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….

Outlandish Women! #1

Friday, February 15, 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?”

Normally, we take the word “outlandish” to mean “ridiculous, nonsensical”—outlandish behavior, outlandish tales, et cetera. However, this is not the Bible’s usage of the word in Nehemiah. The key is to recall what Scripture said of King Solomon some 500 years earlier earlier.

First Kings chapter 11: “[1] But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; [2] Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. [3] And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.

“[4] For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. [5] For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. [6] And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. [7] Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. [8] And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.”

Solomon married Gentiles—women from outside of Israel’s land. These foreigners, strangers, or aliens were not heirs of God’s covenants with Israel (cf. Ephesians 2:11,12). They worshipped heathen idols, and encouraged Solomon to do likewise. JEHOVAH God had prohibited Israel’s intermarriage with idolaters or unbelievers. Solomon not only disobeyed the LORD, he emboldened Israel to sin as well….

Praise and Thanks to the LORD

Thursday, June 30, 2016

“And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid” (Ezra 3:11 KJV).

Just imagine Israel’s joy as the Temple is being reconstructed!

The Babylonian armies had come many decades earlier and destroyed Jerusalem. Solomon’s Temple, the house of the LORD, the magnificent center of Israel’s religious life, was burned to the ground! The Jews of the southern kingdom (Judah) were violently carried away to Babylon (2 Kings 25:1-21; 2 Chronicles 36:14-21).

JEHOVAH God commissioned Persian King Cyrus the Great to rebuild His Temple (Isaiah 44:28—written nearly two centuries previous to Cyrus!). Obeying Cyrus’ decree, Zerubbabel leads some of his Jewish brethren from Babylon back to Jerusalem to begin the construction (2 Chronicles 36:22,23; Ezra 1:1-11). These Jews have given of their material riches to construct the Temple. As chapter 2 of Ezra says: “[68] And some of the chief of the fathers, when they came to the house of the LORD which is at Jerusalem, offered freely for the house of God to set it up in his place: [69] They gave after their ability unto the treasure of the work threescore and one thousand drams of gold, and five thousand pound of silver, and one hundred priests’ garments.”

In today’s Scripture, they are excited that they have now laid the foundation for this new Temple. Literally, they are “re-laying the groundwork” for their Mosaic religion. They want JEHOVAH’S presence to return to them. They desire for Him to dwell in Jerusalem with them as He did before their Babylonian captivity/exile. It is a very emotional time. The older men, those who had seen Solomon’s Temple before it was destroyed over 50 years earlier, observe the construction of this new Temple’s foundation and they “wept with a loud voice” (verse 12)! They recognize that they had sinned (leading to their punishment in the captivity) but their God has been faithful in bringing them back into the Promised Land. Not because of their faithfulness, but because of His!

Pray While It is Still Legal?

Friday, May 13, 2016

“Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said unto the king…” (Nehemiah 2:4,5 KJV).

What can Nehemiah teach us in today’s Scripture?

Recently, I noticed a parked vehicle with the bumper sticker, “Pray while it’s still legal.” Even if prayer were completely outlawed in the United States, or anywhere else in the world, that would not at all intimidate the Bible believer. Outlawed prayer would most certainly be a problem for “traditional Christians,” however.

See, dearly beloved, religion has dumbed-down prayer to the point where it is rarely pleasing to Father God. Since denominational teaching has watered down prayer, most can think of nothing more than kneeling, bowed heads, closed eyes, folded hands, raised arms, prayer beads, prayer books, et cetera. They have missed the issue of prayer entirely. Prayer is repeating to God what His Word tells you; prayer is not repeating what others wrote about the Bible. Remember, they may have incorrectly interpreted Scripture to write that prayer you want to recite! Furthermore, prayer is not about the posture of the physical body; it is all about the attitude of the spiritual heart.

In today’s Scripture, Nehemiah was unhappily serving before Persian King Artaxerxes (verses 1-3). Far away was un-walled and ruined Jerusalem—Babylon had destroyed it 150 years earlier. Attempting to cheer him up, Artaxerxes asked Nehemiah what he desired. Certainly, Nehemiah, standing before the king, had no time to kneel, raise his hands, whip out a prayer card, or be excused to enter some “prayer closet.” So, Nehemiah prayed right there on the spot, silently. In that time of limited divine revelation, he sought God’s wisdom as to how to respond. The king never noticed Nehemiah praying!

So, friends, if prayer is ever outlawed here or elsewhere, that really will not hinder us Bible believers. Silent prayer in all circumstances is fine. Father God will certainly hear us, and that is all that matters. Just look at today’s Scripture. By the way, if you want to find out what happens with Nehemiah, read the rest of the chapter… or perhaps his whole book!

Zechariah and Dispensationalism

Thursday, July 23, 2015

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth” (Zechariah 9:9,10 KJV).

What can the Prophet Zechariah teach us about dispensational Bible study?

A half-dozen Old Testament passages combine Jesus Christ’s two comings: these prophets saw one coming. In hindsight, however, we see two prophesied comings. Why were two comings not originally apparent? (There were two secret comings hidden between!)

Today’s Scripture describes Messiah coming twice: first, He came meek and lowly, and then He will return in power and glory. These two comings are according to prophecy, “that which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21). The Old Testament prophets were unaware of two additional comings of Jesus Christ to divide the two prophesied comings—one coming to start our Dispensation of Grace (save Saul of Tarsus and start the Body of Christ) and one to end it (save the Body of Christ from enduring the seven-year Tribulation). These are the two comings according to mystery, that “which was kept secret since the world began” but was manifested through Paul’s epistles (Romans 16:25,26).

Today’s Scripture (cf. Matthew 21:1-9) first predicts Jesus Christ riding the donkey into Jerusalem, the “Triumphal Entry” (First Coming). Then, it mentions His glorious return to destroy Israel’s enemies, bring everlasting peace, and establish His earthly kingdom over the Gentiles (Second Coming). Zechariah knew nothing of our Dispensation of Grace and the Body of Christ. The mystery was not only “hid in God” (Ephesians 3:9), but also completely hidden from Israel’s prophets. God kept a secret from Satan—He would use Calvary’s crosswork to form the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:6-8). The Dispensation of Grace (and its two comings) was also withheld from the Old Testament prophets, including Zechariah. Wow!