GOD Walks Among Us

GOD walks among usOr what agreement has the temple of GOD with idols?
For we are the temple of The Living GOD; just as GOD said,
“I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM;
AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
2 Corinthians 6:16

My Precious LORD JESUS has been simultaneously speaking to my heart, concerning unfolding events, as the time of HIS return hastens toward its goal; while giving me understanding of the visions contained within the Book of Revelation. Recently, as I was pondering the timing of some events in GOD’s WORD, HE led me to the following passages in Revelation:

As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in MY right hand
And the seven golden lampstands
The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches
And the seven lampstands are the seven churches
Revelation 1:20

To the angel of the church in Ephesus write
The One WHO holds the seven stars in HIS right hand
The One WHO walks among the seven golden lampstands
Says this
Revelation 2:1

As I sat and reflected on these two passages, I asked my Precious LORD JESUS CHRIST questions. This message, reflects my questions and HIS answers. HIS message is something that we must all consider carefully and live accordingly. How would you live your life, knowing GOD our FATHER and our LORD JESUS CHRIST is truly very present?

What is meant by, “The One WHO walks among the seven golden lampstands?” In Revelation 1:20, JESUS tells us that the seven lampstands are seven churches. HE self-identifies in Revelation 1:12-18. And putting those two truths together, it is HE WHO walks among HIS churches.

Are these actual churches, or are they us, the temple in which HE dwells? In this particular passage of Scripture, it is the congregations or public assemblies of HIS people. According to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon (Abridged), the English word church as used in Revelation 1:20 has been transliterated from the Greek word “ekkleesia” (NT:1577), and it means a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place; an assembly of Christians gathered for worship. Those who are indeed the temple in which HE dwells (1 Cor 3:16), are called together in one place (Heb 10:25), so that corporately HIS body would be:

  • edified (spiritual growth promoted), exhorted (encouraged); given clear explanation and understanding of The WORD, through the public reading of The Scriptures (1 Tim 4:13, 1 Cor 14:26, Neh 8:8)
  • strengthened by coming into HIS presence, remembering WHO HE is, and all that HE has done through testimony, praise, and worship (Psa 35:18, Psa 40:9-10, Psa 100:1-5, Eph 5:19-20, Col 3:16)
  • healed, receive consolation (be comforted), and experience relief from suffering through prayer (Mat 18:19-20, Jam 5:13-18)
  • equipped for the work of service, or be trained to serve in building up the body of CHRIST (Eph 4:11-13)

Whether attending church online, or in-person, aren’t you still assembling together? During prayer, are your thoughts captivated by the prayer being offered? During praise and worship, is your heart is surrendered to GOD? During the message, is your mind focused, carefully listening to the words being spoken? At the end of the gathering do you support one another by continuing to discuss our GOD, our LORD, and HIS WORD through fellowship and breaking of bread? If you are not doing these things, whether in-person or online, you are not receiving the blessings nor the benefits that have been ordained for assembling together. This is a good opportunity to examine your heart. If the commandment to not forsake your own assembling together with other believers (Heb 10:25), is a burden (1 Jhn 5:3) and not a joy (Psa 95:1-6, Psa 122:1); are you in relationship or practicing religion?

Does GOD also walk among each one of HIS people? Absolutely! HE is a GOD WHO is near and not far away (Jer 23:23, Psa 46:1, Psa 119:151, Psa 145:18). From the very beginning HE remains the same (Psa 102:24-27, Heb 13:8). Just as HE walked in the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve (Gen 2:8, Gen 3:8-10); appeared to Abraham on several occasions (Gen 12:7, Gen 17:1-3, Gen 18:1); met and spoke directly to Moses (Exd 34:5-6, Num 12:6-8, Deu 34:10); stood near the boy Samuel calling his name (1 Sam 3:1-10); walked among and through the camps of Israel (Lev 26:11-12, Deu 23:12-14); and met with HIS disciples after HIS crucifixion and resurrection (Luk 24:13-42, Jhn 20:19-20). Today HE lives within us (Jhn 14:23, Rom 8:9) and walks among us (2 Cor 6:16). And throughout eternity HE will walk among HIS people (Rev 21:1-3).

The LORD your GOD is in your midst
A Victorious Warrior
HE will exult over you with joy
HE will be quiet in HIS love
HE will rejoice over you with shouts of joy
Zephaniah 3:17

The Mark

666 mark designAnd he causes all, the small and the great
And the rich and the poor
And the free men and the slaves
To be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead
And he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell
Except the one who has the mark
Either the name of the beast or the number of his name
Here is wisdom
Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast
For the number is that of a man
And his number is six hundred and sixty-six
Revelation 13:16-18

Many worldwide have either read about, or heard of the opening Scripture passages (Rev 13:16-18). And there have been many who have erroneously speculated, and then taught what they believe “the mark” to be. Without understanding, they have distorted GOD’s WORD, The BIBLE (2 Pet 3:16); caused many to be disturbed (Gal 1:7); misleading them (Mat 24:11), and causing their focus to be wrongly turned away from our Precious LORD JESUS (Heb 12:2).

Where should one’s focus be concerning the mark? It should be on why a person will take the mark, their spiritual condition, understanding the purpose of the mark, what the mark is and is not, the consequences of taking the mark, and the spiritual condition of the person who will refuse the mark.

Why would someone take the mark? Those taking the mark lack knowledge of the true and living GOD. They rejected this knowledge, by dismissing, declining, or refusing to know HIM, HIS SON JESUS CHRIST, and HIS WORD as spoken of by the prophet Hosea:

MY people are destroyed for lack of knowledge
Because you have rejected knowledge
I also will reject you from being MY priest
Since you have forgotten The LAW of your GOD
I also will forget your children
Hosea 4:6

How does lack of knowledge lead to destruction? Lack of true knowledge leads to destruction. True knowledge, only comes through knowing GOD, WHO knows all things (Pro 15:3, Heb 4:13, Jhn 16:30, 1 Jhn 3:20). Our Beloved LORD GOD is intimate with us (Pro 3:32), discloses things to us (2 Chr 20:13-18, Jhn 16:13-15), forewarns us (Mrk 13:23, Act 20:22-23, 1 Ths 3:3-4), and keeps us safe (Psa 121:7-8, Pro 1:33, Jhn 10:27-30). When a person rejects GOD, and relies on self (Pro 3:5), it was always lead to destruction (Pro 16:25).

In what way does one reject knowledge by rejecting GOD? As previously mentioned, by dismissing, declining, or refusing to recognize the sovereignty of GOD, the sacrifice of JESUS, or the truth of HIS WORD, the BIBLE. And since they:

  1. refuse to know GOD’s WORD, they will never come to know and understand neither HIM nor HIS SON JESUS (Jer 9:24, Exd 33:13, Psa 103:7, 1 Jhn 2:3-6).
  2. refuse to trust HIM, they will never experience HIS goodness (Heb 11:6, Psa 34:8, Psa 119:103, Heb 6:5, 1 Pet 2:3)
  3. will only listen, but not obey the WORD of GOD, they will never experience the truth of HIS WORD (Luk 6:46-49, Jam 1:22-25). And they will never grow to spiritual maturity (Heb 5:11-14).

How does one forget GOD’s Law? There are at least two ways, first, by failing to remember HIM (Deu 32:16-18, Psa 106:21, Jer 2:32), HIS NAME (Jer 23:27, Job 21:14-15), and all the things HE has done for you (Psa 78:11-20, Isa 5:12-13, Heb 3:7-12). Second, by not taking HIS WORD to heart. When one does not consider GOD’s WORD as significant or important to them (Jer 6:10, Jer 36:4-32, Luk 7:30), they fail to remember it, by ceasing to think of or consider it (Psa 50:17, Neh 4:26, 1 Kin 14:9, Heb 12:3-11 Psa 50:17, Neh 4:26, 1 Kin 14:9, Heb 12:3-11). And they will not yield to the prompting of HIS Holy SPRIT (Jer 6:16-17, Eph 4:30, 1 Ths 5:19).

Who is GOD’s priest mentioned in Hosea 4:6? It is everyone whom our Precious LORD JESUS has redeemed with HIS blood (1 Pet 1:18-21), purchased for GOD, sealed and anointed by HIS Holy SPIRIT, made the people of GOD, and appointed to royal priesthood (1 Pet 2:9, Rev 5:9-10, Eph 1:13, 2 Cor 1:21, 1 Jhn 2:20, 1 Jhn 2:27).

How is one without knowledge convinced to take the mark? Deception. The false prophet will come looking like a lamb or one belonging to GOD, though he speaks like Satan (Rev 13:11, Jhn 8:44, Rev 12:9). He will perform the miracle of Elijah and Elisha (Rev 11:13-14, 1 Kin 18:37-39, 2 Kin 1:1-14). Many will be deceived by his appearance and his miracles, but when you know Truth, you cannot be deceived (Jhn 14:6, Mrk 13:22-23, Jhn 10:3-5, Jhn 18:37, 1 Jhn 2:20-21, 1 Jhn 4:1-6). Only those who know their GOD and SAVIOR will not be deceived (Jer 9:24, Jer 31:34, Dan 11:32, Jhn 10:14).

Who will take the mark? Those who do not know JESUS (Jhn 16:2-3), and those who only profess to know HIM (Tit 1:16). Each one of us must carefully consider our brother the apostle Peter. He emotionally loved JESUS, and declared he would die with JESUS rather than deny HIM (Mat 26:31-35). But in the hour of facing death, he denied knowing JESUS (Luk 22:54-62). If you are confident you would never take the mark, because you regularly attend prayer meetings, group BIBLE studies, and even Church, we ask you to honestly do the following self-assessment:

  1. Do you love yourself most? As an example, do you place your will above GOD’s? (2 Tim 3:2); does your interests often take priority over CHRIST’s interests? (Php 2:21); do you seek your own welfare above others? (1 Cor 10:24).
  2. Is what men think of you, more important than what our invisible GOD knows? (Mat 6:1-6, Gal 1:10, 1 Ths 2:4-6)
  3. Do you truly believe that GOD exists, HE is Good, and will to respond to those who sincerely seek HIM? (Deu 1:30-33, Psa 78:22, Psa 136:1, Mat 19:17, Heb 11:6)?
  4. When it’s just you, do you seek GOD’s presence? (Zep 3:2, 2 Chr 12:14, Psa 10:4), because HIS nearness means so much to you? (Psa 73:28, 1 Chr 16:11, Psa 27:8)
  5. Do you truly believe in the truthfulness, and faithfulness of GOD’s entire WORD? (Psa 106:24, Jhn 6:64, Jhn 8:45-46, Heb 4:2)

If you answered “yes” to the first two questions, or “no” to the last three questions, you will take the mark. You will always protect what you love most. If you are not willing to live for GOD now, you will not be willing to die for HIM later. If you are not willing to put your trust completely in HIM now, you will not know that HE is indeed trustworthy later.

What is the purpose of the mark? The purpose of the mark is simply to identify those who belong to the beast, the wicked global leader, also known as the antichrist (Rev 13:16). Those who take his mark, have chosen to worship him as their God & Savior (Rev 13:15), and accept temporary security (Rev 13:17), because they fear those who can kill only the body (Mat 10:28, Heb 10:31).

What is the mark? In Revelation 13:16-18, the English word “mark” is transliterated from the Greek word “charagma” (NT:5480) and it refers to something that is engraved, stamped, or etched. It is a physical mark that is either a brand (stamped on through a burning process) or a tattoo (engraved or etched on through the insertion of ink into the skin). This physical, visible mark will be used in conjunction with RFID able to regulate day-to-day activity including buying, selling, etc. (Rev 13:17).

The mark doesn’t go under the skin? No, the mark is not placed under the skin, nor is it placed within the human body. The English word for “on” used in Revelation 13:16 is transliterated from the Greek word “epi” (1909) which literally means on or upon. It is not “hupo” (5259) which means under. Which means it is not microchips that have willingly been injected into the body between the thumb and forefinger. Nor is it microchips that have been secretly injected into the body through vaccinations. Nor is it RFID. It should be noted that in December 2019, engineers at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) developed a “quantum dot tattoo” a microneedle patch that delivers a specialized dye, vaccine, and storage of medical information. The dye is invisible to the naked eye, but can be seen with use of a specially adapted technology. It was developed for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to be able to easily track who had or had not been vaccinated among the world’s poorest most vulnerable people. Could this well-meaning technology someday be used to apply “the mark” as an invisible tattoo on the skin?

What is RFID? According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, RFID (radio frequency identification), technology uses radio waves to identify people, pets, objects, etc.; via a tag or wireless device. It has been commercially available in one form or another since the 1970s (the last 51 years). RFID is on credit or debit cards, driver licenses, car keys, employee id, medical history billing, highway toll tags, security access cards, pet chips, etc. There is no personal information stored on the RFID tag or wireless device. It only contains a number, allowing that number to point to secure databases which store personal information. Finally, RFID uses vicinity or proximity technology; it can be scanned more than 30 feet away (such as passing through an airport), or just a few inches (running your card through a card reader at the market). It should also be noted, in September 2015, all the member states of the UN (United Nations) adopted the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. As part of this agreement all these member states agreed to provide “legal identity” for every person on the face of the earth by 2030. The mandate to legally identify every person, would be carried out through the UN based ID2020 program. On May 2016, a nongovernmental organization known as ID2020, held an inaugural summit at the UN Headquarters to create an alliance of domestic and global governments, worldwide institutions, nonprofit organizations, philanthropies, businesses, banks, and medical organizations. This alliance would set a technical standard for identifying  1.1 billion vulnerable people globally. So that this vulnerable population would gain access to basic services -education, healthcare, voting, opening a bank account – and other fundamental human rights; each one of them would be uniquely identified through “authenticated digital identity.” In reality the 1.1 billion vulnerable is the test group, for solving issues that will come up with Identifying the world’s remaining 6.8 billion population (as of May 2021).

What are the consequences of taking the mark? We cannot overemphasize how dire the consequences are, for those who take the mark. The consequences are severe, irrevocable, and eternal. Those who turn to worshipping the antichrist instead of GOD, because they prefer to be secure in wickedness than suffer affliction (Job 36:21), they will experience:

  • the wrath of GOD (Rev 14:9)
  • the judgments of GOD (Rev 16:2)
  • the second death, which is:
    • an eternal place of suffering for Satan, antichrist, false prophet, death, hades, the ungodly (Mat 25:41, Mat 8:28-29, Rev 19:20, Rev 20:10, Rev 20:14-15, Rev 21:8)
    • a place where the fire is not quenched, and the worm does not die (Mrk 9:43-49)
    • a place of eternal torment with fire and brimstone (Rev 14:10)
    • a place of no rest day and night (Rev 14:11)

Who is the person who will refuse the mark? The person who know their GOD (Jer 9:24, Psa 20:7, Dan 11:32), who know JESUS their Shepherd (Jhn 10:2-5), and through obedience have come to fully know and understand GOD’s WORD (Psa 111:10). They will not be deceived by the antichrist or the false prophet. They are those who:

  • love GOD with their entire being, not just emotional, but unconditional (Mat 12:29-31)
  • love GOD most (Job 23:12, Luk 14:26, Php 3:8)
  • trust GOD no matter the circumstances (Gen 37:1-36, Gen 39:1-23, Gen 50:15-21, Psa 105:17-18, 1 Sam chptrs 16-31)
  • do not trust in themselves (Jos 9:3-15, Isa 11:3)
  • do not love their own life, even when faced with death (Rev 12:11)
  • keep the commandments of GOD, and their faith in JESUS at all times (Rev 14:12, Rom 8:35-39, 1 Cor 4:9-13)

Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice
If anyone worships the beast and his image
And receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand
He also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God
Which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger
And he will be tormented with fire and brimstone
In the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb
And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever
They have no rest day and night
Those who worship the beast and his image
And whoever receives the mark of his name
Revelation 14:9-11

Silence

rustic color of man wearing cross and holding BIBLEMy soul, wait in silence for GOD only
For my hope is from HIM
HE only is my rock and my salvation
My stronghold
I shall not be shaken
Psalm 62:5-6

Recently I was meditating on self-control (one of the nine attributes of the fruit of The SPIRIT, Gal 5:22-23). I asked our Beloved LORD GOD how was HIS self-control manifested? HE answered “silence” As I meditated on HIS answer, HE reminded me through HIS WORD, that HE is gracious, compassionate, and merciful (Exd 34:6-7, Psa 86:15, Psa 145:8-9, Jam 5:11). HE does not desire for anyone to perish (Eze 18:30-32).

Being merciful, HE does not quickly carry out the sentence against sin (Ecc 8:11), patiently waiting in silence (Psa 50:21), giving the ungodly time and opportunity to turn from their sin (Rom 2:4, 2 Pet 3:9, Rev 2:21).

I then wondered about the other times HE is silent. HE then explained through Scripture, HE is inherently gentle, humble, and quiet (1 Kin 19:11-13, Isa 42:2, Mat 11:29). Not only does silence reflect HIS self-control and patience (Isa 42:14, Isa 57:11), but HIS love and instruction (Zep 3:17, Isa 30:21, Psa 119:105). Which causes my soul to rest in HIM, like a weaned child rests upon their mother (Psa 131:2).

I then inquired, how is HIS self-control reflected in the life of a Christian? In the same manner, through silence. This silence only comes through completely trusting GOD (Jer 17:7-8, Isa 26:4, Psa 56:3-11, Psa 40:4), and living your life in union with CHRIST JESUS (Jhn 15:1-8, Jhn 14:23). When our Beloved LORD GOD is present, HE strengthens our soul, quiets our mind, speaks peace to our heart, holds our tongues, teaching us when to speak and when to remain silent.

When HE strengthens our soul, our will is strengthened, enabling us to stand firm against the schemes of the devil (Eph 6:11, 1 Tim 6:7-10, Eph 4:14, Mat 4:1-11). When HE quiets our mind, our thoughts are quieted, and fixed on HIM (Isa 26:3, Col 3:2-3, Php 4:8, 2 Cor 10:5). When HE speaks peace to our heart, our emotions are not affected by circumstances, as we silently wait for HIM (Exd 14:14, Psa 37:7, Lam 3:26, Jhn 14:27). When HE teaches us to hold our tongues, we do not sin with our mouth (Psa 141:3, Psa 39:1, Pro 21:23, Pro 13:3, Jam 1:26, Jam 3:2).

My soul waits in silence for GOD only
From HIM is my salvation
HE only is my rock and my salvation
My stronghold
I shall not be greatly shaken
Psalm 62:1-2

Arrested Development

Arrested developmentBut realize this
That in the last days difficult times will come
For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money
Boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents
Ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable
Malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good
Treacherous, reckless, conceited
Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God
Holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power
Avoid such men as these
For among them are those who enter into households and captivate
Weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses
Always learning
And never able to come to the knowledge of the truth
Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses
So these men also oppose the truth
Men of depraved mind
Rejected in regard to the faith
But they will not make further progress
For their folly will be obvious to all
Just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also
2 Timothy 3:1-9

When I asked our Beloved LORD GOD for confirmation that we are truly in “the great apostasy,” HE provided a detail confirmation by taking me through Scripture, local and global headlines, which included published denominational and church activity. This confirmation is documented in the study “The Apostasy” that examines the actions of apostates (those who fallen away or abandoned obedience to GOD’s commandments and faith in JESUS). In this current study “Arrested Development” our Beloved LORD GOD continues HIS confirmation. In this study we will be considering the spiritual state of apostates  through the opening Scriptures (2 Tim 3:1-9).

How do you know those described in 2 Timothy 3:1-9, are apostates? This is confirmed in 2 Timothy 3:5, with five words “avoid such men as these.” Especially when compared to 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, the men Christians have been called to avoid or not associate with, are those “so called” believers in the body of CHRIST. The believers are identified as “so called” because they are not obedient to GOD’s WORD and do not have faith in our LORD JESUS. The following Scriptures also confirm these are believers who became unbelievers, by turning back to sin and away from Truth (Isa 30:9-11, Rom 1:21-32, 2 Ths 2:10-12, 1 Tim 4:1-5, 2 Tim 4:1-5).

Why is this study titled “Arrested development”? It identifies the “spiritual state” of those who have turned away from Truth. Arrested development is a state in which progress has stopped at some point in development. It can happen physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, or spiritually. When it occurs physically, there is literally a condition wherein bodily development has stopped. Mental and emotional “arrested development” happens when a person’s capacities becomes impaired. Social “arrested development” occurs in children of all ages when the lack of godly parents, or a healthy environment leave them unable to fully develop certain desired behaviors and skills. And finally, the state we will be looking at in this study is “spiritual arrested development.” This state occurs when neither godly qualities (2 Pet 1:5-9), nor the fruit of The SPIRIT (Gal 5:22-23) is increasing in one’s life.

What is the state of one who is “arrested development” in spirit? When we examine 2 Timothy 3:1-9, we see three types of apostates. In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, we first see a reprobate (Psa 15:4). This is a person who is shameless in their sin (Jer 8:12); they continually grieve our GOD (Gen 6:6, Isa 63:10, Eze 6:9, Eph 4:30) by their depravity, prayerlessness, and love of self, rather than lovers of GOD or others. Their self-love is evident in their boasting, arrogance, reviling (criticizing or attacking others in an insulting manner), disobedience to parents, ingratitude, and many other traits listed in the first five verses of 2 Timothy chapter 3. We next see false teachers (2 Tim 3:6a, 2 Tim 3:8-9), whose corrupt minds and counterfeit faith, cause them to oppose truth in order to rob others (2 Pet 2:1-3, 1 Tim 6:5, Jud 1:16) through deception (2 Cor 11:13-15). Lastly, we see those who trust solely in themselves. They decide for themselves what is right and wrong (Pro 14:12, Pro 16:25, Pro 30:12), and seek out others who support their beliefs (Jer 5:30-31, 2 Tim 4:3). These people are moved by their feelings (desires, emotions, impulses, wants), they are more concerned about how something makes them feel rather than actual truth. They believe repentance is outmoded, they are basically good, and GOD is too loving to judge or punish anyone. Sadly, all these individuals became believers through our Beloved LORD GOD, and then they turned (Jer 2:21, Isa 5:2). And upon turning they stopped growing in righteousness. Godly qualities and the fruit of The SPIRIT cease to increase in their lives, leaving them in a spiritual state of arrested development.      

Which godly qualities should be increasing in every growing Christian? It has been said “A picture is worth a thousand words” which means that a single image, can be more effective than many verbal descriptions. So we will address the question by looking at a visual diagram and message that our Precious LORD JESUS CHRIST gave to Pastor Jinnie Wong as she meditated on 2 Peter 1:5-8.

diagram of 2 Peter 158Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness,  and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our LORD JESUS CHRIST (2 Peter 1:5-8). While reflecting on the image, also take the instruction in 2 Peter 1:9 to heart “For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.”

Why does decreasing fruit of The SPRIIT indicate spiritual arrested development? Though there are nine attributes (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control), the word “fruit” is singular, indicating that all nine attributes should simultaneously operate in the life of a Christian abiding in CHRIST JESUS (Gal 5:22-25). The “fruit” bears witness that the life of CHRIST is simply being lived out in that Christian. If the presence of JESUS is increasing in your life, so are HIS attributes (Jhn 3:30, Jhn 15:4). If those attributes are dissipating in who you are, you have stopped growing in our Beloved LORD GOD.

How would you know you have stopped growing in JESUS? By following our LORD’s instructions in 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!” Do this by examining Galatians 5:19-21 and Galatians 5:22-25, and then ask yourself “what is routinely operating in my life, the deeds of the flesh, or the fruit of The Holy SPIRIT?” If you are still living for yourself, and walking in disobedience to GOD’s WORD, you will recognize one or more of the deeds of the flesh in yourself. If the person you once were has died, and your new life is now hidden in CHRIST in GOD (Col 3:3), not just you, but others will notice the change in you. And as the presence of CHRIST increases in your life, so will HIS attributes.

In what way can I know if The Holy SPIRIT is residing within me? By examining the state of your soul, the state of your heart, and how you conduct yourself:

Is your soul filled with love, joy, and peace? GOD is love, if there is no love, GOD is not present (1 Jhn 4:7-8). In the presence of GOD is fullness of joy, if there is no joy, you are not abiding in GOD’s presence (Psa 16:11, Psa 21:6, Psa 43:4). The peace of CHRIST defies human understanding, and is very present, even in the most adverse circumstances. This peace occurs only when we are in CHRIST (Jhn 16:33), where our soul is quiet and composed (Psa 131:2, Psa 62:1-2). If there is no peace, you are not dwelling in CHRIST (Psa 123:2, Isa 26:3, Jhn 14:27, Php 4:7).
Is your heart full of patience, kindness, and goodness? When you have the heart of GOD, it is reflected in how you treat others (Rom 2:4, 2 Pet 3:9, Col 3:12-14). If the patience of GOD is in your heart, you will not be easily moved or angered in the midst of delays, troubles, or suffering (Exd 34:6-7, Psa 40;1, Lam 3:25-26). When wrongfully treated, you will not entertain thoughts of retaliation (1 Pet 2:23, Pro 20:22, 1 Ths 5:15, 1 Pet 3:9). If the kindness of GOD is in your heart, you are tender-hearted, caring, and helpful towards everyone and everything (Php 2:3-5, Rom 12:13-16, Rom 15:1-3). A person with a heart of kindness is truly concerned for the well-being of another, they are helpful toward everyone not expecting anything in return. If the goodness of GOD is in your heart, you walk uprightly (Psa 34:14, Psa 125:4) and you reach out to do good to others whether it is deserved or not (Luk 6:35-36, Gal 6:9-10).
Are you a faithful, gentle, self-controlled person? If your life is truly united to our Beloved LORD GOD (Jhn 17:21-23, Rom 8:9-11, 1 Cor 6:17, Gal 2:20), it will be revealed in your conduct or behavior (1 Jhn 3:9-11). Our GOD is faithful (Deu 7:9, 1 Cor 1:9, 2 Tim 2:13), and when HE dwells within us, we too are faithful. Which means we are, trustworthy (Num 12:6-8, Neh 9:7-8, Psa 101:6-7, Dan 6:4); truthful (Psa 5:6, Pro 12:17, Jhn 1:47, 1 Pet 2:21-22), reliable, consistently keep our word, even if it hurts (Psa 15:1-5, Psa 24:3-4, Jdg 11:35). Our GOD is gentle (1 Kin 19:11-13, Mat 11:29), and because HE lives within us, we too will be known as gentle or humble people (Php 4:5, Num 12:3, 2 Tim 2:24-26, 1 Pet 3:4, 1 Pet 3:15). Our GOD is not only holy (Lev 19:2, 1 Pet 1:14-16), and cannot be tempted by evil (Jam 1:13), but HE continually exercises restraint. We daily see HIS self-control. Our Beloved GOD does not treat us as our sins deserve, nor pays us back in full for our wrongs committed (Psa 103:10, Ezr 9:13). HE is slow to anger, holding it back, giving men and opportunity to turn away from sin (Rom 2:4, Psa 78:38, Psa 103:8-9, Isa 48:9). HE restrains HIMSELF and silently waits until HIS appointed time to punish the wicked (Psa 50:17-21, Ecc 8:11, Isa 42:14, Isa 57:11). When The SPIRIT of our LORD inhabits our soul (Rom 8:9, Jhn 14:23), HIS love holds our emotions, thoughts, and behavior in the face of temptations (2 Cor 5:14, Jud 1:24-25), giving us the strength to keep the impulses of the flesh in control (Php 4:13). HIS SPIRIT gives us both the faith and the ability, to silently wait on HIM no matter the circumstance (Exd 14:14, Psa 62:5, Lam 3:25-26, Jam 1:19).

What causes one to stop growing spiritually? There are many reasons, we will look at five:

1. Lack of faith, they do not have complete trust and confidence in GOD or HIS WORD (Deu 1:32, Psa 78:22, Zep 3:2). Those who lack faith in GOD, are those who do not believe that HE truly exists, nor do they believe that HE is good. So they do not believe that HE cares for them, nor cares enough to respond to the prayers of those who seek HIM (Heb 11:6, Psa 6:9).
2. Trust is in themselves rather than GOD (Jer 7:24, Jer 17:5-9), leaning to their own understanding (Pro 3:5, Pro 3:7, Pro 28:26, Isa 5:21). Human reasoning will always clash with Faith. The mind of man is not the mind of GOD (Isa 55:8-9, 1 Cor 1:27-29); the mind of man looks from the human perspective as it can only grasp the seen aspect of every situation (Mat 16:5-12, 1 Cor 2:14); the mind of man is hostile to the things of GOD (Job 21:14-15, Rom 8:7).
3. Forget GOD by forgetting HIS WORD (Deu 8:11, Job 8:13). Those who forget GOD are those who forsake HIM (Deu 32:15, Jer 2:13, Jer 12:2); they do not seek HIM (Psa 10:4, Jer 2:31); they fail to pray, worship, or study HIS WORD (Isa 43:22, Rom 1:25, Isa 5:24).
4. Forget the blessings of GOD (Deu 1:26-33, Psa 103:1-2). Those who forget the blessings of GOD, are those who are not grateful or thankful for HIS kindness, provisions, or mercy, and continue to doubt HIM (Psa 78:11-22). When the blessing is out of sight, GOD is out of their mind (Deu 4:9-10, Jgs 8:34).
5. Walk in continual disobedience (Psa 78:10, Jer 22:21, Tit 1:16). Those who walk in continual disobedience, are those who live focused on satisfying self (Mrk 8:34-37, Rom 8:5-8, 1 Jhn 2:15-17). They never read GOD’s WORD. And though they attend public sermons, they hear, repeatedly hear, but seldom meditate on what they hear. As a result, they quickly forget what they hear, unable to reduce it to practice, so they derive little profit from GOD’s spoken WORD.

How does one keep growing spiritually? By GOD alone, WHO causes spiritual growth (1 Cor 3:6-7). This growth comes as we cling to HIM (Deu 13:4, Psa 119:31, Rev 14:12), and obey HIS WORD (Jhn 14:23, Jhn 15:1-10, 1 Jhn 3:24).

Is there hope for one in “arrested development” spiritually? Most definitely, there is nothing impossible with GOD (Luk 1:37), for it is HE WHO gives both death and life (1 Sam 2:6). The person who has stopped growing spiritually must choose to humble themselves, confess their sins (1 Jhn 1:9), and turn back to GOD (2 Chr 7:14).

Abide in ME, and I in you
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself
Unless it abides in the vine
So neither can you unless you abide in ME
I am the vine, you are the branches
He who abides in ME and I in him, he bears much fruit
For apart from ME you can do nothing
If anyone does not abide in ME
He is thrown away as a branch and dries up
And they gather them
And cast them into the fire and they are burned
John 15:4-6

 

 

 

The Apostasy

Apostasy throwing cross awayNow we request you, brethren
With regard, to the coming of our LORD JESUS CHRIST
And our gathering together to HIM
That you not be quickly shaken from your composure
Or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us
To the effect that the Day of The LORD has come
Let no one in any way deceive you
For it will not come unless the apostasy comes first
And the man of lawlessness is revealed
The son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above
Every so-called god or object of worship
So that he takes his seat in the temple of GOD
Displaying himself as being GOD
2 Thessalonians 2:1-5

More than two decades ago, my Beloved LORD JESUS gave me a BIBLE study one lesson at a time to teach HIS people the biblical basis (foundation) of some elementary Christian principles. This lesson-by-lesson study lasted for almost four months, and became the “Foundational BIBLE Study for Believers”. This study has subsequently been taught by multiple Churches and BIBLE study groups, domestically and internationally.
    For the first time five months ago, a pastor asked me why repentance wasn’t separately dealt with in this study. I remained quiet for several moments, because I was talking with my Beloved LORD GOD, asking HIM the question that had just been asked of me. HE didn’t answer at that very moment, so I told the pastor, I would answer the question as soon as my Beloved LORD GOD gave me the answer. HE recently answered that question, while giving me this message on “the apostasy.”
    Repentance wasn’t separately dealt with in the “Foundational BIBLE Study for Believers,” because it was written for two types of believers in CHRIST JESUS. Either they were new believers who needed to understand the Biblical foundations of their faith, or they were dedicated believers who wanted to revisit those foundations. Neither group needed to repent or turn back from sin, because both clung to GOD. In fact, the “Foundational BIBLE Study for Believers” was written lesson-by-lesson, for a small group of dedicated new believers. They were living lives turned from sin and focused on JESUS. This group continually fasted, prayed, went out in both street and door-to-door evangelism. They earnestly desired to know more about GOD, and were hungry for HIS WORD.
    But in this last few years, I have witnessed two things. First, many individual Christians, entire churches, whole denominations have turned from following The WORD of GOD (The BIBLE). Second, our Beloved LORD GOD is sending myself and countless other ministers to continually proclaim the message of repentance to the body of CHRIST (Jer 8:4, Eze 18:30-32, Rev 2:4-5).

Why is the call to “repentance” continually going out? Because we are in the time of “the apostasy” also known as “the great falling away.”

What is “the apostasy”? It is the time we are currently living in. The very last days of this present age, when many believers will become unbelievers. Those who once had faith in our Precious LORD and SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST, will stop believing in HIM, and stop obeying HIS WORD, because they have abandoned Truth. They have abandoned GOD (Psa 31:5, Isa 65:16, Tit 1:2, Heb 6:18); abandoned JESUS (Jhn 14:6); abandoned the Holy SPIRIT of GOD (Jhn 14:16-17, Jhn 16:13); and abandoned The BIBLE (Psa 119:43, Dan 10:21, 2 Tim 2:15).
As demonstrated by the opening graphic, people are not just refusing to carry their cross daily (Luk 9:23-25), they are throwing that cross away, by continuing to live sinful lives, and abandonment of the Truth, that cross represents (Heb 10:26-31).
The English word “apostasy”, is transliterated from the Hebrew word “Jer 8:5 “showb­baah” (OT:7725) and the Greek word “apostasia” (NT:646) and it is further defined as:
1. falling away, forsaking:
    falling away: to depart from, or go astray from Biblical doctrines (1 Tim 4:1, 1 Tim 6:21, Heb  3:12, Jam 5:19-20) 
    forsaking: to reject or leave the Truth (2 Tim 4:3-4, Gal 1:6-9)
2. turning away, backsliding, defecting, revolting:
     turning away from GOD (Jer 8:5, Eze 18:24, Heb 12:25)
     backsliding: to return to a life or lifestyle without GOD (Jer 11:10, 2 Pet 2:20-22)
    defecting: to abandon your faith in GOD, JESUS CHRIST, The Holy SPIRIT, and The WORD (Luk 18:8, Jhn 6:66, Heb 6:4-6, 2 Ths 2:10-12)
     revolting: to refuse to obey (Luk 6:46-49, Jam 1:22-24, Jam 2:14-20)

How does the opening Scriptures, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5 relate to “the apostasy”? The Church in Thessalonica knew there would be great suffering in the Day of The LORD (Isa 13:6-16), they were suffering persecution and affliction (2 Ths 1:4), and had been falsely led to believe that JESUS had returned, and they had missed the gathering together to HIM (2 Ths 2:1-2). As a result, they thought they were experiencing the judgments of GOD, poured out in the Day of The LORD (2 Ths 2:2). Some in the Church had even quit working because of this message (2 Ths 3:6-12). The LORD used HIS servant Paul to calm their fears, correct their misunderstanding, and command those who had quit working, to return to leading a disciplined life. Paul assured the Thessalonians that two significant events would occur before our SAVIOR’s return; first “the apostasy”, which prepares the way for the second event, in which the extremely wicked world leader (the antichrist or man of sin) would rise to power.
This is confirmed by examination of the opening Scriptures, one line at a time:

Now we request you, brethren
we ask you, fellow obedient believers, faithful Christians (Mrk 3:33-35)

With regard, to the coming of our LORD JESUS CHRIST
regarding our LORD JESUS CHRIST’s second coming (Act 1:11, Heb 9:28)

And our gathering together to HIM
our rapture or being caught up to HIM (1 Ths 4:16-17, Mat 24:30-31)

That you not be quickly shaken from your composure
Do not be alarmed (Isa 41:10)

Or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us
do not be distressed, believing the report by a spiritual vision, a revelation,
or a letter supposedly from us (Mat 24:26-27, Rev 1:7)

To the effect that the Day of The LORD has come
the last day of the present heavens and earth, when CHRIST executes judgment upon the world,
and all the ungodly has begun (Jhn 5:27, 2 Pet 3:10, Jud 1:14-15, Rev 20:10-15)

Let no one in any way deceive you
do not let anyone, or anything, in anyway, cause you to believe what is not true
(Isa 42:9, Mat 24:25, Jhn 16:1)

For it will not come unless the apostasy comes first
the second coming of JESUS CHRIST will not occur before “the great falling away”
(Mat 24:10, 1 Tim 4:1 )

And the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction
the man of sin, the little horn, the abomination of desolation, the antichrist, the beast
(1 Jhn 3:4-sin is lawlessness, Dan 7:8, Mrk 13:14, 1 Jhn 2:18, 1 Jhn 2:22, Rev 13:3)

who will cause much destruction, and be destroyed himself
(Dan 9:26-28, 2 Ths 2:8-9, Rev 19:19-20)

Who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship
the antichrist will declare only he is God, and will be against GOD; anything called god;
or any object of worship (Dan 11:36-37, Rev 13:5-6)

So that he takes his seat in the temple of GOD, displaying himself as being GOD
the antichrist will enter the temple in Judea, and proclaim that he is GOD
(Mat 24:15, Dan 11:31, Mrk 13:14)

Why is “the apostasy” also called “the great falling away”? Because numerous or a significant numbers of believers will abandon the Truth. As previously mentioned, not just believers in a local Church, or local communities, but entire denominations, both nationally and globally. This falling away will culminate with the rise of the final, extremely wicked, world dictator, the antichrist, the man. At this time, all the world’s religions will join together against the Truth, for the sake of a false peace and prosperity. And the faithful followers of JESUS CHRIST who persist in keeping GOD’s commandments, and faith in JESUS, will be severely persecuted, and killed (Dan 7:21-22, Dan 11:32-35, Rev 13:7, Rev 13:15, Rev 14:12).

When will “the apostasy” begin? It actually has already begun, and is nearing its culmination. At the first coming of our Precious LORD JESUS, the last days begin (Heb 1:2, Heb 9:26, 1 Pet 1:20). Even before HE laid down HIS life on the cross, many of HIS disciples walked away from HIM. They rejected HIM, when they rejected HIS spiritual teachings concerning drinking HIS blood and eating HIS flesh (Jhn 6:1-66)*. And in every generation since the departure of our Precious LORD JESUS more than 2000 years ago, countless more individuals have fallen away from The Truth. And in the last 300 years, people no longer leave church to forsake the Truth, they either continue in or join a church that support their beliefs. Whole congregations, entire denominations have forsaken the Truth by:
  o introducing and teaching pagan beliefs (beliefs of those who do not know the only True GOD, and delights in material goods and sensual pleasures). Pagan beliefs like:
  o indulgence in material possessions and worldly delights, through “the gospel of health-wealth-prosperity” or “the gospel of success aka seed of faith” – 2 Pet 2:14-16
  o acceptance of immorality and those who practice it. The general assembly of the Presbyterian Church has adopted the following changes over the last two decades: 2000, will only use gender neutral language for God, and all mankind; 2011, approved ordination of openly LGBTQ ministers; 2014, approved conducting same-sex marriage ceremonies where allowed by state law; 2018, has welcomed, given full acceptance, and inclusion of those who choose to practice gender non-binary, and LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, + or a plethora of other orientations and identities) individuals – Rev 2:12-16
  o Hundreds of christian denominations worldwide no longer consider the identity as LGBTQIA+, or the associated practice sin. Denominations which have designated “welcoming churches” include, Anglican, Baptist, Brethren/Mennonite, Catholic, Church of Denmark, Church of England, Church of Iceland, Church of Ireland, Church of Norway, Church of Scotland, Church of Sweden, Church in Wales, Dutch Reformed, Episcopal, Evangelical, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, United Reformed Church…
  o Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury of the church of England (the man who married Prince Harry and Meghan Markle), in Nov 2018 declared “God was neither male nor female.” – (1 Sam 2:30, Mrk 14:35-36, Gal 4:4-6)
  o introducing pagan practices into the church, by translation and participation. Practices such as Halloween, which was changed from the festival of Samhain, and translated to a fall festival, harvest festival, or trunk and treat; Christmas changed from Saturnalia, and translated to the birth of Christ; Easter changed from Eastre (a.k.a. Eostre), and translated to the resurrection of Christ – 1 Kin 12:26-33
  o teaching the traditions of men (the handing down man-made customs or beliefs from one generation to another), instead of The WORD of GOD. For example, “giving to the Church, is more important than taking care of your own household” and yet our Beloved LORD GOD specifically addressed this in HIS WORD (Mat 15:1-9, 1 Tim 5:8), as HE warned us not to be trapped by the traditions of men (Col 2:8)
  o altering the texts of The BIBLE to reflect their own beliefs (In 1950, the Jehovah’s witness created the New World Translation; In 1989, the Revised Standard Version (RSV) was updated to New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), by adopting gender-neutral language; In December 2019, the Chinese communist party instructed that The BIBLE and other religious texts to be rewritten in an expressly pro-communist perspective that conforms with the party’s goals – 2 Pet 1:20-21, Deu 4:2, Pro 30:5-6, Rev 22:18-19)

What causes a believer to become an unbeliever? Lack of spiritual understanding, or insight (Mat 13:19, Jhn 6:60-66); lack of reverence (awe, admiration, respect) for GOD (Rom 1:20-32); love of self (2 Tim 3:2, Php 2:21); love of sin (2 Tim 3:4, Php 3:18-19); refusal of GOD’s correction (Isa 30:9-11, 1 Ths 5:19-20, Heb 12:25).

Are there other things that cause Christians to apostatize? Yes, there are three, noted by our Precious LORD JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF in Matthew 24:9-12:
    1. Persecution and Affliction (Mat 24:9-10, Mat 13:20-21)
    2. Deception (Mat 24:11, Mat 13:22, Mat 7:15-16, 1 Tim 4:1)
    3. Temptation (Mat 24:12, 1 Jhn 2:15-17, 2 Tim 4:9-10)

What happens to those who Apostatize? If they refuse to repent, or turn back to The LORD from their sins, their name will be blotted out of The Lamb’s Book of Life (Exd 32:33, Rev 3:5); they will experience the second death (Eze 18:24, Rev 20:15)

Is There Hope for those who Apostatize? Most definitely, because our Beloved ABBA FATHER is a GOD of forgiveness (Neh 9:17-21); HE does not want anyone to perish (Eze 18:32, 2 Pet 3:9); HE makes a way for reconciliation (2 Sam 14:14, 1 Jhn 1:9); HE can heal their apostasy (Hos 14:4). But each person must choose to humble themselves, and turn back to GOD (2 Chr 7:14).

Justice is turned back, And righteousness stands far away
For truth has stumbled in the street, And uprightness cannot enter
Yes, truth is lacking
And he who turns aside from evil, makes himself a prey
Now The LORD saw
And it was displeasing in HIS sight that there was no justice
And HE saw that there was no man
And was astonished that there was no one to intercede
Then HIS own arm brought salvation to HIM
And HIS righteousness upheld HIM
HE put on righteousness like a breastplate
And a helmet of salvation on HIS head
And HE put on garments of vengeance for clothing
And wrapped HIMSELF with zeal as a mantle
According to their deeds, so HE will repay
Wrath to HIS adversaries, recompense to HIS enemies
To the coastlands HE will make recompense
So they will fear the name of The LORD from the west
And HIS glory from the rising of the sun
For HE will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of The LORD drives
A Redeemer will come to Zion
And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob
Declares The LORD
Isaiah 59:14-20

 

*JESUS was speaking spiritually (Jhn 6:63); to drink HIS blood was to accept by faith, HIS sacrifice, which enacted a new covenant (Luk 22:19-20, Heb 3:1, Heb 8:1-13); to eat HIS flesh is to partake (study) The WORD of GOD (Jhn 1:1, Jhn 6:30-36, Ezr 7:10, Amo 8:11) on a daily basis (Deu 17:18-20, Pro 8:34, Act 17:11).

 

Choices Conditions Consequences

Choices Conditions ConsequencesAll these blessings will come upon you and overtake you
If you obey The LORD your GOD
Deuteronomy 28:2

But it shall come about, if you do not obey The LORD your GOD
To observe to do all HIS commandments and HIS statutes
With which I charge you today
That all these curses will come upon you and overtake you
Deuteronomy 28:15

A choice is the act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more options. Our Beloved LORD GOD from the very beginning has given each person, the ability to freely make choices.

Throughout a person’s lifetime, they will make choices all through the day. They will decide what time to get up in the morning; what time to go to bed at night; what to eat; what to wear; how to schedule their day. And from time to time, they will decide whether or not to go to school; look for a new job; accept a transfer; buy or sell a house; make an investment; pursue friendship or marriage. But their most important choices, will be the spiritual choices. The choices to accept or reject GOD’s salvation (Jhn 3:16, Jhn 12:44-50); to seek to know HIM daily (1 Chr 16:11, Pro 8:34-36); to choose to listen, trust, and obey (Pro 8:32-33, Luk 6:46-49, Luk 8:21). These spiritual choices, will not only affect the quality of one’s temporal life (life while on earth), but will also determine where one will spend eternal life. Therefore, choose carefully, and wisely.

How does one choose wisely? One chooses wisely, when their choice is made from godly wisdom (Psa 111:10). They seek GOD’s counsel then wait patiently for HIS answer, guidance, or instruction on the matter (Jam 1:5). One who chooses wisely, is one who honors GOD. One who chooses foolishly, will make a choice based on worldly wisdom (Jam 3:15). They will not seek GOD’s counsel, because they do not believe in HIM (Psa 14:1). Instead, they trust in their own understanding (Pro 16:25), doing what is right in their own eyes (Pro 12:15). One who chooses foolishly, is one who honors self. Choosing wisely, leads to positive outcomes (blessings). Choosing foolishly, leads to negative outcomes (curses).

The choices one makes in life, determines whether their life is blessed or cursed. Which makes blessings and curses  conditional.  You might be thinking, “that’s not true” but from The BIBLE,  we can provide evidence that it is. But before we do, let us take a moment to define what are blessings and curses.

The definition of a blessing or a curse is dependent on who’s doing the blessing or the cursing:

If the blessing is from:

  • GOD, it means the state of prosperity or happiness (Psa 119:1, Mat 5:3-11), because of GOD’s favor and protection (Gen 12:1-3, Mat 25:34)
  • Man to GOD, it is an expression of praise and adoration (Psa 103:1-5)
  • Man to man, it is the pronouncement of GOD’s blessing on men for the present (Num 6:22-27), and the future (Gen 27:1-38)

If the curse is from:

  • GOD, it is a pronouncement of judgment on those who break covenant (Gen 3:17); to invoke harm, or misfortune upon (Pro 3:33); to devote to destruction (Mat 25:41, Mrk 11:12-14↔Mrk 11:20-21)
  • Man to GOD, it is to blaspheme (Job 1:11, Rev 16:9, Rev 16:11, Rev 16:21)
  • Man to man, it is to verbally abuse (Gen 12:3); to criticize in an insulting manner (2 Sam 16:5-8); to devote to destruction (Mrk 14:71, Rom 12:14)

What is the biblical evidence that blessings and curses are conditional? When something is conditional, it means that an outcome is dependent on one or more conditions, or requirements being met. The conditions for blessings and curses is seen throughout The BIBLE. Some reflect “if then” others simply start with “if” as demonstrated by the following:

  • if we believe, GOD saves (Jhn 3:16)
  • if we obey, GOD blesses (Deu 28:1-2)
  • if we endure, GOD rewards (Mat 24:13)
  • if we trust, GOD directs (Pro 3:5-6)
  • if we wait, GOD strengthens (Isa 40:31)
  • if we commit, GOD establishes (Pro 16:3)
  • if we delight, GOD gives (Psa 37:4)
  • if we reject, GOD judges (Jhn 12:48)
  • if we disobey, GOD curses (Deu 28:15)
  • if we do not forgive others, GOD will not forgive us (Mat 6:15)

Then Christians can be cursed? No, not when they are true followers of CHRIST. JESUS redeemed those who would fully trust  and obey (follow) HIM from the curse (Gal 3:10-14).

Then why do Christians suffer? It is important not to confuse being cursed with being persecuted, purified, or disciplined (2 Tim 3:12, Dan 12:10, Zec 13:9, Heb 12:7-11). Every faithful child of GOD through JESUS CHRIST will go through three levels of suffering:

  1. we will suffer for JESUS CHRIST’s Namesake, because we are in this world not of this world. Therefore the world hates us, and will persecute us, just as they persecuted our Beloved SAVIOR (Jhn 15:18-25).
  2. we will suffer when going through the process of being made righteous, and blameless (Jam 1:2). We must daily pick up our own cross by denying self and walk-in obedience (Luk 9:23-25).
  3. we can suffer the temporal consequences of sin. Though our sins are forgiven (1 Pet 1:18-19), and we will not face the eternal consequence of sin (Rom 6:23), there can still be temporal suffering as a consequence of those sins.

What is an example of a Christian suffering consequences in this life, for sins that have been forgiven? For example, our physical bodies are dying, as a consequence of Adam’s sin (1 Cor 15:22). Women undergo painful childbirth, as the consequence of Eve’s sin (Gen 3:16). With difficulty we earn a living, as the consequence of Adam’s sin (Gen 3:17-19). Many have diseased bodies, and broken lives, as the consequence of immoral living (Rom 1:24-32). Sadly, there are those who continually surrendered to temptation, turned away from GOD, and did not confess or seek forgiveness of ongoing sins (Eze 18:21-26); and in the end succumbed to both physical, and spiritual death (Jam 1:13-15, Rev 21:8)

Is there a specific example in The BIBLE of an individual being forgiven for sin, and yet suffer the temporal consequences of that sin? Yes, we will actually discuss three, king David, the criminal on the cross next to JESUS, and the apostle Paul:

  1. king David fully obeyed our Beloved LORD GOD, with the exception of Uriah the Hittite (1 Kin 15:5), where he:
  • saw the wife of Uriah the Hittite (2 Sam 11:1-2), one of his closest fighting men (1 Chr 11:10-47)
  • inquired about her (2 Sam 11:3)
  • committed adultery with her (2 Sam 11:4)
  • impregnated her (2 Sam 11:5)
  • brought Uriah from the battlefield, to try and cover up his sin (2 Sam 11:6-13)
  • but Uriah was honorable, and chose not to be with his wife, while the ark and fighting men of Israel were on the battlefield; therefore king David sent Uriah back to battlefield, unknowingly carrying his own execution order in his hand (2 Sam 11:14-27)
  • did not acknowledge or confess these sins before GOD until, GOD sent HIS prophet Nathan (2 Sam 12:1-12, Psa 51:1-19)
  • was forgiven (2 Sam 11:13, Psa 32:1-11)
  • suffered the consequences of his sins, in the matter of Uriah the Hittite:
  • killing and murder would continually plague David’s family (2 Sam 12:9-10, 2 Sam 13:1-39, 1 Kin chptrs 1-2)
  • his enemies would be from his own family (2 Sam 12:11, 2 Sam chptrs 15-17)
  • his own wives would be publicly violated (2 Sam 12:12, 2 Sam 16:21-22)
  1. the criminal on the cross next to JESUS:
  • was a robber (Luk 23:42-43)
  • was forgiven (Luk 23:42-43)
  • suffered the consequences of his sins, was still crucified (Luk 23:39-41, Jhn 19:31-32) 
  1. the apostle Paul:
  • was among those who stoned Stephen, the first martyr for JESUS (Act 7:51-60)
  • persecuted the body of CHRIST (Act 8:1-3, Act 22:4-5, Php 3:6)
  • was a violent aggressor and blasphemer (1 Tim 1:12-13, Act 26:9-11)
  • was forgiven (Act 22:6-16, 1 Cor 15:8-11)
  • suffered the consequences of his sins:
  • he would suffer for CHRIST’s namesake, just as he made CHRIST’s followers suffer (Act 9:10-25, 2 Cor 4:8-11, 2 Cor 11:23-33)
  • he would be imprisoned and die, just as he had imprisoned and killed the saints (Act 16:16-30, Act 21:10-14, Act 23:12-35, 2 Tim 4:6-8)

We all want blessings in life, but we must wait patiently and meet GOD’s conditions for them. We should always seek GOD’s counsel and guidance in making choices? And never rely on self, or our own perspective when making choices?

Who is the man who fears The LORD?
HE will instruct him in the way
he should choose
Psalm 25:12

“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse
The blessing, if you listen to the commandments of The LORD your GOD, which I am commanding you today
And the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of The LORD your GOD
But turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today
By following other gods which you have not known
Deuteronomy 11:26-28

For he who does wrong
Will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done
And that without partiality
Colossians 3:24

In Conclusion (2 Kings Chapters 24-25)

A Study in 2 Kings“Behold, the days are coming,” declares The LORD
When I will raise up for David a righteous BRANCH
And HE will reign as king and act wisely
And do justice and righteousness in the land.
In HIS days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell securely
And this is HIS NAME by which HE will be called
‘The LORD our Righteousness.’
Jeremiah 23:5-6

In the study of the last two chapters of 2 Kings (chapters 24 and 25), and the last chapter of 2 Chronicles (2 Chr 36) we will both learn lessons from and witness:

  1. righteous king Josiah’s three sons and one grandson briefly reign in Judah (2 Chr 36:1-12)
  2. the fulfillment of GOD’s WORD concerning:
    1. HIS deliverance of Judah’s remnant into the hands of their enemies
    2. removing Judah from HIS land; sending then into Babylonian exile; including some of king Hezekiah’s sons who would serve in Nebuchadnezzar’s palace
    3. treasures taken from the king’s house into Babylon
    4. securing the holy things and treasuries from the temple of our Beloved LORD GOD
    5. the destruction of Jerusalem and HIS temple
  3. good figs and bad figs
  4. Jeremiah the prophet (2 Chr 36:11-12)
  5. the puppet governor Gedaliah (2 Kin 25:22-25)
  6. Cyrus king of Persia and his proclamation (2 Chr 36:22-23)            

King Josiah’s sons and grandson:

The last four kings to reign in Judah and Jerusalem before the Babylonian exile, were three sons and a grandson of king Josiah (1 Chr 3:15-16). None of them practiced righteousness, as their father and grandfather king Josiah had. Instead they did the same evil in the sight of our Beloved LORD GOD, as other kings before them. And as a result all four were removed from the throne and taken into exile:

  1. king Josiah’s youngest son Shallum (aka Jehoahaz):
    1. was put on the throne by people of Judah and Jerusalem after his father died (2 Kin 23:30)
    2. after three months the king of Egypt, Pharaoh Neco, forcibly removed him from power and imprisoned him in Egypt, where he died (2 Kin 23:31-34, 2 Chr 36:1-4, Jer 22:10-12)
  2. king Josiah’s second born son Eliakim (aka Jehoiakim):
    1. was made king by Pharaoh Neco in place of his youngest brother Jehoahaz (2 Kin 23:34, 2 Chr 36:4)
    2. Pharaoh Neco changed his name to Jehoiakim, and made him a puppet king (a figurehead who is installed by a powerful ruler of an empire in order to provide the appearance of local authority, while allowing political and economic control to remain among the empire). Pharaoh Neco ruled over king Jehoiakim for eleven years, and made him pay tribute as leader of a conquered nation (2 Kin 23:35-36)
    3. in king Jehoiakim’s last three years of reign, king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon conquered Pharaoh Neco, and took all that belonged to him (2 Kin 24:7, Jer 46:2). Jehoiakim then became a puppet king for king Nebuchadnezzar paying tribute to him (2 Kin 24:1, Dan 1:1).
    4. after serving king Nebuchadnezzar for three years, king Jehoiakim decided to rebel against him (2 Kin 24:1); so king Nebuchadnezzar came to Jerusalem surrounded it with his Babylonian army (Dan 1:1), forced king Jehoiakim to surrender, bound him with bronze chains and took him to Babylon (2 Chr 36:6)
    5. king Jehoiakim was unlike his righteous father king Josiah, who through tears humbled himself and repented before our Beloved LORD GOD, when he heard The WORD of GOD. Instead, he despised The WORDs of GOD given through Jeremiah. King Jehoiakim would cut each page and throw it into the fire, once the page was read to him (Jer 36:1-28). As a result, GOD declared his body would not be buried at death, and none of his sons would permanently sit on the throne after him (Jer 22:17-19, Jer 36:29-31)
  3. king Josiah’s grandson, king Jehoiakim’s son Jehoiachin (aka Jeconiah, Coniah):
    1. became king when his father king Jehoiakim died; he reigned only three months and ten days when king Nebuchadnezzar returned to Jerusalem for a second invasion of the city. It was at this second invasion king Jehoiachin, his mother, his wives, his officials, the leading men of Judah and Jerusalem, men of valor, craftsmen and smiths, and men fit for war, were led away into Babylonian exile; eighteen thousand souls (2 Kin 24:8-16)
    2. king Jehoiachin was imprisoned for almost thirty-seven years in Babylon, but at the very end of the thirty-seventh years, he was released from prison. Jehoiachin was treated well by king Nebuchadnezzar’s son (Evil-merodach), who now reigned in Babylon, however king Jehoiachin would die in exile, never seeing his homeland again (2 Kin 25:27-30, Jer 22:24-27).
  4. king Josiah’s third born son Mattaniah (aka Zedekiah):
    1. Zedekiah was made king by king Nebuchadnezzar when his nephew was taken into Babylonian exile (2 Kin 24:17, 2 Chr 36:10)
    2. king Zedekiah served and paid tribute to king Nebuchadnezzar until he rebelled against him in his ninth year (2 Chr 36:11-13); causing king Nebuchadnezzar and his army to return to Jerusalem for the third and final invasion (2 Kin 25:1-7, 2 Chr 36:11-21, Jer 39:1-2).
    3. king Zedekiah sought the counsel of The LORD from Jeremiah, but he did not heed the counsel given (Jer 37:1-21, Jer 38:1-28). Consequently, he suffered the consequences. He tried to flee and was captured (Jer 52:7-9), his sons were put to death in front of him (Jer 52:10), he was blinded, and taken into Babylonian exile in bronze chains (Jer 52:11), all the homes in Jerusalem, including the temple were set on fire and all the walls around the holy city were torn down (Jer 52:12-14)

Reflecting on king Josiah, and his three sons and grandson, who sat on the throne after him; we must carefully consider how we as parents are raising our children. Do we train our children in the way they should live godly lives (Pro 22:6), by being an example (Deu 4:9). Do we daily and diligently teaching them The WORD of GOD (Deu 6:7, 2 Tim 3:14-15), while sharing our personal testimonies of HIS goodness, faithfulness, and power (Psa 78:3-8)? May our Beloved LORD GOD say of us, what HE said of HIS friend Abraham in Genesis 18:19 “For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of The LORD by doing righteousness and justice.”

The fulfilment of GOD’s WORD

Like Israel, our Beloved LORD GOD sent HIS prophets to Judah, over and over, calling for repentance (2 Kin 17:13-14, Jer 7:25). But the people of Judah, like the people of Israel refused to turn from their evil ways, and refused to believe GOD’s warnings (2 Chr 36:15-16, Jer 7:26-28). So, in the final two chapters of 2 Kings (chptrs 24-25), we witness the fulfilment of GOD’s WORD to:

  1. deliver the remnant of Judah into the hands of their enemies (2 Kin 21:14, 2 Kin 24:2, Psa 106:42)
  2. remove Judah from HIS land (2 Kin 23:27), send them into Babylonian exile (2 Kin 20:16-18, 2 Kin 24:3-4, Jer 39:1-9), including some of king Hezekiah’s sons who would serve in Nebuchadnezzar’s palace (2 Kin 20:18, Dan 1:1-7)
  3. take treasures from the king’s house into Babylon (2 Kin 20:17, 2 Kin 24:13, Isa 39:6)
  4. secure the holy things and treasuries from HIS temple (Jer 27:18-22).
  5. destroy Jerusalem and HIS temple (2 Kin 23:26-27, 2 Kin 25:8-10, 2 Chr 36:19)

It’s important to point out three things about our wonderful LORD GOD, concerning Judah’s exile to Babylon, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the destruction of the temple. Indeed GOD’s WORD was fulfilled concerning these matters, but it was not the end of the story. First, our Beloved LORD GOD is merciful (Psa 145:8-9), a GOD of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18-19). From the very beginning when man fell in the garden, our merciful GOD through HIS plan of redemption (Gen 3:15), made a way for the banished one to be restored (2 Sam 14:14). As demonstrated, by HIS promise to restore the exiled descendants of Abraham back to the promise land (Jer 30:1-3). Second, our Beloved LORD GOD is faithful (Deu 7:9), HE promised king David would always have a lamp through his sons before HIMSELF in Jerusalem, the city where HE chose to put HIS NAME (1 Kings 11:36, 2 Kings 8:19). Therefore, the nation of Judah would only be in Babylonian exile for seventy years (Jer 29:10-14), both Jerusalem and HIS temple would be rebuilt (Isa 44:28), and king David’s descendant would reign on his throne forever (Luk 1:31-33). Third, our Beloved LORD GOD preserved the treasures of HIS temple for the time when Jerusalem and HIS temple would be rebuilt. King Nebuchadnezzar invaded Jerusalem three times, and each time the treasures from the temple and palace were safely carried into Babylon (2 Kin 24:13, 2 Kin 25:13-17, 2 Chr 36:5-7, 2 Chr 36:9-10), and stored until our Beloved LORD GOD would return them with the exiles (Ezr 5:13-15, Ezr 1:1-11).

 Good figs and Bad figs

After king Josiah’s grandson was taken into Babylonian captivity, our Beloved LORD GOD showed HIS prophet Jeremiah, a vision in which there were two baskets of figs set before the temple of The LORD. One basket had very good figs, and the second basket had very bad figs, that were so rotten, they couldn’t be eaten.

Our LORD told Jeremiah the good figs were the captives of Judah, HE would send into Babylon, the land of the Chaldeans. Our Beloved LORD GOD would give these captives a heart to know HIM and return to HIM whole-heartedly. HE would watch over them in their exile, and bring them back to the promise land (Jer 24:4-7) at the end of seventy years (Jer 29:10). Among the good figs were members of the royal family, including Hezekiah’s descendants (2 Chr 36:20, Isa 39:7, Dan 1:3-5); Daniel the prophet (Dan 1:6-7, Mat 24:15); the three Hebrew boys, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah (Dan 1:6-7)… The bad figs who refused to voluntarily go into Babylonian exile were king Zedekiah, his officials, the remnant of Jerusalem who remained in the land, and those who went into Egypt for Pharaoh’s protection (Jer 24:8-10, 2 Kin 25:26, Jer 42:1-22).

The lesson of the good figs and bad figs is such a clear example of what happens when we trust in ourselves instead of trusting in The LORD GOD (Pro 3:5-7). Indeed through many examples in HIS WORD, we have seen time and time again that our Beloved LORD GOD does not do things the way we do things. HE told Joseph “one day he would rule over his family.” Instead of progressing as the leader of his family, Joseph was thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, and put into prison. All which positioned him to be ruler in Egypt and protector of life (Gen 37:1-36, Gen chapters 39-50, Psa 105:17-24). Our GOD did not use weapons to conquer Jericho, instead trumpets sounded, fighting men marched for seven days, a war cry went up, and the fortified walls of Jericho fell (Jos 6:1-27). HE sent Gideon and three hundred men successfully into battle against an army so numerous they could not be counted, with only pitchers and torches in their hands (Judges chapters 6-8). And in this lesson, HE sends those HE considers good into captivity; away from all they know. What we consider a setback in the natural, is really a promotion in the spiritual. Which should teach us to continually trust HIM at all times (Psa 62:8), and seek HIS counsel in all circumstances (Psa 32:8, Psa 48:14).  

Jeremiah the prophet

Jeremiah was a young man called and anointed by GOD as a prophet (Jer 1:4-5). Jeremiah’s call came in the 13th year of righteous king Josiah’s reign, and lasted until the fifth month of Jerusalem’s Babylonian exile (Jer 1:1-3).

Our Beloved LORD GOD used Jeremiah to speak to the nation of Judah, Jerusalem, and the kings of Judah during the final twenty-two years before exile. After the fall of Judah and Jerusalem, our GOD continued to use Jeremiah to speak to the nation in captivity (Jer 29:1-14), the remnant left in the land (Jer 42:1-22), and the enemies of Judah and Jerusalem (Jer chapters 46-51). And that is the reason, this final study in 2 Kings (chapters 24 and 25), contain many Scripture references from The Book of Jeremiah, which provide great details of information.

Today, our Beloved LORD GOD uses The Book of Jeremiah, to still speak to us. HE forewarns us, as HE did Judah and Jerusalem, to listen, obey and serve HIM only. If we refuse to listen; refuse to repent of idolatry and willful sin in our lives; we too will suffer the penalty for sin (Rom 2:8, Eph 5:1-8, Col 3:5-6).

 The puppet governor Gedaliah

Gedaliah a Jew, was the son of Ahikam, and grandson Shaphan (Jer 43:6). Gedaliah’s father Ahikam, was among the men that king Josiah sent to inquire of inquire of The LORD for him concerning the words in The Book of The Law; which was found during the repair and restoration of the temple (Kin 22:13). King Nebuchadnezzar replaced king Zedekiah of Judah with Gedaliah to govern the cities of Judah for him (2 Kin 25:22, Jer 40:5).

All the Jews remaining in the land, and all those who had been scattered during king Nebuchadnezzar’s invasions heard Gedaliah, one of their own had been appointed governor. So the Jews went and sought refuge with Gedaliah (Jer 40:6-8, Jer 40:11-12). Gedaliah assured them, they did not need to be afraid of serving the Chaldeans/Babylonians (Jer 40:9). However, seven months after Gedaliah was appointed governor; Ishmael who belonged to the royal family of David, killed Gedaliah. Causing all the Jews to flee to Egypt out of fear (2 Kin 25:25-26, Jer 41:1-18).

It is critical in both our physical and spiritual life to always inquire of GOD, rather than trust in ourselves. In Proverbs 14:12, our Beloved LORD GOD tells us “there is a way which seems right to a man, but its end, is the way of death.” Gedaliah was warned that Ishmael had been sent by the king of Ammon to take his life, but he did not listen to the warning, and he did not inquire of GOD, so he was killed (Jer 40:13-16, Isa 41:1-2). Sadly Gedaliah, and eighty Jewish men, were murdered by Ishmael and his men (Jer 41:4-7).    

Cyrus king of Persia and his proclamation                                               

Our Beloved LORD GOD spoke through the mouth of HIS prophet Isaiah that Cyrus king of Persia, would rebuild Jerusalem, and lay the foundations of HIS temple (Isa 44:28, Isa 45:1-4). This prophecy was fulfilled more than 150 years later.

Cyrus had reigned over Persia and several other conquered nations for twenty-one years, when he captured Babylon from Darius the Mede (Dan 5:22-31). In his first year of reign over Babylon, The WORD of our GOD was fulfilled (2 Chr 36:22-23, Ezr 1:1). King Cyrus both issued a written decree, and sent out a proclamation throughout all of his kingdom, stating that any Jewish person in his kingdom who wanted to return to Judah, and assist in rebuilding GOD’s temple in Jerusalem, could go (Ezr 1:3). Additionally king Cyrus, called for neighbors of any returning Jew to support them with donations of gold, silver, goods, cattle, and freewill offerings (Ezr 1:4-6); and appointed a governor named Sheshbazzar, to return the gold and silver utensils to the temple in Jerusalem (Ezr 1:7-11, Ezr 5:13-17).    

Throughout the 2 Kings study, we have seen GOD’s WORD faithfully fulfilled. And in this study, though Cyrus did not know GOD, our GOD knew him (Isa 45:4-5) and called him by name (Isa 44:28, Isa 45:1), to carry out HIS purpose to rebuild Jerusalem, lay the foundation of the temple, and let the exiles go free (Isa 45:13). Just as our Beloved LORD GOD knew and loved us, before we knew HIM (Rom 5:8, Col 1:21-22). And we to have been called for a purpose (Rom 8:28).

When your days are complete, and you lie down with your fathers
I will raise up your descendant after you
WHO will come forth from you
And I will establish HIS Kingdom
HE shall build a house for MY NAME
And I will establish the throne of HIS Kingdom forever.
2 Samuel 7:12-13

Called By Name (2 Kings Chapters 22-23)

A Study in 2 KingsNow behold
There came a man of GOD from Judah to Bethel
By The WORD of The LORD
While Jeroboam was standing by the altar to burn incense
He cried against the altar by The WORD of The LORD
And said, “O altar, altar, thus says The LORD
Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David
Josiah by name
And on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places
Who burn incense on you
And human bones shall be burned on you.'”
1 Kings 13:1-2

In the study of 2 Kings chapters 22 and 23, we witness our GOD of Truth (Psa 31:5, Isa 65:16), WHO is literally our GOD of Faithfulness (Deu 32:4, Psa 119:90), continue to demonstrate HIS WORD is true. As reflected in the foundational Scriptures (1 Kin 13:1-2), our Beloved LORD GOD called Josiah by name, more than 300 years before he would be born, and stated a specific deed of devotion he would perform (2 Chr 35:26-27). Throughout this study, our GOD will allow us to attest the truthfulness of HIS WORD, through the life of Josiah.

The Prophecy

Our Beloved LORD GOD sent an unnamed prophet from Judah to Bethel speak HIS WORD against an abominable altar set up by the first king of the newly divided northern kingdom of Israel. King Jeroboam did not trust in GOD to keep his promises, so he trusted in himself (1 Kin 12:26-32). As king Jeroboam was offering incense at this abominable altar, the prophet came and cried out against the altar by The WORD of The LORD:

O altar, altar, thus says The LORD
Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David
Josiah by name
And on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places
Who burn incense on you
And human bones shall be burned on you

As previously stated, this prophecy was pronounced, more than three hundred years before Josiah was born. Our Beloved LORD GOD called him by name, announced what family he would be born into, and declared the actions he would carry out against the pagan altar at Bethel and the false priests who were serving there (1 Kin 13:1-2).

Has such a specific prophecy occurred before? Yes, numerous times before, and countless times after, even up to this present day. In fact numerous detailed prophecies were spoken about our Precious LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST before HIS birth (Gen 3:15, Deu 18:15-19, 2 Sam 7:12-13, Isa 9:6-7, Mat 1:18-21, Luk 1:26-33, Luk 24:44-48). Additionally, before the birth of any of the following men, our Beloved LORD GOD also called them by name, and declared their future: The two sons of Abraham, Ishmael (Gen 16:11-16), and Isaac (Gen 17:15-22, Gen 18:9-15). Cyrus, the king of Persia (Isa 44:28, Isa 45:1-7, 2 Chr 36:22-23, Jer 29:10-14), and John the Baptist (Luk 1:13, Luk 1:59-63).

Did GOD know such specific things about us, before we were born? Of course! HE is GOD (Deu 4:35, Isa 45:5), HE is our Creator (Isa 40:28, Isa 44:24), HE knows the end of things, before one thing has occurred (Isa 44:6-7, Isa 46:9-10). As such, before we were formed in our mother’s womb, HE knew us (Jer 1:5), HE knew where we would live (Act 17:26), HE knows the length of our life (Psa 139:16, Job 14:5), and HE knows the purpose we have been born for (Pro 16:4, Act 13:36, Rom 8:28).

 The Prophecy Begins Fulfillment               

When Josiah, a direct descendant of king David of Judah was born, the prophecy begin its fulfillment:

  • At eight years old, Josiah began his reign over Judah (2 Kin 22:1-2)
  • In the eighth year of his reign (sixteen years old), he began to seek to know GOD for himself (2 Chr 34:3)
  • In the twelfth year of his reign (twenty years old), he began to purge Judah, Jerusalem, and the house of the LORD GOD of idolatry (2 Chr 34:3-7)
  • By the eighteenth year of his reign (twenty-six years old), the purge of the land and the temple was completed; he then sent orders for the house of the LORD GOD to be restored and repaired (2 Chr 34:8-13, 2 Kin 22:3-7)
  • during restoration and repair of the temple, Hilkiah the high priest finds The Book of The Law given by Moses (2 Chr 34:14-17), Shaphan the scribe brings it to king Josiah and reads it in his presence (2 Kin 22:10, 2 Chr 34:18)

The Prophecy is Fulfilled

  • When king Josiah hears the words of The Book of The Law, he tore his clothes and wept (2 Kin 22:11, 2 Chr 34:19)
  • king Josiah sent a small group to inquire of The LORD concerning the words written in The Book of The Law about Judah and its inhabitants (2 Kin 22:12-13, 2 Chr 34:20-21)
  • Our LORD confirmed through HIS prophetess Huldah, HIS WORD would come to pass in the land and on its inhabitants because of their grave disobedience and idolatry. HE however would spare king Josiah, for his tender heart toward GOD (2 Kin 22:14-20, 2 Chr 34:22-28)
  • king Josiah renewed the covenant; he gathered the entire nation from the greatest to the least; both he and the nation made a covenant with our LORD to walk in whole-hearted obedience; which the nation did, during the entire lifetime of king Josiah (2 Kin 23:1-3, 2 Chr 34:29-33)
  • king Josiah reformed the nation, during which he fulfilled the prophecy concerning the altar in Bethel (2 Kin 23:4-20)
  • king Josiah reinstituted the Passover (2 Kin 23:21-23, 2 Chr 35:1-19)

With the fulfillment of GOD’s WORD concerning king Josiah of Judah, we continue to witness that our Beloved LORD GOD’s WORD will not fail (Isa 55:10-11), it will surely come to pass (2 Kin 22:1-2, 2 Kin 23:15-18). GOD alone sets times and epochs/seasons (Act 1:7), and only HE sets the appointed time for HIS WORD to come to pass (Dan 8:19, Mrk 13:32-33, Act 17:31, Gal 4:4)

Did king Josiah die after the prophecy was fulfilled? Not immediately, over the next thirteen years, he completed the restoration and repair of the temple, and reinstituted the Passover. After all this, he went out to engage Pharaoh Neco, the king of Egypt on the plain of Megiddo (2 Chr 35:22). Pharaoh just wanted to pass through Judah on his way to battle against the Babylonians, at Carchemish on the Euphrates river (2 Chr 35:20). He warned king Josiah to turn away from him, because he was on a mission from GOD (2 Chr 35:20-21), king Josiah ignored him, and was killed (2 Kin 23:29, 2 Chr 35:22-23 ). There is an important lesson here that we the people of GOD need to make careful note of; king Josiah had an intimate relationship with our Beloved LORD GOD (2 Chr 34:3). So when Pharaoh Neco told him that he was on a mission from GOD, he simply refused to listen to the Pharaoh, instead of inquiring of GOD (2 Chr 35:22). No matter how many years we have walked with our Holy GOD, we should never lean to our own understanding (Pro 3:5). Instead we should continue to pray about everything (Php 4:6, Luk 18:1, Eph 6:18).

The Beginning of the End

With king Josiah’s death, came the beginning of the end. Because he was a good and righteous king,  Jeremiah the prophet, and all of Judah and Jerusalem mourned for him (2 Chr 35:24-5, Jer 22:10). Soon after occupation, destruction, and exile began in the land of Judah and against its inhabitants, as spoken by the WORD of our Beloved LORD GOD (2 Kin 23:26-27). And then king Josiah’s three sons and grandsons became kings in Judah:

  • Jehoahaz was made king by the people of Judah upon his father’s death. But he was king for only three months, when Pharaoh Neco forcibly removed him from his throne (2 Chr 36:1-3); first imprisoning him at Riblah in the land of Hamath, located on the high road between Palestine and Babylon (2 Kin 23:30-33). Pharaoh Neco eventually moved king Jehoahaz into Egypt where he died (Jer 22:10-12).
  • Pharaoh Neco made Eliakim, another one of king Josiah’s son a puppet king; changing his name to Jehoiakim (2 Kin 23:34-36). Jehoiakim, his brother Zedekiah, and his nephew Jehoiachin will be discussed further in our final study in 2 Kings.

But now, thus says The LORD, your Creator, O Jacob,
And HE who formed you, O Israel,
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are MINE!
Isaiah 43:1

The Most High GOD Rules (2 Kings Chapters 21)

A Study in 2 KingsYou will be driven from human society
To live with the wild animals
You will be made to eat grass like an ox
And be drenched with dew from the sky
As seven seasons pass over you
Until you learn that the Most HIGH
Rules in the human kingdom
And gives it to whomever HE pleases
Daniel 4:29
(Complete Jewish BIBLE Translation)

I am continually in awe of our Beloved LORD GOD. HE indeed brings us hope through instruction and encouragement of The Scriptures (Rom 15:4). HIS timing, which brings us to this lesson in 2 Kings chapter 21, is for such a time as this. In this study we are reminded, the choice of the next American president, or any leader, belongs only to GOD.

Many Christians think only Nebuchadnezzar was taken off his throne, until he realized WHO truly rules over mankind (Rom 13:1-2). In this study in 2 Kings chapter 21 and 2 Chronicles chapter 33, we will learn that king Manasseh of Judah, was also removed from his throne until he recognized WHO GOD alone is (2 Chr 33:11-16).

Though king Manasseh’s father, king Hezekiah was a righteous king (2 Kin 18:1-7), his son Manasseh was an extremely wicked king:

  • He did evil  in the sight of The LORD. Not only did he do evil according to the abominations of the nations whom The LORD had dispossessed before the sons of Israel (2 Kin 21:2), He seduced the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do even more evil (2 Kin 21:9, 2 Kin 21:11, Lev 18:24-30, Deu 9:4-5).
  • He rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed (2 Kin 21:3) He reestablished the worship of false idols on elevated pieces of ground.
  • He erected altars for Baal (2 Kin 21:3), a false male fertility god whose worship was rooted in sexual activity.
  • He made an Asherah and set it in the house of The LORD (2 Kin 21:3, 2 Kin 21:7), where he and the unrighteous nation of Judah carried out temple prostitution in the name of this false goddess known as “queen of heaven” (Jer 7:17-20).
  • He worshiped all the host of heaven and served them (2 Kin 21:3) and built altars for them in two courts of the House of The LORD (2 Kin 21:5) He practiced astrology in our GOD’s very house.
  • He built altars in the House of The LORD (2 Kin 21:4) He brought much idolatry into the Temple of GOD.
  • He made his son pass through the fire (2 Kin 21:6) He worshiped Molech, sacrificing both infants and children to the false god.
  • He practiced witchcraft and used divination (2 Kin 21:6) He practiced every form of sorcery.
  • He dealt with mediums and spiritists (2 Kin 21:6) He sought out psychics and those who talk with the dead for counseling, instead of seeking out The true and living GOD (Isa 8:19).
  • He shed so much innocent blood in Jerusalem, until he filled it from one end to another (2 Kin 21:16). Not only did king Manasseh murder innocent infants and children through child sacrifice, according to the Jewish historian, Josephus Flavius, king Manasseh brutally killed many righteous men of GOD, including the prophet Isaiah.

Because king Manasseh’s sins were so grave, and he led the whole nation of Judah into those sins, king Manasseh was captured by the Assyrians and brought bound into Babylon with a hook in his nose, and bronze chains on his body (2 Chr 33:11-13). King Manasseh suffered greatly in the Babylonian prison until out of distress, he pleaded with The LORD his GOD and humbled himself greatly before HIM. Our Beloved LORD GOD was moved by his pleading, heard his supplication, and returned him to his kingdom in Jerusalem. King Manasseh now knew that The LORD was indeed GOD, whereupon he truly repented, and performed deeds appropriate to repentance (2 Chr 33:14-16). He did this by:

  • making Jerusalem and the land of Judah secure, through building walls and placing armies in fortified cities (2 Chr 33:14)
  • cleansing the temple and purging Jerusalem of all the idolatry and altars (2 Chr 33:15)
  • re-establishing the worship of only The true GOD in Judah (2 Chr 33:16)

However, because king Manasseh’s sins were so horrendous, he was buried in a garden instead of the tombs of the kings (2 Kin 21:18). And our sovereign LORD GOD would not turn from HIS wrath against Judah because all king Manasseh had done, until HE removed them from the promise land (2 Kin 23:26-27, 2 Kin 24:3-4). This is an important lesson for each one of us. Though are sins are forgiven, there will still be consequences for them. We not only have this example with king Manasseh and the nation of Judah. But we have another example in king David. Though our Beloved LORD GOD forgave him for taking Uriah’s wife, and then murdering him, he and his family would still suffer the consequences of his sins (2 Sam chptrs 11-17).

This very sad 21st chapter of 2 Kings is closes with king Manasseh’s son Amon taking the throne upon his father’s death. However he learned nothing from his father’s divine punishment. Instead he followed in his father’s sinful ways, was murdered after only reigning 2 years, and buried in a grave next to his father (2 Kin 21:19-26).

Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities
For there is no authority except from GOD
And those which exist are established by GOD
Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of GOD
And they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves
Romans 13:1-2

Having A Heart After GOD (2 Kings Chapters 18, 19, 20)

A Study in 2 KingsAfter HE had removed him
HE raised up David to be their king
Concerning whom HE also testified and said,
“I HAVE FOUND DAVID the son of Jesse, A MAN AFTER MY HEART, who will do all MY Will”
Acts 13:22

What made king David “a man after GOD’s heart”? David was a man who loved (Psa 18:1, Psa 132:1-5), trusted (1 Sam 17:1-51, Psa 21:7, Psa 28:7), and obeyed GOD (1 Kin 14:8, 1 Kin 15:5). David also sought GOD’s counsel (1 Sam 23:1-5, 1 Sam 30:3-10, 2 Sam 2:1-4, 1 Chr 14:8-17).

Where there any other kings in Israel that had a heart after GOD? Yes, there were two descendants of king David, who had hearts after GOD; king Hezekiah, and king Hezekiah’s great grandson king Josiah. We will study king Josiah later, but we will examine king Hezekiah now, through 2 Kings chapters 18-20, 2 Chronicles chapters 29-32, and Isaiah chapters 36-39.

Our Beloved LORD GOD gave witness of king Hezekiah’s heart, through HIS WORD. HE showed us, king Hezekiah had the following traits, signifying both a personal relationship with HIM, and heart fully given to do HIS Will. King Hezekiah of Judah:

  1. trusted in GOD (2 Kin 18:5, 2 Chr 32:7-8)
  2. listened to GOD, by clinging to HIM, and fully obeying HIM (2 Kin 18:6)
  3. reformed a nation according to GOD’s commandments (2 Chr chapters 29-31)
  4. talked with GOD (2 Kin 19:14-19, 2 Chr 32:14-20)
  5. sought GOD (2 Kin 19:1-7, 2 Chr 31:21)
  6. whole heartedly served GOD (2 Chr 31:20-21)
  7. GOD was with him (2 Kin 18:7)

These seven traits present in righteous king Hezekiah, should also be present in the righteous today. You might ask, “how could we reform a nation?” Your transformation by GOD’s WORD and HIS Holy SPIRIT (Rom 12:2, 2 Cor 3:16-18), draws others to GOD where HE reforms lives (Mat 5:14-16, Jhn 4:39-42).

Can one today, really be a person after GOD’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14)? Yes, our JESUS is the same yesterday, as HE is today, as HE will be forever (Heb 13:8). And when your heart is filled with The SPIRIT of GOD (Jhn 14:23, Rom 8:9), your life will be fully surrendered to JESUS CHRIST (Rom 10:9, Luk 6:46-48, Act 5:32), causing you to be a person after GOD’s own heart. As evidenced by you:

  • actively living-in constant obedience to GOD (Psa 40:8, Psa 119:33-39, Psa 119:101-104, Jhn 4:34).
  • responding properly when confronted with sin (Gen 39:7-13, 1 Cor 6:18, Dan 3:8-18, Rev 12:11).
  • being drawn by GOD’s love (1 Jhn 4:19, Hos 11:3-4, Psa 73:25-26, SS 1:4), and holiness (Exd 15:11, Isa 6:1-7, 1 Pet 1:15-16).

Did king David and king Hezekiah leave any other legacies? Yes, they both lived miraculous lives of faith in GOD. King David had three distinct battles, where GOD fought on his behalf. First, the Philistine giant Goliath, was defeated by king David, who came against Goliath, in The NAME of The LORD, one slingshot, and five smooth stones (1 Sam 17:31-50). Second, GOD HIMSELF and the angel army fought against and defeated the Philistines on behalf of king David and his army (2 Sam 5:22-25). Third, when Absalom led Israel in battle against his father king David, the forest killed more people that day than the sword (2 Sam 18:8). King Hezekiah’s faith in GOD, also brought victory over an Assyrian army and its king, without he or his army personally engaging in battle (2 Kin 19:32-37, 2 Chr 32:1-23).

 Were king David and king Hezekiah continually obedient? No, only our Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST continually walked in obedience (Jhn 4:34, Jhn 8:29, Heb 4:15, 1 Pet 2:22, 1 Jhn 3:5).

The legacy of king David includes two grave sins; one where the upright man Uriah was murdered, because king David lusted after and impregnated Uriah’s wife (2 Sam 11:1-27, 2 Sam 12:1-25); two, king David’s pride caused him to take a census of the fighting men of Israel. Putting his trust in their numbers, instead of GOD (1 Chr 21:1-30).

The legacy of king Hezekiah was marred, when our Beloved LORD GOD extended his life for fifteen more years, he became arrogant instead of humbling himself in gratitude (2 Kin 20:1-11, 2 Chr 32:24-26).

In conclusion, we remind you once again that our Beloved LORD GOD tells us in Romans 15:4 “for whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” What more can we learn from king David and king Hezekiah, two men with a heart after GOD? Both men were bold (2 Sam 22:1-51, 2 Chr 32:1-8). As stated in Proverbs 28:1, “the wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” The English word “bold” is transliterated from the Hebrew word “batach” (OT:982) and it means to be secure, confident, sure, reliant, trusting. This boldness only comes with an intimate relationship with our faithful, all powerful GOD (Pro 3:32, Jhn 14:21, 1 Jhn 1:5-7). And because of HIM and our confidence in HIM, and HIS WORD we do not run from our enemies we chase them (Lev 26:7-8); we do not fall, we stand (1 Cor 16:13, Eph 6:10-11); we do not give up, we endure (Jam 1:2-4).  

For The LORD will be your confidence
And will keep your foot from being caught
Proverbs 3:26