THE GREAT PLAN OF ALMIGHTY GOD
By Neville V. Stevens
New International Version used throughout unless otherwise specified.
From the earliest time, he set out to plant his agent to corrupt others. Cain became his agent, and belonged to him:1John 3:11-14 "This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like CAIN, WHO BELONGED TO THE EVIL ONE and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers, if THE WORLD hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him." (Incidentally, the word ‘canine’ is derived from the name of Cain and means ‘dog’.) There are plenty of dogs around, and John refers to them as ‘THE WORLD’. And all these dogs in THE WORLD hate God’s saints. Cain was a dog! He was like all those who belong to Satan. Interestingly enough, Cain wanted to serve God – but not according to God’s rules. He wanted to be in the scene, but didn’t want God ruling over him. He was openly hostile to God and contemptuous of being questioned about his murdered brother’s whereabouts and lied. And like all dogs, Cain was a liar and a murderer – just like his father Satan (John 8:44) – to whom he belonged.
Jesus used a number of epithets concerning Satan’s brood, including snakes and vipers, pigs or swine, in addition to dogs. He warned about casting pearls before swine. He made it clear that He had come only to the lost Tribes of Israel – ‘the lost sheep’ over which He is the True Shepherd. He didn’t come to minister to dogs, vipers and pigs – but to the lost sheep of Israel! I recall reading a book called ‘A Nation of Sheep’ which was intended to denigrate the U.S. The author might have better served the world’s interests if he had written about the nations of dogs, vipers and pigs and instructed them on the Creator God’s feelings towards them. He didn’t hesitate to bring destruction on them in the days of Noah, and He’s just as keen today to rid the earth of them. Numerically, they dominate the earth, and there is going to be a big cleanup, but first the True Shepherd is going to uphold His promise to the Patriarchs, and prepare the offspring of Jacob – the 12 Tribes of Israel – for eternal supremacy of all other beings. So it’s tough luck for all those who think there is a back door into the Kingdom of God!
As for all other human beings, you may have noticed that the Creator God has promised them nothing! Yet God is even-handed in that He has not barred anyone who chooses to live according to His instructions as given through the prophets of old. To this end, God has sought a better Way for ensuring obedience and peace and for all peoples who would populate the earth and beyond in the future. God realizes that righteousness is not discoverable by human experience. Therefore God was careful to provide the right instructions for those He would claim as His own. In spite of severe reversals of prosperity throughout their history, the House of Israel has become the bearer of standards of law and justice for the whole world. Without this prevailing influence God would have long ago eradicated humanity from the earth.
But God’s far-seeing view of things was to use these people to set up a lesson for the House of Israel. God intends for the whole House of Israel to experience the harrowing time of Satan’s brood when they reach their full measure or full number for His purpose. Paul spoke of this, and so did God when He gave a message to Abraham concerning the time of the end. And not surprisingly, Jesus also spoke of it! Jacob prophesied of it and predicted that the nations of Israel would be swamped with gentiles when Ephraim reached greatness and would become a nation of Gentiles when the full number of gentiles came in. Paul knew what he was talking about, but unfortunately, Satan’s self-appointed ‘little helpers’ don’t understand anything. This is what Paul wrote:Rom 11:25 "I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until THE FULL NUMBER OF GENTILES has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my Covenant with them when I take away their sins." Paul mentions that this is a mystery – and so it is! Part of this mystery is about whom God is referring. Jacob made it very clear who this is: Gen 48:19 "But his father refused and said, "I know, my son, I know. He too will become a people, and he too will become great. Nevertheless, his younger brother (Ephraim) will be greater than he, and his descendants will become a group of nations". A group of nations? That’s not what he said at all! Almost every English translation of the Bible has a footnote saying the Hebrew for group is ‘fulness’ (Heb: melo) meaning full measure or full number. Why then didn’t they translated it ‘fulness’? And the word ‘nations’? This is a rather cute name for the Hebrew ‘goyim’ meaning Gentiles in the plural. So their translation ‘faux pas’ resulted in a ‘group of nations’ rather than ‘the full number of Gentiles’. I recall how this phrase was used to prove – erroneously – that Great Britain is Ephraim. Fortunately, God did not leave us without an arbitrator of this mystery. The Apostle Paul spoke Hebrew fluently and knew and taught what it meant!
At the time of the fulfillment of this, Ephraim would be very great – and greater than his brother Manasseh – but would become a nation of Gentiles. And a further part of the mystery is that they will be swamped with Gentiles like a rising flood.
Paul spoke about Israel concerning THE FULL NUMBER OF GENTILES. Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel, was speaking about EPHRAIM. So whom does God call Israel in the latter days? Well God provided a whole Book about Ephraim – it’s called the Book of Hosea.Hos 11:1 "When Israel was a child I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. But the more I called Israel, the further they went from me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images. It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them." V5 "Will they not return to Egypt and will not Assyria rule over them because they refuse to repent? Swords will flash in their cities, will destroy the bars of their gates and put an end to their plans." V8 "How can I give you up, EPHRAIM? How can I hand you over, ISRAEL?" And in V12 "EPHRAIM has surrounded me with lies, the HOUSE OF ISRAEL with deceit. And Judah is unruly against God, even against the faithful Holy One."
Then Jacob continued by saying, inGen 48:21 "Then Israel said to Joseph, "I am about to die, but God will be with you and take you back to the land of your fathers. And to you, as one who is over his brothers, I will give the ridge of land I took from the Amorites with my sword and my bow." The NIV margin offers an alternate meaning here and suggests: ‘And to you I give one portion more than to you brothers – the portion I took from the Amorites with my sword and my bow." This gives an idea of how fouled up some of the thousands of early translations have become, and how obscured the real meaning is now. According to the many copied manuscripts, either could apply; it depends on which manuscript has the most credibility. Deceivers like to decide for themselves which of the many manuscripts is right, but never do they arrive at their conclusions from Bible evidence! God foresaw that deceivers would arise, and so He made sure that this is clarified. In the Book of Revelation, which God authored and handed to His Son Jesus (Rev 1:1), God lists 12 Tribes of Israel (Rev 7:5). He speaks of Manasseh (Joseph’s son and Ephraim’s older brother), but Ephraim is mentioned as Joseph. Ephraim is given the stature of Joseph – that is, he is superior or greater than Manasseh. But more importantly, Joseph is given a double portion – one more portion than his brothers. As it happens, the Tribe of Dan is omitted. In this, God Himself arbitrates the faulty translation and the error is corrected. What God was doing was confirming what Israel (Jacob) actually said! That it conflicts with what the translators thought it meant is irrelevant.
And to complete the explanation of the interdependent use of the names Israel – and Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, Israel (Jacob) said this:Gen 48:16 "The angel who has delivered me from all harm – may he bless these boys. May they be called by my name and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac, and may they increase greatly upon the earth." So Joseph sons were collectively called ‘Israel’. Of course, deceivers don’t want anyone to know that the reference to Isaac was fulfilled in the Germanic Saxons who migrated to England, and was a shortened form of ‘Isaac’s sons’. The Saxons dwelt closely to the Tribe of Simeon – the Germans. Simeon always liked to stay close to the power-base – but that’s another story.
Concerning the full number of the Gentiles, the question becomes ‘Who is right?’ Is it Paul, or the text-proofing infidels whose only desire is to corrupt Truth? Did Paul foul up when he spoke of the full number of the Gentiles coming in, in fulfillment of what Israel (Jacob) said? Wasn’t Paul speaking of all Israel being saved in this mystery? And didn’t he mention that the DELIVERER will come from Zion? Deliverer from what? Paul is speaking of being delivered or rescued from destruction. Israel (Jacob) confirmed that God would be with them and would bring them back to their allotments in the Holy Land – where Joseph would have a double portion. Everyone knows that Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) are not going to return to the Holy Land of their own accord! Why would they? They have no regard for what God plans. This is why Paul says they have ‘experienced a hardening in part’ (Rom 11:25). God says of them, Isa 29:13-14 "The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of the rules taught by men. Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish." Woe to them who go to great depths to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their work in darkness and think, "Who sees us? Who will know? You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!" Jesus quoted these same verses in Matt 15:7-9 and called them hypocrites! And in Hos 12:8 "Ephraim boasts, "I am very rich, I have become wealthy. With all my wealth they will not find in me and iniquity or sin."
Those whose brains have become curdled like to seeGen 49:19 translated ‘group of nations’ because it fits in with their lying and deceitful views on the House of Israel. They offer no compelling reason why, nor do they explain what they hope it means. They only insist that it is not referring to Gentiles. What else would Paul be writing about? Had he begun to invent his own phraseology? Or was he reading and teaching from the Scriptures?
Israel (Jacob) went on, in the next verse (Gen 49:1) to prophesy about what would happen to his sons in days to come – or the last days – as some translations put it. It’s these last days that both Israel (Jacob) and the Apostle Paul were both speaking. It’s written in Gen 49:22 "Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over the wall. With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility (margin: ‘Archers will attack…will shoot…will remain…will stay)." The fledgling nation of Ephraim faced plenty of hostility from archers. These were the Indians who attacked, and stayed to become a thorn in their side. And these archers are still present in North and South America, and these represent a considerable portion of the Amorites mentioned by Abraham, Israel (Jacob), and about whom Paul was referencing with the full number of the Gentiles. Obviously, Paul knew the meaning of the Scriptures, but did not live to see the fulfillment which would unfold in the last days.
When God spoke to Abraham in a dream, He spoke of bringing Abraham’s descendants back to the Holy Land and said:Gen 15:16 "In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure." God’s revelation to Abraham focuses on a divided heifer (V9-10) and was given in answer to Abraham inquiring about when he would receive his inheritance, and also when his offspring would number like the stars of the sky (V5-7). A fuller explanation of these verses is given later in this article.
Concerning Paul, he was explaining what was to happen when the full number of Gentiles had come in. He spoke of deliverance, but he also spoke of their Christian duties in this regard in the next chapter:Rom 12:1 "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – which is your spiritual worship." ‘offer your bodies as living sacrifices’? This sounds very much like what the Saviour did – the Deliverer of Israel – when His physical body became a sacrifice! Surely Paul wasn’t suggesting they follow Jesus! Well, this is exactly what he was suggesting! For what other purpose would the Church be described as the Body of Christ? So to whom are they to offer their bodies as living sacrifices? It’s the Gentiles when they rise up like a flood and sweep over the country! Are they to run off into the night and hide? Or are they to emulate their Saviour and go as sheep to the slaughter? Paul’s advice is solid!
InRom 11, Paul began by telling the Gentiles who were in the Church not to get too uppity. He explained that if they have been grafted into the branch, then they should not be arrogant, but afraid. And then he says, "For if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either." (Rom 11:21).
Paul knew, when he was speaking about the last days, what would happen. In Paul’s day, he knew that the greatest amount of persecution was coming from the Jews. It was because of this that he went to the Gentiles to preach. But he always made it clear that God’s purpose is to rescue and settle the Tribes of Israel – who were the true Branches.
There is really no excuse for any Christian to be denying the meaning of ‘the full number of Gentiles’. This is what Jesus said concerning it:Luke 21:22 "For this is the TIME OF PUNISHMENT in FULFILLMENT OF ALL THAT IS WRITTEN. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles UNTIL the TIMES OF THE GENTILES ARE FULFILLED." Would anyone like to try to explain these words from their own imagination? If this is speaking about the FULFILLMENT OF ALL THAT IS WRITTEN, then clearly, all that the Patriarchs and prophets wrote concerning this same period will be fulfilled at the TIME OF PUNISHMENT. You need to burn the phrase ‘FULFILLMENT OF ALL THAT IS WRITTEN’ into your minds so that you never forget it! There are many things written in the Bible and we have yet to begin on some of the most important issues.
One of the prophets who wrote of the TIME OF PUNISHMENT was Hosea. Since EVERYTHING MUST BE FULFILLED THAT IS WRITTEN, Christ was speaking of this same TIME OF PUNISHMENT.Hos 9:7-9 "The DAYS OF PUNISHMENT are coming, the days of reckoning are at hand. Let Israel know this. Because your sins are so many and your hostility so great, the prophet is considered a fool, the inspired man a maniac. The prophet, along with my God, is the watchman over Ephraim, yet snares await him in all his paths, and hostility in the house of his God. They have sunk deep into corruption, as in the days of Gibeah. God will remember their wickedness and PUNISH them for their sins."
So did Paul and Jesus, and all the prophets, know what they were talking about, or is it your local preacher or self-proclaimed Biblical ‘expert’ who should decide what Truth is? The problem is that these ‘experts’ have no Light of Dawn. They don’t speak according to the Law and the Testimony, they don’t search out the Truth in the Scriptures, they proof-text everything to conform to their views, and seem to place themselves aboveIsa 8:20 which apparently applies to everyone but themselves! God speaks of testing the spirits (V19) and this is what Isa 8:20 is speaking of. He says, ‘If they don’t speak according to the Law and the Testimony – they have no Light of Dawn." And if they don’t speak according to the Testimony – which is the Spirit of Prophecy, then they are not speaking according to God’s Truth. You will find that these spirits are constantly speaking against the Testimony and have no idea of what prophecy is about. You don’t see them speaking according to the Testimony because they don’t understand prophecy and have no Light of Dawn. If they are constantly speaking against the Testimony of Jesus, then what sort of spirit do they have? They whisper and mutter about things they don’t understand; they offer no enlightenment about anything, but constantly refute everything concerning the Light of Dawn. God makes it very clear what their punishment will be (V21-22), so why would anyone want to share in their punishment by listening to them? And what would you learn from all the flaky stories they make up?
You’ll find as we continue that Paul spoke of a whole lot of mysteries and secrets, some of which have been hidden from the foundation of the world. Some people would have you believe that these mysteries and secrets are locked up in Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic dialects. They want you to believe that they alone are able to unlock them by careful manipulation of the Scriptures. Of course, they are not examining the thousands of manuscripts that have been written. They are merely reading the Bible and challenging the Scriptures on the basis of what the translators have written. All the mysteries and secrets are revealed from the pages of the Bible – not from the opinions of men!
One of the most complex of all issues is the issue of the seventy ‘weeks’ spoken of by Daniel. His reference was to something spoken of by Jeremiah (Jer 25:11-12, 29:10) concerning the captivity of the Jewish people and the desecration of Jerusalem and the Temple for a period of seventy years.
Daniel’s primary concern was concerning the seventy years spoken of by Jeremiah:Dan 9:2 "…I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. So I turned to the LORD and pleaded with Him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes." Daniel’s petition to God was to have mercy on the Holy City of Jerusalem and its people, and to forgive them for their sins, and to turn and help them once more. His petition is recorded in Dan 9:4-19. V4-11 "O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant of love with all who love Him and obey His commands, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and Laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your Name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame – the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. O LORD, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. The LORD our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him; we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the Laws He gave us through His servants the prophets. All Israel has transgressed your Law and turned away, refusing to obey you. Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you."
Daniel was addressing the sins of the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where they had been scattered. His petition was for God to redeem them once more. He concludes by saying this inV17-19 "Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favour on your desolate Sanctuary. Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the City that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your CITY and YOUR PEOPLE bear your Name." Yes, even during times of separation from the Holy City, God’s people bear His Name. Wherever they are, that’s where God’s Name is. This applies even to the Church of God just as Jesus Christ confirmed in Matt 18:20 "For where two or three come together in my Name, there am I with them." Daniel, of course, was referring to the House of Israel and the House of Judah, both near and far, in all the countries where they have been scattered because of their unfaithfulness (V7).
We learn that while Daniel was still speaking and praying and confessing his sin and the sin of his people, Gabriel came in swift flight to speak to him:V20 "While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the LORD my God for His Holy Hill – while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. He instructed me and said to me, "Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding."" Gabriel told Daniel that as soon as he began to pray, an answer was given, and he, Gabriel had been sent to deliver it: V23 "As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore consider the message and understand the vision."
What happened next is remarkable in that the explanation has been grossly distorted to fulfill man-made prophecies. In the following verses, ‘the anointed one’ has been translated from meshiyach in the Hebrew, to Messiah in English in some translations. How could they get it so wrong? After all, what was Daniel asking in his petition? And didn’t he receive an answer to that petition? Was he asking for the Holy City and the Sanctuary to be destroyed – or was he asking for God to have mercy on them? If we assume the anointed one to be the Messiah – the Christ, then why would His people come and destroy the City and the Sanctuary (V26)? According to the mindless nonsense Christians put out today, the suggestion is that God wants Christianity to destroy the Holy City Jerusalem. This is certainly the intent if they insist that the anointed one is Christ the Messiah!
The people of Judah and the City of Jerusalem had been slaughtered according to the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses (V11), and the City and the Holy Hill (the sanctuary) were in grave jeopardy. If you stripped away the man-made embellishments of God’s Holy Hill, what would you see? You would see the very Rock where Abraham was sent to sacrifice his only son Isaac.
Daniel was pleading for an end of the killing and destruction, and was asking God to intervene. And this was the answer Daniel received through Gabriel:Dan 9:24 "Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your Holy City to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Holy Place (margin). Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the anointed one, the ruler, comes there will be seven ‘sevens’, and sixty two ‘sevens’. It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty two ‘sevens’, the anointed one will be cut off and will have no-one (margin). The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the City and the Sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will be continue to the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven’, but in the middle of that ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And one who causes desolation will place abominations on a wing of the Temple until the end that is decreed is poured out on him."
To complicate matters even further, IN SPEAKING OF A FUTURE TIME, Christ spoke of the abomination that causes desolation standing in the Holy Place (Matt 24:15) in a clear reference to what Daniel wrote in Dan 9:27, 11:31, 12:11. So the meaning of this still has significance for a time even further in the future. When Jesus spoke of this abomination and the desolation, He was speaking of events that would unfold at the end of the age. So if you think what Daniel wrote was fulfilled in his time, or any time between his time and Christ’s time, then you would be wrong. Yet clearly, his request concerning the seventy years was answered, and Gabriel delivered this answer immediately upon Daniel’s request. Gabriel prefaced the answer with ‘Know and understand this’; Jesus put it in these terms: ‘Let the reader understand’. So obviously what Gabriel said was not going to be clearly understood unless you are a reader – a reader of the Scriptures. Forget about Antioches Ephiphanes (you won’t read about him in the Scriptures) and the fanciful conjurations of liars. Jesus was speaking of the end of the age when He drew attention to what Daniel said, and confirmed it is still in the future! When someone suggests to you that Antioches Ephiphanes fulfilled this a couple of hundred years before Christ spoke of this as a future prophecy then you know that this person is either a complete idiot or a brazen, lying deceiver! When such people start muttering this type of lying deceit, then you really do need to test the spirits (Isa 8:19-20). You know Christ spoke of it, so did Paul (2Thess 2:4); but the Father also declared it as a future event (Rev 13:11-18). The readers of the Scriptures must be aware of this type of deception!
God knew that Daniel was asking about the seventy years spoken of by Jeremiah the prophet, but chose to sent his answer and decision in the form of ‘seventy weeks’ with the proviso that the readers of the Scriptures – those who have understanding – would understand the message. The message was that these seventy weeks were decreed to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Holy Place.
It was in the first year of Darius the Mede, who was made ruler over Babylon that Daniel understood what Jeremiah had said about the seventy years (Dan 9:1). If God’s answer came in answer to Daniel’s petition (and it did!) then why did God speak of ‘seventy weeks’ rather than seventy years? Well, seventy weeks can be seventy years if we are referring to the ‘Feast of Weeks’. Seventy of these are seventy years. The readers of the Scriptures would understand this. The Feast of Weeks is also called the Feast of the Firstfruits. The Firstfruits are described by God as the Tribe of Levi: Num 8:13 "Make the Levites stand in front of Aaron and his sons and then present them as a wave offering to the LORD. In this way you are to set the Levites apart from the other Israelites, and the Levites will be mine. After you have purified the Levites and presented them as a wave offering, they are to come to do their work at the Tent of Meeting. They are the Israelites who are given wholly to me. I have taken them as my own in place of the firstborn, the first male offspring from every Israelite woman. Every firstborn male in Israel, whether man or animal, is mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set them apart for myself. And I have taken the Levites in place of all the firstborn sons in Israel." The wave offering is presented on the Feast of Weeks as two loaves baked with yeast (Lev 23:17), and represents the early harvest. The wave offering is the Levites! So here we see that the firstborn and the firstfruits are one and the same. God chose the firstborn/firstfruits/wave offering at the time when He struck down all the firstborn in Egypt. This was the time when God first began to steer the whole House of Israel on a pathway to righteousness. This is when they began to learn God’s Way and God’s Laws. And it all began with the Passover.
The beginning of God’s Work in Egypt was the Passover season, a time when God demonstrated His power to save them from death. It was followed by a period of seven days of unleavened bread when they were to eradicate from among themselves all false teachings, and to prepare them for God’s Way. This is the first season of the Sacred Calendar of God’s Holy Days. The second season is the Day of, or Feast of, Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks. This is represented by one day, and is the time when God takes the Levites as His own in place of all the firstborn of the House of Israel – whether animal or man.
It should be pointed out that the Church of God is ‘a kind of firstfruits’ (James 1:18) in that they are the offspring of the Levites (Rev 12:17). But let’s not kid ourselves! Christ is the ultimate Firstfruits (1Cor 15:23), and the Levites are here to prepare the way for Him (Mal 3:1). And while the Levites will always be the firstborn/firstfruits/wave offering, they will be joined to Christ and be His treasured possession (Mal 3:16-18) along with those who are a kind of firstfruits. Each of the firstfruits must be offered to God and the Lamb by a Levite priest, and God makes this clear in Rev 14:4 "These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever He goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless." Only a true Levite can make this offering! The reference to ‘not defiling themselves with women’ becomes clearer further in the article. Obviously, it has nothing to do with having sexual intercourse with women, otherwise how would any offspring be born. There would be no firstborn in Israel (it’s speaking of Satan’s offspring – his harlots).
The date of the Feast of the Firstfruits is calculated from the day after the weekly Sabbath that falls within the Passover season, during that seven days. Seven weeks must be complete; that is from the first day to the Seventh Day – this is a complete week according to God’s definition! Those who keep the Sabbath know that God’s Sabbath is always the seventh day of the week (called Saturday today).
SEVEN WEEKS AND SIXTY TWO WEEKS
Most of the Holy Years have either 353, 354 or 355 days or approximately 50 weeks. So from one Feast of Weeks to another is approximately 50 weeks. The Feast of Weeks begins seven weeks after the first wave offering of new grain, and after the dawning of a new day – a total of 50 days. If we add 12 weeks (62 weeks in all) we come to the week of the Feast of Trumpets. The Feast of Trumpets is the time of blowing the trumpets signifying war, and remember that Gabriel told Daniel that war would continue to the end in these verses. But don’t strain too much over these things, and don’t worry too much about the ‘approximates’ – in the right year they dissolve into precision. So is this the full explanation? By no means! But it’s absolutely vital to know before this you can begin to understand the full explanation. For the present, it’s enough that God’s messenger has this information, and it will be proclaimed at the proper time.
Daniel was facing the completion of seventy years of hardship for his people, yet the prophet Zechariah was able to view it in retrospect as a past event:Zech 7:5 "Ask all the people of the land and the priests, "When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it for me that you fasted? And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves?" Two things to notice here: Firstly, the seventy years had passed when Zechariah wrote this. Secondly, those who were supposed to be repentant of their former actions were not feasting to the glory of God but only for themselves. Thirdly, Zechariah’s message concerns what happens after the seventy years. Just bear this in mind – we’ll get back to it.
Christ’s servant Jude made a clear reference to this type of behaviour among Church members concerning feasting. He prefaced his remarks by a reference to Balaam’s error (Jude 1:11), a reference that is also made in Rev 2:14 as a severe problem in the Churches of God. Jude then launched into a scathing attack on these Balaamites who were in the Church and claiming to be shepherds: Jude 1:12 "These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm – shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted – twice dead. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever." Jude left nothing out! Such men are already condemned to the blackest darkness forever! He goes on to say in V19 "These are the men who will divide you, who follow mere natural instincts, and do not have the Spirit." These men are like brute beasts with mere natural instinct, who only want to lord it over others who do have the Holy Spirit of God. They feed only their own egos and bear no fruit. Perhaps you saw plenty of this in the Churches (by their fruits you shall know them – Matt 7:18-20). Because they follow mere natural instincts, they lack the intelligence that comes from the Wisdom of God. They are destructive and divisive and only want to destroy anyone who might outshine them. If this fails, they leave and start their own church. There’s been plenty of this in the past. There seems to be hundreds of them now – all teaching the same trashy nonsense based on mere natural instincts.
It’s worth noting that Zechariah was sent to give details of the endtime events that would unfold, culminating with the reign of Christ in Jerusalem (after a final pitched-battle), and the requirement to keep the Feast of Tabernacles hardwired into the knowledge of all nations (Zech 14:16-17). So feasting for God’s glory is to continue forever. At that time the LORD Almighty – the Father – will be dwelling in Jerusalem (same verse), just as He said His dwelling would be among men in Rev 21:3-5. This will be after Christ has put down all rebellion and destroyed the rulers of the heavenly realms, and after He has handed the Kingdom to the Father (1Cor 15:24-25).
So there are some obvious links between the seventy years referenced by Daniel, which were prophesied to culminate with the return to Jerusalem and the beginning of a whole new day or era. But why specifically seventy years? What is the significance of this? Through the prophet David we learn that seventy years is the life of a man:Ps 90:3-10 "You turn men back to dust, saying, "Return to dust, O sons of men. For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by (also referenced by Peter to the Church in 2Pet 3:8-9), or like a watch in the night. You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning – though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered (see Isa 40:6-8, 24). We are consumed by your anger and terrified by your indignation. You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence. All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan. The length of our days are seventy years – or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away (or blow away – see Isa 40:24 again). Who knows the power of your anger? For your wrath is as great as the fear that is due to you. Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." V15 "Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble. May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendour to their children. May the favour of the LORD our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands."
In order to understand the theme of what has been recorded here, we need to continue with the very next verse inPsalm 91:1. This whole Psalm deals with salvation – the same type of salvation – and the only type of salvation that God ever speaks of, and which He confirms in Luke 1:68-78 – salvation from our enemies so that all who are saved can live a life of peace.
Psalm 91:1"He who dwells in the shadow of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Surely He will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge (a reference to Rev 12:14); His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you (See the Song of Moses – Deut 32:30). You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you make the Most High your dwelling – even the LORD who is my refuge – then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone."
This last sentence is the one quoted by Satan the devil (Matt 4:6) when he was trying to tempt Jesus into being his agent. It demonstrates the appalling ignorance of Satan that he couldn’t understand the meaning of it – and misquoted it! It’s not a reference to Christ, but a reference to those who are in the refuge of the eagle (V4). If it were a reference to Christ then He would have fulfilled it as He was required to do (Luke 24:44), but shortly after this, He was about to be thrown off a cliff by an angry mob (Luke 4:28-30) and He passed invisibly through the mob and went on His way. Satan and his agents are famous for misquoting Scripture because they are just plain ignorant. The reference in Ps 91:8 to ‘the punishment of the wicked’ is a reference to all those who act as Satan’s agents to subvert God’s Truth and vilify those who uphold it.
There are, of course, several layers of the wicked with different layers of wickedness. There are the fanatical liars and killers that make up Islam today who want to see the destruction of the whole House of Israel at any cost. These have no regard whatsoever for the Great Creator or His teachings, but have chosen to worship Allah the oak – Satan the devil! These scream ‘Allahu Akbar’ (Allah is great) as they gun down or blow up innocent men, women and children. At the other end of the pendulum are those who follow mere natural instincts like brute beasts, and try to get others to follow them. They lie and pervert everything in order to gain an advantage over others. These are the ones who pose as angels of light (just like Satan – while posing as Christ’s representatives – in other words – Christians:2Cor 11:13 "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve."
Though Islam and false Christianity seem worlds apart, the fact is that both serve Satan the devil and are powerful agents in his hands. Both will get what they deserve, and their punishment is designed to be a deterrent to all who would follow them. All who survive will be thrown into the lake of fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Paul’s use of the words ‘deceitful workmen’ is a pointer to Moses’ reference to the alternative: to ‘bless the work of our hands’ inPs 90:17. (David recorded Psalm 90 as a prayer of Moses.) There are plenty of deceitful workmen around today! And God makes sure they understand that their fate is permanent (Ps 92:5-7).
And just to conclude the rest ofPs 91:13 "You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent." This is a reference to Satan’s agents and Satan himself. Satan is like a roaring lion – a great lion – seeking whom he can devour (1Pet 5:8). He is also the ancient serpent – that great dragon (Rev 12:9), which makes him a considerably more potent that a small lion or a cobra – Satan’s agents. And he never lets them forget it! And it’s the intoxicating wine of Satan’s agents that the House of Israel has been listening to. In the Song of Moses, we find this reference: Deut 32:32 "Their wine is the venom of serpents, the deadly poison of cobras." Continuing in Psalm 91:14-16 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my Name (a reference to Mal 3:16) He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my SALVATION."
And what Name does God like to be acknowledged by? I can’t let it pass without making a few comments about this! There are a whole lot of fake Jews who strain over this subject. God says this inMal 1:6 "A son honours his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the respect due to me?" And this is what God also says in the Book of Jeremiah: Jer 3:19-20 "I Myself said, "How gladly would I treat you like sons and give you a desirable land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation. I THOUGHT YOU WOULD CALL ME ‘FATHER’ and not turn away from following me. But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you have been unfaithful to me, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL," declares the LORD." Anyone who doesn’t acknowledge the Name of the Father and call Him ‘Father’ is not His son! Jesus surely made this plain enough in Matt 6:9. Jesus made it very clear that we must pray to the Father! It’s permissible to refer to the Father as ‘LORD Eloihim’ (anglicized and pronounced as El-o-eem) or even as ‘Eloi’, as Christ did, and which means ‘my God’ (Matt 27:46). If the Father is Jesus’ God, then why are people calling Him ‘Yahweh’ – the Christ? The problem is that many people are becoming deluded into praying exclusively to Yahweh – the Christ! (or even worse: referring to Him as Jehovah). And against the Christ’s express instructions! The Father is no longer a father to them! In order to call Eloi ‘Father’ they need to start behaving like sons!
Back toPsalm 91 again. Are you beginning to understand what SALVATION is? It’s a little different from the ‘white lies’ your preacher has been speaking about, isn’t it? Your local preacher would probably put a wholly different spin on it. He wouldn’t agree with Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, now would he? Deceitful workers never do! The difference between these deceitful workers and Zechariah is, that Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit when he said these things (Luke 1:67). Deceitful workers don’t even know what the Holy Spirit is! So salvation is..…what? According to God’s Holy Spirit, of which deceitful workers have no knowledge, it means ‘salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us’ (Luke 1:71), and again in V74 ‘to rescue us from the hand of our enemies’, and in V79 ‘to shine on those living in darkness and in the SHADOW OF DEATH, to guide our feet into the path of peace.’
And which ‘SHADOW OF DEATH’ would this be talking about? Most Bible students know that David wrote of it inPsalm 23. Most Christians would know it by heart: Ps 23:4 "Even though I walk through the valley of the SHADOW OF DEATH, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." It’s not speaking of some obscure cemetery somewhere where a lot of dead are buried, it’s speaking about a creature that ruled from Adam to Moses: Rom 5:14 "Nevertheless, Death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the One to come." This is the Scripture that has tied people in knots arguing over the meaning. If it were speaking of the death (or dying) that is common to us all when we return to dust, why did it stop at Moses? Did Moses introduce immortality so that no-one dies anymore? No, he didn’t! Paul was making the point that by one man’s transgression, sin entered the world and Death reigned. The ‘man’ who sinned was in fact the woman! And Paul confirms this in 1Tim 2:14 "And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner." And in 2Cor 11:3 "But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ." And neither was Paul ignorant that all men must die: 1Cor 15:22 "For as in Adam all die, so [all in Christ] will be made alive." So dying didn’t stop with Moses. In fact, right at the outset, God said ‘Dust you are and to dust you will return’ (Gen 3:19). Lying deceivers disagree! Muslims and mainstream Christianity teach that when you die you go straight to heaven and have a form of immortality dwelling in you. The Truth is, that only God the Father has immortality dwelling in Him (1Tim 6:16), even though He can impart it to anyone He wishes. Of all the human beings who have ever lived, only Christ’s body did not see decay (Ps 16:8-11, Acts 2:29-31) because He was raised from the dead to become immortal. All others have returned to dust just as God has said. Paul was speaking of a future resurrection when he said, ‘So all in Christ will be made alive’. Just bear in mind who the human body of Christ is today!
It’s obvious to me thatRom 5:14 got a bit of doctoring along the way. To be consistent with the Scriptures it should read: ‘…even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as was the case with Adam, who was a pattern of One to come.’ As Paul said, ‘Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman – and she became a sinner.’ Both male and female are called the man kind, just as the animal kind was created male and female. People get so glandular and argumentative about Adam’s status, that they often become unhinged and start ridiculing the Scriptures. This is certainly true of a well-known book of Bible commentary. Since Adam was the son of God (Luke 3:38), it stands to reason that he is a pattern of One to come – the last Adam. As Paul said: 1Cor 15:45 "As it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit."
As for in whom Death reigned – it was Eve, the woman! It was Eve who was deceived by the serpent’s cunning and became a sinner (1Tim 2:14). Rom 5:17 "For if, by the trespass of the one man, Death reigned through that one man (who was the woman Eve), how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through one man, Jesus Christ." This is where it gets a little murky for those who insist that Paul was speaking about dying. If it was ‘dying’ that reigned through that one man (who was Eve), then surely only Eve was destined to die. But the Scriptures themselves remove all ambiguity, and Death is set to reign again and he is mentioned by name in Rev 6:8 (note the capital letter in Death). So it was the agent of the serpent – Satan the devil – who reigned through mankind and specifically through Eve. So the original mankind – male and female – were ruled over by Death through a woman.
It’s come to Satan’s attention that God is planning to use a ‘woman’ through whom to reign (just as Death reigned through Eve) to directly oppose that Great Harlot – Satan the devil! This ‘woman’ is the advance guard who will precede the True Messenger of the Covenant and prepare the way for Him (Mal 3:1). The ‘woman’ is mentioned in Rev 12:14, and is destined to establish the Throne of David (Zech 6:12-14) and the House of David (Zech 12:7-14), and they will do it by force. And like Eve, this ‘woman’ will have offspring – who, unlike Eve, do obey God’s commands (Rev 12:17). Death will not reign over this ‘woman’, and neither will this ‘woman’ be deceived by the Great Harlot – Satan and the City of Babylon – nor any of his agents! Instead, this ‘woman’ will directly challenge Satan and his agents, and engage them in battle just like the last Adam – the Christ – for whom they prepare the way (just bear in mind that God gave the first Adam rulership over the woman Eve – who was, in fact, Death in the flesh.) The ‘woman’ is to be trained in Godly warfare, and will fight for the Great King and His City Jerusalem. When Judah sees how strong the sons of Jerusalem are, they will join them (Zech 12:5-6) because they will know that the LORD Almighty is their God (same verses).
No-one rules on this earth without God’s approval! Not even Satan!Dan 4:17 "The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is Sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone He wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men." Satan is careful to plead his cause and hope that the decision and the verdict go his way. Because Satan wants the most vicious and cruel of rulers – the lowliest of men – he argues strenuously for his own choice of rulers, and considers it a victory when he gets the decision favourable to him. (Remember how Satan wanted Peter as his agent – but was refused – Luke 22:31). His agent Death began his rule through Eve, and continued through generations of her progeny – until Moses. These generations ruled over even those who favoured obedience to God – like Noah, who was a preacher of righteousness (2Pet 2:5). When Paul was speaking of the reign of Death (Rom 5:17), he spoke of ‘God’s abundant provision of grace’ (which is linked to the gift of righteousness in the same verse), and as the Book of Genesis says: Gen 6:8 "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD." (NKJV). And in Heb 11:7 "By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith." Without this type of faith it is impossible to please God (V6). The type of faith that God is looking for is to believe God and everything He has said. Noah’s faith was exemplified by building an ark when there was no sign of a flood. In holy fear he set about doing exactly what God told him to do, because he believed God! He suffered the sneering and the jeers of the evil generation and condemned them. And sure enough, these brainless fools got exactly what they deserved when they were taken away by the flood. It so happens that Jesus mentioned this very thing in Matt 24:37 "As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking (feasting, partying and all the debauchery that goes with it), marrying and giving in marriage (even same-sex marriages), up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. THIS IS HOW IT WILL BE AT THE COMING OF THE SON OF MAN."
The flood will take them away all right! But not the same kind of flood! God promised never to bring another flood like Noah’s flood again. But He will bring a flood – but not of water! God is planning a human tide, a flood of war – just as Daniel wrote, "The end will come like a flood: War will be continue to the end" (Dan 9:26). This flood will overtake them all – all those who failed to listen to God’s warning – just as Christ has confirmed!
Those who don’t like to serve God want to make sure that no-one else does either. What typifies them is their penchant for straining at a gnat and then swallowing a camel – to use Christ’s own analogy. In the days of Noah, they were feasting away, and enjoying their peace and freedom to do so, then came sudden destruction. And as Christ has said, "This is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man." Paul also confirmed this:1Thess 5:1-3 "Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety’, destruction will come on them suddenly, as labour pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape." Deceivers like to argue against these things, because they want to convince everyone that they alone have all the answers. When they preach ‘peace and safety’ they expect good outcomes rather than the prophesied destruction that will come suddenly. Paul mentions prophecy in relation to these matters in V19 "Do not put out the Spirit’s fire (a reference to keeping your lamps burning with olive oil), do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything (from the Bible – not the opinions of men). Hold on to that which is good. Avoid every kind of evil (including the type of evil where men try to rationalize away God’s Truth!)"
If this is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man, then we should be listening to God’s message through the prophets and not treat prophecies with contempt. You may not be aware of this, but there was another ‘son of man’ referenced in the Bible. He was a prophet, and God repeatedly referred to him as ‘son of man’ – the same title that Christ used when referring to Himself. Interestingly, both these ‘sons of man’ were 30 years of age when they began their ministry (Eze 1:1, Luke 3:23). Lo, and behold, we also find that another Levite like Ezekiel, was 30 years of age when he began his ministry. This was John the Baptist. He began preaching from Isa 40:3-5 (this speaks of the restoration of the landmass of the earth – see V4. Now there’s an interesting coincidence! God Himself also started speaking of the landmass of the earth when He first began to address Job - Job 38:4).
This ‘son of man’ was the prophet Ezekiel and God referred to him as the ‘son of man’ 93 times. In fact, it was this ‘son of man Ezekiel’ to whom Paul referred to when he mentioned peace and sudden destruction. Ezekiel delivered a message TO THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL (Eze 7:1-2). And in V5 "This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "Disaster! An unheard of disaster is coming. The end has come! The end has come! It has roused itself against you. It has come! Doom has come upon you – you who dwell in the land. The time has come, the day is near; there is panic, not joy, upon the mountains [of Israel]. I am about to pour out (like a flood) my wrath on you and spend my anger against you. I will judge according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices. I will not look upon you with pity or spare you; I will repay you in accordance with your conduct and the detestable practices among you. Then you will know that it is I, the LORD, who strikes this blow. The day is here! It has come! Doom has burst forth, the rod has budded, arrogance has blossomed! The Violent One [margin] has become a ROD to punish wickedness; none of the people will be left, none of the crowd – no wealth, nothing of value."
We can’t pass without mentioning something about the Violent One. The prophet Habakkuk mentions him:Hab 2:5 "Indeed wine betrays him; he is arrogant and never at rest. Because he is as greedy as the Grave and like Death is never satisfied, he gathers to himself all nations and takes captive all the peoples." You’ll recall that Death rides the fourth or pale horse of the Apocalypse (Rev 6:8) for a while, until the Violent One becomes available. Presently, he is temporarily indisposed (Rev 9:1, 11), but Death will shill for him in the meantime and prepare the way. The Violent One has all the characteristics of Death but he has one other characteristic – he’s an expert at destruction, and this is why he is called the Destroyer. By comparison, Death is a bit of a wimp, though most won’t think so when he rallies a quarter of the earth to bring the destruction of a quarter of the earth.
Continuing inEze 7:14 "Though they blow the trumpet and get everything ready, no-one will go into battle, for my wrath is upon the whole crowd. Outside is the sword, inside are plague and famine; those in the country will die by the sword, and those in the city will be devoured by famine and plague. All who survive and escape will be in the mountains, moaning like doves of the valleys, each because of his sins."
It’s in this context that Ezekiel mentions ‘peace’ and ‘destruction’. (The NIV translates destruction as ‘terror’, while the NKJV preserves the word as ‘destruction’. Let’s not quibble. In fact, it’s both!) This is what Ezekiel wrote in this regard:V23 "Prepare chains, because the land is full of bloodshed and the city is full of violence. I will bring the most wicked of nations (see Hab 1:6-7) to take possession of their houses (same verses); I will put an end to the pride of the mighty (the pride of the mighty is Ephraim’s city of Washington, set at the head of a fertile valley – Isa 28:1-3), and their sanctuaries will be desecrated. When TERROR [DESTRUCTION] comes, they will seek PEACE, but there will be none. Calamity upon calamity will come, and rumour upon rumour. They will try to get a vision from the prophet; the teaching of the Law by the priest will be lost, as will the council of the elders. (See Note 1 below) The king (See Note 2 below) will mourn, the prince will be clothed with despair, and the hands of the people of the land will tremble. I will deal with them according to their conduct, and by their own standards I will judge them. Then they will know that I am the LORD."
Note 1.Getting a vision from the prophet, or a teaching of the Law by the priest, or even advice from the council of the elders at that time will be difficult, because there will be a famine of the Word of God: Amos 8:11 "The days are coming," declares the Sovereign LORD, "when I will send a famine throughout the land – not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD. Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the LORD, but they will not find it." If you go from north to east in the land of Ephraim (U.S. today) you will arrive in the very place where God established the 12 Tribes of Israel (13 with a double portion to Joseph) in the original 13 States of America – which were depicted as 13 stars and acknowledged by the founding fathers as representing the House of Israel. This was to fulfil the prophecy of Ephraim being prince among his brothers. And it’s in these 13 original States that God has granted authority to the council of the elders. Though there are other elders scattered around the United States of America, from Washington State to California and all the way to the East Coast and down to Florida. All these things occurred so that the wise would understand where God established Ephraim as prince over his brothers.
Joseph had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Though the youngest, Ephraim was to be greater (Gen 48:19-20). When God lists the 12 Tribes of Israel in the Book of Revelation (Rev 7:5-8), Manasseh is mentioned by name, but Ephraim is referred to by his father’s name Joseph. Just as Joseph was a mighty ruler in Egypt, so Ephraim was to be the mighty ruler above his brothers, with all the characteristics of his father Joseph. And this is made clear in Moses’ blessing of the 12 Tribes of Israel: Deut 33:13 "About Joseph he said: "May the LORD bless his land with the precious dew from heaven above and with the deep waters that lie below; with the best the sun brings forth and the finest the moon can yield; with the choicest gifts of the ancient mountains and the fruitfulness of the everlasting hills; with the best gifts of the earth and its fullness and the favour of Him who dwelt in the burning bush. Let all these rest on the head of Joseph (the head of Joseph is Ephraim), on the brow of the prince among his brothers. In majesty he is like a firstborn bull; his horns are the horns of a wild ox, with them he will gore the nations, even those at the ends of the earth. Such are the ten thousands of Ephraim; such are the thousands of Manasseh." When Ephraim goes to war to gore the nations, he is many times more powerful than Manasseh by about a ratio of ten to one.
Note 2. God calls Ephraim a prince among his brothers. Since Ephraim is a democracy rather than a monarchy, they don’t have recognized kings and princes. They rejected this when they rejected King George III as their ruler. Their ruler today is called the President of the United States. For the nations of the world, and to the ends of the earth, this office carries far greater majesty than any other office on earth. When Ephraim speaks, men tremble (Hos 13:1) – even today – yet they are becoming very close to being guilty of Baal (Satan) worship (same verse) as they show favour to Baal’s brood. Of Ephraim, God has said this: Hos 10:13 "But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception. Because you depended on your own strength and on your many warriors, the roar of battle will go against your people, so that all your fortresses will be devastated…". It seems that Ephraim is beginning to be thoroughly beguiled by Baal and is willing to eat the fruit of deception, and imagines that he can bring peace to Baal’s brood. And while they are speaking of peace, and thinking that Satan’s brood is listening to them, forces are amassing to bring about Ephraim’s destruction. Presently, they have a righteous king (President) who is holding the line against the liberal butt-kissers of the opposition – those who continue to cry for Saddam’s regime, and almost went out of their minds trying to protect him. They used every device known to man to prevent him from being gored by the mighty bull Ephraim. (Guess whom God is talking about when He speaks of Baal-worshippers!) These people would kiss the devil if it gained them some advantage!
Perhaps they should have listened to the former council of the elders – the founding fathers of the GOP, the Grand Old Party, while they had the chance. The founding fathers would have counselled against becoming a traitor to God and their country like Benedict Arnold. But of course, the Democrats don’t listen to reason! They burst blood vessels defending evil. Well, the time will come when they will need some counsel from the elders, but they will be too late. The prophets and elders will be gone to prepare for their rescue – and salvation from their enemies. So as the Kingdom of God forcefully advances, you will see that God has appointed intrepid men to take it by force. As the borders of the Kingdom expand, you will know that your salvation is near.
Only when a verdict is given and God makes his decision can any ruler begin to reign. And just to show the consistency of this protocol, the Lamb Himself will be led into God’s presence for such a decision:Dan 7:13-14 "In my vision I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds (meaning: hosts) of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into His presence. He was given authority, glory and SOVEREIGN POWER; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshipped Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His Kingdom is one that will never be destroyed." Even though this is a foregone conclusion, it is necessary to uphold God’s right to make the decision officially. And the First Lord of the Universe would not have it any other way – such is His love for His Father!
The same account is given inRev 5:11 "Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise." For this great event, the Glory – the Dwelling-place of God – is stationed directly over God’s City Jerusalem, the centre of the earth and the Capital of the Universe. This is all a part of the Song of the Lamb (V9), which will be sung by the saints, together with the Song of Moses (Rev 15:3), all of which will cause some considerable heartburn for those who reject the Law of God’s servant Moses which God has warned to remember (Mal 4:4).
And now back toPsalm 23, which we referenced concerning the ‘shadow of Death’. Do you remember what David said comforted him? He said, "Your rod and your staff, they comfort me." Which rod and which staff is this? Well, one has to do with the Lamb of God – the Mighty Christ, and the other with Moses. It was Moses’ staff that consumed Pharaoh’s viper. The rod is in Christ’s hand, and is referred to in Ps 2:8-9 "Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with a rod of iron (margin); you will dash them to pieces like pottery." See also Rev 2:27 "To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations – ‘He will rule them with a rod of [iron]; he will dash them to pieces like pottery’ – just as I have received authority from my Father." And both will offer comfort when the Song of the Lamb and the Song of Moses are sung (Rev 15:3). In the Song of Moses the realm of Death is mentioned: Deut 32:22 "For a fire has been kindled by my wrath (see Luke 12:49, Matt 25:41), one that burns to the realm of Death below. It will devour the earth and its harvests and set on fire the foundations of the mountains." (Peter spoke of this – 2Pet 3:10-11, and so did Amos: Amos 9:5). In Hebrew the reference to Death is ‘Sheol’ and can mean the Grave or the deepest hell (as the NKJV states it). The fire that is to be kindled (see Luke 12:49) is specifically for the devil and his angels (Matt 25:41). And this ‘Sheol’ is the very realm of the most evil of all Satan’s lieutenants and is called the Abyss. Death has been released from his realm below and has been appointed to begin his ride as a horseman. Grave will follow shortly afterwards when God gives His verdict.
Satan has been the adversary of all the men of God – the preachers of righteousness. They’ve had to endure his reign over them over many periods of history.Isa 26:13 "O LORD our God, other lords beside you have ruled over us, but your Name alone do we honour. They are now dead, they live no more; those departed spirits do not rise. You punished them and brought them to ruin; you wiped out all memory of them." God sets up rulers and He destroys them. Satan is the arch-rebel and adversary, but he’s not alone. He has millions of spirits who listen to him because he’s a tyrant. There have been many who have already met their deaths. And there are plenty more to go. If the number of faithful angels numbers ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands, then the one-third who defected to Satan’s camp must exceed 50 million. That’s a whole lot of treachery to unleash on planet earth. Since mankind has been made a little lower than the angels, then these rulers rule over mankind. There is as wide a breadth of diversity in their natures as there is in human beings. Some are far more wicked than others, others possess great cunning and subtlety, others are morbid and melancholy. But they all have one characteristic: they all fear and tremble before God: James 2:19 "You believe there is one God? Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder." Yes, these demons tremble and shudder and shake with fear! They know how quickly things can go wrong for them if God turns on them. One great fear they have is being transported to the Abyss. This was exemplified when Christ was on the earth: Luke 8:29 "For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man." V30 "Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" "Legion," he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged Him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss." The Abyss is not a friendly place to be! It’s ruled by an inmate who is an absolute tyrant, and is known as the Destroyer (Rev 9:11). Death is his seat-warmer, the one who prepares the way for him. The evil tyrant Death is Satan’s best option until God gives the decision for Abaddon (also called Apollyon) to rule. And then he will be let out of the Abyss. He is the last of the heads of the beast, although of the seven, he is really the eighth. He will cause astounding destruction, and all to Satan’s complete satisfaction!
As for ‘the demons that begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss’, they chose a better option:Luke 8:32 "A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, and He gave permission." They begged for a lesser punishment than the dreaded Abyss! And Jesus gave a favourable judgment. They became pigs and went to their destruction.
Even David spoke of these heads of the beast long ago:Ps 74:12-14 "But you, O God, are my King from of old; you bring salvation upon the earth. It was you who split open the sea by your great power; you broke the heads of the monsters in the waters. It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathon and gave him as food for the creatures of the desert." And Isaiah: Isa 27:1 "In that day, the LORD will punish with his sword, his fierce, great and powerful sword, Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; He will slay the monster of the sea."
Readers of the Scriptures should understand that Satan the devil, who is also the ancient serpent and the great dragon, was not originally created this way. Today he is a monster and a loathsome dragon and is detestable in appearance. The evidence of this, we’ll deal with shortly. Yet when God created him, he was everything that was desirable and good and a model of perfection. He was created with beauty, wisdom, and adorned with precious stones – like the breastplate of a Levite priest through which God imparted the Wisdom of the Urim and the Thummin. One of his heads ruled the City of Tyre and controlled the trade of the known world, and this is precisely what is prophesied for his final rule!
This is how God describes this model of perfection:Eze 28:11-12 "The Word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "You were the model of perfection, full of Wisdom and perfect in beauty." This description would certainly not apply to Satan today! But on the day he was created it was certainly true: V13 "You were in Eden, the garden of God; every stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared." Apart from God and Adam and Eve, the only other intelligent being in the Garden of Eden was the serpent. There was no sign of the king of Tyre; in fact, the city of Tyre didn’t exist at that time! But the being who later ruled through the king of Tyre was there – and this was the ancient serpent – the devil. He is no longer the model of perfection, he no longer has Wisdom, and he certainly has no beauty, in fact, he’s ugly and detestable.
Continuing inEze 28:14 "You were anointed a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the Holy Mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you." He was anointed as a guardian-class cherub like the group of cherubs (cherubim) set to guard the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life: Gen 3:24 "After he drove the man out, he placed in front of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the Tree of Life." It seems that being a guardian cherub wasn’t enough for him; he wanted to be a creator just like God. His idea of perfection differed from God in how all other beings should be and look. He reasoned that lesser beings deserved nothing unless they sought his favour. He wanted authority over everything and everyone – and presumably, even God.
On reflection, it seems that if you give an intelligent being a little power, they are never satisfied – they want it all. And if they don’t get it, rebellion arises. Moses faced the same problem with subversives:Num 16:8 "Moses also said to Korah, "Now listen, you Levites! Isn’t it enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the Israelite community and brought you near Himself to do the work at the LORD’S Tabernacle and to stand before the community and minister to them? He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near Himself, but now you are trying to get the priesthood too. It is against the LORD that you and all your followers have banded together." Korah’s epitaph, and that of his followers, is written in V31-35.
Jude also mentions Korah:Jude 1:11 "Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain, they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion." It’s interesting that the first murder committed in the era of mankind was committed by one of Satan’s agents. Cain belonged to Satan (1John 3:12). God even tried to reason with Cain and suggested that if he changed his way then his offerings would be acceptable. But Cain was too far-gone, and had developed the mind of his father Satan. He wanted God to accept his way, but was not prepared to accept God’s Way. And so righteous Abel became the first lamb to the slaughter. This is the typical pattern of all those who belong to Satan. If they are not acceptable, then they will make sure that no one else is either.
It’s also interesting that three things are mentioned here: the way of Cain, the profit of Balaam, and Korah’s rebellion. These three things typify Satan! He wanted his own way – not God’s Way, he organized for profit, and rebelled against His Father. His profit was from his trading in commodities:Eze 28:16 "Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the Mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more." Just remember that this is a lament (Eze 28:12). A lament is a funeral dirge, and this lament will be remembered for all time as a lesson to all of what this former model of perfection became.
It’s through trade that Satan will control the nations of the earth to honour him and his city of Babylon – the seat of his power:Rev 18:11 "The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her (Babylon, city of power – V10) because no-one buys their cargoes anymore….". V14 "They will say, ‘The fruit you longed for is gone from you. All your riches and splendour have vanished, never to be recovered. The merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her will stand far off, terrified of her torment. They will weep and mourn and cry out: ‘Woe! Woe, O great city, dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet, and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls! In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin." This is Satan’s great city of Babylon – the very hub of future world trade – and the pride of Satan’s accomplishments. This is the city set on the Euphrates River and is in the process of being rebuilt. And just to reinforce that this is speaking of widespread trade, and that these merchants were the world’s great men: V23-24 "….Your merchants were the world’s great men. By your magic spell all the nations of the earth were led astray. In her was found the blood of prophets and of the saints, and of all who have been killed on the earth." God’s City is the Holy City of Jerusalem; Satan’s city is Babylon on the Euphrates River (and Ephraim’s city is Washington) and never the twain shall meet!
People seem to think that they can bring peace by reasoning with Satan’s brood. Throughout history, Satan’s brood has brutalized the innocent and ruled as tyrants over lesser beings. God wanted this lesson to be sheeted home for all time, and so He established the Church and instructed them to act in innocence at all times in order to gather the evidence of Satan’s outrages. God plans to turn the tables eventually (see V20), and the Church will rule with a rod of iron and shatter the nations like pottery – just as Christ will! (Rev 2:26-29). Forever into the future, God’s Family – those who bear His Name – will rule all nations with a rod of iron. As life expands to other worlds, the God Family will uphold God’s ways, and rebellion and treachery will be put down like pottery being smashed to pieces. Is it possible for decent men to be violent men? Wasn’t Jesus the most decent of all men? Isn’t He the One as the Son of God that we should all emulate? The answer is yes to all three questions. Jesus supports all who are righteous, but is an invincible force against all who do evil. And so, whenever any nation refuses to listen to sound reasoning, death and destruction will be swift, like pottery shattered to pieces.
Some have reasoned that Satan is responsible for everything, and so he is. He’s the one who led the rebellion against God and turned the heads of one-third of the angels of God. Intelligent spirit beings chose to follow him because they loved evil. (There is a big difference between intelligence and Wisdom!) There are many human beings who are this way also. As intelligent beings, they have the ability to choose their own way. There is not a lot of difference between the intelligence of human beings and that of the created spirit beings. Both have the ability to choose between good and evil. Most evil men remain quiescent as long as no ruler rallies them as in mob-rule, but it only takes one ruler to turn relatively normal men and women into rampaging animals of destruction. When the option is to join in or be killed, weak people succumb to the evil influence. God expects those who have His Holy Spirit to act in a manner that is preferential to Him. And God has set such people apart for service to Him. All God’s servants must have these characteristics, and His servants are described inRev 12:10-11 "…For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the Word of their Testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death." As the innocent Lamb of God, Jesus went quietly to the slaughter. God expects His servants to be of the same mind, and not shrink from death. Their service to God must be absolute in all circumstances, and they must complete their service to God. This is what was promised when people enter the contract of baptism – they are prepared to die for God and be resurrected by Him. In other words, they are ready to die in faith, believing that God will resurrect them just as He did His Son Jesus.
The prophet Job understood these things, and this is why God refers to him as His servant. Job said this:Job 26:5-6 "The dead are in deep anguish, those beneath the waters and all that live in them. Death is naked before God; Destruction lies uncovered." (Death is translated from ‘Sheol’, and Destruction is translated from the Hebrew name Abaddon – a pointer to Rev 9:11). What did Job mean by ‘The dead are in deep anguish’? Did he mean that the dead are actually alive? Well all flesh turns to dust and they stay dead and know nothing, and will continue to know nothing, unless they are resurrected at the appointed time. Job is referring to those who lived in the flesh – but are not flesh and blood themselves – a point made by the Apostle Paul in Eph 6:12. Job specifically names Death and Destruction as fitting into this category. Job further identifies them in the same chapter in V12 "By His power He churned up the sea; by His Wisdom He cut Rahab to pieces. By His breath the skies became fair; His hand pierced the gliding serpent. And all these are but the outer fringe of His works; how faint the whisper that we hear of Him! Who can understand the thunder of His Power?" God’s Wisdom and God’s Power are not understood by people who don’t believe Him! Those who possess them are appalled at those who don’t. Those who spend their lives trying to prove God wrong will come to a tragic end (Job even speaks of this in Job 27:11-15). Even those who challenge God’s servants are already condemned. They’ve already written themselves out of the script. God has no interest in doubters or scoffers! (2Pet 3:3, 7 and he also mentions the Great Flood in V6 and says in V7 "By this same Word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.")
As for God’s Wisdom, Job had plenty to say about it!Job 28:20 "Where then does Wisdom come from? Where does understanding dwell? It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing, concealed even from the birds of the air. DESTRUCTION and DEATH say, ‘Only a rumour of it has reached our ears.’ God understands the Way to it, and He alone knows where it dwells, for He views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. When He measured the force of the wind, and measured out the waters, when He made a decree for the rain and a path for the thunderstorm, then He looked at Wisdom and appraised it; He confirmed and tested it. And He said to man, ‘The fear of the LORD – that is Wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding."
When God says in these verses that ‘He looked at Wisdom’, who was He looking at? The Apostle Paul explains:1Cor 1:24 "But to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the Power of God and the Wisdom of God." 1Cor 2:6 "We do, however, speak a message of Wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God’s secret Wisdom, a Wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory." Wisdom is another name for the Mighty Christ: Proverbs 8:12 "I, Wisdom, dwell together with Prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. To fear the LORD is to hate evil (this is basically what Job wrote) I hate pride and arrogance, evil behaviour and perverse speech." See V22 for further identification, and V29-31 "When He gave the sea its boundary so that the waters would not overstep His command, and when He marked out the foundations (landmass, firmament or firm part, as opposed to the sea) of the earth. Then I was the Craftsman at His side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in His presence, rejoicing in the whole world and delighting in mankind."
Job mentions thatDestruction and Death say, ‘Only a rumour of it has reached our ears.’ As the rulers of this age, they have no knowledge of God’s Wisdom because it’s been kept hidden from them. The rulers of this age do however, have their agents, who practice the wisdom of this age, which, in a word, is stupidity. Lacking God’s Wisdom, they spent forever arguing over picky, little issues that are meaningless. In their stupidity they rejoice to try to find contradictions in God’s Word. Presumably, it makes them feel wiser than God (a characteristic of Satan and his agents – Eze 28:3). And of course, they are always wrong because they rely on human wisdom – the wisdom of this age, and have no understanding of anything!
Job mentions Destruction (Abaddon) again inJob 31:12 "It is a fire that burns to Destruction (margin: Abaddon); it would have uprooted my harvest." (See Deut 32:22, Luke 12:49, Matt 25:41 again). And something else that the prophet Job said is also of great interest at this time: Job 29:2 "How I long for the months gone by, for the days when God watched over me, when His Lamp shone upon my head, and by His Light I walked through darkness! Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house, when the Almighty was still with me and my children were around me, when my path was drenched with cream and the Rock poured out for me streams of olive oil." How prophetic this will be for those who refused to follow God’s pathways! Christ gave an example of this in Matt 25:1-13 concerning 10 virgins with their lamps and the olive oil. The ten virgins are the ten Tribes of Israel that will not be a part of the Kingdom of God until the Bridegroom arrives, and then only five of them will be admitted to the wedding banquet and the door will be shut. And He will tell the foolish five that He never knew them (V12). So perhaps you are beginning to understand to whom the message of the prophet Job was directed to.
God directed young Elihu, through His Spirit, to chasten Job for being concerned only about his own reputation:Job 33:8-12 "But you have said in my hearing – I heard the very words – "I am pure and free from guilt. Yet God has found fault with me; He considers me His enemy. He fastens my feet in shackles; He keeps close watch on all my paths." But I tell you, in this you are not right, for God is greater than man." In V6, Elihu reminded Job that both of them were alike before God, in that both had been taken from clay (and God is the Master Potter who shapes the clay – of those who have His Spirit – see Rom 9:19-21).
And Elihu made sure that no-one could accuse him of flattery:Job 32:18-22 "For I am full of words, and the Spirit within me compels me; inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst. I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply, I will show partiality to no-one, nor will I flatter any man; for if I were skilled in flattery, my Maker would soon take me away." You might like to study what Jesus taught about bottled-up wine and note that it is in reference to the Bridegroom (Matt 9:17, Mark 2:22, Luke 5:37). There was an awful lot of flattery in the Churches of God as well as other churches, as arrogant men pimped for advantage. They were prepared to sell body and soul for the mere approbation of men.
Job was a hard guy to toss in that he was very knowledgeable, and he was very righteous, and God Himself confirms this. The point is that Job was very perfect by human standards, and God judged him to be so:Job 1:8 "Then God said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no-one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." When Satan had finished with him though, he was becoming a little shaky, and was feeling that God had dealt with him unjustly. In the good times, Christians can appear very righteous, and they can even sound very convincing when they say lots of nice things about Jesus. But give them the taste of the rod, and they fall apart. They lack the backbone and integrity of Job and Jesus alike. They howl like dogs when adversity strikes, and then cast about for someone else to blame. And when all fails they blame God. Though I’ve quoted it often, it needs to be quoted again – it’s Isa 8:20 "To the Law and to the Testimony! If they do not speak according to this Word, they have no light of dawn (see 2Pet 1:19-20). Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land (probably from north to east); when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. Then they will look towards the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness." And in the very next verse: Isa 9:1-3 "Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past He humbled the land of Zebulon and the land of Naphtali, but in the future He will honour Galilee [by way] of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan – "the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the SHADOW OF DEATH, a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder." And of course, V6-7 speaks of God’s Kingdom and the Wonderful Counsellor, the Prince of Peace who will reign over it for ever more. So you know what these verses are pointing to. Notice the reference to the ‘SHADOW OF DEATH’.
Most people feel that they’re too busy to be bothered with any type of service to God. After all, they reason, they’ve sung in the choir, put a few coins in the collection plate, and prayed whenever they’ve been in trouble. What more could God require of them? Basically, they’ve had a good life, raised the children, solved all their problems as they arose, and done a little community work. Isn’t this what life is all about? Anyway, they reason, God is the God of the dead not the living, isn’t He? (Jesus said the exact opposite inMatt 22:32) According to their beliefs, when you die, God decides if He will snap you up if you’ve been good, or reject you if you’re bad. This is the way it’s all taught, so why should anyone worry while they’re still alive? The question is, then, what is the purpose of serving God, and what can be gained by doing it? God raises this same point in Mal 3:13-15. The mainstream Christian churches offer no incentive whatsoever in what they teach, neither from the point of view of logic nor obedience towards their Maker.
God appoints His servants to serve Him in obedience, but also to do the things God requires them to do as the occasion arises. His servants are vigilant on God’s behalf, and if something must be done to fulfill prophecy, then they make sure it’s done. They don’t run in the opposite direction and risk being swallowed by a sea creature as Jonah was. And this is God’s warning to all! Jonah was a prophet – Jesus Christ said so inMatt 12:39. This was when Jesus likened Jonah’s experience to the death of His own body, and prophesied that He would be dead for three days and three nights, but His body would not see decay. Whereas Jonah was entombed in the heart of the sea, Jesus was entombed in the heart of the earth.
God wants His servants to be blameless and upright like Job – especially after Job had humbled himself. Three of his friends though seemed to have something preternatural about them. One of them made a reference to an idiot not being able to be wise, and then made a reference to a wild donkey:Job 11:12 "But a witless man can no more become wise than a wild donkey’s colt can be born a man". The first wild donkey mentioned in the Bible refers to Ishmael, the father of the Arabs, in Gen 16:11-12. Perhaps you think ‘so what?’ Well it happens to be very important. So important, in fact, that the KJV decided to leave it out rather than offend Arabs. Most other Bible versions include it. You only need to read the foreword of the KJV to understand what sycophants and flatterers the translators were, and why they got so many things wrong. But in this case it was entirely inexcusable. It was an angel of the LORD speaking about Ishmael when he said: V12 "He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility towards all his brothers." This has certainly been true of Ishmael’s hostility towards the seed of Isaac and his son Jacob but it’s also true of Abraham’s other offspring through Keturah (Gen 25:1), to whom he had six sons. In V5 it mentions ‘concubines’ in the plural, but we know nothing of the others apart from Keturah, but we do know where their sons settled. V5 "Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac. But while he was still living, he gave gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them away from his son Isaac to the land of the east." Now there’s a coincidence! Job was the greatest man among all the people of the east! (Job 1:3). And it just so happens that one of Job’s friends was a Temanite. The Temanites settled in what is now known as Saudi Arabia.
WHO MARKED OFF THE LANDMASS?
After Elihu had prepared Job for a few home truths, then God answered Job. And what was the first item on the agenda? It was about the earth that God has made and the shape and dimensions of the landmass. Now if you can find any shape or form to the landmass today, then you have a very good imagination. Yet, there was a time when the shape of the landmass had a certain form, like features that stand out on a garment. And for the first time in 6,000 years we have the means to see and prove these things. God makes the wisdom of this world to be foolishness. You only need to read a book on geology to understand how true this is. None of them have any idea of how God shaped the foundation of the earth. The whole of that which is taught as geology today is not science but ideas and theory – all of which are wrong, and I might add, bizarre and unprovable.
Job 38:4"Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation (singular not plural). Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions. Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone – while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?" God is certainly speaking of one landmass here – not many! And it had just one cornerstone. And in V14 "The earth takes shape like clay under a seal; its features stand out like those of a garment." A seal pressed into clay leaves a perfect symmetrical imprint. It’s shape and features are like those of a garment. People don’t usually wear garments that are a shapeless mess, but they usually have style and form, and are chosen as a good fit. A good tailor runs his measuring line over it to make sure it’s going to fit. God ran His measuring line over the foundation (landmass) of the earth to ensure its features were perfect. The shape was that of the only geometrical pattern that has one chief cornerstone. And the chief or upper corner is the cornerstone of this shape – a triangle. A triangle shaped building is called a pyramid. Of course, lying deceivers will refute these things, but are totally incapable of giving an alternate explanation of the meaning! They are totally clueless! Their only objective is to ridicule what God has said!
If there is any doubt about what a cornerstone is, God provides evidence that it is the chief stone or capstone, the uppermost stone of a pyramid shape. God refers to Mount Moriah as His Mighty Mountain, and speaks of bringing out the capstone (cornerstone) to shouts of praise (Zech 4:7). In the days of Zerubbabel (who is also called Sheshbazzar) the exiles set out to build the walls of the City Jerusalem and to fill the foundations to the full height or full measure of the chief cornerstone. The Mighty Mountain would have the appearance of a raised city with only the uppermost tip or capstone of the Mountain showing. The whole of the area enclosed within the walls of the City was holy, and this was to become level ground on which the Temple would be built. At a future time, the whole City and the Temple will be raised up on a great plateau – the top of a great mountain.
PUNISHMENT OF RULERS
I don’t want to get into endless repetition (this has all been explained before), but God’s punishment of the rulers of the heavenly realms is often a term of imprisonment as an animal – as was the case with Nebuchadnezzar. The type of animal typifies what that being is. Some demonic religions teach this very thing out of demonic superstition and call it reincarnation. The authors of this doctrine, which is the doctrines of demons (1Tim 4:1) have tried to convince their human hosts that it’s them who will come back as some form of lower life. The truth is that it’s the demons for which this fate is reserved. As in the case of Nebuchadnezzar, an eagle preys on lesser beings (for want of a fuller explanation). Nebuchnezzar was a ruler of the heavenly realms, and like an eagle was above his prey. Perhaps the best explanation is found where God explains to the prophet Job: Job 39:27 "Does the eagle soar at your command and build its nest on high? (No, the eagle soars at God’s command!) He dwells on a cliff and stays there at night; a rocky crag is his stronghold. From there he seeks out his food; his eyes detect it from afar. His young ones feast on blood, and where the slain are, there is he." Jesus also spoke of this in Luke 17:37 "Where, Lord?" they asked. He replied, "Where there is a dead body, there the [eagles] will gather." This is one of those rare occasions when the KJV gets it right – it is speaking of eagles not vultures. Jesus was referring to the Book of Job. You might like to ponder what Jesus meant by what He said concerning the eagles gathering. God commands the eagle, and Jesus went on to speak of JUSTICE in the next verses (Luke 18:1-8).
We could also make the case that no human being has ever grown feathers and turned into a wild animal – but it happened to Nebuchadnezzar:Dan 4:33 "Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like cattle (like a land animal rather than a sea animal). His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird." You may consider the account of Nebuchadnezzar to be some sort of cute folklore, but you would be wrong. Neither was it just a colourful enhancement of the story of his life. It’s the Truth of God! God was in fact, giving us a human example of what happens to the rulers of the heavenly realms when they commit the unpardonable, and these rulers know it only too well!
When God spoke the parable of the eagle to Job (Job 39:27), He went on to speak of JUSTICE: Job 40:6 "Then God spoke to Job out of the storm: "Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you will answer me. Would you discredit my JUSTICE? Would you condemn me to justify yourself? Do you have an arm like God’s, and can your voice thunder like His? Then adorn yourself with Glory and splendour, and clothe yourself in honour and majesty. Unleash the fury of your wrath, look at every proud man and bring him low, look at every proud man and humble him, crush the wicked where they stand. Bury them all in the dust together; shroud their faces in the grave. Then I myself will admit to you that your own right hand can SAVE you."
It’s not too far wide of the mark that many ancient mariners claimed to see a sea serpent. Job, himself, was a witness to a preternatural creature called the behemoth, which was created in his day, and lived on the land. Was God busy still creating creatures to compliment the existing creation when He created this behemoth? The fact is that there is no indication that God is still creating new creatures (though God has built into their genome the ability to mutate according to varying climatic changes or circumstances). The creation finished on the sixth day of creation. So what about this behemoth? This creature is not one that is known on earth or that had previously existed during the tenure of man on earth. Yet clearly, He created this beast. Did the present creation need enhancing by the introduction of such a terrible beast? If so, then what happened to the offspring of this creature? After all, God created male and female in all the other animals so they could produce offspring, yet there is no evidence today that it ever existed. It’s as if it died and was chewed up by the wild animals leaving no trace.
The Behemoth was created at the time of Job:Job 40:15 "Look at the Behemoth, which I made along with you, and feeds on grass like an ox. What strength he has in his loins, what power in the muscles of his belly. His tail sways like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are close-knit. His bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like rods of iron. He ranks first among the works of God, yet his Maker can approach him with his sword. The hills bring him produce, and all the wild animals play nearby. Under the lotus plant he lies, hidden among the reeds in the marsh." Who is this great monster that lies among the reeds in the marsh? David explains: Ps 68:30 "Rebuke the beast among the reeds, the herd of bulls among the calves of nations. Humbled, may it bring bars of silver (see gifts: Ps 45:12-17, Isa 23:17-18, Job 27:16-17). Scatter the nations who delight in war." And what did David mean? He is speaking of salvation from the multi-headed beast: V20 "Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from Death. Surely God will crush the heads of His enemies, the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins."
And just a slight digression while still in this chapter:V16 "Why gaze in envy, O rugged mountains, at the mountain where God chooses to reign, where the LORD Himself will dwell forever. The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands, the LORD has come from Sinai into His Sanctuary." V32 "Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth, sing praise to the LORD, to Him who rides the ancient skies above." While God has many chariots, the Mothership is called Glory, and it’s in Glory that God rides the ancient skies above, and the Mothership Glory is huge.
So God had a special reason for reminding Job of the preternatural beast that existed in his time, and which was suffering the punishment of all the rulers of the heavenly realms that rebel against him. The Bible mentions two such creatures that only God can approach with His sword. God Himself mentions two beasts in the Book of Job. One is Behemoth, who lived on the land, and the other is Leviathan who lived in the sea. This monster of the sea is like nothing else and is a terrifying creature.Job 41:1 "Can you pull in the Leviathan with a fishhook?" V7 "Can you fill his hide with harpoons, or his head with fishing spears? If you lay a hand on him, you will remember the struggle and never do it again! Any hope of subduing him is false; the mere sight of him is overpowering." Clearly this was a creature that could be seen, and if anyone was foolish enough to lay a hand on him, they would never do it again! You would need to read the whole chapter of Job 41 to understand more of this creature, but a few selective verses: V18-21 "His sneezing throws out flashes of light; his eyes are like rays of dawn (he was originally the light-bringer and the morning-star). Firebrands stream from his mouth; sparks of fire shoot out. Smoke pours from his nostrils as from a boiling pot over a fire of reeds. His breath sets coals ablaze, and flames dart from his mouth." V31-32 "He makes the depths churn like a boiling cauldron and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment. Behind him he leaves a glistening wake; one would think the deep had white hair." This is a subtle reference to God’s other Son Jesus, who does have white hair (Rev 1:14) and whose eyes are like blazing fire. V33-34 "Nothing on earth is his equal – a creature without fear. He looks down on all who are haughty; he is king over all who are proud."
It can’t be stressed enough that God is a jealous God (Ex 20:4), and His anger can flare up in a moment (Ps 2:12). All who are proud are God’s enemies, and pride and arrogance are as good as a death sentence to all who think they are something when they are nothing. And the saddest thing of all is that these faults are most prevalent among the religious. And such people are never going to make it past the pearly gates of God’s Holy City Jerusalem (Rev 21:21, 27).
Satan has a grand plan. He plans to bring forth both these beasts in the identity of two of his most vicious generals. The one who emulates Leviathan is the one who is given Satan’s power, his throne, and his great authority. In other words, he will perfectly simulate Satan the devil.
Rev 13:1"And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. Men worshipped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshipped the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?" This is what God said of the Behemoth and the Leviathan, and especially the Leviathan, when He said no-one would attack him, because human beings are not his equal, and if they did they would never do it again. God’s wants you to understand that these are real creatures, in fact, terrifying creatures, but they are not human!
It’s at this point inRev 13 that God says this beast will make war with the saints and conquer them (V7). The saints are those who have God’s Holy Spirit, and whose names are written in the Book of Life, and God will require them to go as sheep to the slaughter or into captivity (V8-10). And He has a very good reason for doing this! But it will require patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints (V10).
V11"Then I saw another beast coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon." He arrives out of the earth, or more correctly out of the Abyss, with a brief to uphold the first beast to which the dragon has given his power, and throne and great authority. He begins like a lamb, but is soon exercising all the authority of the first beast: V12 "He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men." Remember how Satan brought fire down from heaven to destroy Job’s flocks and servants? (Job 1:16). The servant who escaped reported that it was ‘the fire of God’ – something supernatural. When Job was lamenting these things, he said this: Job 3:8 "May those who curse days, curse that day, those who are ready to rouse Leviathan. May its morning stars (This should be singular: that is, star) become dark; may it wait for daylight in vain and not see the first rays of dawn." Those who curse days, that is, God’s Days, are in a heap of trouble. Daniel wrote of these things: Dan 7:23 "He gave me this explanation: "The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on the earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms [in that it will] devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. The ten horns are ten kings that will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones, he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress His saints and try to change set times and Laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time (3½ years)." Those who like to curse days, that is, God’s days, might well be satisfied with observing Satan’s day – Friday – the Islamic ‘sabbath’, because this is what he has in mind!
There are people in this world who are only ever happy when they have others fawning over them and are being held in high esteem by others. They hunger for praise and honour to the point where it borders on insanity. Movie stars and singers are good examples of this. But the greatest example of all is Satan the devil! Anyone who doesn’t admire him and worship him is as good as dead, and he plans to see to it! It’s not without cause that God condemns the proud and haughty because these are characteristics of Satan the devil.
God has in mind to replace all these monsters, beasts and preternatural animals. Their days are numbered and they will face an unquenchable fire and go to their deaths. As for mankind, if God is to live among men, then all should start to understand how closely related all humans are to God’s objectives. God is developing the replacement for the rulers of the heavenly realms. The replacements are patterned on His Faithful Son Jesus. And believe it or not, there is a pattern! And Adam was the first to receive that pattern.
THE PATTERN OF CHRIST
I’ve always been very careful not to bring any criticism against Adam or David in any way, and there is a very good reason for this. As we discussed earlier, Adam was the son of God (Luke 3:38). How literally can we take this? Well, the same question could also be asked of David. Was Jesus really the Root of David and his offspring as stated in Rev 22:16. This really brings us into the realm of the mysteries of God!
Is it possible that God placed the Spirit of His Son in Adam? Christ is the last Adam:1Cor 15:45 "So it is written: ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit." Paul makes a distinction between Adam and Christ in this manner: V46 "The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual." We learn in Rom 5:14 that Adam was a pattern of the One to come.
Adam was the perfect man, but he was not equipped perfectly for life. He lacked experience in dealing with a populated earth, and the problems of dealing with those who belonged to Satan. He learned a lesson early though, when God drove Cain from Adam’s presence. In later years, according to Josephus, Cain terrorized everyone he came in contact with, and he and his progeny became ruthless killers.
God took a small portion of Adam, his rib, and made the woman. She wasn’t made out of the dust of the ground. She was called ‘woman’ because she came out of the man – Adam, who was a pattern of One to come (Rom 5:14). God placed a spirit in Adam, and he immediately had the ability to speak and to reason. Since Eve was made from the man, she had some of that spirit – or pattern, as we will shortly see.
If Jesus was the Root of David and his offspring, then there is something about David that is very like Christ. God chose David while he was still a young shepherd boy. How did God know that David would fulfill all that He required of him? (Acts 13:22). The reason He knew was because David had the very spirit or pattern of God’s Son, the One who became the Christ, implanted in him from birth. This spirit or pattern is the essence and formula of the being. It was this very Spirit or pattern that was impregnated into the embryo when Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit. This child had to be perfectly conformed to what the Logos was. If Jesus was to disappear from the Father’s presence and reappear as a baby, then that baby had to be the exact pattern of the Son of God. It wasn’t to be just another baby, but the very essence of God’s Son. And neither did God just adopt this baby – it was His real Son in the flesh, and He was no longer in heaven at that time, but on earth. The word ‘soul’ would be a better description, but this word conjures up a wrong meaning today. But in fact, Adam did become a living soul and a living being. So did Jesus. Adam had the same pattern or spirit (soul) of the Logos, just as God speaks of Adam as being a pattern of the One to come (Rom 5:14).
It was through this same pattern that God could guarantee the right result. This is why God was so sure of His servant David. Of all his brothers, the sons of Jesse, only David had this pattern. Samuel rejected all of David’s brothers, and asked Jesse if there was another (1Sam 16:11). God implanted him at conception to conform to the image of His Son. David was not without sin as his famous Son was, and the Scriptures make this clear. Immediately after Samuel anointed him, the Spirit of God came on him in power (V13). Even though a young boy, he was anointed both king and prophet.
Adam was made in the image of God – His exact likeness and appearance, so does this mean that David was also made identical to Christ and Adam’s exact appearance? The answer is no, and Paul gives the explanation in the same chapter in1Cor 15:37-38 "When you sow, you don’t plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or something else. But God gives it a body as He has determined, and to each kind of seed He gives it’s own body." Paul was certainly not giving a biology lesson here; instead he was stating something very important. The essence or pattern (or soul if you like) is the mind. And as all Christians know, we are to have the mind of Christ (1Cor 2:16). This seems to be bad luck for all those who weren’t born with it! But in fact, God has made provision for receiving it. It’s called the Counsellor (John 14:16).
But what about Moses and Elijah? Remember how Jesus met with them in a vision on the Sacred Mountain – Mount Tabor in Galilee? Remember how He instructed His disciples who went with Him not to mention this until He has arisen from the dead? What is the lesson to be learned here? Why was it Moses and Elijah? Why not Adam and David? Adam and David would have been good candidates because both of them were a pattern of Christ. Well Moses was an unusual man in that God protected him from birth, and He was still protecting him when he was lifted out of the Nile in an ark (small boat). In this regard, Moses was very much like the baby Jesus whose very life was under threat – from Herod! In the Book of Luke we are reminded of the Scripture ‘out of Egypt I called my Son’. Moses was also called out of Egypt. We could keep going on about the many similarities, but one thing that really strikes home is the way God protected His servant Moses, and was furious when his brother and sister (Aaron and Miriam) began to criticize him. God’s reaction seemed a little excessive to protect a mere man, and particularly since it seemed to be an in-house family matter. But there was more to it than this! Moses also had the same pattern as Adam and David were given, and this is why God spoke to him face to face and said he was not like them. Moses was of the very essence of God Himself, through His Son, and it was imparted to him from birth. And God was watching over him as he floated down the Nile.
Even though Elijah was with Moses and Jesus on Mount Tabor, we don’t know much about where he was born or under which circumstances. We do, however, know a little bit about John the Baptist, whom Jesus said was the Elijah to come. John the Baptist was another of those who were born with the Holy Spirit, and he also was fashioned to a pattern that God could know and trust. You may think that God’s Holy Spirit would guarantee the required result, but there have been plenty of people who have received God’s Holy Spirit and have turned like dogs to vomit. God needed greater guarantees than mere good intentions from those who were predestined to perform their good works. The greatest and most reliable pattern was that of His Son.
In order to ensure the right result, God acted at the time of birth (or most likely conception) to establish His future servants who would do all that He required.Luke 1:41 "When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit." In V44 "As soon as the sound of your (Blessed Mary’s) greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy." This was no ordinary baby! His father Zechariah, who was also filled with the Holy Spirit, explains just how extraordinary this baby was to be. The Blessed Mary’s baby was not yet born (He was born later, after six months or in the seventh month). As it turned out, Jesus was born in the month of September of the present calendar (Sept meaning seven), six months after John the Baptist, who was born in the first month (March of this present calendar). The close association between the birth of John and the birth of Jesus fills this chapter of Luke. What is more, they were cousins and related by birth, and both died at the hands of Herod.
When everyone heard about the birth of John, and the circumstances surrounding it, they wondered what he was going to be.V66 "Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, "What then is this child going to be?" For the Lord’s hand was [already] with him (even as a new-born baby). His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come and redeemed His people. He has raised up for us a horn of salvation for us in the House of His servant David (as He said through His holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us – to show mercy to our fathers and to remember His Holy Covenant, the oath He swore to Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days." This might well have been a description of Jesus, but Jesus had not yet been born, and Zechariah was speaking of his son John. John was to establish the House of His servant David and bring salvation from the hand of all who hate us. It’s no coincidence that both Jesus and John the Baptist were so closely linked both in the manner of their births and their deaths.
So where are we heading with all this? We are told to conform to the image of God’s Son, the Mighty Christ. God is not suggesting that we all try to look like Him, but rather, we should try to imagine (to use a play on words) the conduct of Christ and try to emulate Him. For some, this will be harder if they were not born with the pattern of Jesus – but not impossible! The pattern was given only to those who were to receive the down-payment of God’s Holy Spirit at birth. God’s Holy Spirit imparts a desire for understanding, an insatiable appetite to learn of God’s Ways and to follow them. It becomes the overriding and driving force of all that we do. God’s Holy Spirit is constantly monitoring our brain patterns, and warning of transgressions. Sometimes it might seem expedient to lie in order to resolve a situation, but God’s Holy Spirit counsels against it. Some people lie for no good reason at all, and these are pathological liars. Pathological liars NEVER have God’s Holy Spirit! You can safely use this as a yardstick when dealing with others. Those who argue vehemently against God’s Truth don’t have God’s Holy Spirit either, and this too, can be your yardstick. And if any of these claim they have God’s Holy Spirit, they are liars! We could add Quad Erat Demonstrandum. And if they are liars like Satan, then they are also murderers like him! Let’s just call them ‘closet murderers’ for the present, because they have the same characteristics of the evil one they follow. Just remember what Paul wrote inRom 6:16-17, 20-21. If you yield to evil, then you become evil and are duly classified as evil-doers.
God forgives us for the ignorance of the past, that is, sins committed in ignorance. But He is a jealous God, and once having tasted the heavenly gift, if we go on sinning there remains no forgiveness, and no way back (Heb 6:4). God defends His Son, and likens this to crucifying His Son all over again (V6), and this carries the most severe of penalties – death by fire. Some have imagined that they can call up the fading laurels of their past in mitigation. Don’t believe it! (See Matt 7:21-23 – and note the sentence: "Away from me, you evil-doers!").
Regardless of your past, and provided you haven’t committed the unpardonable sin against the Holy Spirit of God, there is a way to conform to the image of God’s Son. God has made provision to implant the Spirit of His Son in you. It can only be enjoined to the existing, down-payment of God’s Holy Spirit. It is another Spirit, but one which enjoins itself to God’s Spirit to become one Spirit.
There are all sorts of pretenders today, but God makes it clear that His appointed servant, appointed to prepare the way for Christ, and to perform according to Christ’s very pattern, would be born with the pattern of Christ. If that pattern implanted in His servant failed to produce the right results, then God would utterly destroy the earth:Mal 4:5 "See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the [earth] with [utter destruction]." Almighty God is fiercely defensive of His Faithful Son, and of all those to whom He imparted the pattern of His Son. God has not prepared a backup for Elijah; he is the only one who was born with the pattern of Christ in this era. If he fails to perform according to God’s specifications, then God will ring the curtain down on all life on earth. God reacted against Aaron and Miriam because they reacted against the pattern of Christ (Num 12:1-15) even though they both had God’s Holy Spirit – in fact, they were prophets, and Miriam was a prophetess (Ex 15:20). God has no regard, even for prophets, who impugn the pattern of His Son Jesus. And for those with this pattern the fate of the whole world rests on their shoulders.
People seem to forget so easily just how strong God’s resolve is to make a great nation after the pattern of His Son. Remember what He said soon after His encounter with Aaron and Miriam inNum 14:11 "The LORD said to Moses, "How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe [me], in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them? I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they." Yes, God stood ready to strike down the whole House of Israel and to make a holy and righteous nation from Moses – a nation far mightier and stronger than they. God doesn’t bluff! He means what He says! It was only Moses’ pleading that saved them and in V17 "Now may the Lord’s strength be displayed, just as you have declared: ‘The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished; He punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.’ In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now." The sin was that they started grumbling against Moses and Aaron (V2), and only Joshua and Caleb continued to stand with Moses (V6). Then the whole assembly talked about stoning them (V10). Then God reacted, but Moses persuaded him and the LORD answered him: V20 "The LORD replied, "I have forgiven them, as you asked. Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the LORD fills the whole earth, not one of the men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times – not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No-one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it." It’s clear that Moses was no ordinary man, but one who was deeply loved by God!
You might recall that God said through Moses that He would raise up a prophet just like him (Deut 18:15, Acts 3:22, 7:37). Even though Moses was of the Tribe of Levi, and Jesus of the Tribe of Judah, Jesus was just like Moses. This is why God was so fiercely defensive of Moses! Moses and Jesus were alike, just as John the Baptist and Jesus were. And this is why Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus (Matt:17:3, Luke 9:30) on the Sacred Mountain (2Pet 1:17-18), because Moses and Elijah, together with Adam and David, were all patterned after Jesus. So were some other Biblical figures, including the prophets who received the Spirit of Christ (1Pet 1:11), but we won’t go into that right now.
Satan wanted Peter (Luke 22:31) so he could implant a different spirit altogether. It wasn’t Satan’s intention to take Peter by the hand and wander off with him. Rather, he wanted Peter as his agent, his mouthpiece, and one that would do his bidding and represent his interests. This is by no means uncommon! After Jesus prayed for him, God withheld His permission, and Satan was denied. Satan was certain he could corrupt him, but as it turned out, he didn’t get the chance. Apparently though, the request was not refused in the case of Judas Iscariot.
Paul knew and understood about the mystery of Christ, but chose not to elaborate on it (Eph 5:32), but he did use it as an example for husbands and wives and their relationship to each other. But he emphasized that it was about Christ and the Church. It’s the Church that must receive the Counsellor – the very Spirit or pattern of Christ. Since they weren’t born with this pattern, they must receive it by proxy. The Father gives it to His servants – His sons! And of course, to the offspring of His sons – those who keep the Commandments of God and hold to the Testimony of Jesus!
It serves no purpose to emphasize these things too much. It only inflames those who don’t have God’s Holy Spirit. And those who once had it and have now squandered it are in enough trouble already.
We’ve already spoken of the shepherds who feast with you but feed only themselves (Jude 1:12). Greedy parasites like to remain close to God’s chosen ones to corrupt them. And all too often they become shepherds by careful manipulation. This can occur across the broadest spectrum of society as well as the Church. Satan likes to have an agent in every part of human life, society and culture. He uses these subtle liars whenever the need arises. It’s a network of spies, liars and accusers. It’s a bit like the CIA who have spies in other countries giving them feed-back, and great effort is applied in setting up these agents. Sometimes these CIA operatives spend years cultivating an agent in enemy territory. These agents become their eyes in the inaccessible parts of the earth among the enemies of the West. The CIA operatives must exploit schisms in the belief system of the agents in order to get them to jump ship and cooperate. And all too often, Satan has no idea of the existence of these agents. But whenever information filters out against his best interests, he goes looking for them. And when he finds them he kills them.
Satan knows the name of the game because he’s the consummate expert of lying and spying. He has a vast army of demons setting up agents for him. These demons work on the gullible, and by picking their mark are able to drag along many others by the intoxicating wine of his deception. In America today, fully half of the population are intoxicated by Satan’s deceptions. And Satan’s intoxicating wine can make people feel good – for a little while! At the religious level, it’s easy to pick out those who are filled with Satan’s brew. They like to appear more righteous than others through man-made rules of deception. Frequently, they won’t drink alcoholic wine (even though Christ did!), they don’t eat meat (even though God instructed us that it is good for food), they counsel against drinking whole milk (even though God created it for us to drink – and describes the Holy Land as ‘flowing with milk and honey’), and many other things that make them appear righteous to the unwary. I often wonder how these people take the New Passover as instructed by Jesus Christ if they refuse to drink wine (Gr. oinos). If they don’t take the New Passover, then they must observe the Former Passover.
When God shattered the northern ten Tribes of Israel from being a nation around 721 BC, He did not preclude them from obedience to His Laws. In fact, He shattered them as a nation because they refused to obey His Laws. Because they refused, God placed them in a position that would prevent them from obedience – slavery! God foresaw the day when they would willingly obey Him and live in peace and prosperity forever. Around 130 years later, the southern Tribe of Israel fell into the same trap, and they too were shattered as a nation and were driven far away. Judah was revived after 70 years, and began to rebuild the former glories. Having rebuilt the Altar, their first act was to begin the prescribed sacrifices (Ezra 3:1-6).
SEVENTY YEARS HAVE PASSED
Zech 7:5"Ask all the people of the land and the priests, "When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it for me that you fasted? And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves?" (See Jude 1:12 which concerns the shepherds of the Church who were doing the same thing – and as it happens, for a period of seventy years). This was in the fourth year of Darius (V1), who was in fact, Cyrus, the preternatural side of the partnership. That is, a ruler of the heavenly realms. After the seventy years was past, they came enquiring of the prophets (V3). How true this is today! Everyone comes enquiring of the prophets, but not to hear the Truth! They field trick questions in the hope of corrupting God’s Message through the messenger. They aren’t the least bit interested in God’s Truth. This is exactly how it was in Christ’s day. If they don’t like God’s Message through His messenger, then why are they so interested to learn more?
The Church of God has been the proxy for the Jewish people during the long, dark ages the Jewish people have suffered. God didn’t deny the Jewish people knowledge – they were the keepers of it! Rather, He denied them understanding until the time came for them to enter God’s serviceZech 12:10 "They will look on me the One they pierced, and they will mourn for Him as one who mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for Him as one grieves for a Firstborn Son." As for the Church of God, God raised up a shepherd for this very purpose, to put the Church on the same pathways to obedience as the Jewish people have preserved for thousands of years. This shepherd became a foolish one, and finally a worthless one. But he was the one that God chose! He began his ministry in 1934 (or was it 1933 or 1935 or even later – who knows?) But around that time, he began to restore knowledge about the coming Kingdom of God, obedience to God’s Commandments, and the observance of all the Holy Days. This is what God intended for the Church that Christ built – they were supposed to set an example and become like Jews – inwardly. But as far as I can see, they never really reverenced God’s Holy City Jerusalem as the Jews do. They began to develop their own prophecy from their own imaginations, and began to vilify God’s people, the House of Israel. They prophesied that the lost ten Tribes of Israel in Europe would band together to destroy the rest of the world. They had a Fuehrer who was supposed to come and sweep through the Holy Land and beat the tar out of the ‘poor Muslims’. These ‘wicked European Israelites’, these Christian nations, were really the beast power – they claimed! And it wasn’t done out of ignorance – it was done out of sheer stupidity! Herbert W. Armstrong had read J. H. Allen’s book on the lost ten Tribes of Israel, and believed and taught it. He even plagiarized whole sections of it, and claimed it as his own. So he knew whom it was that he was calling the Beast power! It was God’s people Israel! And in the eyes of God, this is absolutely outrageous! In fact it’s blasphemy, because it militates against everything that God has said! Even today, it’s used as a powerful weapon to blame the Western World for everything. No matter what America and little Israel do, they are becoming a byword for evil, while the real evil in the world is almost ignored. Treacherous left-wing looneys seek every opportunity to blame America for everything that goes wrong in the world.
Then Armstrong began to put an even more radical spin on it. The Crusades against the Islamic nations were evil because the Pope sanctioned them. The Holy Roman Empire was the beast, and Emperor Constantine of Turkey was a beast also. But the Ottoman Empire, which attacked Christian Europe, was lily-white because they were Muslims. In Armstrong’s mind only ‘wicked Christians’ qualify as the beast power. By comparison, Islamic nations are blameless and innocent and were persecuted by the ‘wicked’ European crusaders. As the insanity of these predictions progressed, imaginings became wilder and wilder, and their errors compounded. They had to start banning any books that would expose their lies. Anyone who read the books and questioned them were cartwheeled out the door and savaged from the pulpit. Armstrong sacked any minister who disagreed with him – particularly if they were right! Tyranny over the Church reached its zenith. How was this administration any different to that of the Roman Catholic Church, whom they hated with a vengeance?
But the Church, that is, the people, were different. They were just poor, lost sheep who followed the worthless shepherd, who kept the Sabbath and all the Holy Days, and fasted in the seventh month on the Day of Atonement (unlike the worthless shepherd, who was known to have coffee and aspirin before giving a sermon on this Day), and showed great love and respect for the other brothers and sisters. Rumours flew about all kinds of excesses among the administration, but the people held the line and remained faithful – at least for a time. Then Armstrong’s appointee to replace him, his closest confidant and a modern-day Brutus, emerged alone from Armstrong’s bedroom and announced he was dead. Armstrong’s judgment was foolish in many things, but his appointment of his successor must rank as one of the worst. This man began to dismantle all that God had appointed the foolish shepherd to do.
In the end Herbert W. Armstrong became a worthless shepherd, and he will face judgment. I don’t know if he will get the thumbs-up or the thumbs-down, or more correctly, the white stone or the black stone in the ballot (Rev 2:17). I personally hope he gets his new name, but in view of his performance, I won’t be too upset if it goes the other way. Perhaps there will be enough evidence to mitigate in his favour, and only because Armstrong had to be the way he was prophesied to be (Zech 11:15-17).
After a time, the Church of God – the members – began to look at other pastures. ‘Ordained’ office-holders, who thought they were above the membership, began to re-organize and draw followers after them. In order to draw these followers, they had to emulate Armstrong as closely as possible. Most succeeded in perpetuating the myths that had been taught, and the people continued to follow like sheep. The people who continued to follow Armstrong, including all his lies and false prophecies in addition to the Truth he did actually teach, continue to make him the reference point of all their beliefs – even to the point where Armstrong’s babblings seem to override God’s teachings. It should be patently obvious to all today, that Armstrong knew nothing of prophecy. None of his so-called ‘prophecy’ came from God, it was all plagiarized from the teachings of others, and of course, none of them came true!
One of the great ironies in the Bible is that the Church had to preserve the example of the Messiah that the Jewish people rejected – until the time comes for them to grieve for Him and acknowledge Him. The Jewish people, on the other hand, were required to preserve the Commandments and the Holy Day Festivals, so that the Church could re-institute them after centuries of darkness and disobedience. Both were meant to compliment each other, but the alliance has yet to be formed. There was always talk in the Church that they would bring salvation to the Jews, yet the Bible, and Christ in particular, puts it the other way:John 4:22 "You Samaritans worship what you don’t know, we worship what we do know, FOR SALVATION IS OF THE JEWS. Yet a time is coming and has now come, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is Spirit, and His worshippers must worship in Spirit and in Truth." Did Jesus say that the Jews know how to worship God? That’s exactly what He said! And He confirmed this by saying that salvation is of the Jews! And we all know what salvation is, don’t we? The Jewish people have preserved the Truth, but what they lack is the down-payment of the Spirit of God, which He gave to the Church that Christ built. This Church would be typified as those who follow the Truth that the Jewish people have preserved for thousands of years.
The Apostle Paul understood these things and taught them:Rom 3:1 "What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very Words of God." Clearly there is great advantage in being a Jew! But what value is there in circumcision? Rom 2:28 "A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly, and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code (on circumcision). Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God." Paul mentioned that there would be trouble and distress for everyone who does evil in Rom 2:9 and adds, "first for the Jew and then for the Gentile; but glory and honour and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile."
It’s perfectly obvious that the Jewish people have seen more trouble and distress than anyone, but it’s equally obvious that God intends salvation to come first to the Jews and also through the Jews. As for Gentiles, and those who live like Gentiles, their salvation will come after the Jews. The Churches of God, and Christianity generally, will see salvation a little later than the Jews. Isn’t this exactly what Jesus and Paul both said? Paul quoted the Psalms when he said this inRom 2:6 "God will give to each person according to what he has done." Paul quoted from Ps 62:12. (The Father also quotes this Psalm in Rev 20:13; see also Pro 24:12). In this Psalm it speaks of the Rock, and the salvation and the fortress that He represents. And as Jesus told the Samaritan woman, ‘we’ meaning Himself and the Jews, know what we worship because salvation is of the Jews. The Rock that represents Christ is the Rock that is under the ‘Dome of the Rock’ today, and is controlled by the enemies of God – the Muslims. These verses speak of God’s enemies in this manner in Psalm 62:4 "They fully intend to topple Him from His lofty place; they take delight in their lies. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse." That last sentence seems to fit a lot of Christians today as well. If you think the Jews are guilty because they were instrumental of toppling Christ, and succumbing to the influence of the rulers of the heavenly realms – who killed righteous Abel (Matt 23:35) – then how much more guilty are those who have willfully toppled His Body – the Church? How much more guilty are those who once tasted of the heavenly gift – the Holy Spirit – and have turned away? Was Truth only Truth because Herbert Armstrong said it? Or was it Truth because God said it? If Herbert’s teachings have been corrupted, whose fault is that? Is it God’s? Was it God’s Word that’s now been corrupted, or is it the teachings of men that are no longer reliable? From God’s perspective, nothing has changed, and only by the teachings of men has Truth been corrupted.
The rulers of the heavenly realms, who are not flesh and blood (Eph 6:12), have been present during the entire history of mankind, working behind the scenes to corrupt everyone. They were present in Cain who killed righteous Abel, and they were also present in the Palestinians who killed Zechariah, the son of Barakiah (Matt 23:35, Zech 1:1). This is the same Zechariah who wrote the Book of Zechariah, and he began to prophesy in the 2nd year of Darius. Darius is the embodiment of the ‘anointed one’ Cyrus in the same way as Pharaoh was both Jannes and Jambres (2Tim 3:8). It was Pharaoh that opposed Moses!
So many went out from the Churches of God because they wanted ‘freedom’, that is, ‘freedom’ from God’s Laws. Most of the world has this type of ‘freedom’ you know! Is God worried if someone doesn’t want to obey His Laws? Not according to my reading of the Bible. The righteous Elihu said this:Job 35:6 "If you sin, how does that effect Him? If your sins are many, what does that do to Him? If you are righteous, what do you give to Him, or what does He receive from your hand? Your wickedness affects only a man like yourself, and your righteousness only the sons of men." God won’t feel all lonely and isolated if you don’t obey Him. God says ‘Sin is the transgression of the Law’ (1John 3:4), and virtually the whole world transgresses God’s Law! God is only interested in those who don’t! God is only interested in men who are like His Son Jesus, and like His servant Job who refused to transgress God’s Law. Men who transgress God’s Law are not righteous men, but sinners and such men will get what they deserve!
Paul made it clear what God expects of His servants, and Paul acknowledges this inRom 2:12 "All who sin apart from the Law, will also perish apart from the Law, and all who sin under the Law will be judged by the Law. For it is not those who hear the Law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the Law who will be declared righteous." Those who willfully disobey God’s Law will never be declared righteous! This is the way it is!
Remember that Zechariah was speaking after the seventy years had passed – during which time the Jews were in heaps of trouble and distress in captivity. The Jews were the first to recover in that day, and again in this day, and now it’s time for the Churches to begin some long hard service. When Hitler came to power in 1934, his ‘Mein Kampft’ roadmap was begun and reached its zenith a few years later, to exterminate all Jews. Little did he know that he was fulfilling prophecy by bringing trouble and distress (Rom 2:9) to the Jewish people.
The long hard service of the Jewish people is almost complete. This is completed when God’s Levite servant – the one like Moses and Elijah – begins the administration in the Holy Land and Jerusalem. You’ll recall where in the Scriptures John the Baptist began his ministry; he began by preaching fromIsa 40:3, and was speaking of the restoration of the earth. (One of our very early articles at the Zion Ministry website deals with Geology, dinosaurs, and what happened to the earth). It was about the Jewish people that Isaiah first began to write in Isa 40:1 "Comfort, comfort MY PEOPLE, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sins have been paid for, that she has received double from the LORD’S hand for all her sins." You know very well whom ‘MY PEOPLE’ are who live in Jerusalem! You know very well that they have had a long and hard service to God. Well, their sins are about to be paid for, when the time comes for them to acknowledge the One they pierced (Zech 12:10).
Another long, hard service is about to begin. The Churches of God must follow their partners in Salvation – the Jewish people – who have already completed a double-portion of long hard-service. Here’s the Church’s chance to show their mettle. Long ago, God said this to the Jewish people:Jer 15:2 "Then the LORD said to me: "Even if Moses and Samuel were to stand before me, my heart would not go out to this people. Send them away from my presence! Let them go! And if they ask you, ‘Where will we go? Tell them, ‘This is what the LORD says: "Those destined for death, to death; those for the sword, to the sword; those for starvation, to starvation; those for captivity, to captivity.’"
And now God is saying this to the Church:Rev 13:9 "He who has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed by the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints." It was all preordained long ago. Paul knew all about it and wrote of it in Rom 8:35 "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us."
David wrote about it inPs 44:19-22 "But you crushed us and made us a haunt for jackals and covered us over with deep darkness. If we had forgotten the Name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, would not God have discovered it, since He knows the secrets of the heart? Yet for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." (Job said this: Job 30:29 "I have become a brother of jackals, a companion of owls." As in ‘wise’ old owls who think they know everything! Jackals are an epithet for Satan’s brood).
David also wrote this in the same Psalm:Ps 44:9 "But now you have rejected and humbled us; you no longer go out with our armies. You made us retreat before the enemy, and our enemies have plundered us. You gave us up to be devoured like sheep and have scattered us among the nations. You sold your people for a pittance, gaining nothing from the sale. You have made us a reproach to our neighbours, the scorn and derision of those around us. You have made us a byword among the nations; the peoples shake their heads at us." ‘Devoured like sheep’ is a prime phrase and a pointer to the worthless shepherd: Zech 11:16 "For I am going to raise up a shepherd over the land who will not care for the lost, or seek the young, or heal the injured, or feed the healthy, but will eat the meat of the choice sheep, tearing off their hoofs. Woe to the worthless shepherd who deserts the flock! May the sword strike his arm and his right eye! May his arm be completely withered, his right eye totally blinded." In a minor way, the flock has been prepared for what lies ahead. They’ve received a sort of ‘down-payment’ of what to expect, but which they’ve refused to acknowledge.
This is why God insists they go as sheep to the slaughter. Sheep go quietly to the slaughter. Satan’s brood would like you to put up a bit of a struggle to justify the devising of even more terrifying deaths – like feet-first through a plastics shredder – a favourite of Saddam Hussein! Satan’s brood loves this type of thing! At the moment they have to be content with blowing men, women and children to pieces with homemade bombs or incinerating them in hijacked aircraft.
Jeremiah wrote about it. He begins by identifying both Houses of Israel:Jer 11:10 "….Both the House of Israel and the House of Judah have broken the Covenant I made with their forefathers." V16 "The LORD called you a thriving olive tree with fruit beautiful in form. But with the roar of a mighty storm He will set it on fire, and its branches will be broken." Do you recall Paul speaking about the Olive Tree and the branches in Rom 11:17-24? Jeremiah continues in V17 "The LORD Almighty, who planted you, has decreed disaster for you, because the House of Israel and the House of Judah have done evil and provoked me to anger by burning incense to Baal (Satan and his religion Islam). Because the LORD revealed their plot to me, I knew it, for at that time, He showed me what they were doing. I had been like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter; I did not realize that they plotted against me, saying, ‘Let us destroy the tree and its fruit; let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name be remembered no more.’ But, O LORD Almighty, you who judge righteously and test the heart and mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you I have committed my cause." For the purpose of this parable, Jeremiah became the [Olive[ tree and its fruit, and also the lamb led to the slaughter. God tells us that He invokes the service of the Olive Tree as a lamb or sheep to the slaughter because both Houses of Israel are becoming lovers of Baal. It’s time for another sacrifice, and this time it’s the Body of Christ who must follow their Christ – to the slaughter. They must set the example for both Houses of Israel! And in Jer 12:2 "You have planted them, and they have taken root; they grow and bear fruit. You are always on their lips but far from their hearts. Yet you know me, O LORD; you see me (in this he is the symbol of Olive tree and the lamb to be slaughtered) and test my thoughts about you. Drag them off like sheep to be butchered! Set them apart for the day of slaughter!"
It’s also spoken of inPs 49. It’s difficult to isolate any verses in this Psalm to project meaning without reproducing it in whole, because it leads right into Ps 50 and the dawning of a new day. Ps 49 is actually the third phase of this ministry: 1. To the Churches of God. 2. The Tribes of Israel. 3. And the world. So here’s the whole of Psalm 49: "Hear this, all you peoples; listen, all who live in this world. My mouth will speak words of Wisdom; the utterance from my heart will give understanding. I will turn my ear to a proverb [parable]; with the harp I will expand my riddle (with harps the saints will sing the Song of the Lamb and the Song of Moses – Rev 15:2-3): Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers surround me – who trust in their wealth and boast of their great riches? No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him – the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough – that He should live on forever and not see decay (a reference to Christ – Acts 2:27). For all can see that wise men die; the foolish and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others. Their tombs will remain their houses forever, their dwellings for endless generations, though they had named lands after themselves. But man, despite his riches, does not endure; he is like the beasts that perish. This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers who approve of their sayings. Like SHEEP they are destined for the Grave [Sheol], and Death will FEED upon them (remember this is a parable - V4). The upright will rule over them in the morning; their forms will decay in the Grave [Sheol] far from their princely mansions. But God will redeem me from the Grave; He will surely take me to Himself. Selah. Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendour of his house increases; for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendour will not descend with him. Though while he lived he counted himself blessed – and men praise you when you prosper – he will join the generation of his fathers, who will never see the light of life. A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish." Notice the words ‘Like sheep they are destined for the Grave, and Death will feed upon them.’ Remember the description of Behemoth in Job 40:15, which says he eats grass like an ox? In Bible prophecy grass means men (Isa 40:7 "The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass." See also V23-24).
Obviously, God has nothing against men of wealth, but a wealthy man without understanding of their Creator, are like beasts that perish! And in some ways, like jackals – greedy, covetous, self-serving! God has a good reason for singling out such men who will descend into the grave and stay there forever. Though they name lands after themselves in order to be remembered, they will be forgotten forever. And God gives His good reasons in the Levite Book of Malachi:Mal 3:6 "I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob (the whole House of Israel) are not [totally] destroyed. Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says the LORD Almighty. "But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’ "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse – the whole nation of you – because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into my storehouse, that there may be food in my House. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it."
Yes, I know that you’ve seen these verses many times before in begging letters from the Churches. They needed the money to build mansions, buy Rolls Royces, and other costly embellishments for themselves, so the begging letters went out frequently. Since Levi (Mal 2:4-8) is appointed to collect the tithe (Heb 7:9), the Church decided that it was Levi. The point is, that in order to return to God (see also Zech 1:3), God has made the rules, and it’s entirely up to you whether you want to return to God or not. Those who do return to God become a part of the Levite Brotherhood – those that don’t are marked for slaughter. God makes the rules! As God says in Psalm 49, the ransom for life is costly, so what would a man pay for his ransom? In the not so distant future, people who failed to step out in faith will have to go to extremes to ransom themselves (Matt 13:45-46 and also read V47-49 and learn what the workmen do with the bad fish at the end of the age).
It is written, ‘By His stripes you were healed’ of sin and corruption. And isn’t the Church the Body of Christ? Didn’t Jesus show a better Way? A Way of obedience towards God? Doesn’t the whole Bible counsel for obedience to God? Doesn’t God speak of a Way of Life and a way of death, and counsel everyone to choose life? Didn’t all the saints of the Bible expect to wait patiently for their redemption or salvage from death?Job 19:25 "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth. After my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God." Doesn’t the Church of God teach this today – just as Job did? Most churches teach that you go straight to heaven when you die. Apparently they don’t believe in a resurrection, and they certainly don’t believe in the time of judgment. How like Muslims they are! Muslims believe they go straight to heaven if they commit monstrous acts against God’s people Israel. For reasons known only to themselves, they believe that God will favour them for killing the saints. God says the exact opposite: Dan 7:21 "As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favour of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the Kingdom." So this prolonged bloodbath takes place before they possess or inherit the Kingdom.
Daniel describes three beasts that arise, and then alludes to a fourth beast in a non-descript way. The first three are a lion, a bear and a leopard (Dan 7:1-6). The fourth beast was the most terrifying of all, and it had ten horns (V7). A lion is the king of the beasts, and an invincible predator; when he roars all his potential prey listen. A bear devours his prey, but uses his big feet to trample. This bear has three ribs in his mouth, which means he will trample and devour three other nations to consolidate his power. A leopard is the swiftest of all beasts, and this one also has wings to enable it to strike with even greater speed, and it has four heads – meaning four periods of rule. Death ruled from Adam to Moses; he also ruled through Alexander the Great, and it was Alexander who conquered the entire domain of the beasts before him, and they became part of his kingdom. He is also described as a he-goat conquering a ram, or as the Bible puts it: a shaggy goat who came like a whirlwind and knocked down the ram. The ram rules over the flock of sheep. That ram was Darius (aka Cyrus). Darius/Cyrus ruled Persia (Iran today). Cyrus is a moderate among the rulers of the heavenly realms, and is called by God ‘the anointed one’, but he is also ambitious. Daniel’s vision for the future describes him, not as a ram anymore, but as a bear – far more fearsome, and one that devours and tramples.
The fourth beast is different in that it will conquer the whole world, and the Leviathan and the Behemoth will be at the helm. The fourth beast will have ten horns, just as Daniel said (V7) when he saw the vision. God also confirms this in Rev 13:1-2. In these verses, God describes the characteristics of this beast as having ten horns and being like all three: a leopard, a bear and a lion.
EUNUCHS WHO KEEP GOD’S SABBATHS
There’s not too many eunuchs around today, but God gives them a very favourable mention. The reason He does this is because He anticipates that they will be quite numerous in the future. God knows the ruthlessness of Satan’s brood, and He also knows that they are dedicated to ensuring that the House of Israel is no longer capable of becoming a great nation again.Isa 56:4 "For this is what the LORD Almighty says: "To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my Covenant – to them I will give within my Temple and its walls a memorial and a Name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting Name that will not be cut off." And just to get the time-setting correct, we find this in V1 "This is what the LORD says: "Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, the man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it, and keeps his hand from doing evil." If you don’t already know it, you will soon find that God doesn’t speak in vain, and everything He says has meaning. God is a God of justice, and He will bring all of Satan’s brood to justice. And when He does, you will know that His salvation – His rescue – is near. V3 "Let no foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD say, ‘The LORD will surely exclude me from His people.’ And let not the eunuch complain, ‘I am only a dry tree.’" God reaps where He has not sown, and many foreigners will join God’s people and will rank equally in the House of God. Gentiles of every nation, tribe, people and language will stand before the Lamb and will wear white robes (Rev 7:9). These are the ones who will emulate God’s people Israel and do what is right according to the Law and the Covenant, including obedience to keeping God’s Sabbath. V6 "And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him, to love the Name of the LORD, and to worship Him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my Covenant – these I will bring to my Holy Mountain and give them joy in my House of Prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my House (in Jerusalem and on God’s Holy Mountain) will be called a House of Prayer for all nations. The Sovereign LORD declares – He who gathers the exiles of Israel: "I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered."
God becomes even more explicit concerning the fate of Israel, and goes on to give the reasons why. He calls for the beasts of the earth to come and devour – to devour His people Israel!V9 "Come, all you beasts of the field, come and devour, all you beasts of the forest." Then God gives His reasons: V10 "Israel’s watchmen are blind, they all lack knowledge; they are like mute dogs, they cannot bark (to warn of invaders); they lie around and dream (filthy dreamers: Jude 1:8 KJV), they love to sleep (like the ten virgins who were asleep: Matt 25:5-7). They are dogs with mighty appetites; they never have enough. They are shepherds who lack understanding; they all seek their own way, each seeks his own gain. "Come," each one cries, "let me get wine! Let us drink our fill of beer! And tomorrow will be like today, or even far better (like peace, peace, when there is no peace)". Well so much for Israel’s watchmen (who are blind and see nothing) and Israel’s shepherds who speak endlessly of peace when there is none, and whose minds are befogged with the wine of Satan’s deception (Rev 17:2).
God’s enemies have some nasty habits and deprave practices. They are as greedy as the Grave, and want to seize possessions and dwellings that are not their own:Hab 1:5-6 "Look at the nations and watch – and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwelling-places not their own. They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law unto themselves and promote their own honour." In the Book of Acts, we find that Paul and Barnabas were teaching on the Sabbath, and they quoted these very verses (Acts 13:40-42). And who has believed God’s warning today? Israel’s watchmen are blind mute dogs who don’t know how to bark; the shepherds have no understanding and seek only their own greedy, avaricious ways. They put their congregations to sleep, into a drunken stupor, so they cannot see that the Babylonians are sweeping across the whole earth. And they are coming to seize everything the House of Israel owns. And while they will make slaves of you, they will also make sure that you can no longer breed and produce offspring. They will target pregnant women and rip open their bellies. They will dash the children of nursing mothers against the wall. They will force Israelites to castrate their own fellow countrymen (and just a word of caution: Don’t do it! Go to your death before you violate God’s justice). Those who violate justice and decency, and refuse to do what is right, will become as the wild animals of the field, and will get what they deserve.
As an aside, I can’t let it pass without some mention of the Church’s teachings on Babylon. Every student of the Bible knows where Babylon ruled and over what territory. All these nations in the Middle East were ruled by Babylon and were called Babylonians. Today, we have people popping blood vessels arguing against Habakkuk’s prophecies. Babylon, they argue, is not Babylon – but Rome, or something as equally fanciful! They don’t want to believe God – even though the Babylonians are now sweeping across the earth – but they expect all their followers to believe them! In their minds, God was so silly that He was still making the same mistake in the Book of Revelation when He kept saying ‘Babylon’ instead of ‘Rome’. But these clever little sons of Satan caught Him out and made the necessary corrections, like: ‘Look out! The Pope and the Swiss Guard are comin’ at ya! Quickly hide your wallet! He’s as greedy as the grave.’ They had visions of the Pope leaping off the Pope-mobile and beating everyone up. Of course, Satan wants you to believe this type of nonsense, because meanwhile, he’s preparing the real Babylonians. And the only thing that is holding him back is Ephraim – the mighty prince among his brothers.
God is warning of the worst time in history:Matt 24:19 "How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now – and never to be equaled again. If those days [are not] cut short, no-one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened." This prophecy holds true for the whole House of Israel. It’s Satan’s vowed intention to destroy the whole House of Israel, and the Israelis and the Americans in particular, and this is reverberating around the world from the mouths of Satan’s offspring. They will hunt down Israelites through all the mountains of Israel to bring them to extinction. Nothing like this has ever happened in the past with this intensity, and afterwards, it will never happen again – God will see to that!
When people cry out for justice today, they don’t appreciate how much justice they already have. But the time is rapidly approaching when there will be no justice, and foolish men will seek to save their lives, and instead will lose their lives (Luke 17:33).
HEIFER CALF CUT IN TWO
You may recall the dream that Abraham had long ago. Immediately after Abraham returned from the slaughter of the kings, after destroying this vast army with only 318 men, God told him that he would possess the land of Canaan and that his offspring would number like the stars in the sky (Gen 15:4-7). But first, God would send them into captivity, and from there they would be rescued. God planned to sent a mighty man just like Abraham to do it. This was Moses, and Moses came in the mighty Power of God. V8 "But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?" So the LORD said to him, "Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon." Abraham brought all these to Him, CUT THEM IN TWO and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds however, he did not cut in half. Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away." V12 "As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Then the LORD said to him, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and ill-treated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterwards they will come out with great possessions." And in V17 "When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking pot with a blazing torch appeared and PASSED BETWEEN THE PIECES. On that day the LORD made a Covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the River of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates…". We know that this occurred, and also the circumstances which led up to it, and all about their hard slavery in Egypt. We also know that they came out of Egypt with great possessions, and that God punished Pharaoh and the Egyptians. But never have the Israelites possessed and owned the land from the River of Egypt to the River Euphrates in Iraq. Throughout the course of human history, most of this land has been owned and occupied by others.
In later generations, the dividing of a calf and walking between the pieces was a means of ratifying important national agreements:Jer 34:17 "Therefore, this is what the LORD says: You have not obeyed me; you have not proclaimed freedom for your fellow-countrymen. So now I will proclaim ‘freedom’ for you, declares the LORD – ‘Freedom to fall by the sword, plague and famine. I will make you abhorrent to all the Kingdoms of the earth. The men who have violated my Covenant and have not fulfilled the terms of the Covenant they made before me, I will treat like the CALF THEY CUT IN TWO and then WALKED BETWEEN THE PIECES. The leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the court officials, the priests and all the people of the land WHO WALKED BETWEEN THE PIECES OF THE CALF, I will hand over to their enemies who seek their lives. Their dead bodies will become food for the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth."
You’ll recall that Abraham drove away the predators. In the case of those who were then occupying the Holy Land, as recorded by Jeremiah, who had walked between the pieces of the heifer calf, God said He would hand them over to their enemies, and they would become food for the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth. God was speaking of captivity and death.
Remember what happened in Abraham’s dream after the sun had set and darkness had fallen?Gen 15:17 "When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking pot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces." This speaks of the setting of the sun and a thick and dreadful darkness (which Abram experienced in the dream), and which will befall his descendants. It’s during this thick and dreadful darkness that the smoking pot with a blazing torch appears. We don’t have to guess what this means, because God Himself tells us: Zech 12:4 "On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness," declares the LORD. "I will keep a watchful eye over the House of Judah, but I will blind the horses of the nations." (The horses and riders are the horses of nations – see Rev 6:1-8 for more information about these horses and riders). V5 "Then the leaders of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the LORD is their God.’ On that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a FIRE-POT in a woodpile, like a FLAMING TORCH among sheaves. They will consume right and left all the surrounding peoples, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place. The LORD will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honour of the House of David and of Jerusalem’s inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. On that day, the LORD will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the House of David will be like God, like the Angel of the LORD going before them. On that day, I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem."
God has made plans to establish the Holy Land by force. The surrounding peoples will be cut to pieces just as they were when Abraham rode out with his 318 men. This time the House of David and all Jerusalem’s inhabitants will show the leaders of Judah what strength means, and when they see that God is with them, they, too, will become strong and consume all the nations that surround them.
Then salvation will begin for the heifer calf and the rescue bid will begin. Ephraim is the heifer calf and is presently divided into two. The Book of Hosea is the Ephraim Book, just as the Book of Malachi is the Levite Book. It’s in the Book of Hosea that God makes mention of Ephraim being the heifer:Hos 10:11 "Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to thresh; so I will put a yoke on her fair neck. I will drive Ephraim, Judah must plough, and Jacob must break up the ground." To thresh means to harvest and to gather the grain, but first you have to break up the ground and plant crops. But God says they have planted wickedness: V13 "But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception. Because you have depended on your own strength and on your many warriors, the roar of the battle will go against your people, so that all your fortresses will be devastated – as Shalman devastated Beth Arbel on the Day of Battle, when mothers were dashed to the ground with their children. Thus will happen to you, O Bethel, because your wickedness is great. When that day dawns, the king of Israel will be completely destroyed." Ephraim is the prophesied mighty bull that gores the nations to the ends of the earth, but at the time when the battle goes against them they will be like a heifer calf wanting to harvest among the nations of Satan and convert them to their way of thinking, that is, democracy and consensus.
There was a time when all 12 Tribes were depicted as bulls holding up the great sea. This symbol stood in the courtyard of the Temple, right beside the Altar. Only the mighty bull Joseph launched themselves against the Babylonians (in this case Iraq – where the city of Babylon resides), and only the U.S., Britain and Australia went into battle – collectively Ephraim and Manasseh!
Ephraim (U.S. today) is a righteous nation in comparison to the nations of the world. But they are altogether too self-righteous. God says of them:Hos 11:8 "Ephraim boasts, "I am very rich; I have become wealthy. With all my wealth they will not find in me any iniquity or sin." It’s true that Ephraim is the richest nation on earth, and it’s become very clear that their ideas of iniquity and sin differ from that of God. God goes on to identify them as the ones whom He brought out of Egypt: V9 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt; I will make you live in tents again, as in the days of your appointed feasts. I spoke to the prophets, gave them many visions and told parables through them."
Daniel told parables. A parable is a story that has an alternate meaning. Most of the parables he told came to him in visions. Remember the parable about the lion, leopard and the bear? At the time when men trembled when Ephraim spoke, when he was exalted in Israel, when he became guilty of baal worship – he died! (Hos 13:1). God explains what leads up to this in Hos 13:6-9 "When I fed them they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me. So I will come on them like a lion, like a leopard I will lurk in the path. Like a bear robbed of her cubs, I will attack them and rip them open. Like a lion I will devour them; a wild animal will tear them apart." In this parable, God is not speaking of literal animals. There’s not too many lions and leopards, or bears for that matter, roaming around in Ephraim devouring people. God makes it a little clearer in V14 "I will ransom them from the power of the Grave; I will redeem them from Death. Where, O Death, is your plagues? Where, O Grave, is your Destruction?" Yes, it’s Death and the Grave who will do the work! And Grave will cause enormous Destruction because he is the Destroyer!
Ephraim rebelled against God in the days of the Ephraimite Jeroboam, who led ten Tribes of Israel away from God’s Holy City Jerusalem, and we are reminded of this and also Jeroboam inHos 1:1. The northern ten Tribes were known as Samaria. For this rebellion, God sent them into captivity and drove them to the ends of the earth. But in time, God relented and chose to do them good once more, and to make them the mightiest power on earth. Hos 11:3 "It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke (see Hos 10:11) from their neck and bent down to feed them."
God again refers to Ephraim as Samaria. Of Ephraim He says:Hos 13:12-13 "The guilt of Ephraim is [being] stored up, his sins are kept on record. Pains as a woman in childbirth come to him, but he is a child without Wisdom; when the time arrives, he does not come to the opening of the womb." But God says they must bear their guilt when the time arrives. It can’t remain stored up forever! (And this is why Death and the Grave are mentioned in V14). V16 "The people of Samaria must bear their guilt, because they have rebelled against their God. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open." Yes, it’s horrible and gruesome, and would make you shudder, but what else would you expect from Muslims? They have a history of this type of atrocity! So have the Amorites who settled just over the border in South America. These are Ephraim’s neighbours who are beating down the gates to get into the United States. These are the strangers, foreigners and neighbours God speaks about. In fact, God mentions them (Amorites) in the context of Abraham’s dream (Gen 15:16) when the sun had set and darkness had fallen, and the smoking fire pot and the blazing torch appeared. The Amorites have now reached their full measure and are poised to strike. God collectively calls all those who once occupied the Holy Land and were driven out by the Israelites – Amorites. Centuries later, they were known, collectively as the Phoenicians and were men of the sea. They had great fleets of ships and plied
Aztec dragon shield. This was sent by Cortes from Mexico to King Charles V. Note the dragon emblem. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the dragon is bending two rods or staffs. One of the staffs appears to be budding. You can draw any conclusion you like, but it would seem that their ancestors once had close communications with the Israelites and learned of Aaron’s staff that budded. Satan certainly remembers! You’ll also recall that Moses staff turned into a serpent in Pharaoh’s presence and swallowed his serpent. You may recall that Jesus was lifted up like the serpent in the wilderness (John 3:14, Num 21:8-9). You may like to ponder why the Christ compared Himself to the Nehushtan.
Picture Credit: Conquistadors – Book by Michael Wood.
their trade far and wide throughout the Mediterranean Sea and beyond. They colonized much of Northern Africa, and founded Carthage (from where Hannibal invaded Europe with elephants). The Carthagians practiced human sacrifice, and built great monuments to their gods – and practiced human sacrifice, and particularly the sacrifice of their firstborn children to the beat of demonic drums. It was the sea-faring Phoenicians who crossed the Atlantic and founded South America. Here they built great monuments to their gods and also practiced human sacrifice.
The Apostle Paul spoke of this and referred to it as a mystery inRom 11:25 "I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening (towards God) in part until the full number (or measure) of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion (Jerusalem); he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my Covenant with them when I take away their sins."
This is the type of human sacrifice that is so detestable to God. This is a painting of the Phoenicians sacrificing firstborn babies to Molech. The Phoenicians were the progenitors of the South American Indians.
Source: The History Channel, program: Human Sacrifice.
If you don’t know why God hates the Amorites so much, then you need to read some history books on the Aztecs and the Incas and learn of their mindless atrocities. They too, are dragon worshippers, and historically, they served Satan the devil very well. They excelled in human sacrifice, torture and cruelty, and even cannibalism. Satan is summoning his brood from all over the world for the express purpose of destroying all the House of Israel.
When Paul mentions that the deliverer who comes from Zion will save all Israel, he means all those who are still alive. Unfortunately, it will be only a remnant that will survive:Rom 9:27 "Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand of the sea, only a remnant will be saved. For the Lord will carry out His sentence on earth with speed and finality. It is just as Isaiah said previously: "Unless the Lord Almighty had left us descendants, we would have become like Sodom, and we would have been like Gomorrah." Sodom and Gomorrah were totally wiped out!
No-one would suggest that the Tribe of Judah – the Israelis – number like the sand of the sea, but the whole House of Israel is very numerous, and presently number around 500 million. It’s worth mentioning that when the dragon is ready to bring forth the Destroyer, he is standing [or trampling on] the sand of the seashore (Rev 13:1).
God hates insipid weaklings! He hates those who are too weak to defend His reputation, who willingly align with liars and deceivers, and who teach and encourage others to defame the Scriptures with their own ideas. And you see plenty of this type of thing going on today in the mainstream Christian churches. He did, however, establish His Church, and encourage its members to live in peace with all men insofar as it was possible. The Church had to get the message out that God was planning to rid this earth of all the rulers who were not human, and that He was setting in place the mechanism for replacing them:Eph 3:10 "His intent was that now, through the Church, the manifold Wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to His eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord." God knows that lip-service just doesn’t cut it; words are cheap! He was calling for men and women who would have the courage to follow His Faithful Son, who were willing to uphold the Covenant of their baptism with action and with great courage be willing to go to their deaths, knowing that God has the power to resurrect them. In order to do this, they would have to exercise Godly faith. Without this type of faith, it is impossible to please God: Heb 11:6 "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him." Mainstream Christianity has done nothing to please God! They haven’t exercised Godly faith, and tragically, the Churches of God haven’t either! They haven’t been preparing the flock for the type of Godly faith that Jesus exhibited when He went to His death.
To this very day, the Churches of God are teaching that God doesn’t require death or captivity for their members. They’ve smoke-screened this whole issue, and refused to believe God. They continue to teach nonsense and insist that they have no other obligation towards God except to continually teach elementary doctrine. For seventy years they have either held to the teachings of the worthless shepherd, or they have departed to join mainstream Christianity and its pathetic doctrine. There’s been no enlightenment or understanding of the Scriptures beyond the most elementary of doctrine.
Nevertheless, through the Church, the manifold Wisdom of God will be made known, not only to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, but also to the whole House of Israel – whom they must accompany in the captivity. They must set the example of obedience to God, even in the face of death, and go as sheep to the slaughter – just like Christ! And I can tell you this: there will be precious few of them who prove to be faithful Christians from the present membership of the Churches of God. For seventy years they have denied their responsibility towards God! They haven’t prepared themselves, and neither are they willing to fulfill their covenant of baptism. But God will select 7,000 of them, who hold to the Commandments of God, and these will be given the true Testimony of Jesus (Rev 12:17). And the Testimony of Jesus is…? Well, you can read it for yourself in Rev 19:10.
The Churches of God know there are many Scriptural accounts that embarrass them and their pathetic doctrine, and they made sure they stayed well clear of them. Once they had established in their own minds – erroneously, that they were the ‘woman’ by means of smoke and mirrors, they reasoned that they could lord it over all others. I remember one pathetic individual using2John 1:1 to claim the Church was ‘the chosen lady’. The lady to whom John was writing had several children – some of whom were walking in the Truth (V4). John mentions that he plans to visit this lady at a future time (V12). It’s a letter to a Christian lady – not the whole Church! And there is certainly no evidence there to support their claim. It’s this type of liberalization that leads to error!
If you want to believe that God is just waiting to ‘save’ everyone, then perhaps it could be asked ‘What is He waiting for?’ With Islam as the fastest growing religion on earth, and Christianity in decline, it would make good sense to capitalize on whatever Christians are left. The problem with this Christian theory is that it is fundamentally stupid and has nothing to do with what the Scriptures say. It also makes it look as if God has no purpose in doing anything.
Today, people object to any type of animal sacrifice, but they become very eloquent in explaining why the human sacrifice of Jesus was so necessary. ‘Shedding of blood’, ‘sacrifice for sin’, ‘died for the forgiveness of sins’; all of these form part of the accepted vocabulary of those who want a quick fix for the hereafter. If it was this simple, then why did God preserve so much instruction in the Scriptures? Why didn’t God just preserve a few paragraphs containing all the motivational phrases used by Christians today? How does it go? ‘I accept Jesus as my personal Savior’ and bingo, you’re saved! So if it was all done and completed at the cross, for what reason did God deliver the Book of Revelation? It’s no wonder that Christianity is in decline throughout the world. They’re teaching the type of logic you’d expect to find among little pre-school children. All of this suggests that God is looking for complete idiots who are totally lacking in any form of logic or Wisdom.
This ministry has produced more than a thousand pages of instruction to help in understanding God’s Truth. Many people have benefited from it all with a better understanding. But I would mention this: It will take a lot more than a thousand pages to explain to you what you don’t yet know! This ministry has merely touched on the broad brush-strokes of God’s Truth and the fulfillment of prophecy. It’s not God’s purpose to reveal everything until the reality of what He has said is forcefully driven home in fulfillment. It’s as Jesus said, ‘And they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them away’.
But of one thing you can be sure: God reveals His Plan and His secrets to His servants the prophets!
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