“Hate Speech” #3

Friday, February 19, 2016

“Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt” (Jeremiah 38:4 KJV).

Who is “this man?” And, what words is he speaking to make him worthy of being “put to death?”

Moses had warned Israel, if she would persist in sin, the fifth course of judgment would come upon her. Through Moses, JEHOVAH said in Leviticus chapter 26: “[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. [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.”

So, when Jeremiah preached what he did in the verses previous to today’s Scripture, he was merely echoing Moses’ words, which words Moses had received by direct revelation from JEHOVAH God. In reality, Jeremiah was not preaching “hate speech.” The Jews were convicted of their pagan idolatry, and they spoke against Jeremiah, proving they were hateful. Yes, they hated the very words of God to them. What an interesting parallel to today’s society!

“Hate Speech” #2

Thursday, February 18, 2016

“Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt” (Jeremiah 38:4 KJV).

Who is “this man?” And, what words is he speaking to make him worthy of being “put to death?”

From verse 1, we learn that it was Jeremiah the Prophet speaking “offensive” words. The wicked leaders of Judah (southern Israel) had grown tired of the 40 years of Jeremiah’s preaching ministry. Now, they wanted him dead, so they went to King Zedekiah in today’s Scripture to “make the arrangements!” (We will comment on this later.)

The Jews had overlooked a simple fact. While they were blaming Jeremiah, he had not originated the prophecies of judgment that were coming up on idolatrous Jerusalem. In fact, nearly 1000 years earlier, Moses had given Israel express instructions concerning God’s Law Covenant with them. Disobedience to God’s commandments would result in five courses (phases, rounds) of judgment/chastisement. Whenever Israel would persist in false religion, idol worship, increasing divine judgment would come upon them. Once Israel refused to repent of her wickedness after four rounds of judgment, the fifth phase of chastisement would be Gentile captivity. Israel would be removed from her Promised Land. (We will comment on this later also.)

For now, just notice that it was so strange then that Judah’s king and the other Jews in the area had grown upset with Jeremiah. He was doing nothing more than quoting what Moses had written to them centuries earlier! Yet, Moses did not originate those judgments either. It was God’s Word through Moses. The same God who had spoken through Moses was now speaking through Jeremiah. Furthermore, by the Jews refusing to hear Jeremiah, they proved they really did not believe Moses, either. If Jeremiah were guilty of “hate speech,” then so was Moses, and so was the JEHOVAH God they had claimed to “love and worship!”

Our latest Bible Q&As: “Is Matthew 27:9 a mistake?” and “Is Matthew 2:23 a mistake?

“Hate Speech” #1

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

“Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt” (Jeremiah 38:4 KJV).

Who is “this man?” And, what words is he speaking to make him worthy of being “put to death?”

Let us start at the beginning of the chapter: “[1] Then Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashur the son of Malchiah, heard the words that Jeremiah had spoken unto all the people, saying, [2] Thus saith the LORD, He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life for a prey, and shall live. [3] Thus saith the LORD, This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, which shall take it.”

Jerusalem was such a glorious city in the days of King David and especially once his son Solomon assumed the throne. That was 400 years prior to today’s Scripture. During those four centuries, Jerusalem, and surrounding Judah, had steadily declined. They were now just about to hit “rock bottom” economically, socially, politically and spiritually. As we learn from the “fifth-course prophets” such as Jeremiah, divine judgment is swiftly coming on idolatrous Judah. Centuries of spiritual wickedness would finally be punished.

Earlier, JEHOVAH had told Jeremiah, “Therefore pray not for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee” (7:16). There will be no more delay, no more pleading, no more hope. God will use Babylon’s armies to return and level Jerusalem and deport nearly every Jew in Judah to Iraq. Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar will burn Jerusalem’s Temple to the ground and Israel’s religion will fall apart. This was the “hate speech” of Jeremiah the Prophet. Unbelief had gripped his kinsmen according to the flesh, and now they wanted his life!

When the LORD Turns Israel’s Captivity #6

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

“That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee” (Deuteronomy 30:3 KJV).

In today’s Scripture, Moses prophesies Israel’s glorious future restoration!

The Prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel repeatedly describe God’s “turning away [Israel’s] captivity” and “bringing again the captivity of [His] people Israel and Judah.” For example, Jeremiah 29:14: “And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.”

Or, Jeremiah 30:3: “For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.” And Jeremiah 30:18: “Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob’s tents, and have mercy on his dwellingplaces; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof.” Israel is scattered around the world but God will regather them in His own time, to enjoy their own land!

“And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country” (Ezekiel 34:13). “For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land (Ezekiel 36:24). “Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel(Ezekiel 37:12).

Let us see what else the Old Testament prophets say in affirmation of Moses’ prediction in today’s Scripture….

A Holy Nation #6

Saturday, January 25, 2014

“For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45 KJV).

Today’s Scripture summarizes a book most burdensome to many.

As per the Old Covenant, increasingly sinful Israel would endure five rounds of escalating chastisement from God, many divine attempts to reform the wayward nation (see Leviticus 26:14-39). The last course of judgment (verses 27-39) involved Gentile armies (Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, Medes, Persians, and Romans) overrunning and defeating Israel, killing her people, taking off to foreign lands most of the rest of the Jews as prisoners of war. The Promised Land would be desolate of Jews. Israel would lose her Davidic kingdom, and the pagan Gentiles would rule over her instead. God was bound by His Word to weaken and curse His beloved nation!

Just before, during, and after that fifth course of judgment began, God sent His prophets to speak and write to Israel. The “Major Prophets” (Isaiah through Daniel) and the “Minor Prophets” (Hosea through Malachi) concentrate on two general themes: God’s judgment and Israel’s deliverance. These prophets clearly warned that, due to her disobedience, Israel would have many terrible days ahead (and the worst are yet to come!). Yet, these prophets surely comforted that, due to JEHOVAH’S faithfulness, Israel would have many wonderful days ahead (and the best are yet to come!).

Israel had forsaken JEHOVAH and His covenant, worshipped pagan idols, and legally, God declared her as sinful, worthy of His wrath and unworthy of His blessings—she had become Satan’s people. She was everything but the “holy nation” God wanted her to be (see today’s Scripture). The devil surely thought he had JEHOVAH defeated: “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive? 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” (Isaiah 49:24,25).

There was hope: JEHOVAH promised that Messiah would come and deliver Israel from Satan….