotence. She knows He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth who answers petitions in accordance to His divine will and purpose.  She recognizes the preservation of God’s people is God’s predestined will!

 

We can envision the closing scene of this chapter with countless people on bended knees.

 

 

Chapter 5

 

“Even to Half the Kingdom”

 

The curtain is now being drawn away to reveal the ultimate climaxing scene of this book. Here we view Esther displayed in all her queenly splendor; 5:1. She is in her royal robes and is possibly displaying her diadem which was ceremonially placed on her at her crowning debut; 2:17. It was probably protocol for the queen to wear her royal attire when in public rooms such as these. It is also a reminder to King Ahasuerus that she is empress and of utmost importance in the kingdom. (Some historians believe Queen Vashti was asked to be lewd in her conduct before the king and his guests and that is why she refused his invitation and was removed from her position. I, personally, do not see this. The queen was always to be properly attired in modest royal garments. Vashti, most likely, didn’t desire to leave her place as hostess, overseeing the stately women. She being queen thought she held the power to refuse.)

 

The first verse also speaks in regard to the king’s rooms and King Ahasuerus’ throne room where he is seated. I would imagine his throne was intricate in tapestry and gold design. We know all that surrounded Him spoke loudly of prominent regal wealth. (Through 1 Kings 10:18f we get to glimpse King Solomon’s ornate throne, it being made of ivory and overlaid with the most precious gold. It had six steps and there were twelve fashioned lions upon the steps, two per step, one on each end. This throne was world famous as there was none other that compared to its lavishness.)

 

King Ahasuerus was certainly wearing his royal robes and diadem, he being on display. I am sure he appeared as no one else in the kingdom could appear in presentation elegance. It could be a life-threatening thing for anyone to stand before this king who held complete judgmental power over the Media-Persian citizens. I am sure many shook in fear when meeting this sovereign face to face. We are commanded to fear and tremble before our sovereign King, the Creator of the heavens and the earth—Philippians 2:12

 

(When my husband and I were in London, I received an awakening to the intricacies of monarchy rule. It certainly can be a glamorous realm in which to reside. Seeing Buckingham Palace and the changing of the guard made me feel I was part of something I had never experienced before and was very naive in regard. Seeing the Parliament building and other historical areas tucked within Westminster kept me learning on the go. Scanning the intricacies of layers upon layers of imperial history widened my eyes, enabling me to enjoy better vision when studying the regal aspects of Scripture.)

 

We perceive Esther has to be in anguishing turmoil at this point, not knowing if this meeting could end her life. You can imagine her relief when the king graciously holds out the scepter and she touches its pinnacle in bowing humility (Now, it does not say she bowed, but we know this was proper protocol before a sovereign).

 

Holding forth a scepter revealed approval. You can picture this in a child’s fairytale setting; whereby, a little girl’s eyes become like saucers when a portrait of a beautiful palace with a king seated on his throne in all his royal grandeur is set before her in large storybook illustrated form. This leaf turns aside and a new is set before her, prompting her eyes to shimmer. Right there, in illuminating color, is the most beautiful queen in all the world. The child intensely examines her soft royal red robe, blue silk gown and glistening crown. This small girl ponders the splendor of the queen’s raiment. She images them on her—being all tailored just to her size, so she can pretend to be queen. The next sheet is positioned before her and she gazes at the queen bowing before the king. She can only see the queen’s eyelids—her eyes are bowing too. Another brightly painted scene emerges and she peers at this lovely queen, taking special note of her feminine perfect hands. One is placed on the king’s fine golden scepter. Tears now arise, fogging the child’s vision, as the next illustrated leaf exclaims exchanged love. This is when the eyes of the king and queen become united. This touching scene (Yes, a bit elaborated by me) can prick our hearts to tenderness and even more so, as we know this fairy-like tale actually maintains a place in global history.   

 

(The British Crown Jewels are displayed at the Tower of London. When there, I took note of the imaged doves seated on the ends of a couple of the scepters. Doves represent peace and submission. They are symbolic of the Holy Spirit according to Christian and secular recordings.

 

Doves were the only birds that could be offered in sacrifice according to Mosaic Law—two were offered at Christ’s birth. The Holy Spirit appeared as a dove, descending and resting on Christ at His baptism. Doves secure a profile of Christ at His crucifixion, as He was beaten beyond recognition, yet never retaliated. 

 

Doves also represent never departing faithfulness and affection—doves affectionately mate for life. Christ, out of His affectionate love, will never leave nor forsake believers.)

 

You can imagine the joy that filled Queen Esther’s heart when she recognized the prayers of her people had been answered, when the king lovingly received her. (It certainly is not wrong to pray for a renewed love to awaken a husband and wife. Such intercessions possibly ascended for this king and queen. Sometimes feelings can vanquish away, but God can renew hearts to tenderness. In marriage, we should always strive for the feelings of young, excited love through the grace and power of God who desires marriage for life. He can work beyond what we can ask for think.)

 

The king knows Esther had to be greatly troubled to approach him and attempts to sooth her with loving words, “Even to half the kingdom it shall be yours.” He meant it as he is well acquainted with her regina abilities. He speaks to her as the one who is queen, being powerfully significant in his eyes.

 

He distinguishes she sacrificed herself to come to him against what is normal protocol and immediately wants to know the unrest of her mind. It is obvious his love has not faded and lavishes comforting words upon her. She represented the attractive attributes of an appealing wife, being his graceful doe and loving hind; Proverbs 5:19. He would love to have her rule beside him, owning half of his kingdom.  

 

Esther, as a wise and intelligent woman, does not fly into an emotional scene before the king at this point. She calmly invites the king to a banquet along with Haman that she has prepared; verse 4. The old adage that through a man’s stomach his heart can be obtained seems to be applied here. A prudent wife does not present a major problem or request to her husband before he is fed, rested and satisfied.

 

The king knows Esther has prepared a remarkable buffet, as she is not one to perform things half-heartedly. She has painstakingly worked to make it perfect. Wanting to be with his queen for this sumptuous meal, the king hastily grabs Haman and hurries to the banquet. He wants to eat, drink and be with the love of his life. Mainly, he wants to know what is on his wife’s heart. At the banquet Esther refuses to speak her mind and simply requests that they return the next day and promises the king that she will disclose everything; verses 5-8. The curtain closes.

 

The curtain reopens at verse 10, where we view a nearby setting. We see Haman at home glad of heart, rejoicing before his friends and family. He turns this time into a brag session and recounts his positioned glory, riches, influence, and his many sons. He relays that the queen had requested only him and the king attend her banquet. No one else in the kingdom has ever been so distinguished by the queen. He is even invited to a second banquet tomorrow hosted by the queen. Suddenly, his happy temperament changes to one of gloom as he remembers Mordecai’s lack of respect. Haman is very agitated and everyone around him can see it. He wants every national citizen to recognize his importance and act accordingly! His wicked family and friends sympathize and do not hesitate to advise him to build a gallows and hang Mordecai. Why should such a simple murder be troublesome? The queen and king are uplifting Haman in notable ways, therefore his clan believes he can do anything he desires. Haman simply has to attain the permission of the king and his troubles will be gone forever.

 

Haman, owning the support of family and friends, immediately sets to action. He commands the building of the gallows in all faith that his desire will be accomplished. Haman triumphantly closes the scene.

 

 

Chapter 6

 

A Sleepless Night

 

Chapter 6 intervenes to add hope to this grim setting. As the curtain arises, we view a king unable to sleep—he may be worried about his queen. He seems to believe the best sleeping pill is to be read to. (We do know people are praying and this is an answer. God can work in the lives and hearts of the unsaved. I have seen it. I believe it is God who is keeping this man awake.) A servant reads to the king the chronicles of the Media-Persian government. The king so happens … No! It is through an act of God that this king listens intently to the account of Mordecai who had saved his life; 2:21-23.  

 

King Ahasuerus assumes that surely something marvelous was performed for Mordecai—his savior. Obviously, the king forgot the occurrence and recording—a king has a lot to think about and important incidents can slip the mind.  He learns none of his servants took note of Mordecai’s lifesaving report either. No one to that day had distinguished Mordecai as the king’s savior. Of course, who would act without the king’s permission? 

 

The king is determined that something be done. He will not pass by this written account that strikes a note of accountability even in the middle of the night.  (Here we witness another good attribute of this king, he believes he is to give honor to whom it is due.)

 

It just so happens (No! God has a great sense of humbling humor) that Haman desires an audience with the king. He wants to tell the king of his demise-scheme concerning Mordecai, this being presented in the most convincing of ways. (What timing! How this chapter makes us chuckle. This drama is turned into a comedy for a short duration. This is a reminder that God is on the throne and there is nothing outside His control; Psalm 50:10-12. Our God is an awesome God of wisdom and might. Psalm 59:8 tells us God laughs at His enemies and scoffs at all the nations.) Before Haman can present his request, he becomes sidetracked with the king who desires to honor a person. Haman holds no doubts, that it is he. Haman says to himself, “Whom would the king desire to honor more than me.” He knows he is the most highlighted man in the kingdom … very famous. He believes the king and queen can’t help, but love him to pieces.  Why, he is going to the queen’s banquet today. No one else has been invited except for the king. (Can you imagine the bouncing excitement that is now present in Haman’s sinful, evil heart?) 

 

Verses 7-9 reveal Haman’s sick mind, knowing he desires to be led around like the king, himself, on the king’s stately steed, in all the king’s arrayed splendor, including his crown. He held a tremendous affinity for ruling power. (I believe, Haman hoped to someday take the throne from the king. Why else does he want to be seen as a crowned king in the streets if this is not the goal of his heart? He does not want to be led humbly as the king’s servant, but as king, in all royal attire.)

 

Haman hears he must do all this for Mordecai. What? Haman must be standing totally dumbfounded. This is the name he hates and dreads the most. How can he comprehend the king is delighted in Mordecai? Haman must be asking himself, “How in the world could this king know this disgusting, obstinate Jew?” While still engulfed in his shock, he learns he must parade this dreadful man before all the rejoicing public. This will be performed in the exact way Haman described to the king. Mordecai will appear in all kingly splendor, just as Haman desired for himself. Haman, no doubt wonders, “How could this wonderful moment turn into such a living nightmare?”

 

From here, the setting moves to the street scene celebration. However, depressed Haman is not celebrating.  He is not jumping up and down in glee as he parades Mordecai down the avenues. The last thing in the world he desires is to appear as a simple servant of Mordecai’s. Truth at times can be stranger than fiction. Haman’s harmonious loud proclamation of praises “Thus it shall be done to the man whom the king desires to honor” spoken before the world, certainly does not hold an inward enthusiastic note. Haman felt very embarrassed having Mordecai mounted above him in the grandest of ways.

 

You can envision this, Mordecai’s heyday … everyone is applauding as he passes by. Mordecai must have chuckled in his heart while being led by Haman—his guiding servant. He knows Haman is inwardly fuming mad, disgusted and defeated in heart. He also recognizes God is at work behind the scenes at this time, and he can’t help but rejoice as he sees prayer being answered.

 

Haman is passing by the people who know everything concerning his Jewish death decree. And many probably know of his personal hatred for Mordecai which led to his execution plans. We have to understand he built a monstrous gallows that reaches five stories—quite tall for that day and age.  Everyone can see it and has surely asked about it … no one has kept quiet about it. An execution was big news. My, oh my, poor Haman.

 

We must view humble Mordecai here as one who is being very blessed of the LORD. He is being elevated above everyone in the kingdom. This is a time for the kingdom citizens to celebrate Mordecai. God says, he who humbles himself, shall be exalted; Luke 14:11.  God knew Mordecai’s sacrificial heart and made the way for his crowning debut.

 

Mordecai possibly does not know about the gallows Haman built for him.  He for sure knows he is being very blessed by God.  He most likely understands God is answering prayer and this horse ride may be the first step in the deliverance of his people.   It is by God’s marvelous intervention that Mordecai is not now swinging at the end of Haman’s noose.

 

The scene is now following only Haman. After all this excitement that is too much for him to bear, he quickly heads for home for comforting reassurance to get his mind off the tragic episode he just engaged in. Upon his arrival, he immediately tells his wife and friends what has happened. He is boggled and so are they. Not that long ago, they were rejoicing with him as he had ascended to new heights in his career. He had also confided in them concerning one depressing aspect in his life—Mordecai. They had empathized and encouraged him to build a tall gallows so he could hang this disrespectful Jew. Now, upon hearing of the Mordecai parade, his wife and friends prophecy, “If Mordecai, before whom you have began to fall is of Jewish origin, you will not overcome him, but will surely fall before him.” They, who had honored him, now doom him. What friends!  It certainly appears they are well aware of the protecting hand God has on His people as they promptly refer to Mordecai’s Jewish origin. However, they will soon discover the vengeance of God will also touch their individual lives.

 

As they continue to discuss this incident of disgrace, the king’s eunuchs arrive and hastily take Haman to the banquet. The king wanted Haman to be on time for both banquets. He has to know what is injuring his queen’s heart.  The curtain is drawn.

 

 

 

Chapter 7

 

Haman’s Demise

 

The curtain is again withdrawn and we see the palace that holds center stage in the kingdom and in our story. It is where the great happenings are taking place and where all exquisiteness is displayed, as we took note of in the first chapter. We can imagine a very tastefully bejeweled room, holding all riches—precious and costly items of gold, silver and everything superior.  All this is exhibited as well as delectable cuisine—the best in the world.

 

Queen Esther has thoughtfully prepared this second banquet for her verbal presentation. It is the perfect backdrop. King Ahasuerus opens the scene with the first lines, beckoning the queen to tell him the woes of her heart. “What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you.  And what is your request?  Even to half the kingdom it shall be done.” Wow, how we are moved by his loving and sacrificial words that have been repeated in the past to ensure his elevated desire for his wife. This sincere and romantic language surpasses the ages of penned works. These wooing words lead to another climax in the story. Esther must now disclose everything, risking everything—her own power and her own life. She knows the king can still choose to stand with Haman, which will end her life. This touching, caring scene can be turned into a deadly plight. She proceeds anyway as she really has nothing to lose. She is as good as dead due to the decree.

 

Esther is not stupid and she has planned her words well. She knew just how to prick her husband’s heart, which she now believes she owns. She in boldness states in respectful honor of her sovereign, “If I have found favor in your sight, O King, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me as my  petition, and my people as my request; for we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed and to be annihilated. Now if we had only been sold as slaves, men and women, I would have remained silent, for the trouble would not be commensurate with the annoyance to the king.” She wisely does not tell the king, she and her people were driven to this country as slaves. Through God’s intervening hand, they had became reputable, hard-working citizens. She wants him to view the Jews with the respect they deserve.  

 

The king is greatly perplexed by all this; verse 5. He is in total shock. He cannot understand who would want to kill the woman he loves, let alone make her a slave. She is the most important and honored woman in his kingdom of 127 provinces! Even to think of her as a slave leaves his mind dumbfounded. He loves her with all his heart and he is angry! He demands to know who he is—“Who would presume to do this?”

 

Esther knows she is on level ground and can proceed in confidence. Her man is angry and nothing will stop him from taking revenge. Here is the most exciting line in this historical account: “A foe and an enemy is this wicked Haman!”  What dramatic words spoken. How they must have pierced her husband’s trusting heart. Haman is his most faithful servant and above all the servants and princes in rank. He has been one of his dearest friends. This king is greatly perplexed and agitated. He goes to the palace garden to vent. When he feels he has finally gained a bit of composure, he returns to find Haman falling on Esther’s couch where she reclined. … Oh no, what a no, no! This is not proper protocol at all. (Now mind you, Haman wasn’t trying to take advantage of the queen in an inappropriate manner, he purely wanted her to plead for his life. He could see by the look on the king’s face that he was dead meat!) I am sure the queen felt very uneasy having her deadly enemy so close to her and touching her body. No doubt, the king saw the tremendous fear overtaking the queen with the man who desires her demise falling on her. No wonder he imagined “rape.” and asked disbelievingly, “Will he even assault the queen with me in the house!” The servants were not so sure what was going on until these angry wounded words fell from their king’s mouth. They were most likely dismayed over Haman’s strange behavior at this banquet. Now, when all is clear, they hastily remove Haman, covering his head to spare the king more embarrassing shame. These servants knew more than the king concerning the affairs of Haman. They reveal they don’t like Haman as they tell on him. They knew he was a pompous, untrustworthy man. As I wrote prior, the citizens of Susa all know what Haman is up to, including the palace servants. They disclose to the king that Haman has built a gallows for honorable Mordecai—the king’s savior.  Without hesitation, the king tells his servants to hang Haman on his own gallows.

 

This may appear to be a great place to close the final curtain as the enemy has fallen and the king and queen appear secure; however, curtains still must move about as more scenes will come to stage and some not so pretty.

 

 

Chapter 8

 

Mordecai Crowned

 

In chapter 6, King Ahasuerus pronounced Mordecai a hero. In chapter 7, the king learned Mordecai was facing death at the hand of Haman—a traitor. Haman was thus executed by order of the king. Now, is the ordained time for Queen Esther to make known her relationship to her cousin Mordecai, who adopted her when orphaned. With Mordecai now holding a prestigious place before the king, it was certainly God’s perfect timing for the revelation. Esther discloses all and the king is not disappointed; he eminently honors them both. Their victory day has come! They have been faithful to God in all things and now He uses the king to advance them even further. (When believers arrive in heaven and stand before their heavenly King, they will be rewarded for staying faithful and holding to His inerrant Word.)

 

Pressing forward, the set now moves to the grand home of Haman. This massive mansion with servants has been transferred to Esther as a present from the king. It is another symbol of her power and authority and the king’s love for her. It is as if the king said, “You now hold Haman’s noble place.” It is like a special kiss on her cheek. Mordecai also has a part in this scene, as Esther places him over this expansive estate as its manager. Not only this, but Mordecai is positioned in power directly under the king—given the king’s signet ring, which embossed the king’s emblem in clay or wax when placed face down. The king made sure it was returned to him, having been in Haman’s possession. Haman had held this most coveted imperial ring, which revealed he had been second in command under the king. This bestowing of the royal ring was equivalent to the king giving his signature to another.

 

It appears the king desires both Queen Esther and Mordecai maintain equal authority under him. He had offered to Esther part of his kingdom and now she is stationed above all others in its vastness. I am sure the inhabitants of Susa are taking note—none of this is escaping their desire to know. We witnessed previously that happenings are not kept hidden—word gets out to the people and even to the secluded palace staff. The public knew Haman had built a gallows for Mordecai and they had witnessed Haman hanging from it.

 

The curtain closes and rises again on a dramatic display of feeling. Esther is once again before the king—falling at his feet. Since she knows she owns the heart of the king, she emotionally asks for the lives of her people. She knows Haman can no longer harm her and the king will protect her from her antisemitic enemies. Yet, she still implores the king for her people, the Jews.  She is a selfless Jewess who lives for God and His will. It has never been God’s will that the apple of His eye completely perish. He has always preserved the Jewish race and someday they will turn to Christ in belief and be exalted on the earth and in heaven. 

 

We see in verses 9f that both Esther and Mordecai are very intelligent—being literate and educated in politics. They utilize their god-given intelligence by writing a decree stating the Jews can defend themselves against any antisemitists. The king’s signed decree could never be revoked according the law of the Media-Persians. The Jews were to be massacred on the twelfth month and the thirteenth day by order of the king. (You would think rash behavior’s consequences would cause kings to wisely consider every law and decree.  You would think they would thoroughly investigate every detail of consideration before setting their ring’s insignia in clay or wax.) 

 

Fortunately, the law could be altered and Queen Esther implores the king to add to the edict allowing the Jews to defend themselves against their enemies. The king ascribes Mordecai, who is second in command, over this task to pen the edict of defense. Verse 11 states the Jews had the right to assemble to defend themselves and to kill and annihilate an entire army or people, which might attack them. God has opened this door of salvation that will preserve His people alive.  He has placed within Esther and Mordecai the wisdom to amend the decree.

 

Owing to Mordecai’s unfailing truthful and faithful ways, the king arrays him in royal robes of blue and white, and caps him with a large gold diadem. This royal gala scene is enriched by the fact the entire city of Susa is rejoicing and shouting. Wow, just think of the masses of citizens who are participating.  Proverbs 29:2 states, “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when a wicked man rules, people groan.” Haman, I don’t believe, was liked or respected—being very pompous and assuming. Contrastingly, Mordecai promotes life and liberty in godly humility. By maintaining a spotless reputation and a desire for justice, the majority of the Susa populace exclaim union with him.

 

In verse 16, we see the Jews enjoyed gladness, joy and light (Under Haman, they were doomed to death’s darkness). They also obtained honor—having Esther and Mordecai in power insured their respectability. This scene ends on a positive note—another happy chapter ending. Curtain closes.

 

 

Chapter 9

 

The Chime of Victory

 

Chapter 9 verse 3 reopens the curtain of this unraveling tale that is not over. At this appointed scene, we witness further blessings of God, bestowed upon the Jews. Princes, satraps, governors, etc., assist the Hebrews in their defense against their enemies—the antisemitists. The dread of powerful Mordecai had fallen upon them evoking them to join the ranks of the king. Verse 4 states that Mordecai became famous and “greater and greater.” What more could a godly man request of his God? Of course, he didn’t ask or expect, which was why this humble man was exalted. 

 

Because of sin in the world, we must observe a bloody scene of revenge, but held within the realm of a sovereign God; verse 5. It is a matter of self-defense. It is the pathway God provided to preserve His people alive.  Queen Esther’s people have no choice but to kill their enemies; their adversaries are out for blood. If the Jews withhold the sword, the antisemitists will prevail! These enemies hold the same heart as Haman. Media-Persia does not need anarchy.

 

One thing that stands out in this particular chapter is the Jewish obedience to the Word of God—not laying hands on the plunder; verse 10. In other words, they kept themselves unadulterated by not seizing the possessions of those they killed. Self-centered objectives of personal gain were absent from this scene and all noticed. The Jews in Media-Persia are totally yielded to God, making sure all their enemies perish without touching their personal possessions. These wise Hebrews receive all the blessings that obedience brings. They had learned obedience from the evil consequential ways of Saul, as you read in chapter 3 of this commentary. They knew the Word of God.

 

The sin of greed is present in the heart of mankind. This war of the good guy versus the bad guy did not incite the normal sins of victory. In many battles, self-centered pursuits of pleasure interfere with orders when an enemy is deposed of. The Jews upheld a tremendous righteous witness through it all.

 

In verse 13, we see Esther once again boldly interceding for her people before the king. She requests another day of vengeance be granted for the Jews who dwell in Susa, the capital. The permanent destruction of the enemies of the Jews must be accomplished, and she will not fall short of her calling in the matter. She also requests Haman’s ten sons be hung on the gallows.  King Ahasuerus seems to be in a bit of shock over all the deaths, but still grants the queen her requests. The Media-Persians must understand it is not profitable to follow the road of antisemitism!   

 

Adding up the figures in this chapter, we see approximately 75,800 enemies were eliminated; verses 6, 15 and 16. This led to an exhilarating time of praising God for His grace and total deliverance! I know of no other time in history where the Jews were able to destroy all their adversaries. However, God will destroy all their enemies when the millennial rule of Reges Christ Jesus is ushered in.

 

God, throughout Scripture, calls us to praise Him for all His benefits and blessings. Verse 1 contains a powerful statement regarding this whole episode of blessed victory. It reveals God can easily overturn every event according to His divine will, “… On the day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, it was turned to the contrary so that the Jews themselves gained the mastery over those who hated them.” This was the ultimate blessing for these Jews at this time. We receive countless bestowments daily because of our relationship to Christ. The New Testament testifies that we should see persecution as a blessing too, being worthy to suffer shame for His name; Acts 5:41. Esther and Mordecai both suffered for obedience, but in this chapter, they receive the rewards of peace and prosperity.

 

Two designated days of the month are given for this celebration of liberation, the thirteenth and fourteenth day of Adar. If you take the time to look at a Jewish calendar (can be located in some study Bibles and on the web), you observe its year holds twelve months as does ours; yet, this calendar does not correspond to our AD calendar. The month of Adar encompasses a portion of February and March. Today, Jews celebrate this holiday of deliverance on March 2-5, being called Purim according to the command in Esther; verse 26.  If you will turn to Esther 3:7, you will see how Haman cast the lot called Pur, to determine when he should present his scheme to the king. It took a full year of casting this lot before Haman felt confident to approach the king as we read previously. This entitlement recognizes the time from the conspiracy to the deliverance.

 

Returning to verse 22, we note the Jews are to celebrate their Purim victory, through feasting, rejoicing and sending portions of food to the poor. (If you read James chapter 2, you will see how much God loves the poor—genuinely poor believers throughout the world. This does not refer to believers who are lazy or drunkards. God commands believers to be diligent workers and if they are not, we are not to associate with them. They are walking in disobedience and consequences are to arise; 2 Thessalonians 3:10-14. Through the James passage, we recognize the poor are precious to God and He has chosen them to be rich in faith. We are never to consider ourselves as superior to others. Being wealthy, beautiful, talented, or educated does not produce a better standing before God. God examines the heart and a righteous heart is precious before God and especially if it dwells in a poor person.) 

 

In verse 25, which is Mordecai’s exhortation to celebrate Purim, he gives honor to the king who changed the edict so the Jews could be saved. He desires no vendetta be placed on the king for allowing Haman to persuade the destruction of the Israelite nation. God did intervene and He did not place a horrifying death judgment on King Ahasuerus—the LORD acted out of complete forgiveness. God knew the king saw the evil he had performed and withdrew from it and He continued to bless this king’s empire. 

 

Because of verse 20 and those following, I believe Mordecai wrote the book of Esther as it states Mordecai recorded all these events and sent copies out to the Jews in every province. The Jews did obey Mordecai’s command and celebrated Purim on the two days legislated. Mordecai also stressed how it was always to be celebrated by every future generation. 

 

The Jews have faithfully obeyed this and in today’s culture, they celebrate by starting with a fast in remembrance of Esther’s  fast. She called for all the Jews to fast as well. This was all performed before she approached the king in order to change his decree of death. 

 

In Synagogues on May 2, Jews read the story of Esther from a scroll.  When Haman’s name is mentioned, it is a signal for a loud noise to erupt to stamp out his name, as he attempted to stamp out the Jews.

 

The Jews also send presents of food to each other as was required; Esther 9:22. They send two kinds of food as a minimum. They also give to two different charities to obey the command of giving portions to the poor.

 

On the afternoon of May 2, they hold a special feast and sometimes a parade. The holiday continues through May 5.

 

Mordecai referred to it as a custom, verse 27, as this was not included in the Law of Moses. These events occurred toward the end of Old Testament writings. 

 

In verse 29, Queen Esther as a literate woman along with Mordecai, write the decree. They, holding pinnacle authority under the king, confirm Mordecai’s edict of remembrance. This declaration encouragement uplifted God’s saving power. His truth has rung loud and clear in this true tale. This all speaks to the certainty of the proud or pompous being defeated; Malachi 4:2.

 

We must note through it all, Esther did not harm the testimony of God; she was a woman of obedience and submission. She did not rebel in her role and never grew bitter.  She chose godly femininity, which set her in a place of admiration.

 

If she had rebelled as a woman’s libber, she would not have been adored throughout the centuries. Seeking feminine godly attributes should be a continual goal in every woman’s life. I have compiled a list of the godly attributes and characteristics of Esther:

 

God-fearing

Quiet and gentle spirit

Obedient

Chaste

Unspoiled

Thoughtful

Contented

Tactful

Gracious

Humble

Modest

Decent

Non-materialistic:

(desired wisdom before things—2:13-15)

Feminine

Loyal

Tender

Sacrificial

Calculated

Uncomplaining

Supportive

Organized

Intelligent

Honest

Loving

Prayer Warrior

Intelligent

Cared for all people

Respected

Faithful

Wise

Subject to governing authorities

Patient

Uncompromising

Determined

Proclaimer of peace and truth

 

Now it is time to lower the final curtain, this being the finale—a happy ending of rejoicing victory.  God answered the prayers of these Jews beyond what they could have asked or thought; Ephesians 3:20.

 

What we find in chapter 10 is life returning to normal.

 

 

Chapter 10

 

The Facts Recorded

 

 

Chapter 10 opens with King Ahasuerus bringing a tax to the land, possibly to aid the monarchy and military. This short closing chapter explains the previous events were recorded in the Book of Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia. The last verse informs us that Mordecai sought the welfare of the whole nation.  He never acted out of sinful partiality. This Gentile nation greatly thrived under his godly, meek, and just leadership. This governing produced blessings that were placed upon all citizens.  When Christ rules the earth from Israel during His millennial reign, He will bring justice to all nations, which will produce countless blessings.

 

It is certainly wonderful that we serve the God of Isaiah 40 who can turn all things around for His crowing glory.  His book, the Bible, holds a happy ending just as the book of Esther.

 

January 1, 2009 Posted by | antisemitism, Bible Commentary, Christian Books, Esther, Hate, History, Holocaust, Jews, Queen Esther/Looming Holocaust, Royalty, Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

NIV Bible Beware

NIV Bible Heresy:

Buyer beware! The NIV Bible translation leaves out “begotten” that is in the Greek manuscripts. You find this blasphemous omission occurs in John 3:16, 3:18, 1:14 and 1:18—Jesus is no longer proclaimed as the “only BEGOTTEN Son of God.” Begotten is in the original Greek, but removed as so not to offend. Even the Hindu god worshipper, Gandhi, stated he could accept Jesus as God’s son, but not the only begotten Son of God. He stated Krishna is the only begotten son of God. I have researched Greek concordances. “Begotten” is never held in question. It was placed in the original manuscripts.

Dr. Virginia Mollenkott, a literary critic on the NIV translation is an open feminist lesbian/homosexual. Her name is listed in the translation information. In the Episcopal magazine, Witness (June 1991, pp. 20-23), she admits, “My homosexuality has always been a part of me…” The man appointed as the Chairman of the NIV Old Testament Translation Committee was Dr. Marten Woudstra, who was a homosexual, deceased 1990. The word “sodomite” was removed for the NIV. It is stated in Deut. 23:17, I Kings 14:24, 15:12, 22:46, II Kings 23:7. The NIV, in I Corinthians 6:9, states the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God. An accurate translation from the ancient Greek manuscripts will state “effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind.”

Hundreds of words and phrases were removed from the Word of God by NIV translators. The “Godhead” in the NIV was completely removed from the Word of God. All the following words have been omitted from the NIV: Propitiation, regeneration, mercyseat, remission, Jehovah, immutable, omnipotent, Comforter, Messiah, infallible, et cetera. The word “sodomite” is completely gone, as are the words: fornication, carnal, effeminate, vanity, devils, Lucifer, damnation, brimstone, and the bottomless pit.

The NIV omitted thousands of words. It completely omitted “hell” from the Old Testament where it is stated 31 times and replaced it with “grave.” In the New Testament, it removed it 9 times.

According to Wikipedia.org, the New International Bible (NIV) printed by Zondervan is the most popular Bible version today. Zondervan Publishers does not reveal they are OWNED by Harper Collins, who also publishes The Satanic Bible and The Joy of Gay Sex.

Http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/Zondervan-Corporation-Company-History.HTML

The New International Version failed to use the name of God where it appears about 7,000 times in ancient Bible manuscripts. Edwin H. Palmer, Th.D., Executive Secretary for the NIV committee wrote: “Here is why we did not: You are right that Jehovah is a distinctive name for God and ideally we should have used it. But we put 2 1/4 million dollars into this translation and a sure way of throwing that down the drain is to translate, for example, Psalm 23 as, ‘Yahweh is my shepherd.’ Immediately, we would have translated for nothing. Nobody would have used it. Oh, maybe you and a handful [of] others. But a Christian has to be also wise and practical. We are the victims of 350 years of the King James tradition. It is far better to get two million to read it—that is how many have bought it to date—and to follow the King James, than to have two thousand buy it and have the correct translation of Yahweh. . . . It was a hard decision, and many of our translators agree with you.”

God says regarding such statements that His Word cannot be added to or subtracted from. We find the LORD stating this in various portions of Scripture. Biblical truth is not according to what man thinks or has experienced. The Word of God uncensored is the only truth. It never changes with time or culture. God never changes. Even if an angel from heaven preaches another gospel, that is contrary to the Word of God, he is not to be believed as he is cursed; Galatians 1:8.

We all must be cautious, as most new Bible versions are heretical. Many even remove “Holy” from the term “Holy Spirit.” this is done deliberately to teach people it can be any spirit. We live in very sad apostate days. Please check your versions carefully. Do you own any heretical versions that need to be placed in your round file?

Val Lee (1 John 5:10-13—the Bible)  paradise

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Report by Mr. Michael Penfold

“It was during a series of research phone calls to Dr. Blair that I first confirmed the fact of Dr. Woudstra’s homosexuality. Blair and Dr. Woudstra were friends. Dr. Woudstra had been on the mailing list of Evangelicals Concerned, Inc. (a gay and lesbian organizationhttp://www.ecinc.org/ ) from its inception, and although he had no formal ties with ECI, on one of his many trips to New York he called in and had tea with Dr. Blair. Dr Blair told me that Dr. Woudstra shared the viewpoint of ECI that lifelong ‘loving monogamous relationships’ between gay men or women were acceptable to God. He believed that there was nothing in the Old Testament (his special area of technical expertise) that corresponded to ‘homosexual orientation’. The ‘sodomy’ of the OT simply involved temple rites and gang rape (Gen 19). Lesbian, Virginia Mollenkott, (who also worked on the NIV) and Dr Blair make very similar liberal statements regarding translation of the NIV. Dr. Blair clearly stated to me on the phone on 23rd September 1997 that Dr. Woudstra, a lifelong bachelor, was a homosexual. He intimated that other members of the NIV translation committee were also quietly supportive of ECI, but he was not able to tell me who they were (for obvious reasons). He later called them ‘bigger’ names than Dr. Woudstra.”

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Regarding other Bible publications see: https://vallee7.wordpress.com/2008/10/20/bible-translation-facts%e2%80%94user-beware/

You can use this Strong’s Concordance website to research Greek and Hebrew Bible words: http://www.eliyah.com/lexicon.html  Simply put the book, chapter, verse or verses in the first search box and hit search. (Example: John 3:16-20, John 17) Your text will appear with the Greek or Hebrew corresponding numbers to the right of verse words, elevated and in blue.  Simply click on the number to research a word in its original language.

November 14, 2008 Posted by | Apostasy, Bible, Bible Commentary, Bible Versions, Christianity, Heresy, Religion, Scripture, Theology, Uncategorized | , | 7 Comments

Bible Translation Facts—User Beware

The apostasy certainly is in the church as false translations are being accepted without question.  Believers need to use a reliable concordance that provides the root meanings of the Greek and Hebrew. Every translation needs to be set beside the original manuscripts to confirm accuracy.  At this website http://www.eliyah.com/lexicon.HTML  (I have this set as a shortcut on my desktop), you can research any Bible word and find the original word meanings using a King James Version Bible. Strong’s Concordance translated from this version. If you do not own a KJVB, you can pick one up cheap at a used bookstore. I have found most words in the New American Standard, NKJV and KJV to be accurate.  However, the English never truly captures the richness of the Greek and Hebrew so it is profitable to research various words when possible.  

The New Living Translation (NLT) is not of God—it being translated to deceive. No one should place this in hand for study. It should be viewed as heresy. This translation has even removed the designated gender from the original languages.Tyndale House created this translation to be totally genderless to please the apostate church.

Let’s view John 3:16 in this translation. The word “begotten” has been removed. It is in the original scripts:

http://www.eliyah.com/cgi-bin/strongs.cgi?file=greeklexicon&isindex=Begotten

In the Greek, “begotten” means “only born.”  The NLT is satanically heretical, drawing a false Christ—an antichrist. It removes the deity of Christ. It states Jesus is God’s “only son.” This is a translative lie. In Scripture, believers are called sons of God. There has to be this designation of “begotten” as is true to the original language. Jesus is the only begotten Son, being conceived by the Holy Spirit. This truth is also revealed in John 1:18, 1 John 3:18, 1 John 4:9.  Any so-called bible which removes the word “begotten” from John 3:16 becomes satanic heresyHere are a few of the other translations that eliminate “begotten:” The New International Version (NIV), The Book For Teens (TBFT), the New Believer’s Bible NBB), the Living Bible (LB). The most recent translations are apostate; yet, they are endorsed by so-called reputable believers.

 The Message Bible reroutes the order of the presented Greek and eliminates and adds language.  This bible, like the NLT, leaves out verses and rewrites the Bible to please everyone of every belief system. It is also homosexual, feminist and New Age friendly.

 

The Message—John 3:16:“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. (You see, this passage leaves out “everlasting” as well as “begotten.” This version also implies no one will be destroyed.  This can be construed, as no one will be cast into the lake of fire. Every true believer knows those who are not born again will suffer eternal damnation in the lake of fire. The chapter three passage also states everyone must be born by the wind of God.)  New American Standard Bible translates John 3:16 correctly:

 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” 

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Corrupters are publishing many deceiving bibles to please all. One main reason being, the Bible has always possessed the position of being the number one top seller.  It puts money in the hands of publishers.  In order to reach the largest market base possible, translators trim and dilute the Scriptures to make them edible and ecumenical. God says His Word is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart;” Hebrews 4:12. This is why today’s compromising, entertainment-loving church desires friendly-user versions.  

God hates Bible corruption—Deuteronomy 4:2, “You shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.”  The New Testament confirms this:  Christ stated in Matthew 5:18-19 that the smallest stroke or letter shall not pass away from the law until all is accomplished and the one who annuls one of these commandments and teaches them will be the least in the kingdom of heaven. Any person who adds to Revelation will receive the plagues of Revelation and he who subtracts will not partake of the tree of life; Revelation 22:18-19.

Mistranslated and Missing Texts in the New Living Translation:

Deuteronomy: “sodomite” replaced with “temple prostitute”

1 Kings 14:24: “sodomites” replaced with “shrine prostitutes”

1 Kings 15:12: “sodomites” replaced with “shrine prostitutes”

1 Kings 22:46: “sodomites” replaced with “shrine prostitutes”

2 Kings 23:7: “sodomites” replaced with “shrine prostitutes”

Matthew 17:21: verse omitted

Matthew 18:11: verse omitted

Matthew 19:9: half of the verse is omitted

Matthew 23:14: verse omitted

Mark 6:11: half of the verse is omitted

Mark 7:16: verse omitted

Mark 9:44, 46:  verses omitted

Mark 11:26: verse omitted

Mark 15:28: verse omitted

Mark 16:9-19: verses omitted

Luke 4:8: “get thee behind me Satan” is omitted

Luke 17:36: verse omitted

Luke 23:17: verse omitted

John 1:10: says God created everything “through” Jesus instead of “by” Jesus as the KJB teaches

John 3:16: the all important word “begotten” is omitted, thus denying the deity of Christ

John 3:13: “which is in heaven” is omitted

John 5:4: entire verse omitted

John 7:53 – 8:11: entire passage is questioned in a note the NLT says, “The most ancient Greek manuscripts do not include John 7:53 – 8:11.” This is a lie!  Most of the original Greek manuscripts contain this passage.

Acts 8:37: verse omitted

Acts 17:29: completely removes the “Godhead”

Acts 28:29: verse omitted

Romans 1:20: completely removes the “Godhead”

Romans 16:24: verse omitted

Philippians 2:6: removes the word “equal,” thus denying Christ’s deity

Colossians 1:16: says God created everything “through” Jesus instead of “by” Jesus.

Colossians 2:9: completely removes the “Godhead”

1 Timothy 3:16: “God” is omitted, says “Christ appeared in the flesh, thus denying the deity of Christ

1 Timothy 6:5: “from such withdraw thyself” is omitted

Hebrews 1:3: the all-important words “by himself” are omitted

1 Peter 4:1: “for us” is omitted

1 Peter 4:14: half of the verse is omitted

1 John 3:16: “the love of God” removed

1 John 4:3: the all-important words “Christ is come in the flesh” are omitted

1 John 5:7-8: Trinitarian clause omitted

1 John 5:7: half of the verse is omitted, thus denying the Godhead

1 John 5:13: half of the verse is omitted.

Revelation 5:14: “him that liveth forever and ever” is omitted  

Revelation 1:11: first half of the verse is omitted   “…whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.” (John 1:27 in NKJV) “… I’m not even worthy to hold his coat for him.” (John 1:27 in The Message)

 

 A few mistranslated Texts of The Message Bible: 

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14 in NKJV) “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood…” (John 1:14 in The Message) “I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.” (John 1:31 in NKJV) “I knew nothing about who he was – only this: that my task has been to get Israel ready to recognize him as the God-Revealer. That is why I came here baptizing with water, giving you a good bath and scrubbing sins from your life so you can get a fresh start with God.” (John 1:31 in The Message)  “Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!” (Romans 15:13)  “God of green hope” in not present in the original texts. It was deceitfully added as a lie to tickle the ears of the ecologically minded. 

Romans 12:1 

THE MESSAGE:  ‘Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.’

KING JAMES VERSION:  “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

Ephesians 1:4 

MSG:  ‘Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love.’

KJV:  “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”

Ephesians 5:8-10

MSG:  ‘Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it.’

KJV:  “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth) proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.”

Genesis 6:8

MSG:  ‘Noah was a pleasure to the Lord.’

KJV:  “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”

Exodus 34:14

MSG:  ‘He is a God who is passionate about his relationship with you.’

KJV:  “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a-whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice.

 

NIV Information see: https://vallee7.wordpress.com/2008/11/14/niv-bible-beware/

 

You can use this Strong’s Concordance website to research Greek and Hebrew Bible words: http://www.eliyah.com/lexicon.html  Simply put the book, chapter, verse or verses in the first search box and hit search. (Example: John 3:16-20, John 17) Your text will appear with the Greek or Hebrew corresponding numbers to the right of verse words, elevated and in blue.  Simply click on the number to research a word in its original language.

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Info gathered from various web sources

 

(1 John 5:10-13—the Bible)  Please click here: Paradise

October 20, 2008 Posted by | Apostasy, Bible, Bible Commentary, Bible Versions, Christianity, Heresy, Message Bible, Religion, Scripture, Theology, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment