Outlandish Women! #5

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin (Nehemiah 13:26 KJV).

Just who are these “outlandish women?”

Today’s Scripture transpires 150 years after the Jews were exiled from Canaan. Moving westward, leaving Babylonian captivity, tens of thousands return under Zerubbabel and then Ezra (Ezra chapters 2 and 7). Nehemiah follows with another Jewish company some years later. These re-gatherings of Israel; and the re-buildings of Jerusalem, its walls, and its Temple; is the general context of today’s Scripture. Ezra, a priest-scribe, leads Israel’s religious improvements in Canaan. A decade later is Nehemiah’s ministry—the reconstruction of Jerusalem’s city walls (which Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar had leveled and burned a century earlier).

In the last chapter of Nehemiah, the Prophet corrects various abuses of the resettled Jews. For example, they have permitted a Gentile to live in the Temple Complex (verses 7-9)! Moreover, they are not supporting the Levites (priestly tribe) as the LORD commanded through Moses (verses 10-14). Also, they are violating the Sabbath (verse 15-22).

Finally, today’s Scripture in context: “[23] In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab: [24] And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews’ language, but according to the language of each people. [25] And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves. [26] Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin. [27] Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives?

Intermarriage with idolaters—remember Solomon?—was the very reason God removed the Jews from Canaan. Unfortunately, returned Israel is repeating those sins. Nehemiah is rightly troubled….

Outlandish Women! #4

Monday, February 18, 2019

Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin (Nehemiah 13:26 KJV).

Just who are these “outlandish women?”

In the centuries following Solomon’s expiration, the Jews increasingly apostatized. The rest of the second round of judgment, plus the third and fourth, came (Leviticus 26:19-26). Not only did idolatrous Solomon mislead Israel while alive, his pagan idolatry was still corrupting the nation 300 years after he died!

Second Kings 23:13 remarks, “And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile.” King Josiah, a descendent of Solomon, reformed Jerusalem by purging it of Solomon’s vain religious system.

The fifth and final round of judgment or chastisement on sinful (idolatrous) Israel was eviction from the land of Canaan. Leviticus chapter 26 again: “[27] And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; [28] Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. [29] And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. [30] And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.

“[31] And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours. [32] And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. [33] And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.”

These expulsions are the Assyrian captivity (2 Kings chapter 17) and the Babylonian captivity (2 Kings chapter 25). All that said, we can better appreciate today’s Scripture….

Translated Judgment #1

Sunday, September 16, 2018

In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe (1 Corinthians 14:21,22 KJV).

While it is commonly overlooked, today’s Scripture describes God’s righteous judgment on a certain group of unbelievers. Who are they? What is God’s message to them? Who is delivering that message?

The Prophet Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 28:11, some 700 years before Christ: “For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.” God is angry with unbelieving Jews, both in the north (Israel/Ephraim) and in the south (Jerusalem/Judah). They have so ignored His Word and corrupted His land. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is supplying Isaiah with insight into the future. Gentiles will soon enter and take the Jews captive into foreign lands. In just a few short decades, the Assyrians will capture and deport the northern 10 tribes. A century later, the Babylonians will conquer and exile the two southern tribes.

When the Jewish people hear foreign languages being spoken in their midst, they are to recognize that their God, JEHOVAH God, has given them into the hands of their enemies. They have broken His Covenant of Law as delivered to them through Moses! Leviticus chapter 26 had said: “[27] And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; [28] Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.…. [33] And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. [34] Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths.”

Israel will lose her political strength so that the Gentiles can rule over her. This change in languages will be entirely unmistakable. Judgment is fallen….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain Mark 6:4?

Stuff

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back (Luke 17:31 KJV).

Friend, you may be surprised to learn that “stuff” is a Bible word. It is a generic term employed to refer to various bits of matter, materials, articles, or activities. These things may not be defined or determined, so such an unrestrictive noun is quite convenient. Observe this stuff!

Laban frenetically searched Jacob’s “stuff” for his idols but found them not (Genesis 31:37). Pharaoh told Joseph to bring his family from Canaan and to “regard not [their] stuff” because “the good of all the land of Egypt is [theirs]” (Genesis 45:20). The Mosaic Law issued instructions about what would happen if a man gave his neighbor “money or stuff” to watch and guard and it was stolen (Exodus 22:7). As the planning of the Tabernacle was underway, the Jewish people were forced to stop giving building supplies because the “stuff” they had already given was more than enough (Exodus 36:7). God spoke of a conspiracy to take forbidden items and hide them in the “stuff” of the camp of Israel (Joshua 7:11).

Saul, just after his anointing as Israel’s first king, was so timid that he hid among the “stuff” (1 Samuel 10:22). As David and his companions are fleeing King Saul’s angry face, 200 of them stay by the “stuff” to protect it (1 Samuel 25:13). First Samuel 30:24 has David saying, “For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike.” In cleansing a polluted room, Nehemiah threw out all the household “stuff” (Nehemiah 13:8). As a way of teaching Judah of their impending deportation to Babylon, God told the Prophet Ezekiel to prepare him “stuff” for moving his “stuff” (Ezekiel 12:3,4,7).

The Bible’s final reference to “stuff” is today’s Scripture. Here, “stuff” is just that—inconsequential and useless. It is to be abandoned when Israel must choose between retaining it and escaping the Antichrist defiling Jerusalem!!!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why is Jesus Christ called ‘The Word of God?’

Daniel, His Friends, and Separation #6

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself (Daniel 1:8 KJV).

Every Sunday School child knows about Daniel and his three companions (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). Unfortunately, today, few adults practice what these precious children knew!

The idolatrous system that continually ensnared the nation Israel throughout the “Old Testament” is still with us. Ultimately, beyond our day, it will purge Israel of all unbelievers. Numerous “Old Testament” historical narratives, including today’s Scripture, preview what Israel will experience in the last days. Daniel’s Record will be very profitable to the circumcision (Jewish) saints during Daniel’s 70th Week—or “the seven-year Tribulation.” During that period after our Dispensation of Grace, Israel’s believing remnant is urged to follow Daniel’s example—remain separate from the Antichrist’s false religious system. Those believers in Christ will see themselves pictured in Daniel chapter 1, as well as his other writings (chapters 3 and 6, for example—separating from Satan’s evil system and suffering for it at the hands of wicked men).

Bible Books Hebrews through Revelation delineate the various aspects of Israel bearing the end-times scenario. For example, we see the suffering Jewish saints being encouraged in the Book of 1 Peter. “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen” (1 John 5:21)—the whole Book highlights the stark differences between Jewish saints and Jewish unbelievers. The Revelation underscores Antichrist’s rise and fall, Jesus Christ returning to deliver Israel into her earthly kingdom (exactly like the miraculous deliverances of believing Jews throughout the Book of Daniel).

Complimenting Daniel’s pattern, the Apostle John wrote to Israel in light of the destruction of Antichrist’s political-religious systems: “[4] And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. [5] For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities” (Revelation 18:4-5). God will undoubtedly judge that evil world system, so, brethren, let us remember to also keep separate from it!

Daniel, His Friends, and Separation #5

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself (Daniel 1:8 KJV).

Every Sunday School child knows about Daniel and his three companions (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). Unfortunately, today, few adults practice what these precious children knew!

Rather than “cause trouble” by holding to and defending specific doctrines, many “Christian” people today have chosen to allow anything and everything in their local assemblies. It is said in ecumenical circles, “Doctrine will always divide us. We need to quit focusing on doctrine and just ‘fellowship’ around ‘Jesus Christ.’” Despite good intentions, they are so woefully ignorant of a common Bible theme. From Genesis chapter 3 (Satan and Eve’s perversion of God’s words) until the final chapter of the Revelation (a warning not to add to or take away from the divine words), doctrine is of utmost importance in the mind of Almighty God. Sitting between these two “bookends” are Daniel and his three friends—sound doctrine caused them to believe separation from error was tantamount to serving JEHOVAH God.

Paul the Apostle exhorted us in 2 Corinthians chapter 6: “[14] Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? [15] And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? [16] And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. [17] Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. [18] And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

The evil religious system that Satan tried to utilize to defile Daniel and his friends exists even today, and future Israel needs to be warned….

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Daniel, His Friends, and Separation #4

Monday, May 1, 2017

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself (Daniel 1:8 KJV).

Every Sunday School child knows about Daniel and his three companions (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). Unfortunately, today, few adults practice what these precious children knew!

In refusing to partake of the pagan ways, Daniel and his friends, by faith, have established a good testimony in Babylon. JEHOVAH God can use them for His purposes even in the midst of rank heathenism! Verse 17 tells us: “As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.”

Verse 18 occurs three years after the opening verses of Daniel: “[18] Now at the end of the days [or three years, verse 5] that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. [19] And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. [20] And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.”

Whether Nebuchadnezzar ever learned about Daniel and his friends’ special diet, we do not know because the Bible never says. Nevertheless, the King of Babylon recognized that they were somehow special. He used them in his government. They had a supernatural power on their side that his religious leaders never even came close to matching. It would be years later, but Nebuchadnezzar would come to realize, looking with spiritual eyes, that these four Hebrew men served the one true God, “the King of Heaven” (Daniel 4:37).

Daniel chapter 1 closes: “And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus” (verse 21)—Daniel served some 70 years in these pagan Gentile courts! His three friends went on in their own separation (see chapter 3). Let us see what lessons they can teach us….

Special-edition Bible Q&A #375: “Does Scripture teach a flat Earth or a spherical Earth?” (A 37-page PDF to be read in your leisure.)