This is the end of the Book of Jeremiah, the next is the Book of Lamentations. What…
Downfall of Jerusalem
1 Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.
52:1-27, 31-34 – paralleled almost verbatim in 2 Kgs 24:18-25:21, 27-30. The writer(s) of Book of Kings and the writer of the appendix to the Book of Jeremiah (perhaps Baruch) doubtless had access to the same sources.
It’s unlikely that either of the two accounts copied from the other since each has peculiarities characteristic of the larger work that it concludes. In a few passages, the Book of Jeremiah is fuller than the Book of 2 Kings .
“Jeremiah” – not the prophet.
2 And he did that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.
3 For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, till he had cast them out from his presence that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.
4 And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it, and built forts against it round about.
5 So the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.
6 And in the fourth month, in the ninth day of the month, the famine was sore in the city, so that there was no bread for the people of the land.
7 Then the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled, and went forth out of the city by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the king’s garden; (now the Chaldeans were by the city round about:) and they went by the way of the plain.
8 But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after the king, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; and all his army was scattered from him.
9 Then they took the king, and carried him up unto the king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath; where he gave judgment upon him.
10 And the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes: he slew also all the princes of Judah in Riblah.
11 Then he put out the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him in chains, and carried him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death.
12 Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzar-adan, captain of the guard, which served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem,
13 And burned the house of the LORD, and the king’s house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great men, burned he with fire:
14 And all the army of the Chaldeans, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down all the walls of Jerusalem round about.
15 Then Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard carried away captive certain of the poor of the people, and the residue of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the multitude.
16 But Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard left certain of the poor of the land for vinedressers and for husbandmen.
17 Also the pillars of brass that were in the house of the LORD, and the bases, and the brazen sea that was in the house of the LORD, the Chaldeans brake, and carried all the brass of them to Babylon.
18 The caldrons also, and the shovels, and the snuffers, and the bowls, and the spoons, and all the vessels of brass wherewith they ministered, took they away.
19 And the brazons, and the fire pans, and the bowls, and the caldrons, and the candlesticks, and the spoons, and the cups; that which was of gold in gold, and that which was of silver in silver, took the captain of the guard away.
20 The two pillars, one sea, and twelve brazen bulls that were under the bases, which king Solomon had made in the house of the LORD: the brass of all these vessels was without weight.
21 And concerning the pillars, the height of one pillar was eighteen cubits; and a fillet of twelve cubits did compass it; and the thickness thereof was four fingers: it was hollow.
22 And a chapiter of brass was upon it; and the height of one chapiter was five cubits, with network and pomegranates upon the chapiters round about, all of brass. The second pillar also and the pomegranates were like unto these.
“Five cubits” – about 7½ feet. The parallel in 2 Kgs 25:17 reads “three cubits” (about 4½ feet), probably a copyist’s error.
23 And there were ninety and six pomegranates on a side; and all the pomegranates upon the network were an hundred round about.
24 And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door:
25 He took also out of the city an eunuch, which had the charge of the men of war; and seven men of them that were near the king’s person, which were found in the city; and the principal scribe of the host, who mustered the people of the land; and threescore men of the people of the land, that were found in the midst of the city.
“Seven” – the parallel in 2 Kgs 25:19 reads “five.”
26 So Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard took them, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah.
27 And the king of Babylon smote them, and put them to death in Riblah in the land of Hamath. Thus Judah was carried away captive out of his own land.
28 This is the people whom Nebuchadnezzar carried away captive: in the seventh year three thousand Jews and three and twenty:
“Three thousand Jews and three and twenty” – probably includes only adult males since the corresponding figure(s) in 2 Kgs 24:14, 16 are significantly higher.
29 In the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar he carried away captive from Jerusalem eight hundred thirty and two persons:
“Eighteenth year” – 586 B.C. in v. 12 the same year is called the “nineteenth year”; the difference is due to alternate ways of computing years.
30 In the three and twentieth year of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred forty and five persons: all the persons were four thousand and six hundred.
“Three and twentieth year – 581 B.C.
“Nebuchadnezzar…carried away captive” – either (1) to quell further rebellion or (2) in belated reprisal for Gedaliah’s assassination.
31 And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth day of the month, that Evil-Merodach king of Babylon in the first year of his reign lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison,
52:31-34 – paralleled almost verbatim in 2 Kgs 25:27-30. The Book of Jeremiah and the Book of Kings 2 conclude with the same happy ending.
“Five and twentieth” – the parallel in 2 Kgs 25:27 reads “seven and twentieth.”
32 And spake kindly unto him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon,
33 And changed his prison garments: and he did continually eat bread before him all the days of his life.
34 And for his diet, there was a continual diet given him of the king of Babylon, every day a portion until the day of his death, all the days of his life.
“Until the day of his death” – since the phrase does not appear in the parallel verses in 2 Kings in either case, it’s intention is probably to highlight the contrast between Zedekiah, who remained in prison till the day he died, and Jehoiachin, who was released from prison and treated well by the Babylonian kings till the day he died.
Jehoiachin in Captivity and Evil-Merodach
Jehoiachin ruled Judah for only three months and then, at age eighteen, was taken captive to Babylon in 597 B.C.
During excavation in Babylon approximately 300 day tablets containing administrative records were uncovered in a building adjacent to Nebuchadnezzar’s palace. Four of them were found to be highly significant for Old Testament studies, as they mention Jehoiachin.
Dating from 595 to 570 B.C., all four are receipts for rations of oil issued to Jehoiachin and his entourage. Jehoiachin is referred to as “Jehoiachin king of the land of Judah.” Three of the tablets list oil for Jehoiachin’s five sons and oil was also given to five named and eight unnamed Judeans.
Evil-Merodach (his Babylonian name was “Amil-Marduk” or “Avel-Marduk”= “man,” or “servant, of Marduk”) succeeded Nebuchadnezzar on the throne and ruled unjustly and lewdly but it lasted only for a year, from 561-56- B.C.
He released Jehoiachin from confinement, clothed him, treated him well, and even allowed him to eat at the king’s table, but there is no record explaining why. Inscriptions found in Babylon show that Evil-Merodach continued his father’s building projects.
He was deposed and perhaps murdered by his brother-in-law Nergal-Sharezer, a former military officer.
Evil-Merodach is spoken of in the Book of Daniel.
That’s a funny name, Evil-Merodach, especially since he was so nice to Jehoiachin. Yet, Jehoiachin, king of Judah, was evil too so like they say, birds of a feather flock together.
They were really ruthless back then, Negal-Sharezer killing Evil, Nebuchadnezzar forcing King Zedekiah to watch him kill his kids and then poked his eyes out.
…is the book of Lamentations about and who wrote it?
I don’t think very many people actually know how powerful You are, I didn’t until You showed me.
You surely can’t hold that against them because how awesome You are is beyond anyone’s understanding. I mean, even knowing what I know, I’m baffled by it all, and I don’t know that much, but enough to know that NOBODY can hold a candle stick to You.
After this chapter there’s only one more in Jeremiah so, to go with chapter 52, let’s look at…
The Prophecy Against Babylon Continued
(Pictures below are famous Egyptians)
1 Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will raise up against Babylon, and against them that dwell in the midst of them that rise up against me, a destroying wind;
2 And will send unto Babylon fanners that shall fan her, and shall empty her land: for in the day of trouble they shall be against her round about.
3 Against him that bendeth let the archer bend his bow, and against him that lifteth himself up in his brigandine: and spare ye not her young men; destroy ye utterly all her host.
4 Thus the slain shall fall in the land of the Chaldeans, and they that are thrust through in her streets.
5 For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the LORD of hosts; though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.
6 Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD’S vengeance; he will render unto her recompense.
7 Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD’S hand that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad.
8 Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed.
9 We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go everyone into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.
The speakers are the nations conquered by Babylon.
10 The LORD hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the LORD our God.
11 Make bright the arrows; gather the shields: the LORD hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his device is against Babylon, to destroy it; because it is the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance of his temple.
12 Set up the standard upon the walls of Babylon, make the watch strong, set up the watchmen, prepare the ambushes: for the LORD hath both devised and done that which he spake against the inhabitants of Babylon.
13 O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness.
14 The LORD of hosts hath sworn by himself, saying, Surely I will fill thee with men, as with caterpillars; and they shall lift up a shout against thee.
15 He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding.
16 When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; and he causeth the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth: he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.
17 Every man is brutish by his knowledge; every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.
18 They are vanity, the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.
19 The portion of Jacob is not like them; for he is the former of all things: and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: the LORD of hosts is his name.
20 Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms;
“Thou art my battle axe” – either (1) Cyrus of Persia, soon to conquer Babylon or more likely, (2) Babylon, destroyer of nations.
“Break in pieces” – the Hebrew root for this verb is the same as that for “battle axe.”
21 And with thee will I break in pieces the horse and his rider; and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and his rider;
22 With thee also will I break in pieces man and woman; and with thee will I break in pieces old and young; and with thee will I break in pieces the young man and the maid;
23 I will also break in pieces with thee the shepherd and his flock; and with thee will I break in pieces the husbandman and his yoke of oxen; and with thee will I break in pieces captains and rulers.
24 And I will render unto Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, saith the LORD.
25 Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, saith the LORD, which destroyest all the earth: and I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain.
26 And they shall not take of thee a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations; but thou shalt be desolate forever, saith the LORD.
27 Set ye up a standard in the land, blow the trumpet among the nations, prepare the nations against her, call together against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashchenaz; appoint a captain against her; cause the horses to come up as the rough caterpillars.
28 Prepare against her the nations with the kings of the Medes, the captains thereof, and all the rulers thereof, and all the land of his dominion.
29 And the land shall tremble and sorrow: for every purpose of the LORD shall be performed against Babylon, to make the land of Babylon a desolation without an inhabitant.
30 The mighty men of Babylon have forborn to fight, they have remained in their holds: their might hath failed; they became as women: they have burned her dwelling places; her bars are broken.
31 One post shall run to meet another, and one messenger to meet another, to shew the king of Babylon that his city is taken at one end,
32 And that the passages are stopped, and the reeds they have burned with fire, and the men of war are affrighted.
33 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor, it is time to thresh her: yet a little while, and the time of her harvest shall come.
“Threshing floor” – the destruction of a city or nastion is often depicted as a harvest.
34 Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicate, he hath cast me out.
“Dragon” – the Hebrew for this word is also translated “dragon” in Is 51:9, where it symbolizes Egypt.
35 The violence done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon, shall the inhabitant of Zion say; and my blood upon the inhabitants of Chaldea, shall Jerusalem say.
36 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will plead thy cause, and take vengeance for thee; and I will dry up her sea, and make her springs dry.
37 And Babylon shall become heaps, a dwelling place for dragons, an astonishment, and an hissing, without an inhabitant.
38 They shall roar together like lions: they shall yell as lions’ whelps.
39 In their heat I will make their feasts, and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the LORD.
40 I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams with he goats.
41 How is Sheshach taken! and how is the praise of the whole earth surprised! how is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations!
42 The sea is come up upon Babylon: she is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof.
43 Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness, a land wherein no man dwelleth, neither doth any son of man pass thereby.
44 And I will punish Bel in Babylon, and I will bring forth out of his mouth that which he hath swallowed up: and the nations shall not flow together any more unto him: yea, the wall of Babylon shall fall.
“Which he hath swallowed up” – captive peoples (including Judah) and plundered goods (including vessels from the temple in Jerusalem, see Dan 5:2-3).
45 My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the LORD.
46 And lest your heart faint, and ye fear for the rumor that shall be heard in the land; a rumor shall both come one year, and after that in another year shall come a rumor, and violence in the land, ruler against ruler.
“Ye fear for the rumor…heard in the land” – While giving His Olivet discourse, Jesus may have had this passage in mind (see Matt 24:6; Mk 13:7; Lk 21;9).
47 Therefore, behold, the days come, that I will do judgment upon the graven images of Babylon: and her whole land shall be confounded, and all her slain shall fall in the midst of her.
48 Then the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, shall sing for Babylon: for the spoilers shall come unto her from the north, saith the LORD.
49 As Babylon hath caused the slain of Israel to fall, so at Babylon shall fall the slain of all the earth.
50 Ye that have escaped the sword, go away, stand not still: remember the LORD afar off, and let Jerusalem come into your mind.
51 We are confounded, because we have heard reproach: shame hath covered our faces: for strangers are come into the sanctuaries of the LORD’S house.
“Strangers are come into the sanctuaries of the LORD’s house” – refers to Nebuchadnezzar’s defiling the Jerusalem temple in 586 B.C. The same sacrilege would occur under Antiochus Epiphanes in 168 B.C. and under the Romans in 70 A.D.
52 Wherefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will do judgment upon her graven images: and through all her land the wounded shall groan.
53 Though Babylon should mount up to heaven, and though she should fortify the height of her strength, yet from me shall spoilers come unto her, saith the LORD.
54 A sound of a cry cometh from Babylon, and great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans:
55 Because the LORD hath spoiled Babylon, and destroyed out of her the great voice; when her waves do roar like great waters, a noise of their voice is uttered:
56 Because the spoiler is come upon her, even upon Babylon, and her mighty men are taken, every one of their bows is broken: for the LORD God of recompenses shall surely requite.
57 And I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men, her captains, and her rulers, and her mighty men: and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.
58 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; and the people shall labor in vain, and the folk in the fire, and they shall be weary.
59 The word which Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, when he went with Zedekiah the king of Judah into Babylon in the fourth year of his reign. And this Seraiah was a quiet prince.
“Seraiah the son of Neriah” – an ancient seal has been found that bears the inscription “Belonging to Seraiah son of Neriah,” and it no doubt refers to the man mentioned here. he was a brother of Jeremiah’s secretary, Baruch.
60 So Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come upon Babylon, even all these words that are written against Babylon.
61 And Jeremiah said to Seraiah, When thou comest to Babylon, and shalt see, and shalt read all these words;
62 Then shalt thou say, O LORD, thou hast spoken against this place, to cut it off, that none shall remain in it, neither man nor beast, but that it shall be desolate forever.
63 And it shall be, when thou hast made an end of reading this book, that thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates:
64 And thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her: and they shall be weary. Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.
Many wonder if God controls the weather? You bet He does, He created everything (Jn 1:3) and He controls everything (Col 1:17), nothing happens that He doesn’t do or allow to happen, even the wicked acts of the devil has to be approved of God first, I will explain this later.
We call tornados, tsunamis, earthquakes, electrical storms, etc. “natural disasters” because they aren’t manmade, but they aren’t created by the atmosphere, the planets, or anything else, remember, God creates and controls everything.
The question is: “Are they all disasters or are some blessings from God?”
Some have concluded that suffering occurs because it is beyond God’s control. This is incorrect. As I had stated above, God controls everything, including evil acts performed by people because He created that too.
For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; He hath established it, He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else (Is 45:18).
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things (Is 45:7).
Our God is a great God, so powerful we can’t imagine it.
Some believe that God has established certain laws and principles that govern nature, but He remains sovereign over these laws. I had once believed that, but He recently corrected me.
For years, sometimes when I was working in the yard and I saw it was going to rain I would ask God to give me another minute or two or five to finish what I was doing so I didn’t get wet. And usually the rain wouldn’t come until shortly after I was inside.
A few weeks ago I was sawing a good size tree branch in two and I saw that it was going to rain so I asked God to help me cut through this branch or hold the rain back until I was done. As soon I was done I put my tools away and headed for the house.
When I was almost to the house (and this was the first time this ever happened) I could hear the rain coming. It wasn’t coming from the sky, it was already falling and coming from the west, but it wasn’t in my yard yet. Just as I stepped under the patio the rain reached my yard.
I thanked God for holding the rain back for me and He told me that He didn’t, He has everyone’s lives in sync. He has the entire world population in sync.
The good times, the bad times, the happy moments, the sad moments, etc., that we all experience, Jesus Christ has in absolute order in regard to His will.
And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist (Col 1:17).
Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high (Heb 1:3).
That is one powerful God!
So you may wonder if Jesus decided who wins the lottery? I doubt it because the lottery is a freewill thing and He doesn’t mess with our freewill, if He did it wouldn’t be freewill. Yet, then again, He may choose the winner, but if He does I’m sure the Holy Ghost prompts the winner to purchase the ticket.
Of course, if our freewill is going to mess us up badly He may throw a wrench our way, as He did for Jonah.
Jonah and the Whale
But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty temptest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken (Jon 1:4).
God created the storm, He also created the whale that swallowed Jonah (Jon 1:17), and God also told the whale to spit Jonah out when he did (Jon 2:10).
We can say that God controlled Jonah’s freewill, but He didn’t. God did choose Jonah to go and warn Nineveh of their soon to come destruction if they didn’t change their ways. But it was Jonah’s choice to try and run from God.
We can say that God interfered in Jonah’s freewill because He created the storm and everything, but no, He didn’t touch Jonah’s freewill. God can do whatever He chooses:
Remember the former things of old: for I am God and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,
Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure (Is 46:9-10).
Jesus had said:
He that is not with Me is against Me; and He that gathererth not with Me scattereth abroad (Matt 12:30).
Our freewill gives us the choice to do whatever we want, and that includes the repercussions.
When Jonah chose to walk away from God he had also got himself a reservation to spend eternity in hell. God doesn’t want anyone to do that (Eze 33:11) so He threw the wrench.
God told the whale to spit Jonah out because Jonah had prayed and asked for forgiveness (Jon 2).
What God did to Jonah was not to punish him running from Him, but to save him from spending eternity in hell. The same reason Jesus came.
Can Satan Control the Weather?
Satan and his demons have no control over the weather or natural disasters. They are not divine, but have powers beyond ours, super-human powers. They can do nothing without God’s permission. The Book of Job is a very good example:
Then Satan answered the LORD and said, doth Job fear God for nought?
Hast not thou made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands and his substance is increased in the land.
But put forth thine hand now and touch all that he hath and he will curse thee to thy face.
And the LORD said unto Satan, behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD (Job 1:9-12).
The devil used the Sabeans, the Chaldeans, and natural disasters to kill all of Job’s children and everything he owned. But notice that Satan wasn’t allowed to harm Job himself.
After all that, Satan talked to God again:
And Satan answered the LORD and said, Skin for skin, yeah, all that a man hath will he give for his life.
But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh and he will curse thee to thy face.
And the LORD God said unto Satan, behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life (Job 2:4-6).
So you can see that Satan has no control over the weather or anything, God decides what the devil can and cannot do.
Why God allowed Satan to do all he did to Job is a different story, but it has a great end.
Remember, God has His reasons for doing whatever He chooses to do, and even though the event may not be good, the ending always is for those that believe in Jesus.
(to name a few)
Gen 6:5-9:19 (Earth destroyed by flood, people and animals killed)
Ex 9:23-29 (hail and fire from heaven on Egypt)
Lev 26:19-20 (rainless sky, parched earth)
Deut 11:13-15 (rain as reward for obedience)
Deut 28:24 (drought punishment)
Josh 10:11 (hail on the Amorites, etc.)
I Sam 7:10 (thunder disperses the Philistines)
I Sam 12:18 (thunder and rain to get people’s attention)
II Sam 21:1 (drought and famine)
I Kgs 8:35-36 (good weather reward)
I Kgs 16:30-18:45 (rain withheld and given)
Hos 13:15 (dry weather)
Amos 4:7 (rain given and withheld from certain cities)
Jon 1:4,10-15 (man punished and redirected by sea storm)
I have to say, that was pretty smart to use the river to get inside the city. Sort of like the legend of the Trojan Horse, whether it’s a fairy tale or not.
To me, what Cyrus did was more ingenious than the Trojan Horse because he used nature. I know You created everything and you control everything, so….
The Prophecy Against Babylon
1 The word that the LORD spake against Babylon and against the land of the Chaldeans by Jeremiah the prophet.
2 Declare ye among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not: say, Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces.
“Babylon is taken” – fulfilled in 539 B.C.
“Is confounded…broken in pieces” – the repetition of each of these phrases emphasizes that the chief god of Babylon and his images and idols are alike doomed.
3 For out of the north there cometh up a nation against her, which shall make her land desolate, and none shall dwell therein: they shall remove, they shall depart, both man and beast.
4 In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the LORD their God.
5 They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.
6 My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place.
7 All that found them have devoured them: and their adversaries said, We offend not, because they have sinned against the LORD, the habitation of justice, even the LORD, the hope of their fathers.
8 Remove out of the midst of Babylon, and go forth out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be as the he
goats before the flocks.
9 For, lo, I will raise and cause to come up against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country: and they shall set themselves in array against her; from thence she shall be taken: their arrows shall be as of a mighty expert man; none shall return in vain.
10 And Chaldea shall be a spoil: all that spoil her shall be satisfied, saith the LORD.
11 Because ye were glad, because ye rejoiced, O ye destroyers of mine heritage, because ye are grown fat as the heifer at grass, and bellow as bulls;
12 Your mother shall be sore confounded; she that bare you shall be ashamed: behold, the hindermost of the nations shall be a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert.
13 Because of the wrath of the LORD it shall not be inhabited, but it shall be wholly desolate: every one that goeth by Babylon shall be astonished, and hiss at all her plagues.
14 Put yourselves in array against Babylon round about: all ye that bend the bow, shoot at her, spare no arrows: for she hath sinned against the LORD.
15 Shout against her round about: she hath given her hand: her foundations are fallen, her walls are thrown down: for it is the vengeance of the LORD: take vengeance upon her; as she hath done, do unto her.
16 Cut off the sower from Babylon, and him that handleth the sickle in the time of harvest: for fear of the oppressing sword they shall turn everyone to his people, and they shall flee everyone to his own land.
17 Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away: first the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones.
18 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria.
“I have punished the king of Assyria” – Nineveh, the proud Assyrian capital, fell in 612 B.C. and Assyria herself was conquered by a coalition of Medes and Babylonians in 609 B.C.
19 And I will bring Israel again to his habitation, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied upon mount Ephraim and Gilead.
20 In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.
21 Go up against the land of Merathaim, even against it, and against the inhabitants of Pekod: waste and utterly destroy after them, saith the LORD, and do according to all that I have commanded thee.
“Merethaim” – means “double rebellion [against the Lord],” perhaps referring to vv. 24, 29. It’s probably a pun on the Babylonian word marratu, which sometimes referred to a region in southern Babylon that was characterized by briny waters.
“Pekod” – means “punishment [from the Lord],” a pun on Puqudu, the Babylonian name for an Aramean tribe living on the eastern bank of the lower Tigris River.
22 A sound of battle is in the land, and of great destruction.
23 How is the hammer of the whole earth cut asunder and broken! how is Babylon become a desolation among the nations!
24 I have laid a snare for thee, and thou art also taken, O Babylon, and thou wast not aware: thou art found, and also caught, because thou hast striven against the LORD.
“Taken…not aware” – the Persian attack in 539 B.C. would catch the city of Babylon completely by surprise.
25 The LORD hath opened his armory, and hath brought forth the weapons of his indignation: for this is the work of the Lord GOD of hosts in the land of the Chaldeans.
26 Come against her from the utmost border, open her storehouses: cast her up as heaps, and destroy her utterly: let nothing of her be left.
27 Slay all her bullocks; let them go down to the slaughter: woe unto them! for their day is come, the time of their visitation.
28 The voice of them that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of the LORD our God, the vengeance of his temple.
29 Call together the archers against Babylon: all ye that bend the bow, camp against it round about; let none thereof escape: recompense her according to her work; according to all that she hath done, do unto her: for she hath been proud against the LORD, against the Holy One of Israel.
30 Therefore shall her young men fall in the streets, and all her men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the LORD.
31 Behold, I am against thee, O thou most proud, saith the Lord GOD of hosts: for thy day is come, the time that I will visit thee.
32 And the most proud shall stumble and fall, and none shall raise him up: and I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it shall devour all round about him.
33 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The children of Israel and the children of Judah were oppressed together: and all that took them captives held them fast; they refused to let them go.
34 Their Redeemer is strong; the LORD of hosts is his name: he shall throughly plead their case, that he may give rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon.
35 A sword is upon the Chaldeans, saith the LORD, and upon the inhabitants of Babylon, and upon her princes, and upon her wise men.
36 A sword is upon the liars; and they shall dote: a sword is upon her mighty men; and they shall be dismayed.
37 A sword is upon their horses, and upon their chariots, and upon all the mingled people that are in the midst of her; and they shall become as women: a sword is upon her treasures; and they shall be robbed.
38 A drought is upon her waters; and they shall be dried up: for it is the land of graven images, and they are mad upon their idols.
39 Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell there, and the owls shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited forever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation.
40 As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbor cities thereof, saith the LORD; so shall no man abide there, neither shall any son of man dwell therein.
41 Behold, a people shall come from the north, and a great nation, and many kings shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth.
42 They shall hold the bow and the lance: they are cruel, and will not shew mercy: their voice shall roar like the sea, and they shall ride upon horses, everyone put in array, like a man to the battle, against thee, O daughter of Babylon.
43 The king of Babylon hath heard the report of them, and his hands waxed feeble: anguish took hold of him, and pangs as of a woman in travail.
44 Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the swelling of Jordan unto the habitation of the strong: but I will make them suddenly run away from her: and who is a chosen man that I may appoint over her? for who is like me? and who will appoint me the time? and who is that shepherd that will stand before me?
45 Therefore hear ye the counsel of the LORD that he hath taken against Babylon; and his purposes, that he hath purposed against the land of the Chaldeans: Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out: surely he shall make their habitation desolate with them.
46 At the noise of the taking of Babylon the earth is moved, and the cry is heard among the nations.
Herodotus and the Fall of Babylon
The Greek historian Herodotus (c. 480-425 B.C.) produced one of the most famous books of ancient Greece, the History. Its focus is the series of wars between Persia and the Greeks that lasted from approximately 490 to 479 B.C.
Herodotus devoted a great deal of attention to the background of the wars and in the process gave a fairly sweeping view of the eastern Mediterranean world during the sixth and fifth centuries B.C.
The Greek word historiai (literally “investigations”) aptly describes how Herodotus went about collecting and recording information about the customs and histories of the peoples he encountered. He is regarded as the father of Western history writing because he tried to confine himself to human events and to avoid myths.
Herodotus’s account of the fall of Babylon (History, 1.189-191) in 539 B.C. relates to the prophetic account in Jeremiah 50-51, as well as to Daniel’s indication that Babylon fell overnight during a festival (Dan 5:30-31).
Herodotus began with a fantastic tale of how Cyrus’s horse drowned in the Gyndes River and how he, to punish the river by making it weak and sha
llow, compelled his army to spend a summer diverting it into 360 channels.
Arriving at Babylon, Cyrus faced the prospect of a prolonged siege. Babylon was large enough to store food for many years, so any attempts to starve the city into submission would have been futile.
But, Herodotus noted, the city had one peculiar characteristic: The Euphrates River ran through the middle of Babylon and divided it into two parts. Cyrus decided that the river channels under the walls provided the only chance of gaining entry, but the volume of water and the strength of the current were too great.
Yet, the Persian king hatched an ingenious plan: He posted soldiers at the points at which the Euphrates entered and left the city and instructed his men to move through the river when it became fordable.
Meanwhile, the noncombatants went up stream and diverted much of the river into an artificial marsh. When the water level had dropped sufficiently, the Persian soldiers made their way in and captured the Babylonian capital.
What are we to make of this account? Most historians believe that Herodotus’s version of events is at least to some degree confused and misleading. In his actual conquest of Babylonia, Cyrus’s forces proceeded down from the north and rapidly overcame resistance.
A second front was opened against Babylon by a certain Ugbaru, governor of Gutium. Ugbaru proceeded to capture Babylon for Cyrus with astonishing speed, and Cyrus himself entered the city shortly thereafter.
Several factors may have contributed to the Persian victory:
1st – Cyrus may have kept the bulk of the Babylonian forces occupied with his army while Ugbaru came in from the rear.
2nd – The Babylonian regime was unpopular, and the people seem to have welcomed Cyrus as a liberator.
3rd – Ugbaru appears to have entered Babylon by subterfuge (as is reflected in the version of the story about the diversion of the Euphrates).
It’s certain that Babylon fell suddenly. Herodotus is correct in stating that the Euphrates bisected the city, and the Nabonidus Chronicle confirms that it fell without a battle. Thus, the account about diverting the Euphrates may be true.
Both Daniel 5 and Herodotus indicate the Babylon fell during a rowdy festival. Herodotus stated:
Owing to the sheer size of the city, so say the inhabitants, those in the outlying areas were captured without those in the center knowing about it.
Daniel 5 accounts the story of Belshazzar’s feast, and can be regarded as an independent witness. Herodotus, in this account as elsewhere, was colorful and not always fully reliable, but he appears to have preserved something of (and perhaps a good deal of) the true story.
There are different suggestions of why Hitler hated the Jews so much, but they all point that the Jews of today are greedy, back-stabbing, corrupt people.
One night Alexander dreamed of an angel and the face of it looked like Simon the Just, the Jewish High Priest. Alexander didn’t like Jews, or anyone for that matter, anymore then Hitler did, but due to the dream he gave the Jews some reverence and we are paying for that today.
The Jews took advantage of Alexander’s good gesture and installed a system of tax collection that led to terrible corruption. It was so inherently corrupt that the Talmud (the Jewish Bible) held that anybody who was a tax collector was presumed to be a thief.
This terribly pernicious system destroyed the morale of the Jewish community in the time of the Greeks long after Alexander was gone. The majority of the Jews during the time of Alexander the Great are not the Jews of today.
The main different between Alexander and Hitler is that Alexander didn’t worship You, but the major gods and goddesses: Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Apollo, Artemis, Aphrodite, Ares, Dionysus, Hephaestus, Athena, Hermes, Demeter, Hestia and Hera. And he believed that he was the son of Zeus.
While Hitler not only worshiped Jesus Christ, but studied more than 130 books about Him, and he was a big fan of Martin Luther. That doesn’t mean he’s going to heaven, but I would say he has a better change hen Alexander dioes.
Most of the information about Alexander the Great comes from the historian Herodotus, so I want to see what…
The Prophecy Against Ammon
1 Concerning the Ammonites, thus saith the LORD; Hath Israel no sons? hath he no heir? why then doth their king inherit Gad, and his people dwell in his cities?
“Concerning the Ammonites” – Ammon was east of the Jordan and north of Moab. “Their king” is probably Molech, the chief god of the Ammonites, also known as Milcom. Both titles are related to the West Semitic word for “king” (Hebrew melek).
2 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will cause an alarm of war to be heard in Rabbah of the Ammonites; and it shall be a desolate heap, and her daughters shall be burned with fire: then shall Israel be heir unto them that were his heirs, saith the LORD.
3 Howl, O Heshbon, for Ai is spoiled: cry, ye daughters of Rabbah, gird you with sackcloth; lament, and run to and fro by the hedges; for their king shall go into captivity, and his priests and his princes together.
“Ai” – not the Ai of Josh 8, its location is unknown.
4 Wherefore gloriest thou in the valleys, thy flowing valley, O backsliding daughter? that trusted in her treasures, saying, Who shall come unto me?
“Who shall come unto me?” – according to Josephus (Antiquities, 10.9.7) Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Ammon in the 23rd year of his reign (582 B.C.).
5 Behold, I will bring a fear upon thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts, from all those that be about thee; and ye shall be driven out every man right forth; and none shall gather up him that wandereth.
6 And afterward I will bring again the captivity of the children of Ammon, saith the LORD.
According to an inscription, this Roman temple was dedicated to the emperors Diocletian and Maximian, who ruled jointly from AD 286-305.7 Concerning Edom, thus saith the LORD of hosts; Is wisdom no more in Teman? is counsel perished from the prudent? is their wisdom vanished?8 Flee ye, turn back, dwell deep, O inhabitants of Dedan; for I will bring the calamity of Esau upon him, the time that I will visit him.
“Esau” – the patriarch Jacob’s brother, and another name for Edom (see Gen 25:29-30, 36:1), just as Israel was another name for Jacob (see Gen 32:28). The fact that Esau was Jacob’s brother made Edom’s enmity toward Israel all the more reprehensible (see Amos 1:11; Obad 10).
9 If grape gatherers come to thee, would they not leave some gleaning grapes? if thieves by night, they will destroy till they have enough.
10 But I have made Esau bare, I have uncovered his secret places, and he shall not be able to hide himself: his seed is spoiled, and his brethren, and his neighbors, and he is not.
11 Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in me.
12 For thus saith the LORD; Behold, they whose judgment was not to drink of the cup have assuredly drunken; and art thou he that shall altogether go unpunished? thou shalt not go unpunished, but thou shalt surely drink of it.
“They whose judgment was not to drink…have assuredly drunken” – though they are God’s chosen ones, the people of Judah will be punished because of their sin (see Amos 3:2). God punished His own chosen people, the Jews, imagine what He’s going to do to the false Jews of today?
13 For I have sworn by myself, saith the LORD, that Bozrah shall become a desolation, a reproach, a waste, and a curse; and all the cities thereof shall be perpetual wastes.
“Bozrah” – not the Bozrah of 48:24; the Edomite Bozrah was probably the capital of Edom in the days of Jeremiah.
14 I have heard a rumor from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent unto the heathen, saying, Gather ye together, and come against her, and rise up to the battle.
15 For, lo, I will make thee small among the heathen, and despised among men.
16 Thy terribleness hath deceived thee, and the pride of thine heart, O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, that holdest the height of the hill: though thou shouldest make thy nest as high as the eagle, I will bring thee down from thence, saith the LORD.
“Pride” – Edom’s besetting sin (and Satan’s favorite).
“Rock” – perhaps a reference to Petra, the most spectacular of the mountain strongholds for which Edom was noted.
17 Also Edom shall be a desolation: every one that goeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss at all the plagues thereof.
18 As in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbor cities thereof, saith the LORD, no man shall abide there, neither shall a son of man dwell in it.
19 Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the swelling of Jordan against the habitation of the strong: but I will suddenly make him run away from her: and who is a chosen man that I may appoint over her? for who is like me? and who will appoint me the time? and who is that shepherd that will stand before me?
20 Therefore hear the counsel of the LORD that he hath taken against Edom; and his purposes, that he hath purposed against the inhabitants of Teman: Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out: surely he shall make their habitations desolate with them.
21 The earth is moved at the noise of their fall, at the cry the noise thereof was heard in the Red sea.
22 Behold, he shall come up and fly as the eagle, and spread his wings over Bozrah: and at that day shall the heart of the mighty men of Edom be as the heart of a woman in her pangs.
“Eagle” – represents Nebuchadnezzar in 48:40 and probably here also. A more complete subjugation of the Edomites was accomplished by Nabatean Arabs (perhaps the “dragons of the wilderness” of Mal 1:3) beginning c. 550 B.C.
23 Concerning Damascus. Hamath is confounded, and Arpad: for they have heard evil tidings: they are fainthearted; there is sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet.
24 Damascus is waxed feeble, and turneth herself to flee, and fear hath seized on her: anguish and sorrows have taken her, as a woman in travail.
25 How is the city of praise not left, the city of my joy!
26 Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, and all the men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the LORD of hosts.
27 And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall consume the palaces of Ben-hadad.
28 Concerning Kedar, and concerning the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon shall smite, thus saith the LORD; Arise ye, go up to Kedar, and spoil the men of the east.
29 Their tents and their flocks shall they take away: they shall take to themselves their curtains, and all their vessels, and their camels; and they shall cry unto them, Fear is on every side.
30 Flee, get you far off, dwell deep, O ye inhabitants of Hazor, saith the LORD; for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon hath taken counsel against you, and hath conceived a purpose against you.
31 Arise, get you up unto the wealthy nation, that dwelleth without care, saith the LORD, which have neither gates nor bars, which dwell alone.
32 And their camels shall be a booty, and the multitude of their cattle a spoil: and I will scatter into all winds them that are in the utmost corners; and I will bring their calamity from all sides thereof, saith the LORD.
33 And Hazor shall be a dwelling for dragons, and a desolation forever: there shall no man abide there, nor any son of man dwell in it.
34 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against Elam in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying,
35 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the chief of their might.
36 And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come.
37 For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies, and before them that seek their life: and I will bring evil upon them, even my fierce anger, saith the LORD; and I will send the sword after them, till I have consumed them:
38 And I will set my throne in Elam, and will destroy from thence the king and the princes, saith the LORD.
39 But it shall come to pass in the latter days, that I will bring again the captivity of Elam, saith the LORD.
Alexander the Great
Alexander III of Macedon, better known as Alexander the Great, refers to the Macedonian king, never appears in the Bible.
Alexander was born in Pella, the ancient capital of Macedonia in July 356 B.C. His parents were Philip II of Macedon and his wife Olympias. Alexander was educated by the philosopher Aristotle.
However, the prophets Daniel and Zechariah wrote prophecies concerning Greece and Alexander’s Macedonian Empire.
The non-eschatological prophecies in Daniel have proved so reliable that some critics have tried to post-date his writing, even though copious literary, historical and biblical factors point to a date of writing in the sixth century B.C.
Zechariah, writing sometime between 520 and 470 B.C., was also well before Alexander’s rise to power.
Surrounding Alexander the Great
Over the next eight years, in his capacity as king, commander, politician, scholar and explorer, Alexander led his army 11,000 miles, founding over 70 cities and creating an empire that stretched across three continents and covered around two million square miles.
The entire area from Greece in the west, north to the Danube, south into Egypt and as far to the east as the Indian Punjab, was linked together in a vast international network of trade and commerce.
This was united by a common Greek language and culture, while the king himself adopted foreign customs in order to rule his millions of ethnically diverse subjects.
Alexander was acknowledged as a military genius who always led by example, although his belief in his own indestructibility meant he was often reckless with his own life and those of his soldiers.
His legendary conquest of nearly the entire known world resulted in one of the largest empires in ancient history. Alexander overthrew the entire Persian Empire: Asia Minor, Persia, Egypt and everything in between, including Israel.
Alexander died of a fever in Babylon in June 323 B.C., undefeated in battle but without a clear heir, which led to the division of his empire among four of his generals.
Although Alexander’s empire split, the Hellenism he spread continued. Greek became the universal language, and Greek culture was either required or encouraged in all parts of the divided empire. Israel changed hands between the Ptolemaic and Seleucid kingdoms.
Israel later gained its independence from 167–63 B.C., a time referred to as the Hasmonean Period and recorded in the apocryphal books of 1 and 2 Maccabees. The end of this period was marked by the Roman conquest of Jerusalem in 63 B.C.
Prophecy Regarding the Empire
Daniel discusses a great deal of the then-future events which, as mentioned above, have proved true. By God’s inspiration, Daniel predicted that there would be a succession of four “global” empires. His prophecy included many details, including the fact that the Greek Empire would split into four parts.
The Four-Kingdom Succession:
King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that he didn’t understand and none of his magicians, astrologers, sorcerers, or Chaldeans could interpret it, but God explained it to Daniel and he gave the king the interpretation.
Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.
This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,
His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.
Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and break them to pieces.
Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.
Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.
And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.
And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.
And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.
And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.
And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.
And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.
Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure (Dan 2:31-45).
From our vantage point in history, we now know the four kingdoms are the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman empires.
The Greek Conquest and Split
Daniel also received a vision of the demise of the Medo-Persian Empire, which had, in 539 B.C., overtaken the Babylonian Kingdom. God specifically names the Medo-Persian and Greek empires in Daniel 8:20-21 and 10:20–11:4.
The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.
And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king (Dan 8:20-21).
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.
Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him.
And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia.
And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.
And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those (Dan 10:20-11:4).
The first half of chapter 8 is a highly symbolic passage about a ram and a goat. The ram had two horns, one longer than the other, representing the empire of the Medes and the Persians (Dan 8:20), and “none could rescue from his power. He did as he pleased and became great” (Dan 8:4).
Then a goat “came from the west” (Dan 8:5) with a single horn between its eyes. The horn represents the king, Alexander. The goat killed the ram and “became very great, but at the height of his power his large horn was broken off” (Dan 8:8) – a prediction of Alexander’s untimely death.
In Daniel’s vision, the single horn is replaced with four new horns, which are “four kingdoms that will emerge from his nation but will not have the same power” (Dan 8:22).
The four new kingdoms are mentioned again in Dan 11:4, which say that “his [Alexander’s] empire will be broken up and parceled out toward the four winds of heaven. It will not go to his descendants, nor will it have the power he exercised.”
These passages describe, two centuries in advance, precisely what happened to Alexander and his empire.
Approximately 250 years before Alexander began his world conquest, God provided Daniel with a glimpse into the future. This was important to Daniel and his people, as God also told them that they would return to their land and He would take care of them through the coming tumultuous times.
Daniel was talking about Jesus Christ when he said:
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever (Dan 2:44).
Kingdoms rise and fall, but God holds the future and His Word stands.
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it (Is 55:11).
I have to admit, Hophra wasn’t that interesting or exciting, but I had to know about him because Amasis had been his general and his palace had been excavated at Memphis.
Amasis was considered to be the last Pharaoh of Egypt before Alexander the Great stopped by for a visit and ruined all his fun.
So now I want to know a bit about…
The Prophecy Against Moab
1 Against Moab thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Woe unto Nebo! for it is spoiled: Kiriathaim is confounded and taken: Misgab is confounded and dismayed.
Josephus (Antiquities, 10.9.7) implies that Jeremiah’s prophecy concerning the future destruction of Moab was fulfilled in the “twenty-third year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign” (582 B.C.).
“Nebo” – a town originally allotted to the tribe of Reuben.
“Kiriathaim” – an ancient town, it too was allotted to Reuben. Nebo, Kiriathaim and several other towns referred to in this chapter and mentioned also in an important Moabite inscription written by Mesha King of Moab and discovered in 1868.
2 There shall be no more praise of Moab: in Heshbon they have devised evil against it; come, and let us cut it off from being a nation. Also thou shalt be cut down, O Madmen; the sword shall pursue thee.
“Heshbon” – originally allotted to Reuben, it was later reassigned to Gad as a Levitical town.
“Madmen” – location unknown; perhaps a longer spelling of “Dimon” (Isa 15:9). In Isa 25:10, the feminine form of the Hebrew word madmen is translated “dunghill.”
3 A voice of crying shall be from Horonaim, spoiling and great destruction.
“Horonaim” – location unknown.
4 Moab is destroyed; her little ones have caused a cry to be heard.
5 For in the going up of Luhith continual weeping shall go up; for in the going down of Horonaim the enemies have heard a cry of destruction.
“Luhith” – location unknown.
6 Flee, save your lives, and be like the heath in the wilderness.
7 For because thou hast trusted in thy works and in thy treasures, thou shalt also be taken: and Chemosh shall go forth into captivity with his priests and his princes together.
“Chemosh” the national god of Moab. The Hebrew text here implies the alternate spelling Chemish, as in “Carchemish.”
8 And the spoiler shall come upon every city, and no city shall escape: the valley also shall perish, and the plain shall be destroyed, as the LORD hath spoken.
9 Give wings unto Moab that it may flee and get away: for the cities thereof shall be desolate, without any to dwell therein.
“Give wings unto Moab” – or “Put salt on Moab” – to make its farmland unproductive and barren.
10 Cursed be he that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully, and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood.
11 Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed.
A copy of the Hebrew text of this verse has been found inscribed on a large clay seal, dating to the early Christian era and apparently used for stamping the bitumen with which the mouths of wine jars were sealed.
12 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will send unto him wanderers, that shall cause him to wander, and shall empty his vessels, and break their bottles.
13 And Moab shall be ashamed of Chemosh, as the house of Israel was ashamed of Beth-el their confidence.
“House of Israel” – the northern kingdom, destroyed and exiled in 722-721 B.C.
“Beth-el” – either (1) the well-known town where one of Jeroboam’s golden calves was placed (see 1 Kgs 12:28-30) or (2) in parallelism with Chemosh, the West Semitic deity known from contemporary Babylonian inscriptions as well as from the Elephantine papyri a century later.
14 How say ye, We are mighty and strong men for the war?
15 Moab is spoiled, and gone up out of her cities, and his chosen young men are gone down to the slaughter, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.
16 The calamity of Moab is near to come, and his affliction hasteth fast.
17 All ye that are about him, bemoan him; and all ye that know his name, say, How is the strong staff broken, and the beautiful rod!
18 Thou daughter that dost inhabit Dibon, come down from thy glory, and sit in thirst; for the spoiler of Moab shall come upon thee, and he shall destroy thy strong holds.
19 O inhabitant of Aroer, stand by the way, and espy; ask him that fleeth, and her that escapeth, and say, What is done?
20 Moab is confounded; for it is broken down: howl and cry; tell ye it in Arnon, that Moab is spoiled,
“Arnon” – Moab’s most important river.
21 And judgment is come upon the plain country; upon Holon, and upon Jahazah, and upon Mephaath,
“Holon” – not the same as the town mentioned in Josh 15:51, 21:15. Its location is unknown.
22 And upon Dibon, and upon Nebo, and upon Beth-diblathaim,
23 And upon Kiriathaim, and upon Beth-gamul, and upon Beth-meon,
24 And upon Kerioth, and upon Bozrah, and upon all the cities of the land of Moab, far or near.
25 The horn of Moab is cut off, and his arm is broken, saith the LORD.
26 Make ye him drunken: for he magnified himself against the LORD: Moab also shall wallow in his vomit, and he also shall be in derision.
27 For was not Israel a derision unto thee? was he found among thieves? for since thou spakest of him, thou skippedst for joy.
28 O ye that dwell in Moab, leave the cities, and dwell in the rock, and be like the dove that maketh her nest in the sides of the hole’s mouth.
29 We have heard the pride of Moab, (he is exceeding proud) his loftiness, and his arrogancy, and his pride, and the haughtiness of his heart.
30 I know his wrath, saith the LORD; but it shall not be so; his lies shall not so affect it.
31 Therefore will I howl for Moab, and I will cry out for all Moab; mine heart shall mourn for the men of Kir-heres.
32 O vine of Sibmah, I will weep for thee with the weeping of Jazer: thy plants are gone over the sea, they reach even to the sea of Jazer: the spoiler is fallen upon thy summer fruits and upon thy vintage.
“Spoiler” – probably Nebuchadnezzar.
33 And joy and gladness is taken from the plentiful field, and from the land of Moab; and I have caused wine to fail from the winepresses: none shall tread with shouting; their shouting shall be no shouting.
34 From the cry of Heshbon even unto Elealeh, and even unto Jahaz, have they uttered their voice, from Zoar even unto Horonaim, as an heifer of three years old: for the waters also of Nimrim shall be desolate.
35 Moreover I will cause to cease in Moab, saith the LORD, him that offereth in the high places, and him that burneth incense to his gods.
36 Therefore mine heart shall sound for Moab like pipes, and mine heart shall sound like pipes for the men of Kir-heres: because the riches that he hath gotten are perished.
37 For every head shall be bald, and every beard clipped: upon all the hands shall be cuttings, and upon the loin’s sackcloth.
38 There shall be lamentation generally upon all the housetops of Moab, and in the streets thereof: for I have broken Moab like a vessel wherein is no pleasure, saith the LORD.
39 They shall howl, saying, How is it broken down! how hath Moab turned the back with shame! so shall Moab be a derision and a dismaying to all them about him.
40 For thus saith the LORD; Behold, he shall fly as an eagle, and shall spread his wings over Moab.
41 Kerioth is taken, and the strong holds are surprised, and the mighty men’s hearts in Moab at that day shall be as the heart of a woman in her pangs.
42 And Moab shall be destroyed from being a people, because he hath magnified himself against the LORD.
43 Fear, and the pit, and the snare, shall be upon thee, O inhabitant of Moab, saith the LORD.
44 He that fleeth from the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that getteth up out of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for I will bring upon it, even upon Moab, the year of their visitation, saith the LORD.
45 They that fled stood under the shadow of Heshbon because of the force: but a fire shall come forth out of Heshbon, and a flame from the midst of Sihon, and shall devour the corner of Moab, and the crown of the head of the tumultuous ones.
“Heshbon” – apparently at this time it was controlled by the Ammonites.
“Sihon” – refers to the associates of Sihon king of the Amorites, whose chief city was Heshbon during the time of the exodus.
46 Woe be unto thee, O Moab! the people of Chemosh perisheth: for thy sons are taken captives, and thy daughter’s captives.
47 Yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days, saith the LORD. Thus far is the judgment of Moab.
Hophra, King of Egypt
Hophra (known to Egyptologists by the Greekform of his name, Apries), the fourth king of the 26th (Saite) Dynasty, ruled by Egypt from 589 to 570 B.C. His palace has been excavated at Memphis.
Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah in 588 B.C., Zedekiah requested help from Egypt and Hophra responded by sending troops. This resulted in Nebuchadnezzar lifting the siege of Jerusalem to deal with the Egyptian threat.
The relief was short-lived because Nebuchadnezzar quickly drove off the Egyptians and returned to capture Jerusalem.
After Gedaliah, the new governor of Judah, was assassinated in 586 B.C., the remaining Judean leadership fled to Egypt, taking Jeremiah with them. While in Egypt the prophet declared that God would hand over Hophra to his enemies.
Indeed, Jeremiah’s words reflect a disdain for Hophra. In 46:17 he declared,
There they will exclaim, “Pharaoh, king of Egypt is only a loud noise; he has missed his opportunity.”
The Hebrew for “he has missed” in this verse sounds like the name Hophra.
Hophra’s downfall does suggest a degree of ineptitude. In 570 B.C. he sent a force of Egyptians against a Greek colony in Cyrene in eastern Libya. The Egyptian army was badly defeated, leading to a soldier’s revolt against Hophra’s leadership.
Hophra sent his general, Amasis, to quell the rebellion, but Amasis jointed instead. Forced by Amasis into exile, Hophra made his way to the Babylonian court of Nebuchadnezzar II.
He returned three years later with the Babylonian army in an attempt to regain the throne but was defeated and lost his life in the process. Nevertheless, Amasis buried him with full honors in the royal cemetery at Sais in Egypt’s western delta.
…the life of Alexander the Great? Did he walk with you or did he worship false gods too?
I haven’t found any information about Pharaoh Amasis that makes him any worse than any other Egyptian Pharaoh, other than the fact that he didn’t walk with You.
It’s kind of creepy that some of the blocks that Egypt gave Memphis came from the palace of Pharaoh Amasis, and the pyramid in Memphis, Tennessee, is decorated with figures and inscriptions of his. At least, as far as I know, people in Memphis don’t worship the dead pharaoh.
In 1991, the city of Memphis and Shelby County spent $69,000,000 to build the pyramid, which is the sixth largest in the world, slightly 16 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty. It’s a 20,142-seat arena located in downtown Memphis at the banks of the Mississippi River and it was to be used for sports events and concerts.
The seats were uncomfortable and the audio was horrible so it hasn’t been used since 2004. And this makes no sense to me at all, in 1990, Memphis, Tennessee, was at the bottom of the barrel of the poverty line.
Memphis is one of the the poorest cities in the United States. You would think that Richard Hackett, Mayor of Memphis (1982-1992) would have had more sense than to create the pyramid. Then again, he could have thought it would help the city, but that’s a big gamble.
By 2004, if not sooner, anyone could see it was a waste of money, but in 2009, the city of Memphis paid Shelby County for their share of a worthless pyramid.
The pyramid is really nice on the skyline so I guess the mayor, A. C. Wharton (2009-present), thought something beautiful was more important than feeding people. Of course he did, he’s a democrat.
Anyway, back to Amasis II/Ahmose II, he was a general before he was a Pharaoh, so I want to know about…
Prophecy about the Philistines
1 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Philistines, before that Pharaoh smote Gaza.
2 Thus saith the LORD; Behold, waters rise up out of the north, and shall be an overflowing flood, and shall overflow the land, and all that is therein; the city, and them that dwell therein: then the men shall cry, and all the inhabitants of the land shall howl.
3 At the noise of the stamping of the hoofs of his strong horses, at the rushing of his chariots, and at the rumbling of his wheels, the fathers shall not look back to their children for feebleness of hands;
4 Because of the day that cometh to spoil all the Philistines, and to cut off from Tyrus and Zidon every helper that remaineth: for the LORD will spoil the Philistines, the remnant of the country of Caphtor.
5 Baldness is come upon Gaza; Ashkelon is cut off with the remnant of their valley: how long wilt thou cut thyself?
6 O thou sword of the LORD, how long will it be ere thou be quiet? put up thyself into thy scabbard, rest, and be still.
7 How can it be quiet, seeing the LORD hath given it a charge against Ashkelon, and against the sea shore? there hath he appointed it.
“Against Ashkelon” – the immediate fulfillment took place under Nebuchadnezzar in 604 B.C.
Pharaoh Amasis II
Amasis II or Ahmose II was a pharaoh (570 B.C. – 526 B.C.) of the 26th Dynasty of Egypt, the successor of Apries at Sais. He was the last great ruler of Egypt before the Persian conquest.
Most of this information about him is derived fromHerodotusand can only be imperfectly verified by monumental evidence. According to the Greek historian, he was of common origins.
A revolt which broke out among native Egyptian soldiers gave him his opportunity to seize the throne. These troops, returning home from a disastrous military expedition to Cyrene in Libya, suspected that they had been betrayed in order that Apries, the reigning king, might rule more absolutely by means of his Greek mercenaries; many Egyptians fully sympathized with them.
General Amasis, sent to meet them and quell the revolt, was proclaimed king by the rebels instead, and Apries, who had now to rely entirely on his mercenaries, was defeated.
Apries was either taken prisoner in the ensuing conflict at Memphis before being eventually strangled and buried in his ancestral tomb at Sais, or fled to the Babylonians and was killed mounting an invasion of his native homeland in 567 B.C. with the aid of a Babylonian army.
An inscription confirms the struggle between the native Egyptian and the foreign soldiery, and proves that Apries was killed and honorably buried in the third year of Amasis (c. 567 B.C.).
Amasis then married Chedebnitjerbone II, one of the daughters of his predecessor Apries, in order to legitimize his kingship.
Some information is known about the family origins of Amasis: his mother was a certain Tashereniset. A stone block from Mehallet el-Kubra also establishes that his maternal grandmother—Tashereniset’s mother—was a certain Tjenmutetj.
Herodotus describes how Amasis II would eventually cause a confrontation with the Persian armies. According to Herodotus, Amasis, was asked by Cambyses II or Cyrus the Great for an Egyptian ophthalmologist on good terms.
Amasis seems to have complied by forcing an Egyptian physician into mandatory labor causing him to leave his family behind in Egypt and move to Persia in forced exile.
In an attempt to exact revenge for his forced exile, the physician would grow very close with Cambyses and would suggest that Cambyses should ask Amasis for a daughter in marriage in order to solidify his bonds with the Egyptians. Cambyses complied and requested a daughter of Amasis for marriage.
Amasis, worrying that his daughter would be a concubine to the Persian king, refused to give up his offspring; Amasis also was not willing to take on the Persian empire so he concocted a trickery in which he forced the daughter of the ex-pharaoh Apries, whom Herodotus explicitly confirms to have been killed by Amasis, to go to Persia instead of his own offspring.
This daughter of Apries was none other than Nitetis, who was as per Herodotus’s account, “tall and beautiful.” Nitetis naturally betrayed Amasis and upon being greeted by the Persian king explained Amasis’s trickery and her true origins.
This infuriated Cambyses and he vowed to take revenge for it. Amasis would die before Cambyses reached him, but his heir and son Psamtik III would be defeated by the Persians.
Herodotus also describes that just like his predecessor, Amasis II relied on Greek mercenaries and council men. One such figure was Phanes of Halicarnassus, who would later on leave Amasis, for reasons Herodotus does not clearly know but suspects were personal between the two figures.
Amasis would send one of his eunuchs to capture Phanes, but the eunuch is bested by the wise council man and Phanes flees to Persia, meeting up with Cambyses providing advice in his invasion of Egypt. Egypt would finally be lost to Persians during the battle of Pelusium.
Although Amasis thus appears first as champion of the disparaged native, he had the good sense to cultivate the friendship of the Greek world, and brought Egypt into closer touch with it than ever before.
Herodotus relates that under his prudent administration, Egypt reached a new level of wealth; Amasis adorned the temples of Lower Egypt especially with splendid monolithic shrines and other monuments (his activity here is proved by existing remains).
Amasis assigned the commercial colony of Naucratis on the Canopic branch of the Nile to the Greeks, and when the temple of Delphi was burnt, he contributed 1,000 talents to the rebuilding. He also married a Greek princess named Ladice daughter of King Battus III and made alliances with Polycrates of Samos and Croesus of Lydia.
Under Amasis or Ahmose II, Egypt’s agricultural based economy reached its zenith. Herodotus who visited Egypt less than a century after Amasis II’s death writes that:
It is said that it was during the reign of Ahmose II that Egypt attained its highest level of prosperity both in respect of what the river gave the land and in respect of what the land yielded to men and that the number of inhabited cities at that time reached in total 20,000.
His kingdom consisted probably of Egypt only, as far as the First Cataract, but to this he added Cyprus, and his influence was great in Cyrene. In his fourth year (c. 567 B.C.), Amasis was able to defeat an invasion of Egypt by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar II.
Henceforth, the Babylonians experienced sufficient difficulties controlling their empire that they were forced to abandon future attacks against Amasis. However, Amasis was later faced with a more formidable enemy with the rise of Persia under Cyrus who ascended to the throne in 559 B.C.
His final years were preoccupied by the threat of the impending Persian onslaught against Egypt. With great strategic skill, Cyrus had destroyed Lydia in 546 B.C. and finally defeated the Babylonians in 538 B.C.
This left Amasis with no major Near Eastern allies to counter Persia’s increasing military might. Amasis reacted by cultivating closer ties with the Greek states to counter the future Persian invasion into Egypt but was fortunate to have died in 526 B.C. shortly before the Persians attacked.
The final assault instead fell upon his son Psamtik III, whom the Persians defeated in 525 B.C. after a reign of only six months.
Tomb and Desecration
Amasis II died in 526 B.C. He was buried at the royal necropolis of Sais, and while his tomb was never discovered, Herodotus describes it as:
[It is] a great cloistered building of stone, decorated with pillars carved in the imitation of palm-trees, and other costly ornaments. Within the cloister is a chamber with double doors, and behind the doors stands the sepulcher.
Herodotus also relates the desecration of Ahmose II/Amasis’ mummy when the Persian king Cambyses conquered Egypt and thus ended the 26th Saite dynasty:
[N]o sooner did [… Cambyses] enter the palace of Amasis that he gave orders for his [Amasis’s] body to be taken from the tomb where it lay. This done, he proceeded to have it treated with every possible indignity, such as beating it with whips, sticking it with goads, and plucking its hairs. [… A]s the body had been embalmed and would not fall to pieces under the blows, Cambyses had it burned.
The name “Memphis” (Greek origin) means “something beautiful” and possibly “established” as well.
About 10 years ago I was in Memphis, Tennessee (not the one mentioned above), and it certainly did live up to its name sake, it was a filthy city.
But I find this somewhat interesting: The city of Memphis, Tennessee, has always had a special connection to its ancient namesake, Memphis, Egypt. The American city was founded in 1819 by General (later President) Andrew Jackson, General James Winchester and Judge John Overton.
Based on its strategic position at the head of the Delta of the Mississippi River (sometimes called the “American Nile”), the city was named after the ancient capital of Egypt which was located at the head of the Nile River Delta.
The citizens of Memphis have maintained their connection with ancient Egypt through the years. In 1917 Robert Galloway, chairman of the Memphis Park Commission, presented two large quartzite blocks to the city of Memphis.
These blocks, originally part of a palace in ancient Memphis, are decorated with figures and inscriptions of the 26th Dynasty (c. 550 B.C.) Pharaoh Amasis. More recently, the city of Memphis built its own pyramid,a huge structure of steel and glass that dominates the downtown skyline.
I don’t plan on going to Memphis anytime soon, if ever again, but now I’m curious about…
The Prophecy About Egypt
1 The word of the LORD which came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Gentiles;
46:1-51:64 – chapters 46-51 consist of a series of prophecies against the nations. They begin with Egypt (chapter 46) and end with Babylon (chapters 50-51), the two powers that vied for control of Judah during Jeremiah’s ministry.
2 Against Egypt, against the army of Pharaoh-necho king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates in Carchemish, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon smote in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah.
“Cachemish” – the name means “fortress of Chemosh” (chief god of Moab), as clarified by the Ebla tablets.
“Which Nebuchadnezzar” – Egypt’s defeat by Babylon at Carchemish was one of the most decisive battles in the ancient world, ending Egypt’s age-long claims and pretensions to power in Syro-Palestine.
“Fourth year of Jehoiakim” – 605 B.C., the first year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign.
3 Order ye the buckler and shield, and draw near to battle.
4 Harness the horses; and get up, ye horsemen, and stand forth with your helmets; furbish the spears, and put on the brigandines.
5 Wherefore have I seen them dismayed and turned away back? and their mighty ones are beaten down, and are fled apace, and look not back: for fear was round about, saith the LORD.
6 Let not the swift flee away, nor the mighty man escape; they shall stumble, and fall toward the north by the river Euphrates.
7 Who is this that cometh up as a flood, whose waters are moved as the rivers?
8 Egypt riseth up like a flood, and his waters are moved like the rivers; and he saith, I will go up, and will cover the earth; I will destroy the city and the inhabitants thereof.
9 Come up, ye horses; and rage, ye chariots; and let the mighty men come forth; the Ethiopians and the Libyans, that handle the shield; and the Lydians, that handle and bend the bow.
10 For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord GOD of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates.
11 Go up into Gilead, and take balm, O virgin, the daughter of Egypt: in vain shalt thou use many medicines; for thou shalt not be cured.
12 The nations have heard of thy shame, and thy cry hath filled the land: for the mighty man hath stumbled against the mighty, and they are fallen both together.
13 The word that the LORD spake to Jeremiah the prophet, how Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon should come and smite the land of Egypt.
14 Declare ye in Egypt, and publish in Migdol, and publish in Noph and in Tahpanhes: say ye, Stand fast, and prepare thee; for the sword shall devour round about thee.
15 Why are thy valiant men swept away? they stood not, because the LORD did drive them.
“Valiant men” – the Hebrew for this phrase is not the same as that for “mighty men” or “warrior.” It often refers to powerful animals. In Ps 22:12, 50:13, 68:30; Isa 34:7 the Hebrew word is translated “bulls.”
“Swept away” – the Hebrew for this phrases is translated “Apis has fled” in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament). Apis was a bull-god worshiped in Egypt, especially at Noph.
16 He made many to fall, yea, one fell upon another: and they said, Arise, and let us go again to our own people, and to the land of our nativity, from the oppressing sword.
17 They did cry there, Pharaoh king of Egypt is but a noise; he hath passed the time appointed.
“He hath passed the time appointed” – after the battle of Carchemish, Nebuchadnezzar returned to Babylon on learning of his father’s death. Egypt failed to press its advantage at that time.
18 As I live, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts, Surely as Tabor is among the mountains, and as Carmel by the sea, so shall he come.
19 O thou daughter dwelling in Egypt, furnish thyself to go into captivity: for Noph shall be waste and desolate without an inhabitant.
20 Egypt is like a very fair heifer, but destruction cometh; it cometh out of the north.
21 Also her hired men are in the midst of her like fatted bullocks; for they also are turned back, and are fled away together: they did not stand, because the day of their calamity was come upon them, and the time of their visitation.
22 The voice thereof shall go like a serpent; for they shall march with an army, and come against her with axes, as hewers of wood.
“Serpent” – often used by Egyptian pharaohs as a symbol of their sovereignty.
23 They shall cut down her forest, saith the LORD, though it cannot be searched; because they are more than the grasshoppers, and are innumerable.
24 The daughter of Egypt shall be confounded; she shall be delivered into the hand of the people of the north.
25 The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saith; Behold, I will punish the multitude of No, and Pharaoh, and Egypt, with their gods, and their kings; even Pharaoh, and all them that trust in him:
“Multitude” – Hebrew Amon. Amon was the chief god of Egypt during much of its history. Wicked King Manasseh may have named his son after the Egyptian deity.
“No” – Hebrew for Thebes, the capital of Upper (southern) Egypt.
26 And I will deliver them into the hand of those that seek their lives, and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of his servants: and afterward it shall be inhabited, as in the days of old, saith the LORD.
27 But fear not thou, O my servant Jacob, and be not dismayed, O Israel: for, behold, I will save thee from afar off, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and be in rest and at ease, and none shall make him afraid.
28 Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith the LORD: for I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished.
In proclaiming God’s condemnation of Egypt, Jeremiah called for heralds to announce a message of Judgment in Memphis. This city (from Men-neferu, meaning “the goodness endures”) was situated on the Nile at the border between Upper and Lower Egypt.
It was founded by Menes, the first king of the united “Two Lands,” and was sacred to the god Ptah. Its fortunes changed through the centuries, but it remained throughout an important city and religious center.
Memphis, the capital of the Old Kingdom, was the location of the great temple of Ptah.
It served as a Hyuksos royal city during the time that Lower Egypt ws under the control of these foreign rules (18th century B.C.).
It was a favorite residence of New Kingdom pharaohs (16th-11th centuries B.C.), many of whom built temples, palaces or other buildings there. Memphis served as a military base for campaigns against Syria-Palestine for the great warrior-pharaoh of this time, Thutmose III (1479-1425 B.C.)
Syrian and Phoenician merchants and mercenaries arriving during the New Kingdom periods built temples there to Baal, Astarte and other Canaanite deities.
The city was the center for the cult of the “Apis bulls,” which were believed to be living representatives of the God Ptah. Whenever one of these bulls died it was embalmed and buried in a tomb called the Serapaeum.
The shrine benefited from attention of Pharaoh Shisak, who took an enormous amount of plunder from Israel. He contstructed a mortuary and embalming house (C. 910 B.C.) for the Apis bull at Memphis.
As Egypt weakened, Memphis fell into the hands of a variety of forein rulers. The city was captured by the Ethiopian Pi-Ankhy (c. 717 B.C.); by the Assyrians Esarhaddon (671 B.C.) and Ashurbanipal (666 B.C.); and by the Persian Cambyses (525 B.C.).
Memphis sometimes served as the headquarters for foreign rules. For example, Ptolemy (founder of the Greek dynasty that ruled Egypt after the conquests of Alexander the Great, made it his capital city.
Jewish refugees entered the city after the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem (587 B.C.)
The Christian emperor Theodosius ordered the temples of Memphis destroyed in 395 A.D. and the city was dismantled during the Arab period (after 642 A.D.), after which al-Fustat and Cairo were constructed on the same or a nearby site.
Archeological remains include many temples, two colossal statues of Rameses II, a larger necropolis (elaborate ancient cemetery), palaces and nearby clusters of pyramids.
I can see why You got so mad at the Israelite’s, I mean, they worshiped Ishtar big time. I see that she was even mentioned in the Stele in…
Encouragement to Branch
1 The word that Jeremiah the prophet spake unto Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written these words in a book at the mouth of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying,
2 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, unto thee, O Baruch;
3 Thou didst say, Woe is me now! For the LORD hath added grief to my sorrow; I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest.
4 Thus shalt thou say unto him, The LORD saith thus; Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up, even this whole land.
5 And seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the LORD: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest.
The Queen of Heaven
In the Bible the enigmatic title “Queen of Heaven” appears only in Jer 7:18, 44:17-19, 25, but similar titles occur throughout the ancient Near East and apply to several goddesses.
Anat is called the “Lady of Heaven,” and the Canaanite Astarte (Ashtoreth in the Bible) and her Mesopotamia counterpart, Ishtar, also bear the title “Queen of Heaven.”
These goddesses are connected to the worship of the planet Venus; astral worship was particularly popular during the 7th century B.C.
The exiled Judahites conceived of the queen as a fertility goddess in whose image the women made “cake.” This cultic practice may also be indicated by a discovery at Mari of baking mold in the form of a naked female with hands supporting her breasts – as well-known fertility motif.
Moreover, Jeremiah’s word for these cakes derived from the Akkadian for a type of b read that was often presented to Ishtar. Jeremiah described how a family would gather wood, make a fire, prepare the bread, pour out libations and burn incense.
Religious texts dedicated to Ishtar recount very similar steps. The Judahites were apparently following ritual practices associated with the Mesopotamian Ishtar and the Canaanite Astarte/Ashtoreth.
The Queen of Heaven exemplified the religious syncretism that plagued Israel for centuries and ultimately led to God’s judgment upon his people.
Still today, believers in the God of the Bible are wise to beware of a gradual assimilation of unbiblical and even pagan concepts. The notion of a ”Queen of Heaven” was just such assimilation.
…Memphis. Was Memphis an important city and whether it was or not, does it still exist?
I want to change the subject a bit, but the Jews didn’t fear You, they…
The Refugees Rebuked
1 The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews which dwell in the land of Egypt, which dwell at Migdol, and at Tahpanhes, and at Noph, and in the country of Pathros, saying,
44:1-30 – the last of Jeremiah’s recorded prophesies.
2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Ye have seen all the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, and upon all the cities of Judah; and, behold, this day they are a desolation, and no man dwelleth therein,
3 Because of their wickedness which they have committed to provoke me to anger, in that they went to burn incense, and to serve other gods, whom they knew not, neither they, ye, nor your fathers.
4 Howbeit I sent unto you all my servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, saying, Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate.
5 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear to turn from their wickedness, to burn no incense unto other gods.
6 Wherefore my fury and mine anger was poured for
th, and was kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they are wasted and desolate, as at this day.
7 Therefore now thus saith the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel; Wherefore commit ye this great evil against your souls, to cut off from you man and woman, child and suckling, out of Judah, to leave you none to remain;
8 In that ye provoke me unto wrath with the works of your hands, burning incense unto other gods in the land of Egypt, whither ye be gone to dwell, that ye might cut yourselves off, and that ye might be a curse and a reproach among all the nations of the earth?
9 Have ye forgotten the wickedness of your fathers, and the wickedness of the kings of Judah, and the wickedness of their wives, and your own wickedness, and the wickedness of your wives, which they have committed in the land of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem?
10 They are not humbled even unto this day, neither have they feared, nor walked in my law, nor in my statutes, that I set before you and before your fathers.
11 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will set my face against you for evil, and to cut off all Judah.
12 And I will take the remnant of Judah, that have set their faces to go into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, and they shall all be consumed, and fall in the land of Egypt; they shall even be consumed by the sword and by the famine: they shall die, from the least even unto the greatest, by the sword and by the famine: and they shall be an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach.
13 For I will punish them that dwell in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence:
14 So that none of the remnant of Judah, which are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall escape or remain, that they should return into the land of Judah, to the which they have a desire to return to dwell there: for none shall return but such as shall escape.
15 Then all the men which knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying,
16 As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee.
17 But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.
18 But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.
“We have wanted all things” – beginning with Josiah’s death in 609 B.C., a series of disasters, including invasion and exile, had struck Judah. The people understandably (though mistakenly) attributed their misfortune to their failure to worship the queen of heaven.
19 And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?
Since Ishtar (“queen of heaven”) was a Babylonian goddess of fertility, women played a major role in her worship.
20 Then Jeremiah said unto all the people, to the men, and to the women, and to all the people which had given him that answer, saying,
21 The incense that ye burned in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, ye, and your fathers, your kings, and your princes, and the people of the land, did not the LORD remember them, and came it not into his mind?
22 So that the LORD could no longer bear, because of the evil of your doings, and because of the abominations which ye have committed; therefore is your land a desolation, and an astonishment, and a curse, without an inhabitant, as at this day.
23 Because ye have burned incense, and because ye have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD, nor walked in his law, nor in his statutes, nor in his testimonies; therefore this evil is happened unto you, as at this day.
24 Moreover Jeremiah said unto all the people, and to all the women, Hear the word of the LORD, all Judah that are in the land of Egypt:
25 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying; Ye and your wives have both spoken with your mouths, and fulfilled with your hand, saying, We will surely perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her: ye will surely accomplish your vows, and surely perform your vows.
26 Therefore hear ye the word of the LORD, all Judah that dwell in the land of Egypt; Behold, I have sworn by my great name, saith the LORD, that my name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The Lord GOD liveth.
27 Behold, I will watch over them for evil, and not for good: and all the men of Judah that are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by the famine, until there be an end of them.
28 Yet a small number that escape the sword shall return out of the land of Egypt into the land of Judah, and all the remnant of Judah, that are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall know whose words shall stand, mine, or their’s.
29 And this shall be a sign unto you, saith the LORD, that I will punish you in this place, that ye may know that my words shall surely stand against you for evil:
30 Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give Pharaoh-hophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies, and into the hand of them that seek his life; as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, his enemy, and that sought his life.
“Pharaoh-hophra” – ruled Egypt 589-570 B.C.
Many people ask, “Is fear a sin?” That’s a loaded question because the answer is based on each person’s faith and relationship they have with God.
For me to ask that question about myself would be like me asking, “Who’s buried in Grants grave?” or “Is the Pope Catholic?”
“The sin of being fearful” and “Fearing God,” is not exactly the same. For example, you can believe in evolution and God? But, you can’t believe in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and God.
Why is Fear a Sin for Me?
Faith is not a product that can be purchased at Wal-Mart or a trade you can learn at a university, it is a gift from God. Faith in God can only come from the source, God. You can ask for more faith and He’ll give it to you but He’ll give it to you in His time, not yours.
The relationship I have with Jesus Christ changed me drastically. I am overwhelmed by how powerful God is, how incredible He is, and how giving He is.
I have only walked with God for a little more than six years but in those years my faith has grown to such a degree that for me to fear anything but Him would be a sin because it would be the same as me saying “God can’t help me,” “God can’t fix this,” or “God won’t help me,” all three of them would be lies.
I go to a new school where I don’t know anyone. I’m shy, so I’m nervous, so I keep to myself just waiting for the day to get over with so I can go home. Shyness is a personality trait and I have no control over it. But, do I have control over my nervousness that is due to my shyness?
My shyness is not the sin. The sin is fear. Fear, not shyness, is the foundation of my nervousness.
Remember, I have a great amount of faith in God because He has shown me how glorious He truly is. Therefore, if instead of walking boldly with God I choose to sleek around in the dark shadows I have put my fear before Him and therefore I have sinned.
Fear is the greatest enemy of faith and if given the opportunity it will destroy it.
If your faith is weak the devil is going to get you because you are saying, “The devil is more powerful than God.”
The author of Hebrews shows exactly what faith is and lets you know that without faith you have nothing:
“Now faith is the substance of things hope for, the evidence of things not seen.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Heb 11:1, 6).
The above scripture is clear, if you don’t have faith in Him then He’s displeased. You don’t have to do any tricks or anything to please God, all you have to do is have faith in Jesus Christ.
Fight the Good Fight
Fighting the good fight doesn’t mean to fight the devil and his demons, it means to stand up for God at all costs.
Peter and Paul both warn us about how wicked and evil Satan is. We are no match for the devil, he can tear us up into tiny pieces and not break a sweat.
We need to keep on our toes at all times, that doesn’t mean to fear him because he’s nothing to fear if you trust Jesus, but you need to:
“Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Eph 6:11-18).
The above scripture is key to keeping the devil in his place. Here’s the tricky part, you can’t put on the full armor of God to remove fear, that’s not how it works, that’s like putting the cart before the horse.
To be able to walk with God (wear the full armor) you have to trust Him. Look at the armor of God as chainmail.
Peter tells us to:
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
Casting all your care upon him for he careth for you.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet 5:6-8).
That means to always treat people with respect, always wear God’s chainmail, trust Him at all times, keep your mind intact (don’t alter your mind in any way), and be prepared for the danger the devil may throw at you.
Bad things happen to everybody, and when that situation comes about you have to cling to God, don’t run away from Him. You need to let go and let God deal with it in whatever way He chooses because He will ALWAYS give you the best outcome.
It is rare for God to do what you pray for because we aren’t as smart as we think we are. As I said, He will always give you the best outcome, but sometimes the greatness of the outcome may take a while to come to the top of the surface.
While you are waiting for it to surface things could be tough for a while, but in time the outcome will surface and it will be amazing. I speak from experience.
When a Sin is not a Sin
I said at the beginning that when I fear I commit a sin and yes, it’s a sin against God because it attacks my faith in Him. Yet, it’s a sin that strengthens me. God doesn’t chastise me for it, He welcomes it.
God tells me to go ride my bicycle and as I’m riding I go over a rough part of the road and it throws me and the bicycle into a flower garden. I skin my knee enough to bleed, plus the flowers are damaged.
So I ask, “Father, what should I do now?”
He says, “I’ll take care of the flowers, get back on the bicycle and ride.”
I’m a big guy, 6’2”, 200 pounds, but spiders creep me out. I think they are amazing, the things they do and I think many of them are beautiful, but they are much more beautiful and amazing when they’re behind glass or in a picture.
I’m afraid of heights. I can get on a plane, go across a bridge that is extremely high off the ground and I’ve been to the top of the Empire State Building. But if I’m 10 feet off the ground without a structure holding me there fear sets in.
So do you think that my fear of spiders and heights is a sin? You bet it is for me because the amount of faith God has given me.
It’s just like Peter walking on water (Matt 14:22-33). He had no problem doing that, until his attention moved from Jesus to the waves, and then fear consumed him, his faith crumbled and he started to drown.
Was that a sin? You bet. But what did Jesus do:
“And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand and caught him and said, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matt 14:31).
Jesus didn’t punish Peter for his weakness, He let him knew why he was going to drown. It’s the same with my spiders and heights (not meaning that I’m like Peter), what do I have to fear? Nothing at all because nothing can happen to me that God doesn’t allow and if He allows it then it’s a good thing whether I like it at the time or not.
The Fear of God
Fearing God and spiders are not the same. Always remember:
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Prov 1:7).
I can’t really explain what it means to fear God, but I can tell you it’s fantastic. When I was finally able to truly fear Him (I still have the spider problem) what I acknowledged was incredible. I have never felt so protected. His power, might and love is beyond our ability to even describe it.
I can understand why fear for some is a sin and not for others. The more faith someone has in You the more opportunities there are to sin, but they also sin less because they don’t want to sin.
Those that don’t care if they sin are those that don’t believe in You or even if they believe, if they don’t care if they sin, they aren’t saved anyway. I remember that Jesus said:
“…For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” (Lk 12:48).
…feared Ishtar, the queen of heaven. That is so bizarre that they would worship an idol that was manmade. I’m curious to know about this ridiculous idea.
It’s impossible for us to be holy like You and we should never think that we are, I figure thinking that would be a sin itself.
I figure anything we do physically that Jesus wouldn’t do is a sin, but what about…
Jeremiah Carried to Tahpanhes in Egypt
1 And it came to pass, that when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking unto all the people all the words of the LORD their God, for which the LORD their God had sent him to them, even all these words,
2 Then spake Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the proud men, saying unto Jeremiah, Thou speakest falsely: the LORD our God hath not sent thee to say, Go not into Egypt to sojourn there:
3 But Baruch the son of Neriah setteth thee on against us, for to deliver us into the hand of the Chaldeans, that they might put us to death, and carry us away captives into Babylon.
4 So Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces, and all the people, obeyed not the voice of the LORD, to dwell in the land of Judah.
5 But Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces, took all the remnant of Judah, that were returned from all nations, whither they had been driven, to dwell in the land of Judah;
6 Even men, and women, and children, and the king’s daughters, and every person that Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Jeremiah the prophet, and Baruch the son of Neriah.
7 So they came into the land of Egypt: for they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: thus came they even to Tahpanhes.
8 Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, saying,
9 Take great stones in thine hand, and hide them in the clay in the brickkiln, which is at the entry of Pharaoh’s house in Tahpanhes, in the sight of the men of Judah;
“Pharaoh’s house” – not necessarily his main residence. One of the Elephantine papyri, e.g., mentions the “king’s house,” apparently a more modest dwelling for Pharaoh’s use when he visited Elephantine in southern Egypt.
10 And say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will send and take Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will set his throne upon these stones that I have hid; and he shall spread his royal pavilion over them.
11 And when he cometh, he shall smite the land of Egypt, and deliver such as are for death to death; and such as are for captivity to captivity; and such as are for the sword to the sword.
“He shall smite…Egypt” – a fragmentary text now owned by the British Museum in London states that Nebuchadnezzar carried out a punitive expedition against Egypt in his 37th year (568-567 B.C.) during the reign of Pharaoh Amisis(see Eze 29:17-20).
12 And I will kindle a fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt; and he shall burn them, and carry them away captives: and he shall array himself with the land of Egypt, as a shepherd putteth on his garment; and he shall go forth from thence in peace.
13 He shall break also the images of Beth-shemesh, that is in the land of Egypt; and the houses of the gods of the Egyptians shall he burn with fire.
“Images of Beth-shemesh…in the land of Egypt” – the qualifying phrase is used to distinguish the site from “Beth-shemesh, which belongeth to Judah” (2 Kgs 14:11). The Egyptian city is probably to be identified with the Heliopolis (Greek for “city of the sun”), On in Hebrew.
Are All Sin’s Equal in the Eyes of God?
Many think that all sins are equal in the eyes of God and I believe this is both true and false. The sins are all seen equally in the eyes of God, but the severity of punishment is different. To explain this better let’s first look at how God views people.
God loves everyone in the world (Jn 3:16), the good and the bad. He doesn’t love anyone more than someone else:
“Then Peter opened his mouth and said, of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness is accepted with him” (Acts 10:34-35).
As Moses explained:
“For the LORD you God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty and a terrible, which regardeth not person, nor taketh reward.
He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow and loveth the stranger, in giving Him food and raiment” (Deut 10:17-18).
Paul was also clear on this:
“Is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also of the Gentiles (anyone that isn’t a Jew)? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
Seeing it is one God which shall justify the circumcision (of the heart) by faith and uncircumcision through faith” (Rom 3:29-30).
“For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him” (Rom 10:11).
Yet, even though God loves everyone the same, He doesn’t treat everyone the same because He does have His favorites. For example, God and Moses were close friends:
“And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend… (Ex 33:11).
And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight and I know thee by name.
And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.
And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.
And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.
And the LORD said, behold, there is a place by me and thou shalt stand upon a rock:
And it shall come to pass while my glory passeth by that I will put thee in a clift of the rock and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:
And I will take away mine hand and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen” (Ex 33:17-23).
“For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion (Rom 9:15).
Abraham was also a friend to God:
“But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend” (Isa 41:8).
God hates evil:
“The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the forward mouth, do I hate” (Prov 8:13).
Sin is evil and God hates evil. All sins, but one, are the same. It doesn’t matter if you steal a candy bar or murder someone, they are both sins and God hates them both equally.
Just like the people that commit the sins, He doesn’t feel any different from the person that stole the candy bar or murdered someone. He is angry and hurt equally by both parties.
To me, I would say that idolatry is the worst thing you can do to God, but I’m wrong. Loving Jesus but ignoring Him is just as bad, and again, just as bad as stealing a candy bar.
Why it is this way is because any sin takes you away from God, we have turned our backs on Him:
“Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save; neither His ear heave that it cannot hear.
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God and your sins have hid His face from you that He will not hear” (Isa 59:1-2).
The one sin that is worse than any other and is unforgiveable is blasphemy of the Holy Ghost:
“Verily I say unto you , all sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:
But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hat never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation” (Mk 3:28-29).
“Wherefore I say unto you, all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come” (Matt 12:31-32).
Born-Again (Jn 1-7)
How God deals with a believer when he or she sins is probably different with each person because I don’t believe anyone has the exact same relationship with God, and especially in regard to those that have a personal relationship with Jesus (these two relationships are different).
Yet, I am certain that once a person accepts Jesus into their heart, whether they have a personal relationship with Jesus or not, all the sins they had committed prior to that must be paid for. I say this due to my personal relationship with Jesus and what the author of Hebrews says:
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons (unbelievers).
Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled” (Heb 1-15).
Once you are born-again and paid for your past sins that doesn’t mean you can you have the right to sin:
“Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of the one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
For as by one man’s disobedience (Adam) many were made sinners, so by the obedience (Jesus) of one shall many be made abound:
Moreover the law entered, that the offense might about. But where sin abounded grace did much more abound;
That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin live any longer therein?
Know ye not that so many of us as baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?
Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death (this is not baptism by water): that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Rom 5:18-21 and 6:1-4, 11-12, 14).
Even after being born-again we will continue to sin:
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23).
We can’t help but sin. What Paul says below explains this very clearly, but still it doesn’t mean you can freely sin, and I explain this under what Paul says here:
“For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom 7:15-25 and 8:1).
What Paul is basically saying is that if your heart is true to God then He doesn’t even acknowledge that we sinned.
Yet, if you sin willfully, in spite of God, it’s different story:
“For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries” (10:26-27).
The following scripture, just like the one directly above, pertains only to those that are born-again:
“‘For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
And have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come,
If they shall fall away to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” (Heb 6:4-6).
Many say that once you are saved you can’t lose your salvation. The above scripture says otherwise. If you walk away from God after He has given you a new life you blaspheme the Holy Ghost and it is not forgiven.
How Not to Sin
So how do we not sin? As I said above, we will always sin in this world because it is full of sin and we were born into sin. But we don ‘t have to sin willfully and God is here to help:
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God’s faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Cor 10:13).
The Non-Believer and Sin
I am unsure, but I do not believe that God does anything to non-believers when they sin because they will get their punishment in the end.
Many people believe that everybody will stand before Jesus in the end and this is true. Yet, many believe that everyone will be punished for our sins at that time, this is untrue.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor 5:10).
When someone is born-again and tries not to sin their sin is already forgiven:
“He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy.
He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger forever.
He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward tem that fear him.
As far as the east is from the west so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” (Ps 103:7-12).
Once God forgives us for our sins they are forgotten and He will not bring them up again.
We will all stand before Jesus on judgment day, but the believers and non-believers will not be together:
“Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous” (Ps 1:5).
Punishment and Rewards
When we, the believers, stand before Jesus we will be given our rewards:
“And behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Rev 22:12).
The non-believers will be cast into to hell:
“But the fearful and unbelieving and the abominable and murderers and whoremongers and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rev 21:8).
The Severity of Punishment
I told you at the beginning that the punishment of sins is different. All non-believers will spend eternity in hell, but the severity of the punishments are different:
“And that servant, which knew his lord’s will and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will shall be beaten with many stripes.
But he that knew not and did commit things worthy of stripes shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given or him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much of him they will ask the more” (Lk 12:47-48).
So for example, people that just don’t believe in Jesus will go to hell but the pain they will go through for eternity will not be as bad as those that believe in Jesus but don’t walk His way, like those that go to psychics and things (Ex 22:18; Lev 19:31).
Or if you believe in Jesus but you prefer the life of the world your punishment will be great:
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world.
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever” (1 Jn 2:15-17).
Yet, those that preach only part of the gospel, like many pastors, they will be punished even more so, and the false teachers even more so. There are pastors and preachers teaching the saints that they do not need to stop sinning and even that to try to stop sinning will just make you sin more.
Pope Francis who tells people they don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven and also that if they will watch him on Twitter, when they die they’ll do less time in Purgatory.
I believe these types and idolaters will be punished the most, but I’m not God so I don’t know, that’s just my perception
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Rom 16:17-18).
If you follow their words you will find yourself in hell, your punishment will not be as great as theirs, but you’ll still spend eternity in hell.
I understand Rom 3:23:
“For all have come short of the glory of God.”
…fear, is that a sin?
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