Salvation from Genesis to Revelation Part 4

So far we’ve seen how the theme of salvation progressed from the Tanach (Old Testament) through a major portion of the Brit Chadashah (New Testament).  Initially, Israel was often saved from their physical enemies.  Eventually, their enemies had infiltrated their communities and influenced them to commit idolatry.  In Yeshua’s day, many people were not walking in obedience to the law despite the fact their forefathers had spent time in exile in Babylon.  It was necessary for Yeshua to save Israel from the path of death they were on by calling the Jews to repentance; He did this by encouraging them to return to the law of YHVH.

Many people in the Hebraic Roots movement are saying that salvation is a future thing.  Because of this, we looked at the tense, mood, and voice of the Greek verb for “saved” to determine whether being saved is a past event or not.  The vast majority of times this verb is used in the Brit Chadashah, it’s in the aorist tense which is a past event. It is often in the indicative mood which is a point in time event.  Only in Ephesians 2:8-9 is the perfect form used; this usage is a past completed action that has an on-going effect.  The verses with a future tense refer to something that will happen in the future when certain conditions are met.  At that point, salvation would be a past event.  If someone has convinced you to stop ignoring God’s commandments and to live a life of obedience, you have been saved or rescued from the path of destruction and death that you were on.

Even so, Israel can expect a physical salvation from their enemies during the Battle of Armageddon and during the Battle of Gog and Magog.  The purpose of salvation is to rescue people from the ultimate curse of the law which is death; the only way to do this is to take them back to the same choice between life and death that Moses set before the people and encourage them to choose life.  Choosing life requires people to accept the terms of the covenant between YHVH and Israel.  These terms will not pass away until heaven and earth pass away.

We’ve seen that salvation in Exodus preceded entering the covenant with YHVH.  In addition, we’ve looked at how to enter the new covenant; this is patterned after how people entered the original covenant. It is clear that we are saved by faith yet we are justified by our works; in other words, our works (Torah obedience which includes acts of kindness) demonstrate our faith.  In addition, Paul was right to say that we should not abolish the law because of faith; he upheld the law (Romans 3:31).

Yeshua lived righteously.  He is the Cornerstone and Gate of Salvation which allows us to enter the covenant and experience blessing (life).  We have been given the Ruach HaKodesh so we can walk in the Ruach like Yeshua did, and not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  If we are led by the Ruach, we are not under the curse of the law (death); instead we are choosing life.

What we need to know now is how Yeshua is going to firmly establish his kingdom.  This will require the future physical salvation of His people.  Remember, God shows us what is to happen in the future in the events of the past.  Ecclesiastes 1:9 says: “That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.”

We see the present and future in the patterns of the past.  They are thematic shadows, and not necessarily exact.  Sometimes thematic events happen in unexpected ways.  Sometimes there is opposition (the opposite of what we expect happens); this could be a result of the personal choices people make.  Sometimes a single person may play one or more roles as compared to the original pattern; the opposite is true as well.  Sometimes, the order of events might be out of order due to a particular reason.  Often what applies to an individual can apply to a corporate body; the reverse of this is true as well.  Despite this, the patterns are there.  We can see what God did in the past and understand what He intends to do in the future.

The salvific patterns we need to remember are:

  • Preservation of a Remnant
  • Messiah and Anti-Messiah
  • The Establishment of Messiah’s Reign
  • The Establishment of the Kingdom of God
  • Slain from the Foundation of the World

When you look at these, it may be helpful to read down the first column to see the sequence of events.  Then, read each row to see how the pattern was repeated or will be repeated.

The following pattern is the “Preservation of a Remnant”:

Preservation of a Remnant

Joseph

Moses

Yeshua

God sent Joseph to Egypt to:

·         Preserve a posterity for the sons of Israel in the earth;

·         Save their lives by a great deliverance.

God sent Moses back to Egypt to:

·         Preserve a posterity for the sons of Israel in the earth

·         Save their lives by a great deliverance.

God sent Yeshua to His people to:

·         Preserve a posterity (remnant) for the sons of Israel in the earth

·         Save their lives by a great deliverance

Joseph gave instructions for the collection of grain for the coming famine.

Joseph provided grain to the known world so they could live and not die.

YHVH provided manna, quail, and water for His people who were under Moses’ leadership.

He also gave them the terms of the covenant so they could choose to live and not die.

Yeshua taught the Word of God (spiritual food & terms of the covenant); preached repentance; and gave His life so the world could live and not die.

 

This pattern shows what Yeshua’s goals were in the first century.  In Joseph’s and Moses’ time, the people are entering, in, or coming out of Egypt.  By Yeshua’s day, YHVH’s people are in a kind of spiritual Egypt.  YHVH provided the means to preserve and save them.  Note that in each column there is some kind of nourishment (whether it was grain, manna, or the Word of God) that accomplishes the goal of preserving or sustaining life.  Instructions or terms of the covenant were for everyone.  Life or death was dependent on whether or not people followed the instructions or terms of the covenant.  You cannot have a covenant without terms; the terms of the original and new covenant are the same.

 

The following is the pattern of the Messiah and Anti-Messiah.

Messiah and Anti-Messiah

Pattern

Past

Future

YHVH’s

Anointed  Shepherd

 

Cyrus, king of Persia

(5th century BCE)

Yeshua, the

Branch of Righteousness;

Good Shepherd

Son of Joseph and David

(1st century CE)

Anti-Messiah

 

Antiochus Epiphanes IV

(1st century BCE)

False Prophet

 

Horn [Agent] of Salvation

 

Yeshua, the

Branch of Righteousness

Son of Joseph;

Son of David

(1st century CE)

Faithful & True;

Word of God (Yeshua)

 

 

This pattern shows that YHVH’s anointed shepherd was/will be followed by an anti-Messiah.  This person was/will be followed by a certain horn/agent of salvation.  As the pattern repeats itself, the same horn/agent of salvation is none other than Yeshua HaMashiach.

Isaiah 44:28 and 45:1 describe Cyrus as YHVH’s anointed shepherd.  Based on our chart, he prefigures Yeshua.  Several centuries after Cyrus allowed the Jews return to Israel, Antiochus Epiphanes IV wreaks havoc among God’s people.

KJA  1 Maccabees 1:10  “And there came out of them a wicked root Antiochus surnamed Epiphanes, son of Antiochus the king, who had been an hostage at Rome, and he reigned in the hundred and thirty and seventh year of the kingdom of the Greeks.”

1Maccabees 1:41-50  Moreover king Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom, that all should be one people, 42 And every one should leave his laws… 45 And (he) forbid burnt offerings, and sacrifice, and drink offerings, in the temple; and that they should profane the sabbaths and festival days: 46 And pollute the sanctuary and holy people:  47 Set up altars, and groves, and chapels of idols, and sacrifice swine’s flesh, and unclean beasts:  48 That they should also leave their children uncircumcised, and make their souls abominable with all manner of uncleanness and profanation:  49 To the end they might forget the law, and change all the ordinances.  50 And whosoever would not do according to the commandment of the king, he said, he should die.”

In Jeremiah 23:1-6, YHVH promised He would gather the remnant of His flock and set decent shepherds over them.  He promised to raise up to David a Branch of Righteousness.  This Branch would be a king who would reign and prosper.  This man would/will be called “YHVH Our Righteousness.”

During the time of the Roman empire, Yeshua HaMashiach was born.  He was conceived of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) and adopted by Joseph who was of the line of David.  Matthew’s genealogy seems to indicate that Yeshua is the prophesied Branch of Righteousness who was raised up to bypass the curse of Jeconiah, a descendant of David and be the rightful heir to the throne. (See Jer. 22:28-30; 23:5)

Yeshua was anointed at His baptism (Matthew 3:16), and later He described Himself as the “Good Shepherd” (John 10:11-14).

Revelation 13:11-17 describes the coming false prophet (anti-Messiah) like this:  “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. 12 And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. 15 He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”

The Horn of Salvation that is to come is described in Revelation 19:11-15:  “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”

I think this pattern shows us that God always intended for Yeshua to come twice, and not just once.  In addition, there would be a leader who would oppose the covenant and lead people astray.

 

The following is the pattern of the “Establishment of Messiah’s Reign.”

The Establishment of Messiah’s Reign

Pattern

Past

Future

A son of David died in/on a tree and was thrust through with 1 or 3 spears. Absalom Yeshua
An Anti-Messiah (an un-anointed person) was exalted and gained authority. He was followed by others. Adonijah Beast of Revelation and the False Prophet
A son of David was anointed (mashach) as king and had a peaceful reign/he spoke peace. Solomon (1 Kings 1:39, 43) Yeshua

 

In 2 Samuel 18:14, Absalom was killed by Joab while he hung in a terebinth tree with his hair caught in the branches.  Joab thrust him through with 3 spears.  Note the visual similarity of the crown of thorns Yeshua wore on his head with Absalom’s hair being caught in the tree branches.

In 1 Kings 1:5 and 7-8, Adonijah said, “I will be king.” Then he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest; and they followed and helped Adonijah.

In 1 Kings 1:39-40,  Zadok the priest anointed Solomon as king according to David’s command.

In Acts 5:30-31, Yeshua was crucified on a tree but was resurrected by the Father to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.

In John 19:34, a soldier thrust Yeshua through with a spear so that blood and water flowed out before he was taken down from the tree.

Revelation 13:3 and 7 describe the Leopard-Bear-Lion Beast which was from the sea:  “And all the world marveled and followed the beast…It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.”

Revelation 13:15-17 describes the Beast from the earth that had 2 horns like a lamb, and spoke like a dragon:  “He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

It may still be too soon to tell but I think we may be starting to hear the False Prophet encouraging the worship of the Beast.

Now let’s look at several verses which describe Yeshua’s reign and the theme of peace:

Zechariah 9:9-10:  “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!  Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey. 10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim And the horse from Jerusalem; The battle bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be ‘from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.”

Luke 1:31-33  “And behold, you (Miriam/Mary) will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus (Yeshua). 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

 

The following pattern of the “Establishment of the Kingdom of God.”

The Establishment of the Kingdom of God

Pattern

Under Solomon

Yeshua (Past)

Yeshua (Future)

A man riding an animal; followed by an announcement 1 Kings 1:33-40

Solomon rode David’s mule. Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel; and blow the horn, and say, ‘Long live King Solomon!’

Matt 21:7-9 (fulfillment of Zech. 9:9)

Yeshua rode a donkey and colt into Jerusalem.  The multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:  “Hosanna to the Son of David!

‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Hosanna in the highest!”

Revelation 19:11, 17-18

Faithful and True rides a white horse, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. …An angel invites all the flying birds to “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God…”

 

Death

 

1 Kings 2:25

Solomon had Adonijah put to death for attempting to usurp David’s throne.

 

Matt 27:1-2

All the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Yeshua to put Him to death.  The sign placed above His head called Him the King of the Jews.

Revelation 19:19-21

The beast and the false prophet were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.

The rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse.

Exile and/or replacement/exchange/release 1 Kings 2:26, 35 

Solomon exiled Abiathar the priest to Ananoth for siding with Adonijah. He was replaced by Zadok.

 

Matthew 27:20-22

The chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for BarAbbas [“son of father”] to be released from prison instead of Yeshua [the Son of the Father].

(note: Yeshua replaced BarAbbas)

Revelation 20:1-3

An angel took the dragon [the serpent of old, the Devil, Satan] and bound him and sealed him in the abyss (a picture of exile).

He was released after a thousand years to deceive the nations to gather them for the Battle of Gog and Magog.

Death for ___ innocent blood

 

1 Kings 2:31

Solomon had Joab put to death for siding with Adonijah and shedding innocent blood.

Matthew 27:3-5

Judas confessed saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”  He left, and went and hanged himself.

 

Revelation 20:7-10

Battle of Gog and Magog:  Satan and the nations will gather to surround the camp of the saints (who are innocent) and the city of Jerusalem [to destroy them]. God will devour them with fire. The devil will be cast into the lake of fire.

Jerusalem and/or Judgment

 

1 Kings 2:36 

Since Shimei did not stay in Jerusalem as he’d been commanded and warned, Solomon had him put to death for cursing King David when he’d gone to Mahanaim to escape Absalom (2 Sam. 16:5).

 

Acts 1:4-6

Yeshua commanded the disciples to stay in Jerusalem, and to wait for the baptism of the Ruach HaKodesh [Holy Spirit].

 

It was not time to restore the kingdom to Israel [not time for judgment].

Revelation 20:11-15

After the Great White Throne Judgment, the wicked will be cast into the lake of fire

 

The righteous will enter the New Jerusalem.

 

Throne

 

1 Kings 2:12

Then Solomon sat on the throne of his father David; and his kingdom was firmly established.

 

Hebrews 10:12-13

Yeshua, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God [who is seated on His throne] Yeshua is now waiting until His enemies are made His footstool.

 

Revelation 22:3-5

The throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in the New Jerusalem And they shall reign forever and ever.

 

Revelation 3:21

Yeshua will let him who overcomes sit with Him on His throne, as He also overcame and sat down with His Father on His throne.

 

The sequence of events that took place when Solomon became king set the stage for what would be necessary for Yeshua’s kingdom to be established. As you can see, this will take place in two stages.  The first stage has past, and the second is yet to come.

 

The question has been raised:

  • Why was Yeshua slain from the foundation of the world?

I believe the answer is:

  • So that YHVH’s work of salvation would always come before sin ever took place.
  • To establish a pattern that would be repeated several times in Scripture.
  • To show us this was always YHVH’s plan from before the very beginning.

 

Slain From the Foundation of the World

Pattern

Adam

Joseph

Moses

Yeshua

Revelation

Innocent slain

 

Yeshua was slain before foundation of the world

 

Picture of death: Joseph was lowered into a pit & later raised up to life.

Joseph’s father believed he had been killed by a wild beast.

Innocent Hebrew babies were killed by throwing them into the Nile

 

John the Baptist was beheaded

 

Babylon the Great was drunk with the blood of the martyrs

Souls had been beheaded for their witness to Yeshua and for the word of God.

Sinned or Accused of Sin Adam & Eve sinned by eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Accused of adultery

 

Moses killed an Egyptian

 

Accused of blasphemy

 

Beast committed blasphemy

 

Death Animal(s) killed in order to provide clothing for Adam & Eve

 

Joseph’s brothers killed a kid of the goats to deceive their father.

 

Death of Egyptian firstborns

 

Yeshua executed for blasphemy

 

 

Beast and false prophet were cast into the lake of fire;

The 10 kings and their armies were killed and eaten by birds of prey.

Exile/

Prison

Adam & Eve were exiled from the garden of Eden. Joseph was carried away from Canaan and exiled in prison in Egypt. Mixed multitude left Egypt and entered the wilderness. Yeshua left earth and returned to the Father. The dragon was cast into the pit for 1000 years.
Death Abel died Baker died Egyptian army was killed in Red Sea. Thief #1

Will not be in paradise.

Those not written in Book of Life were cast into the lake of fire.
Life Cain lived Cup bearer lived Mixed multitude crossed the Red Sea and lived. Thief #2

Will be in paradise.

Those written in the Book of Life can enter the New Jerusalem.

 

Yeshua was slain before the foundation of the world so that the work of salvation could take place BEFORE Adam and Eve ever sinned.

We can look at this in two ways:

  • The decision was made for Yeshua to die at that time.
  • Yeshua really was slain in the heavenly realm at that time to provide atonement for all mankind so He could be the cornerstone and gate of righteousness. This view considers the idea of similar parallels between what goes on in heaven and on earth. Obviously, Yeshua would eventually be slain in the physical realm in order to conquer death and be the propitiation for sin.

Finally, we have death and life.  During Adam’s time Abel died and Cain lived.  Now I’m aware that Abel was innocent and that Cain was not, but what we need to see is that the theme of the pattern is that one person died and the other lived.

Life and death are the choices that have been set before mankind.  I am echoing the words of Moses found in Deuteronomy 30:19-20:  “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

We’ve seen that the theme of salvation is consistent throughout Scripture.  We have seen that salvation:

  • took place in the past to preserve a posterity for the sons of Israel
  • is on-going in the present to preserve a remnant for the kingdom of God.
  • and that it will take place in the future to protect this remnant from their enemies and to firmly establish the kingdom of God.

Praise YHVH.  “You (YHVH) went forth for the salvation of Your people, For salvation with Your Anointed.  You struck the head from the house of the wicked, By laying bare from foundation to neck.”  (Habakkuk 3:13)

 

 

Salvation from Genesis to Revelation Part 1

I’ve heard people say several different things regarding the timing of our salvation.  Some people say we are already saved and some say we won’t be saved until some point in the future.  They also define salvation in various ways.  I decided it would be interesting to study the theme of salvation from Genesis to Revelation to see if there was continuity in its definition or not; as well as to see its timing, and anything else YHVH would reveal to me.  This post is the first of four parts on the subject of “Salvation from Genesis to Revelation.”  Here we will look at the progression of salvation from Genesis through the gospels.

We need to begin by defining our terms. The Hebrew noun yesha means deliverance, salvation, rescue, and safety.  The Greek equivalent is soteria.  This word can be applied several ways.  Physically, it is rescue from danger; spiritually, it refers to the safety of the soul; and messianically, it is the deliverance at the end of the present age.

The Hebrew verb yasha exists in two binyanim.  The niphal is passive; it means to be saved or be delivered.  The hiphil is active and means to save, deliver, or give victory to.  The Greek verb sozo means to save, preserve from harm, rescue, or deliver.  This Greek verb is used extensively in the Apostolic Scriptures for the healing of diseases but I did not include those references in my study.

As I perused the Scriptures for the theme of salvation, I came upon a concentric structure in Isaiah 51:6-8:

6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, And look on the earth beneath. For the heavens will vanish away like smoke, The earth will grow old like a garment, And those who dwell in it will die in like manner; But My salvation will be forever, And My righteousness will not be abolished.

7 “Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, You people in whose heart is My law: Do not fear the reproach of men, Nor be afraid of their insults.

8 For the moth will eat them up like a garment, And the worm will eat them like wool; But My righteousness will be forever, And My salvation from generation to generation.”

Note the concentric structure:  The theme of YHVH’s long-lasting righteousness and salvation SURROUNDS the central focus of His people who have the law in their hearts.

The fact that YHVH’s salvation will be le-olam, or generation to generation shows that it will always be necessary.

The reason people will need to be saved is because prior to the 7th day, there will always be people who will not obey YHVH’s law.  These people will bring the curses of the law down on everyone including themselves. The reason I’m emphasizing the need for salvation is because I’ve actually heard people say salvation is no longer necessary.

Please don’t let anyone tell you salvation is obsolete or not necessary.  They obviously don’t know the Scriptures very well.

Now let’s see what else we can glean from the Bible about SALVATION…

For now, let’s start with Noah. Noah and his family were saved from the flood that destroyed the earth because of his:

  • Faith/trust in YHVH,
  • Righteousness and obedience.

Hebrews 11:7 tells us:  “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”

It is curious to note that the same water that YHVH used to destroy the wicked is the same water YHVH used to keep the ark afloat.  Perhaps this foreshadows the idea of being washed by the water of the word or the water of regeneration…just a thought.

Sometime after Noah, we see the theme of salvation in a major way in the life of Joseph.

In Genesis 45:7, Joseph said:  “And God sent me [Joseph] before you to preserve (la-soom) a posterity for you in the earth, and to save (ul-hachayot) your lives by a great deliverance (li-peleytah).”

This verse does not use the same words we covered previously but the theme is certainly the same.

  • soom- to preserve (and a great number of other applications)
  • chaya – to preserve, save alive, restore to life (also has a great number of other applications)
  • peleytah – deliverance, escape

Joseph accomplished a great deliverance by ordering the collection and storing of grain; and by distributing it during a famine that affected the known world including his family.

Later, salvation was evident in the book of Exodus. During the Passover, God’s people were saved/delivered from the slavery and oppression they experienced in Egypt by God’s judgments.  If that wasn’t awesome enough, the drowning of the Egyptians in the Red Sea was even far more spectacular.  The miracles didn’t stop there; they just kept coming.

While the mixed multitude wandered in the wilderness, the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire protected them from their enemies.  This protection was actually part of an on-going salvation process.

Elohim (God) was known as the Rock of Salvation who provided for his people in the wilderness.  He gave them water, meat, and bread even when they complained and spoke against Him.  Elohim did this to preserve for Himself a people who would live in covenant with Him.

Despite all of this, the mixed multitude did not appreciate what God was doing for them.

Deuteronomy 32:15 indicates they scornfully esteemed the Rock of their salvation.

There’s a lesson for us here:

  • We should make sure that we don’t scornfully esteem the Rock of our salvation!

How do we do that?  I think the answer is found in Psalm 78:21-22.  These verses indicate that YHVH was angry with His people in the wilderness because they did not:

  • BELIEVE in Him and
  • TRUST in His salvation

In other words, we esteem the Rock of our Salvation my demonstrating both belief in God and trust in His salvation!

There are a few other things I want to emphasize from the Exodus and wilderness wanderings that are mentioned in Jude 1:5: “But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved (σώσας) the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.”

This verse reminds us:

  • That the whole multitude experienced salvation;
  • But that later, those who did not believe were destroyed.

We need to make sure that we aren’t destroyed for lack of belief.

AFTER YHVH delivered His people from Egypt and gave them manna and water in the wilderness, the mixed multitude ENTERED into a covenant with YHVH.

Side Note:  According to Exodus 19:5-6, YHVH intended for them to be a special treasure to Him above all people; and a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.

At Mt. Sinai, God gave his people the Levitical sacrificial system as a means to:

  • Be forgiven of sins and transgressions;
  • Have guilt removed;
  • Have the sins of the people carried away on the Day of Atonements;
  • Be blameless

Currently, the Levitical sacrificial system is temporarily on hold.  For now, we need to understand that the death of Yeshua accomplishes the same things as the Levitical system.

Colossians 1:21-23:  “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight —  23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.”

The word “reconciled” implies that sin and guilt have been dealt with so that the relationship with God and man can continue as long as we continue in the faith.

Let’s go back to Moses’ time.  Deuteronomy 4:37-38 teaches us a few important concepts that we tend to overlook.  Moses was talking with the people just before his death when he said:

  • “And because He [YHVH] loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them; and He brought you out of Egypt with His Presence, with His mighty power, 38 driving out from before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in, to give you their land as an inheritance, as it is this day.”

The Israelites experienced salvation/deliverance because YHVH loved their fathers and chose their descendants to be His people.  What I’m trying to emphasize is that God’s love didn’t begin in John 3:16-17.  God’s love has played a role in the Father’s plan of salvation for a long time.  Also, I want to emphasize that YHVH delivered their families from Egypt BEFORE they ever entered into a covenant with Him.  This covenant was for all of their descendants. Since that time, these descendants understood that they were born into the covenant; but somehow they missed the concept that whether or not they remained in the covenant was up to them.

Clearly, not everyone remained in the covenant.  This is evident in Luke 19:9-10 where Yeshua said to Zacchaeus….

  • “Today salvation (sotaria) has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

You see, being lost didn’t have anything to do with a person’s physical location.  Many of the descendants of Israel were lost because they were not abiding by the covenant.  Yeshua came to seek out lost people like Zacchaeus and bring them back to the covenant.  Before we move on, let’s take a minute and focus on this other phrase – son of Abraham.  Who is a son of Abraham if it’s not those directly descended from him?  The answer is found in Galatians 3:7:

  • “Therefore know that only those who are of faith (emunah) are sons of Abraham.”

A son of Abraham is one who is in the covenant because he:

  • believes,
  • trusts,
  • and is faithful.

This is the kind of person that Yahweh wanted the mixed multitude to be during Moses’ time.

Let’s go back to Moses again.  Recall what Moses told the people before they entered the Promised Land:

  • Deuteronomy 4:40You shall therefore keep His (YHVH’s) statutes and His commandments which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which the Lord your God is giving you for all time.”

Moses told them this same concept several times in slightly different ways.

Moses starts to get a little more specific in Deuteronomy 11:26-28.

  • “Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse:  27 “the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you today; 28 “and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known.”

There were lots of specific blessings and curses. I will eventually focus on only a couple of curses and one blessing.  For now, I’m trying to lay the foundation of what else is to come.

After the death of Moses, the 2nd generation finally began to take over the Promised Land under Joshua’s leadership.  Joshua sent 2 spies to view the land, especially Jericho.  Once there, they met a woman named Rahab; she hid them and sent them out another way.  Before sending them off, she declared, “YHVH your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath,” and she begged to be spared.  The spies made a deal with Rahab that would secure her deliverance and that of her family.  Rahab bound a scarlet cord in the window to mark her home as the one to be PASSED OVER instead of destroyed.  Because of her faith and works, she was justified.  When it came time for the destruction of Jericho, Rahab and those with her were saved.  We’re going to come back to Rahab in a later post but for now I want us to continue to see how the theme of salvation progresses in the Scriptures.

The 2nd generation that left Egypt entered the Promised Land; but they didn’t completely drive out the inhabitants as they took over and got settled in the land.  At least they remembered who brought them through the wilderness, and at least to some degree, they knew who was helping them take over the land.  That wasn’t the case with the next generation.

  • Judges 2:10 “When all that generation (2nd) had been gathered to their fathers, another generation (3rd) arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel.”

The word “know” means they did not know Him by experience; they were not personally acquainted with YHVH or His works.  At this point, trouble began.

OK, now it’s time for me remind you of one of the blessings and curses. Here’s the blessing:

  • Deuteronomy 28:7  “The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.”

In other words, YHVH was going to save them from their enemies.

Here’s the curse:

  • Deuteronomy 28:25 “The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them; and you shall become troublesome to all the kingdoms of the earth.”

If they disobeyed, YHVH would no longer save them from their enemies.  This 3rd generation obviously did not have these blessings and the curses drilled into their heads.  Well, maybe they did, and they just chose to ignore it.

Cycle of Sin in Judges

Later, we see the results of disobedience over and over in the book of Judges – Its often called the cycle of sin.

  1. Whenever God’s people forgot YHVH, they did evil in His sight by committing idolatry.
  2. Eventually, they experienced various curses of the law.
  3. When they remembered YHVH, they cried out to God.
  4. Eventually, He sent them a deliverer (an agent of salvation) – these deliverers were judges who physically saved them from their enemies.

This is what we typically think of when we think of salvation.  We see it as a physical salvation or deliverance.  What we must understand is that physical salvation is tied directly to obedience to YHVH which is both a physical and spiritual activity; therefore salvation is not just physical, it is also spiritual. In fact, both physical and spiritual salvation requires belief and trust.

After the time of the judges, Israel was finally ruled by kings.  I think most of us are familiar with Saul, David, and Solomon.  During the period of the united kingdom, Israel experienced blessing and victory over its enemies who were primarily the Philistines.  If the 2nd generation had conquered the land the way YHVH had commanded them to, the nations who remained might not have been as much of a problem over the years.  God used initially used King Saul and his army as his instrument of salvation against Israel’s enemies. BUT, Saul didn’t always trust God.  Instead of fighting Goliath himself, Saul showed a lack of belief or trust in YHVH to deliver him.  David was different; he was full of belief and trust that YHVH would deliver him just as he had been delivered from the lion and the bear.

After Saul’s death, Ishbosheth was made king over Israel except for Judah (2 Samuel 2:8-10).  David was initially anointed king only over Judah (2 Samuel 2:4).  During this time, the house of Saul had war with the house of David until the murder of Ishbosheth.  Afterward, David became king over all of Israel.  Once David was anointed king, he continued to save Israel from its enemies as he’d already been doing.

Many years later, David had to deal with enemies in his own household.  First, there was a group of people who anointed David’s son, Absalom over themselves.  Eventually Absalom died in battle. (2 Samuel 19:10).  Later, Adonijah, another son of David had the audacity to say he would be king.  Finally, with a bit of help from Nathan and Bathsheba, David commanded that Solomon be anointed the next king (1 Kings 1:39, 43).  According to 1 Kings 4:21, 24:  Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life…and he had peace all around him.

After Solomon’s death, YHVH caused the kingdom to split in two.  Jeroboam was the first king of the northern kingdom (Israel, Ephraim).  Previously, he had been Solomon’s servant.  The last king of the northern kingdom was Hoshea.  The northern kingdom was carried away to Assyria in 722 BCE.  Rehoboam , Solomon’s son was the first king of the southern kingdom (Judah) and Zedekiah (Mattaniah) was the last king of the southern kingdom.  The southern kingdom was carried away to Babylon in 539 BCE.

You see, after years of idolatry, Israel began to experience another major curse of the law that is mentioned in Deuteronomy 28:36. It says, “The LORD will bring you and the king whom you set over you to a nation which neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you shall serve other gods– wood and stone.”  Israel was carried to Assyria, and later Judah was eventually carried away to Babylon because they did not keep YHVH’s covenant.

The prophecies of Daniel show us the consequences of not keeping YHVH’s covenant.  The kingdom of Judah was in Babylon which eventually fell to Medo-Persia.  Eventually, the Persian king Cyrus let people return to Jerusalem, but they were still part of the Medo-Persian empire.

As Daniel’s prophesied, the Israelites would continue to be under the rule of other empires and their leaders. Alexander the Great conquered Israel around 333/331 BCE.  His empire was divided amongst his 4 generals after his death.  The Jews were held under suzerainty by the Ptolemies and Seleucids from 320-168 BCE. During this time, the culture and institutions of the Jews were protected until Antiochus Epiphanes IV reversed that.

Antiochus was the 8th ruler of the Hellenistic Greek Seleucid dynasty (175 BCE). The word Epiphanes means visible god/God Manifest.  His persecutions and changes to the law led to the Maccabean revolt (166-160 BCE).  Even though Judah previously had not completely kept YHVH’s covenant, YHVH did not completely forsake them.  He raised up the Maccabees to be His agents of salvation in that time period.  I think he did that because the Maccabees and others were zealous for the law.

After Antiochus, the Jews were autonomous under the Hasmoneans 142-129 BCE. In 63 BCE, Rome annexed Israel under Pompey.  At that time, many were waiting for the Messiah and hoping he would save them.  During the time of the Roman Empire, Yeshua was born.

Let me remind you that in Matthew 24:15-16, Yeshua said: “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”  This means there is someone like Antiochus Epiphanes IV who is still to come.  People will be crying out for salvation during that time just like they have down through the millennia.

Let’s take a closer look at the time around Yeshua’s birth.  After the birth of John the Baptist, Zacharias prophesied that YHVH had raised up a horn of salvation for the Jews in the house of David as prophesied by the prophets (Luke 1:69).  According to Luke 1:71-75, this horn of salvation was raised up so…”That we should be saved (sotarian; fs noun) from our enemies And from the hand of all who hate us,  72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers And to remember His holy covenant,  73 The oath which He swore to our father Abraham:  74 To grant us that we, Being delivered (rusthentas; aorist passive participle) from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear,75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.”

The people were expecting physical deliverance from Rome but that’s not what happened.  This is a common problem with interpreting prophecies; we just don’t always know the exact timing in which every aspect of prophecies will be fulfilled.  I believe we can expect this to be fulfilled in the future and we will discuss that later.

Since this prophecy has not yet been fulfilled, is there a prophecy that was fullfilled?  I believe the answer is yes.  In Matthew 1:21, an angel of YHVH clarified Yeshua’s purpose in the first century to Joseph by saying:  “And she (Mary) will bring forth a Son, and you (Joseph) shall call His name JESUS [YESHUA; he will save], for He will save (sosei) His people from their sins.”  This was the purpose of Yeshua in the first century CE.

On one occasion, after Yeshua had become an adult, He cried out to whoever was around him:  “And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save (soso) the world” (John 12:47).

In other words, Yeshua wanted His listeners to know he was their Agent of Salvation.  Understand this:  The world contains lost people.  Matthew 18:11 tells us, “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.”

The lost were/are those who are living a lifestyle of disobedience to the law.  How did he intend to save them?  Yeshua was finding those who had left the blessings of the law and who were likely suffering the consequences of it.  He wanted them to escape the ultimate curse of the law.  Yeshua saved people by calling them to repentance; He was calling them to return to the law.  When individuals repent of their sinful ways, they can be saved from the influence of a wicked world and from their sins so they can live righteously.  When enough people repent, the nation can be saved from the curses of the law.

Yeshua was leading them to do what’s outlined in 2 Chronicles 7:13-14:

  • “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people,” (When I bring curses instead of blessing on My people)
  • “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (bring blessing instead of cursing)

Yeshua desires not just individual, but also corporate repentance so that all Israel will be saved, delivered, or rescued from the curses of the law we’ve already mentioned.

This is the end of part 1.  Be sure to come back in the future to read Salvation from Genesis to Revelation Parts 2-4.

The Lord’s Vineyard

In Isaiah 5, the prophet Isaiah sang a song about the one he loved and his loved one’s vineyard.  The one he loved is none other than the Lord. 

Isaiah explained that the Lord took care to dig up and clear away the stones for His vineyard.  He planted the choicest vines, built a watchtower in the middle of it, and carved out a winepress in its rock.  After all this careful work, He expected the vineyard to produce good grapes but it only produced sour, wild grapes which greatly disappointed the Lord.

Isaiah explained that the Lord’s vineyard was the house of Israel and the men of Judah.  He expected justice and righteousness but there was only bloodshed and cries of distress. He asked those in Jerusalem and Judah what He could’ve done to make His vineyard produce better grapes.

Because of the horrible fruit being produced, the Lord decided to remove its hedge of protection so that it could be burned.  He was not going to dig or prune it; He was going to allow the briers and thorns to grow up.  He was going to withhold rain too so that only a few crops would grow and told them the beautiful houses were going to become desolate and empty.  Isaiah was reminding the people that if they did not walk in obedience to the law, they would experience the curses of the law found in Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26.

The problem in Isaiah’s day was that the people were too busy feasting to consider the ways of the Lord.  Because of their lack of knowledge of how He works, they were going to go into captivity and be hungry and thirsty.  The Lord warned them that Sheol (hell) would be waiting for them. 

The goal of the Lord was to humble the arrogant, to be exalted in judgment, and to reveal His holiness.  Eliminating the wicked would “leave behind the sheep to graze in their own pasture.”  Isaiah was saying that once the unrighteous are removed, the Lord’s righteous people will be able to eat and thrive among the ruins of the rich.

Unfortunately, the wicked in Isaiah’s day didn’t seem to believe the warnings of the Lord.  They were just like people today who:

  • Say, “Yeah, right. Let it happen.  I’ll believe God’s plan when I see it.” 
  • Call evil good and good evil. 
  • Are wise and clever in their own eyes; they didn’t realize how blind they really were.
  • Drink alcohol all the time.
  • Accept bribes and pervert justice.

Isaiah explained that their destiny is the lake of fire because they have rejected the law of the Lord.  Not only is the Lord’s hand ready to strike them down dead in the streets, He’s calling for other nations to come and destroy them!  What’s worse is that the righteous are at risk of suffering the curses brought on by the wicked.

As Isaiah 5 comes to an end, Isaiah speaks of “that day.”  This clearly signals that this passage was not only for the people of Isaiah’s time, it’s also for our time because “that day” is the day of the coming of the Lord.

Do you doubt and think this passage was only for the people in Isaiah’s time?  It’s not!  In Luke 13:6-9, Jesus gave a similar illustration or parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.  7 Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’  8 But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it.  9 And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.'”

The parables of the kingdom of God are timeless!  What would it be like for this fig tree to be cut down?  It will be like the description of the day of the Lord given in Amos 5:18-19: “Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! For what good is the day of the Lord to you? It will be darkness, and not light. 19 It will be as though a man fled from a lion, And a bear met him! Or as though he went into the house, Leaned his hand on the wall, And a serpent bit him!

Revelation 14:19-20 describes it like this:  “For the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.”

Do you know how to avoid being thrown in the this winepress?

Many people are of the opinion that the kind of fruit God is looking for is simply good deeds.  Certainly those are pleasing to the Lord but He really wants us to be obedient to the law.  This is true righteousness.

If you want to avoid being cut down by the Lord, turn to Him, let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream–love justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God!

In addition to these, Galatians 5:22-24 gives more detail of the kind of fruit that should be in our lives: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”  These are a result of lawfulness.  This is where blessing come from. 

Did The Lord Really Say He Didn’t Desire Sacrifices?

During the days of Uzziah (Azariah), Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (kings of Judah), Isaiah the son of Amoz saw a vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem.  In order to understand this vision better, we need to know a little about these men.

According to 2 Chronicles 26:3-4, Uzziah was 16 years old when he began to reign in Jerusalem and he reigned for 52 years.  Uzziah did what was right in the Lord’s sight and sought God during the days of Zechariah.  Unfortunately, he became prideful and entered the temple in order to burn incense to the Lord on the golden altar .  He became furious when the priests prevented him from doing so.  The Lord struck him with tzara’at (leprosy), he was cut off from the house of the Lord, and dwelt in isolation until his death.

Azariah’s son, Jotham began to reign in his place when he was 25 years old.  Jotham reigned 16 years and did what was right in the Lord’s sight.  During that time, the people acted corruptly.  After Jotham died, his son, Ahaz reigned in his place. 

Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign as king of Judah in Jerusalem.  He reigned 16 years and was wicked like the kings of Israel.  Ahaz:

  • Made molded images of the Baals.
  • Burned incense in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom.
  • Burned his children in the fire.

Second Chronicles 28:4 says Ahaz sacrificed and burned incense on the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree.  Because of what Ahaz had done, the Lord his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria.  A great multitude of the Jews were carried away to Damascus at that time.  Ahaz also fought against Pekah, the king of Israel and was defeated.  One hundred twenty thousand people were killed in one day because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers and two hundred thousand women, sons, and daughters were captured and taken to Samaria.  In addition to that, the Israelites took a lot of spoil to Samaria.  Shortly after that, the Lord commanded Israel, through the prophet Oded, to return the captives of Judah.  Even so, the Lord continued to deal with Judah and King Ahaz because Ahaz encouraged moral decline in Judah and had been unfaithful to the Lord continually. 

With these first three men in mind, we can understand the first part of Isaiah’s vision in Isaiah chapter one.  Even though the Lord had brought the Jews up and nourished them, they rebelled against Him.  They didn’t know Him or think about Him as they should have.

Judah was a sinful nation at that time.  They were described as:

  • A people laden with iniquity.
  • A brood of evildoers.
  • Children who are corrupters.
  • Those who had forsaken the Lord.  In other words, they had committed apostasy by turning their backs on the Lord.

By their behavior, they had provoked the Lord and made the Holy One of Israel angry.

In Isaiah 1:5-6, the Lord says, “Why should you be stricken again?  You will revolt more and more. The whole head is sick, And the whole heart faints. 6 From the sole of the foot even to the head, There is no soundness in it, But wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; They have not been closed or bound up, Or soothed with ointment.”

This sounds absolutely disgusting yet Judah had no idea that their true condition was almost like Sodom and Gomorrah.  The sins of the people of Judah were a major infection that had taken over the whole nation.  When someone is in that bad of condition, it would seem as if there is no hope for healing and that death would appear to be welcome relief.   

Judah was desolate and besieged.  Fortunately, the Lord of armies left a very small remnant because He desired to heal His people.  The Lord addressed them and told them to hear the law of God.  Right here are a few verses that are often taken out of context.  Isaiah 1:11-15 says, “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me? “Says the Lord.”I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, Or of lambs or goats. 12 “When you come to appear before Me, Who has required this from your hand, To trample My courts? 13 Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies — I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. 14 Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.”

Now wait a minute.  Who had required sacrifices and incense from the people?  The Lord did. 

Is He saying He had never wanted sacrifices, incense, and His feasts to be celebrated?  No.  Again, the Lord commanded His people to do these things. 

If that’s the case, why was the Lord not pleased?  It was because these activities had become meaningless, false, useless, or vain.  

By saying these things, the Lord defined the disease that afflicted the Jews; the Jewish people were not bringing their offerings and incense in complete love and devotion to the Lord because their hearts were focused on lawlessness and not on Him.

Since the Lord truly wanted to heal His people, He told the Jews through the prophet Isaiah, “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, 17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.” (Isaiah 1:16-17)  In other words, He was commanding His people to repent!

The Lord wanted His people to come to their senses.  He wanted to reason with them and cleanse them from their sins.  In Isaiah 1:19-20, the Lord reminded them of Deuteronomy 30 by giving them a choice between life and death, blessing and cursing:  “If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; 20 But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword”; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”  By the time He said this, He should have had their attention!

What else did the Lord say?  How did He describe the city that had once been faithful? 

He said that had become a harlot!  Instead of justice and righteousness, murder was commonplace.  Their silver had become dross.  In other words, the people of Judah had become as mixed alloys or as mixed fibers of wool and linen; they had become common (unholy) by their association with wicked lawless people.  They had done what was forbidden and they weren’t pure anymore.  Their leaders were rebellious and friends of thieves.  They loved bribes and sought rewards.  They did not defend the orphan or take care of the widows.  At some point, they closed up the temple and stopped offering incense and offerings.

The cure for this horrible condition is found in the first chapter of Isaiah where the Lord revealed His plan for the future known as the last days.  This is the same plan that is hidden in the shadow of the Levitical offerings that had been vainly offered by His people. 

Isaiah 1:24-25 describes it like this:  “Therefore the Lord says, The Lord of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel, “Ah, I will rid Myself of My adversaries, And take vengeance on My enemies. 25 I will turn My hand against you, And thoroughly purge away your dross, And take away all your alloy.”  In other words, the Lord planned to cut out the worst part of the infection so He could heal the rest of the body.

It’s hard to say exactly when Isaiah spoke these words to God’s people but if you recall, there was one more man listed in Isaiah 1:1.  This man was Ahaz’ son, Hezekiah.  He was 25 years old when he began to reign and he reigned 29 years.  He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and carried out great reforms in Judah.  He commanded the Levites to sanctify themselves, sanctify the temple, and offer incense and sacrifices according to the commandments of the Lord.  Temple worship was restored, the feasts of the Lord were celebrated, and the people were encouraged to return to the Lord.  At one point Hezekiah became filled with pride and the Lord tested him to find out what was really in his heart.  Fortunately, Hezekiah humbled himself before the Lord and was honored at his death.

Prior to Hezekiah, the condition of Judah was the same as the harlot, Babylon the Great in Revelation 17.  In fact, the Lord said their sins were as scarlet.  The harlot, Babylon the Great, rode a scarlet beast and was dressed in purple and scarlet and glittered with gold, precious stones, and pearls.   Even though she seemed to possess great wealth, she was clothed in sin and associated with the beast.

The Lord is calling His people whose sins are as scarlet to come out of Babylon the Great today.  Those around us are deceived and are following leaders who are like King Ahaz who encouraged lawlessness.  Like Judah, we must forsake lawlessness and allow the Lord to cleanse us.  We must turn back to the commands of the Lord and choose life instead of death and blessing instead of cursing before the Day of the Lord, the day of Jesus’ return.  Just like Hezekiah encouraged Judah to return to the Lord, I am encouraging you to do the same.

After the Lord returns and destroys His enemies, do you know what He’s going to do?  The answer is found in Isaiah 1:26-28:  “I will restore your judges as at the first, And your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.” 27 Zion shall be redeemed with justice, And her penitents with righteousness. 28 The destruction of transgressors and of sinners shall be together, And those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed.”

This is similar to what the shadows of the Levitical offerings teach.  The righteous will be purified and made righteous in the refiner’s fire but the wicked will be burned in the lake of fire.

We must avoid such a fate.  We do not want to be like the terebinth (or oak) tree in verse 30 whose leaf fades as a garden that has no water.  We must desire to be like a tree planted by streams of water that bring forth fruit in its season.  This is similar to the Tree of Life.

Psalm 1:1-3 explains how to do that:  “Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season.”

When we walk with the path of sinners, we become like mixed metals or like those clothed in a mixture of linen and wool.  We are no longer pure and holy.  We must reject and separate ourselves from the lawlessness that surrounds us, have the testimony of Christ, and offer ourselves as living sacrifices to the Lord by keeping the commandments of God. 

Remember, to choose life is to choose blessing and to choose death is to choose cursing.  Choose wisely.