The Accursed Thing! #8

Friday, January 21, 2022

But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel (Joshua 7:1 KJV).

Just what is this “accursed thing?” How will it affect the Israelites here in “time past?” What does this say about their fate in “the ages to come?”

Recall Achan’s sin was judged in “the Valley of Achor [trouble]” (verses 24,26), an area due south of Jericho, roughly halfway between the city and the Dead Sea. This area is significant in prophecy, for it is one of the regions to which Israel’s believing remnant will flee as they escape the Antichrist. Whereas the nation Israel was steeped in idolatry in the Old Testament and will be even more so with the Antichrist, there is a group of saints within the nation who will be preserved from Satan’s policy of evil. Achor will not only be a place of judgment and trouble, but also one of salvation and hope.

Hosea chapter 2: “[14] Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. [15] And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. [16] And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi [‘husband’]; and shalt call me no more Baali [‘lord’]. [17] For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.” Also, Isaiah 65:10: “And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me.”

Here, Israel is purged of pagan idolatry, including Baal worship, and is triumphant over all Satan’s policy of evil, ready to become God’s kingdom of priests in God’s land at Jesus Christ’s Second Coming to meet them!

The Accursed Thing! #7

Thursday, January 20, 2022

But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel (Joshua 7:1 KJV).

Just what is this “accursed thing?” How will it affect the Israelites here in “time past?” What does this say about their fate in “the ages to come?”

In Scripture, Babylon (near modern Baghdad, Iraq) is notable for its pagan idolatry. “…Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground” (Isaiah 21:9). “Declare ye among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not: say, Babylon is taken, Bel [Babylonian deity] is confounded, Merodach [another Babylonian deity] is broken in pieces; her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces (Jeremiah 50:2). “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” (Jeremiah 51:47).

Dear friends, never should we see the Bible as “dead history,” things of the past, events never to be repeated. These passages of Scripture are not only historical, they are also prophetic. What happened then loops forward to what will transpire in the future. While these Old Testament Prophets were foretelling the short-term destruction of ancient Babylon by Persian King Cyrus the Great in 536 B.C. (Daniel 5:30-31), they were also providing a glimpse of the long-term destruction of new Babylon under the Antichrist beyond our day. You can read about future Babylon in Revelation 14:8, Revelation 16:19, and Revelation chapters 17–18. Satan’s monstrous political-religious system will finally and permanently be annihilated at Christ’s Second Coming!

Also, consider the evil religion and devils in Zechariah 5:5-11, with “the land of the Shinar” (verse 11) being the site of Babylon and the Tower of Babel (cf. Genesis 10:10; Daniel 1:1,2)—this is the Whore of Babylon and all her attendant spiritual harlot “daughters” (religions, cults, denominations) corrupting Israel and the nations. Thankfully, for believing Israel, however, the Valley of Achor will provide an escape….

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “What does ‘All hail’ mean in Matthew 28:9?” and “Can you explain ‘God speed’ in 2 John?

NOTE: Happy 42nd Spiritual Birthday to my Mom, who will no doubt read this!

The Accursed Thing! #6

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel (Joshua 7:1 KJV).

Just what is this “accursed thing?” How will it affect the Israelites here in “time past?” What does this say about their fate in “the ages to come?”

Achan aligned himself with Babylonian religion, what the ancient Canaanites (including Jericho) had been practicing in the Promised Land between the time of Genesis chapter 11 (scattering from Babel) and the Book of Joshua (Israel’s entrance into Canaan). The Old Testament references to Baal worship and Molech worship describe such devilish activities. In Egypt, Israel was constantly exposed to these heathen gods and goddesses; hence, the Law of Moses repeatedly warned the Jews not to adopt these religious systems.

Alas, Israel was re-infected with this satanic mindset via Achan, who corrupted his family with the theft of the “goodly Babylonish garment” from Jericho (Joshua 7:20-26). While Scripture never tells us exactly what he intended to do with the stolen gold and silver, we do know it had been reserved for the LORD’S treasury (Joshua 6:19) before Achan took it along with that Babylonish garment (object of heathen religion). The precious metals were likely destined to be fashioned into idols—whether for Jerichoites or Israelites.

Even after Achan was judged for his sin, the Israelites constantly dabbled in pagan religion throughout the rest of the Old Testament and even into Acts. It was Judaism corrupted by these heathen religious systems, that Jesus Christ and His Apostles fought continuously. While the “purest” form of ancient Babylonian religion is today’s Roman Catholicism, traces of it pollute all world religions, leading to another international rebellion against the one true God yet future.

Ancient Babylonian religion will reach its pinnacle during Daniel’s 70th Week, when the Antichrist builds a city and a tower (religion) in Babylon (Revelation 17–18). What sinful man began in Genesis chapters 10–11—but was prevented from finishing—God now lets it resume to achieve their damnable end during the Tribulation period. As with Achan millennia ago, Israel will again be ensnared, but (as before) there is hope….

The Accursed Thing! #5

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel (Joshua 7:1 KJV).

Just what is this “accursed thing?” How will it affect the Israelites here in “time past?” What does this say about their fate in “the ages to come?”

Achan’s confession again: “When I saw among the spoils a goodly [pleasant, fine, expensive] Babylonish garment [mantle, cloak], and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.” While Joshua 7:21 is the first occurrence of “Babylon” in Scripture, the notorious place itself has already appeared twice in the Biblical record.

Consider rebellious Nimrod’s activities in Genesis chapter 10: “[8] And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. [9] He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. [10] And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.” See also chapter 11, verses 1-9, describing Nimrod’s works in chapter 10: “Therefore is the name of it called Babel [confusion]: because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth” (Genesis 11:9).

The Tower of Babel was designed to “reach unto heaven” (Genesis 11:4): it would extend high (rather, low) into astrology, the occult, devil worship. Following Nimrod, Noah’s descendants defied God’s mandate to scatter (Genesis 9:1), and gathered to build a city and a tower (perhaps a ziggurat, or pyramid with a flattened top on which sat a temple). That city, of course, was Babylon. Had God not intervened to confuse them by instituting world languages, they would have fully achieved their purpose. These sinners took their evil religion (now in a variety of global languages), formed national cultures, and originated world religions. Also influenced was Jericho… and Achan… and Israel….

The Accursed Thing! #4

Monday, January 17, 2022

But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel (Joshua 7:1 KJV).

Just what is this “accursed thing?” How will it affect the Israelites here in “time past?” What does this say about their fate in “the ages to come?”

Having inflicted capital punishment on the culpable party (Achan and his family), the LORD commands Israel to attack Ai once more, with the Jews finally overthrowing the city (Joshua 8:1-29). We will recall Israel’s prior beating at Ai was because of Achan’s sin concerning the “accursed thing” (re-read Joshua 7:11-13, if necessary). For now, what we need to take away from these passages is this simple fact: until Israel’s sin is addressed, she will not have any victory. (We will expand upon this concept later.)

Let us go back to Achan’s confession. What exactly did he do wrong? We let him tell us: “And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it” (Joshua 7:20,21). Yet, Joshua’s instructions had been: “But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD” (Joshua 6:19). Achan took the precious metals he found in Jericho, and he kept them for himself instead of giving them to JEHOVAH God. He coveted, stole from God, and lied to cover it up (Joshua 7:11), before being ultimately forced to tell the truth when it was too late.

Yet, re-read Achan’s admission of guilt again. He also took a “goodly Babylonish garment,” something quite beautiful… an object connected to Satan (!) worship….

The Accursed Thing! #3

Sunday, January 16, 2022

But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel (Joshua 7:1 KJV).

Just what is this “accursed thing?” How will it affect the Israelites here in “time past?” What does this say about their fate in “the ages to come?”

The following morning, the LORD identifies and condemns the guilty party to death (verses 14-18). Continue reading: “[19] And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me. [20] And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: [21] When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.

“[22] So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it. [23] And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the LORD. [24] And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. [25] And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. [26] And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.”

Now, Israel is no longer cursed….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain Exodus 8:9, ‘Glory over me…?’

The Accursed Thing! #2

Saturday, January 15, 2022

But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel (Joshua 7:1 KJV).

Just what is this “accursed thing?” How will it affect the Israelites here in “time past?” What does this say about their fate in “the ages to come?”

Having conquered mighty Jericho, Israel attacks a smaller city, Ai. The verses following today’s Scripture read: “[2] And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Bethaven, on the east of Bethel, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai. [3] And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few. [4] So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai. [5] And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.”

Strange! Ai, weaker than Jericho, should have lost to the Jews yet did not. The LORD explains: “[11] Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled [lied, pretended] also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. [12] Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. [13] Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.

Israel is in trouble….

The Accursed Thing! #1

Friday, January 14, 2022

But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel (Joshua 7:1 KJV).

Just what is this “accursed thing?” How will it affect the Israelites here in “time past?” What does this say about their fate in “the ages to come?”

When the Jews entered the Promised Land from the east under Joshua’s command, the first city they conquered was formidable Jericho, on the western banks of the River Jordan. This is chronicled in chapter 6 of the Book of Joshua, complete with the famous account of the wall of Jericho miraculously falling down after Israel marched around it for seven days. Just prior to the fall of the wall, Joshua issued some solemn advice to his nation.

“[17] And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. [18] And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. [19] But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD.”

Now, verses 23 and 24: “And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel. And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD.” Alas, as today’s Scripture indicates, Achan was quite foolish in his dealings with Jericho, and all Israel will suffer for it….

Waxing of Numbers—Waning of Numbers

Thursday, January 13, 2022

So were all those that were numbered of the children of Israel, by the house of their fathers, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war in Israel (Numbers 1:45 KJV).

What can this fourth Book of Moses tell us about the detrimental effects of sin?

Numbers derives its name from two censuses taken once the Israelites escaped Egyptian slavery. In chapter 1, the LORD commands Moses and Aaron to count every Jewish man 20 years old and above: “So were all those that were numbered of the children of Israel, by the house of their fathers, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war in Israel; Even all they that were numbered were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty(verses 45,46). That is, 603,550 such Jewish men are reckoned as living.

Toward the end of Numbers, chapter 26, another tally was taken: “And it came to pass after the plague, that the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, saying, Take the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, from twenty years old and upward, throughout their fathers’ house, all that are able to go to war in Israel…. These were the numbered of the children of Israel, six hundred thousand and a thousand seven hundred and thirty(verses 1,2,51). Now, a mere 601,730 Jewish males qualify for war.

What is most startling is the realization these two figures were recorded 40 years apart! Once Israel rebelled against the LORD God in chapters 13 and 14, her people died off in unbelief as they spent four long decades wandering in the wilderness. New generations were born, but, overall, it did not matter. According to the data collected during the second census, the nation itself actually shrank by 1,820 men during those 40 years. Just think how large the nation would have grown had they entered the Promised Land in faith four decades prior! In short, sin took its toll, indubitably affecting future generations—it just took time to become apparent. Never forget, sin’s consequences, though delayed, surely come (Numbers 32:23)!

Our first Bible Q&A for 2022: “What does ‘peculiar’ mean in the King James Bible?

Bowed Together! #8

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

“And he [the Lord Jesus] was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity” (Luke 13:10-12 KJV).

What lesson is the Holy Spirit conveying through this passage of the Holy Bible?

Recall the Sabbath Day was to serve as Israel’s weekly reminder to contemplate God’s work during the Creation Week and subsequent rest (cf. Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 20:8-11). Every Saturday, the Jews were to stop their labors and remember God’s purpose and plan for Creation. Why had the LORD rested that first Sabbath? His work completed, it was time for Him to enjoy the Heavens and the Earth! Alas, sin entered the world through Adam in Genesis chapter 3. Whatever God intended for Creation has yet to be fulfilled. Israel had been formed to take Adam’s place in the Earth, but she too rebelled and willfully followed Satan!

Sabbath rest ultimately looks toward Millennial Kingdom rest, when all Creation is delivered from Satan and sin, and God’s original purpose in Creation is finally brought to pass (see Hebrews 3:7–4:11). Therefore, the Lord Jesus Christ performed a series of Sabbath miracles—including the healing of the “bowed together” woman—to highlight the deliverance connected to His earthly kingdom.

Upon hearing God’s wonderful promises to sinful Israel, Satan objects in Isaiah 49:24, “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?” Verses 25 and 26: But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children. And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour [!] and thy Redeemer [!], the mighty One of Jacob.

“And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him” (Luke 13:17).