A Better Covenant #2

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah (Jeremiah 31:31 KJV).

Look, the New Covenant—a better covenant!

Notice the appellations “house of Israel” and “house of Judah.” They first appeared in Scripture in 1 Kings 12:21: “And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin, an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon.”

Since King Solomon pursued heathen women and corrupted himself and the nation Israel with pagan idolatry, God initiated the second course of chastisement after his death (1 Kings 11:1-13,26-42; 1 Kings 12:1-19). Israel’s government, her “power,” was weakened (Leviticus 26:18,19). The kingdom was split between its 10 northern tribes (taking the name “Israel”) and two southern tribes (assuming the designation “Judah”).

That divided kingdom existed during the time of the Prophet Jeremiah, some 300 years later. Jeremiah preached just before and during the fifth course of chastisement—the Babylonian captivity (Leviticus 26:27-39). However, his message also focused on Israel’s hope, her eventual return to the Promised Land after being exiled in foreign (Gentile) territories. This re-gathering and restoration of Israel is found in the chapter containing today’s Scripture.

“[31] Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: [32] Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:….” The Law of Moses, the contract into which Israel entered on Mount Sinai 900 years prior to Jeremiah, demanded Israel’s exclusive worship of JEHOVAH God. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 19:3). Time and time and time again, they broke that covenant, disobeyed God’s Word, and came under His curse. As a wife being unfaithful to her husband, Israel ran after idols and cheated on JEHOVAH God, bringing upon herself unspeakable judgment….

Outlandish Women! #7

Thursday, February 21, 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?”

The Holy Spirit through Paul definitely preferred we distance ourselves from false religious systems—including being romantically involved with unbelievers (who embrace those organizations). First Corinthians chapter 6: “[15] Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. [16] What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. [17] But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. [18] Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. [19] What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? [20] For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Alas, we discard sound Bible doctrine and quench the Holy Spirit just to enjoy a temporary, lopsided relationship with the spirit of this world! “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). The two “agree” in that the Christian accepts the non-Christian’s view. Such spiritual debilitation and destruction is overwhelming—especially for the poor children originating from that unfortunate and risky union!

Our human heart, tainted by emotions, is quite sinful, unreliable, and clouds our judgment. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). The fantasy of Christians dating and/or marrying unbelievers and successfully converting them is one example. Solomon did not transform his pagan wives, did he? Oh, but they certainly “rehabilitated” him… and all Israel! Even today, intermarriage with an unbeliever usually results in the Christian turning from the Lord (not the unbeliever turning to the Lord)! Brethren, may we learn this lesson well now, before we learn it “the hard way!”

Outlandish Women! #6

Wednesday, February 20, 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?”

Dear friends, never should we believe the Bible is “old-fashioned,” “irrelevant,” “fantasy.” It is just as authoritative and pertinent to human civilization now as it was 2,500 years ago (today’s Scripture). Believers marrying unbelievers was catastrophic in both Solomon’s time and Nehemiah’s day; it is equally damaging to modern society.

Scripture clearly teaches Christians are to marry only in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39). Bible believers should have absolutely no interfaith or interdenominational romantic relationships. Christians dating or marrying non-Christians, including wedding “Christian” cult members, are most unwise. Yet, many professing believers consent to such relations. “We all worship the same God.” “They read the Bible and believe in Jesus Christ too.” “As long as they attend some church….” No, dear friends, individuals uttering such irresponsible words are far better off remaining quiet.

Friends, the false religious system Satan used to entice and pollute Israel millennia ago has never left us. It comes in the most “innocent” forms— “worship” services, teaching seminars, “inspirational” literature, and so on. A romantic partner ensnared therein is most problematic to the Christian. If we belong to Jesus Christ, we should separate ourselves from all false religion.

Second 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.”

Now, we summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Bible Q&A #580: “Why does the King James Bible say ‘nephews’ instead of ‘grandchildren’ in 1 Timothy 5:4?

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….

Outlandish Women! #3

Sunday, February 17, 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?”

Leviticus 26:18,19 spoke of God’s second round of punishment or chastisement on Israel if she continued worshipping and serving idols: “[18] And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. [19] And I will break the pride of your power;….” This is political weakening, a division of Israel’s kingdom, that followed Solomon’s death. 

First Kings chapter 11: “[9] And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, [10] And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. [11] Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. [12] Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. [13] Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.”

As today’s Scripture indicates, even though King Solomon was mighty in every way, he had a weakness that Satan unhesitatingly exploited to the fullest extent. His risky dealings with heathen women actually cost him his nation. In fact, the nation Israel that we see in ruins today—lacking a Davidic kingdom, scattered around the world, under Gentile oppression—is directly associated with Solomon and his idolatrous wives. They seduced his soul, and Israel’s national soul soon followed. Israel needs to learn that lesson in today’s Scripture, and we need to as well….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “‘Remission’ and ‘forgiveness’—same or different?

Outlandish Women! #2

Saturday, February 16, 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 Mosaic Law, JEHOVAH God had sternly prohibited Israel’s intermarriage with idolaters, unbelievers. Exodus chapter 34: “[12] Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee: [13] But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: [14] For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: [15] Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice; [16] And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods. [17] Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.”

Moses, 40 years later, repeated this in Deuteronomy 7:1-11: “[2] And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: [3] Neither [!] shalt [!] thou [!] make [!] marriages [!] with [!] them [!]; thy [!] daughter [!] thou [!] shalt [!] not [!] give [!] unto [!] his [!] son [!], nor [!] his [!] daughter [!] shalt [!] thou [!] take [!] unto [!] thy [!] son [!]. [4] For [!] they [!] will [!] turn [!] away [!] thy [!] son [!] from [!] following [!] me [!], that [!] they [!] may [!] serve [!] other [!] gods [!]: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. [5] But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. [6] For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.”

Though wise, King Solomon was still a sinner….