Final Psalms of Restored Israel

Read 274.) Psalms 126, 128, 129, 132, 147 and 149. Psalms 120 thru 134 are called psalms of ascents. Three times each year, the men of Israel were to appear before the Lord in Jerusalem. The city is situated in one of the higher parts of the country. Not what we might think of as being truly mountainous, but a higher place, for certain. As the pilgrims made their trek to the city, and began the uphill climb toward Jerusalem, they would sing these psalms of ascents. Psalm 126 is one of these. It hearkens right back to that very time, after Cyrus’ decree, when Israel was permitted to return to her land. It was the beginning of the fulfillment of the 6th Promise and Prophecy by God concerning ancient Israel’s recorded history in the Bible. It expresses the great joy the first returnees experienced when they came back to Jerusalem. The Negev of verse 4 is a near-desert like place. So, you can imagine how precious streams there would be. And, their return meant that they could go back to their sowing and reaping of grain for their daily bread. Psalm 128 may well belong here, too, as it seems to express the very same kind of joy associated with their full restoration back into their land, and all the blessing and prosperity that was to come with it. Psalm 129 is a sort of reverse sentiment being expressed by those who were brought back. It is as a curse upon all who had captured and oppressed Israel before. Just as we have been returned to be blessed and prosper, so you, who had taken us away and oppressed us, be accursed!

Psalm 132 is a recollection, from about 485 years before, of David’s desire to build a temple unto the Lord. The Lord was pleased with David’s desire, and as a result, revealed a marvelous promise to him; that He would be pleased to dwell in Zion and to bless His people Israel from there, and especially, with verse 17, through David, bring forth Messiah! Psalm 147 belongs here, as verse 2 attests. It begins and ends, and contains throughout, praise to God! He is extolled for His might, in verses 4 thru 9, and we are told what pleases Him with verse 11. May you be one of those people! And, with verses 19 and 20, we are assured that as we read Israel’s Book, we can know we have the Word of God! Finally, Psalm 149. As with 147, this psalm opens and closes on high notes of praise to the Lord! It is filled with praise thru the first half of verse 6, and then it turns to the matter of inflicting vengeance upon those peoples who had held them in captivity, in keeping with the prophecies God had given about them. Those nations would ultimately be destroyed, and Israel lifted up to that place of world prominence… which they will be, when Messiah comes and establishes the Kingdom of God upon the earth for 1,000 years! It’s what the Book is all about!

ForeverKingdom,
Harold F Crowell

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Psalms of a Restored Nation

Read 273.) Psalms 107, 116, 118, and 125. There would seem to be 11 Psalms that were written about this time when Israel was permitted to return and rebuild the temple and Jerusalem. That temple was recorded as completed in Ezra 6:15. This marked an end to Israel’s 70-year expulsion from the land and the 5th of The 7 Promises and Prophecies, and a fitting beginning for the fulfillment of the 6th the Lord had made about Israel; that of their restoration. We place Psalm 107 among these, because of verse 2. With verses 4 thru 32, we read of a number of people enduring various hardships, but in each instance, they “cried out to the Lord in their trouble and He delivered them!” As for them, so for us, as we are to heed the message here and “consider the great love of the Lord.” Psalm 116 may go here, because of verse 16, and the psalmist’s deliverance from chains. It also contains a favorite verse. Verse 15 is awesome! We don’t view death in this manner, but for the believer, God does; and we can, too! The psalm is beautiful, because it is so personal, with many first person singular pronouns used; I, me, and my. You cannot read it without feeling the writer’s sense of relief and joy!

Psalm 118 contains similar sentiment, and possibly for similar reason. Verse 5 marks a release, a setting free. And, it contains a great deal of gratitude and of joy for there having been a restoration and renewal. It also holds out Messianic hope, particularly expressed in verse 26, which was used in all 4 Gospel accounts, to mark Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, during the week of His Passion. Verse 22 is also found 5 times in the New Testament. It was used by Jesus of Himself in Matthew, Mark and Luke. Luke took it up in Acts 4, as being employed by Peter. And, Peter used it again in his first letter. In each instance, the stone of 118:22 was identified as being Jesus, the Messiah! “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” We close with Psalm 125. It may be of the restoration period, as it speaks of security in verse 2, after the rule of the wicked had ceased. There’s a connection made here between the security of Mount Zion in Jerusalem by the Lord, and of those individuals who trust in Him. He is around His people, as the mountains surround Jerusalem! We are secure evermore! We’ll look at 6 more such Psalms next, and we will also be 3/4 of the way thru all the Bible! God is so good! It’s what the Book is all about!

ForeverKingdom,
Harold F Crowell

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How We Know the Bible is God’s Word

Read 272.) Psalm 78. We had just read that a reconstruction of sorts of Solomon’s Temple, destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians, in 586 BC, was completed from out of any salvageable rubble, by the 50,000 of the returned remnant, released by Cyrus in Ezra chapter 1. It would be 516 BC, and an end of Israel’s 70-year expulsion from out of the land. It took some 20 years to build, and it had nothing of the former glory. But that was not what mattered so much. This people was truly desirous to seek and to find God, and to faithfully keep all His commandments. The 5th Promise and Prophecy given by the Lord concerning ancient Israel’s expulsion out of their Promised Land and recorded Old Testament history had been thoroughly completed and fulfilled!

Psalm 78 is 72 verses long. Verse 2 was used by Matthew to speak of the nature of Jesus’ teaching ministry. What is this psalm, but a historical record of the promises and prophecies God had given Israel, and how that each was fulfilled. Verses 3 thru 8 might touch on how that they 1.) became numerous, and 9 thru 54 go to their 2.) enslavement and deliverance, especially verses 13 and 52. But, the great message to that point was of the nature of the people of Israel, and how willful, stubborn, unbelieving and disobedient they were. Verse 55 then goes to His giving Israel their 3.) Promised Land. But, beginning right with verse 56, this Psalm goes right back to Israel, and how wicked they had been. This had resulted in the breaking of their covenant they had with God because of their 4.) unfaithfulness to Him. And, then, just as the Lord had told Moses numerous times in Deuteronomy chapters 28 thru 32, nearly 900 years before this, Israel would be destroyed and 5.) expelled from out of the land. Finally, the closing passage of verses 65 thru 72, tells of Israel’s 6.) restoration by God back into her land. And, if anything, verses 70 thru 72, go to the Millennial hope of that day when David will rule Israel once again in peace and prosperity. All this happened, and the last 3 verses will happen. Psalm 78 serves as a perfectly vindicating passage of all my thesis that the entire Hebrew Bible, our Old Testament, is a faithful historical record of God having given unto Abraham and Moses 7 Promises and Prophecies, and that He would see to their fulfillment to prove His existence and to prove that the Holy Bible is His Word. Psalm 78 is a confirmation of my thesis, in the very same way that Jeremiah 32 and Ezekiel 20 are!

God said it hundreds of years in advance of His fulfillment of all these things. He 1.) made of Abraham a great nation of people. They 2.) went into slavery, but God brought them out! He 3.) brought them into the Promised Land and gave it to them. They 4.) were most unfaithful to God, and broke the covenant that they had made with Him. The Lord 5.) removed His people from out of their land, but He also 6.) brought them back into it once again. This is the entire story of the Old Testament. God gave Abraham 4 of the promises and prophecies in Genesis, and He gave the remaining 3 unto Moses primarily in Deuteronomy. The record of their fulfillment spans nearly 1,700 years; from Abraham thru Malachi. But there was a 7th Promise and Prophecy that had gone yet unfulfilled! It’s what the Book is all about!

ForeverKingdom,
Harold F Crowell

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God’s 6th Promise to Israel is Fulfilled!

Read 271.) Zechariah 7:1 thru 8:23, and Ezra 6:14 thru 22. Our time clue tells us this about 518 BC. Chapter 7 is about a matter of religion. Some of the remnant that had returned, perhaps even some who had been born there since their return, went to inquire of the Lord concerning a matter of religious practice and exercise; fasting. By the Lord’s response unto them, what is clear, is that these men were deeply misunderstanding and confused about what true religion was actually about. They thought they could commend themselves to God, and that He would be pleased, if they engaged in a fast from food. The Lord’s answer, given to Zechariah, was for all the people. It would seem that this religious confusion had always befuddled Israel from the beginning. The administration of personal social justice was God’s reply! Today, religious liberals seek to turn such things into matters of government policy; a total misapplication of God’s words at places like this. Government cannot feel compassion, or think evil thoughts, and does not possess a heart, as verses 9 and 10 describe. As it was people inquiring about fasting, and not government, so it is individual persons to whom the admonition about right religion is given. It was the hard-hearted, disobedience of the previous generations that had caused their expulsion from the land for 70 years, in the very first place!

Not content to leave the matter lie there on a strong negative note, chapter 8 takes up a message of positive sentiment expressed by the Lord for His people and Promised Land. The entire chapter is an expression of Millennial hope and promise! It speaks to the day when Jerusalem shall be ultimately restored, and elevated to a place it has never been before. Jerusalem shall be the leading city on the earth in that day! Jesus will live there, and will rule and reign over all the earth from Jerusalem. There will be prosperity and length of life, and the people there will be a blessing to all the inhabitants of the world! And, in return, many of the people of the earth will come to Jerusalem to seek out the Lord, so as to be saved! While everyone who is brought into the Kingdom, when it is inaugurated, will be converts and believers; all those who are born during the Millennium will still need to believe upon and trust in the Lord to be saved at that time (and, as Revelation 20:7-9 makes clear, there will be many who won’t!).

Ezra 6:14-22 records the completion of the reconstruction of the temple. It is 516 BC, and by this measure, the 70 years of dispersion and captivity are ended, as Solomon’s Temple was destroyed in 586 BC. They had been much encouraged by the preaching of Haggai and Zechariah; and upon completion, they held a great celebration, and then prepared themselves, and faithfully observed the Passover unto the Lord in accordance with the words of Moses from some 930 years before! They sought the Lord, and the Lord filled them with joy! This the period of restoration, in fulfillment of God’s 6th promise to Israel. It is all for the ultimate purpose of bringing Messiah into the world in another 512 years or so. It’s what the Book is all about!

ForeverKingdom,
Harold F Crowell

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The Eight Visions of Zechariah

Read 270.) Zechariah 1:7 thru 6:15. It is this same time of 520/519 BC, and the remnant has returned to Judah and Jerusalem to rebuild a temple unto the Lord. What does this prophet see by way of visions from the Lord? The first is chapter 1:7-17; the Man among the Myrtle Trees. What is the message here? Jerusalem will be restored, not only immanently, as it would in that time, but, with verses 16 and 17, He also means ultimately, in the time of the Millennium, still to come! Verses 18 thru 21 are a second vision; Four Horns and Four Craftsmen. The horns are the nations God used to disperse all Israel in their past… Assyria, Babylon, Media and Persia, but the craftsmen were those sent of the Lord to throw each nation down in their time. In chapter 2, we go to a third vision; the Man with the Measuring Line. This line was first mentioned in 1:16, and speaks of the ‘size‘ of the blessing to come. How great will that blessing be? 2:3-5 and 10-12, explain that it will be enormous! It is Israel in the time of the Millennial Kingdom, yet to come! The fourth vision is all of chapter 3. It is of Judah’s high priest at that time; one Joshua. He’s standing before Jesus, and Satan is accusing Joshua to Jesus. Even though Joshua is guilty, dirty and unclean; Jesus cleanses him, and desires to greatly bless and use him. But, verse 8 says this is symbolic of a future time. It is the time of the Millennium, and Jesus is the servant, the Branch, who will take away Israel’s sin in one day, when He returns for the Second Coming, and establishes His Kingdom!

Chapter 4 is the fifth vision, of the Gold Lampstand and Two Olive Trees. It is an exhortation to Governor Zerubbabel. Though effort had been made to commence the reconstruction of the temple upwards of 20 years before, but had languished, this renewed effort was going to be successful. In fact, it would come true in just 3 or 4 more years! Zerubbabel and Joshua are the 2 anointed ones of the last verse, being especially used of God then. A sixth vision came to the prophet with chapter 5. It is of a Flying Scroll. What is this? It speaks of God’s curse upon those in the land, who were not of a good heart. He would transform the character of the nation, by ridding it of any wicked people. This will be ultimately filled in the Millennium. The Woman in a Basket is the seventh vision. It is most probable that what is being foretold is how that, also in the Millennium, Israel will be purified. Finally, this eighth vision of the Four Chariots, is of God’s sovereign control over all the earth, though we may not think so at times. World events are His purview. He is the King of all Kings. All that was foretold here will come to pass! Verses 12 thru 15 are Millennial, and speak of Christ’s rule, as Priest and King, joining those 2 roles, when He returns and establishes His Kingdom on the earth. It’s what the Book is all about!

ForeverKingdom,
Harold F Crowell

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Jesus is The Desired of Nations!

Read 269.) Haggai 1:1 thru 2:13, and Zechariah 1:1 thru 6. A remnant of Judah and Jerusalem have been allowed to return to their Promised Land from Babylon. They are making an effort to rebuild a temple unto the Lord. We’ve just come from the first 6 chapters of Ezra. They’ve been at this for some 15 to 20 years now. What does the Lord have to say to His people at this time? There are some interesting things of note to be seen even in a minor prophet like Haggai, who, according to the time clues given, only served the Lord in this capacity for just 4 months!

From chapter 1, this message is primarily given to Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, the ancestor of Jesus Christ, and one of the faithful remnant that returned to the Land! What is at issue here? Ah, it is very much as it has always been with Israel. They have been less than fully obedient and faithful, and as a result, God has sent a drought upon the remnant; and they find themselves in a difficult place. Though nearly 2 decades had passed since they had arrived and commenced to rebuild, Haggai’s message resulted in a revival! They obeyed and feared the Lord, and He stirred them up by means of His Holy Spirit! O, that Christ’s true Church today would obey and fear, and seek to be roused and stirred up by the Spirit of the Lord, to complete the task to which He has called His Church to do!

Haggai then brings a second message from the Lord to Zerubbabel, the forebear of Christ, in chapter 2, verses 1 thru 9. It’s been some 50 days after the first, and the people’s right response. What is this message? It is the Good News that Messiah will come to the temple; as He is, “the desired of all nations!” This was to encourage them to complete the temple. That ‘little while,’ though, is going to be more than 500 years off!

We insert Zechariah 1:1-6 here, as the time clue suggests he commenced to prophesy between Haggai’s second and third messages. Since the people had already rightly responded to Haggai’s first message, these 6 verses were to remind them to remain faithful, as they were slackening again!

Then, little more than 2 months after his second message, Haggai brings a third, with 2:10-19 in his book. What is this about? It speaks of how easily things can be defiled; much more easily than things can be cleansed and made holy. But, from that very day, because the people had repented, been revived, renewed and faithful to the work, God promised to lift His curse from off of them, and to bless them! With one last, brief message in verses 20 thru 23, Haggai speaks to the time of the very end. Verses 20 thru 22 are of the 7-year Tribulation period, and verse 23 closes the book like a glorious capstone, and speaks to Christ’s Millennium Kingdom, when the One who will descend from Zerubbabel, Messiah, will rule and reign; as a signet ring denotes a king’s authority. It’s what the Book is all about!

ForeverKingdom,
Harold F Crowell

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God’s Plan Cannot be Thwarted!

Read 268.) Ezra 4:6 thru 6:13. What we now know is that Ezra was used of the Lord to bring back the returning remnant of Judah and Jerusalem to their Promised Land, 70 years after their expulsion began. What was so very different about this 50,000 or so Jews is that these were desirous to renew their covenant with the Lord, and to follow His Commands faithfully. The one other key thing we also noted, was that among these faithful, was one Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, who, unbeknownst to him, was the one in the line of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, David and Solomon, through whom Messiah would come… in another 535 years! Messiah had to arise from among His people Israel, while dwelling in their Promised Land! God’s Plan was getting right back on track, and He was the One causing all of it to happen!

We begin to read at chapter 4, and verse 6, with a time clue. This would be 529 BC, and a Persian ruler, Xerxes, rises to power. We next read of an Artaxerxes, who followed after him. The local opponents of the Jews sent him a letter to accuse the Jews of rebellion against him. This letter was read, its message acted upon, and Artaxerxes ordered the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem to be stopped. With verse 24, we have another time clue, and it is 520 BC. We open chapter 5 with the mention of 2 more of our writing prophets, Haggai and Zechariah. Haggai wrote right here, 520 BC, while Zechariah served for years, from 520 to about 460 BC. We will read their messages from God very soon. But, see who is leading this charge to rebuild the temple… it is this Zerubbabel, the forerunner of Messiah, zealous for the house of the Lord! This raised the ire of the locals again, who, once again, wrote, this time, of their complaint to King Darius.

Which brings us to chapter 6, and the first 13 verses. When these opposing locals had previously written to Artaxerxes only a few years before, they managed to succeed in bringing about the stopping of the rebuilding of the temple of the Lord. So, they resorted to the very same tactic again, this time with Darius. Would they manage to stop the Jews again? A search was launched for a supposed original order for the temple’s reconstruction under Cyrus; the order we have right in chapter 1, from some 15 or 20 years before. This order was actually found, and everything changed after that! Darius found Cyrus’ order, and he ordered it be carried out on pains of a horrible death to those who might oppose the work. The attitude of those who had sought to halt the work of the rebuilding of the temple was radically changed after that. They were even required to see to it that all funding for its reconstruction, and for the necessary sacrifices to be offered there, was paid from out of the taxation they were raising from all the people under his rule in that vicinity! Their tactic seriously backfired against them! This, too, was a doing of the Lord, from behind the scene. God’s plan will not be thwarted. It’s what the Book is all about!

ForeverKingdom,
Harold F Crowell

Posted in Bible, Faith, God, God's promises, Israel, Messiah, Old Testament, Religion, Scripture, Spirituality, wisdom, word of god | Leave a comment