Off-Line for About 2 Weeks

It is necessary for me to be away for about 2 weeks. When I return, I will resume my Bible blog posts.

Thank you,
Harold F Crowell

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The Bible: Not a Book Israel Would Have Written!

Read 243.) II Kings 25:23 thru 26, Jeremiah 40:7 thru 44:30, and 51:64b. We are now past Israel’s unfaithfulness, and the fulfillment of the 4th Prophecy concerning her. It is now the time of the 5th Prophecy of Israel’s 70-year dispersion out of the Promised Land. Judah and Jerusalem were crushed in 586 BC. With the II Kings reading, we learn that Nebuchadnezzar had appointed one Gedaliah to govern what was left of Judah for him. It would appear that he was not too very popular, as only a few months into his position, he was assassinated, and the people under him fled to Egypt. We will read more about this in Jeremiah.

With Jeremiah, beginning at 40:7, we read a far more detailed account of that which was touched upon in II Kings; the assassination of Gedaliah. It’s a pretty gruesome tale. The people left behind are seemingly none improved as a result of the judgment God had already brought upon them. You wonder, will they ever learn? Not if they are not of a mind to! Well, with chapter 42, you might actually come to believe that they had! The survivors of all that foolishness go to Jeremiah, to seek the counsel of the Lord. Amen, at last, someone is willing to exercise faith, and do the right thing! Or, so you might think. It was 10 days before Jeremiah heard from the Lord concerning the request that was made of him, and he tells them that they made a fatal mistake by coming to him. Why was that? Chapter 43 explains. The surviving remnant disobeyed the command of the Lord to remain in the land, and, when they fled to Egypt, they took Jeremiah with them! While there, the Lord, thru Jeremiah tells these rebels that He is going to send Nebuchadnezzar after them and there in Egypt, deal with them.

Chapter 44 seals the deal with those rebellious Jews, who fled to Egypt, after God told them to remain. These had also resorted to idols, after they settled there! Was there ever a more stiff-necked and hard-hearted people as the Lord’s people, Israel? Seemingly not! Understand this plainly: The Bible is NOT a book Israel would have written of themselves, had they chosen to. These things, that we have continually read of Israel, of her unfaithfulness unto her God; and what the Lord their God did to them because of their complete and utter abandonment of the Lord, is one very strong evidence as to why this must be… The Word of God! Who would write such things about themselves willingly?!?!? Nobody! Jeremiah 51:64b closes with, “The words of Jeremiah end here,” and we say goodbye to this faithful servant of the Lord, whose reward must be very great in heaven, as it is quite certain he knew nothing of it while he remained upon the earth. It’s what the Book is all about!

Harold F Crowell

Posted in Bible, God, Israel, judgment, Old Testament, Prophecy, Religion, Scripture, Spirituality, wisdom, word of god | Leave a comment

The Sad Lament of Judged Sinners

Read 242.) Lamentations 3:1 thru 5:22. We end Jeremiah’s Lamentations from the time when Jerusalem was destroyed; and, with this reading, we are 2/3rds of the way thru the Bible. Chapter 3 is lengthy, and comes from a perspective as if Judah were talking to God. It forms Judah’s complaint, and the reason for her consolation. Yet, this is from the Spirit of God, thru Jeremiah. Therefore, it is a look into the very heart of the Lord, Himself! Have this in mind as you read chapter 3. Her condition seems hopeless, but turns on verse 21. See what words of consolation are to be found after verse 21. These words serve us in the midst of our own deepest despair! Our God is good! He may have to strike His own, but He will also heal! We need continue to trust, and to humble ourselves. Our consolation and healing will come from the Lord, as well! He will never utterly forsake His own. And, He was not going to utterly forsake Israel.

Chapter 4 takes another tack, as it speaks of the contrast that came to exist between Jerusalem’s past glory, and now her ruin. The worst of it, no doubt, is seen in verse 10, when Jeremiah tells of how bad the siege had become, that women in the city resorted to cooking their own children and eating them! Then, we read again why… her sins. They were great and they were many! This was the Lord’s doing, as verse 16 states, and it was in complete fulfillment of the 5th Prophecy He had made concerning Israel. It had now come to pass, as told in verse 18. The last verse ends with a tremendous hope. It is the hope of the 6th Prophecy and Promise. The Lord would not prolong their exile. And, He did not. He told them it would last for 70 years, and He started the countdown with 605 BC, and not here in 586. The Lord is faithful to all His word and promises, and unto all who will believe! He will be faithful to you, if you will become one of His.

Chapter 5 closes this book. It is beautiful in its own right. Why? It is written as if it were an appeal by Judah, unto the Lord, for His forgiveness. And, how will He respond to such a request as that? To come to the end, there seems to be no answer. It ends on a note of seeming uncertainty… “unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure.” Is He? Is God done with Israel? We will learn the sure answer to these questions, but during this time of dispersion, in fulfillment of the 5th Prophecy of Israel, there are some 24 more readings yet. Then, God will answer Jeremiah’s questions of verse 20. It will be 47 more years before this takes place. It’s what the Book is all about!

Harold F Crowell

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

You Don’t Want to be Judged by God!

Read 241.) Lamentations 1:1 thru 2:22. Jerusalem is lost. The temple has been leveled. The people are largely no more. Only a small handful of the lowest and poorest of the people remain. For all intents and purposes, Israel ceases to exist. And, it was all due to the Hand of Almighty God fulfilling all that He said that He would do to Israel because of their continual unfaithfulness unto Him. It is 586 BC, and Jeremiah, the “weeping prophet,” had served the Lord fruitlessly since about 627 BC, for some 41 years! He never ceased to warn his people, from the king, right on down to the common citizen. But, it was all for naught! And, now, Jeremiah is set free by order of Nebuchadnezzar, and is free in the land, and whatever is left there.

Israel had reached its very peak and pinnacle under Solomon, about 950 BC, and with what we read in I Kings 9 and 10, ending with verse 13 of chapter 10. Verse 9 is the conversion of the Queen of Sheba, and the first of all those in the world God wanted to save because of the showcase He would make of Israel, attracting the peoples of the earth unto Him. But, it all began to unwind, and come apart, beginning with verse 14. And by I Kings 11:13, the downhill slide began, due to unfaithfulness unto the Lord, that culminated in this pitiful end of Israel we now read of, some 586 years later.  It’s parallel is found in II Chronicles chapters 7, 8 and 9. The decided turn downward commences with chapter 9, and verse 13. Since the goal and purpose of God is seen in the last 2 chapters of the Bible, Revelation 21 and 22, with His Holy City, new Jerusalem and the eternal Kingdom; how is it that God is ever going to get there, if His people Israel, through whom Messiah was to come, is now lost to time and history? Ah, this is where the 6th Promise and Prophecy will come in, as the Lord had promised to restore His people back into their land; and after a period of silence from heaven, send Messiah. All that He had said; that He did and would still do!

This is Jeremiah’s lament after the fall of Jerusalem. He is free and chose to remain in the land. 1:3, 5+18 tell us that Judah is now in exile. It is the 5th Prophecy. 1:5, 8, 18+22 tell us why, because of her many sins. Jerusalem had sinned greatly and so had become unclean. And, that was the 4th Prophecy; her unfaithfulness. And, with 1:9+20 there is a plea to the Lord for pity. Some have likened 1:12 to unto a picture of Christ on the Cross, can you see that? Chapter 2 is very much about the Lord’s fierce anger against Jerusalem. Try to sense that, and understand why. His patience does find an end. He will judge and destroy! 2:17 states flatly that this was in fulfillment of prophecy. It goes all the way back to Moses and what the Lord had told him in Deuteronomy 31:15-18. Without Israel, what about Messiah? It’s what the Book is all about!

Harold F Crowell

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

The Fourth Prophecy of Israel is Fulfilled!

Read 240.) II Kings 25:2 thru 22, Jeremiah 39:2 thru 40:6, 52:5 thru 30, and II Chronicles 36:17 thru 21. First, the II Kings passage. It is 586 BC and this was it. It was over. Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem and Zedekiah, and burned the city, destroying the temple and other important buildings, and then tore down the city’s walls. It was the very end of Jerusalem! It was also the final fulfillment of the 4th Prophecy concerning ancient Israel! God had made of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob many descendants by Exodus 1:7. The Lord had allowed Israel to go into Egyptian captivity, but brought them out. He had given them the Promised Land, and Israel became unfaithful; breaking the covenant they had made with the Lord, their God. This now, was the very end of Israel’s unfaithfulness, as Israel had now been utterly destroyed. The 5th Prophecy had commenced with Nebuchadnezzar’s first arrival to take captives away to Babylon 19 years before, in 605 BC. The 70 year countdown of their expulsion from out of the land began then. II Kings 25:21 says it all, right there, “So Judah went into captivity, away from her land.”

From Jeremiah chapters 39 and 40, we read much of the same, but added details concerning what became of Jeremiah, himself. Note that the Cushite we read of in 38:7-13 was specifically singled out by the Lord to be spared! Do good unto the true servants of the Lord… you will be blessed! Jeremiah is set free by Nebuchadnezzar, and he chooses to remain in Judah with that person left to govern the tiny remnant permitted to live and stay behind.

With Jeremiah 52:5 thru 30, and the II Chronicles reading, we read of the Fall of Jerusalem one more time, and the conclusion of the matter. One very important detail is added with the II Chronicles account. The Lord had commanded Israel to allow the land a Sabbath rest every 7th year. Israel, in her continual unfaithfulness, had not obeyed the Lord’s command. By removing Israel from her Promised Land, the Lord was giving the land all of its missed Sabbath rests Himself!

With the fall of Jerusalem, the 5th Prophecy is in full effect. Israel’s unfaithfulness has been fully dealt with, just as the Lord had said through Moses more than 800 years before. We are now fully into the 70 year period of Israel’s exile, her dispersion, or the Diaspora. Before we get to read of anything of Israel’s miraculous return back unto the land, at the Hand of the Lord, in fulfillment of the 6th Promise and Prophecy, we must read more of what took place between this time of 586 and Jerusalem’s fall, and that time when God raises up Cyrus to power over the Medes, conquers Babylon, and sets Israel free to return to her Promised Land. That will commence some 47 more years from now. We next read Jeremiah’s lament over his temple, city and people. For more than 40 years he had told them, but they never listened to him! Don’t let that be you. It’s what the Book is all about!

Harold F Crowell

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

When It’s Okay to Lie?

Read 239.) Jeremiah 37:3 thru 38:28. We’ve been with Ezekiel in the previous 2 posts, but we come back to Jeremiah now. It’s 586 BC, and Judah and Jerusalem are soon to be destroyed by God’s ‘servant’ Nebuchadnezzar. Chapter 37 opens with Jerusalem under siege, but because Pharaoh was coming to fight Nebuchadnezzar, he withdrew his forces to engage the Egyptians. During this reprieve, Jeremiah sought to leave the city, but was falsely charged and arrested. He was placed in prison after being beaten. O, what a thankless task it is to be a prophet of the Lord’s! Jesus said their reward of their Father in Heaven would be very great in Matthew 5:11+12. From there, Jeremiah was released, but held captive by the king in the courtyard of his guards’ quarters.

Chapter 38 continues this same story of Jeremiah’s imprisonment in 586 BC, before Babylon crushed Jerusalem, at the word of the Lord. In the guards’ courtyard, Jeremiah continued to publicly prophesy by the Spirit of the Lord, but it was not a welcome message. As a result, those who opposed him, were permitted by the king, to throw him into an empty cistern, which is an underground water storage tank in limestone. This cistern was under the very same courtyard where he had been free to roam before. A cistern is typically quite large, but there would only be a shaft of light thru the hole up top, and nothing else. Others, sympathetic to Jeremiah, went on his behalf to the king, to pull Jeremiah out of that cistern, and save his life. King Zedekiah gave them his authority to do so, but note that the leader of this effort wasn’t even of Israel, but was a Cushite, of northern Africa! Jeremiah was then continued to be held in the same courtyard as before.

With verses 14 thru 28, we have an amazing account. First, from 38:5, 9+10, and this account before us, especially verse 19, we understand that Zedekiah was a weak and vacillating king, easily swayed by others, and quite cowardly. But, next, see what we have here in verses 24 thru 27. We have several such instances in the scriptures of a situational ethic, where it appears to be justified to lie in order to physically save human life. Other examples are to be found in Exodus 1:15-20, and again in Joshua chapter 2. These are not the only ones, but the two that immediately came to mind. We are want to say that we should never lie, and the 9th Commandment of God forbids all lying, but as you read, see how many other similar instances of life-saving lies you can find. This would appear to be the only situation that might justify misleading others. Life can be hard, and as we take note of this, we can readily grasp that it is not the fault of God that it can be so difficult. So many times it is plainly due to the darkened condition of the corrupted and sinful human heart. How we need Messiah to save each one of us! It’s what the Book is all about!

Harold F Crowell

Posted in Bible, Christian Teaching, God, Israel, judgment, Messiah, Old Testament, Prophecy, Religion, Scripture, Spirituality, wisdom, word of god | Leave a comment

Is This the Origin of Satan?

Read 238.) Ezekiel 26:1 thru 28:26. In the previous reading, I put Ezekiel chapter 25 in the year 587, before the Babylonian destruction of Judah and Jerusalem in 586. And, yet, if you read Ezekiel 25, it tells of what Ammon, Moab, Edom and Philistia did during Jerusalem’s fall in 586. How could I put chapter 25 in 587, before the event took place? Ezekiel is in Babylon, far away from Judah. By the time he would have gotten news of Jerusalem’s destruction, learned of what these nations did, and then wrote of what was going to befall them; it would have been too late! Those nations would have already been swept away by Nebuchadnezzar, too! I believe Ezekiel was inspired to write of those nations’ destruction for their actions, before Jerusalem was ever even taken, or he would not have been writing prophecy!

Chapter 26 opens with a time clue, telling us it is 586. The upper seacoast city of Tyre is condemned next, after those 5 nations in our previous reading. Nebuchadnezzar commenced to fulfill most of what is written against the city here. And, Alexander the Great completed it in 332 BC, 254 years later.

If chapter 26 told of Tyre’s downfall, chapter 27 takes up a lament for her, as if one should mourn her? Tyre was an incredible merchant trade center, commodities and goods from Asia, Africa and Europe were exchanged there, and she became very wealthy. Tyre was a crossroads for 3 continents, and her port was large and commodious. One would have been amazed at all they could have seen there in her heyday.

Then, within chapter 28, we have a most interesting passage! But first, we take up verses 1 thru 10. We see a mention of Daniel in verse 3. He was alive at this very time, and already an important official of Nebuchadnezzar’s in Babylon, where Ezekiel resided. Daniel was about 36 by then. This particular judgment and condemnation is against the very king of the city of Tyre. But, with verses 11 thru 17, we have an incredible passage. This, along with Isaiah 14:9-15, have long been thought to be two passages that actually tell us of the origin and fate of Lucifer, originally an archangel of the Lord, and how he became the Devil and Satan. Can you see that possibility or, perhaps, probability here, too? The chapter closes, verses 20 thru 26, against another northern seacoast city, that being Sidon. But, and get this now, beginning with verse 24, the word clues and prophecy here tells us that this is the yet future Millennium, under the rule and reign of Christ! It begins with, “No longer…,” and tells of Israel’s future hope of one day dwelling in complete safety among all her neighbors. It’s a cinch that this has never yet been fulfilled, and certainly is not being fulfilled right now! She currently resides in incredible risk from all her Arabic and Muslim neighbors! It’s what the Book is all about!

Harold F Crowell

Posted in Bible, God, God's promises, Israel, judgment, millennium, Old Testament, Prophecy, Religion, Satan, Scripture, Spirituality, wisdom, word of god | Leave a comment