God’s Grace –Jerusalem’s Unfaithfulness Part II The Queen Becomes a Harlot

The Queen Becomes a Harlot

 

Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses, By John William Waterhouse, 1891

Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses, By John William Waterhouse, 1891

Ezekiel 16:15

 

15But thou didst trust in thy beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy whoredoms on every one that passed by; his it was.” (ASV, 1901)

This is the second part of the parable and covers verses 15- 34. It begins with the success and beauty of the “Queen”, which is a reference to the blessings the Nation Israel enjoyed under the reign of King Solomon. God says,” But thou didst trust in thy beauty.” Israel had wealth, culture and beauty because she had God. While outwardly brilliant, a society may be inwardly corrupt. This was the case with the old heathen nations, and is where America is heading. Civilized wickedness means elaborate and creative wickedness. It shows up in the cessation of moral behavior, to the point the immoral practices become law. This was the case with all nations who fell from some greatness, such as Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Sin becomes the norm, and it brought them down.

The Jews knew that their blessings came from God. Israel was supposed to be a light to the surrounding nations (Deuteronomy 4:6-8). But instead of trusting in God alone, she became narcissistic and thought she had achieved all her greatness by herself. King Solomon initiated alliances with heathen nations to strengthen his kingdom. It began when King Solomon made a marriage alliance with the Pharaoh of Egypt early in his political career by taking Pharaoh’s daughter to be one of his wives (I Kings 3:1). This practice continued and became the downfall of his empire:

 

Solomon's idolatry, Frans Francken II, Flemish, 1622.

Solomon’s idolatry, Frans Francken II, Flemish, 1622.

 

I Kings 11:1-8

1Now king Solomon loved many foreign women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites; 2of the nations concerning which Jehovah said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go among them, neither shall they come among you; for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. 3And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. 4For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not perfect with Jehovah his God, as was the heart of David his father. 5For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6And Solomon did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah, and went not fully after Jehovah, as did David his father. 7Then did Solomon build a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, in the mount that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the children of Ammon. 8And so did he for all his foreign wives, who burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.” (ASV, 1901)

These actions were in direct violation of the Mosaic Law (Exodus 34:12-16; Deuteronomy 7:3-4). God said these practices would be a “snare” or “trap” for them, and God promised His anger would be kindled to the point of destroying them. Once the nearby nations desired the Jews, because of the blessings (beauty) they had, the Jews surrendered themselves to the pagans instead of teaching the pagans about God. Many of Israel’s kings after Solomon died formed alliances with foreign women to the chagrin of God and His Word. Some examples are listed here:

Asa King of Judah trusts Syria

 

II Chronicles 16:7-9

7And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and hast not relied on Jehovah thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thy hand. 8Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubim a huge host, with chariots and horsemen exceeding many? yet, because thou didst rely on Jehovah, he delivered them into thy hand. 9For the eyes of Jehovah run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly; for from henceforth thou shalt have wars.” (ASV, 1901).

 

Ahab Marries the Daughter of the Sidonians

Jezebel and Ahab as lovers From the New World Encyclopedia, Artist Unknown.

Jezebel and Ahab as lovers From the New World Encyclopedia, Artist Unknown.

 

I Kings 16:31-33

31And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. 32And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. 33And Ahab made the Asherah; and Ahab did yet more to provoke Jehovah, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.” (ASV, 1901)

Amaziah Worships the gods of Seir

 

II Chronicles 25:14-15

14Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them. 15Wherefore the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Amaziah, and he sent unto him a prophet, who said unto him, Why hast thou sought after the gods of the people, which have not delivered their own people out of thy hand?” (ASV, 1901)

Ahaz Bows to Assyria

II Kings 16:7-8

7So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, saying, I am thy servant and thy son: come up, and save me out of the hand of the king of Syria, and out of the hand of the king of Israel, who rise up against me. 8And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of Jehovah, and in the treasures of the king’s house, and sent it for a present to the king of Assyria.” (ASV, 1901).

II Chronicles 28:20-21

20And Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria came unto him, and distressed him, but strengthened him not. 21For Ahaz took away a portion out of the house of Jehovah, and out of the house of the king and of the princes, and gave it unto the king of Assyria: but it helped him not.” (ASV, 1901).

This spiritual failure, which God refers to as “harlotry”, is evident on at least three levels:

  • Political harlotry: which is turning to foreign governments for help and advice instead of God.
  • Spiritual harlotry: which is not worshipping God, but worshipping pagan gods, goddesses, and in effect, worshiping demons (I Corinthians10: 20).
  • Physical harlotry: which is defined as being unfaithful to one’s spouse, having sex with strangers, adopting the abominations of sacred prostitution, practicing human sacrifice, and forgetting justice, mercy and love.

The Harlot Makes High Places

 

Ezekiel 16:16

 16And thou didst take of thy garments, and madest for thee high places decked with divers colors, and playedst the harlot upon them: the like things shall not come, neither shall it be so.” (ASV, 1901)

High places” are areas of worship dedicated to idol worship, which were elevated above ground, or on raised altars in low lands such as a valley (Numbers 33:52; Leviticus 26:30). This was especially practiced among the Moabites (Isaiah 16:12). These shrines often included an altar, and a sacred object, such as a stone pillar or wooden pole in various shapes representing the object of worship (for example, animals, stars and planets, goddesses, and fertility deities). They were elaborately adorned. The words in verse 16 imply that the shrines upon “the high places” were adorned with multi-colored tapestries, much like that of a Persian carpet. The hangings, or carpets were the harlot women’s bed in the Proverbs designed to attract men to her house:

 

Proverbs 7:16-17

16I have spread my couch with carpets of tapestry, With striped cloths of the yarn of Egypt. 17I have perfumed my bed With myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.” (ASV, 1901)

Ezekiel 16:16 closes with “the like things shall not come, neither shall it be so.” Essentially God is saying this behavior is not proper, and should NOT be done.

God’s Gifts Given To Idolatry

 

Ezekiel 16:17-19

 17Thou didst also take thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest for thee images of men, and didst play the harlot with them; 18and thou tookest thy broidered garments, and coveredst them, and didst set mine oil and mine incense before them 19My bread also which I gave thee, fine flour, and oil, and honey, wherewith I fed thee, thou didst even set it before them for a sweet savor; and thus it was, saith the Lord Jehovah.” (ASV, 1901)

The very blessings that God had given the Jews were made into objects of their unnatural, raging sexual lust. They made phallic symbols out of gold and silver. Isaiah mentions autoerotic activity with cast metal phallic objects (Isaiah 57:8). Jerusalem was given over to sexual idolatry of the worst type. Additional disdain for the gifts from God included taking the embroidered clothes and putting them on the metal images of foreign gods and phallic symbols. This practice was done in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, and Jerusalem was essentially just “doing what everyone else does” (II Kings 23:7). In addition, they took the provisions of fine flour, olive oil, and honey and offered it before these non-gods, as if they could actually provide for them as Jehovah God had done (Hosea 2:8).

Killing The Children

 

Sacrifice of Jephthah's Daughter by Rombout Van Troyen Cir. 1643

Sacrifice of Jephthah’s Daughter by Rombout Van Troyen Cir. 1643

Ezekiel 16:20-21

20Moreover thou hast taken thy sons and thy daughters, whom thou hast borne unto me, and these hast thou sacrificed unto them to be devoured. Were thy whoredoms a small matter, 21that thou hast slain my children, and delivered them up, in causing them to pass through the fire unto them.” (ASV, 1901)

Worse of all was their offering up their own children as human sacrifices to these idols of stone and wood adorned with jewels and elaborate tapestries. How deluded they had become to kill their own children! The practice gradually crept into the Nation Israel, and by Ezekiel’s time, child sacrifice was practiced openly in Jerusalem (II Kings 21:6; Jeremiah 7:30–31; 32:35). God asks, “Was your harlotry not enough that you slaughtered my children and made them pass through the fire for the idols?” In other words, He asks, “Your actions were heartbreaking enough, but did you have to include our children, too?” The practice of child sacrifice to the pagan god Molech included a ritualized slaughter followed by burning the bodies to ashes (II Kings 23:10; Leviticus 18:21; 20:2–5). Sometimes they just cast the infants into the red-hot ovens while they were still alive. God calls these children “my children” since all children are God’s. This phrase “my children” specifically meant either the first-born son, or a son older than an infant, who was going to be devoted to God in studying to be a priest.

How Soon They Forgot

Ezekiel 16:22

22And in all thine abominations and thy whoredoms thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, when thou wast naked and bare, and wast weltering in thy blood.” (ASV, 1901)

 

They did not remember all the acts of kindness that the great God of the Universe had given to them. Out of all the world’s population He had chosen them, and they were to be a demonstration of what He would do if only the world would turn to Him in love and obedience. He was kind to them in Egypt. Even though He knew what they would do to Him in disobedience, He brought them out of Egypt and into the Promise Land.

The spiritual adultery that will characterize the end of the Church age will be even greater than that of Jerusalem during this time. It will be practiced worldwide, in spite of the Messiah has been here offering salvation to those who will believe in him as their Saviour. The apostasy of ancient Israel will not compare to the rising of the final apostasy in which Satan’s chosen man, the Anti-Christ, will demand and receive the worship that rightly belongs to the Lord. The Antichrist’s characteristics are apparent in our present day, ultra prideful leaders who embody the man of sin. When he arrives, it will be the consummation of the greatest departure from, and defiance towards God, the world has ever seen, and will result in a judgment that also will be greater than what the Jews have ever suffered.

All Her Wickedness

Ezekiel 16:23-24

23And it is come to pass after all thy wickedness, (woe, woe unto thee! saith the Lord Jehovah) 24that thou hast built unto thee a vaulted place, and hast made thee a lofty place in every street (ASV, 1901).

God’s response was to cry, “woe, woe” to Israel, and is an expression of lament and horror that was given just prior to a disaster. God was horrified that they would not listen to His prophets, but increased their places of sinning. He says that because you were disloyal to Me, you will once again become naked and forsaken as you were in the days I called you out of the abandonment where I found you. Jerusalem developed an ever-increasing lust for idols. Her harlotry moved from the “high places” to the common places as shrines to foreign gods were erected at every location and on every street.

The Degree of Sin

 

Ezekiel 16:25

25Thou hast built thy lofty place at the head of every way, and hast made thy beauty an abomination, and hast opened thy feet to every one that passed by, and multiplied thy whoredom (ASV, 1901).

Now God says that they desecrated their holiness and opened their legs, or “feet” to every one that passed by. (In Hebrew leg and feet are both called regalime). This is an obvious expression of flaunting their lewdness in offering their spiritual fornication to everyone. It reflects their shameless abandon of going after idols and the open sexual behavior associated with it. The Israelites sought this out, and courted them all to increase her harlotry. The “multiplication of her whoredom” means the idolatrous nations yielded to her, and gave nothing in return. She had yielded so much that, like a worn-out prostitute, her tempters became weary of her.

Fornication With Neighbors

 

Ezekiel 16:26-29

26Thou hast also committed fornication with the Egyptians, thy neighbors, great of flesh; and hast multiplied thy whoredom, to provoke me to anger. 27Behold therefore, I have stretched out my hand over thee, and have diminished thine ordinary food, and delivered thee unto the will of them that hate thee, the daughters of the Philistines, that are ashamed of thy lewd way. 28Thou hast played the harlot also with the Assyrians, because thou wast insatiable; yea, thou hast played the harlot with them, and yet thou wast not satisfied. 29Thou hast moreover multiplied thy whoredom unto the land of traffic, unto Chaldea; and yet thou wast not satisfied herewith (ASV, 1901).

 

Her desire for idolatry drove her to seek out “lovers” other than her husband to satisfy her lust. Her whoredoms included Egypt (v. 26), Assyria (v. 28), and Babylon (v. 29). The fact that God mentions these nations implies not only Jerusalem’s desire for new foreign gods to worship, but also her foreign intrigues and alliances started by King Solomon continued and expanded under subsequent kings after the kingdom split in two.

The Jew’s desire for spiritual fornication with the Egyptians was not just for carnal desire. God says that they wanted to intentionally provoke Him to anger. He brought famine upon them as a result of their attitude toward Him such as in the days of the Judges (Ruth 1:1). Jerusalem’s abominations became so great that the daughters of the Philistines became ashamed of her lewd way. They “played the harlot also with the Assyrians” because they could not control their lust. Not only did they follow the basest and most corrupt idolatries that further degraded Jerusalem, but developed a corresponding moral degradation.

The Canaanites (“thy neighbors”) and the other nation’s most shameless and vilest practices of the flesh were performed in the midst of the idolatrous city. Isaiah commented on this saying, “How is the faithful city become a harlot” (Isaiah 1:21)! As is always the case with lust, it can never be satisfied as God says to them in verse 28, “and yet thou wast not satisfied.” They had made Judea as much the scene of abominations as the corrupt Canaanites, and the land had become utterly Canaanitish. They were dragging these practices with them on the road to “Chaldea”, or Babylon.

The Magnitude of Wickedness

Ezekiel 16:30-34

30How weak is thy heart, saith the Lord Jehovah, seeing thou doest all these things, the work of an impudent harlot; 31in that thou buildest thy vaulted place at the head of every way, and makest thy lofty place in every street, and hast not been as a harlot, in that thou scornest hire 32A wife that committeth adultery! that taketh strangers instead of her husband! 33They give gifts to all harlots; but thou givest thy gifts to all thy lovers, and bribest them, that they may come unto thee on every side for thy whoredoms. 34And thou art different from other women in thy whoredoms, in that none followeth thee to play the harlot; and whereas thou givest hire, and no hire is given unto thee, therefore thou art different (ASV, 1901).

Their heart has been completely cut-off from the wickedness of their ways. They were no longer able to discern good from evil. Their hearts were hardened to the point that they were ruled by lust and deceit. Normally, a harlot would down play the beautiful gifts given to her to obtain a better one, or to get more. God says the Jews however would make do with anything. Jerusalem was worse then a brazen prostitute. She was an adulterous wife as well as a prostitute because she preferred strangers to her own husband. Jerusalem was a corrupt spiritual adulterer. She had even resorted to paying bribes (rather than receiving a fee) to get the attention that earlier had been lavishly bestowed on her. Such a reversal showed her debased preference to idolatry and foreign alliances. As she left God and His protective laws, He then withheld His blessings that He had so freely given to them in earlier days.

Normally one would expect nations to be loyal to their own gods and denigrate the gods of another nation. Israel rejected their own God by denigrating Him and following after the gods of the nations surrounding them. The stress in this verse is the depravity of Israel in comparison to the nations that they chose to follow. Instead of realizing her sin and returning to the true God, she sought out still more gods and offered larger “bribes” to induce these other gods to bless her. Jerusalem was squandering her wealth on things that could not begin to bless her as the true God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had done. Israel prostituted herself, not merely for any small reward without demanding more, but for “no reward.”

Daniel E. Woodhead

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God’s Grace –Jerusalem’s Unfaithfulness Part I The Rejected Orphan Marries The King

The Feast of Esther by Jan Livens Cir 1625

The Feast of Esther by Jan Livens Cir 1625

In the sixteenth chapter of the book of Ezekiel God gives Ezekiel a parable to share with both the Jews in Babylon, and those who will be coming from Jerusalem after Nebuchadnezzar invades them for the final time in 586 B.C.. This is a very long message of sixty-three verses, and the central theme can be divided into are six sections:

  1. The rejected orphan who marries the king (Ezekiel 16:1-14).
  2. The queen who became a harlot (Ezekiel 16:15-34).
  3. The harlot who becomes a convict (Ezekiel 16:35-43).
  4. The convict who became a “proverb” (Ezekiel 16:44-52).
  5. The convict and her sisters repent (Ezekiel 16:53-58).
  6. The convict is saved, cleansed and restored (Ezekiel 16:59-63).

This lengthy parable can be viewed as God holding up a mirror to the Jews so they can see themselves as He sees them. The grace of God is met with ingratitude, indifference and abomination. It is similar to the story of Hosea and Gomer (Hosea 1-3).

The effectiveness of a parable lies in the abstract manner it uses to describe a direct condemnation to the recipient, and at the same time subtlety which lets them know the thrust of the message is directed at them. Jesus used about forty-six parables in His teachings because of their effectiveness in conveying a concept. In the following example of an effective parable, the prophet Nathan came to King David and caused him to realize the depth of his sin with Bathsheba towards God:

Unknown

II Samuel 12:1-10

1And Jehovah sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. 2The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds; 3but the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own morsel, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. 4And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him, but took the poor man’s lamb, and (killed) dressed it for the man that was come to him. 5And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As Jehovah liveth, the man that hath done this is worthy to die: 6and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity. 7And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. (ASV, 1901)

The Orphan

Ezekiel 16:1-3

1Again the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, 2Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations; 3and say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah unto Jerusalem: Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of the Canaanite; the Amorite was thy father, and thy mother was a Hittite (ASV, 1901).

The first section of the parable is covered in verses 1-14. Ezekiel is again told to let Jerusalem know the depth of her abominations. We read this in the text that says, “cause Jerusalem to know her abominations.” The Hebrew text uses the verb form for “know” that indicates the intensity of the message God is telling Ezekiel to convey to the Jewish people. Ezekiel used the parable as the most effective way to cause them to listen to what God had to say. God does not just want Ezekiel to let them know, He wants Ezekiel to make sure they know.

God starts the parable by saying Jerusalem was like an orphan of a mixed union. She came from a pagan land called Canaan, had an Amorite as a father and a Hittite as a mother. This lineage of an Amorite and a Hittite had nothing to offer this child other than a pagan influence. Under the leadership of Joshua, seven Canaanite nations were driven out of their territory before God’s covenant people could live in there. As the newborn nation grows, it will be influenced by the social and cultural practices of the people around them. Gradually there was nothing in Israel’s manner of living that distinguished it from the pagan, sinful Canaanites. Eventually, after 820 years, they became just like the despicable nations they replaced in every aspect of their behavior.

Jerusalem Became an Orphan

Ezekiel 16:4-5

4And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to cleanse thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. 5No eye pitied thee, to do any of these things unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, for that thy person was abhorred, in the day that thou wast born (ASV, 1901).

The story continues with the story of an infant girl who was abandoned by her parents at birth. She is found dirty and neglected, which indicates she was rejected and possibly hated. She is left to die in an open field. God describes the proper birth practices that nobody did for her, such as cleaning a newborn with salt, water, and oil, and then wrapping the baby in cloth strips. Without the proper care she is facing certain death. Israel is portrayed as a female baby, abandoned at birth with no one to care for or have pity on her helplessness. This parable also describes the city of Jerusalem’s birth in a Canaanite nation that was basically spiritually vacant of any reverence towards God.

Ezekiel 16:6

6And when I passed by thee, and saw thee weltering in thy blood, I said unto thee, Though thou art in thy blood, live; yea, I said unto thee, Though thou art in thy blood, live.” (ASV, 1901).

Now the King says, “I” (this means God since He is giving this narrative) was passing by and sees her wallowing in the placental blood of her birth. He says to her that even though you are in a pagan land, I will cause you to live. This represents a “word picture” of the family of Jacob (also called Israel) being taken to Egypt as the result of a famine. There they would be able to live in safety and security under their brother, Joseph, the prime minister.

Israel Thrives and Grows

Ezekiel 16:7

7I caused thee to multiply as that which groweth in the field, and thou didst increase and wax great, and thou attainedst to excellent ornament; thy breasts were fashioned, and thy hair was grown; yet thou wast naked and bare (ASV, 1901).

The first part of this verse describes how the baby infant, Israel, would thrive within a Egypt’s favorable environment. She flourished like sprouts in a field reminding the Jews of how God “grew” them in Egypt. Seventy people in Jacob’s family went to live in Egypt, and four hundred years later Moses led out a nation with 603,550 males over twenty years of age (Numbers 1:46). Since this number did not include the Levites, or the women and children, the total population was conservatively closer to 1,300,000. They had truly become a nation in the sense of size when they were led out of Egypt in the Exodus.

The parable continues with a description of a baby who grows up into a young adult woman. She has a fully developed body, the developed breasts and growing hair represents spiritual maturity. Yet, she is described as “naked and bare”. What does this mean? It means that even though the Nation Israel had grown and matured as a nation, had seen the Shekinah Glory, and were protected by God in the first Passover, they still did not have His commandments, therefore were “naked and bare” in a spiritual sense. They were mature enough to understand spiritual desires, but had not yet committed themselves to God. The importance of having and following the commandments of God, or the Mosaic Law, will be explained using the marriage relationship next.

The King Takes His Bride

The Wedding of Marie de' Medici to King Henri IV By Rubens Cir 1622-25

The Wedding of Marie de’ Medici to King Henri IV By Peter Paul Rubens Cir 1622-25

Ezekiel 16:8

8Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord Jehovah, and thou becamest mine.” (ASV, 1901)

Now God declares that with this maturity, it was time for the young woman to become the wife of Adonai. So, in His love for her, He performed the ancient ritual of “spreading the corner of His garment” over her claiming her for His bride. This ritual is explained in the book of Ruth. Ruth comes to Boaz, her kinsman redeemer, and asks him to spread the skirt of his garment over her, by which she is saying that she wants to be under his protection as his wife. He complies, and accepts the offer as her kinsman redeemer and husband (Ruth 3:9).

Similarly here God says “I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord Jehovah, and thou becamest mine.” The Nation Israel now belongs to God when the marriage ceremony took place at Mount Sinai, in which the entire corpus of the Mosaic Law (actually containing 613 commandments) was ratified (or made official) by two blood covenants. The covenants were the Passover offering, and circumcision. Now the marriage is complete, and the Nation Israel has become the wife of Jehovah.

The Ritual of The Marriage

Ezekiel 16:9-12

9Then washed I thee with water; yea, I thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil. 10I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with sealskin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and covered thee with silk. (ASV, 1901)

Continuing with the parable, God says He washed her “with water”, which washed away the blood and anointed her with “oil”. Then He clothed her with fine garments, of “sealskin”, “fine linen” and “silk”. These represent the loving care and adornment He provides for His wife whom He loves. When Israel received the Mosaic Law, she was also given the Tabernacle where God would meet with the Nation Israel. It was adorned in a similar manner:

Tabernacle Cutaway from divinerevleations.info

Tabernacle Cutaway from divinerevleations.info

Exodus 26:1

1 Moreover thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains; of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, with cherubim the work of the skilful workman shalt thou make them.” (ASV, 1901)

Exodus 26:14

14And thou shalt make a covering for the tent of rams’ skins dyed red, and a covering of sealskins above.” (ASV, 1901)

Exodus 26:29-30

29And thou shalt overlay the boards with gold, and make their rings of gold for places for the bars: and thou shalt overlay the bars with gold. 30And thou shalt rear up the tabernacle according to the fashion thereof, which hath been showed thee in the mount.” (ASV, 1901)

Ezekiel 16:11-12

11And I decked thee with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. 12And I put a ring upon thy nose, and ear-rings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thy head.” (ASV, 1901)

The adornments described here are part of God, the King, ceremonially claiming Israel as His bride, and puts “a beautiful crown” on her head to signify that she is now His Queen.

Queen Elizabeth I Cir. 1588 Artist Unknown.

Queen Elizabeth I Cir. 1588 Artist Unknown.

The gifting of jewelry is important because it was part of the process by which a young woman accepted an offer of marriage, and shows that the two families have agreed upon the union. For example, Abraham’s servant claimed Rebecca to be Isaac’s bride by adorning her with jewelry:

Genesis 24:47-53

47And I asked her, and said, Whose daughter art thou? And she said, The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bare unto him: and I put the ring upon her nose, and the bracelets upon her hands. 48And I bowed my head, and worshipped Jehovah, and blessed Jehovah, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me in the right way to take my master’s brother’s daughter for his son. 49And now if ye will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me: and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand, or to the left. 50Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from Jehovah: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good. 51Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master’s son’s wife, as Jehovah hath spoken. 52And it came to pass, that, when Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed himself down to the earth unto Jehovah. 53And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things.” (ASV, 1901)

The Blessing of The Nation Israel is Complete

Ezekiel 16:13-14

13Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil; and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper unto royal estate. 14And thy renown went forth among the nations for thy beauty; for it was perfect, through my majesty, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord Jehovah (ASV, 1901).

The final blessing of the woman is complete. She is completely adorned with all the finest raiment, jewels, silk and embroidered work. She eats the finest food and has matured into a lovely woman who was exceedingly beautiful. She had become prosperous, and her renown went forth among the other nations. She had become the queen to the King whose “majesty” made her “perfect”.

Israel was the orphan who became a queen. All the figures used in the parable so far were reminders of the providential care God gave Israel from the time of Abraham, to nationhood, and forward. The city of Jerusalem became exceedingly beautiful, and prospered into a kingdom. The city’s renown went forth among the nations on account of her beauty. It is generally agreed that King Solomon was the wisest and wealthiest man who has ever lived. All this is a striking allegory of Jehovah’s mercy to Jerusalem, and the culmination refers to the days of the glorious kingdom under King Solomon. In fact, the Queen of Sheba had to see the splendor of Solomon’s empire for herself:

I Kings 10:6-7

6 And she said to the king, “The report was true that I heard in my own land of your words and of your wisdom, 7 but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it. And behold, the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report that I heard (ESV).

The Queen of Sheba before Solomon by Nicolaes Knüpfer Cir 1640

The Queen of Sheba before Solomon by Nicolaes Knüpfer Cir 1640

Jehovah had done all this for her, and not a word of gratitude or love came back to God, the King, from His Queen who represented the Jews and Jerusalem.

 

Daniel E. Woodhead

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Why Did Jesus Have to Come?

Introduction

 

The Holy Family With Angels Rembrandt Cir 1645

The Holy Family With Angels Rembrandt Cir 1645

There are three main reasons Jesus Christ, the son of God and the second person of the Trinity, had to come onto the earth as a human being:

  1. Cleanse the sin from the Heavenly Tabernacle of God.
  2. Cleanse the sin from the earth.
  3. Fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant with the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom.

Reason One

The Cherubim have the most prominent role of all the created heavenly beings because:

  • They are the closest to God in His heavenly throne room.
  • They surround God in all His glory.
  • They play a prominent role at God’s command in the Third Heaven, which is outside time and space.

We have seen them in Ezekiel chapter 1, and in Ezekiel chapter 10 they are lifting God’s physical manifestation (the Shekinah Glory) up out of the Temple in Jerusalem. They are also seen in the heavenly Throne Room of God in several passages of the Book of Revelation (Revelation 4:6-9; 6:1,3,5-7). The highest of the Cherubim was called in Hebrew Hallal, and is translated into Latin as “Lucifer” or “Daystar, son of the morning”.

Sin began in heaven with Lucifer when he desired to usurp God’s authority. Due to his rebellion his name was changed to Satan, which is Hebrew for “adversary”. Satan was not created evil. Instead of remaining the special Cherub overshadowing the Throne of God, he now wished to become the one on the Throne, or God Himself. As a result of this behavior, his sin polluted the Heavenly Tabernacle of God. The earthly Tabernacle, and later the Temple in Jerusalem, are important because they were built according to God’s directions, and “serve as a copy and shadow” of His Heavenly Tabernacle here on earth. (Hebrews 8:5). They are also where God resided on the earth in the midst of His chosen people, the Nation Israel.

Tabernacle Cutaway from divinerevleations.info

Tabernacle Cutaway from divinerevleations.info

 

Christ said He saw Satan fall from Heaven (Luke 10:18), and Isaiah says:

Isaiah 14:12-14

12How are you fallen from heaven, O day-star, son of the morning! how are you cut down to the ground, that did lay low the nations! 13And you said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; and I will sit upon the mount of congregation, in the uttermost parts of the north; 14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High (ASV, 1901).

He said, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God”, and whenever the word “stars” is used, it symbolically represents angels. With the second “I will”, he declared his desire to become the sole authority over all the angels that God had created. By so doing, he intended to depose Michael from his position and become the Archangel all by himself (Daniel 10:13). These “I wills” resulted from the pride of Satan that caused him to lead a revolt against God. He also drew one-third of the innumerable angelic host in Heaven into the rebellion with him (Hebrews 12:22; Revelation, 12:3-9). It is presumed that these “fallen angels” became the demons. From that point on there has been a war in Heaven as described in Revelation 12:7-9:

 Angels and Demons or Angel of Light     © George Grie,  March 2008

Revelation 12:7-9

“7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (KJV)

Reason Two

After God created the heavens and the earth as described in Genesis 1:1, Satan indwelled a serpent in the Garden of Eden. In this form he caused our first parents, Adam and Eve, to violate God’s Word, and that brought sin into the world. So there now are essentially two “Falls”: the first was Satan and his angels from Heaven, and second was Adam and Eve on the earth. Now the Heavenly Tabernacle (Reason 1) and the earth (Reason 2) both required cleansing from the sin of Satan and his demonic forces.

Christ’s cleansing of the heavenly Tabernacle that is clearly affirmed in the Epistle to the Hebrews is not developed very much in the rest of the Bible. We have seen that sin, which is alienation from God, did not begin on earth but in Heaven. There was sin in heaven before there was sin on earth. The rebellious demons led by Satan instruct and encourage men to rebel against God. Heaven was still infected by vestiges of that demonic rebellion prior to Christ’s cleansing of it. A particularly difficult aspect for us to understand of that contamination was Satan’s ability to stand before the Almighty as man’s Accuser (Job 1:11; 2:15; Zechariah 3:1; Luke 33:21; 1 Peter 5:8). The Bible assures us that this situation will end. We have our protection in Christ Jesus, the Jewish Messiah from his accusations, and someday he will no longer be able to even make accusations:

Revelation 12:10-11

10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death (KJV).

Hebrews 9:23-28

23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: 25 nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; 26 for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

When we consider the reasons that the Lord Jesus came to earth, the most important one is for the salvation of this earth and mankind. Because of the sin that our first parents Adam and Eve brought into the world, God said that He would send a redeemer to correct this event. God made a covenant with Adam immediately after the Fall from the Garden of Eden when God declared to Adam what man’s life would be like now that sin is in the world. The conditions of this covenant will exist until the Messianic Kingdom Age (Romans 8:21).

This covenant is unconditional which means there is no appeal, and there are no human conditions or responsibility involved. Mankind has no personal activity requirement, for example, if you do this, then I (God) will do that. The outcome of the arrangement is entirely based on God and His sovereign control. Elements of the covenant are the cursing of the serpent used by Satan (Genesis 3:14; Romans 16:20; 2 Corinthians 11:3, 14; Revelation 12:9), and the promise of a Redeemer (Genesis 3:15).

Because of the two “Falls” (first in in Heaven and then on earth) both locations have received the curse of God. The most significant curse was the “spiritual death” that Adam and Eve experienced “on the day they ate of the fruit.” This death was a break in the relationship they had enjoyed with God Himself while in the Garden and which caused them to be removed from the Garden. Cherubim, with a flame and swords that turned in every direction, was placed at the entrance to the Garden of Eden as a testimonial to covenantal restriction of Adam and Eve ever being allowed there again, and to guard the Tree of Life that was within the Garden (Genesis 3:24). Also according to the covenant, God made specific promises to bring the Lord Jesus, who would cleanse the Heavenly Tabernacle and make an end to sin on the earth (Genesis 3:15). Without Jesus’s sacrifice mankind has no access to Heaven upon death.

The fact that the Messiah had to come is well attested to in Scripture which starts with the foundational verse of Genesis 3:15:

Genesis 3:15

15And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel (KJV).

One unique aspect of the Scriptures is the prophecies and their validated fulfillment at later times throughout the long chronology of the Bible’s story. These alone attest to the Scripture’s validity. Christ, after He was risen, explained many of the prophecies in the Bible and the fact that He had to die in order to accomplish the task He was to sent to do (Luke 24: 25-27). He is called the “Lamb of God” that takes away the sins of the world for a reason (John 1:29). Christ’s first advent is well prophesied in Scripture. Some of those are:

500px-Gethsemane_Carl_Bloch

God Would Provide Himself A Sacrifice.

Introduced in Genesis 22:8 and fulfilled in John 19: 17-18.

He would be born in Bethlehem in the region of Ephrathah.

Introduced in Micah 5: 2 and fulfilled in Matthew 2: 1-5.

He would be the Son of God

Introduced in Psalm 2: 7 and fulfilled in John 3: 16-17.

He would be born into the Hebrew tribe of Judah

Genesis 49: 10 and fulfilled in Hebrews 7: 14.

He would be born of a virgin

Introduced in Isaiah 7: 14 and fulfilled in Matthew 1: 18-22.

He would be a prophet like Moses

Introduced in Deuteronomy 18: 15 and fulfilled in John 7: 15-17.

He would be the king of Israel

Introduced in Zechariah 9: 9 and fulfilled in John 12: 12-15.

He would be rejected

Introduced in Isaiah 53: 3 and fulfilled in John 1: 11.

He would be beaten

Introduced In Micah 5: 1 and fulfilled in Mark 15: 19.

He would be silent during his interrogation

Introduced in Isaiah 53: 7 and fulfilled in Matthew 27: 12-14.

He would be betrayed

Introduced in Psalm 41: 9 and fulfilled in Mark 14: 17-20.

He would be tried and condemned

Introduced in Isaiah 53: 8 and fulfilled Matthew 27: 1-2.

He would be crucified

Introduced in Psalm 22: 16 and fulfilled in John 19: 17-18.

His garments would be divided

Introduced in Psalm 22: 18 and fulfilled in John 19: 23-24.

He would be given gall and vinegar

Introduced in Psalm 69: 21 and fulfilled in John 19: 28-29.

His bones would not be broken

Introduced in Exodus 12: 46 and fulfilled in John 19: 31-36.

He is our sacrifice

Introduced in Isaiah 53: 5-6 and fulfilled in I Peter 2: 24-25.

He was raised from the dead

Introduced in Psalm 16: 10 and fulfilled in Luke 24: 1-7 and 47.

The resurrection of Christ is the most significant event in all of world history. It provides a remedy for the “Falls” that we have seen which came into Heaven and the earth as a result of the sin caused and originated by Satan. If one truly believes in the historical facts of the Gospel, and is regenerated, one is granted eternal life through the finished work of Jesus of Nazareth (Romans 6:23; Titus 3: 5). The gospel is clearly presented in several places in Scripture. None are clearer than I Corinthians 15:

1 Corinthians 15: 1-4

1Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures,” (KJV). 

Reason Three

This is not the end of Christ’s work. God made a covenant with a man named Abraham, who the Bible calls the first Hebrew (Genesis 14:13). The Messianic Kingdom will be the final fulfillment of God’s covenant with Abraham, and is the third reason Christ had to come to earth as a man. The Messianic Kingdom will happen after the seven year Great Tribulation is conducted by Jesus (Revelation 5).  The purposes of the Great Tribulation are to make and end of sin, to conduct the greatest evangelistic effort the world has ever seen, and to bring the Jewish people (as a nation) to national regeneration through belief in their Messiah.

 

The chief characteristics of the Mosaic system were law and obedience.  The chief characteristics of the present system, also called the Church age, are belief and grace.  The chief characteristics of the Messianic Kingdom will be peace and righteousness (Isaiah 2.1-5, 11.1-10; Jeremiah 23.5-8).  Other characteristics of the Messianic Kingdom are long life, perfect environment, and wealth.

 

There are many verses in the Old Testament prophesying the Messianic Kingdom.  The orthodox Jews have long awaited it, and the Jews, who have not accepted Jesus as their Messiah, believe that He (their Messiah) will appear to set up the Messianic Kingdom. Some Old Testament references to the Kingdom are listed below:

 

  • Isaiah 52:1 Jerusalem will be pure and no longer trodden down by the Gentiles (uncircumcised and unclean ones).
  • Isaiah 60:3 Gentiles with their leaders will serve the Jews.
  • Psalm 15:1-5 People in the Kingdom will possess a kind of righteousness.
  • Isaiah 11:6-9 Universal peace will be prevalent and the world’s animals will be at peace with each other and be vegetarians.
  • Isaiah 65:17-25 Here Isaiah describes the Messianic Kingdom’s new heaven and new earth, which is actually a renovation of the earth as we know it now. (This is not a description of the eternal order, which will be a complete new order to the heavens an earth described in Revelation 21-22.)
  • Micah 4:1-5 Jehovah’s house in the Messianic Kingdom becomes a center of attention with Messianic teaching and the absence of war and universal peace.

 

Peace By William Sttrutt Cir 1896 depicting Isaiah 11:6-7

Peace By William Sttrutt Cir 1896 depicting Isaiah 11:6-7

It was this Messianic Kingdom that John the Baptizer proclaimed when he said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2).  Jesus proclaimed the same message that John had begun, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).  While the nation of Israel rejected their Messiah and His coming kingdom after Jesus’ crucifixion, the disciples continued to expect it to come. Right before His ascension the disciples said, “And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, ‘Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?’ “ (Acts 1:6).  Jesus replied that He could not reveal this knowledge.  Jesus did not reject the idea of the Messianic Kingdom or spiritualize it. He simply discussed it and His answer affirmed the prophetic Scriptures, but He just could not reveal the timetable.  All the prophecies in the Old Testament related to the Messiah’s first advent have literally been fulfilled, therefore we can expect that the prophecies related to the Messiah and His Kingdom will also be literally fulfilled.  Some New Testament references to the Kingdom are:

 

  • Mark 1:15 – “the kingdom of God is at hand.”
  • Luke 17:20, 21 – “the kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed… behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
  • John 3:3 – unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
  •  Romans 14:17 – “the kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
  • Matthew 3:2; 4:17 – “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
  • Matthew 5:3,10 – “theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
  • Matthew 5:19,20 – “enter the kingdom of heaven.”
  • Ephesians 5:5 – “inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”
  • Colossians 1:13 – “the kingdom of His beloved Son.”
  • II Peter 1:11 – “eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”
  • Matthew 6:33 – “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness…”
  • John 18:36 – “My kingdom is not of this world/realm.”
  • Acts 20:25 – “went about preaching the kingdom.”

 

Jesus taught His apostles to pray: “Thy Kingdom come Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). The Messianic Kingdom is coming, and He let them know that the when the Messianic Kingdom comes upon earth, it would mirror God’s heavenly Kingdom. This was to be sometime yet future to the time of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), and to the time of Acts 1:6-7. With the world in increasingly worse turmoil we can say that the Messianic Kingdom has not yet arrived, and it is still yet future to us.

Conclusion

These are the reasons that Jesus had to come. He had to die to fulfill God’s requirement of justice for payment for sin.

 

Christmas is the time when the world celebrates His arrival on earth. We must be assured that He came to save us from our sins. God loves us so much that He gave us Himself as a gift to a fallen and sinful world. He has also promised to return. We look for His return……..

 

John 3:16

 

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (KJV)

 

The Birth of Christ by Sandro Fillpepi Botticelli Cir. 1500

The Birth of Christ by Sandro Fillpepi Botticelli Cir. 1500

 

Daniel E. Woodhead

 

 

 

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Doom To Ancient Judah For Sin – Can America Be Far Behind?

In this passage of Scripture God Tells the Jews through the prophet Ezekiel that He has had enough of their sins. He goes on to tell them that doom is coming upon Jerusalem and all the land of Israel. Seeing how God only tolerates sin in a nation for so long before He brings judgment, we must ask: Can America’s judgment be coming soon? 

Ezekiel Told To Alert The Idolaters to What is Coming

 

 

Massacre of the Innocents by Peter Paul Rubens 1610

Massacre of the Innocents by Peter Paul Rubens 1610

Ezekiel 6:11

11Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Smite with thy hand, and stamp with thy foot, and say, Alas! because of all the evil abominations of the house of Israel; for they shall fall by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence (ASV, 1901).

Now the Lord commands Ezekiel to proceed with His judgment upon Israel with a strong gesture to alert them to what is coming. He says to Ezekiel, “Smite with thy hand, and stamp with thy foot,”         which is a known way to alert others for mourning or rejoicing. In Hebrew it is better translated as “Pound with your hand and stamp with your foot”. Smiting (clapping) hands together, was a sign of rejoicing (2 Kings 11:12; Psalms 98:8) or mockery (Job 27:23; Lamentations 2:15; Ezekiel 21:14, 17; 22:13; 25:6, “clapped your hands”; Nahum 3:19). The phrase here was a symbol of contemptuous ridicule ending the idolatry (cf. Ezekiel 25:6). The clapping of the hands was also a custom of the paid Jewish mourners. Stamping ones foot is also a common symbol for ending some undesirable activity by the person with authority. One says, “he put his foot down over that activity, essentially ending it.” This illustration punctuates and sets the tone for the admonition what follows. God now tells Ezekiel that the decision has been made in the divine councils and now “they shall fall by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence.”  There is no turning back and no repentance will be effective. The decision to carry out God’s vengeance has been made. This seems to be true of America. We don’t turn from sin, we nationalize it.

Who Will Die of What Means?

Ezekiel 6:12

12He that is far off shall die of the pestilence; and he that is near shall fall by the sword; and he that remaineth and is besieged shall die by the famine: thus will I accomplish my wrath upon them (ASV, 1901).

God in His earnestness of following through on what He has prophecied through Ezekiel made a decree. The three judgments, sword, famine, and pestilence, are divided between those far off, nearby, and any who are left. The swords of the Babylonian army will get many after they starved the city through a blockade. Pestilence always follows war. With no food and war wounds disease follows. Obviously, this judgment includes everybody. There was now no way for the people to escape the wrath of God when they continued their wicked practices after sufficient warning. It would only be when these judgments overwhelmed them that they would realize the extent of their depravity and God’s holiness. This might have been an irksome task for Ezekiel to keep repeating these warnings. The constant flow of warnings to the Jews left them without excuse for the results of their abdominal practices.

The Realization Will Come to Israel

Ezekiel 6:13-14

13And ye shall know that I am Jehovah, when their slain men shall be among their idols round about their altars, upon every high hill, on all the tops of the mountains, and under every green tree, and under every thick oak, the places where they offered sweet savor to all their idols. 14And I will stretch out my hand upon them, and make the land desolate and waste, from the wilderness toward Diblah, throughout all their habitations: and they shall know that I am Jehovah (ASV, 1901). 

 

Parthian Warriors Artist Unknown

Parthian Warriors Artist Unknown

God now clearly states that the entire nation will know who God is when they see all the dead among the idols surrounding the pagan altars. This is His Royal Seal of the events to be conducted very soon. The place of their death will be exactly where they offered incense and their adoration to the idols. God is using the place where they worshipped in abominable adoration to the Canaanite occultic gods to be the death ground for the Jews. The desolation will extend from the southern wilderness (around Beersheba) to Riblah, near the northern border of modern Lebanon. Riblah was where Zedekiah the king was captured fleeing. He was captured by Nebuchadnezzar at Riblah, and there his eyes were blinded after his children were killed (2 Kings 25:5, 7; Jeremiah 39:6–7; 52:8–11, 26–27). Riblah is a city on the Orontes River in Syria. The text says Diblah. There is no mention of a city named Diblah in Judah. However, it is probably meant to be Riblah due to the similarities of the Hebrew letter for R is resh (ר) and D is dalet (ד). A Scribe could easily have copied these in error.

The Babylonian Invasion is Near

Ezekiel 7:1-4

Moreover the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, 2And thou, son of man, thus saith the Lord Jehovah unto the land of Israel, An end: the end is come upon the four corners of the land. 3Now is the end upon thee, and I will send mine anger upon thee, and will judge thee according to thy ways; and I will bring upon thee all thine abominations. 4And mine eye shall not spare thee, neither will I have pity; but I will bring thy ways upon thee, and thine abominations shall be in the midst of thee: and ye shall know that I am Jehovah (ASV, 1901)

 

Jerusalem under attack by Titus Vespasian Artist Poussin 1623

Jerusalem under attack by Titus Vespasian Artist Poussin 1623

The frequency of the warnings seems to the modern reader as unnecessarily repetitious. However they were necessary to provide to all the certainty of the impending judgment of God upon the nation Israel. The pleas of their God had fallen on deaf ears. The people by and large did not care and even went so far as to characterize the true prophets as false because their message was contrary to how the people and their leaders wanted to behave. God is now saying that An end: the end is come upon the four corners of the land. No part of the land would be exempt. Interestingly God says that He will bring upon thee all thine abominations. He will no longer have pity upon Israel for her conduct and their repayment is now immanent. Israel was being repaid in a divine sense for the detestable practices she committed. God is going to repeat verses 3 and 4 in 8 & 9. In the midst of the judgment they will know that it is God who is doing this and also what it is they have done.

The Doom Will Come Upon The Land

Ezekiel 7:5-9

5Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: An evil, an only evil; behold, it cometh. 6An end is come, the end is come; it awaketh against thee; behold, it cometh. 7Thy doom is come unto thee, O inhabitant of the land: the time is come, the day is near, a day of tumult, and not of joyful shouting, upon the mountains. 8Now will I shortly pour out my wrath upon thee, and accomplish mine anger against thee, and will judge thee according to thy ways; and I will bring upon thee all thine abominations. 9And mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: I will bring upon thee according to thy ways; and thine abominations shall be in the midst of thee; and ye shall know that I, Jehovah, do smite (ASV, 1901).

Ezekiel is told to repeat what God is saying. God says, “An evil, an only evil; behold, it cometh. An end is come, the end is come; it awaketh against thee; behold, it cometh..” In saying this He means that what was about to come upon Jerusalem had no historical parallel. They had like so many today have a uniformitarian view of world events. Namely, the way things are today are as they have always been and always will be.  Many do not believe in divine judgment or that many of their activities constitute sin in God’s economy. The manner of the written warning is becoming more urgent as can see from the style of the Hebrew text. The Hebrew phrases are becoming short and choppy, and the words “coming” or “came” occur six times in verses 5–7. Ezekiel had been proclaiming, Disaster! A here-to-fore unknown disaster is coming. A sense of urgency is being conveyed. Sin had run its course and only judgment was left. There was no turning back now because God says,” Now will I shortly pour out my wrath upon thee, and accomplish mine anger against thee,” Because of the repetition of the warnings there is an element of monotonous tiring on God’s patience for the degree and volume of sins the Jews were committing against Him. Nearing the day of judgment there would be panic, not joy, upon the mountains. Those who had been leisurely practicing their idolatry on the high places (joyful shouting, upon the mountains) would be thrown into a state of apprehension when overtaken in judgment. Such is the case with the segments of the population that are without God’s Spirit living within them. During the coming Tribulation men will realize that it is God who is bringing the calamities on the earth and they will defy Him. After nearly half of mankind had been destroyed and much of the earth is ruined.

The Fourth & Fifth Bowl Judgments

Revelation 16: 8-9

8And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. 9And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory, 10 And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, 11 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds (KJV).

 

The Bowl Judgements by Pat Marvenko-Smith

The Bowl Judgements by Pat Marvenko-Smith

The fourth Trumpet judgment will destroy one-third of the light source causing a partial darkening of the earth. This judgment makes the sun hotter so that men on the earth are scorched with increased temperatures. Again those on the earth that have aligned themselves with the satanic government blaspheme God and do not repent of their sins. They will recognize that God is doing all this to them and still they will not repent. They have aligned themselves with the sins of the world and the satanic deception brought through the Antichrist. The people and especially the leaders of ancient Israel realized that the judgment coming upon them was from God and most did not care. They were in a sense blaspheming the name of God for their desired lifestyle was being interrupted and they did not like it. The fifth bowl judgment will result in the fourth blackout of the end times. The entire kingdom of the beast (Antichrist) will become dark. Only the refuge areas in the three Trans Jordanian nations where light will continue to exist. In addition to the darkness men receive a gnawing pain that causes them to blaspheme God all the more. There will be a thick darkness, which can be felt too. This parallels the plagues in Egypt (Exodus 10:21-23).

The Closeness of the Calamity

Ezekiel 7:10-13

10Behold, the day, behold, it cometh: thy doom is gone forth; the rod hath blossomed, pride hath budded. 11Violence is risen up into a rod of wickedness; none of them shall remain, nor of their multitude, nor of their wealth: neither shall there be eminency among them. 12The time is come, the day draweth near: let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn; for wrath is upon all the multitude thereof. 13For the seller shall not return to that which is sold, although they be yet alive: for the vision is touching the whole multitude thereof, none shall return; neither shall any strengthen himself in the iniquity of his life (ASV, 1901).

Mall Culture Artist Unknown

Mall Culture Artist Unknown

God still assuring the nation Israel that the doom is a foregone conclusion uses imagery of a rod or a branch that has buds appearing indication the full bloom is near in time. Most view the rod as Nebuchadnezzar and the bud as how near he was to breaking through the walls of Jerusalem to get at the people. It was his pride that carried him to desire the earth as his domain to conquer. In verse eleven the rod becomes a symbol for the judgment, which will be used to flog, the disobedient people that is, a rod of wickedness. 

God’s judgment would have a devastating effect on the economy. When it struck, none of the people would be left, none of that crowd.  Nothing of value would remain. Because of the Captivity, property and material possessions became worthless. All of the people’s personal possessions would become the property of the Babylonians. The property owners would be torn from their land and carried to Babylon. God through Ezekiel says, “let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn; for wrath is upon all the multitude thereof.” The buyer who normally rejoiced over a good business deal should not be happy because he would not be able to possess the land he had purchased. And one forced to sell his land should not grieve because he would have lost it anyway. Normally according to the Mosaic Law when land was sold in Israel, the transaction was always temporary.

Every 50 years after seven Sabbaths, during the Year of Jubilee, the property reverted to its original owners (Leviticus 25:10, 13–17). However, God’s coming judgment would prevent original owners from reclaiming their properties; they would be in exile along with the buyers. In ancient Israel, land wasn’t sold in fee simple as we are used to. This is a permanent and absolute tenure of an estate in land with freedom to dispose of it at will. Since God was the real landowner, Israel was simply a tenant under conditions of obedience. When land was “sold,” what the buyer received was only the use of the land, not clear title. There were conditions under which a kinsman of the seller could “redeem” the land back to the original family such as we see in the book of Ruth. Here Boaz performs the role of the “Kinsman-redeemer.” By his intervention, the forfeited lands are returned to Naomi. All this is according to the temporary ownership of the land under the Mosaic Law. God is the actual landowner, the fee simple holder and can assign its temporary rights to anybody He decides to. In this case it is the Babylonians. In the twentieth century after being out of the land for 1878 years (since the Roman destruction of 70 AD) God exercised His rights under the fee simple ownership and restored the Jews to the land of Israel in 1948 on the eastern banks of the Mediterranean Sea.

No human effort could hinder God from accomplishing His plan in 586 B.C. Though they would call soldiers to battle by the trumpet, no one would go into battle. Jerusalem would try to defend herself, but she would fall with little resistance to a foe with God’s force behind him.

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Joseph The Dreamer

Joseph’s Place in the Family – The Dreamer

 

Genesis 37: 2-4

2These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and he was a lad with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought the evil report of them unto their father. 3Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colors. 4And his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren; and they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him (ASV 1901).

Joseph - With The Coat of many Colors by Pietro Dandini Cir 1646-1712

Joseph – With The Coat of many Colors by Pietro Dandini Cir 1646-1712

 

The text begins by telling us that Joseph was seventeen years old. He left Paddan-Aram when he was six. During the last eleven years he lived in Succoth, Shechem and now in Hebron. Jacob was one hundred seven years old. Isaac who was still alive was now one hundred sixty seven. The text tells us that his work was that of a shepherd. He was working with his brother and half-brothers. Their ages were close together. He was out in the pasture working with the sons of his father’s concubines, Bilhah and Zilpah. The text reverses the order of the wives since Joseph would have been closer to Bilhah his mothers hand maid. Some suggest that the reference to them as wives indicates that Leah has passed as well as Rachel. The distinction though was two fold, one they were the progeny of concubinage relationships and two, Joseph was not only the first-born son of a legal wife, Rachel his mother was the much loved favorite wife of his father Jacob. The text then progresses to the statement that, Joseph brought the evil report of them unto their father. There is some depth to this statement that is not clear from the plain text of Scripture.

Ruben, the chronological first-born son of Leah and Jacob had two strong criteria     causing Jacob to remove him from the rights of the first-born in the family. First, he was the son of Leah who was hated because she was thrust on Jacob and she was not beautiful like Rachel. Second, Ruben committed incest with Bilhah his father’s concubine (Genesis 35: 22). Jacob might have had motivation to deny Reuben this position but the incest sealed it. Jacob removed him from the first-born position. Now Joseph as the first-born son of Rachel moved into the blessed position of the first-born son. So Joseph was the overseer to his brothers and found them doing some wrongdoing while he was out in the field with them. He, as the overseer, reported back to his father as required. Some say that Joseph was a tattletale. However, it was his job and genuine wrongdoing was occurring so he was acting properly. The Bereshit Rabbah says that his brothers ate limbs torn from live animals (Bereshit Rabbah 84: 7). They were engaged in some form of evil and it was not wrong for them to be reported back to Jacob. Joseph was being a faithful servant and naturally the wrong doing brothers hated him for relating their behavior to Jacob.

The texts say that, Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. The Hebrew words translated as “The Son of His old Age” is kee-ben zekunim כִּי־בֶן־זְקֻנִים   and it is an idiomatic phrase meaning, “As Son of Wisdom.” Joseph was known to have wisdom far beyond his chronological age. We see this confirmed in his willingness to do what was right in the eyes of God no matter what the circumstances were in which he found himself. Those that fear God receive His wisdom (Proverbs 2: 6 etc.).

In recognition of the status he had as first-born of the favorite wife Rachel, he was given a special coat signifying this status. This caused additional envy from his brothers. Jacob should have known better since he saw first hand from his birth family what favoritism does to the stability of the family unit. Jacob gave Joseph the coat. The Hebrew text describes it as a ketonet-passim, כְּתֹנֶת פַּסִּים that is translated as a long coat with full sleeves, a coat of royalty. The multi-colored designation came from the Septuagint (Cir. 250 B.C.), which also found its way into the Latin Vulgate (Cir. 380 AD). In Egypt the Tombs of Bene Hassein confirm this royal apparel worn by the Semites. Bene Hasan is one hundred sixty miles south of Cairo (and just north of Amarna on the map). Named after the local Bedouin tribe living there for centuries. Little of the city is left, except the rock-cut tombs in the cliffs high above the Nile’s eastern shore. Here, Egyptologists found a now-famous tomb painting, which offers important insights into the world of the Biblical Patriarchs. The Israelites went down to Egypt during a famine and stayed four hundred years. Archaeologists refer to them as Asiatics. The following is a quote from the Association for Biblical Archaeology regarding the tombs.

From The Association of Biblical Archaeology

From The Association of Biblical Archaeology

“Most immediately distinctive is the difference in clothing. While the two Egyptians wear the traditional white linen kilt, the Asiatics wear mostly multi-colored garments. Five of the men wore robes to their knees, three of them with colored cloth.  All four women wore colored robes to their ankles. Most robes (men and women) appeared to cover only one shoulder. Three of the men and the walking child wore colored kilts. With white representing the basic color of linen or wool garments, the multicolored red, white and blue would represent a considerable financial investment. In addition, the colored kilts of the last two Asiatics and the leader’s robe all seem to have fringe on the hem.”

(ABFBR http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/09/09/the-beni-hasan-asiatics-and-the-biblical-patriarchs.aspx#Article accessed on June 15, 2012)

This coat was an insignia of leadership in ancient Israel and Joseph was appointed as leader of the tribe. This coat demonstrating his leadership over them was a visible insignia provoking them to hatred. His brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren; and they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him. So they were even unable to exercise civility toward him. A closer examination of the Hebrew for “could not speak peaceably to him (velo yokhlu dabro leshalom) gives us a more accurate translation of, “they could not abide his friendly speech.” So despite his attempts at conciliatory dialogue they hated him. Joseph on the other hand seemed to be oblivious to their evil intentions toward him because he began to reveal his innermost thoughts and dreams to them. If he had any retaliatory feelings toward them he concealed them well.

Joseph the Dreamer

Genesis 37: 5-11

5And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. 6And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: 7for, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves came round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. 8And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? Or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words. 9And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it to his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed yet a dream: and, behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars made obeisance to me. 10And he told it to his father, and to his brethren; and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? 11And his brethren envied him; but his father kept the saying in mind (ASV 1901).

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

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

 

Joseph begins to relate his dream to his brethren and it accelerated their hatred for him. Any conversation of this sort implies the individual relating the dream is on intimate term with those hearing it. They obviously did not want that degree of intimacy with him and their hatred was kindled so that as he proceeded with the details of the dream they did not take it well.

He relates a dream that was obviously an illustration of some agricultural setting with his eventual ascendancy over them. Even though the dream seemed to give the impression that they were all working together, the dreams imagery of Joseph clearly shows that he would rise above them without assistance indicating his ability to withstand forces opposing him. Finally the dream’s imagery demonstrated that even though there were many opposing him they all acquiesce to him by bowing down to him. The brothers got the essence of the dream because they said, “Shalt thou indeed reign over us? Or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us?” This caused them to hate him more for not only the dream but also how he spoke to them. They could not know if he was actually receiving a dream or if he was telling them of what he aspired to achieve over them. Hence, this was additional fuel for their hatred. Joseph in relating the second dream seemed oblivious to their growing dislike for him. The second dream encompassed the heavens. This dream suggested that the sun (as his father), and the moon (as his mother, Rachel) and eleven stars (representing his eleven brethren) bowed down before him. These dreams clearly showed in an unmistakable way that Joseph would someday exert supremacy over them all. The first level of supremacy would be over his brethren, the second over the whole house of Israel. Jacob when told of these dreams interprets them not Joseph. His brothers knew what they meant too. Jacob rebuked Joseph for this presumptive dream but he then referenced Rachel even though dead would be a component and then fell into silent contemplation over what he heard. He was no stranger to special messages from God and must have thought on the possible heavenly source of these dreams.

Joseph Tells His Dreams to Jacob Lucas van Leyden Cir 1500

Joseph Tells His Dreams to Jacob Lucas van Leyden Cir 1500

 

The New Testament gives us additional insight over the meaning of this second dream. Revelation 12: 1-2 makes reference to this passage (Genesis 37: 9-10) and the woman of this chapter is symbolized as Israel not the Church. Israel has been referred to as the “Wife of Jehovah” (Jeremiah 31: 32).

Joseph’s Cast Into The Pit

Genesis 37: 12-24

12And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem. 13And Israel said unto Joseph, Are not thy brethren feeding the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I. 14And he said to him, Go now, see whether it is well with thy brethren, and well with the flock; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. 15And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou? 16And he said, I am seeking my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they are feeding the flock. 17And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan. 18And they saw him afar off, and before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. 19And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. 20Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into one of the pits, and we will say, An evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams. 21And Reuben heard it, and delivered him out of their hand, and said, Let us not take his life. 22And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood; cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, but lay no hand upon him: that he might deliver him out of their hand, to restore him to his father. 23And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph of his coat, the coat of many colors that was on him; 24and they took him, and cast him into the pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it (ASV 1901).

 

Jacob’s sons had driven the flocks to Shechem then to Dothan an area a day’s journey north of Shechem. They passed through Shechem uneventfully because the Jews owned the city since the slaughter after the rape of Dinah. Jacob next sent Joseph the overseer to check on them. He would be traveling at least three days on foot to reach them. When he got to Shechem and didn’t see them he asked a stranger that answered by saying, “They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan.” So he continued on an additional day’s travel to Dothan to find them. Some see this man as an angel but the text does not support this assumption. Certainly he was divinely inspired to instruct Joseph in the direction he must travel in his trip of historical importance for the Israelite nation’s development. That would be their eventual departure to Egypt for a four hundred year sojourn. Dothan was located on the east-west trade route between Gilead and the Coastal Plain, which was connected to the Via Maris. The Via Maris was the road way to Egypt. These events were in anticipation of the sale of Joseph to the Midianites.

The brothers thought that if they killed Joseph, the dream of his ascendancy over them would be extinguished (and we shall see what will become of his dreams). Reuben the first-born was uncomfortable with the killing and sought his brother’s agreement in not directly murdering Joseph. He wanted no part of the conspiracy to murder. He was willing to cast Joseph into a dry cistern to die of starvation, thirst or exposure though. This was what he said to his vengeful brothers. He had a different motive though as the text says, that he might deliver him out of their hand, to restore him to his father. This was his real intent, to restore him to Jacob his father. Even though Reuben knew that Joseph had replaced him in status as first-born it did not lead him to the same level of malevolence as his siblings had toward Joseph. So they took Joseph’s coat, cast him into the pit, and Reuben intended to return alone and rescue Joseph.

Joseph is Sold

Genesis 37: 25-36

25And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. 26And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother and conceal his blood? 27Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother, our flesh. And his brethren hearkened unto him. 28And there passed by Midianites, merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. And they brought Joseph into Egypt. 29And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes. 30And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go? 31And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a he-goat, and dipped the coat in the blood; 32and they sent the coat of many colors, and they brought it to their father, and said, This have we found: know now whether it is thy son’s coat or not. 33And he knew it, and said, It is my son’s coat: an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt torn in pieces. 34And Jacob rent his garments, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. 35And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down to Sheol to my son mourning. And his father wept for him. 36And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, the captain of the guard (ASV 1901).

 

Joseph's Bloody Coat Brought to Jacob Diego Rodriguez da Silva y Yelazquez Cir 1599

Joseph’s Bloody Coat Brought to Jacob Diego Rodriguez da Silva y Yelazquez Cir 1599

The opening verses describe how Joseph was actually sold. Joseph’s charge from his father in visiting the brothers was to check on their activities to determine if they were engaged in nefarious goings-on as before. He was in the pit and some suggest that it was Simeon who threw him in. All were guilty in the collusion to harm him. His brothers had decided to follow Reuben’s request and keep him in the cistern instead of killing him outright. However since Reuben was not telling them that his personal hidden agenda was to rescue Joseph afterward they saw an opportunity to market Joseph as a slave to the Ishmaelites. They were a semi-nomadic group of traders from the Transjordan. Judah took the opportunity to propose to his brethren to sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites. “What profit is it,” he said, “if we slay our brother and conceal his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites; and let not our hand be upon him (in other words to kill him), for he is our brother, our flesh.” Judah may have had a slight change of heart and did not want to kill him as Reuben was also so minded. The others saw this a good opportunity too.

They were so insensitive to Joseph that while he was in the cistern crying out for mercy they were making merry and enjoying a meal. In fact they admitted to this at a later time. Their hatred for him was so strong that they had hardened their hearts toward his torment as he cried to them to be released.

Genesis 42: 21

21And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us (ASV 1901).

The brothers were near a trade route that crossed the Jordan near Gilead in what is today Jordan. It then wound through the Jezreel valley toward the Mediterranean coastal area and then turned southward at Megiddo so as to connect with the ancient trade route from Damascus to Egypt known as the Via Marais. The Ishmaelites had goods that represented their trading prowess. This seemed like a good opportunity to broker a trade for Joseph. The caravan was laden with spices: נְכֹאת, Nehchoat which is a gum-tragacanth; צֹרִי, Tsoree balsam, for which Gilead was celebrated (Genesis 43:11; Jeremiah 8:22; 46:11); and לֹט, Loat ladanum, the fragrant resin of the cistus-rose.

There is an exchange of terminology between Ishmaelites and Midianites. The Midianites were a tribe of the progeny of one of Keturah’s son Midian who she had with Abraham as his second wife. Judges 8: 22-26 connects those two tribes together. Then Joseph’s brothers drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. The general idea was that the Midianites would take him to Egypt and sell him, off into the slave markets there. The text does not reveal exactly what the brothers’ thought would happen to Joseph. They just wanted him out of their life. Their wrath at Joseph would end up praising God.

The meager price of twenty pieces of silver they got for Joseph later became the price which Moses fixed as the value of a boy between 5 and 20 (Leviticus 27:5), the average price of a slave being 30 shekels (Exodus 21:32).

They did not tell Reuben what became of Joseph because he would have told Jacob that his favorite son was still alive. So they concocted a story of his death by wild animals. This whole process obviously frustrated Reuben to find that Joseph was gone and now he was unable to rescue him. He was extremely distraught when they told him Joseph was dead. He said after renting his clothes“ The child is not; and I, whither shall I go?” Normally, this phrase means that a person has died. So he must have been led to believe that Joseph died. Then the brothers took Joseph’s coat and dipped it in the blood of a recent slain he-goat. They did not want to face their father with this news so they sent someone else.

They expected Jacob’s response, which was to rent his garments, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and then he, mourned for his son many days. His sons and daughters came to comfort him but he did not want them comforting him and said, “For I will go down to Sheol to my son mourning.” And his father wept for him. What a sad state of circumstances for Jacob to believe he lost his favorite son so early in they boy’s life. It is easy to imagine the depth of his grief. He was sure it would last his entire life. Sheol is the place where the Old Testament people went before the sacrifice of Christ. There were multiple compartments depending on the destination God assigned to them (See Attached Chart). The faithful and the unfaithful both entered Sheol when the spirit separated from the body.

Finally Joseph was sold again this time to Potiphar in Egypt. This was an officer of Pharaoh and he was the captain of the guard. He was part of the Egyptian military and the term , the captain of the guard literally means “The Chief of the Executioners.”

Spirit World Destinations by Daniel Woodhead

Spirit World Destinations by Daniel Woodhead

Daniel E. Woodhead

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