Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
November 2, 1999
Last Updated :
April 19, 2009
Guilt Of The Jews, Hosea Married A Whore, Israel Lost Her Fear Of God, Sin Of Trusting In Ourselves, Self-Confidence Leads To Disobedience To God, God's Warnings To Israelites, Not Because Of Their Own Might Or Goodness, King David's Foolish Census, Israel's Fall Into Apostasy, Self-Imposed Delusion And Intentional Deception, Upside-Down Distorted View, Blood Of The Lord's Prophets, God Sends Delusion, Israel And Judah Invaded, Startling Parallels To Modern "Christian" America, King Hezekiah's Call To Repentance
As I concluded in part one, despite the many miracles in the land of Egypt and in the wilderness; in spite of the many victories in battle given to them by the Lord against their pagan enemies; and even though God saw fit to bestow upon them many physical blessings, the ancient Israelites went from being the most God-fearing people upon the face of the Earth, to being the most rebellious and anti-god nation the world has ever known; and in my opinion, they remain in that condition to this very day, perhaps only overshadowed by the United States of America. My reason for saying this, and it is indeed quite Scriptural, is very simple. Those people who know the truth, and who have consciously rejected it, are more guilty in God's sight, than those who have never heard it to begin with. As Jesus said of the unbelieving Jewish leadership of His day:
"If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin."
John 15:22, KJV
At this point, some of you might be wondering exactly how such a thing could possibly have happened. What caused a people who was at one time so highly favored by the Lord, to become viewed as a whore in His sight, as we saw earlier from the words of the Prophet Ezekiel? Before answering this question for you, it might interest you to know, that it was so important to the Lord to graphically illustrate His sore displeasure with the bad attitude and backslidden spiritual condition of the children of Israel, that He even told the Prophet Hosea to marry a harlot. Consider this verse:
"The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD."
Hosea 1:2, KJV
In His mercy, God was using every means at His disposal, in order to try to shock the wayward Israelites into realizing the gravity of their backslidden condition. So how did they arrive at such a condition? Well, believe it or not, the answer is very simple; and in fact, I have already given it to you. Allow me to remind you again of the wisdom of Kings David and Solomon:
"Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass."
Psalms 37:5, KJV
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever."
Psalms 111:10, KJV
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Proverbs 3:5-6, KJV
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding."
Proverbs 9:10, KJV
In short, the Israelites made two major mistakes. First; once they had grown into a large nation in the land of Egypt, and then became firmly established in the land of Canaan, successive generations began to lose their fear of the Lord. They hadn't personally seen the powerful miracles which had been done in Egypt, or the miracles which God had wrought in the wilderness. Neither had they experienced the decisive victories which had been won with the Lord's help during the conquest of Canaan. As I mentioned in part one, they had undoubtedly heard of the Lord's awesome might and delivering power through the stories which had been passed down to them, just as the entire pagan world of that region had heard, but it may be that their relationship with the Lord wasn't quite as personal as it had been with their forefathers. I would dare say that in the absence of such a multitude of miracles, it required more faith on their part to keep on believing in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
When any person, or any nation, begins to lose the fear of the Lord, two other things also begin to happen. The loss of Godly reverence is soon accompanied by the temptation to trust in ourselves and in our own wisdom and might, instead of in the Lord as we should. This temptation can ultimately result in disobeying the Lord's commandments; and as I have already mentioned, when the Israelites did it, they did it with full abandon. Let's take a look at some of the facts.
When Moses gave the people God's instructions regarding how they were to conquer the land of Canaan, he told them very specifically to utterly destroy and drive out the heathen nations living in Canaan, and to cast down their high places of pagan worship, and to destroy all of the idols of their false gods. This was for several reasons. First of all, as the following verses clearly reveal, according to the Laws given to Moses, anyone who worshipped a pagan god was worthy of death. Second; the Lord commanded the Israelites to do these things in order to protect them from falling into a spiritual and physical snare, and thus losing their spiritual and ethnic purity:
"He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed."
Exodus 22:20, KJV
"But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off. Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images. And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee. There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfil. I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee. And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee. I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee. By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land. And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee. Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee."
Exodus 23:22-33, KJV
"Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan; Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places: And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it."
Numbers 33:51-53, KJV
"And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them: neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee . . . And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee. But the LORD thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed. And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them. The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God. Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing."
Deuteronomy 7:16, 22-26, KJV
"When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do."
Deuteronomy 18:9-14, KJV
It is also interesting to note that the Lord warned them to not think for a minute, that any of the victories which would be won, would be wrought by the power of their own hand, or even because of their own goodness. In fact, Moses very clearly told them that they were a stiff-necked and rebellious people, and that the reason for which the Lord was going to do these things for them, wasn't because of their own goodness, but rather because the heathen were so wicked. Consider these verses:
"Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God."
Deuteronomy 8:11-20, KJV
"Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee. Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee. Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people."
Deuteronomy 9:3-6, KJV
As I have already made clear, in spite of these many clear warnings from the Lord, those foolish Israelites turned around and slapped God in the face. They failed miserably at everything He had commanded them to do, or not to do. Only a few hundred years later, after the death of Joshua, and then Caleb, and then during the times of the Judges, they began to marry those very same heathen whom they were supposed to drive out and destroy; and if that wasn't bad enough, they also began to adopt their false religions and their false gods as their own. As we saw in part one, it got so bad, that they were sacrificing their very own children to them.
David and Solomon both said to trust in the Lord, and in His wisdom, but the Israelites did the exact opposite. In fact, as I explain in other articles, in spite of the fact that King David was so loved of the Lord, he fell victim to these very same sins; and it is because of the lessons which he learned through his bitter experiences, that he was inspired to write some of the things which he did. Many of us are familiar with the story of David and Bathsheba, and how David leaned to his own understanding by both committing second-degree murder, and then adultery. This event in his life, and the repentance which followed, resulted in David writing Psalm Fifty-One, which has been a blessing, and a model prayer, used by many of us today.
Another incident which I mention in other articles concerns how in a moment of weakness, and human foolishness, David went against the wise counsel of his general, Joab, and took a nation-wide census of Israel. The reason why this act was such a sin before the Lord, is because David was supposed to be trusting in God for his military victories, and giving Him due credit for the same. Taking a census of Israel was a clear sign that David was beginning to trust in the arm of the flesh instead; that is, in the power of his fighting forces. Ironically, in the twentieth Psalm, David also wrote:
"Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God."
Psalms 20:7, KJV
As a result of this foolish disobedience, we are told in the twenty-first chapter of the first Book of Chronicles, that the Angel of the Lord smote seventy thousand fighting men throughout Israel. Following are some of the key verses from this interesting story:
"And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it. And Joab answered, The LORD make his people an hundred times so many more as they be: but, my lord the king, are they not all my lord's servants? why then doth my lord require this thing? why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel? Nevertheless the king's word prevailed against Joab. Wherefore Joab departed, and went throughout all Israel, and came to Jerusalem . . . And God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel. And David said unto God, I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing: but now, I beseech thee, do away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly . . . So the LORD sent pestilence upon Israel: and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men. And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying, the LORD beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD stood by the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite."
1 Chronicles 21:1-4, 7-8, 14-15, KJV
As I mentioned a moment ago, the loss of Godly fear is soon accompanied by the temptation to trust in ourselves, and in our own wisdom, instead of in the Lord; and this temptation ultimately results in disobeying the Lord in some way; which is exactly what David did. As I explain in other articles, such as in the aforementioned "The Fruits Of Disobedience", as well as in "The Children Of God And Politics", the very fact that the Israelites even had an Earthly king over them, was due to disobedience on their part, and their wayward desire to be just like the pagan nations which surrounded them. In other words, they weren't content with just having the Lord as their Eternal King in the Heavens; they wanted to blend in with their enemies and adopt their customs. So the spirit of pride and disobedience which first reared its ugly head shortly after the Israelites were liberated from Egypt, ultimately resulted in their downfall and destruction by their enemies. As King Solomon wrote:
"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."
Proverbs 16:18, KJV
From their on-again off-again obedience during the times of the Judges, to rebellious Saul's repeated disobedience and loss of the kingdom, to David's various sins of the flesh, to Solomon's steep fall into pagan idol worship in his old age, the situation just continued to deteriorate more and more as the years progressed. As we saw in part one, the Prophets Isaiah and Hosea wrote "ye will revolt more and more" and "And now they sin more and more". Again, what a sad story for a people who had been so close to the Lord.
What I find most alarming about this situation in ancient Israel, is that the Jewish leadership, as well as the common people, were living in denial of the truth. They knew that they were totally backslidden from the Lord; yet they continued to go through the motions of serving Him; so that on the surface, things appeared quite normal. The truth of the matter was entirely different, and God's true Prophets knew it, and even wrote about it. The Prophet Ezekiel, for one, clearly exposed what was going on behind closed doors. While the politically-correct, false prophets and priests were lying to the people, and telling them "Peace, peace; all is well", the true messengers of the Lord were warning them of imminent invasion and destruction by a very cruel and violent enemy, because of their sins against the Lord.
This delusion by the Jewish leadership was intentional; they were purposely trying to deceive the people into believing a lie; and yet, as I shared with you in part one, this is what the people wanted to hear. They didn't want to hear of their wayward condition. They didn't want to be told that God was soon going to judge them harshly through an invasion by a foreign power. They wanted to be overcome by a false spirit of complacency and lulled to sleep. As Jeremiah said:
"The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?"
Jeremiah 5:31, KJV
Imagine that! "My people love to have it so"! Those foolish people wanted to be blinded to the truth by their deceptive leaders! They wanted to see things in reverse! About one hundred and fifty years earlier, the Prophet Isaiah said of them in the prophecy I shared with you earlier, "Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay". In other words, Isaiah was telling them that the Lord knew that they were purposely twisting the truth, and in fact turning the truth upside down and presenting a lie as the truth; and soon He would expose their wicked deception, and smash them in the fires of His hot judgments, like a marred potter's vessel which is utterly useless. In fact, twenty-four chapters earlier in this same book, Isaiah wrote of them:
"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"
Isaiah 5:20, KJV
So you see, that is the spirit of strong delusion which existed in the land of Israel for literally hundreds of years; and as I explain in other articles, it existed right up until the time of Christ, and strongly manifested itself through the self-righteous Scribes and Pharisees, who were constantly attacking the Lord, just as their forefathers had persecuted and slain all of the Prophets of truth who had come before Him. It is for this very reason that Jesus said of His enemies:
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar."
Matthew 23:29-35, KJV
For more on this topic, please read such articles as "Revelation's Babylon The Great Whore". The point is, for literally hundreds of years, the rebellious Israelites had been living under a cloud of strong delusion, because once one rejects the truth, there is no room for anything but delusion and deception. As Isaiah also wrote in one of the final chapters of his book:
"I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not."
Isaiah 66:4, KJV
The Israelites feared foreign invasion more than anything else, and that is exactly what the Lord brought upon them. It wasn't long after Isaiah wrote the previous lines, that the Lord strongly chastised the northern kingdom of Israel through the Assyrian invasion. In like manner, it was also forty years after Jeremiah began to prophesy against the southern kingdom of Judah, that the Lord likewise punished them through the invasion by the forces of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, which left Solomon's Temple destroyed, and Jerusalem in ruins. It should also not surprise us then, that hundreds of years later, Jesus would quote from Isaiah's writings, in order to expose the same deceitful spirit which characterized the false Jewish religious establishment of the First Century:
"He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me."
Mark 7:6, KJV
So it is clear then, that the delusion in Israel was so strong, that the political and religious leadership, and the people, had a totally twisted, perverted view of the world, and of their relationship with God. They were so deceived, that they didn't even realize how far they had strayed from Him; and it all began when they lost their fear of the Lord, and became haughty, self-confident and started trusting in their own wisdom, strength and military might, which ultimately resulted in them compromising their faith with the pagan nations around them. As we saw in part one, the Prophet Ezekiel fully exposed the self-confidence of the ancient Israelites when he wrote in part:
"But thou didst trust in thine own beauty . . ."
Ezekiel 16:15a, KJV
By this time, some of you may be wondering what all of this talk about the sins of ancient Israel has to do with the title of this article. For those of you who are in tune to God's Spirit, I am sure that you already see the startling parallels to the Endtime, and particularly to the spiritual condition of modern-day America. In fact, if you happen to be a regular reader of my articles, then you may realize that I really haven't said anything new, but am merely reiterating certain points I have already made in other articles, some of which I have already mentioned.
For those of you who have not yet understood, just as the spirit of deceit and delusion existed in ancient Israel, and was promoted by the very leadership which claimed to worship the true God of Heaven, we have leaders in America today who make the very same boasts. They are false leaders, and false spiritual shepherds; and yet, sadly, just like the ancient Israelites, so-called Christian America loves to have it so; because unlike Moses of old who was willing to forsake the pleasures and sins of Egypt in order to serve the one true God, many Americans prefer to be fed the lie that they are blessed by God, and the greatest Christian nation upon the Earth, while at the same time, they kick Him out of public schools, out of government, and teach and practice many things which are totally contrary to His Word. Moreover, they continue to enjoy their over-indulgent, sinful, and materialistic lifestyle at the expense of the oppressed poor of the world who are forced to work in "sweat shops" for a meager wage, in order to earn their living. Consider the following verses:
"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."
2 Timothy 3:13, KJV
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;"
2 Timothy 4:3, KJV
"By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;"
Hebrews 11:24,25, KJV
Exactly how close are these parallels between the history and sins of ancient Israel and modern-day America? Consider the following shocking truths. According to American history books, the United States of America was founded upon the principle of the freedom of expression. This expression is particularly manifested through political ideology, as well as through the freedom of religious worship. While some of the forefathers arrived in America seeking for financial opportunity, others sought to escape from the religious persecution which was rampant in Europe at the time, due to such things as the Inquisition by the Roman Catholic Church.
Many of us have been taught that America was founded upon Christian principles, just as ancient Israel was founded upon belief in the one true God of Heaven. Just as it took only a few hundred years for Israel to forsake her God, can we honestly say that America has done any differently? The Israelites were specifically told to drive out and destroy their pagan enemies, which they not only failed to do, but ended up marrying them as well. Look at modern so-called Christian America. Has she done any different? By no means! Today, rather than keeping themselves pure from pagans and pagan belief systems, Americans are marrying Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc., and adopting their religions as their own, instead of holding to their Christian heritage. If American Christians truly consider themselves to be God's people, just as the Jews view themselves as the same, then why are they doing these things?
Besides David and Solomon, one of the kings of Israel who was most pleasing to the Lord, was Hezekiah. Do you know why? As we are told in the Second Book of the Chronicles of the Kings, not only did he repair the Temple of the Lord and re-institute the priestly order and the daily sacrifices and offerings, but he also sent letters to the tribes throughout Israel and Judah, in which he strongly encouraged the people to return to the Lord. Furthermore, he advised them to tear down the altars and the false idols which had been built to honor the pagan gods of the heathen, as we see here:
"And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done. He in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the LORD, and repaired them. And he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them together into the east street, And said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the LORD God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place. For our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD our God, and have forsaken him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the LORD, and turned their backs. Also they have shut up the doors of the porch, and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense nor offered burnt offerings in the holy place unto the God of Israel. Wherefore the wrath of the LORD was upon Judah and Jerusalem, and he hath delivered them to trouble, to astonishment, and to hissing, as ye see with your eyes. For, lo, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this. Now it is in mine heart to make a covenant with the LORD God of Israel, that his fierce wrath may turn away from us. My sons, be not now negligent: for the LORD hath chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that ye should minister unto him, and burn incense."
2 Chronicles 29:2-11, KJV
As we conclude this series in part three, we will be making some final comparisons between ancient Israel and modern America, and then consider the possible outcomes of America's current state of apostasy. I trust that you will join me.
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