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. Woodhead

Share on Facebook

Godly Suffering

The Reasons for Suffering

Hebrews 12:5–6

 

5and ye have forgotten the exhortation which reasoneth with you as with sons, My son, regard not lightly the chastening of the Lord, Nor faint when thou art reproved of him; 6For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, And scourgeth every son whom he receiveth (KJV).

 

It is inappropriate to assume that every injurious trauma that happens to us is godly correction. There are three sources of harm that can come to us in this life.

 

  1. Evil entered the world at the Fall and the corruption associated with it is a general cause for disease, weather disasters, war and the like. These are not our fault.
  2. Mistakes we make are also causes that harm us, such as accidents. These are not necessarily our fault either, but accidents happen, and some of them cause us harm.
  3. Willful sin that we knowingly commit against God will bring God’s correction if we are truly a child of His, that is a born-again believer.

 

This third reason for God’s correction for coming into our lives is the focus of this section of the letter to the Hebrews. The apostle explains correction as a normal experience of believers.

 

It is so important to realize this, and we must view it as a loving correction or refinement that is evidence of Divine love. Our Lord disciplines us as His children because, like a loving father, He wants us to stay away from practices that will bring harm to us that also stop us from moving to maturity. Sometimes He must bring trauma into our lives to alter our path if He views it as leading to destruction:

 

Proverbs 3:11–12

11 My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; Neither be weary of his correction: 12 For whom the Lordloveth he correcteth; Even as a father the son in whom he delighteth (KJV).

 

Godly Chastening

 

Hebrews 12:7–9

 

7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live (KJV)?

 

The apostle applies the lesson from Proverbs to the readers of Hebrews. In the American Standard Version translation, it read “It is for chastening that you endure”. The effectiveness of the discipline God gives us depends upon how we receive it. This is moral training. The word “chasten” means “moral training,” or as Proverbs 22:6 says, “to train up a child”. “Chastening” is also punishment for the sake of correction, and is a corrective measure used by God. If you do not admit your sin when the punishment comes, you will not receive its benefit. Now Paul provides the principle behind this, which is “for what son is there whom his father chastens not?”

 

Having established this principle, he next presents a two-pronged argument.Verse 8 starts with the first step in the argument, which says if they are never disciplined, it will show them to be illegitimate and prove they are not true sons. However, since they have all become “partakers”of sonship because of this chastisement, they must receive this punishment. This is the bonafide evidence that they are sons. For this reason, the chastening should be accepted and incorporated in their day-to-day living. That means to realize its effects and alter their thoughts and behavior to accommodate God’s correction. But if chastening is absent, it shows they are illegitimate, and they are not God’s children. An illegitimate child does not have the rights of an heir to the father’s fortune, and deprives him of his father’s care. Under Jewish law, to be illegitimate meant three things: no right of inheritance, no right to marry into Jewish society, and no right to be buried in a Jewish cemetery.

 

Verse 9 presents the second aspect of the argument, and refers to a human father’s discipline. In spite of that discipline, we learn to give our human fathers reverence and respect. The application of the illustration is “and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?”Since the believers were willing to subject themselves to human fathers, how much more should they be willing to subject themselves to their Heavenly Father and, therefore, exercise patient endurance by voluntary submission? Undisciplined children, or children who refuse it, will not enjoy a relationship with their human fathers or God the Father.

 

The object of their submission is “the Father of spirits”, which emphasizes Him as the Creator and also refers to the immaterial part of man. It is the immaterial part of man that continues to live after physical death. The result is that they shall “live”. One product of divine discipline is the abundant life now enjoyed in fellowship with God the Father while the believer is still on earth. When we live forever, we can look forward to eternity with our Heavenly Father knowing His will and love for us as corrected sons.

 

Earthly Fathers are Imperfect

Joseph Reveals His Dreams to His Brothers by Giulio Romano – 1449-1546

Hebrews 12:10

 

10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness (KJV).

 

Sometimes our earthly fathers administered the discipline inappropriately or not at all. Most did the best they could do for the time they had responsibility for our growth and development. Their efforts are contrasted with our Heavenly Father’s discipline. It is always right, perfect and designed to be good for us. We will also share in His holiness:

 

Romans 8:28–29

 

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn amongst many brethren (KJV).

 

Discipline is not generally enjoyed, but if it is received with the proper attitude it brings great reward. “Partakers of his holiness”is a reference to our sanctification or growth in becoming more Christ-like. This leads to the spiritual maturity and completeness that God would have us attain. We then become more like Him, or in His image.

 

Enduring Chastening

The Maccabees by Wojciech Stattler 1844

Hebrews 12:11

 

11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby (KJV).

 

In verse 11 we are told“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous,but grievous”. These words anticipate our objection to being corrected because of the grief and sorrow that comes with correction. The immediate question we ask ourselves is how could this be for profit and advantage? The apostle anticipates our reaction by affirming that no affliction “seemeth”to be joyous. No discipline seems pleasant at the time.  While corrections initially does not seem to be an occasion for joy, in the end they really are.  There is a delayed acceptance and later on however it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. When we view correction by faith, we realize it as tokens of the love of God and Christ, and are evidence of our sonship to each of them.

 

This verse ends the apostle’s argument about sufferings and afflictions and how they should be borne. He also to the Corinthians states that the good derived from them is vastly better than their pain:

 

II Corinthians 4:17–18

 

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal (KJV).

 

If we did not receive earthly correction as His sons we would suffer more than any of us can imagine in eternity. To be disassociated from God in eternity is perpetual pain and suffering which is far greater than the temporary pain associated with correction here. We must always have in mind our goal of eternal life and the Messianic Kingdom, not temporary discomfort here including God’s chastisement. All is temporary here, but eternity is permanent. We must endure here to receive the wonderful benefits of Heaven. This is what the apostle calls “the peaceable fruit of righteousness” in verse 11 above.

 

One might also refer to it as a “harvest of righteousness”. Another of God’s dealings here are likened to a farmer with his corn (Isaiah 28:23–29), or as a farmer pruning his vine so that it may bear fruit (John 15:2). This harvest produces two kinds of fruit. First, the removal of sin, by putting it to death. The second part of the harvest is increased righteousness and holiness for the “crop”, which is the believers.

 

Notice verse 11 says the harvest produced is the “fruitof righteousness,not righteousness itself. Neither our actions nor our suffering is the reason for our righteousness, but they promote it in us and increase its fruit and strength. Our righteousness is imputed at the point of justification (Romans 10:4; II Corinthians 5:21).  So, the apostle says that God would increase in them the harvest of righteousness “unto them which are exercised thereby”, orthose to whom God loves as sons to correct. The promised “peace” is one of both inward tranquility and contentment.

 

Do Not Give Up

 

Hebrews 12:12–13

 

 12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 13 and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed (KJV).

 

In verse 12, “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees” is anexhortation directed toward parts of the body that are involved in coordinated activity like athletics. The hands, the knees, and the feet are named because it is through these body parts that we exert all our strength to prevail in an athletic competition. But first we must observe the defect they possess, then second, the remedy for this defect and finally what both of the defect and remedy mean spiritually.

 

Hands which hang down” is a reference to us becoming tired of what they we are doing and give up. “Feeble knees”a picture of fear and hopelessness. This imagery is used elsewhere in the Old testament by Nahum: “Hearts melt, knees give way” (Nahum 2:10), and in Psalms: “my knees give way from fasting”(Psalm 109:24). Both the descriptions of the hands and the knees depict one who is ready to give up and abandon all hope of achieving success. The same ailment is afflicting different parts of the body, so the apostle prescribes the same remedy for them both, which is to use all our spiritual strength in our Christian race to the end.

 

In verse 13, we are told to “make straight tracks for the feet.” This is a path that leaves a track that may be followed. Obeying God is called “walking with Him,” and these paths are the “paths of the righteous.” The apostle continues with his metaphor about running. Those who obey make level pathsfor their feet, but those who are defective here are called “lame”. This is not a ridicule of one who is lame, but a description of the effect of lameness that causes them to make slow progress, and in a race, they would be ready to stop altogether. So, lameness here is an mental ailment different from external hindrances, but points to an inner sickness of wanting to faint away from the race and let weariness stop us from striving. It is an attitude toward correction that needs to be healed.

 

Follow Peace

 

Ron DiCianni Simeon’s Moment

 

Hebrews 12:14–15

 

14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15 looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled (KJV).

 

There is a radical difference in nature between the born-again on the narrow way to Heaven and those following the broad road to Hell. The character and conduct of the genuine believers make a stark contrast to non-believers. In fact, non-believers are incited to act with a self-pleasing disposition and in flesh-indulging ways to defy believers. The children of the Devil have no love for the children of God, and they delight in doing whatever they can to annoy and aggravate us. Nothing gives them more pleasure than to see success in their efforts to tempt us to compromise, or stir us up unto angry retaliation. Therefore, it is a code of conduct for allbelievers, in any age and in any country, to strive earnestly to live in peace with all men. That does not mean we will.  It means to try. We must avoid those who would antagonize us into anger at all cost. However, when confronted with anger and physical attack we must defend ourselves as we attempt to escape the situation.

 

Verse 14 starts out with Christians being told to“Follow peace with all men”.Its implication is clear: by nature, men are fractious, wrathful, revengeful creatures. It is because of this contentious, envious, revengeful, spirit which is in us living as the old man, that we need to be reminded to try and “Follow peace with all men”.Further, it is the duty of Christians to be at peace among ourselves, to be on their guard against all alienation of affection towards each other. Paul’s words here seem to be a reference to the world around them. They are to “follow peace with allmen.’”

 

We must carefully abstain from injuring anyone, and must do everything but sin in order to prevent a quarrel. Do not merely be easygoing when one irritates you, but go out of your way to be gracious unto those who oppose. Do not be so ready to “stand up for your rights,” but yieldeverything except truth and the requirements of holiness. We cannot successfully “pursue peace” if we are prideful, pridealways stirs up strife. We cannot “pursue peace” if we are filled with envy because we then see faults where they do not exist, and cause trouble.

 

Verse 15 tells us there must be constant spiritual oversight by each one over his life and his attitudes. There is a danger if we fail to keep on the lookout as to where we are spiritually. Falling short means “a moral separation.” It is more than a simple defect. It is the failure on the part of the children of God to apprehend or appropriate grace when something negative comes into their lives. Believers stumble in their spiritual lives because they fail to appropriate the grace that is available. The failure to appropriate grace is the first step downward for it means a failure to progress upward.

 

The second step downward is positive infidelity: “lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby the many be defiled”. When the apostle refers to a “root of bitterness”, he deals both with the root and with the product, which is bitterness. The failure to appropriate grace during a time of suffering or trial leads to bitterness resulting from the suffering. Bitterness will eventually result in the defilement of many others. In a plant this is how the root manifests itself. Bitterness in the heart leads to murmuring with the tongue, and murmuring with the tongue means murmuring against other people. Others are defiled by the readers’ murmuring, and the murmuring is caused by the “root of bitterness”. This phrase is also found in Deuteronomy 29:18: “lest there should be among you a root that bears gall and wormwood”. It is used of Israelites pursuing idolatry and they have become a root that produces poison. People with a “root of bitterness”cause divisions and split churches. They defile others by talking against the leaders of the church. The first step affects only the individual, but the second step begins to affect others as well. They fail to have peace with all men.

 

Daniel E. Woodhead

Share on Facebook

False Shepherds In Israel and The Church

The Role of The shepherd

In chapter 34 of the book of Ezekiel God is using a familiar illustration of the “shepherd” and his “sheep” to describe the leaders and the people of the Nation Israel. The Bible frequently uses this terminology to refer to the spiritual leaders with responsibility over a group of people (Psalm 78:70-72; Isaiah 44:28; 63:11; Jeremiah 23:1-4; 25:34-38). Their primary role was to guard the nation like a shepherd would guard his flock. Every society needs a recognized and well-ordered leadership for its own safeguard and prosperity. God chose elders, priests, kings and prophets to connect Him to the people in ancient Israel. There are earthly “shepherds” to carry out the Lord’s will in leading the people to God, and King David recognized this:

Psalm 23:1-6

1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside still waters. 3He restoreth my soul: He guideth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. 5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou hast anointed my head with oil; My cup runneth over. 6Surely goodness and lovingkindness shall follow me all the days of my life; And I shall dwell in the house of Jehovah for ever. (KJV)

In this Psalm David categorized the many benefits of the Lord as our “Shepherd”, and who also is a gracious host. The Lord protected David from life’s dangers, and God’s persistent living protection enabled him to enjoy a secure communion with Him all the days of his life.

The Lord also described the future, earthly appearance of the Messiah of Israel as a “shepherd” who will feed and gently carry the young of His flock (Isaiah 40:11). The same is important in New Testament times as well (Proverbs 8:15; Romans 13:1). During His appearance in time and space as the Lord Jesus, He called Himself the “Good Shepherd”, while describing the bad shepherd as a thief and a robber:

John 10:1-16

1 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.

 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me[a] are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. (NKJ)

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

The Shepherds of Israel

The kings and princes who ruled over the Nation Israel became evil and self-serving instead of doing God’s work ministering to the people. God was getting ready to take them to task for what they were not doing (Ezekiel 34:1-2).

Characteristics and Results of Evil Shepherds

Ezekiel 34:3-6

3Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill the fatlings; but ye feed not the sheep. 4The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought back that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with rigor have ye ruled over them. 5And they were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and they became food to all the beasts of the field, and were scattered. 6My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my sheep were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and there was none that did search or seek after them. (ASV, 1901)

Wolf in sheep’s clothing – artist unknown

These appointed leaders did not serve the flock as the Good Shepherd intended them to do. At the expense of the common people they were using the offices that they held to achieve personal gain, and become wealthy. Their view of the people as a source of wealth replaced fulfilling their obligation to the Lord who had entrusted them with the administration of His love, care and accurate promulgation of His Word in an organized and systematic manner. Instead of taking their God-given role seriously, they ruled with harshness and brutality. They did not strengthen those who were diseased, they failed to adequately heal and care for the sick, and they did not care for the lost, either physically or spiritually. Through the truth of Scripture, they should have nurtured the people, and brought them to a positive, genuine relationship with God. Another error in their flagrant disregard for the people was failing to watch over them. Instead they let the sheep wander from the safety of the flock. Their shepherding of the flock was diametrically opposed to what Jesus characterized as the appropriate action of a Good Shepherd:

Matthew 18:12

12What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? (NASB)

 

Shepherd rescues one sheep – artist unknown

Sheep will wander. It is one of their characteristics, and when the sheep become scattered they are vulnerable to predatory wild animals. As much as he can, the caring shepherd will make sure they are not wandering off in a direction that will harm them. These leaders were so self-serving that they failed to provide any oversight, and did not notice, or care, that the people of Israel had left the flock in terms of spiritual purity and physical safety. When leaders abandon truth for personal gain of any sort they are placing their flocks in danger. When the message of truth is corrupted or is inadequately conveyed, a person will leave their acceptance of the authority of Scripture’s spiritual truth and is lost. They no longer have the safeguard of its protective doctrines, and are in danger of losing the path to eternal salvation.

Since the mid 1800’s many of the spiritual leaders of the Church have been abrogating their spiritual responsibility to care for their flocks. They cause many to leave because they began denying, or arguing over some of the fundamentals of the faith. Denominations and church after church have split over denials of the Trinity, the incarnation and the Second Coming. The roots of this began in Europe, particularly with German Rationalism where the inerrancy of the Scripture was denied with the development of Biblical Criticism and particularly with the “documentary hypothesis”. Julius Wellhausen was the principal developer of this concept. He insisted that human reason only, not the Bible, could be trusted. He presented the idea that the Bible, far from being God’s Word, was just a collection of human documents. These destructive denials of the fundamental truth of the Bible caused the church leaders to quote everything but the Bible, and preach everything but the gospel. Religious liberalism led to the calamities that came upon Europe such as Communism, Nazism, fascism, and promulgation of the occult. Other diseased ideas have been promoted by the absence of a spiritual core that makes up the divine life and spiritual blessing. Wellhausen and his liberalism destroyed the spiritual life in Europe, and nearly succeeded in the spiritual destruction of the United States. Today less than 1% of the population of Europe is made up of Evangelical Christians. [1]

If you think that men are not able to negatively influence others to keep them out of the Kingdom, listen to what the Lord Jesus had to say to the Pharisees:

Matthew 23:13

13But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in [yourselves], neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. (KJV)

TRUTH MUST NEVER BE SACRIFIED FOR PEACE. IT NEVER WORKS!

In more recent times modern “false shepherds” have led many into a totally new phase of misleading the believer. The old phase, under the liberal intellectuals of the 1800’s, can be characterized as “destructive denials” of Scripture authority. This new phase claims to affirm the fundamentals of the faith, but they have made a paradigm shift away from the Bible as being the final authority in determining divine truth, and focus on experience as being equally valid, or taking priority over Scripture. If the Bible contradicts a particular practice, or “experience” promoted by the modern day church, then that practice is justified by them as a “new move of the Spirit”, and what the text of the Scripture actually says can be contradicted by this new “experience”. This represents itself as a more “spiritual” of a way of denying the truth of God, and therefore far more deceptive. The Holy Spirit will never move in a manner that is contrary to Scripture.

The New Evangelicalism or The Emerging Church

 The New Evangelicalism, also called the Emerging Church, is perhaps the most insidious of all the apostasies. It is characterized by catering to the desires of the people. Instead of being inculcated with God’s Word and having our personal world view and behavior be patterned after God’s Word, the New Evangelicalism gives the people what they want. One New Testament passage clearly predicts this reversal of worship of God to worshipping man:

Romans 1:25

 25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen (KJV)

The idea of this new wave apostasy is to “soft-sell” the Bible and salvation. This apostasy does not want to upset anybody, there is never any mention of Hell, or the outcome of an unsaved life. Instead they offer a path away from an aimless, meaningless life here on earth. They say they “believe” strongly in salvation through Jesus Christ, but their actions differ sharply from what they say. Salvation is given lip service, and evangelism with real confrontation or teaching Biblical doctrine is thought to be too “divisive”. Usually their Bible teaching is characterized by an over emphasis on application, which is the “middle of the road” approach. Our “experiences” and “quality of life” here on earth are more important than total service to God, and the blessed assurance that He will soon come to lift us out of this sinful decaying world. Paul warned us that the end times would be characterized with a departure from sound doctrine, and from the truth:

II Timothy 4:3-4

 3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (KJV)

 

From an 1871 editorial in Harper’s magazine. The fanged beasts coming from the sea are false shepherds.

The New Evangelicals believe if they do not emphasize “man-pleasing”, they will lose members of their congregation, and more importantly, their funding. A total dependence on God for their resources is abandoned for “sound business” practices or “fundamental marketing techniques.” Total reliance on God by elders through prayer and patience is exchanged for parliamentary procedure, schemes for man-made self-advancement, and the development of career goals. The pastor is considered a CEO, not the teacher of God’s Word. Mission statements and strategic plans are formulated to accommodate personal plans. The Bible is subordinated to man’s desires.

The thought of prophecy is anathema to the New Evangelical for they say it causes “division”. This “division” of course is between those non-literal Bible expositors and the literal Biblical expositors. Some have characterized the New Evangelical as being seduced by the world spirit of this present age. You can see it in the leaders who are popularized. Usually they have a high degree of prominence in the government or sports, and their testimonies are sought after for paid speaking engagements and book endorsements. But you will never see a Sunday school teacher, or poor inner city pastor held up by them as pillars of the faith. Christ went to the lowest members of society to bring the truth to the world. He did not go to the popular and prominent because they had already compromised the Truth for self gain.

The New Evangelicals represent a spirit of disobedience to, and a mood of compromise of what God has asked us to do in times of confrontation. It is a rejection of many of the difficult aspects of New Testament Christianity. They promote an attitude of “positivism” where they would rather be passive diplomats, not focused fighters, and infiltrators rather than separatists. They would not be restricted by a separationist mentality as we are asked to do if God’s word is violated. The New Evangelical would rather pursue dialog, intellectualism, and appeasement than standing firm for Biblical truth.

Our culture has become deeply entrenched with psychology, and its teachings are rapidly becoming the norm in Christian Schools and churches to “add to” or replace the teachings of the Bible. The weakness and carnality of the church in recent decades has allowed this psychological mind-set of the world to flow into the church. Psychology offer remedies outside of God’s word in the Bible, and has brought about a redefining of many foundational matters of the Christian faith. The correct understanding is that man’s condition is sin, and God’s remedy is His saving and transforming grace (Romans 5:12, 17). Psychology teaches that man must esteem himself, affirm himself, and actualize himself. All of this new thinking is coming from psychological theory, which is primarily a man-based philosophy of life. In conclusion, we are strongly warned in the word of the Lord not to be guided by the philosophy of the world:

Colossians 2:8

 8Beware lest anyone take you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. (KJV)

It is clear from the beginning passages in Chapter 34 of Ezekiel that man (who are “sheep”) tended to stray from God to follow his own self-willed path (Isaiah 53:6). We need to deny ourselves, take up His cross, and follow Christ (Luke 9:23). We need to follow the leading of our Good Shepherd, who loves us, and died so we could be eternally secure and free. The Good Shepherd is just the opposite of the bad shepherds who let the sheep die because they cannot be bothered to do their job.

The Indictment of The False Shepherds

Ezekiel 34:7-8

7Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of Jehovah: 8As I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, surely forasmuch as my sheep became a prey, and my sheep became food to all the beasts of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my sheep, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my sheep; (ASV, 1901)

Our Lord here addresses the wicked shepherds directly with the command to “hear the word of Jehovah”. God begins again to stress the situation the wicked shepherds created causing the sheep to scatter, and become prey “to all the beasts of the field”. The shepherds did not look for the sheep that were scattered. God still calls the sheep His own, which obviously means that He has never relinquished His rights to sheep entrusted to the shepherd of the flock. These wicked men were given temporary custody and this is their indictment; they failed to look after the people of God to whom they were entrusted.

This should be a sober message to anyone who has responsibilities to teach the Word of God. God is very serious about the quality of the teaching of His Word, and will chastise those who cause the sheep to scatter because of poor quality teaching, including denial of essential doctrines necessary for the sheep to flourish. The false shepherds had brought Israel to ruin, and now He would intercede to rescue His chosen people. The fact that God will cause His people to hear the truth, and bring the genuine sheep out from under false shepherds cannot be missed. There also is a component of responsibility on the sheep to seek out the truth of God’s Word where it is taught clearly, and to abandon the false teachers. Only the truly saved will seek the truth.

God Will Deliver the Sheep

Ezekiel 34:9-10

9therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of Jehovah: 10Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my sheep at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the sheep; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; and I will deliver my sheep from their mouth, that they may not be food for them. (ASV, 1901)

 The main objective of God in this situation was to bring about the deliverance of the sheep and their well-being. God does not desire the ruin of anyone. This text primarily rebukes Israel’s false shepherds. The sheep are meant to receive comfort, and He promises that He has not forgotten about them. The Lord God will deliver His sheep from the hand of the unfaithful shepherds, and He personally would gather His scattered sheep. Throughout the history of the Church this is also very apparent. When the shepherds have gone “bad”, and are no longer are feeding the flock of sheep, God intervenes and leads the sheep to a new shepherd who will feed them.

False Shepherds Today

Revelation chapters two and three can be seen as a chronological exposition of a broad overview of Church history. We can see the letters to the churches describe an accurate chronological depiction of the problems encountered throughout church history. The last letter to the church at Laodicea provides an clear picture of the apostasy of the visible Christian Church, also called The Church of the Apostasy, and represents Church history from A.D. 1890-to the present day:

Revelation 3:14-22

 14To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: ‘15I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. ’17Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, 18I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.

“20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. 21He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (NASB)

 This letter is directed to the Laodiceans, whose name means “people ruling”, and it is a church entirely ruled by men, which this is diametrically opposed to God’s ruling in the church. This is because the Holy Spirit is not present and doing His ministry of guiding, teaching, and illuminating. While this has happened throughout the history of the Nation Israel, it is far worse in the Church Age since the 1890’s. God says that in the latter times some will be led by demons away from faith in God. This is what led the Israelite shepherds away from God as they worshipped the Canaanite idols on the “high places.” The following passage clearly describes the shepherds who are given authority to bring God’s Word in the Church Age, and why they fail:

I Timothy 4:1-3

1But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons , 2by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. (KJV)

Artist Unknown

The source of the apostasy is demons. Apostates have essentially given in to seducing spirits and are preaching a system of doctrine that is a doctrine of demons. Furthermore, they speak lies through hypocrisy, and their consciences have stopped working. We can see how the shepherds through their adherence and interest in demonic activity have been led to teach a whole host of unbiblical requirements. As they turn from clearly teaching God’s Word, they deny its authority:

II Timothy 3:1-5

1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (KJV)

This passage from II Timothy begins with a description of the general character of false shepherds of God Word. Many of these characteristics are true today. Verse five specifically identifies the false front put on by the shepherds. These men have “a form of godliness”, but deny the power of God’s Word. Consider apostate clergy who wear flowing clerical gowns and embrace church hierarchical titles or dress in a manner appearing to be “one of us”. They appear to have a form of “godliness”, but they deny “the power thereof”, for they have denied the true power of godliness. They claim to trust in God, but are actually trusting in worldly methodologies. They bring the world’s attractions into the church to lure the sheep into remaining, even when they stop affirming the authority of God’s Word. This is one aspect of the sheep scattering from the false shepherd that no longer carry’s the voice of God to the sheep. We are commanded to separate from them. Here are four important points to understand what this really means:

  1. Separation is not an optional part of Christianity; it is a commandment (Romans 16:17-18; 2 Cor. 6:14-17; I Timothy 6:5; II Timothy 2:16-18; 3:5; Titus 3:10; 2 John 7-11; Revelation 18:4).
  2. Separation is not mean or unloving; it is obedience to God.
  1. “Mark them . . . avoid them” (Romans 16:17)
  2. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with” (II Corinthians 6:14)
  3. “Have no fellowship with” (II Corinthians 6:14)
  4. “Come out from among” (II Corinthians 6:17)
  5. “Withdraw thyself” (I Timothy 6:5)
  6. “Shun” (II Timothy 2:16)
  7. “Purge oneself from” (II Timothy 2:21)
  8. “From such turn away” (II Timothy 3:5)
  9. “Reject” (Titus 3:10)
  10. “Receive them not into your house neither bid them Godspeed” (II John 10)
  1. Separate even from brethren who are living in disobedience, and do not follow the traditions Christ taught us (II Thessalonians 3:6).
  2. Separation is a wall of protection against spiritual danger. Failure to separate from error leaves one open to the influence of error (I Corinthians 15:33). The reason a shepherd separates the sheep from wolves is to protect them. Likewise, a faithful and godly Bible teacher will seek to separate his flock from spiritual dangers that are even more destructive than wolves. As evidence of this we see many false prophets, corrupt denominations and seminary teachings.

Another activity of the false shepherds is mockery of the fundamentals of the faith and the creation schisms or separations:

Jude 17-19

17But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. 19These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. (KJV)

They begin denying some of the fundamentals of the faith such as the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures, the Virgin Birth, the Substitutionary death of Christ, and His physical resurrection from the dead. Then they attempt to convince some to their heresies, but not all will accept them. As the Lord said, many sheep will know His voice and only follow Him, and not a false shepherd (John 10:1-5). In the course of time this produces a split within the visible church. Throughout the Church age there has been schism after schism. Church after church and denominations have split over denials of the Trinity, the incarnation and the Second Coming.

Like the example we have in Ezekiel’s day, these scatterings of the sheep through heretical teachings and deeds of separations have become prevalent as church history has progressed from the time of Jesus to the present day. Liberalism, also called Modernism, and other attempts like them to keep God’s Word from clearly reaching the sheep have accelerated since the early 1900’s. The decade of the 1920’s was characterized by the great Modernist-Fundamentalist battles. There were many attempts to fight Modernism within the church. Toward the end of that decade, it was apparent that the Modernists were firmly in control of both the denominational church positions (this included all the major denominations except the Southern Baptist Convention) and their schools.

This led to the separatist movement of the 1930’s as the Fundamentalists pulled out of the denominations and started their own denominations or independent churches. Emerging from the United Presbyterian Church of the United States of America was a group led by J. Gresham Machen, which subsequently split into three separate denominations (Orthodox Presbyterians, Bible Presbyterians and the Evangelical Presbyterians) due to internal struggles. Out of the American Baptist Convention came the General Association of Regular Baptists (GARB). Out of the United Methodist Church came the Evangelical Methodists. The following chart is a partial depiction affirming these splits:

Protestant Denominations since Christ by http://protestantism.co.uk/denominations

Additionally, ecumenical movements have been prevalent during the 1940’s through to the present day. Ecumenism is a demonic attempt to tie “bad” teaching and practices to “good” ones, which only results in bad theology and doctrine. The fundamental Bible believers either cave in to the liberal apostates, or separate by breaking off in order to clearly receive God’s Word from other sources. In 1948, the World Council of Churches was organized on two principles: First, the unity of all the Churches in the basis of liberal beliefs; and second, the unity of all religions. In 1950, the old Federal Council of Churches was reorganized into the National Council of Churches, again attempting to unify all churches in the United States along liberal beliefs. Consequently, the visible church is primarily apostate today. Even among conservative denominations, the threat of apostasy is taking over of the theological and seminary schools and results in the supplying of liberal ministers for the pulpit.

God Affirms His Deliverance of His Sheep

Ezekiel 34:11-16

11For thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I myself, even I, will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. 12As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered abroad, so will I seek out my sheep; and I will deliver them out of all places whither they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. 13And I will bring them out from the peoples, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them upon the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14I will feed them with good pasture; and upon the mountains of the height of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie down in a good fold; and on fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. 15I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord Jehovah. 16I will seek that which was lost, and will bring back that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but the fat and the strong I will destroy; I will feed them in justice. (ASV, 1901)

Good Shepherd rescues His lost sheep – Artist unknown

God always will take charge of His genuine sheep even though the false shepherds ignore the sheep in order to chase after their own desires and profit. He says that He “will search for my sheep, and will seek them out”. Jesus expressed this same truth in John chapter ten. In very loving text God says that He will bring the Jews out of all the places in the world where they have been scattered, and place them again in the land of Israel. He will not allow them to suffer again anything they need because He will supply it. The Lord’s treatment of His flock is diametrically opposite to that of the false shepherds. In verse 16 God states there will also be judgment on the wealthy, or “the fat and strong” of the nation who have oppressed the poor. God’s Word tells us that excessive prosperity causes people to forget God:

Proverbs 30:8-9

8Remove far from me falsehood and lies; Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is needful for me: 9Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is Jehovah? Or lest I be poor, and steal, And use profanely the name of my God. (ASV, 1901)

All these promises to Israel and the Church seen in Ezekiel 34: 11-16 will be realized in the Messianic Kingdom.

 

Daniel E. Woodhead

 

[1] Breese, Dave, 7 Men Who Rule The World From The Grave, Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 1992

Share on Facebook

ISAIAH PROPHESIES JESUS’ APPEARANCE AND WORK

Communicating Old Testament Prophecy

OT

Artist Unknown

The New Testament frequently realizes fulfillments of Old Testament prophetic passages in various manners. Some have stated that there are in excess of six hundred allusions and quotations in the New Testament from the Old Testament. Others have alluded to the book of Revelation as having that many all by itself. Prophecy is obviously a significant component of the New Testament. Therefore, it is important for a correct reading of the New Testament to understand this issue so you can accurately assimilate the message that God is communicating. Without an appropriate understanding of the proper reading of God’s Word, it becomes “jammed up” in its meaning, and the reader will receive an erroneous message. Just as earthly warfare has combatants attempting to “jam” each other’s communications to gain an advantage, the Biblical text has an enemy that is seeking to cast doubt on God’s Word. Satan has been trying to cast doubt on what God has spoken since the Garden of Eden. He will use any means possible, including poor hermeneutics, poor grammar and incorrect theology.

It is important to understand the different written forms of texts in the Old Testament in order to understand how the prophecy came about. The same is true for all the all other biblical writers. The manner, or form, somebody says or writes in has everything to do with formulating a proper understanding of what they mean. For example, in the seventh, eighth and ninth chapter of the book of Isaiah there are discussions taking place which refer to specific activities taking place in Isaiah’s day needing resolution, but the resolutions will be completed by God at a later time. Isaiah wrote his book in standard narrative and Hebraic poetry forms, and this makes a difference in how we read Isaiah’s words. One of the keys to understanding Isaiah is to come to grips with the poetic genre of communicating. Reading poetry requires us to read it at a different pace, to pay closer attention to the text, and to remind ourselves that it is not a straight narrative, therefore we must focus on the words more intently.

He will be born of a virgin (Circa 714 B.C.)

 

‘Joseph’s dream ’ (1645) from the workshop of Rembrandt

 

Most of us are not familiar with poetry’s decorative manner of presenting concepts, and therefore understanding it does not come naturally. One factor of poetry that helps us understand it is the attempt to put God into language. Since He is outside of our experience, He not easily rendered with straightforward words. But poetry can express what has been called “divine communication” because it exceeds normal comprehension. Isaiah frequently made use of the method called “parallelism”. Simply stated, one sentence would be followed by another, but stating the same thing in a different manner. Isaiah expressed many of the offices and characteristics of the coming Messiah this way. For example, see how in about 714 B.C. Isaiah presents the characteristic of Christ as being born of a virgin, and pay especial attention to sequence in verse 14:

Isaiah 7: 1-14

  1 And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it.  2 And it was told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate with Ephraim. And his heart trembled, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the forest tremble with the wind. 3 Then said Jehovah unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shear-jashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, in the highway of the fuller’s field; 4 and say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither let thy heart be faint, because of these two tails of smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria, and of the son of Remaliah. 5 Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have purposed evil against thee, saying, 6 Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set up a king in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeel; 7 thus saith the Lord Jehovah, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass. 8 For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken in pieces, so that is shall not be a people:  9 and the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah’s son. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established. 10 And Jehovah spake again unto Ahaz, saying, 11 Ask thee a sign of Jehovah thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. 12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt Jehovah. 13 And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David: Is it a small thing for you to weary men, that ye will weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel (ASV 1901).

Knupfer_Nicolaus-ZZZ-Queen_of_Sheba_before_Solomon

Queen of Sheba Before Solomon Nicolaus Knupfer

To give you some background on this passage, about 930 B.C. after Solomon died, there was a civil war in Israel. The name “Israel” became attached to the apostate ten tribal regions in the north. “Judah” became the name attached to the faithful southern region. Ahaz was king of Judah in the southern kingdom (Cir. 714 B.C.). As the text tells us, the king of Israel Peka, the king of Syria Rezin, and the nation Ephraim laid siege to Jerusalem. This scared Ahaz so that he thought that the Jews would be wiped out, and also the tribe of Judah through which the Messiah would come. God sent Isaiah, along with his son Shear-jashub, to comfort Ahaz by telling him that Judah would not lose the battle, or be exterminated. God, through Isaiah, then wanted Ahaz to realize that he could rely on God to provide protection for him and his people. They would not be destroyed since the Messiah had to come through the tribe of Judah, and He would be born from a virgin who would be God Himself. In the Hebrew language the word “virgin” refers to a young unmarried girl, and is pronounced ha’almah, which means “the one who is not yet betrothed.”

In the Hebrew culture under the Mosaic Law, an unmarried girl had to be a virgin or she would be stoned to death. So while the word ha’almah does not translate directly as “virgin”, this is what is understood based upon the ancient Hebrew culture. The Hebrew word for “God with us” is Emmanuel, and by specifically stating this word, God wanted Ahaz to know that just as it had been prophesied from previous times, God’s promises would come to pass. They always do. When we weary of our circumstances, remember this story that God gave Ahaz to comfort and even to rebuke (“ye will weary my God also?”) him for not trusting God to do what He said He would do. The parallelism demonstrated in this passage is that God would protect Ahaz within the immediate future, and there will be an even greater protection in the distant future when Emmanuel is born.

God Warns Isaiah Not to Be Like Many People

Isaiah 8:11-22

11For Jehovah spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me not to walk in the way of this people, saying, 12Say ye not, A conspiracy, concerning all whereof this people shall say, A conspiracy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be in dread thereof. 13Jehovah of hosts, him shall ye sanctify; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15And many shall stumble thereon, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken. 16Bind thou up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. 17And I will wait for Jehovah, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. 18Behold, I and the children whom Jehovah hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from Jehovah of hosts, who dwelleth in mount Zion. 19And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits and unto the wizards, that chirp and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? on behalf of the living should they seek unto the dead? 20To the law and to the testimony! if they speak not according to this word, surely there is no morning for them. 21And they shall pass through it, sore distressed and hungry; and it shall come to pass that, when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse by their king and by their God, and turn their faces upward: 22and they shall look unto the earth, and behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and into thick darkness they shall be driven away (ASV 1901).

300px-Jesaja_(Michelangelo)

The Prophet Isaiah by Michelangelo cir 1508-1512

The only proper way to determine truth is to go to first the Word of God. Many have departed from this, and look to other sources such as personal experiences or a denomination’s hierarchy to tell us what is true. Frequently people will experience something, whether it is in the news or from a church leader, and then try to find verses to justify the activity rather than be willing to admit that the experience—no matter how wonderful or supernatural it felt—was simply not of God. As evidence they will say that they “feel better” by validating the experience with a particular verse or others, usually taken out of context from the original scripture passage, and think that this justifies the experience. God’s Word must be the primary source of truth, not any experience.

Within the Book of Isaiah God frequently demonstrates by means of comparison a difference between actual believers and those that do not believe. In verse 16 above, we see just what value each places on Scripture. The “law” is the Law of Moses, and the “testimony” is the words of the Prophets. The Believers actually believe Moses and the Prophets (The Old Testament). The non-Believers reject the Scriptures as the ultimate authority, and were trying to make God more “real in their experience” by finding gods they could see, feel, and touch. In verse 19, Isaiah warns them that they are not to go after counterfeit spirits and teachers “that chirp and that mutter.” People who follow after those “that chirp and that mutter” could have some great feelings, but Isaiah rejects all this. The only valid testimony is what he declares in verse 20: “To the law and to the testimony!” In other words, go back to the Scriptures as the only final authority. And in closing he says “if they speak not according to this word, surely there is no morning for them.” Isaiah makes it quite clear: Whatever the experiences, if it does not align with the written Word of God there is simply no morning “light” for them. A person’s failure to heed God’s Word means he has no spiritual light (John 3:19–20). God will eventually judge all Spiritists, mediums, and those who consult them (Isaiah 8:21–22). In their distress they will look up to God and curse Him, and look to the earth where they will face distress, and then be thrust into darkness (2 Peter 2:17). Ironically those who seek to consult the dead will be forced to join them!

The Light of the World Will Come

The troubles of Israel shall end through the birth of a very Special Child. This section of the prophecy actually started with chapter 7:1, and ends in this wonderful and gracious promise:

27361932-c66c-11e6-b0e3-e12c29c152ce_1280x720

Stained Glass Artist and location Unknown

Isaiah 9:1-7

1But there shall be no gloom to her that was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali; but in the latter time hath he made it glorious, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. 2The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. 3Thou hast multiplied the nation, thou hast increased their joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. 4For the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, thou hast broken as in the day of Midian. 5For all the armor of the armed man in the tumult, and the garments rolled in blood, shall be for burning, for fuel of fire. 6For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of Jehovah of hosts will perform this (ASV, 1901).

The essence of the whole section is that Israel shall not suffer from Pekah and Rezin, and her oppressors shall be Assyria and Babylon. They shall overwhelm her, crush her, lay her low, and she shall remain awhile in gloom and darkness, but later the darkness is going to end. Then a “great light” shall shine forth, first in the north, then over all the land, and “the rod of the oppressor” shall be broken. A Child shall be born, who shall bear marvelous names, and shall rule over the full kingdom of David in justice and righteousness forever. God has spoken, and God will perform this.

Verse 1 states that “contempt” was brought upon the more northern part of the Holy Land, first when it was overrun and ravaged by the Syrians (1 Kings 15:20) under Benhadad, and then when it suffered under the Assyrian attack (2 Kings 15:29) under Tiglath-Pileser. Under Gentile domination, that area was then called “Galilee of the nations” meaning the gentiles, not Galilee of the Jews. Isaiah then moves on to cite a time is coming when the people will see what God will do as stated in verse 1b where He states “He made it glorious, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.” This was area was the home of Jesus. He was a Galilean, and lived and ministered there. For thirty years he had lived at Nazareth, in Zebulon. There He had first come forward to teach in a synagogue (Luke 4:16–21). Also in Galilee He had done his first miracles at Capernaum, “upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zebulon and Naphtali” (John 2:11; 4:54).

All the world was “in darkness” when Christ came, but especially the Jews. They had the light of God and seemingly rejected it. “The Light of the world,” “the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” first came in the North of Israel “by the way of the sea,” when Jesus came forward to teach and to preach in “Galilee of the nations.” Jesus first streamed forth His light, glorifying the Northern Israeli region on which “contempt” had long been poured. Verse 3 tells us Jesus will make the nations joyful as when a bountiful harvest is reaped. So this verse is offering relief to the people who have been deceived and downtrodden. The result will be that a very special son will come to them who will be a blessing in the northern part of Israel.

The coming of the Messiah sets the Israelites free, removes the yoke from off their neck, breaks the rod where their shoulders were beaten, and delivers them from bondage into the “glorious liberty of the children of God.” In verse 4, the “yoke of his burden” is that of sin, the “oppressor” is that prince of darkness, who brought all mankind under his dominion. However Christ will break it when the Messianic Kingdom arrives, and the heavenly Kingdom will come on earth just as it is in Heaven. And then all need for military equipment will vanish as it is burned up because He will cause peace and justice to prevail on this earth.

In verse 6 we are told that a child will be born who will eventually rule the entire world. The government will indeed “be upon the shoulders” of the Messiah as He bears the work of managing the government of the entire world during the Messianic Kingdom for a thousand years:

Psalm 2:6-8

Yet I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will tell of the decree: Jehovah said unto me, You are my son; This day have I begotten you. Ask of me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, And the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession (ASV, 1901).

Also in verse 6, His name will be called “Wonderful” and is a direct reference to Judges 13:18. Here Samson’s father asks the Angel of the Lord who He is, and gets the reply of “Why do you ask My name,” the Angel of the LORD asked him, “since it is wonderful.”

The word “Wonderful” can also be translated as “secret” or “extraordinary”, “supernatural”, or even “incomprehensible”. This is the nature of God. Jesus the Messiah will be a “Counsellor”, and the people will gladly listen to Him as the authoritative One. In the Messianic Kingdom many people will be anxious to hear the Messiah teach God’s ways. As the Messiah He will also be “Mighty God” who is strong, powerful, and mighty. As the “Everlasting Father” He is eternal and has no end as the Father of all mankind. The title “Everlasting Father” is an idiom used to describe the Messiah’s Deity, not His relationship to the other Members of the Trinity. He is God the Son. He will endure continually for Messiah is God. The Messiah is also called the “Prince of Peace”, the One who will bring in and maintain the time of millennial peace when the Jewish nation, and the world at large, will be in obedience to the Lord. Together, these four titles give a beautiful picture of the coming Lord that is future in Isaiah’s day (and yet future to our day too) and Messiah’s character.

According to the passage in Isaiah, verse 7 tells us this child will be born into a Jewish family of the lineage of king David with whom the control of the entire world’s government will rest. Isaiah expands on this here:

Isaiah 16:5

And a throne shall be established in lovingkindness; and one shall sit thereon in truth, in the tent of David, judging, and seeking justice, and swift to do righteousness (ASV, 1901).

Of the increase of his government and peace” there shall be no end, which means the Messiah’s kingdom shall ever increase more and more, and there shall be no limits to it. Ultimately it shall fill the world (Matthew 28:18, 19). The continual spread of Christianity tends to the accomplishment of this prophecy. “Upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom” means that the Messiah is to sit on the throne of David, which signifies His Davidic descent. A gradual establishment of the kingdom as Christianity spreads is the first stage that is also taught in the parables of the mustard seed and the leaven (Matthew 13:31-33). From “henceforth even forever” means the kingdom is to be both universal in respect of extent, and in respect of eternal duration. God’s jealousy of his own honor will assure the performance of all that is prophesied.

 

 

 

 

 

Share on Facebook

FULFILLMENT OF PROPHECY TO ISRAEL Part II

GOD’S FULFILLMENT OF PROPHECY TO ISRAEL SINCE THE TIME OF CHRIST Part II

By

Dr. Thomas S. McCall

 

End Time Prophecies About Israel Fulfilled During The Church Age

God Preserves The Jews, Their Identity And Culture in Spite of Persecution

STC172909 A Rabbi tying the Phylacteries to the arm of a boy (oil on canvas) by Jewish School (19th century) oil on canvas Private Collection The Stapleton Collection Israeli, out of copyright

STC172909 A Rabbi tying the Phylacteries to the arm of a boy (oil on canvas) by Jewish School (19th century) oil on canvas Private Collection The Stapleton Collection Israeli, out of copyright

Psalm 121:4

4 Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep (NASB).

There were prophecies in the Old and New Testament discussing the future restoration of Israel, with a descendant of David sitting on his throne. The disciples also are assured they will rule over the tribes of Israel when the Son of Man sits on His throne:

Jeremiah 33:17

17 “For thus says the LORD, ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel.’” (NASB)

Luke 1:31-33

31 “And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32 “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end” (NASB).

Ezekiel 37:12-14

12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, 14 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD (NASB).

Matthew 19:28

28 And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (NASB).

Jewish and Christian Zionism

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declares that a State of Israel would not be possible without Christian Zionists. Throughout the centuries there have always been Jewish people who believed in the restoration of Israel, with the hope of meeting together “next year in Jerusalem.” However, it was not until the 1890s that Theodore Hertzl organized the First Zionist Congress in Switzerland, and the vague hope of restoration became a practical reality. How did this happen? The answer to this development lies in the little known relationship between certain key individuals, now known as Christian Zionists, and their counterparts in the Jewish Zionists movement.

Theodore Hertzel

Theodore Herzl

Around 1700 A.D. Among the earliest Christian Zionists (who were sometimes called Restorationists) was the American Puritan pastor Increase Mather who wrote The Mystery of Israel’s Salvation. By reading the prophecies of the future of Israel, he rediscovered the Biblical teachings of Christian Zionism. He described the mystery as follows: “The scope of this Treatise is to hold forth the calling of the Jews, their reduction into their own Land, and the glorious estate of the Church which shall then be.” [1]

Later, in the mid 1800s, J. N. Darby and others studied the same prophecies and developed the Powers Court Prophecy Conferences. A rediscovery and reaffirmation of the future of Israel, the Rapture of the Church, Dispensationalism, and Christian Zionism were the products of these intensive Bible studies.

One of the main passages reaffirming Israel’s return to the land is the “Vision of the Dry Bones” found in Ezekiel 37. This describes the process of a vast amount of dry human bones coming together, forming skeletons, and then flesh coming over the skeletons making dead bodies. Finally, the Sprit of God blows over the bodies, and brings them to life. The Lord explains this vision of the Dry Bones as being the Nation of Israel being restored and replaced in its own Land in the end times:

 

Valley of the Dry Bones of Ezekiel by Gustave Dore. Cir 1850

Valley of the Dry Bones of Ezekiel by Gustave Dore. Cir 1850

Ezekiel 37:1-10

1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 And He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry. 3 And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, Thou knowest.” 4 Again He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.’ 5 “Thus says the Lord God to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. 6 ‘And I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin, and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the LORD.'” 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew, and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. 9 Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.”‘” 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life, and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army (NASB).

Theodore Herzl And William Hechler

Many people are aware that Theodore Herzl was the founder of Zionism in the 1890s, but few know about his critical relationship with William Hechler. Hechler was the son of a German father and a British mother who became an Anglican minister and was assigned as a chaplain to the British Embassy in Vienna, Austria. He was an avid student of Bible prophecy, deeply involved in the Dispensational movement in Britain, and a close friend of Sir Robert Anderson. By reading Anderson’s book, The Coming Prince, Hechler was aware of Christ’s prophesied triumphal entry on Palm Sunday into Jerusalem, which conclusively demonstrated the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. Sir Anderson was a serious Bible student, as well as being the head of the famed Scotland Yard, the premier British detective bureau in London.

While serving in the British Embassy in Vienna, Hechler soon learned of Theodore Herzl, who was trying to organize a movement so that Jews could return to Israel. He was having little success because he had no significant connections. When Herzl first met Hechler, he thought he was somewhat of a religious eccentric, but gradually realized that this Christian chaplain was just as serious about Jewish restoration as he was.

Furthermore, Hechler had connections. He knew a German Duke who knew the German monarch, Kaiser Wilhelm. Hechler was able to get the Kaiser and Herzl together and they agreed to pursue the Zionist cause. Next the Kaiser met with the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, and later a subsequent meeting between the Kaiser and Herzl took place in Jerusalem. There was considerable confusion surrounding these meetings, but the London press reported that the events provided a strong advance for the cause and organization of the Zionist movement. By 1900 many of the Jews of Europe had adopted the Zionist Movement.

The strange irony in all of this was that the German monarch was the first European head of state to give formal recognition to Zionism, in part through the efforts of the little known Christian Zionist, William Hechler. Yet this was the same country that turned so violently against the Jewish people a few decades later under Hitler and the Holocaust.

CHAIM WEITZMAN AND SIR ARTHUR BALFOUR

 

 

Chaim Weitzman from His home in Jerusalem

Chaim Weitzman from His home in Jerusalem

The next major advance in Zionism came at the end of World War I. Weitzman was a German Jewish chemist who moved to Britain, and discovered a high powered explosive that was able to end the trench warfare stalemate, and allow the Allies to defeat the German army. Weitzman was also a committed Zionist, and was a good friend of Foreign Minister Lord Arthur Balfour. Balfour was a Scottish Presbyterian, who had learned the Old Testament as his mother’s knee, and was a Christian Zionist at heart.

The British government wanted to show its appreciation to Weitzman for his vital assistance during the War, so Weitzman and Balfour composed what has come to be known as the Balfour Declaration in 1917. [2]

In 1917 Britain issued the Balfour Declaration encouraging Jews to return to the Land.

Foreign Office

November 2nd, 1917

Dear Lord Rothschild,

I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations, which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.

“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

Yours sincerely,

Arthur James Balfour

This document allowed Jews to return to the Land with the blessing of the British government, which was now in control of the British Mandate of Palestine. What had been a trickle of Jewish immigrants now became a veritable stream of Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe and Russia fleeing the turmoil of the Communist revolution. Once again, it was the collaboration between a Jewish Zionist and a Christian Zionist in the right place, at the right time that brought about this advance.

In 1925 the League of Nations ratified the San Remo Treaty recognizing Palestine as the Jewish home. The British were granted authority, called The Mandate, over Palestine. The actual administration of the Mandate was called the Mandatory.

The Mandatory was to be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 8, 1917, by the British Government, and adopted by the other Allied Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine as the national home for the Jewish people. It was clearly understood that nothing should be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

Specific Biblical Prophecies Regarding Israel’s Return

The prophet Ezekiel received prophecies regarding the future for Israel in “the last days”. Some of these focused on the period after the Great Tribulation such as the thirty-seventh chapter when they would be restored to the Land because then they will have believed in the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. This is commonly referred to as the “valley of dry bones” prophecy described earlier. Other prophecies Ezekiel received from God made it quite clear that the Jews would be in the Land as a nation before they experienced a national repentance and restoration:

Ezekiel 20: 33-38

33“As I live,” declares the Lord God, “surely with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out, I shall be king over you. 34            “I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out; 35 and I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face. 36“As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you,” declares the Lord God. 37 “I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; 38 and I will purge from you the rebels and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they will not enter the land of Israel. Thus you will know that I am the Lord (NASB).

The Lord is giving this prophecy to Israel used the Exodus as an illustration of what He is going to do in the future. Much in the same way God led them out of the persecutions by the Egyptians, and moved them into the Promised Land, He declares He would do it again. Looking back in time and remembering that this prophecy was given in the sixth century before Christ, it is clear that He has already done that prior to this day (2015).

This time, though, God interestingly says that He will bring them out from “the peoples” and gather them from the countries (plural) where they have been. Since 586 B.C. they have been scattered throughout the countries of the world. Almighty God began regathering them out of all the countries in the world in the late 1800’s, which is known as the Zionist movement. They were persecuted in many of the nations in which they lived and wanted a safe homeland. The judgment described must be significant in order to make it into the biblical text. The most serious judgment He brought on them was the Nazi holocaust when six million Jews were destroyed in the Nazi’s genocide of the Jews. This set the stage for world sympathy, which led to them becoming a nation. The regathering, though, was in unbelief. We can see in the passage cited above that this regathering, “is with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out.” This is God saying to the Nation Israel, and repeating it twice, that He gathers them out of wrath and for wrath. The term “outstretched arm” means that God is exercising His wrath. This is coming from wrath, and then going into wrath. The wrath that He leads them from is the Nazi persecution. He brought them into the Land as a sovereign nation while still in unbelief. They will live as a nation for a while in unbelief until the Great Tribulation when the Antichrist will declare himself god and initiate the worst persecution the Jews will have ever seen. After that final wrath they will turn to Him and accept Christ as their Messiah. But from the Nazi Holocaust to the Great Tribulation there will be a period where they will have residence in the Land, but not be spiritually regenerated as a nation. In other words, God will not be their God; and Christ will not be their Messiah. Nevertheless, God loves them. Because He loves them, and made promises to their patriarchal ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He will give them the Land they have been guaranteed. God’s promises are always kept, and there are no exceptions.

 

Nazi Yellow Star Pined on Jews

Nazi Yellow Star Pined on Jews

The second passage is found in Ezekiel chapter twenty-two and further describes the issue of being in the Land, but in unbelief:

Ezekiel 22: 17-22

17 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 18 “Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross to Me; all of them are bronze and tin and iron and lead in the furnace; they are the dross of silver. 19 “Therefore, thus says the Lord God, ‘Because all of you have become dross, therefore, behold, I am going to gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. 20 ‘As they gather silver and bronze and iron and lead and tin into the furnace to blow fire on it in order to melt it, so I will gather you in My anger and in My wrath and I will lay you there and melt you. 21‘I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of My wrath, and you will be melted in the midst of it. 22‘As silver is melted in the furnace, so you will be melted in the midst of it; and you will know that I, the Lord, have poured out My wrath on you.’ (NASB).

In this passage the prophet Ezekiel is given God’s Word describing a regathering of the Jews to Jerusalem. Here God describes the fact that they are far from Him as He characterizes their spiritual condition like the impurities in metallurgical processing. Dross is the burn-off of the undesirables, while the metal is purified through the consistent application of a high temperature fire. Fire is used in the Bible to refer to the refinement process God uses to bring those that He has chosen into submission to His will. This is exactly how He describes what He will do to them in the future for the purpose of purifying them. But for the purposes of identification and setting the chronology of this verse, it is when they have gathered in the Land and before the judgment. So today they in the Land regathered from the various nations throughout the world and Jerusalem is their capital. This is where this judgment will take place. So they are back in the Land in unbelief not realizing that their judgment is coming. Although there are several more passages that could be cited to confirm that God has brought them back into the Land in unbelief, the last passage that will be referenced is located in Zephaniah chapter two.

Zephaniah 2: 1-2

1 Gather yourselves together, yes, gather, O nation without shame, 2 Before the decree takes effect—The day passes like the chaff—Before the burning anger of the Lord comes upon you, Before the day of the Lord’s anger comes upon you (NASB).

Again the text says that they are gathering together as a nation but they have no shame. This means that they are not recognizing their sinful ways. Therefore, they are gathered together in unbelief. They will receive the judgment meted out by the Antichrist during the Great Tribulation referred to here as the “day of the Lord’s anger”. This is the most common form of reference to the Great Tribulation in the Old Testament. The Tribulation will begin with the signing of a seven-year covenant between the Antichrist and the Nation Israel. So since begins before the Tribulation, we can assume that there are Jewish political leaders in a Jewish State. The Jewish State does exist, they are back in the Land in unbelief, and they don’t realize it now, but their judgment and refinement is nearing its time.

 

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

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

After the Nazi persecution Jewish refugees fled to the Land and established the revived sovereign State of Israel in May of 1948. Since then Israel has been attacked numerous times and miraculously survived. Ezekiel chapters 20 and 22 prophesied that Israel would return from their dispersion throughout the earth’s the nations. In Ezekiel chapter 37 the regathering was a process described beginning with Dry Bones. At present there are seven million Jews in Israel. This represents approximately half of the Jews in the world. At present there are reported to be 15,000 Israeli believers in Christ, continuing “the remnant”. Some Israelis know the Bible teaches that a future Temple will be built, and are making preparations for it to include re-establishing the priesthood and a governing body known as the Sanhedrin.

End Time Prophecies About Israel After The Rapture of The Church

After the Rapture of the Church, 144,000 Jews will be saved and sealed as God’s evangelists during the Tribulation:

 

The Rapture of the Church artist Unknown

The Rapture of the Church artist Unknown

Revelation 7:3-4

3 saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.” 4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel (NASB).

A Seven Year Treaty is Ratified Between Unbelieving Israel and The Antichrist

Daniel 9:27

27 “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate” (NASB).

At The End of The Tribulation The Surviving Jews Will Receive Christ and be Saved

Zechariah 12:10

10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born” (NASB).

Romans 11:25-27

25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and thus al Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.” 27 “And this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins” (NASB).

Israel will have a prominent role in the Millennial Kingdom

Isaiah 14:1-2

1 When the LORD will have compassion on Jacob, and again choose Israel, and settle them in their own land, then strangers will join them and attach themselves to the house of Jacob. 2 And the peoples will take them along and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them as an inheritance in the land of the LORD as male servants and female servants; and they will take their captors captive, and will rule over their oppressors (NASB).

Revelation 20:6

6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years (NASB).

 Conclusion

Some have erroneously thought that Israel has dropped off the divine radar since the First Coming of Christ, and that there is no present or future for the Jewish people. This article has presented the evidence that there are many prophecies in the Old and New Testaments that describe the tragic dispersion of the Jewish people, their miraculous preservation throughout the Church Age, and their equally miraculous restoration of Israel as a nation among the family of nations. Jewish Zionists and Christian Zionists have played a significant role over the past few centuries in these remarkable developments.

 

 

[1] Mather, Increase, The Mystery of Israel’s Salvation Explained and Applied, Publisher John Allen, London, 1669.

[2] Sachar, Howard M. A History of Israel From The Rise of Zionism to Our Time, 2nd Ed. Publisher Alfred A. Knopf New NY 2006 pg.109.

Share on Facebook
1 2