Copyright 1994 - 2023 Bill's Bible Basics
Authored By :
Published On :
March 26, 1998
Last Updated :
September 29, 2012
NOTE: This article or series has not been updated recently. As such, it may possibly contain some outdated information, and/or ideas and beliefs which I no longer embrace, or which have changed to some degree.
Belligerent Benjamin Netanyahu, Stubborn Rebellious Jews, Pharaoh Necho And Josiah, Nabopolassar And Nebuchadnezzar, Stubborn Jewish Kings: Jehoiakim Jehoiachin And Zedekiah, Faithful Jeremiah Asks Why Will Ye Die?, Ezekiel Preaches Same Message, God's Desire Is For Repentance And Healing, Jews Refuse To Listen And Repent, Till There Was No Remedy, Assyrian Babylonian And Roman Invasions: Jews Only Seem To Understand God's Wrath, Ineffective American Government Is Controlled By Jewish Money, America's Wayward Child, Bibi Netanyahu Says Israel Alone Will Determine Her Own Future, Israel Pressures America To Bomb Iranian Nuclear Facilities, Odds Are Against The Resumption Of Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations, Pride Hostility And Mistrust Frustrate Peace Process, Both Sides Entrenched In Their Positions, Arafat Says Israel Offered Peanuts, Ehud Barak Suggests Unilateral Withdrawal From West Bank, Annexation Of Settlements, Abbas Unilaterally Approaches United Nations Seeking Non-Member Status For Palestine, How Will The Palestinians Ultimately React If Their Quest For Statehood At United Nations Fails
Originally written in early 1998, this article was motivated by the fact that at that time, despite new initiatives that were being taken by the government of the United States of America to revitalize the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and thus avert another possible Arab-Israeli war, the proud hawkish government of Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, was continuing to display nothing but belligerence towards the land-for-peace negotiations. We certainly have come full circle since that time, because Netanyahu is in office yet again, and the political stalemate is worse than before.
In reading both the Old and the New Testaments, one quickly discovers that these qualities of being proud, stubborn and rebellious have been strong traits of the Jewish people for literally thousands of years. Not only have these qualities gotten them in trouble with the Lord many times throughout their long history, but they have also caused them unnecessary hardships due to their lack of willingness to submit to their conquerors. In one example that is found in the pages of the Old Testament, King Josiah of Judah lost his life needlessly, all because of his foolish pride. Consider the following verses:
"After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him. But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not. Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded. His servants therefore took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah."
2 Chronicles 35:20-24, KJV
As you can see, Pharaoh Necho clearly told King Josiah that he had not come up to fight against him. He warned Josiah to not meddle with him, because he was just passing through Israel on his way to fight a battle at Carchemish against the king of Syria. Despite this clear overture of peace by Pharaoh Necho, Josiah still challenged him in the plain of Esdraelon, and thus lost his life needlessly. It was shortly after this that Pharaoh Necho, realizing what kind of people the Jews were, made Israel a subjugated nation. Following Josiah's death, Necho then took Josiah's son, Jehoahaz -- who had been crowned the new king -- to Egypt as a prisoner of war. He then replaced Jehoahaz with his brother Eliakim as a puppet king whom he renamed Johoiakim, as we see by these verses:
"And Pharaohnechoh put him in bands at Riblah in the land of Hamath, that he might not reign in Jerusalem; and put the land to a tribute of an hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold. And Pharaohnechoh made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in the room of Josiah his father, and turned his name to Jehoiakim, and took Jehoahaz away: and he came to Egypt, and died there."
2 Kings 23:33-34, KJV
It wasn't too long after this that Pharaoh Necho suffered a great military defeat in Syria at the Battle of Carchemish, at the hands of upcoming Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar, who was the son of Nabopolassar. Nabopolassar was largely responsible for rebelling against the Assyrians, who had ruled over Babylon for several hundred years prior to that time. From the time of this decisive battle and forward, and in accordance with the word of the Lord through the mouth of His Prophets, the Egyptian Empire was greatly diminished in land area and military power. This topic is discussed more at length in such articles as "The Seven Heads" series. Consider this verse:
"And the king of Egypt came not again any more out of his land: for the king of Babylon had taken from the river of Egypt unto the river Euphrates all that pertained to the king of Egypt."
2 Kings 24:7, KJV
Another clear example of Jewish belligerence is found in the Babylonian invasions, which I also discuss in considerable detail in "The Seven Heads", as well as in the series "The Fruits of Disobedience". The main point is that Jerusalem did not have to suffer as horribly as it did. In fact, had not Josiah's descendants broken their word of allegiance to King Nebuchadnezzar, very few people would have had to lose their lives. Sadly, despite the fact that the young Prophet Jeremiah warned the Israeli leadership for forty years to not rebel against the King of Babylon, but rather to submit, and to take it as a chastisement from the Lord, proud King Jehoiakim broke his promise after three years and conspired against Nebuchadnezzar. As a result of this, the Babylonian king put him in chains and carried him off to Babylon where he apparently died. Consider the following verses:
"Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD his God. Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon."
2 Chronicles 36:5-6, KJV
Following in his father's footsteps, Jehoiachin also did evil in the sight of the Lord. As a result, the Scriptures inform us that within a year of Jehoiakchin becoming the new king over Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar had become fed up with him, and thus also had him taken to Babylon and imprisoned. We are informed that it wouldn't be until thirty-seven years later that Babylonian King Evil-Merodach would release him from prison, as we see by the following verses:
"Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and his abominations which he did, and that which was found in him, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead. Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD. And when the year was expired, king Nebuchadnezzar sent, and brought him to Babylon, with the goodly vessels of the house of the LORD, and made Zedekiah his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem."
2 Chronicles 36:8-10, KJV
"And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the year that he began to reign did lift up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison; And he spake kindly to him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon; And changed his prison garments: and he did eat bread continually before him all the days of his life. And his allowance was a continual allowance given him of the king, a daily rate for every day, all the days of his life."
2 Kings 25:27-30, KJV
Believe it or not, but following the reign of Jechoichin, King Nebuchadnezzar decided to give the Jews a third chance to redeem themselves. So, he installed Jehoiachin's brother, Zedekiah, as the next puppet king in Jerusalem. As we know from the Scriptures, this foolish king turned out to be no better than his two predecessors. The final chapter of the second Book of Chronicles ends in the following manner:
"Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of the LORD. And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the LORD God of Israel. Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy. Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand. And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon. And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof. And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years."
2 Chronicles 36:11-21, KJV
As we can see here, the Lord literally pleaded with Zedekiah through the mouth of His faithful Prophet Jeremiah, to not rebel against Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. He warned the king to submit himself, and his people -- including the spiritual hierarchy, that is, the Sanhedrin -- and to just accept the invasion and the ensuing bondage. They were told to recognize it as a Divine Chastisement from God due to their waywardness in following after the pagan gods of the heathen. Consider the following strong warning:
"And it shall come to pass, that the nation and kingdom which will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation will I punish, saith the LORD, with the sword, and with the famine, and with the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand. Therefore hearken not ye to your prophets, nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, which speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon: For they prophesy a lie unto you, to remove you far from your land; and that I should drive you out, and ye should perish. But the nations that bring their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him, those will I let remain still in their own land, saith the LORD; and they shall till it, and dwell therein. I spake also to Zedekiah king of Judah according to all these words, saying, Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him and his people, and live. Why will ye die, thou and thy people, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, as the LORD hath spoken against the nation that will not serve the king of Babylon?"
Jeremiah 27:8-13, KJV
Notice exactly what the Lord asks the people of Jerusalem:
"WHY WILL YE DIE?"
The Lord used the Prophet Ezekiel to preach the very same message to the Jews. However, unlike Jeremiah, whose main ministry occurred prior to the captivity, Ezekiel's primary calling was to the Jews who had already gone into captivity in Babylon. Consider this example that is found in the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel:
"Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye."
Ezekiel 18:30-32, KJV
Notice again the emphasis of the Prophet's message:
"WHY WILL YE DIE? . . . TURN YOURSELVES AND LIVE YE."
The Lord repeats the very same urgent message of repentance to the rebellious Jews in the thirty-third chapter, where He likewise says through the Prophet Ezekiel:
"Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"
Ezekiel 33:11, KJV
Clearly the Lord does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked. The Prophet Jeremiah said the very same thing when he warned his Jewish brethren with the following message:
"For the Lord will not cast off for ever: But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men."
Lamentations 3:31-33, KJV
Concerning His own Ministry, even Jesus said that He had not come to destroy, but rather to seek and to save that which was lost. In fact, on one particular occasion, Jesus had to correct His own followers when they wanted to destroy a town because they rejected the Lord. Consider these verses:
"And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village."
Luke 9:51-56, KJV
"For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."
Luke 19:10, KJV
Having experienced so much of the Lord's Mercy in his own life, despite his sins and shortcomings, the Apostle Peter was also inspired to write the following in his second Epistle regarding God's desire for repentance:
"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
Finally, the Apostle Paul clearly reminds us that the purpose of God's chastisements is not to destroy us, or to discourage us, but rather to purge us of our sins, and to then give us a much-needed victory, as we see here:
"And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed."
Hebrews 12:5-13, KJV
It is for this reason that in the previous verse, the Prophet Ezekiel raises the question:
"TURN YE, TURN YE . . . FOR WHY WILL YE DIE?"
As I explain in "The Fruits of Disobedience", despite the many hundreds of years that the Lord warned the people of Israel to turn from their idolatry and their wicked ways, He knew that, once again, they would not listen, and they would not repent, just as they likewise will not listen or repent of their unbelief today either. That is why the Lord warned the Jews with the following through the Prophet Jeremiah:
"But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward. Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them: Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers. Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them; but they will not hearken to thee: thou shalt also call unto them; but they will not answer thee. But thou shalt say unto them, This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the LORD their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth."
Jeremiah 7:23-28, KJV
You will recall that earlier we read the following verse that is found in the second Book of the Chronicles:
"But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy."
2 Chronicles 36:16, KJV
Allow me to call your attention to the last five words in that verse: "till there was no remedy." In His great Mercy, God tried. He really tried. He sent the Jews messenger after messenger, Prophet after Prophet, and warning after warning. However, He finally decided that there was simply no remedy that would work, other than Divine Chastisement. The Jews just never seemed to get the point until they felt the Wrath of the Lord breathing down heavily on them. It happened with the Assyrians, it happened with the Babylonians, and it also happened six centuries later when the Jews made their biggest mistake of all when they chose to reject the very Son of God. As I explain in some of the aforementioned articles, as well as in "Psalm 83 War False Doctrine Exposed", once again the Jews experienced the full Wrath of God in 70 AD when both Jerusalem and the Temple were utterly destroyed by the Roman legions under the leadership of General Titus.
Tragically, As I point out in considerable detail in "Welcome to the Greater Israel, USA!", the Jews still have not learned their lesson. They still have not repented of their unbelief. They continue to remain antichrist, and resist the truth. A small number have repented and come to Christ, but not very many, despite efforts by some American Christians to convert them.
Considering the previous examples of Jewish stubbornness, it should come as no surprise that despite its size, military might, and economic and political power, for more than three decades now -- since President Jimmy Carter -- the United States government has been repeatedly embarrassed by Israeli prime ministers, and has clearly proven itself to be too weak and too ineffective to do anything substantial to remedy the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The truth of the matter -- as I bluntly point out in the aforementioned article -- is that so many of America's politicians have now been so corrupted and controlled by Jewish money, that they cannot do anything, even if they want to. After all, winning votes, and staying in office is more important to them, and they need those Jewish votes.
From a parental perspective, America has simply lost control of her child. Let me remind you again that it was indeed in part through American nurturing and economic and political support, that Israel was first recognized as a nation over sixty years ago. In fact, to this day, Israel continues to enjoy the highest level of American foreign aid per capita than any other nation in the entire world. The tiny nation State of Israel, with just under eight million citizens, has repeatedly shown in a very clear manner, that it is not about to yield to American demands, or to anyone's demands. It has repeatedly shown who is the boss, to the frustration and dismay of a long list of American presidents.
As I mentioned at the very beginning of this current article, the irony of the situation is that when I wrote the original version of this article in 1998, militant Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu was serving his first term as the leader of Israel. He was a lot of trouble back then. Here we are fourteen years later, and once again Netanyahu is the prime minister of that nation, is calling the shots, and is likewise embarrassing America's leaders. PM Netanyahu has made clear that based on her security requirements, Israel alone will be the one to determine the extent of any pullbacks from the West Bank, any dismantlement of settlements, as well as her final borders, and the status of Jerusalem
As if all of this isn't bad enough, as I explain in "Welcome to Greater Israel, USA!", for months now, the leadership of Israel has been pressuring the American government, trying to embarrass the American president and make him look weak and indecisive, so that he will be Israel's proxy once again, by attacking Iran's nuclear facilities. Let's hope that he does not bow to Jewish pressure, Jewish money, or the Jewish vote, for the sake of winning the next election. As I mention in the aforementioned article, if the United States or Israel attacks Iran, no matter what anyone calls it, and no matter how they try to disguise it or justify it in the mass media, the bottom line still remains that it is an act of war on a sovereign nation. That is International Law.
Regarding what little remains of the Middle East peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians, there is now so much working against them -- Netanyahu with his controversial settlement expansions in the West Bank, the radical Islamic group Hamas in control of the Gaza Strip, President Mahmoud Abbas approaching the United Nations for non-member status for Palestine, etc. -- that it seems very doubtful that they will ever resume. While there are obviously many complex and technical issues involved in the peace negotiations, if we step back for just a moment, we can see that the truth of the matter is that according to the Scriptures, the basic problem really comes down to just one issue. That is the following:
"Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom."
Proverbs 13:10, KJV
"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."
Proverbs 16:18, KJV
If each side would just forsake their pride, and their many years of mistrust and hostility towards each other, perhaps the more mundane aspects of achieving peace between the two parties could be resolved. Sadly, this is probably wishful thinking. At this current time, both the Israelis and the Palestinians have clearly spelled out their positions; and neither side is willing to budge a single inch. Both of them are very much entrenched, and they both feel that they have compromised their positions as much as they possibly can. Likewise, they both believe that they have been as patient with each other for as long as they possibly can. With such recalcitrant attitudes, it has really become an unworkable situation.
I remember a number of years ago while he was still alive, then Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat pointedly stated that what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered his people was "peanuts". As it was then, Netanyahu continues to claim that he cannot possibly make any further concessions without jeopardizing Israeli security. If anything, it seems that the current situation is even worse than it was before, because both parties have clearly given up on talks, and have opted for unilateral approaches to their problems instead.
As you may know, just recently, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak -- a former prime minister -- suggested that it may be time for Israel to undertake a unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank. His controversial plan -- which the Palestinians soundly reject -- involves annexing several illegal Jewish settlement blocs to the current State of Israel. Please note that all settlements within the West Bank are considered to be illegal according to International Law, even though Israel rejects this claim. The West Bank is likewise viewed as an occupied territory by most of the world community.
For his part, Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, insists that he will not return to direct peace talks with the Israelis until they freeze all settlement construction, and also recognize the 1967 borders as the starting point for any future negotiations, with agreed upon land swaps. Thus, as I explain in the three-part series called "United Nations Confrontation: Abbas vs. Obama", since last year, Mr. Abbas has been approaching the United Nations. While his first endeavor failed to win the endorsement of the UN Security Council, he is currently approaching the UN General Assembly in the hope of acquiring non-member status.
As I have mentioned to my readers before, for the time being, Hamas has been willing to let Mahmoud Abbas prove that his way -- through the UN -- will work. However, both American and Israeli sources say that Abbas will gain very little for Palestine by approaching the United Nations. If this turns out to be true, and the benefits to Palestine as a United Nations non-member state are few -- assuming, that is, that said status is granted -- and Palestinian statehood appears to still be a distant dream, what should we expect next? How will the Palestinians react? Currently, they already suffer a number of hardships, and frustration runs high. In a recent news report, Abbas admitted that government employees have not been paid, because there is simply no money.
While unlike Hamas, Mr. Abbas has disavowed using violence in order to achieve Palestinian statehood -- at least publicly -- we can only wonder how much more the people of Palestine are willing to endure before they decide that they have had enough, and decide to take matters into their own hands. In other words, what if they decide that Hamas' approach has been right all along, and return to violence? Is a third intifada just around the corner? Will suicide bombers once again terrorize Israeli citizens?
Please go to part two for the continuation of this series.
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