Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
Authored By :
Published On :
November 18, 1997
Last Updated :
November 7, 2012
Lessons Recap And Learning From The Past, Chastisement Is Tempered With Hope And Followed By Mercy, Promised Return, God Pleads With Us To Repent, Our Sins Made White As Snow, Past Feeling Due To Sin, Destruction Of Jerusalem By Titus Forsaking God's Mercy, The Arab Invasion Of Israel, Battle Of Armageddon, Who Is An Antichrist?, Ungodly Hypocritical America, Who Will Escape God's Wrath?, Closing Remarks
Through this lengthy, and hopefully interesting, discussion, we have now gained a better understanding of the depth of the Israelites' apostasy, from the time that they were in Egypt, up until the time of the three Babylonian invasions during the 6th Century B.C. We have seen how the Lord was repeatedly forced to deal with them, to such a degree that literally thousands of Israelites were eventually carried away as slaves into Assyria, Babylonia, Media, etc. We have also gained some historical insights regarding the conquest of the Promised Land, met a few of the leaders and kings who ruled during that time period, and studied the events which resulted in the kingdom of Israel being divided in half. We have also come to understand the spiritual factors which led to this apostasy, and have seen how we can apply the lessons learned to our own lives today, as Christians who must fight a similar battle of faith and perseverance in this ungodly modern world. As we saw in part one, the Apostle Paul wrote:
"But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."
1 Corinthians 10:5-12, KJV
While we have concentrated on the sins, disobediences and failures of the children of Israel in this series, it is also important that we remember that their periods of chastisement were also followed by periods of Divine Mercy. In short, as I explained earlier, just as we human parents may become upset with our children, and may be forced to punish them in order to help them to see the error of their ways, but will in the end grant them forgiveness and shower them with love again, so too, the Lord will eventually show His Mercy, and will end the punishment. It is for this very reason that in warning the Israelites of the coming chastisement by the Assyrians, the Lord doesn't want them to lose hope altogether, or to doubt His love for them; thus, Isaiah writes the following:
"Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt. For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction. And the LORD of hosts shall stir up a scourge for him according to the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb: and as his rod was upon the sea, so shall he lift it up after the manner of Egypt. And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing."
Isaiah 10:24-27, KJV
You may recall that in part one, I also shared the following verses with you, which are likewise found in the prophecies of Isaiah:
"For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer."
Isaiah 54:7-8, KJV
So, even though the Lord was going to chastise them severely due to their waywardness, there is the promise of redemption; and Isaiah tells them that after the Assyrian has done God's Will as one of His "vessels of wrath", he too shall meet his end. As I explain in other articles, this is precisely what occurred too. The Assyrians were eventually overcome by their sister empire to the south, the Babylonians. Many years later the Lord would do the very same thing through Jeremiah. Like his predecessor, Isaiah, Jeremiah would warn the backslidden people of Judah of the coming Babylonian invasions; but the Lord would have Jeremiah temper his words of chastisement with hope and mercy as well, as we see by these verses:
"Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul. For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them. And fields shall be bought in this land, whereof ye say, It is desolate without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans. Men shall buy fields for money, and subscribe evidences, and seal them, and take witnesses in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the mountains, and in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south: for I will cause their captivity to return, saith the LORD."
Jeremiah 32:37-44, KJV
There are other verses as well in Jeremiah's writings where the Lord promises to show the Jews mercy, by allowing them to return to the land of Israel, once the seventy years of captivity have been fulfilled. The Prophet Ezekiel, who was a contemporary of the Prophet Daniel, also wrote of God's promise to return the children of Israel to their own land once they had served out their punishment. Again, following are some example verses for your personal consideration:
"Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence. And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God."
Ezekiel 11:17-20, KJV
"I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for the which I lifted up mine hand to give it to your fathers. And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed."
Ezekiel 20:41-43, KJV
"For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment."
Ezekiel 34:11-16, KJV
So the lesson here is that no matter how bad we have been, if we truly repent from our hearts, in His Divine Mercy, God will not only forgive us for our sins, but He will restore us to fellowship with Him. Isn't that what Jesus' Sacrifice is all about? In the very first chapter of his book, the Lord pleads with all of us through Isaiah when he writes:
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
Isaiah 1:18, KJV
Some eight hundred years later, the Apostle Peter would also write in his second Epistle:
"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
2 Peter 3:9, KJV
From the time that Isaiah and Peter wrote those words until today, in His Mercy, God has continued to call His children to repent of their sins. We may have to first experience the fruits of our disobedience to Him, but like the story of the Prodigal Son, the Father is always patiently waiting for us to come to our senses and return to Him. As I fully explain in "The Blood Atonement: In Jesus' Own Words", through the atoning Blood of Jesus Christ, who died for the sins of the world, we have all been offered the opportunity to have our sins made as white as snow. The question is, do we really want God's forgiveness? Are we even willing to recognize the sins in our lives? Are we willing to confess our need for a Savior? Or is our pride so great, that we prefer to live in a state of delusion, thinking that we are okay with the Lord, when we most certainly are not?
We all need to remember that just one small sin in our lives, one seemingly-innocent disobedience, or one small complaint, can lead to another, until Satan has totally destroyed our effectiveness for the Lord, and separated us from our Father in Heaven. It is kind of interesting the way sin works its way into our lives. With each disobedience, we become bolder and bolder, and more rebellious against the Lord, until we finally no longer even feel the conviction of His Spirit in our hearts. As the Apostle Paul wrote, we reach a point of being "past feeling", as we see here:
"This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness."
Ephesians 4:17-19, KJV
Sadly, this is precisely what happened to the Israelites of old, and it is what is continuing to happen throughout the world today as well. Even though the Lord repeatedly showed the Jews His Mercy, by allowing them to escape out of Egypt, by defeating their enemies time and time again, and by even allowing them to return to Israel a second time following the Assyrian and the Babylonian invasions, yet they did not learn their lesson for very long. By the time of the First Century, their sins had once again led them to be victims of the Roman occupation. As we all know, during that time, the Jewish leadership filled their cup of iniquity, when they rejected God's offer of Forgiveness and Salvation, and made themselves responsible for the Crucifixion of the very Son of God. Thus, as I point out in other articles, in the year 70 A.D., Jerusalem, and the rebuilt temple of Solomon, were leveled to the ground by General Titus -- the son of Emperor Vespasian -- and his Roman legions; precisely as Jesus had prophesied some forty years earlier in Matthew chapter twenty-four, as we see here:
"And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."
Matthew 24:1-2, KJV
According to some historical records, as many as one million Israelites were slaughtered, as a result of three years of Roman carnage. In light of those catastrophic events which occurred during the First Century, the period of repentance which had transpired five hundred years earlier following Cyrus' decree to return to Jerusalem, which is described in the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah, seems so useless now, and such a waste of time. But, as we have already seen, these alternating periods of chastisement and repentance, seem to be the pattern which the Jews have followed since the time of their deliverance out of Egyptian bondage. Let me remind you again of a verse I shared with you in part one, which was written by the Prophet Isaiah. Please note that while it is translated here as "favor", in sixteen other places in the Old Testament, the Hebrew word "chanan" is translated as "mercy":
"Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD."
Isaiah 26:10, KJV
You may also recall that in part one, I mentioned that during his time of distress and personal tribulation, when he was in the belly of the great fish, the Prophet Jonah also uttered some words of wisdom, which reveal the utter foolishness of forsaking God's mercy for a lie. Jonah wrote:
"They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy."
Jonah 2:8, KJV
Today, two thousand years later, the obstinacy of the Jews continues unabated; and the vast majority of them are still so blind, that they reject the Messiahship of Jesus Christ. It is for this reason, that as I explain in such articles as "Oh Israel, Why Will Ye Die?" and "The Great Tribulation and the Rapture", I believe that the Lord may soon harshly judge them once again. It seems that history is repeating itself. Just as the Angel of the Lord prophesied so long ago, as a result of her sins against God, Israel's enemies continue to be thorns in her side; and one day soon, in God's appointed time, they are going to attack her again. Only then will her pride finally be broken; and a remnant of her people will finally accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
While nations such as Egypt and Jordan have signed peace treaties with Israel, when the final showdown comes between the Arabs and the Jews, I suspect that these two countries will choose to side with their Muslim brethren. If I am correct in my understanding of Endtime prophecy, this final confrontation will be the prophesied Battle of Armageddon, which will occur in the plain of Megiddo, which is located in northern Israel. For more information regarding this topic, please refer to such articles as "From Armageddon to the New Earth". In the Book of Revelation, or Apocalypse, we read the following:
"And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty . . . And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon."
Revelation 16:13-14, 16, KJV
In all fairness, as I have already pointed out, we need to realize that the sins of rebellion and unbelief are by no means limited to the modern Jews alone. While God has chosen to use them as His example in the Scriptures -- which is why I write about them so much -- precisely as Paul explained in the verse I shared earlier, they are not the only antichrists in the world today. There are many ungodly individuals within the Gentile world as well. In fact, the Gentile antichrists way outnumber the Jewish antichrists, due to the simple fact that there only about fourteen million Jews in the world, as opposed to some six billion Gentiles. The truth of the matter is that any person who knowingly rejects Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, is in fact an antichrist, regardless of his ethnicity. As the Apostle John plainly tells us:
"Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son."
1 John 2:22, KJV
"And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world."
1 John 4:3, KJV
"For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist."
2 John 1:7, KJV
So, many people the world over, and not just the Jews, have hardened their hearts to the Voice of God, and have totally blocked Him out of their lives; even in such places as the so-called "Christian" United States of America. It is very heart-breaking to realize that this country, which claims to be the most Christian nation upon Earth, is in reality one of the most violent, oppressive, blood-thirsty, vengeful, selfish, materialistic, wasteful, sexually-immoral nations upon the face of the Earth. The United States has waged more wars, economically oppressed more people, killed more babies, exported more sexual filth, and polluted the environment more than any other nation in modern history. While America claims to be blessed and favored by God, she has nullified many of His Laws, and turned her heart, eyes and ears away from Him, as she becomes drunker and drunker on her own foolish pride and vanity. As Jesus said of the ungodly Jewish leadership of His own day:
"This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me."
Matthew 15:8, KJV
A primary example of this occurred just two days ago when the Episcopal Church USA, in total defiance of its mother church, the worldwide Anglican Church Communion, consecrated its first openly-gay bishop, the Reverend Gene Robinson, in the state of New Hampshire. How can God possibly turn away His anger and judgments, when even His own children defy Him, and mock His Word? Tell me; if the Israelites of old did not escape God's Wrath, who is anyone else today to think that they will escape it either? Furthermore, if God's own children barely survive His loving chastisements, as Peter questions, where does that leave the rest of the unbelieving world, or even backslidden, compromising, worldly Christendom?:
"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?"
1 Peter 4:17-18, KJV
So the overall lesson of this series is this: We must each endeavor to do our best to stay close to the Lord, to remain obedient to His Word, and to walk in humility and lowliness of heart before Him. We must not permit the evil fruits of disobedience to fill our lives, as they filled the lives of the Israelites of old. If we do these things, if we choose to obey Him out of a pure heart, then we can look forward to receiving His Divine Blessings, such as His Protection, as well as His Provision. On the other hand, if we fail to do these things, and walk contrary to Him, then consider this:
"For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? . . . It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God . . . For our God is a consuming fire."
Hebrews 10:26-29, 31, 12:29, KJV
God will soon begin His "house-cleaning". How many of us will be left standing by the time He has finished the job? With these profound thoughts, I will bring this series to its conclusion. I hope that you have found it informative, and I pray that it has been a blessing and an inspiration in your life.
If you have enjoyed reading this series, please consider sharing its URL with your online friends. If you have an account with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, etc, I would also appreciate if you would take the time to click on the corresponding link that is found on this page. Thanks so much, and may God bless you abundantly!
For additional information, you may want to refer to the list of reading resources below which were also mentioned in this series, or which are related to this series, and which are likewise located on this very same Bill's Bible Basics website:
Are You Clean Every Whit?
Beholding the Evil and the Good
Biblical Cafeteria, Or the Whole Course?
Dracula: Fighting Fear with the Word, Faith and Love
Free Will and Personal Choice
From Armageddon to the New Earth
Hell, the Lake of Fire and Universal Atonement
Is God a Racist?
Job and the Land of Uz: A Biblical Mystery?
Love and Light, or Rod and Wrath?
Oh Israel, Why Will Ye Die?
Our Pagan World: The Easter Myth Exposed
Peter: Faith Tried in the Fire
Satan: King of Tyrus, King of Empires!
Selfishness: A Sign of the Endtime?
So You Really Think You Are So Humble?
The Beginning of Sorrows
The Children of God and Politics
The Great Tribulation and the Rapture
The International Jew and the Protocols of Zion
The Kings of the North and the South
The Plight of the Children
The Seven Heads
What Is God's Will For My Life?