Monday, December 12, 2016

Spiritual powers that underlie the rise of Trump -part 3: evidence of the influence of the demonic spirits of chaos

In the first installment in this series, I laid out the background in spiritual warfare and in the second showed the pattern through which the demon of chaos has operated through Hitler. In this installment I will show evidence that this demon is at work. Keep in mind that full proof of this requires spiritual discernment into the nature of spiritual warfare. No article can produce conclusive proof. The reader will need to prayerfully seek God for wisdom and confirmation through the Holy Spirit. What this article can do is to document correlations to the involvement of demonic princes of chaos. One such correlation involves documentation of the involvement of the occult in the Trump campaign and/or administration. This article will document that both the occultists who practice chaos magick  have provided significant support for Trump and that there is significant influence of occult narratives. These networks and these narratives support Trump, play a significant role in his base, and shape significantly the public perception of him and his policies. While there is no direct evidence that Trump is a practitioner of chaos magick, these groups exercise influence significant enough to suggest that one or more demonic spirits of chaos control  and operate through the administration of Trump's government.

There is substantial support for Trump by occultists using "chaos magick." There has emerged a "Cult of Kek." The Cult of Kek has revived worship of the ancient Egyptian deity Kek. Kek is considered a god of chaos in Egyptian mythology who is represented as a man with a frogs head1. This cult is very popular among those in the alt-right, which is a sanitized name for nationalists and Neo-nazi types. Those on the alt-right who worship Kek have co-opted Pepe the Frog and projected his image onto Donald Trump. This is more than slick marketing. essential to chaos magick is to create images or sigls that are believed to possess magical powers. In chaos magick it is believed that one can project their will onto others through propagation of these images. These guys believe that through propagation of Pepe/Trump memes they are working magic that projects the essence and power of Kek onto Trump, turning him onto a ruler of chaos2. These meme-making occultists are a significant part of the alt-right, and the alt-right is a significant part of Trump's base3 Specifically, Steve Bannon, who  was Donald Trump's campaign manager and is now Senior Counsel4  has been a major influence on Trump, often succeeding on coaxing him into agreeing to very controversial policies suitable to the alt-right5.

Bannon's influence is such that some commentators wonder if Trump is Bannon's puppet6. The manipulation of Trump  by Bannon is likely more than just psychological manipulation. Bannon, it seems, hold to the same worldview as the occultist operatives in the cult of Kek. Bannon has told people that he believes "darkness is good" and praises Satan and Darth Vader, believing them to be good role models

" 'Darkness is good,' says Bannon, who amid the suits surrounding him at Trump Tower, looks like a graduate student in his T-shirt, open button-down and tatty blue blazer — albeit a 62-year-old graduate student. "Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That's power. It only helps us when they" — I believe by "they" he means liberals and the media, already promoting calls for his ouster — "get it wrong. When they're blind to who we are and what we're doing."
On that precise point, The New York Times, in a widely circulated article, will describe this day at Trump Tower as a scene of "disarray" for the transition team. In fact, it's all hands on: Mike Pence, the vice president-elect and transition chief, and Reince Priebus, the new chief of staff, shuttling between full conference rooms; Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and by many accounts his closest adviser, conferring in the halls; Sen. Jeff Sessions in and out of meetings on the transition team floor; Rudy Giuliani upstairs with Trump (overheard: "Is the boss meeting-meeting with Rudy or just shooting the shit?"), and Bannon with a long line of men and women outside his corner office. If this is disarray, it's a peculiarly focused and organized kind.

It's the Bannon theme, the myopia of the media — that it tells only the story that confirms its own view, that in the end it was incapable of seeing an alternative outcome and of making a true risk assessment of the political variables — reaffirming the Hillary Clinton camp's own political myopia. This defines the parallel realities in which liberals, in their view of themselves, represent a morally superior character and Bannon — immortalized on Twitter as a white nationalist, racist, anti-Semite thug — the ultimate depravity of Trumpism.
The focus on Bannon, if not necessarily the description, is right. He's the man with the idea. If Trumpism is to represent something intellectually and historically coherent, it's Bannon's job to make it so. In this, he could not be a less reassuring or more confusing figure for liberals — fiercely intelligent and yet reflexively drawn to the inverse of every liberal assumption and shibboleth."7.
Bannon upholds the occult narrative, specifically referring to darkness, Satan , and Darth Vader as "power." Bannon is positioning himself as a ruler of chaos, a master of the political dark arts8. Simply meaning that Bannon  uses psychological manipulation, chaos, and propaganda to manipulate people. The presence of the dark arts in Trump's life even extends to literally hypnotizing people during his speaking engagements9.

There is a theme in the occult that enshrines darkness and chaos as a positive engine of change. The phrase "ordo ab chao" is often used to describe this10.   It literally means 'order out of chaos' and describes the use of chaos to manipulate events to herd people into systems of centralized control like the New World Order/Mystery Babylon11. The occult thinking behind the concept of chaos as a positive engine of change is related to the metaphysics common  in occultic and Pagan religions. In Mystery Babylon rising, I document that both Greek and Babylon creation myths depict first generation gods emerging out of darkness leading to chaos caused by rebellious children overthrowing them which led to third and fourth generation descendants overthrowing the rulers of chaos. Chaos is depicted in these stories as simply part of the order of life12.

The idea of chaos as simply a positive engine of change has bled over into some Evangelical interpretations of Trump. Lance Wallnau, one of the architects of the Seven Mountain movement and regarded as a prophet buy followers of that movement, has repeatedly told people that Trump is "God's Chaos Candidate13."

Wallnau has simply suborned the occult concept of chaos magick and wrapped it in Christian sounding terminology. The Biblical conception of chaos is that of evil and judgment. There are no positive references to chaos or ts synonyms  in scripture. Chaos is seen as a judgment or a symptom of evil in a Biblical worldview. The Bible bluntly says that God is NOT the author of confusion(1 Cor 14:33). In referring to Trump as a chaos candidate or wrecking ball, Evangelicals are unwittingly affirming an occult narrative, and in doing so have opened doors for demonic spirits of chaos to act.

In conclusion  it is apparent that there are demonic princes of chaos that are at work in America, bringing in chaos as a weapon of manipulation. If Trump is controlled by such spirits, he will make a huge mess of things and will set the stage by which the template of manipulation described in  part 2 is executed. A disastrous Trump administration could result in a world where Christians and Israel are wanted DEAD by everyone else, where liberty is a dirty word, where most people believe that one world government and a one world false church are considered both essential to security and worthy of worship, and where Islamists are a privileged group. A disastrous Trump presidency could produce ideal conditions for the emergence of the dragonous beast and the Antichrist. The next article concerns how we are to respond to this using spiritual warfare.

8 While this commentator is referring only to political manipulation, this still could opens up doors to the
   occult.  In 1 Sam 15, we are presented a picture where Saul refused to follow the Lord's command and
  repeatedly used manipulation to cover it up. It was this manipulation that Samuel referred to as like

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Spiritual powers that underlie the rise of Trump -part 2: the template of the demonic prince of chaos

Continued from part 1

A demonic prince of chaos has manifested himself on the world stage at least give times in history. This manifestation would leave a specific global pattern. This demonic spirit would herald the rise of a nation that would reek havoc on other nations during the reign of a single governmental administration. After the reign of this single leader would end, the nation would rapidly decline. However, the chaos caused by the world leader empowered by this demon prince of chaos would would create an opportunity to change the historical paradigm on a global scale.

At the beginning of the primary campaign the Lord revealed to me that Trump was controlled and empowered by the same spirit that controlled Hitler. Hitler was empowered by a demonic spirit of chaos. This demon creates chaos in order to level the playing field so that a new order can emerge out of the chaos. Adolf Hitler's reign fulfills a specific pattern. Hitler created extreme chaos on a global level for only  a short time, but set the stage for  a global paradigm change. There are four things that happened in the aftermath of Hitler's reign of terror that have shaped the world into the configuration we see today.
  1.  Because the German Church so closely identified itself with Hitler, most of post-WW2 Europe became post-Christian. Europeans blamed Christianity for Hitler and resist attempts at Evangelism or even civil conversation. Many, many Europeans see Christianity as a menace that needs to be contained and Christians as a group that needs to be marginalized for the safety and welfare of the public.
  2. The massive bloodshed of WW2 led many to believe that the world needs a global order. In this environment both the United Nations and what became the European Union were created.  National sovereignty and nationalism of all stripes became a dirty word. God created different nationalities to make it more difficult to create a world religion that was opposed  to God that was started at Babel. The resurrection of a global order via the United Nations has the same end-game as the attempt to create a world religion at Babel. I document in chapter 12 of Mystery Babylon Rising that the United Nations was created to promote a spiritual agenda that is opposed to God - a one world church.
  3. Because of the fear of escalating violence, an opening was found to replace liberty, particularly freedom of speech, with politician correctness. political correctness games the definition of tolerance to turn it into a weapon to marginalize viewpoints that the elites find unacceptable. Herbert Marcuse wrote Repressive Tolerance, which was a treatise on how to use the concept of tolerance as a weapon of intolerance.
  4. Because the Jews suffered horribly, were the primary targets of genocide, and because the nations of the world failed to do anything to protect them; guilt welled up which created an opening to grant favor to the Jews. This open up the door for the creation of the Jewish state in Israel. The Lord used this to  begin fulfillment of prophecy concerning the restoration of Israel. Satan is also using this to advance his agenda as Jerusalem will become the spiritual capital of the Antichrist as he sits in the temple of God claiming to be God (Daniel 8:11-14;9:27; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:4).

These four consequences of the aftermath of Hitler have set the stage for the world we now live in. This is the work of a conspiracy of  demonic spirits of chaos. This is a demonic, and possibly human, conspiracy. There is great potential for Trump to fulfill this same template. If Trump does things that lead to disaster like round up Mexicans and Muslims to put them in camps, incite Israel to nuke Damascus, manage to get the United States power grid taken out in an ElectroMagnetic Pulse (EMP) attack, or other things on a similar scale to these; a Trump Presidency can backfire on those who are tied too closely to him in a manner similar to that which happened when Hitler became a disaster. A disastrous Trump Presidency controlled by the same demon prince of chaos that controlled Hitler would produce this same four-consequent pattern.

  1. Because American white Evangelical Christians have tied themselves strongly to Trump, Christians will be blamed on a disastrous Trump Presidency. The haters of Christianity will not care that many Christians were never Trumpers during the election campaign or that American white Evangelical Christian Trump supporters are a very small subset of all the Christians on planet earth. A sufficiently disastrous Trump Presidency will open the door to paint Christianity as a global menace that must be eradicated and whose eradication must be top priority.
  2. There are several possible endgames of a Trump Presidency that might cost millions of lives. If Trump rounds up millions of Mexicans and Muslims as his answer to the problems of immigration and terrorism, then that will cost millions of lives. It would also become a route eerily close to that of Hitler. If Trump continues the warmongering ways of recent American Presidents, then we could get an EMP attack that could kill upwards to 280 million Americans. If Trump eggs on a hawkish Israeli government to nuke Damascus in a future confrontation, then we would have the biggest international brouhaha since WW2.
  3. Should these worse case scenarios happen, it would result in an escalation of violence and death never before seen on the earth. The New World Order will use this as an opportunity to blame freedom and nationalism. They will argue that only an all powerful global government can provide safety and security. They will blame "extremism" for this. Under the guise of combating extremism they will set up a one world church to complement the one world government and will require everyone to participate only in religious activities under this umbrella.  This will be a segue to the Antichrist who will claim to be god on earth.
  4. As Jews were afforded special opportunities due to being the primary targets of genocide, if Trump genocides Muslims then Muslims will get this status in a post-Trump world. This could open the door for a world leader to emerge as the Islamic Mahdi and take power as the Secretary-General of the United Nations with the support of ten Islamist nations.
The preceding scenarios are the worst case scenario of a Trump Presidency. While these will not necessarily happen, these scenarios are far more likely - highly likely -  if Trump is controlled by the same demon prince of chaos that controlled Hitler. The next installment will present evidence that Trump is indeed controlled by the same demonic prince of chaos that controlled Hitler.

Continue to part 3.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The spiritual powers that underlie the rise of Trump - part 1:some background information

There is much more to this world than what physically meets the eye. As humans we tend to look only at the natural, observable. Ephesian 6:10-18, however, instructs us that we war not against flesh but against powers and principalities of spiritual power.

Daniel received a particularly distressing dream during the reign of Cyrus of Persia. He was literally sick over the dream, and he sought God for twenty-one days concerning the understanding of this dream. When he received his answer, he was given a brief snapshot of how our Enemy is organized:

And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. 
And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia...
Then said he,  Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come. But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince. - Daniel 10:7-21
The angel that appeared to Daniel tells him that he was immediately sent in answer to his prayers, but that he was detained "the kings of Persia." No earthly king would have power to  detain a powerful angel. These are demonic princes that have been assigned to rule over a jurisdiction. There are also holy angelic princes that are assigned to jurisdiction. We are instructed the Michael the archangel has been assigned as the guardian prince over Israel. These demonic princes detained this angel (likely Gabriel) until Michael the archangel came to assist him. 

Something else that is noteworthy is that these princes wax and wane in power on the world stage; as these wax and wane, world powers rise and fall. This is why we are instructed in Ephesians that we war not against flesh and blood. It is the ebb and flow of spiritual warfare that shapes the flow of material history. The people of God have had this backwards for so long, supposing that shaping material history influences the outcome of the spiritual war. Please do not believe the celebrity "prophets" who would tell you that the outcome of carnal political elections sways the outcome of the spiritual war. 

One final note is that this spiritual warfare occurred during the reign of Cyrus, God's anointed. Much confusion abounds about Cyrus anointing and the possibility that Trump may have this anointing. It is apparent that Cyrus anointing is not a factor in this fight. This is because Cyrus is not anointed in the sense that the apostles, prophets, pastor-teachers, and other power-ministries are. People are confused because there are two components to the anointing. One is that anointing simply mean set apart. In this sense Cyrus was anointed. The other component is that the anointing implies the Presence of the Holy Spirit who makes His power available for a certain purpose. As one who did not know God (Isaiah 45:4), Cyrus could not have had this himself. The power behind Cyrus' anointing was in those who are of God's people who were not only set apart but had access to the presence of God with power available to them. The anointing on Isaiah laid the foundation for Cyrus and the anointing on Daniel powered the intercession that came against the demonic princes who would have used Cyrus for evil. The success of this spiritual warfare resulted in Cyrus accomplishing the good purpose for which God set him apart to do.

I believe that we are now living in a time where we are seeing demonic princes come and go on the world stage. We are seeing the re-emergence of  a demonic prince of chaos that powered  such people as Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, and Adolf Hitler. These men caused great chaos that set the stage for the emergence of new historical paradigms that emerged after their reigns. This demon is now strengthening Trump. This first article gives us some background. The next article will show the occult connections between  Trump and this demon. The final article will instruct us on how to defeat this demonic stronghold.

Continue to part2

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Mystery Jerusalem Rising 12 | Jewish Apostasy and the Fall of Judaism

The seeds of Jewish apostasy were sewn during their captivity. When Cyrus the Great gave the decree for Jews to return to the Promised Land, many chose to stay behind. They were comfortable in the Pagan culture and were much more secular in perspective than the ones who returned. We see in Esther a portrayal of the very beginnings of apostasy. The diaspora Jews, when they were in mortal danger, trusted in schemes rather than God for deliverance.

Esther and the Machinations of Marduk-ai
In the days when the Persian Empire was ruling over Israel, during the rule of Xerxes Haman the Agagite stirred up the kingdom against Israel. Haman, through treachery, tricked the king into issuing a verdict mandating genocide against the Jewish people. This episode happened after faithful Israelites returned from the exile1. There was a beautiful Jewish woman into the royal palace and gave her favor with the king. Her name was Haddassah in Hebrew, but Esther in Persian (Esther 2:7). When she found out about Haman’s plot, she risked her life to enter the throne - room. She revealed that Haman’s plot means the death of her people. Haman is subsequently executed.

She petitions the king to issue a decree authorizing the Jews to use force to defend themselves. The result of this turnaround is that fear of the Jews falls upon their enemies.

This entire narrative portrays the deliverance of Israel as the result of scheming and machination. Mordecai [Marduk-ai 2] talks his beautiful niece, Esther, into entering a contest to gain membership in the King’s wives club. Sometime later, Haman the Agagite poses a mortal threat to the Jews of the Babylonian diaspora by persuading the king to issue an order legalizing genocide of the Jews. Marduk-ai then talks Esther into using her feminine ways to convene a private dinner with King Xerxes and Haman so she can outmaneuver Haman. The result is Haman is killed and Mordechai is promoted to the position in the royal court that Haman held.

Compare Marduk-ai and Esther’s machinations to Ezra’s attitude when he asked for the king’s military help. Ezra knew, as a faithful Jew and scholar in the law and history, that God frowned on trusting in schemes. He was likely thinking of God’s rebuke to Asa for trusting in foreign alliances (2 Chronicles 16:7-9) when he wrote the following:
“ Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him. So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us.” -  Ezra 8:21-23
The growing apostasy of Jews of Persia and Babylonia would later contribute heavily to the fall of Judaism.

Antiochus, the Maccabean revolt, and the Rise of the Pharisees
While the Jews who returned were faithful during the administrations of Ezra and Nehemiah, they do not remain that way. When the Persian Empire falls to Alexander the Great, the occasion is set up for the Jews to face great trial.

After Alexander’s death, his empire is split into at least four successor empires. One of them, the Seleucid Empire, would control the Promised Land. An evil king knew as Antiochus Epiphanes would arise who would seek to destroy Judaism. When Antiochus Epiphanes waged war on Jewish religion, some of the Jewish people revolted while others were prone to his influence.

When Antiochus began to commence his program to convert the religion of the temple into Paganism, he had the High Priest as an ally. This High Priest, who took on the Greek name Jason, was more than willing to help3.

About 40% of the Jews and the majority of the upper classes, which would have included much of the Levitical Priesthood, supported Hellenism4.

The faithful Jews resisted. The members of the resistance party became known as the Hasideans5. The resistance escalated into war when "When a Greek official tried to force a priest named Mattathias[Maccabeaus] to make a sacrifice to a pagan god, the Jew murdered the man. Predictably, Antiochus began reprisals, but in 167 BCE the Jews rose up behind Mattathias and his five sons and fought for their liberation.6

While the Maccabean revolt started out as glorious, it soon became corrupted7. Simon, the last of the Maccabee brothers and the only one to survive the revolt, was  crowned both king and high priest. This violated both the Mosaic8 and Davidic Covenants9.These usurpations begin a pattern of corruption that split Jewish society into three factions: The Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes.

The Essenes rejected Jewish leadership because it violated the Mosaic and Davidic Covenants and withdrew from society to live reclusively in the mountains.Although Christ rejected the Essenes isolationism, Many of their doctrines resonated with Him. The sect of the Essenes died out when Rome raped Judea following the Kochba Rebellion.

The Sadducees favored the priestly classes and leaned more to Hellenistic tendencies than either the Essenes or the Pharisees. Although the Sadducees had an oral tradition, they rejected the Pharisees elevation of it into a secret second law or secret oral Torah. The Sadducees also rejected resurrection from the dead. The Sadducees died out when the temple was destroyed by Titus in 70 AD.

Of the groups that emerged out of the Hasideans, the Pharisees were the only one to survive the devastation of Judea (AD 70-135) by Rome10. The doctrine of the Pharisees forms the backbone of Rabbinic Judaism. The Pharisees developed and promoted belief that there was a second law revealed only to the priests. They asserted that there existed an oral Torah that dated from the time of Moses and was passed down through Aaron and his sons. The doctrine of the oral torah led them straight into apostasy.

The Lord Jesus said to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees (Matt. 15:32-16:12; Mark 8:1-21). Immediately after Jesus fed the five thousand and gather a quantity of leftovers greater than the original contribution, the Pharisees start an argument with Him and demand a sign. The Lord Jesus had just finished giving a sign of His power and authority by creating food out of nothing; why do the Pharisees need a sign. They had plenty of information to form a rational basis for accepting Jesus as the Christ, but they had already pre-decided that they would not. They were simply scheming for a pretext to make their rejection appear to have a rational, legal basis. They were scheming

Jesus declared that the Pharisees were hypocrites. The word ‘hypocrite’ is translated from the Greek world for actor11. The Pharisees were simply pretending to be men of God. They were acting a part in a scheme. How did they get that way?

The roots of the Pharisees apostasy were sewn almost immediately following the Maccabean Revolt. Simon Maccbeaus committed two errors that would doom Judaism to apostasy.  He combined the priestly office with the kingship, resulting the intrigues of politics corrupted organized religion 12. In addition to merging organized religion with politics, he went to bed politically with Rome, trusting Rome to give them leverage against the Seleucids instead of the Lord to deliver them. This double adultery of religion with politics would destroy Judaism.

Eventually the Hasmonean dynasty fell. The Hasmoneans were replaced by the Herods. Herod “controlled the sacrificial cult by placing a lackey in the position of High Priest13.” By the time Jesus came the religious leaders were merely playing a game based on adultery with Rome and with Herod as Caesar’s puppet ruler. Rome gives them wealth and power; in return they manipulate the people to keep them subservient to Rome. This use of religion to dominate people is also called the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which Jesus hates more than any other sin.

The leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees is the subversion of religion to dominate people. The Sadducees used a blunt instrument: they simply declared that the priesthood was dominant. They were very unpopular and died out when Rome sacked Judea. The Pharisees, however, used sophisticated instruments to dominate the people by subtle manipulation. These instruments were similar to instruments later employed by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and some Protestant Churches. The peculiar leaven of the Pharisees, then, merits a more detailed analysis.

Leaven of the Pharisees – the so-called   “Oral Torah”
The Pharisees developed a doctrine that there existed a second law that was known only to the priests and transmitted orally. This oral law, or Oral Torah, is regarded as the key to understanding the written Torah. Since only the priests knew the oral torah, then people were dependent on the priest to authoritatively tell them what the Law said. This doctrine of the Oral Torah was devised to deny people access to the Scripture.

The main argument used to support the idea of an oral torah is appeal to ambiguity of sections of the written law14. Several examples are given that are supposed to illustrate the necessity of an oral law. Proponents of an oral law argue that the written law does not provide sufficient details on how to observe the Sabbath, perform marriage ceremonies, or how to bind the Torah to the front of the head.

The Pharisees argued that the oral law was equal to the written law; some argued that it was even greater than the written law.They sought to exalt the so-called oral law twofold: they would often use the oral law to overthrow clear injunctions of the written law, and they would expand the scope of the law to micro-manage every minute detail of life.
Through their endeavor to regulate the whole of human life, down to every detail, by means of the law, the Pharisees were led to lay great stress on enlarging the scope of the same by tradition, even to ascribe a paramount importance to the latter in comparison with the less exactly defined law (Mishnah, Sanhedrin, xi. 3). Ultimately, therefore, tradition, like the law, came to be traced back to Moses (PirkeAboth, i. 11 sqq.), and so came the possibility of invalidating a legal provision by virtue of a traditional precept (Mark 7:11)15

This oral law was written down in the Talmud, which is by the admission of Rabbinic Judaism “confused collection of scattered ideas and disjointed reasoning16”. A Talmudist will explain away the contradictions by telling you “it's nearly impossible to master the logic and style of the Talmud without a real, live teacher.” Talmudic Judaism locks away the word of God from the people. The Talmud, however, is simply a collection of commentaries and debates of various Rabbis from the Maccabean period.

Given this chain of authority, one might wonder why the Mishna and Talmudare filled with debates between rabbis; shouldn't they have all been recipients of the same, unambiguous tradition? Orthodox teachers respond that the debates came about either because students forgot some of the details transmitted by their teachers, or because the Oral Law lacks specific teachings on the issue being discussed.17

The so-called oral law, in practice, was often reduced to whatever the Rabbis wanted it to be. When Jesus condemned the religious leaders for replacing the Word of God through the traditions of men, He was condemning the Pharisees passing off their commentaries as the law of God. In other words, Christ denied their claims concerning the existence of an oral Torah(Mark 7:6-13).

There are five difficulties facing the prospect of a secret, oral law: ambiguities in the written law can be explained without reference to an oral law; there are passages in the law that imply that people know the whole law; the existence of passages that condemn the sealing up of God’s Word in the way that the Pharisaic doctrine does, there is the absence of any reference to a second oral law during the Old Testament period; and how could an oral law have survived the reign of Manasseh.

Ambiguities in the written law can be explained without reference to an oral law. Most of the ambiguities cited in these sources are only problematic if one takes a hyper-legalistic interpretation of the law. For example, does God really care about the physical means one uses to bind copies of the law on your forehead? I doubt that it make any difference; focusing on such minutiae obscures the main point of Deuteronomy 6: 5, which is that we are to meditate on the law using every conceivable means until we know it.

Most ambiguities are resolved by the fact that, within the law, there is freedom on how it is applied. This is certainly the case concerning personal decisions and beliefs. The only cases where such ambiguity matters are community matters, such as civil rights claims and temple regulations. The social nature of such matters requires a tribunal to issue authoritative decisions; it does not require a separate law but spiritual discernment on how to interpret existing law. The history of these adjudications, while valuable, do not carry the same authority as the law, neither can they trump the law.

There are passages in the law that imply that the people know, or are capable of knowing, the whole law. In chapter 6, page 42, I write in detail concerning how the people know the will of God. There are three passages in Deuteronomy that indicate that the people are capable of knowing the whole law; there is no secret law known only to the enlightened elite. Below is a quote from chapter 6 that is worth repeating here:

“Deuteronomy 6:4-9 tells us that the Word of God is in the hearts of the people; teaching authority is vested in the parents, not the priests and not the elders.Ch 30:11-14 tells the people that they do not need to call on someone in the enlightened elite to fetch it for us; it is in the heart upon people hearing and meditating upon it. Deuteronomy 31:9-13 teaches us that Moses wrote down all of the law to make knowledge of the law available to everyone. There is no secret law known to only a few people.”

There are passages that condemn the sealing up of God’s Word in the way that the Pharisaic doctrine does. In Mark 7:11, Jesus cites Isaiah 29:13 as an argument against the so-called oral law.

Isaiah 29:10-16 describes a scheme to block access to God’s Word. In this case, the prophets and the priests are in a stupor of their own making. Because they were seduced or otherwise suborned into political adultery with the Herodians and the Romans, they sought to suppress the knowledge of God (Rom 1:18-32).  They devised schemes to dupe people into thinking they cannot access the knowledge of God. They argued that access to God is limited to the enlightened elite. When asked about law, the unlearned would say “I cannot read” and the learned would reply “it is sealed.”
“For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.” - Isaiah 29:10-12

This scheme would be the template for numerous schemes that would be employed throughout history that would use religion to put people in bondage. The basic argument is that, because only a select few are permitted to access the knowledge of God, the rest of us must blindly follow their every whim. This template is used in Rabbinic or Talmudic Judaism in the form of the so-called “Oral Torah.” It is also seen in every form of esotericism and occultism, particularly in Gnostisman/Hermeticism. Claims of Episcopal infallibility in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy also follow this evil template.

This template is a stench in the “Lord’s nostrils.” God promises, through Isaiah, to destroy this evil system. The Lord sternly warns the people not to heed these false prophets and false priests.

“Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid…
“…Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord.” - Isaiah 29:13-14,16
Paul the Apostle also cites from Isaiah 29. He cites Isaiah 29:14 to proclaim God’s judgment. Paul proclaims that the establishment of the New Covenant is God’s judgment against worldly wisdom.

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it is written:
“ ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.’
“Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?  For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.  For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks[b] foolishness,  but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. ”  - 1 Corinthians 1:18-24 NKJV

Paul quotes from the same prophecy in Isaiah that both predicts and condemns the Pharisaic doctrine of the oral torah. It is apparent that this passage groups both this pharisaic doctrine in with Greek philosophy as foolishness. The gospel is clearly presented as the wisdom and power of God which overthrows these flawed systems. More on this in ch 13.

The absence of any reference to a second oral law during the Old Testament period raises doubts as to its existence. There is simply no reference anywhere in Old Testament where people went to the priests to ask them to apply any secret law. In fact, extra-Biblical enquiries to God were always seen as prophetic instances where God would deliver a fresh word. While some of the prophets were also priests, others were not. If the oral law was as absolutely essential to understanding the written law as the Rabbis say, then it should be considered very strange that there are no clear Old Testament references to this oral law.

How could an oral law have survived the reign of Manasseh? The reign of Manasseh wreaked havoc on Judaism during the monarchy. Manasseh converted the temple religion into paganism. He was so successful that the priesthood forgot that the Law even existed until the 18th year of Josiah (2 King 22:8-11 see ch 9).If the priesthood forgot that the written law existed, how can an oral tradition survive?

Is it reasonable to think, that this would remain uninjured through successive ages of idolatry, when the written law was so entirely forgotten? If they had lost the knowledge of what was in their written law, would they be likely to retain that which was oral? If the written law was lost, would the traditionary law be preserved? And if this was at any time lost, how could it be recovered? Not from the written law, for this does not contain it; not from the memory of man, for the supposition is, that it was thence obliterated. If, then, this law, by any chance, was once lost, it is manifest that it could never be recovered, but by divine revelation.18

 Any oral law would have been lost forever. Everything we know about Jewish life prior to Manasseh was recovered using extant documents interpreted using the plain meaning of the text.

Rejection of Christ and the apostasy into Talmudic Judaism
While many of the Jews became followers of Christ, the religious leadership rejected Him as the Messiah and had Him crucified by means of a Roman cross. This rejection spilled over into persecution of the young church.

Many of the early Christians were Jews, some of which still retained some degree of relationship with the broader Jewish community. While most of the growth was among the Gentiles, the history of the church ran parallel until ad 66. The Kochba rebellion changed all of that.

 There was a Rabbi named Kochba who proclaimed himself the Messiah. The Jewish leaders accepted him as their Messiah and organized a revolt against Rome. Those Jewish who believed that  Jesus Christ is the Messiah could not in good conscience join this revolt, as it would involve rejection of Christ and the embrace of Kochba as the Messiah. The revolt failed miserably, resulting in the destruction of the Temple and the scattering of the Jews throughout the world. Jewish believers in Jesus Christ were blamed for the failure and excommunicated from Judaism.

The excommunication of Christians from Jewish fellowship became a matter of law in the Talmud.In subsequent years, Christian leaders would argue that the church replaced Israel as the heir to God’s promises.

The spiritual children of Abraham and the natural children of Abraham would be enemies for a season. This would not be permanent, but only for a season. While God would resume His plans for Israel at a future date, The story of God will now unfold in the history of the church.

2 Mordecai means "belonging to Marduk," Hence Marduk-ai


4   (table row six)






10 (9th para)

11 Strong's G5273
From G5271; an actor under an assumed character (stage player), that is, (figuratively) a dissembler (“hypocrite”): - hypocrite.
Total KJV occurrences: 20

12  (table row twelve)







Thursday, September 29, 2016

Does God call Women to Preach

Are women called to preach? What does the Bible say? In this installment I will comment on the passages that are often used to argue against women preaching. We must rightly divide the Word of Truth rather than read the culture or subculture into the text. The entire case against the ordination of women is based on an interpretation of these two passages. The first passage is 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and the Second is 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. This installment will examine what these passages really say.

1 Timothy 2:11-15
One common interpretation in some conservative circles concerning this passage is that it is saying that women generally are not permitted to have authority over men generally. A proper look at the Greek words for ' woman '  and ' man ' must considered in our interpretation of these texts.
  Let the womanG1135 learn in silence with all subjection.  (12)  But I suffer not a womanG1135 to teach, nor to usurp authority over the manG435, but to be in silence.  (13)  For Adam was first formed, then Eve.  (14)  And Adam was not deceived, but the womanG1135 being deceived was in the transgression.  (15)  Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. - 1Timothy 2:11-15

The Greek translated ' woman ' is γυνή gune. This is the word from which we get the English words gynecology, virgin and vagina. This word can be translated as either woman or wife. It is impossible to tell which is meant apart from the context.

The key to properly determining the context of this passage is to see which Greek word is used for man here. There are two Greek words used for man in the New Testament. Anthrōpos ἄνθρωπος is generally used to refer to to men in general or to mankind or the human race, as in the word anthropology. The other word ἀνήρ anēr generally refers to specific or individual man

The word anēr is the one used in this passage It is often translated as husband. In fact various forms of the the Greek word anēr is  translated husband  43 times out of 214 total instances ( about 20% of the total) of which the word anēr appears  in the New Testament. This word is always used to refer to a specific man or a specific category of men and not as mankind or the male gender generally. Women are NOT restricted from teaching or having authority over mankind or males in general but are only restricted from teaching certain men. When used n relation gune, it is literally translates into my man or husband.

The form of the Greek word anēr   that is found in the text in verse 12  tells us that this is singular. Thus a woman is only restricted from teaching with authority over a singular man. The restrictions here are very narrow. Verse 12  in this passage then  is addressing husbands and wives rather than men and women generally. The reason and only reason for this restriction was to prevent confusion that could be caused by a conflict of powers. According to Ephesians 5:22-33 the husband is the head of the house. If a wife is ordained into a position of authority in the church over her husband and the husband is the highest authority in the home then who has authority in matters than might fall under the jurisdiction of both family and church. This rule made sure that the lines of authority were clearly drawn.

The reference to women being "...saved in childbearing..." is another indication that gune is referring to wives here rather than women. The text is not suggesting that an unmarried woman can be saved in childbearing.

There are three conclusions that follow from this passage that govern the promotion of women into the ministry. These conclusion only apply where the husband and wife are in the same ministry context. A woman is not restricted in cases where her husband goes to a different church or does not attend church or if she is involved in a parachurch ministry in which her husband does not participate.

  1. Women married to men in the ministry may be in the ministry as long as they do not usurp authority of their husbands.

  2. Unmarried women are under no restriction from entering ministry because they do not have husbands to usurp authority over. If she maintains her own household there is no issue raised of her usurping authority over her father either.

  3. If an unmarried woman is called by God into leadership in the church marries, she should take precautions to avoid a conflict of powers between her role in the church and her role in the home. 

1 Coronthians 14:34-35
This passage is often taken to mean to mean that women should not speak  at all in the church. A brief look at this passage  will show that it referring to husbands and wives.

  Let your womenG1135 keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.  (35)  And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbandsG435 at home: for it is a shame for womenG1135 to speak in the church. - 1 Corinthians 14:34-35

Again we see as the Greek word for ' women ' the same one as for wife-  gunē. We are told that these gunē are to ask their husbands at home if they have questions about what  is going on in the church. The Greek word gunē  here obviously means wife. This passage applies to wives and not women generally. Neither does this passage prohibit positive contributions by wives to the church. This passage was written to prevent wives from bringing the conflicts they have with their husbands at home into the church.

Furthermore women per se  are NOT commanded to be under obedience to men  under the law but wives to the husband. In Numbers 30 the Law gives instruction concerning vows made to the LORD. Married women and women living under a father have the status of minors. The father or husband can nullify the vow according to this passage. Divorced and widowed women (i.e. unmarried) have the same rights as men.

  And Moses spake unto the heads of the tribes concerning the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded.  (2)  If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth...  

...  (9)  But every vow of a widow, and of her that is divorced, wherewith they have bound their souls, shall stand against her.  - Numbers 30:1-9

The following notes are indexed to Strong's Concordance:
A primary word (compare G444); a man (properly as an individual male): - fellow, husband, man, sir.

From G435 and ὤψ ōps (the countenance; from G3700); manfaced, that is, a human being: - certain, man.

Probably from the base of G1096; a woman; specifically a wife: - wife, woman.

( ανδρος the  -ος ending means masculine singular in Greek Transliterated andros. It is from this word from which we get the English word android)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mystery Jerusalem Rising Ch 10 | True Prophets vs the Profitable Prophets - Part 2

In the last chapter, I showed the colossal failure of the monarchy. The monarchy corrupted the people, the priests, and the prophets. The end result was the people of God were deported from the Promised Land. In this chapter, I will show the work that God did in the midst of this failure to both preserve them and prepare them for the coming of the Messiah, Christ Jesus.

God acts according to the Elijah Principle
In 1 Kings 18, which records the great contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal, Elijah demonstrates a vital principle. The “god of this world1” operates by manipulating the cultural trends and passing it off as God acting culturally. God, however, often acts counter-culturally.In the case of Elijah, God told him to stack the deck against himself in the showdown with the prophets of Baal. Elijah started the contest outnumbered 850 to 1. He then drowned the sacrifice with water so that it could not burn through any natural means available to one living in that time1. God demonstrated his power by burning the sacrifice supernaturally.

God did this to prove His power. It is more common in history for God to move “against the grain”to prove His power. In the Old Testament, God moves to preserve both his word and his people. Psalm 12 provides an excellent teaching on divine preservation. There is a battle between crafty words of deception and the word of God

 Verses 1-4 documents the dangers to God’s people posed by evil words: “flattering words” and tongues that speak “proud things.” People boast that through the use of crafty language they can prevail, even throw off God’s rule. Words are used to deceive and oppress people.  This danger is so acute that the very existence of a faithful remnant of God’s people is endangered.

God, however, has a plan to deliver His people (Psalm 12:5-7). The Lord is going to cut off crafty language (verse 3). He shall preserve them by preserving His Word. The Lord signals in verses 5 that “now will I arise; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.” Verses 6-7 gives the two-fold plan. He is going to preserve a pure word, and He is going to preserve a faithful people.
“Help, Lord; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.2They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?

“For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the Lord; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.6 The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.7 Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.”
- Psalm 12: 1-7

God preserves his Word
There are three major instances in the Old Testament in which God preserved His Word. Rediscovery of the Mosaic Covenant during Josiah’s reign, Jehiochin’s surrender,  and the ministry of Ezra.

During the fifty-five year reign of Manasseh, the conversion of Judah to idolatry was so complete that the priests forgot that the Mosaic covenant even existed. The document containing the Mosaic covenant was rediscovered during the 18th year of Josiah’s reign when Josiah asked Hilkiah, the High Priest, to count the silver that had been placed in the house of the Lord. Hilkiah re-discovered the book of the law:
“And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. And Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and said, Thy servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of the Lord. And Shaphan the scribe shewed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king.

And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king's, saying,Go ye, enquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.”

- 2 Kings 22:8-13
Josiah proceeded to jump start a national revival to try to turn the nation back to God. While the revival was short-lived, it spurred renewed interest in not only the books of the law but other important documents in the history of Israel.

It is politically correct in a number of circles to speak of Hebrew roots and Jewish traditions. According to this text, Manasseh wiped out from Jewish culture the knowledge of God and subverted the temple into pagan worship (2 Kings 21). There was an absolutely minimal level of knowledge that Josiah would have had prior to discovery of the book of the law. He would likely have had the memory of Mannaseh’s testimony of how God judged him for idolatry and his subsequent repentance (2 Chronicles 33). Josiah would likely be aware of the proclamation of the prophets that the Lord sent (2 Kings 21:10). Josiah would also have a minimal level of general revelation to his conscience (Rom2).  While this started his search for God, the successful revival of Judah would depend of the recovery of the documents and application of its principles of God's written Word. Everything we know about Jewish life prior to this time is known solely on the basis of the recovered historical documents.

When Nebuchadnezzar deported Judah to Babylon, there were actually two waves of deportation. One occurred during Jehoiachin’s reign (2 Kings 24:10-16) and the other during Zedekiah’s reign (2 Kings 25:8-11):

When Jerusalem was besieged during Jehoiachin’s reign, the king of Judah peacefully surrendered to the king of Babylon (2 Kings 24:12). Both the royal family and the skilled labor was deported to Babylon (2 Kings 24:14). This included the intellectual classes.

Zedekiah was installed as king over those who remained. Zedekiah rebelled and Jerusalem was once again besieged. This time, instead of peaceful surrender, Zedekiah attempts an escape. Zedekiah is captured; his sons are killed and his eyes are gouged out.Zedekiah is bound in chains, the temple is plundered, and all great buildings are destroyed (2 Kings 25:1-11).

A comparison of the two deportations shows that Zedekiah’s deportation was accompanied by much more violence than Jehioachin’s. While Jehiochin’s deportation was not a voluntary one, there is no evidence from the narrative to support the idea that violence was used as the means to forcibly relocate people. Since Jehoiachin peacefully surrendered, the implication would be that his government cooperated with and complied to demands made by Nebuchadnezzar’s officers. Nebuchadnezzar’s officers told Jehioachin that the skilled laborers and intellectuals were required to relocate to Babylon; in response, these people packed their bags and followed Nebuchadnezzar’s officers to the place that was assigned for them to live.

The significance of this forced, but otherwise relatively peaceful, deportation is that the documents necessary to preserve the light God gave to Israel traveled to Babylon and survived the deportation. These documents would include copies or originals of the books of the Mosaic Covenant, copies or originals of the books of history documenting Israel’s history during the rule of the judges, and copies or originals of the official accounts of the reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah. These documents would later be used to reconstruct the spiritual life of Israel.

Proof that numerous documents survive the deportation can be found in Ezra. Ezra 2 shows that most of the priestly families kept detailed documentation of their genealogies. Ezra 7:1-5 shows Ezra’s genealogy. God raised up Ezra for a very important mission described in 7:6-10
“This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him…

“For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him.For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.”

- Ezra 7:6,9-10

Ezra is classified as a “scribe.” Scribes were literary experts. Scribes were the precursor to modern textual scholars. Ezra’s job, as a scribe, was to handle texts. Verse 6 says he was “a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given.” This meant two things: he had access to the source documents of the law of Moses and also the skills necessary to properly handle those documents.Verse 11 describes Ezra as a scribe of “of the words of the commandments of the Lord” The phrase “of the words of the commandments” is a reference to the diverse manuscripts, the words themselves, and not to the concepts or legal principles of the law. Nehemiah 8:1-2, in particular, describes Ezra as having possession of the books of the Law of Moses.

Additional evidence that Ezra had access to numerous pieces of manuscript evidence is provided in a letter King Artaxerxes of Persia sent to Ezra authorized him to return to Jerusalem (Ezra 7:12-26). Artaxerxes authorized Ezra to “enquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of thy God which is in thine hand.” The “law of thy God which is in thine hand” no doubt refers to the various manuscripts that were in Ezra’s possession.

Ezra’s task was to seek the law. He would study the ancient manuscripts and then present them in a systematic form to Israel. Ezra compiled much of the Old Testament. Ezra painstakingly pieced together sources into an easy to understand narrative. In the book of Kings*, for example,  Ezra cross-references reigns of different royal administrations from diverse official documents* to weave a single narrative. Ezra also meticulously cites from source, assuming the readrr is familiar with the source documemts.

There are those who believe that Ezra's role in compiling OldTestament books means he was engaging in revisionist history. These theological modernists argue that Israel was a polytheist pagan nation from the beginning and that they did not embrace monotheism until Israel’s return from the Babylonian captivity. They would argue that Ezra and his contemporaries manufactured the history that has been handed down. The modernist theory, however fails.

There are three reasons why the Modernists claim that Ezekiel’s history is manufactured is not plausible: The abundant use of sources known to his readers, the negativity and counter-cultural perspective of the narrative, and the early consensus within the Jewish community of Ezra’s work.

Ezra made abundant use of sources known to his readers, particularly in the books of the Kings. We frequently see the following formula “Now the rest of the acts of… …are they not written in” throughout the books (1 Kings 11:41; 14:19; 14:29; 15:7; 15:23; 15:31; 16:5; 16:14; 16:20; 16:27; 22:39; 22:45; 2 Kings 1:18; 8:23; 10:34;12:19; 13:8; 13:12; 14:15; 14:18; 14:28; 15:6; 15:11; 15:15; 15:21; 15:26; 15:31; 15:36; 16:19; 20:20; 21:17; 21:25; 23:28; 24:5;1 Chronicles 29:29;2 Chronicles 9:29; 13:22; 20:34; 25:26; 26:22; 27:7; 28:26; 32:32; 33:18; 35:26; 36:8). Ezra cites at least twelve previously existing sources 3.

Ezra cited these sources as questions, obviously assuming that the reader would be familiar with these sources. If these sources were either non-existent or communicated a narrative that contradicted the narrative Ezra was putting forth, then Ezra’s version of Israel’s history would not likely have been received as historical.

Most revisionist histories tend to be overly optimistic, glossing over the negatives of a nation’s past. For example, American history emphasizes the narrative of liberty while glossing over atrocities committed against blacks and Indians. This is rather typical of national histories, which are often used as apologetics of the ideals of the nation. The narrative of Israel’s history, however, is filled with negative and dark images that paint the people of Israel in a very bad light. The negativity and counter-cultural perspective of the narrative of Israel is very rare in history. Israel’s history, reflecting a sober introspection of the true nature of the nation, is the least likely of all nations of antiquity to be revisionist.

Ezra’s work was well received with the community of Israel. Consensus within the Jewish community of Ezra’s work would be unlikely if Ezra was trying to replace a pro-pagan narrative of Israel’s history with a monotheistic narrative, citing sources that either did not exist or contradicted him. Ezra’s narrative was well received because his contemporaries, many of whom have access to their own copies of the manuscripts, saw that his scholarship was impeccable.

Ezra’s renown as scholar positioned him to exert a profound influence as a teacher of Israel. Ezra, along with the priests, both taught the people and helped them understand the Law of Moses. This set the stage for national revival in Israel.
“And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel. And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month…
 “…And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground.
“Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.”
- Nehemiah 8:1-2,5-8

God preserves His People
The imprisonment of Manasseh by Assyria was a low point of the spiritual life of Judah. Previously, he subverted the nation and the temple into pagan worship. He was so successful that Judah forgot the Law of Moses. In the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign, Hilkiah rediscovered the book of the Law of Moses in the temple while counting silver. When this book was delivered to and read to Josiah, the king rent his clothes. He sent messengers to Huldah the prophetess, who confirmed that God was going to remove Judah from the Promised Land (2 Kings 22:8-17).

Josiah escalated a campaign to jump-start national revival (2 Kings 23; 2 Chronicles 34). He went on a campaign to annihilate idolatry and turn Judah back to God. He not only destroyed altars but killed those who did sacrifices. He read the law to the people and led Judah in recommitment to the Mosaic Covenant. This revival was successful in the short term.

“ And the king went up into the house of the Lord, and all the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests, and the Levites, and all the people, great and small: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of the Lord. And the king stood in his place, and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book.And he caused all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers.
And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that pertained to the children of Israel, and made all that were present in Israel to serve, even to serve the Lord their God. And all his days they departed not from following the Lord, the God of their fathers.”

– 2 Chronicles 34:30-33

While Josiah’s revival was successful short term, it failed to stop the idolatry long-term and it failed to stop judgment from falling on Judah. It did have long term fruit: It renewed interest in the Mosaic Covenant. This renewed interest would have also sparked interest other documents pertinent to the histories of Israel and Judah. This interest meant that steps would be taken to make sure that  important documents survived the deportation into Babylon; the survival of these documents was essential for both maintaining the light God had given and restoring the national life of Israel after she returned from her exile.

God did not abandon Israel during her captivity. He sent Hosea, Micah, Zephaniah, and Jeremiah beforehand to warn the people of the impending Babylonian Captivity. Ezekiel, Daniel, and Habakkuk~ were prophets who ministered during the captivity. Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi~ were prophets who ministered post-captivity.

God restores Israel in time for the Messiah
Jeremiah prophesied that all of the nation in the region of Judah would be captive in Babylon 70 years(Jeremiah 25:9-12). This seventy years began when Babylon conquered Assyria in 609 BC. It ended when Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered Babylon in 539 BC.

After the fall of Babylon, there were three decrees given by the new occupiers of Judah that would allow for the Israelites to resettle the Promised Land:  Decrees from Cyrus, Darius1, and Artaxerxes.
Within the first year after Cyrus conquered Babylon, he gave the decree for the Israelites to return to Judah and rebuild the temple. This is the decree, which was proclaimed in about 538 BC:
“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,’Thussaith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.

“Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.’
 Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem.”

- Ezra 1:1-5
A number of people who returned to Israel was 42,360 free people and 7337 servants (Nehemiah 7:66-67; Ezra 2:64-65). The people would begin to rebuild the temple according to the decree of Cyrus, but during the reign of his son Cambyses or Artaxerxes4 the enemies of Israel accused them of being a seditious people. They succeeded in getting an injunction to stop building that remained in force until the reign of Darius 1(Ezra 4).

During the reign of Darius1, Israel petitioned him to allow the rebuilding of the Temple to resume rebuilding. They appealed to the original decree by Cyrus authorizing the rebuilding. Darius authorized the building to resume and issued an injunction against the enemies of Israel barring them from interference.

Darius’ grandson, Artaxerxes, sent Ezra and Nehemiah to Israel and gave them authority (Ezra 7;Neh 1). These two would rebuild not only the city and the wall but the cultural and spiritual life of the nation. Nehemiah was the governor who supervised the building program and Ezra supervised the restoration of the worship.

After the temple was rebuilt, Ezra led a push to promote understanding the Laws of God. Ezra was accompanied by 13 other leaders, including Nehemiah, and a host of Levites. They called Israel to a solemn assembly (Nehemiah 7:73-8:18). The solemn assembly began with intensive teaching from the Scripture, followed by seeking God for seven days and solemn assembly on the eighth. Each day during this eight day festival there was public Scriptural teaching. This eight-day festival-solemn assembly occurred during the feast of tabernacles (Lev 23:34-36; Joel 1:14, 2:13-15; Acts 1-2 see chapter  26).

Ezra used a grammatical-historical hermeneutic to restore spiritual life. Nehemiah 8:8 reveals their task of not only telling the scripture, but also of explaining: “So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.”  The prevalence of idolatry under Manasseh, the Israelites quick return to idolatry after the death of Josiah, and seventy years of living in a foreign, Pagan land all but destroyed any antebellum Israelite culture of devotion to Yahweh God. It is only be “reading distinctly, ” using a grammatical-historical method to recover information about the antebellum Israelite culture can the spiritual life of the Israelite community be reconstructed.

1 Another name for Satan
2 Today we know that phosphorus burns underwater, but this would not have been known to the Israelites of Elijah's time, neither would any charleton have known how to handle it to successfully pull off any kind of hoax. Phosphorus was discovered in  1669 by Hennig Brand. Prior to this time, no one alive could have faked the miracle God did for Elijah.
Weeks, Mary Elvira (1932). "The discovery of the elements. II. Elements known to the alchemists". Journal of Chemical Education. 9: 11. Bibcode:1932JChEd...9...11W. doi:10.1021/ed009p11.
Cited in Wikipedia
3 Ezra's sources included
(The Book of Samuel the seer, and in
The Book of Nathan the prophet, and in
The Book of Gad the seer,
Chronicles of the kings of Judah,
Chronicles of the kings of Israel;
The Vision of Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz;
Book of the kings of Judah and Israel,
Book of Jehu the son of Hanani,
The Book of Nathan the prophet, and in
The Prophecy of Ahijaht heShilonite, and in
The Visions of Iddo the seer against Jeroboam the son of Nebat,
The Story of Iddo the seer)
4 The "Artaxerxes" that put an injunction against rebuilding the temple  in Ezra 4 was known to secular history as Cambyses

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Mystery Jerusalem Rising Ch 9 | True Prophets vs the Profitable Prophets- Part 1

The advent of kings in Israel proved to be a colossal failure in terms of faithfulness to the Covenant. While there were a few righteous monarchs, most were corrupt. The people reached unprecedented levels of corruption, becoming more corrupted than the nations God  had previously evicted from the Promised Land.

There were five paths that this corruption took: The monarchy corrupted the people, Monarchy was ineffective in keeping people just, the priesthood forgot God’s Laws and worshiped idols, pernicious priests and profitable prophets ruin the people, and Israel was corrupted by foreign alliances instead of trusting God. The end result of this was God’s just judgment in removing the people from the land He promised to Abraham.

The Monarchy corrupted the people.
Starting with Solomon, the kings of Israel re-introduced idolatry to the people. While Solomon started out with the right heart, asking God for wisdom rather than riches, he soon became corrupted by his power and wealth. 1 Kings 6:37-7:5 reveal that, while Solomon spent seven years building God’s house, he spent thirteen years building his own house.

While Solomon’s fall began with valuing his own interests more than God’s, it did not end there. He began to marry many foreign women. These women turned him away from the one true God to worship of false gods.

“King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites.2 They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.”   - 1 Kings 11:1-4 NIV

Solomon created shrines for idol worship for “all his wives” (11:7). As Solomon had 700 wives, this was a major project that was executed on a colossal scale. Two specific false gods are mentioned. These are Chemosh and Molek (sometimes spelled Molech, Moloch), which according to Easton are equivalent deities1. These gods are gods of child sacrifice and are an abomination to the Lord. (see also Leviticus 18:21; 20:2-5). Solomon introduced large-scale child sacrifice, the equivalent an abortion holocaust, to Israel. For over 400 years, children were burned alive as sacrifices. Needless to say, this triggered the anger of the Lord.

Solomon’s affect on him was so profound that it permanently changed the course of the monarchy. The heir to his throne, Rehoboam, was only half-Israelite. His mother was Ammonitess (1 Kings 14:21). It was for Rehoboam’s mother that Solomon built the shrine for Molek where children were slaughtered.

God punished Solomon by splitting the kingdom during the reign of his son, Rehoboam, into two kingdoms. From Rehoboam onward, there would be two kingdoms: Israel and Judah. Israel revolted from the House of David to follow Jeroboam. The house of David, however, continued to rule over the tribe of Judah.

Jeroboam failed to trust God, but created his own schemes. He reasoned that, if the Israelites went to the temple in Jerusalem that they would revert to Rehoboam and that he would be killed. He set up two golden calves. Jereboam committed the same sin, even using the same proclamation that Aaron did when he set up the golden calf in the wilderness (Ex 32:8).

“And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David:  If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.”  - 1 Kings12:26-28
The people of Israel who were led by Jeroboam flocked to idolatry. Jeroboam’s sin shaped cultural life on such a deep level that each successive monarch continued the idolatry. Jehu was the only possible exception to this rule. He destroyed the Baal worship of Ahab but continued the idolatry of Jeroboam (2 Kings 10:18-32).

The monarchy was intended to restrain evil by not letting everyone do “what was right in his own eyes.” The monarchy was to know the law and enforce the legal standard (Deuteronomy 17:14-19). Once the monarchy became corrupt, however, it became more dangerous to morals than anarchy. This is because Satan now had the opportunity to use state power to enforce wickedness. There are a number of examples of this in the books of the Kings, with three that are particularly relevant: Jezebel, Athaliah, and Manasseh.

Jezebel was the daughter of the King of Tyre who married Ahab, King of Israel. She sought to eradicate the true religion of Yahweh God and replace it with a Phoenician version of Mystery Babylon Paganism. To this end she tried to kill off all of the prophets of Yahweh God. Things got so bad that Obadiah, a prophet himself, hid 100 of the Lord’s prophets in a cave and fed them (1 Kings 18:3-14). She then proceeded to hire 850 Pagan prophets who were paid from the royal treasury (1 Kings 18:19).

Athaliah was a relative of Ahab and granddaughter of Omri (2 Kings 8:25-27). She sought to destroy the Davidic covenant from within. When her son Ahaziah was dead, she proceeded to wipe out the entire royal line (2 Kings 11). But Jehosheba, sister of Ahaziah, took his infant son and hid them from Athaliah as the royal family was about to be murdered. The infant son, named Joash, was hidden with Jehioada the High Priest for six years. During the seventh year, Jehioada arranged for Joash to be crowned King and Athaliah to be executed.

Manasseh did the most harm to Israel of anyone in the monarchy. His father, Hezekiah, was considered the most righteous king out of “all the Kings of Judah (2 Kings 18:5).” The son does not follow the father in this case, but rebels against both his father and the Lord. Manasseh’s twofold program of evil succeeded where Jezebel and Athaliah failed. He almost completely annihilates Judaism as a living religion. Manasseh goes where no one has gone before: He desecrates the Temple.

“And he set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house, of which the Lord said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever:Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave their fathers; only if they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them.But they hearkened not: and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel.” - 2 Kings 21:7-9

Manasseh was so successful that Israel, even the priests forgot that the books of the law even existed until they were rediscovered in the 18th year of Josiah (2 King 22:8-11). Judaism was extinguished from public life and the temple services  were subverted into Pagan worship and child sacrifice.

Manasseh caused Israel to sin more than the nations that God evicted. Divine justice required that God evict the Israelites from the land. God would, however, initiate one more revival so that His light would not be extinguished from the earth.

“And the Lordspake by his servants the prophets, saying, Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols: Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle.And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down. And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies; Because they have done that which was evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day.

Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.” 1 Kings 21:10-16

Monarchy was ineffective in keeping the people just.
Once Solomon and Jeroboam re-introduced the people to idolatry and murder, the people never quit. For the next 400 years, they pursued idolatry, sexual immorality and child sacrifice. In post-Solomon Israel, 19 out of 19 kings were wicked pursuers of idolatry, sexual immorality, and child murder. In Judah, about 12 of 24 were wicked pursuers of idolatry, sexual immorality, and child murder. Of the 12 good kings of Judah, 10 allowed the people to pursue their villainy. Only two of these kings made proactive efforts to systematically eradicate the practice of idolatry and child murder on the part of the people: Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:1-6) and Josiah (2 Kings 23:1-20).

Priesthood forgot God’s Laws, but worshiped idols.
Where was the priesthood while the kings were leading the people into oblivion? With just a few exceptions, they were joining the kings in leading the people down the pathway to Hell.

Pernicious Priests and Profitable Prophets ruin the people.
“Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it.And though they say, The Lordliveth; surely they swear falsely. O Lord, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.
Therefore I said, Surely these are poor; they are foolish: for they know not the way of the Lord, nor the judgment of their God. I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them; for they have known the way of the Lord, and the judgment of their God: but these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds.
Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them, and a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities: every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces: because their transgressions are many, and their backslidings are increased.” - Jeremiah 5:1-6

In one instance, Jeremiah came into direct conflict with the Deputy High Priest, which was second only to High Priest in authority in the priesthood3  When Pashur heard  that Jeremiah was prophesying judgment upon Israel, he hit him and had him arrested. Jeremiah responded by pronouncing God’s judgment on Pashur.

“Now Pashur the son of Immer the priest, who was also chief governor in the house of the Lord, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things. Then Pashur smote Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the Lord.And it came to pass on the morrow, that Pashur brought forth Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then said Jeremiah unto him, The Lord hath not called thy name Pashur, but Magormissabib.

For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will make thee a terror to thyself, and to all thy friends: and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and thine eyes shall behold it: and I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive into Babylon, and shall slay them with the sword. Moreover I will deliver all the strength of this city, and all the labours thereof, and all the precious things thereof, and all the treasures of the kings of Judah will I give into the hand of their enemies, which shall spoil them, and take them, and carry them to Babylon. And thou, Pashur, and all that dwell in thine house shall go into captivity: and thou shalt come to Babylon, and there thou shalt die, and shalt be buried there, thou, and all thy friends, to whom thou hast prophesied lies.”  - Jeremiah 20:1-6

The Priesthood not only deceived the people through corrupt theology, but conducted schemes of treachery to manipulate people. People would be manipulated into transgressing the law so that the law could then be used as a weapon to control or annihilate them. On numerous occasions, the Pharisees tried unsuccessfully to use this tactic frequently against Jesus. (Matt 12:10;19:3;22:15-46;Mark 3:2;8:11;10:2;12:13-15; Luke 10:25;11:16;11:54;20:23; John 8:6)

“O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived; thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me.For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the Lord was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily.Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.
“For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. Report, say they, and we will report it. All my familiars watched for my halting[Stumbling or moral failure], saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him.
“But the Lord is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten. But, O Lord of hosts, thattriest the righteous, and seest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I opened my cause. Sing unto the Lord, praise ye the Lord: for he hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers.” - Jeremiah 20:7-13

Profane Prophets and Priests have scattered the people of God as a consequences of their false teaching and treachery. They have fed on the flock rather than feeding the flock. God promises that he will remove the bad shepherds and replace them with faithful shepherds. As we shall see in chapter **, he replaced apostate Judaism with the Gospel of Christ, He has also displaced religious authorities on several occasions during “the church age” when they became too corrupt*.

“Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord. Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord. And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord.
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness.Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lordliveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The Lordliveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.
“Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine hath overcome, because of the Lord, and because of the words of his holiness. For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right. For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the Lord.

“Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, saith the Lord. And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err. I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness; they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.”
- Jeremiah 23:1-14 see also Ezekiel 34

Israel trusted foreign alliances instead of trusting God.
This was really where a lot of the corruption started. Solomon’s many marriages to foreign wives likely started as statecraft marriages, but over time his wives corrupted his heart away from the true God towards the false gods they served. On several occasions, foreign alliances brought forth rebuke from the Lord.

On one occasion, while Asa was king of Judah, Israel waged war against Judah (2 Chr 16:1). Asa, instead of trusting God like he did when he fought against the Ethiopians, decided to trust in foreign alliances (2 Chr 16:2-6). The scheme was successful in getting Israel to back off from warfare with Judah.

This, however, did not please God. He sent a prophet to Asa to rebuke him for failing to trust God (2 Chr 16:7-9). Because Asa failed to trust God, he lost an opportunity to defeat Syria. Judah could have both greatly strengthened her political position in the balance of power in the region and achieve peace through a stable balance of power. The political reality Asa created was to weaken Israel by strengthening Syria. Asa’s actions altered the balance of power in the region,leading to Syrian aggression that weakened both Israel and Judah, making that entire region ultimately more vulnerable to Assyrian domination.

There is a promise in 2 Chronicles 16:9 : “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.”  God is looking for people who trust Him so that He can show His power. God wants us to trust Him, not corrupting political alliances.

Asa’s foolishness did indeed lead to Syrian aggression in the region, resulting in war. His 7th-great-grandson, Ahaz, was invaded by a joint force of Syria and Israel. Ahaz was given explicit opportunity to call upon God, but he refused (Isaiah 7). When Ahaz refused a sign that God was going to deliver, Isaiah warned that Assyria would end up devastating Judah.

2 Kings 16 records what Ahaz actually did. It was the worst possible action from a foreign policy perspective, as it removed the buffers between Judah and the most powerful and aggressive nation in the region at that time – Assyria. Ahaz set the stage for the fulfillment of Isaiah’s chapter 7 prophecy when Assyria sacks Judah.

Ahaz puts his trust in Assyria to solve his problems. He show an eagerness to make whatever compromises necessary to get Assyria’s help. He makes Judah a vassal state to Assyria (2 Kings 16:7-8).  Assyria then conquers Syria and deport the Syrians. A few years later he wipes Israel as well, leaving only Judah.

In addition to making Judah a vassal state, he takes gold and silver from the house of the Lord and has Urijah the priest fashion them into an alter patterned after an altar in Damascus; this was done as an act of appeasement to the king of Assyria. Ahaz rejected  trust in God and gave both political worship to the king of Assyria and spiritual worship to a false god.

Yet another instance of Judah trusting in political alliances to their shame occurred when Babylon deported the Israelites to Babylon. The remnant that remained in the land asked Jeremiah to inquire of God for direction (Jeremiah 42). Jeremiah came back with God’s command to stay in Judah under the rule of the Babylonians, saying that it would be well for them in Judah but disastrous to them if they went to Egypt.

The remnant of Judah, however, rebelled against the Lord’s command and decided to go to Egypt in spite of the warning of disaster. They forcibly took Jeremiah and Baruch with them (Jeremiah 43). It ended up a colossal, three-fold disaster for the remnant of Judah. They suffered apostasy, destruction, and infamy.

Their backsliding went full course to full blown apostasy: They had become fully committed pagans. They totally rejected the worship of God to worship “The Queen of Heaven.” They began to argue with Jeremiah, saying it was faithlessness to the Queen of Heaven rather than faithlessness to God that brought on them the disaster they were experiencing. Jeremiah boldly proclaimed that it was faithlessness to the one True God that resulted in the disaster.

Jeremiah then offered up another word from the Lord as proof of his first word: he proclaimed that God was going to send Nebuchadnezzar to Egypt to enslave the Egyptians and destroy them. They had brought judgment on themselves and the Egyptians. The few who survive this judgment would know that the Lord had truly spoken to Jeremiah.

The dragging up of Egypt into God’s judgment on Judah would result in Judah living in infamy:”They will become a curse and an object of horror, a curse and an object of reproach (Jeremiah 44:12)”.

We are admonished to trust God rather than political alliances (Psalm 20; 44:6; 118:8-10; 146:3; Isaiah 30:1-9; Jeremiah17). Politics had a way of corrupting itself into everything it touches. Jeremiah 17:5-10 contrasts the person who trusts in God to the one who trusts in man.

“Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”- Jeremiah 17:5-10

The one who trusts in man or in social or political alliances is cursed: he will wither even in times of prosperity. The one who trust in God, however, is blessed: he will bear abundant fruit even during times of famine.

Verse 9-10 address the heart condition that determines where one places his trust. The Lord searches the “reins’ of the heart. God both sees past the outward appearance and ignores beliefs that are merely creedal. He searches for those beliefs that shape our destiny, and rewards accordingly.

Jeremiah 17:10 is a cross references to Rev 2:23, which is a part of the letter to the church of Thyatira. In this letter Jesus threatens judgment the church for tolerating Jezebel; He is about to cast her and those who commit “sexual immorality” with her into a “bed of tribulation” (Rev 2:22). Jezebel in this passage is, without doubt, a cross reference to the historical Jezebel who was married to Ahab king of Israel. She was a schemer who stole Naboth’s vineyard through craftiness (1 Kings 21). Those who trust in schemes are cursed, but those who trust in God are blessed.

2 Literally eat at Jezebel's table