A Nation Disintegrates Because of Sin

Isaiah 3:1–4

1For, behold, the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah stay and staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water; 2the mighty man, and the man of war; the judge, and the prophet, and the diviner, and the elder; 3the captain of fifty, and the honorable man, and the counsellor, and the expert artificer, and the skilful enchanter, 4And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them. (ASV, 1901).

In previous chapters God has been using the prophet Isaiah to let the people of the world, and particularly those of Judah and Jerusalem, know the effects of His judgment on the earth during the Great Tribulation. He now switches back to the sins of the people of Judah and Jerusalem during Isaiah’s life in the late eighth century B.C. God begins this chapter by saying He will remove their fundamental support systems because of their continued sin. The most fundamental support that will be removed, that of bread and water, are indispensable for existence. The whole “stay” (or supply), not just bread and water, will be removed and thus the nation will be deprived by God of its most necessary means of life.  When God metes out His justice on the people of Judah and Jerusalem it will cause the most prominent of its citizens, that is, the men and women of power and influence, to perish slowly through famine and war. The leaders the people depended and who led the people into sinful practices will be taken away, and replaced with the young and inexperienced. Six classes and occupations of men are designated: 

  • Soldiers 
  • Judges 
  • Prophets
  • Occult based Wise people 
  • Military leaders 
  • Skilled workers 
the charge of the mamelukes by Francisco Goya cir 1818

The fact that Isaiah included “the diviner”, and the “skilful enchanter”in this list does not mean he was endorsing them. He was merely noting those on whom the nation was depending for survival and security. Babylon trusted in this system of advisors (Isaiah 47:12). The Mosaic Law clearly prohibited any involvement in soothsaying and enchanting which are tied to the occult (Deuteronomy 18:10–14). The country will be robbed of its false support, and torn away from its comfort. The kingdom of Judah would descend into the most shameless despotism: “And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.”The glory of the reign of the last king of the unified empire, Solomon, will be followed by the times of his son Rehoboam. He was an immature young man when he ascended to the throne who followed the influence of his young friends, and rejected the wise council of the advisors to his father (I Kings 12:8). His own father had written of this folly:

Ecclesiastes 10:16–17

16Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning! 17Happy art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness (ASV, 1901).

Solomon contrasted the despotic state of a nation whose leaders are incompetent and undisciplined with the blessed state of a nation whose leaders are competent and disciplined. The former kind of leaders are childish. But the latter kind of leaders are well prepared by noble birthand training. The phrase to “eat in the morning” means thatincompetent leaders are intemperate and start early in the day with revelry and drunkenness(Ecclesiastes 10:17; see Isaiah 5:11 and Acts 2:15 for similar ideas). But competent leaders are temperate, and theyeat at a proper time—for strength and notfor drunkenness.

future George III and his brother Edward by Barthélemy du Pan (1746)

The Population Becomes Oppressed

Isaiah 3:5

5And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbor: the child shall behave himself proudly against the old man, and the base against the honorable (ASV, 1901).

The result of the unrepentant sin will be young and inexperienced leadership assuming control and oppressing everybody. The people will not respect them and will not subordinate themselves to this nonsensical leadership. This will result in a state of affairs wherein everyone will consider themselves capable of exercising authority, thereby forcing their will on their fellow citizens. This is definitely anarchy. God will send an evil spirit among them too (as in Judges 9:23) which would make them prone to bring harm to each other. Their princes, being children, will take no care to restrain the oppressors or relieve the oppressed. Nor will it do any good to appeal to them because every man is his own avenger, and therefore they bite and devour one another, and will soon be consumed one of another. In other words, there will be no leadership control.

When respect for the elderly, the experienced and the wise is denied, moral anarchy closely follows. The young will fight against these, and they move to harm the aged. Respect for old age by them is viewed as the “old law”, along with its fear or reverence for God as stated in Leviticus: “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary [silver, or white] head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the Lord”(Leviticus 19:32). When all authority passes, respect for aged also passes. One evidence of the degeneration of a government, a country, or a people is seen in the manner in which the elderly are treated. What is pictured here is a social war against everybody, including those whom God has honored with the blessing of long life. The elderly should be honored with expressions of civility. Those who are advanced in age and wisdom are worthy of double honor. They should be consulted because of their experience, their wisdom sought, and attention should be paid to their needs (Job 32:6–7). Christianity teaches good manners, and obliges us to give honor to the elderly, the experienced, and the wise (I Timothy 5:1–2, 17; I Peter 5:5;). It is an instance of great degeneracy and disorder in a land when “the child behaves himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honorable”. In the natural order that God created, the elders and respectable people are held in high esteem. But of outside God’s plan for societal order, the opposite will be true. The young people will be insolent toward the elderly and the experienced, while they also become crude, vulgar and uncouth towards the respectable people. People who engage in grave sins, but view them as minor infractions of behavior, will try to domineer righteous, God-fearing people.

Photo from Dachau Concentration Camp from the Jewish Virtual Library http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/dachaumartins.html

Desperation Ensues

Isaiah 3:6–8

6When a man shall take hold of his brother in the house of his father, saying, Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand; 7in that day shall he lift up his voice, saying, I will not be a healer; for in my house is neither bread nor clothing: ye shall not make me ruler of the people. 8For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen; because their tongue and their doings are against Jehovah, to provoke the eyes of his glory (ASV, 1901).

“When a man shall take hold of his brother in the house of his father, saying, Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand” is depicting the situation of overwhelming poverty, and people looking for capable and worthy leadership. Isaiah is using a simile of one grabbing at the garment of another who appears to have some modicum of wealth. They sense this is indicative of prominence and capability of leading the nation out of the massive distress and anarchy that is rampant everywhere. The people will plead, “Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand”, to accept the position and responsibility of leadership of the nation. The people mistakenly view the individual’s clothing as a symbol of authority that will be obeyed by the rebellious citizens to settle the chaos. They think that surely their word will be obeyed by the population. They are not considering the source of the chaos, which is the sin against the Almighty God. These men however respond with a refusal of leadership roles because of their paucity. They too have “neither bread nor clothing” and respond to the request for them to be leaders with the statement,”ye shall not make me ruler of the people.”

In fact, the source of all Jerusalem’s problems is because they have sinned against God, in both word and deed. They behaved as though He does not see or hear their behavior. Worse, they did not care if He was aware of their behavior. Their desires to carry out their sins was so strong that they tried to avoid His acknowledgement of their behavior and His authority:

Romans 1:28–32

Engraving by Gustave Dore. From Milton’s Paradise Lost by Robert Vaughan, D.D. Chicago and New York 1885

28And even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, unmerciful: 32who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practise such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practise them (ASV, 1901).

Boldness in Sin

Isaiah 3:9–11

9The show of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have done evil unto themselves. 10Say ye of the righteous, that it shall be well with him; for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. 11Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him; for what his hands have done shall be done unto him (ASV, 1901).

The brazen nature of their countenance, or outward expressions, reveals their attitude toward their sins. The do not think they are sinning, they just view these desires they have as “who they are”,and that the righteous have put a restraint upon them. Just like the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah they have no desire to conceal their sins. In fact, they exhibit a pride over their ability to publicly sin without any legal restraint of their behavior. They brought this evil upon themselves and have no one else to blame for this when the correction comes. The destruction that comes during their lifetime, as in the examples of Judah, Jerusalem, and Sodom, are one sphere of correction. The worse one is the eternal damnation that will befall them when they, as unsaved God-haters, enter the Lord’s domain and immediately realize their rebellion against Him. People of all ages are responsible for their behavior. The righteous person will enjoy the fruits of their restraint and shall “eat the fruit of their doings”.The wicked will experience Divine retribution for “what his hands have done shall be done unto him”.We are not responsible for the thoughts Satan pours into our minds. We are responsible for what we do with them once he pours his evil into us. We must submit ourselves to God and resist the Devil, then he will flee from us (James 4:7). We are to stay with God in all circumstances:

Romans 1:18–25

18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; 19because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them. 20For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse: 21because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. 22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things  24Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves: 25for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen (ASV, 1901).

The way God will turn them over to the lusts of the hearts is through demonic influence, and make it so that their consciences will no longer be able to let them know their behavior is sin against the Creator.

I Timothy 4:1–2

1But the Spirit saith expressly, that in later times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, 2through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron (ASV, 1901).

Artist Unknown

Sin Reverses God’s Hierarchical Order

Isaiah 3:12

12As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they that lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths (ASV, 1901).

Woman who rides the beast by Howard David Johnson cir 2017

Because of the gross sins of Israel, God was placing women and children in leadership positions, reversing His desired plan for the leadership hierarchy, and therefore adding to the anarchy. God has provided a hierarchical order to this world. But the behavior of Adam and Eve ended that at the Fall when God pronounced a curse on them. The most significant curse was the spiritual death, which Adam and Eve experienced “on the day they ate of the fruit.”  Separate cursing’s were also settled on Adam and Eve. For Adam, man would henceforth earn his living by sweat (Genesis 2:15), and man’s life would now be filled with sorrow and ultimate death (Genesis 3:19; Ephesians 2:5).  For Eve, the multiplied sorrow and pain of women in childbirth and motherhood was also one result.  

The other result for Eve was her position in relation to man that came about because she chose to act independently from him, and disobey God’s Word. Prior to the Fall, woman’s position, in comparison to the man’s, was subordinate due to Adam’s divinely ordained headship. After the Fall, a firmer headship was invested in man due to woman’s responding to the serpent. While the man was to have dominion over her, she now desired to usurp his leadership role, to control him and desire his headship for herself. This created a built-in conflict within the family. Her husband would be a ruler over her, but not in a loving leadership role that accompanied God’s initial plan for marriage or her treatment in general. Now man’s rule over her would be sinful and domineering. But, just like Cain, the man and the woman had to master sin. Those who continued to turn away from God and follow after Adam and Eve would now follow the sinful and natural inclination that God gave to the relationship. Man would dominate woman, and she would resist and seek to usurp his rule. God did provide for her though, but only to those who followed Him and kept His Word. God’s plan is always best. The New Testament describes the roles which God has ordained:

Ephesians 5:22–25

22Wives, be in subjection unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, being himself the saviour of the body. 24But as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their husbands in everything

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God’s Saints Appointed to be Kings and Priests


Three Categories of Saints

The word saints, is used throughout the Bible to refer to people that have accepted the rule of God in their lives, and is a common word for believers of all ages. There are three groups of saints, divided by when they lived. The first group are the Old Testament saints or godly ones who believe in God and who lived before the Day of Pentecost (Psalm 85:8).

Christ and the Penitent Sinners by Gerard Seghers Cir. 1640

The second are the Church age saints, also today called “born-again” believers and consists only of those saved people who live between the Day of Pentecost of Acts 2 and the Rapture of the Church from the earth (1 Corinthians 1:2). Saints who died before the Day of Pentecost and people who become saved after the Rapture of the Church are never part of the Church. Thus, the Church consists of a distinctive group of saints who live during one particular period of history—namely, those saints who are baptized with the Spirit and are “born again”. This causes some folks confusion and they tend to incorrectly apply the term “Church” to those saints who lived and died before the era of the Church (Acts 2 – The Rapture), or after the Church era (Post Rapture). 

The third category are the Great Tribulation saints (Revelation 13:7) who accept Christ during the seven year span of the Great Tribulation. Even though the word “saints” is used several times during the Great Tribulation, it does not refer to those who were believers in Christ before the Great Tribulation began. Within the Great Tribulation saints, there is the group that are killed before the 3.5 year mid-point and those that die after the mid-point. The saints during the 7 year Great Tribulation include the 144,000 saved Jewish evangelists and the myriad of others converted mostly through their efforts (Revelation 7:3-17). They will also be resurrected after the Great Tribulation and during that Seventy-five-day Interval that comes between the end of the Great Tribulation and the beginning of the Messianic Kingdom.

This distinction is brought out in Revelation chapter twenty:

 Revelation 20:4–6

4And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and such as worshipped not the beast, neither his image, and received not the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they lived, and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5The rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years should be finished. This is the first resurrection. 6Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: over these the second death hath no power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years (ASV, 1901).

Heavens opened – Artist Unknown

In verse 4, John describes who are to co-reign with the Lord Jesus in the Messianic Kingdom, and in this passage, they are the Church age saints and the Great Tribulation saints. 

The first group are those who have died during the Church age, and who in verse 4a are those to whom “judgment was given”. This is a direct reference to the Judgment Seat of Christ that they endured. This refers to the Church saints who were raptured at some time preceding the Great Tribulation. The Rapture will include only the Church saints and it will occur before the Great Tribulation. They are referred to as “kings and priests” in John’s introductory verse of Revelation 1:6 (KJV). The judgment that these saints have already had the apostle John is referring to is the Judgment Seat of the Messiah, also known as known as the Bema Seat judgment (I Corinthians 3:13; Romans 14:10). This judgement is an evaluation of how well, or how poorly, each believer exercised their spiritual gifts while still alive in their natural bodies. In fact, it is the outcome of this judgment that will determine the position of each Church saint in the Kingdom. 

The second group are the saints who accept Christ as their savior during the Great Tribulation. The first group in verse 4b are those who “had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus”are the believers who will be martyred during the first half of the Great Tribulation, and are mentioned at the time of the fifth seal opening (Revelation 6:9–11). The rest of the Great Tribulation saints are covered in verse 4c, and are those who “had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and such as worshipped not the beast, neither his image, and received not the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand”. Since the image of the beast, and the marking of worshippers of him with a mark on their forehead or arm are things initiated only at the middle of the Great Tribulation, this group of saints will be those martyred during the second half of the Great Tribulation. Both the Church saints and the Great Tribulation saints then will co- reign with the King for one thousand years. The Messianic Kingdom will cover the entire earth. But the land give to the Sons of Jacob will be what was promised to Abraham.

https://chart.bonlacfoods.com/detail/map-of-israel-promised-land-18.html

What happens to the Old Testament Saints?

After the second coming, we know Old Testament saints will be resurrected. This is stated by three Old Testament passages: 

Resurrection of the Flesh by Luca Signorelli Cir 1500

Isaiah 26:19

Your dead shall live; my dead bodies shall arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust; for your dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast forth the dead (ASV, 1901

Daniel 12:2

2And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt (ASV, 1901).

Hosea 13:14

14I will ransom them from the power of Sheol; I will redeem them from death: O death, where are thy plagues? O Sheol, where is thy destruction? repentance shall be hid from mine eyes (ASV, 1901).

With this resurrection, the unfulfilled covenantal promises will finally be fulfilled to them. One of these is the promise to become a “kingdom of priests”:

Exodus 19:5–6

5Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be mine own possession from among all peoples: for all the earth is mine: 6and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation (ASV, 1901).

In the Messianic Kingdom the nation of Israel will be ruled by the Old Testament saints in the implied role of kings:

Deuteronomy 28:1

1And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of Jehovah thy God, to observe to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that Jehovah thy God will set thee on high above all the nations of the earth (ASV, 1901).

Finally, there is one particular passage where the Lord Jesus is speaking to the Jews before the Church was founded. In parable form, Jesus tells them that they can expect to become “kings” and “priests” and “rulers” in the kingdom of Jesus Christ (Luke 19:11-27). This passage tells us how Jesus Christ will determine who rules over how many cities in His Kingdom. Though it is a parable, it is widely viewed as referring to the way we will be selected as rulers, or kings.

King David – Artist Unknown

The Organization of the Messianic Kingdom

Are all three groups of saints are going to be kings and priests in the Messianic Kingdom? The answer is yes, but in differing roles, and in different geographical places. Jesus, as the absolute ruler on earth, will govern the Messianic Kingdom. His throne will be in Jerusalem. The government will be split into two branches, a Jewish branch and a Gentile branch. It is quite clear from both Testaments that Jesus will sit upon David’s Throne in Jerusalem ruling the Jews and Gentiles. The Lord Jesus will be both King of Israel and the king of the world. Under His absolute authority He will rule with a “rod of iron.” The “rod of iron” that will characterize the rule of the government in the Kingdom will be implemented through various spheres and positions of authority.

The ruling hierarchy of the Gentile branch of government will be from Messiah, to the Church and the Great Tribulation saints, to the kings of the Gentile nations. The ruling hierarchy of the Jewish branch of government will be from the Messiah to David, to the Twelve Apostles, to the princes, to the judges and counselors, over all Israel. 

Messianic Kingdom Org Chart by Daniel E Woodhead

David described this arrangement in Psalm 72: 

Psalm 72

1Give the king thy judgments, O God, And thy righteousness unto the king’s son. 2He will judge thy people with righteousness, And thy poor with justice. 3The mountains shall bring peace to the people, And the hills, in righteousness. 4He will judge the poor of the people, He will save the children of the needy, And will break in pieces the oppressor. 5They shall fear thee while the sun endureth, And so long as the moon, throughout all generations. 6He will come down like rain upon the mown grass, As showers that water the earth. 7In his days shall the righteous flourish, And abundance of peace, till the moon be no more. 8He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, And from the River unto the ends of the earth. 9They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; And his enemies shall lick the dust. 10The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall render tribute: The kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. 11Yea, all kings shall fall down before him; All nations shall serve him. 12For he will deliver the needy when he crieth, And the poor, that hath no helper. 13He will have pity on the poor and needy, And the souls of the needy he will save. 14He will redeem their soul from oppression and violence; And precious will their blood be in his sight: 15And they shall live; and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba: And men shall pray for him continually; They shall bless him all the day long. 16There shall be abundance of grain in the earth upon the top of the mountains; The fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon: And they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth. 17His name shall endure for ever; His name shall be continued as long as the sun: And men shall be blessed in him; All nations shall call him happy. 18Blessed be Jehovah God, the God of Israel, Who only doeth wondrous things: 19And blessed be his glorious name for ever; And let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen, and Amen. 20The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended (ASV, 1901).

As we can see, in Psalm 72, the different Gentile nations will have “kings” over them. These kings will have their natural bodies, while the saints who will be over them will have their spiritual, resurrected, and glorified bodies. The individual kings will be the supreme rulers over their own nations, but they themselves will be under the authority of the Church and Great Tribulation saints who will be essentially kings over the lesser kings.

In conclusion, saints in all three of the categories of the Old Testament, the Church, and the Great Tribulation will all in some manner be “priests” and “kings” in the Messianic Kingdom.

One Point of Confusion

One point of the confusion is the misapplication of the term “church” by Covenant Theology, which has called Israel of the Old Testament the “church of the Old Testament”. This is simply not true. In contrast with the Covenant Theology view of the nature of the Church, Dispensational Theology asserts that the Church consists only of those saved people, both Gentile and Jew, who lived between the Day of Pentecost of Acts 2 and the Rapture of the Church from the earth. Saints who died before the Day of Pentecost and people who become saved after the Rapture of the Church are never part of the Church. Thus, the Church consists of a distinctive group of saints who live during one particular period of history—namely, those saints who are baptized with the Spirit.

It is essential to note that the Dispensational Theology view of the nature of the Church also leads logically to several conclusions. Israel and the Church are not the same because there is something distinctive about the relationship of the Holy Spirit to saints between the Day of Pentecost and the Rapture of the Church.  There are distinctions between groups of saints throughout history, (Old Testament saints, Church saints, Great Tribulation saints). The fact that saints will be on earth during the Great Tribulation period does not require the Church to be on earth during the Great Tribulation, and there will be more than one resurrection of dead saints at different times of history, not just one general resurrection of saints.

Daniel E. Woodhead

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ISRAEL DOES NOT KNOW HER LORD

The Lord’s Children Have Rebelled

Isaiah 1:2–9

2Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for Jehovah hath spoken: I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me (ASV, 1901).

Rehoboam from the Basel Town Hall, Artist Unknown

To listen to Isaiah the prophet is to listen to God, for the words, which come forth from him, have been received super-naturally and originate outside of the time and space domain. The Lord chose him and impressed upon him these matters to convey to the world. Now our Lord begins His great polemic toward His chosen people, the Nation Israel. He calls on the heavens saying to them to hear what He has to say. He then calls on the earth to give ear or “listen” to what He has to say. The Hebrew word for hear is shema,which is a straightforward word simply meaning hear. But the Hebrew word for listen is a Hiphil verb form. This particular form expresses an imperative meaning that God is saying with great emphasis to pay attention or be obedient. It is a command. The word is ha-azneen, which literally translated is “And In Your Ears.” God is saying to the Heavens to listen but to the earth He says get this message in to your ears or deep with you.  The strength of His orders are made clear to Israel.

His appeal to the heavens and the earth is not merely hyperbole. It would be if God had not created the whole Heaven and as well as that which is within it including the earth and its contents. This is recognition of the whole order of the Universe and the totally of life as well. 

What God’s people are doing is an offense against nature and the order he has ordained. Sin, pride, and oppression are contrary to creation as God envisioned it. The heavenly bodies all follow what God has ordained them to do. They move in their various circuits and ellipticals as He has commanded. The stars produce the exact light as He created and they all are suspended in the exact place wherein He has placed them. They do not move outside of the space and path He has provided. There is order to this Universe.  His request to the Heavens is to recognize what is happening on earth, that is, the Children of Israel’s sins. Within this Universe there is also moral order in addition to the physical order. This is what He is seeing His children, Israel breaking and therefore His much stronger admonition to the earth to LISTEN in your ears!

Moral order of mankind is subject to God’s absolute standards of conduct that do not change with circumstances, location or time. These standards are universal to all humanity despite culture or era, and they maintain their relevance whether or not an individual or a culture values them. God has placed in our hearts a standard of right and wrong that, if followed, would result in our being blessed (Romans 2:14–15). But our fallen nature and leading toward sinful behavior cloud our conscience. Therefore, the Bible admonishes us to ask God for wisdom (James 1:5). Psalm 119:59 says,“I considered my ways and turned my feet to Your testimonies.”Consideration of human nature shows us our inability and our need for God: “If Your law had not been my delight, then I would have perished in my affliction”(Psalm 119:92).

God has set in place certain standards, and it is sinful to break those standards. Psalm 24:1 testifies to God’s authority: “The earth is the LORD’s, and all it contains; the world, and those who dwell in it.” He set the absolutes of our morality expressed throughout His Word: “You shall therefore obey the LORD your God, and do His commandments and His statutes which I command you today”(Deuteronomy 27:10). The divine command of moral absolutism is what the Lord teaches us, and the Bible records. Jesus gave us the Golden Rule, which characterizes the universal morality we all realize which is to treat others as we want to be treated (Luke 6:31). Jesus also succinctly sums up the relationship to God and others.

Mark 12:30–31

30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these (KJV).

The Beasts Know Their Master

Isaiah 1:3–4

3The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib; but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. 4Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil-doers, children that deal corruptly! they have forsaken Jehovah, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are estranged and gone backward (ASV, 1901).

Shoeing an Ox by Karel Dujardin, Cir 1622-78.

As the Lord continues to condemn Israel for her sins He brings an example to them of His creatures obeying Him through the instinct He has placed within them. But, His children Israel are a sinful nation. They are a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil-doers, children that deal corruptly!  He said the same thing to them through His prophet Hosea.

Hosea 11:1–4

When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt. 2The more the prophets called them, the more they went from them: they sacrificed unto the Baalim, and burned incense to graven images. 3Yet I taught Ephraim to walk; I took them on my arms; but they knew not that I healed them. 4I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love; and I was to them as they that lift up the yoke on their jaws; and I laid food before them (ASV, 1901).

Pharaoh army drowns in the Red Sea. Artist Unknown

At the beginning the Lord’s relationship with Israel was like a father to a son. The Lord displayed His love toward the nation by summoning her from Egypt. However, when God later called them to obedience through His prophets and the Mosaic Law, they rejected Him and turned instead to false gods (the Baalim). The more He called them through the prophets the more they rebelled against Him. Like a father patiently teaching a young child to walk, the Lord had established and sustained Israel. He also restored (healed) the nation’s strength after times of judgment. She subsequently failed to acknowledge His intervention.

Israel is compared to a work animal as in the Isaiah passage. God adds to His depiction of the unnatural character of sin by referencing animals. Neither the ox nor the ass is very intelligent. However, even these animals knew from whence they came and who cared for them. Israel could surely do better then them. But no, Israel does not know that much. The Lord is likening Himself to a master who gently in kindness and love leads his animal and releases its yoke so that it might eat with greater ease the food he kindly provides. The Lord treated Israel with compassion and love and they rejected Him as if they did not know Him. In fact they did not just sin and disobey, they regressed and distanced themselves in their relationship to Him as He said they are estranged and gone backward. Submission to God’s commands will bring a right understanding (Proverbs 1:7), and refusal to submit can only result in foolishness (Romans 1:18–32).

Their Whole Body is Sick

Satan by William Blake, Cir 1800

Isaiah 1:5–6

 5Why will ye be still stricken, that ye revolt more and more? the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. 6From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and fresh stripes: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with oil (ASV, 1901).

This passage expresses the sense that suffering mustfollow sin. Then, if they continue to revolt, they must still be smitten for it. So then why, will they continue to do so? Do they not realize that it is their moral disobedience that is causing their suffering? God said the same thing though the prophet Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 18:31–32

31Cast away from you all your transgressions, wherein ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? 32For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord Jehovah: wherefore turn yourselves, and live (ASV, 1901).

Again there is a moral order to this universe and God is saying get on My program and end the suffering you are causing yourselves to experience. I will not allow sin to go unpunished. Judgment for sin is my character. So stop your disobedience and experience my comfort. When God’s people turn their backs on God certain consequences necessarily follow. Isaiah recounted what was happening in order to help them understand that their difficult times had come because of their disobedience. When the Lord’s judgment falls upon His people is a matter of their choice. God has not decided, in some arbitrary way, to punish Israel. The political and social catastrophes they were experiencing were the natural results of living in ways contrary to those God designed for them.

The prophet in his personification of the nation Israel as a body, says that the whole head of the nation is diseased, its whole heart faint, or unable to get up off the ground and stand erect before God. The head and heart represent both the intellectual and moral attributes of the nation. The entire body is completely diseased. It is as if the entire body is one wound, or one festering sore. 

The Lord says they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with oil.Here He is referencing closing open wounds, and then treating them with oil, as was the practice in ancient times. The general sentiment of the entire passage is that there has been no medical treatment of the wounds of any kind; they have been left to themselves, to fester and spread corruption over the whole body. In other words there has been no attempt made to cure them. What He says is that the nation Israel does not want to stop their sin against God. This is difficult to understand even though it is apparent their disobedience to the Lord is the cause of them to increasingly suffer.

God’s Judgments Have Come to Israel

Jerusalem Burning by David Roberts Cir 1850

Isaiah 1:7–9

 7Your country is desolate; your cities are burned with fire; your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. 8And the daughter of Zion is left as a booth in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. 9Except Jehovah of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, we should have been like unto Gomorrah (ASV, 1901).

God writes future prophecies in a completed sense. Which is to say He makes future prophecies expressed in what we call the past tense. That is in His mind they have already occurred. He lives outside of time and space so when He ordains a future event expressed in the past tense it is certain to happen. Here the text is probably referring to the Assyrian (722 B.C.), Babylonian (605; 597 & 586 B.C.), and Roman destructions of Jerusalem (AD 70). At the time of this writing none of these invasions had occurred. Jesus referenced the AD 70 destruction caused by their disobedience.

Matthew 23:37–39

37O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. 39For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord (ASV, 1901).

God continues sayingand it is desolate. He speaks of the whole land; and they were carried away captive, and scattered among the nations, where they had been until the late 1800’s when they began returning in the Zionist movement. This ultimately led to the re-establishment of their sovereignty in 1948 (Ezekiel 20: 33–37). He says, your cities are, or shall be, burnt with fire;as Jerusalem has been, and your land, strangers devour it in your presence;before their eyes, and it would not be in their power to prevent it. This was the case with the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and the Romans. All were were strangers and aliens from the commonwealth of Israel: and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers;who ravage, plunder, and destroy all they meet with, and spare nothing, not intending to settle there. 

He continues with the daughter of Zionin which the city of Jerusalem is personified. Other instances of this type of personification are Isaiah 47:1, 5, where Babylon is called the “daughter of the Chaldeans;” and Lamentations 1:6; 2:1, 4, 8, 10, where Jeremiah uses this repeatedly to reference Jerusalem. Usually it designates the people living outside the city (Lamentations 2:13; 4:22; Micah 4:8, 10, 13; Zephaniah 3:14; Zechariah 2:10; 9:9). 

Vineyards needed to be watched for a few weeks as the fruit began to ripen; and the watchers, or keepers, built themselves, “booths” for their protection (Job 27:18). These were frail, temporary dwellings like tents. The imagery being conveyed is temporary dwellings, which are structurally very unsound and therefore helpless. Such was now the condition of Jerusalem in its sin awaiting God’s judgment, which was certain, and unwavering. Similarly, the text as a lodge in a garden of cucumbersis referencing another type of temporary lodging set up in a cucumber patch. 

In ancient Israel cucumber gardens required manual vigilance throughout the longer growing season, which extended from spring to fall.  Because of the longer growing period the watcher would need a somewhat more solid structure than a tent. So, such gardens had “lodges” in them, i.e. more permanent huts or sheds. They were usually built on an elevation of ground, with room for only one person, who all alone watched the ripening crop. “So did Jerusalem stand in the midst of desolation reaching far and wide—a sign, however, that the land was not entirely without any people”[1]This statement from The New Unger’s Bible dictionary is paralleling verse 1:9 Except Jehovah of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, we should have been like unto Gomorrah.

 This just simply references their description, which was one of extreme depravity as was the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. The clear implication is that God could have made his people like Sodom and Gomorrah—extinct. But he has chosen not to do that.The Lord always leaves a remnant. He will never destroy Israel. 

Leviticus 26:43–45

43The land also shall be left by them, and shall enjoy its sabbaths, while it lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity; because, even because they rejected mine ordinances, and their soul abhorred my statutes. 44And yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them; for I am Jehovah their God; 45but I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am Jehovah (ASV, 1901).

Jeremiah 31:35–37

35Thus saith Jehovah, who giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, who stirreth up the sea, so that the waves thereof roar; Jehovah of hosts is his name: 36If these ordinances depart from before me, saith Jehovah, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. 37Thus saith Jehovah: If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, then will I also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith Jehovah (ASV, 1901).

Daniel E. Woodhead


[1]Unger, M. F., Harrison, R. K., Vos, H. F., Barber, C. J., & Unger, M. F. (1988). In The new Unger’s Bible dictionary(Rev. and updated ed.). Chicago: Moody Press.

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THE SHEPHERDS WHO WATCHED THEIR FLOCKS

Luke 2:1–20

1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.  

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 

14Glory to God in the highest, 

         And on earth peace, 

         Good will towards men. 

Visiting angels by Bellucci Cir.1700.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them (KJV). 

Shepherds Abiding in The Field

In verse 8 we are told there were shepherds “abiding in the fields” near Bethlehem, which is was only eight miles from Jerusalem. These shepherds were probably tending the many sheep needed from flocks that were uniquely designated for sacrifice at the Temple in Jerusalem. The shepherds were educated in the specific quality of animal required for the sacrifices, and it was their job to make sure that none of the animals were hurt, damaged, or blemished. These lambs were apparently wrapped in “swaddling cloths” to protect them from injury, and were also used to wrap the Lord Jesus at His birth. The angels only told the shepherds that they would find the Babe wrapped in “swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  In verse 7 we learn Mary used what was available to wrap the baby Jesus in the “swaddling cloths”, just like baby lambs were swaddled.

The Adoration of the Shepherds by Caravaggio cir. 1609

These fields surrounding Bethlehem are more significant than verse 8 tells us, and more information is found in the Mishna. The Mishna isan authoritative collection of exegetical material embodying the oral tradition of Jewish law and forming the first part of the Talmud” (dictionary.com 2018).Regarding the surrounding “fields”, it states:

A. Cattle found between Jerusalem and Migdal Eder— and in an equivalent range   on all sides of the city—

B. [if] male, they are deemed to be burnt offerings;

C.  [if] female, they are deemed to be peace offerings.

D. [Rabbi] Judah says, “That which is suitable for Passover offerings are Passover offerings [if they are found] thirty days before that festival.” (Neusner, 1988, 263)

Furthermore, the Mishna(Baba K. vii. 7) expressly forbids the keeping of flocks throughout the land of Israel, except in the wilderness – and the only flocks otherwise kept, would be those for the

Temple services (Baba K. 80 a). Migdal Eder named in letter A above is a location referred to in the book of Micah as “the tower of the flock”located near Bethlehem: 

Micah 4:8

8And thou, O tower of the flock, the hill of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, yea, the former dominion shall come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem (ASV, 1901). 

Migdal Eder or the “tower of the flock” has been viewed by the Rabbis as also describing Israel as “a flock of sheep” (Kimchi, 2009, 32). The same Jewish commentary puts forth the statement that this location would point to the Messiah of Israel (Kimchi, 2009, 32). It is in this town that the Messianic King of Israel initially revealed Himself. This “watch tower” from ancient times was used by the shepherds for protection from their enemies and wild beasts. It was also the place ewes were safely brought to give birth to the lambs. In this sheltered structure, or cave, the ewes who which were about to birth their lambs were gathered in order to protect them. When the angelic announcement came, the shepherds knew exactly where to go as Luke 2 indicates, for the sign of “a manger” in verse 12 could only mean their manger at “the tower of the flock” (Easton, 1897 found in Edersheim, 31).

The Lord again spoke through the prophet Micah to declare exactly where Jesus would be born: 

Micah 5:2-5a

2But thou, Beth-lehem Ephrathah, which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall one come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting. 3Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she who travaileth hath brought forth: then the residue of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. 4And he shall stand, and shall feed his flock in the strength of Jehovah, in the majesty of the name of Jehovah his God: and they shall abide; for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. 5And this man shall be our peace (ASV, 1901).

So, shepherds tending their flocks destined for sacrificial services, experienced the angelic announcement where the Messiah was to enter the world. These shepherds were working in the city where King David was from, that is, Beth-lehem Ephrathah(I Samuel 17:12). The Messiah entered the world to be the lamb that takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). Jesus was born in the exact place were the sacrificial lambs were prepared for the Temple sacrifices to be our sacrifice for the sins of this world. These events are not simply coincidences, they were planned by Him before the foundation of the world!  

The lowly shepherds received the first announcement of His birth. It was not given to the princes and chief priests, King Herod or any other person of worldly status at Jerusalem. In keeping with the character of His ministry, He first went to weak, average, and illiterate men. God chose and called them, as He did His prophets to whom He revealed his secrets (Amos 3:7). He hides His secrets from the wise and prudent, and gives them to the humble and lowly in spirit (Isaiah 57:15). 

Jesus’ ministry would be characterized as going to the lowly of status to bring the good news of salvation. He was born in the midst of the sacrificial lambs because He would become one. He was from an uneducated, working-class family. He was trained as a tradesman, and started His ministry with twelve fishermen from the northern region of Israel, which was considered an “unsophisticated” area. He owned nothing, and never had a career or business. Yet He managed to provide the world with the only way for sinful mankind to connect with God, and enter paradise upon death. He, like those among whom He was born, became a shepherd of men.

The Good Shepherd

Jesus declared Himself to be the Good Shepherd:

Good Shepherd rescues His lost sheep – Artist unknown

John 10:11-15; 27

11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12 But he that is a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 

27My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me (KJV):

It is not happenstance that Jesus declared Himself “the good shepherd”. The shepherd is a person who took complete care of a flock of sheep. He had to locate grass and water for the sheep, and protect them from predators (Amos 3:12). He had to search out those that strayed from the flock (Ezekiel 34:8; Matthew 18:12), lead the flock out of the sheepfold each day, and to return them safely at the end of the day (John 10:2–4).

The in both Testaments, the model of the shepherd and his sheep is seen as a metaphor of important leadership. The imagery of the shepherd and the flock is richly developed in Psalm 23, Ezekiel 34, and John 10. In the Old Testament, God is the Shepherd of Israel (Genesis 49:24; Psalm 23:1; 80:1; Is 40:11). God also has prophecied that His appointed servant, David the Prince, will be the lead shepherd in the Messianic Kingdom over the Jews (Ezekiel 34:11–16, 23–24).  In the New Testament, it is Jesus who is the Good Shepherd who willingly gives His life for the sheep (Matthew 18:10–14; Mark 6:34; John 10; Hebrews 13:20). 

The Good Shepherd by Bernhard Plockhorst cir. 1900

Those who keep sheep know that the flock is entirely dependent upon the managerial capabilities of the shepherd. If the shepherd is hired just to watchover the sheep, the likelihood of the sheep knowing him and following him is uncertain. If the master is true, caring and genuinely devoted to the sheep, they will know it and follow him. Jesus is the owner of our lives. He bought us with a high price (I Corinthians 6:20). This concept is epitomized just as David said in Psalm 23 “The Lord is my Shepherd — I shall not want.” King David, was a shepherd when he composed Psalm 23, and this Psalm looks at life from the standpoint of a sheep when he wrote, “He [the Good Shepherd]leadeth me beside the still waters.” In other words, He alone knows where the still, quiet, deep, clean, pure water is to be found that alone can satisfy His sheep, and keep them fit and strong. In our Jesus only can we find repose and joy as He leads us by “the still waters”, or peace.

We must totally surrender our lives over to Him. Why? Because He is the Shepherd to whom no trouble is too great as He cares for His flock.  He is available twenty-four hours a day to see that we are properly provided for in every detail. Above all, He is very jealous of His name, which He called Himself “The Good Shepherd.”

“Cast” is an old English shepherd’s term for a sheep that has turned over on its back, and cannot get up again by itself. A “cast” sheep is a very pathetic sight. Lying on its back, its feet in the air, it flays away frantically struggling to stand up without success. Sometimes it will bleat a little for help, but generally it lies there lashing about in frightened frustration. It just cannot right itself. The predators know that the “cast” sheep is easy prey. The sheep can die in a short time if they have wandered away from the flock. This is part of the drama depicted for us in the parable of the ninety and nine sheep with one astray in Luke 15:3-7. A stray sheep becomes the caring shepherd’s deep concern, as is his agonizing search, his longing to find the missing one, his delight in restoring it not, only by righting it to its feet, but also restoring it to himself and the flock as well.One of the great revelations of comfort we are given in the Bible is of Christ Himself as our Shepherd. He gives us the ability to restore our peace when we are “cast” sheep that are anxious and upset, and we must depend on Him:

Philippians 4:6–7

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (ESV). 

Sheep are creatures of habit and will follow the same trails until they soil their own ground with waste, and corrupt it with disease and parasites. The best safeguard that a shepherd has in handling his flock is to keep them moving, and not leave them grazing on the same ground for too long. The shepherd must keep the sheep moving through the paths he has selected for them. This is what David had in mind when he spoke of being led in “paths of righteousness”. Following a precise plan of operation is the secret for healthy flocks and healthy lands. We need to keep moving through life, and not stay in the same ruts of discomfort too long. God has a plan for us, and wants us to grow in sanctification throughout our lives. We are not to stand still and not grow. He wants us to continually become more Christ like. Although situations change, and some not for the better, we must trust Him, respond through prayer, and let Him lead us into better pastures and paths.

The shepherd knows from past experience that predators like coyotes, bears, wolves or cougars can hide, and from their vantage point, prey on the flock. The ever-present predators are kept from the sheep by the shepherd. The land can also be threatening with rock slides, mud or snow avalanches, and a dozen other natural disasters that would destroy or injure his sheep. But in spite of these hazards, the shepherds also know that it is still best to guide his flock to the high country. He spares himself no pain, trouble, or time to keep an eye out for any danger that might develop. Our Shepherd Jesus knows all of this when He leads us through the valleys with Himself. He knows where we can find strength, sustenance, and gentle grazing despite every threat of disaster around us. He warns us of false teachers and other pitfalls (Matthew 7:15; 24:4–5). He lets us know what the future is in the long chronology of world events:

John 16:33

33These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (KJV).

The shepherd customarily only carries a “rod” and “staff”. The “rod” is an extension of the owner’s own right arm, and is an instrument of protection both for himself and his sheep when they are in danger It is used both as a defense and a deterrent against anything that would attack.It also stands as a symbol of his strength, his power, his authority. Interestingly, the word “rod” is also a slang term for hand-guns carried by cowboys, and other western range men, and this term is exactly how David used it in Psalm 23.His other tool, the “staff”, is of special comfort to the shepherd himself. During the long nightly watches over his sheep, he leans on it for support and strength. It becomes to him a great comfort and help in his responsibilities. The “staff “is also used for guiding sheep. 

The Good Shepherd (Asia Minor, c. 390; Cleveland Museum of Art)

When we find ourselves in a difficult situation God protects us. We pray to Him and He reveals the remedy of our situation to us. Many of our situations are brought on by our own stubborn, self-willed assertions that we think are unsolvable. However, by His tender care He draws near to us in prayer and supplication to relieve us of our pain, agony and discomfort. My Shepherd is alert to every approaching disaster that threatens His people. He has been through the storms of suffering before. He bore our sorrows, and is acquainted with our grief. And now no matter whatever are storms of life that we face, His very life and strength and vitality is given to us. He wants nothing but the genuine best for us, not what the world says is best, but what He knows is best for us.

If we allow God to control our lives and leave the management to Him “goodness and mercy shall follow us.” King David realized that only by doing what God wants us to do in our lives can we see the fruit of all that He has for us. It is His “goodness and mercy” which enables us to receive the most blessings He has for us when we admit that we cannot live without Him, or handle situations alone.

References

M.A. Easton, Easton’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. 

Kimchi, David (Radak). (2009). Translation and commentary by Rabbi Yitzchok Stavshy. Trei Asar The Twelve Prophets(Vol II). Brooklyn, NY: Mesorah Publications, Ltd. 

Neusner, J. (1988). The Mishnah : A new translation.  New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

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Satan Corrupts Physical Humanity

 Satan’s Corruption of Humanity

       Daniel E. Woodhead

Introduction

The Bronze Dragon by Hawkwood

Our Lord Jesus told us that the conditions on this earth are going to be just as bad as they were before He destroyed the earth with a Flood many years ago:

Matthew 24: 37

37But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (KJV)

In the first instance, God destroyed the earth by a flood. When Christ returns, the destructive means will be a fire, with nuclear weapons contributing to it. In both instances, the sin on the earth had degraded to the point where violence was rampant, and all flesh was corrupted. The earth will continue to degenerate to the point that the Lord will rapture the true believers (the Elect) off the face of the earth to be with Him, leaving only the unsaved and a massively sinful population. The Great Tribulation will follow the event of the Rapture.

The Last sinful characteristics of humankind, which will precede the Great Tribulation are:

  • The Promulgation of abnormal depravity (Genesis 6: 5, 12) (Morris, 2009, 174-175).

Satan fell before the foundation of the world and he has been trying to corrupt the world ever since.

When he indwelt the serpent in the vegetable Garden of Eden he lured the woman into defying God’s Word and bringing sin into the world.

The Fall by Titan Cir 1565

Genesis 3: 15

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

This verse is called the Proto-Evangelium since it is the first appearance of the Gospel. Conversely it is also the first prophecy the Lord gave us of the Antichrist.

The supernatural origin of Antichrist will be by means of a counterfeit virgin conception. The supernatural origin is found in Genesis 3:15. There are two pairs listed here.

  1. Enmity between Satan and the woman
  2. The second pair is the seeds of the Woman and the seed of Satan.

The first satanic attack of women is shown in Genesis six where demons intermarry with human women attempting to stop the Messiah from coming. A worldwide flood stopped this attempt. It is important to note though that the second pair is the enmity between Satan’s seed and the woman’s seed. Women do not have the seed for procreation, men do. However, since Jesus was born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14) the expression “her seed” represents a miraculous conception.

The reference in this verse to Satan’s seed implies a supernatural, miraculous conception too. From this passage and Daniel 9: 26-27 then it can be deduced that Satan will someday impregnate a woman of Roman  lineage who will give birth to Satan’s seed. That person is going to be the Antichrist. The woman might not be a virgin because Scripture does not affirm this but he will be conceived through supernatural means. Consider II Thessalonians 2:8-9.

2 Thessalonians 2:8-9

And then shall be revealed the lawless one, whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the breath of his mouth, and bring to nought by the manifestation of his coming; [even he], whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders 

 

Art by David Bergan aka Hawkwood

The Greek word translated working is energeo, which means to energize. So then the coming of Antichrist will originate by the energizing that comes from Satan. The counterfeit Son of the unholy Trinity will be brought about by a counterfeit virgin conception. A time is coming when the events of Genesis six will be repeated but probably in a different manner.  The fallen anointed Cherub Hallal who became Satan (aka Lucifer) will impregnate a Roman woman to give birth to Satan’s son. The product of this conception will be a counterfeit god-man.

The second provision states that the provision will continue as the text states “between your seen and her seed.”The seed of the woman is The Messiah Himself, The Lord Jesus. In the Bible genealogies are traced through the males lines. It is not until Isaiah 7: 14 that the Bible explains this as the Messiah coming from the womb of a virgin. The seed of the woman also implies a supernatural conception. The Lord Jesus had no human father. Joseph was his stepfather.

The third provision promises a curse, which is: “he shall bruise your head.”The woman’s seed, Jesus, gives the bruising to Satan by His death and resurrection (Hebrews 2: 14-18). The word bruise is harmful but not fatal. Satan is still alive but has a terminal condition due to Christ’s finished work. He can only corrupt mankind. Because of Romans 16: 20 and Revelation 20: 10 we know that Satan’s final demise will be in the Lake of Fire. This will be a “crushing” of the head of the serpent. In which case his demise will be eternal.

The forth provision in Genesis 3: 15 is: “You shall bruise his heel.”Satan bruised the heel of the Woman’s Seed, which represents the crucifixion. The bruising of the heel while painful is not terminal. The bruising and crushing can be best understood with imagery regarding the Jew’s method of killing of poisonous snakes in Israel.

The corruption of Adam’s line (Genesis 6)

The apostle Paul, who recognized that demonic warfare was taking place in the spirit world, warned us that we were the objects of their wrath.

Ephesians 6: 12

 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (KJV).

After Satan’s success in the Garden of Eden, the next attack by Satan to prevent to coming of the Messiah was the series of events recorded in Genesis 6:1-5. Jewish scholars clearly understood this passage to be a union of angels and humans, which produced a corrupt line of humans known as the Nephilim. This was the cause of the Great Flood, to eliminate these monsters and restart the human line through which Jesus would come. The Lord Jesus warned His disciples that similar events would transpire when He was about to make His second coming to the earth and told them, and us, not to be deceived (Matthew 24: 4. 37).

Therefore, the purpose of the Flood was to destroy the product of the fallen angels with the human women.  The demonical combination of the seed line of Cain with their self centered, anti-God practices and the intermarriage of fallen angels with human women produced a civilization that were monsters which caused God to render His justice on the earth.

 

The Nephilim-Artist Unknown

Satan has attempted to stop the Messiah from arriving many times by corrupting the Messianic seed line. Obviously, he has not been able to do so and he continues to attempt to corrupt what he can’t destroy.

He continues to corrupt the human race and recently he has caused mankind to attempt to alter the design of the genes of human beings.  This is now Satan enters deeply into God’s design and like he did before the Flood he corrupted the human population with the Nephilim. Only now it appears that the means is direct corruption of the genes of humans through experimentation with the design blueprints of God for humans. This is dangerous territory, as God will only put up with it for so long before He again brings Divine correction to the earth. The last time was the Great Flood. This time it will be the Tribulation, which will usher in the Messianic Kingdom.

The Human Cell

The tiniest of cells are made up of 100 billion atoms and are far more complicated than any machine built by humans and have no parallel in design in the non-living world.  In other words, nothing compares to its design and complexity. The cell is unequalled in any factory on the earth. It is capable of replicating its entire system within a matter of a few hours. Self-reproduction is the most fundamental characteristic of all living organisms. Within this cell is the DNA or the blueprints of the design.

DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid within a cell is similar to two strands of fishing line 125 miles long stored within a volleyball. It is unzipped, copied, and restored on spools at a speed, which is three times that of an airplane propeller without tangling. This is all within a cell as it is giving the cell its instructions. This is the blueprint of God’s design for the human body. It is His design, not any other.

Microscopic view of DNA

Cloning

Dolly (5 July 1996 – 14 February 2003) was a female domestic sheep, and the first animal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell, using the process of nuclear transfer. Ian Wilmut, Keith Campbell and colleagues at the Roslin Institute, part of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and the biotechnology company PPL Therapeutics, based near Edinburgh, cloned her. After cloning was successfully demonstrated through the production of Dolly, many other large mammals were cloned, including pigs, deer, horses and bulls. Even though Dolly was not the first animal to be cloned, she gained this attention in the media because she was the first to be cloned from an adult cell.Though animal and reproductive cloning should be a concern for Christians, today the debate is mostly centered on the cloning of human embryonic stem cells, which are used for treatment and research of diseases. The Roman Catholic Church among others, has voiced strong opposition to cloning on moral grounds. Few if any see the greater issue of Satan entering into the design of God’s creation to corrupt it. This is near the last stage of demonic corruption of the human race. If animal cloning is a reality then human cloning is too. In fact, the book In His Image by David Rorvik (Published by Lippincott 1978) made the startling claim that the world’s first human clone, a male had already been born. He said it happened in 1973. The cloning technique he described was loosely based on a procedure that had been successfully used to clone a frog in the mid-1960s. However, within months Lippincott and Rorvik found themselves in court when they were sued for defamation by J. Derek Bromhall, a British scientist whose research had been cited in the book. The court asked Rorvik to provide concrete evidence of the existence of the cloned boy. When he failed to do so, the court ruled that Rorvik’s book was a “fraud and a hoax.” A year later, in 1982, Lippincott agreed to pay an unspecified amount of damages to Bromhall. Rorvik never said his story was false. Instead Rorvik continued to claim that his book is telling the truth. He would never reveal the identity of the people involved in this cloning. This is also the reason why human cloning is not getting out in the media now. There is still a stigma associated with it in Christianity. If the Christians could be silenced it could proceed at full efforts. As Christianity becomes more marginalized by society we will begin to see the discussion of the present cloning efforts in the media.

 

Genetic Experimentation Now

Genetic experimentations are unlocking the secrets of DNA. it is being done to alter our genetic makeup to augment desirable traits and block negative characteristics. Its proponents tout that such a move will bring longevity and eradicate diseases. Other possible outcomes include the production of designer babies in the womb, and even introducing DNA from other species into the human code; thus, building a ‘Human Plus’ equipped with advanced physical and cognitive traits. Such a trans-human/hybrid would be ‘transgenic’—literally a human GMO (Genetically Modified Organism).

Many are interested in a concept known as Transhumanism. This practice uses genetics, robotics, artificial intelligence, and nanotechnology (manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale.) to create a future race of humans of incredible superiority. This practice is very seductive to those in powerful military and governmental positions. Scientific reasoning has been thought to be a strong bearer of the truth than the revealed truth of the Bible for some time. This has been widely accepted since the 18thcentury Enlightenment when intellectual and scientific reason elevated the authority of scientists over those in the Church. Sooner or later this will completely win the battle for tinkering with God’s design producing desired alteration of the human species. Some believe that genetic manipulation would replace people. In other words some super human like the Nephilim would be back among us but through a different avenue.

Satan has convinced the world to experiment with God’s designing blueprints. Before the Flood the Nephilim were the product of co-mingling of Fallen Angels with promiscuous human women.  Every generation exercises power over its successors. In doing so, what one generation creates subsequent generations accept. Cloning has been accepted. Evolution as been accepted. Homosexuality is gradually being accepted. Now transexuality is being defended as a right and necessary in some cases. The next logical level of these design alterations of God’s creation is to use technology to enhance the human for some hyper activity or performance enhancement. This is way beyond an athlete taking anabolic steroids to perform at higher levels of physical strength and endurance. This is essentially engineering the cyborg (human merged with machine) soldier.

There are presently efforts to develop genetic clusters of enhanced superhumans who will dominate us if not enslave us too. This is all under the guise of improving mankind  to be disease free and provide enhancements such as senses of smell, sight and strength. The new species will view old normal humans as inferior which will only be fit for slaughter or slavery. The remaining normal people may be threatened by the cyborgs and initiate battles, which might end in genocide while making the post humans (cyborgs) into weapons of mass destruction.  If the military adopts this practice of gene redesign we can see a future with super soldiers unable to be beaten by any enemy. In describing the last world empire before the Lord Sets up Him Messianic Kingdom Daniel saw a strange mingling of elements.

Daniel 2:42-43

42And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. 43And whereas thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men; but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron doth not mingle with clay. (ASV, 1901). 

This could suggest that the mingling with the seeds of men are these generically, altered humans, which will control future world governance.

We know from Genesis 3:15 I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed.The reference in this verse to Satan’s seed implies a supernatural, miraculous conception too. From this passage and Daniel 9: 26-27 then it can be deduced that Satan will someday impregnate a woman of Roman lineage who will give birth to Satan’s seed. This man is going to be the Antichrist. He will probably seek to enlist the cyborgs in his efforts to dominate the world but the Lord Jesus will defeat him when He returns.

Daniel 2:44

44And in the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall the sovereignty thereof be left to another people; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever (ASV, 1901).

We have only to look at the desires of the megalomaniac dictators to see what efforts they put forth to create super races. Consider Adolph Hitler who wanted to create the Aryan Supreme race. He had medical experiments conducted on captives in his death camps to seek a new race of super heroes and demigods as well as god-men. He also used select soldiers and women to breed a pure race of people who would be superior to any other on the earth.

Some Present Efforts to Breed Superior Mixes (AKA Chimera)

Rabbit Eggs with Human Cells

The first successful human-animal chimeras were reported in 2003. Chinese researchers at the Shanghai Second Medical University successfully fused human cells with rabbit eggs. They were allowed to develop the eggs for several days in a petri dish before the embryos were harvested for their stem cells. Their hope was that this process could one day be used to grow cells or tissues for transplantation.

Pigs with Human Blood

A year after the successful Chinese chimera experiment, researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota announced they had created pigs with human blood pumping through their veins. What was startling about the animal is not only did the pig blood cells flow with human cells, but some of the cells merged together, creating pig-human cell hybrids. Scientists said this experiment can give them a better understanding of how viral infections can pass from animals to humans such as HIV and various others.

Sheep with Human Livers

One of the efforts behind creating chimeras is to generate animal specimens that could grow human organs to be farmed for transplantation. In 2007, scientists at the University of Nevada-Reno announced they could grow livers made up of 20 percent human cells in sheep. Dr. Esmail Zanjani injected either human adult stem cells derived from bone marrow, or human embryonic stem cells, into growing sheep fetuses. Zanjani said he uses sheep because the circulation systems of sheep and humans are similar.

Cow Eggs with Human Cells

British researchers were given approval to conduct human-animal hybrid research in 2008, a decision that researchers touted would give them the ability to possibly find a cure for Parkinson’s disease. Before, only human cells were allowed to be injected into human eggs, but the researchers argued that animal eggs are much more available. After given permission, researchers went to work using cow eggs. The nucleus of the cow egg — the source of most DNA– was removed, and replaced with the nucleus of a human cell such as a skin cell. Once the egg was allowed to develop and multiply it would become an early-stage cloned embryo called a blastocyst. Scientists could then extract the stem cells from this blastocyst to use in disease treatments.

Mouse-Human Brain

Irving Weissman, Stanford University professor and cofounder of the biotech company Stem Cells Inc., was granted permission by Stanford to create a mouse-human hybrid in 2005.Weissman and his team transplanted human-brain stem cells into the brains of mice with the intention to study neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. In his initial experiment, the human cells only made up less than 1 percent of the mouse brain. In 2010, Stanford researchers announced they transformed mouse skin cells into fully functional neurons in a laboratory dish for the first time. They also announced in May that they successfully used mouse stem cells to develop sensory hair cells, which could combat human hearing loss.

Transhumanism Efforts and Predictions

The Transhumanism technology already appears to be growing at an exponential rate.  Transhumanists believe that our world will rapidly become transformed into a place that would be unrecognizable to us today.  Just a few decades from now, transhumanists believe that superhuman powers and extremely advanced life extension technologies will allow them to essentially become like gods. The key moment that most transhumanists are looking forward to is known as “the Singularity”.  That is the moment when artificial intelligence will actually surpass human intelligence and a massive technological chain reaction will be triggered.  At that time, most transhumanists believe that biological intelligence will merge with non-biological intelligence and humanity will become vastly more intelligent than it is today.  During this transition, society will be fundamentally transformed… Where have we heard this before?

After the Singularity occurs, it is predicted that vast changes will sweep through society; changes so drastic that they are nearly inconceivable at the present time. Experts in the movement say that after the Singularity, indefinite human life extension will rapidly become the norm. Many scientists working in this field are particularly interested in the concept of achieving immortality.

Transhumanist Mark Pesce is even more extreme.  He openly states that he believes that Transhumanism will allow us “to become as gods”…

“Men die, planets die, even stars die. We know all this. Because we know it, we seek something more—a transcendence of transience, translation to incorruptible form. An escape if you will, a stop to the wheel. We seek, therefore, to bless ourselves with perfect knowledge and perfect will;To become as gods, take the universe in hand, and transform it in our image—for our own delight. As it is on Earth, so it shall be in the heavens. The inevitable result of incredible improbability, the arrow of evolution is lipping us into the transhuman – an apotheosis to reason, salvation – attained by good works.” He further states: On ABC’s TV show (The New Inventors) the following; “Once the genome was transcribed, once we knew what had made us human, we had—in that moment—passed into the Transhuman. Knowing our codes, we can recreate and re-sequence ourselves into a new Being, de-bugging the natural state, translating ourselves into supernatural, incorruptible, eternal. There is no God but Man.

Transhumanism, attempts to be all inclusive, embracing Darwinism, Intelligent Design, spirituality, science, belief in ET etc. wrapped up in a self guided salvation message. In short:

“Transhumanism is the ultimate goal of Technocracy … a meta-movement: the idea that the works of Man’s hands can save Humanity—hence, technology and science forms the basis of a Technocratic society. Transhumanism takes this to its ultimate conclusion: The development of the post-human or neo-human.

“Based on the premise that evolution is true, Transhumanism looks to shape the human species through the direct application of science. In other words, by employing technology we can take hold of the evolutionary process and change it as we desire, thus becoming the masters of our future.

This all takes us back to the Garden of Eden and Satan’s lies to Eve.

Genesis 3: 1-5  

Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which Jehovah God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of any tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of  it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil (ASV 1901).

 

The Fall of Man from the Sistine Chawed my Michelangelo cir 1508-12

Satan then began his first challenge to the woman. He starts with slightly misstating what God’s command had been to Adam. God said that he could eat of any tree in the Garden except the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2: 16-17). Eve knew that and so did Satan. But because he wanted to impart doubt he said, “Did God say that yea shall not eat of any tree of the Garden?”God’s command was clear but Satan was making it unclear like liberal theologians who do not like being pinned down to the specificity of words in Scripture. This is where that liberal mindset comes from. It is always dangerous to alter God’s Word either by addition or deletion (Deuteronomy 4: 2; Proverbs 30: 5-6; Revelation 22: 18-19). God will always do exactly what He says He will do.          

Eve, knowing the command from God either through direct communication with God or Adam, restated God’s command quite clearly to the serpent. She knew the penalty for sinning against God for she added lest ye die (Genesis 3: 3b). One Jewish writing the Midrash Rabbah Bereshit 19:3 says that the serpent pushed Eve to touch the tree until she gave in and touched the tree. When she did, she did not die. He then said to her “Just as there is not death in touching neither is there any death in eating.” This is because she added to God’s command the possible prohibition of not touching the tree in addition to not eating of it.

Art by David Bergan aka Hawkwood

Now Satan goes from instituting doubt in Eve’s mind to outright attacking the penalty God imposed by denying it is true. This is the first lie in Scripture. Jesus called Satan the father of lies (John 8: 44). Satan then moved to a full denial of God’s authority by saying “for God does know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as God knowing good and evil.”Satan was trying to instill a lure into his sin of trying to be like God or usurp God’s authority (Isaiah 14: 12-14). According to Satan, because one has the knowledge of good and evil, one is like God. Since the fall many have thought they were God. They are not of course but they fell for the lie too. Satan is essentially accusing God of being shellfish and denying Eve the opportunity to experience Godlikeness. So Satan had a three-point strategy:

  1. He raises doubts of the efficacy and accuracy of God’s Word.
  2. He directly denies God’s Word by contradicted it.
  3. He claims that disobeying God’s Word would result in being like God.

For a video of this teaching click on the link below to be taken to Dr. Woodhead’s utube page.

Daniel E. WoodheadShare on Facebook

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