Archive for December 2015

Seeing the Person and Work of Jesus Christ in Nehemiah

December 28, 2015

Broken walls new

Introduction

The focus of this study of Nehemiah is to show how God has inserted, in Chapter 2, a short but amazing historical vignette that typifies Jesus’s three days and three nights of the Atonement  within a larger contextual account, in the rest of the book, that typifies and highlights Jesus Christ (together with His eternal Church) in His ongoing battle with the devil and the devil’s minions in the course of building His Church. Similar typological accounts can very clearly be seen in the Book of Esther and Judges 4&5.

Nehemiah (meaning “Jehovah comforts“), as the governor (note that the root word in Nehemiah is like Nahum, meaning Comfort), along with Ezra (meaning “Help“) the priest and the scribe (according to Nehemiah 8:9), was part of the Jewish captivity living in Persia as part of the Persian King’s court that was sent back to Jerusalem by the King of Persia (possibly Ahasuerus (Artaxerxes) from the book of Esther) to restore the destroyed walled city of Jerusalem and rebuild the desecrated Temple of God. Moreover, we read in Nehemiah 1:11 that Nehemiah was the King of Persia’s “cupbearer” (butler).

SIDE NOTE: The name Nehemiah has the same Hebrew root word for “comfort”, נָחַם (nāḥam) H5162, that we find with the name of the Prophet Nahum.  Please see more on God’s Comforting His saints here: Nahum (remembering also that Jesus said that The Father would send (in Jesus’s Name) the “Comforter”, Who Is God, the Holy Ghost (John 14:26), Who is also the “Spirit of Truth”, Who would lead God’s elect into “all Truth”, and He (the Holy Ghost/Spirit) would speak of Jesus (John 15:26, and John 16:7-13.)

Chapter 1, Nehemiah Learned of Jerusalem’s Destitution and Petitioned God for Help

Nehemiah is immediately introduced to us in Nehemiah 1:1, where we read, “The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and [certain] men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.” Nehemiah is the son of HachaliahH2446 , which means “whom Jehovah enlightens“. Nehemiah 10:1 informs us that Nehemiah is known in Jerusalem as the Tirshatha (“the Governor“) H8660.

We also see the words “and it came to pass“.  From these words we know that God is telling us that something very significant is going to be provided.  It occurs in the 9th month of the Jewish calendar, or about November/December and it begins in the palace, Shushan, of the Persian king.  Hanani (“Gracious”), a brother of Nehemiah, along with some other men of Judah, was queried by Nehemiah about the status of the Jews remaining in Judah and of the holy city of Jerusalem.

Nehemiah was immediately informed, “And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province [are] in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also [is] broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.” (see 2 Kings 25:8 )

Nehemiah’s Prayer and Petition to God

Nehemiah’s reaction was swift and sorrowful as we read in Nehemiah 1:4-11, “And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned [certain] days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heavenAnd said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments: Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned. We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.”  

Nehemiah recognized that God had justly punished Israel for its sins in not keeping God’s Laws, as were provided by God to Moses. But he also knew that God is merciful to repentant sinners, as we subsequently see in Nehemiah 1:8-11, “Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, [If] ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations (see Leviticus 26:33, Deuteronomy 4:25-27, Deuteronomy 28:64)But [if] ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, [yet] will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there. Now these [are] thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand. O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer.

Nehemiah was very close to the king of Persia, because Nehemiah was the king’s “cupbearer” or butler.  Nehemiah prayed to God for mercy and to soften the heart of the king towards Nehemiah and his petition to the king on behalf of God’s people.

Note: There are many corollaries between Nehemiah and the Lord Jesus Christ that we will see unfold in this study, and being the king’s “cupbearer” is just one of them. This is because Jesus was, in effect, God’s cupbearer when we read how Jesus had to drink the cup of God’s wrath for the sins of the elect?  In John 18:11 we read when Jesus was rebuking Peter for trying to defend Jesus, “Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall not drink it?”

Nehemiah Chapter 2: Nehemiah’s Mission to Jerusalem

God also begins Nehemiah Chapter 2 in Nehemiah  2:1 with the words, “And it came to pass“.  We will learn something of great importance. The events that follow begin in the first month of the year (Nissan) in the twentieth year of the reign of Artaxerxes, the king of Persia.  It occurs in Shushan the palace (the same palace we read about in Esther).

Then we read in Nehemiah 2:2-5,  where Nehemiah’s sad countenance, “the sorrow of the heart” is noted by the King.  Nehemiah makes clear that “Then I was very sore afraid,” but Nehemiah explained to the King, why should he not be sorrowful given that Jerusalem was desolate, “the city, the place of my fathers’ sepulchres, [lieth] waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?”  The king essentially asked what might be done? In advance of making his petition to the King, Nehemiah “prayed to the God of heaven.” Then Nehemiah softly enquired if it could be the King’s will to send him to Judah to Jerusalem to “build it.” In Nehemiah  2:6-9we read that the King asked Nehemiah how long would it take, and the time was set, which was evidently twelve years according to Nehemiah 5:14. Nehemiah also asked for letters of conveyance for the various governors in the area beyond the river (likely the Jordan River, but also the Euphrates?) and decrees to allow him to get the necessary construction materials for the building, gates, and the wall of the city, which the King granted, along with a detachment of the King’s “captains of the army and horsemen”.

The Amazing Vignette: The Spiritual Significance of Nehemiah’s Three Days Sojourn at Jerusalem 

The following review/lesson is one among many of the amazing “hidden treasures” spoken of.

The account of Nehemiah’s three day sojourn at Jerusalem is found in Nehemiah 2:11-16 where we read the following:

11.So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days

12. And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I [any] man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither [was there any] beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon. 

13. And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire.

14. Then I went on to the gate of the fountain, and to the king’s pool: but [there was] no place for the beast [that was] under me to pass. 

15. Then went I up in the night by the brook, and viewed the wall, and turned back, and entered by the gate of the valley, and [so] returned. 

16. And the rulers knew not whither I went, or what I did; neither had I as yet told [it] to the Jews, nor to the priests, nor to the nobles, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest that did the work.

When we read this account in Nehemiah, Chapter 2, there are some interesting parallels between the activities of Nehemiah during his “three day” (and hence three night) sojourn at Jerusalem with those associated with the last days of Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry and which distinguish His Atoning Sacrifice. Let us take a look at these seven specific parallels (of which even more can be discerned):

  1. Who else, like Nehemiah, went to Jerusalem for three days and three nights?
  2. Who else, like Nehemiah, arose in the night, with some few men with him? 
  3. Who else, like Nehemiah, did not confide what was in his heart to do at Jerusalem?
  4. Who else, like Nehemiah, “viewed” (“purchased”) the wall at night?
  5. Who else, like Nehemiah, went out by night before the spiritual “dragon well” and by a spiritual “dung port”?
  6. Who else, like Nehemiah went by the brook Kidron (Cedron in the New Testament)?
  7. Who else, like Nehemiah had kept back from the Jews, the priests, the nobles, and the rulers where he went or what he did?

The answer in each case can only be…the Lord Jesus Christ in the course of His Atoning Sacrifice!

So let’s see how these can be shown from the Bible:

1. Nehemiah’s sojourn at Jerusalem was three days; Jesus’s Atonement at Jerusalem spanned three days and three nights

Jesus’s Atoning Sacrifice at Jerusalem can be shown to have spanned three earthly days (and nights) as described for Nehemiah. It would begin after sundown Thursday night (night one) and following the Last Supper (the Passover meal with His Disciples). It would then continue through to His “physical” death on the cross, and subsequent burial that same Friday (day one).Then His body would lie in the tomb all of the Sabbath day (night two and day two). Then it remained in the tomb for another night, Saturday night (night three) and Jesus would arise from the dead on Sunday morning (the third day).  Note that it is also consistent with what we read in Matthew 12:40, where Jesus compared His Atonement period to the three days and three nights that Jonah was in the whale’s belly.

We know that the Atonement began Thursday night, because we learn that after the Thursday evening Passover meal (the feast of unleavened bread) that it was in the night. And it is interesting that, typically, Jesus went to the Mount of Olives at night, as we read in Luke 21:37 that Jesus would teach in the day time in the temple; “and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is call [the mount] of Olives.” However, the very last time Jesus went to the Mount of Olives on that Passover night, He stopped at the Garden of Gethsemane (which .  According to Luke 22:39, “And he (Jesus) came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.” 

We should all be aware that the Garden of Gethsemane is just east of Jerusalem at the base of the Mount of Olives by the uppermost part of the valley of the Brook Kidron and where Jesus’s Atonement began on Passover evening/night as we read in John 18:1,”When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron (Kidron in Greek), where was a garden (Gethsemane), into the which he entered, and his disciples.” The account of Jesus suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane can be also be found in three other places in the Bible, in Matthew 26:36–46, Mark 14:32–42, Luke 22:39–46.  From those three descriptions, we learn that Jesus was in the Garden with the disciples, then Jesus told them to remain, while He went further with Peter, James, and John, and then, alone, a bit farther.  In the Garden of Gethsemane, after Jesus had separated Himself from His disciples about a stone’s castas we read in Luke 22:41) and prayed three times (e.g., Luke 22:42), “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” The “cup” was the cup of God’s wrath that Jesus had to take in penalty for the sins of God’s elect. Remember also shortly afterward where Jesus reprimanded Peter for trying to protect Him in John 18:11, “Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall not drink it? Moreover we know that the Garden was where the agony of the Atonement had begun because we read in Luke 22:44, “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” 

A Stone’s Cast?

The significance of Luke 22:41 should not be missed by the reader. “And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,” The language of a stone’s cast is important because the casting of stones has great significance in the Bible.  It is used to condemn someone to death in the Bible.  Jesus was condemned to death on the behalf of all those who would believe on Him as their Lord God and Savior.  Any sin is sufficient to justify death by stoning, not just blasphemy against God or murder. Remember that in Numbers 15:32-36, we read of a man who gathered sticks on the Sabbath was subsequently taken outside of the camp and stoned to death by God’s command to Moses.

More significantly, there is another case that we should all be aware of regarding “stoning”.  In Deuteronomy 21:18 we read, “If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and [that], when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; [he is] a glutton, and a drunkardAnd all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.¶ And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged [is] accursed of God😉 that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee [for] an inheritance.    We should all remember that Jesus was accused, falsely, of being a glutton and a drunkard in Luke 7:34, “The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!”  And following Jesus’s Passion in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus was spiritually deemed to have been worthy of stoning on behalf of the elect, Jesus hung on the cross on that same Passover day, and that cross, being hewn of wood, served as a “tree” as we read in Galatians 3:13 , “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree:” And Jesus’s body was buried before sun down that day in the Tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea as recorded in Matthew 27:57-60.

The mention of “a stone’s cast” was placed there by God to show that Jesus had at that point come under judgment for the sins of God’s elect. 2 Corinthians 5:21 makes clear that, “For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Jesus was subsequently tormented in every way until His death on the cross, that occurred just outside the walls of Jerusalem on Friday afternoon (the ninth hour, or 3:00 p.m.).  Then Jesus’s body was buried in the tomb and remained there, Friday night (the second night) through Saturday (the sabbath day and the second day), through Saturday night until the resurrection early Sunday morning, which marked the third day.

Another Note: The beast that Nehemiah rode upon could be likened to the colt of an ass that Jesus rode upon when entering Jerusalem. In Luke 19:28 &29, we read that Jesus, on his last earthly sojourn at Jerusalem to fulfill His work of the Atonement, Jesus ascended up to Jerusalem via the Mount of Olives on the colt of an ass on Palm Sunday as described in Luke 19:35.

2. Nehemiah was accompanied part way with “some few men” just as Jesus was with His disciples on his way to the Garden of Gethsemane

This was discussed above but note that in the Matthew account in Matthew 26:36-46, we read, “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonderAnd he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye hear, and watch with me¶ And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou [wilt]….

3. Nehemiah did not confide “what was in his heart to do at Jerusalem” just as Jesus did not make plain His Mission at the time

From an earthly perspective it makes sense that Nehemiah wanted to keep his three day mission of reconnaissance of the wall at Jerusalem a secret, given the opposition (see below), but from a spiritual perspective we know that Jesus never made clear that he was going to suffer and die for the sins of the elect in fulfillment of the Law of Sacrifice.  And even when he openly told them of His death and resurrection, it was nonetheless “hid from them” as if He had not informed them “what was in his heart to do at Jerusalem.Luke 9:44&45 tells us that Jesus told His disciples, “Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men. But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying.” Moreover, in Luke 18:31-34 we read again that Jesus told the disciples in detail what was going to happen to Him, “Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge [him], and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”  Jesus supernaturally “hid” the purpose of His Mission from His disciples! That is why we later (after the resurrection) are provided the account of the Road to Emmaus.

4. Nehemiah “VIEWED” the wall; Jesus “PURCHASED” the wall

As faithful readers of the Bible, we should all be aware that the word “viewed” was placed there by the Hebrew translators, because it would make complete sense in the historical temporal context, but it was, nonetheless, not in the original texts. The translators therefore “assumed” that there was an inexplicable “error” in the transcription…despite the fact that it was entered that precise way twice in the original manuscripts!

The Hebrew word for “viewed” שָׂבַר sâbar, saw-bar’ was put there by the translator because they assumed that the word in the original text was written “erroneously” as שָׁבַר shâbar in both Nehemiah 2:13 and Nehemiah 2:15).  While שָׂבַר sâbar is a primitive root; meaning “to scrutinize”; by implication (of watching) to expect (with hope and patience):—hope, tarry, “view”, wait; alternatively שָׁבַר shâbar is interpreted as “purchase” as in buying wheat.  The fact is that the jot (dot) was on the top of the right arm rather than the left arm of the Hebrew letter in the original manuscripts was NOT an error or accident!  This is because God made sure that it was repeated twice for confirmation!

So then, while it would seem perfectly correct and logical from a temporal, earthly, historical perspective that Nehemiah would have “viewed/examined” the wall; nonetheless, from a the spiritual perspective, we know that Jesus (who is clearly being presaged by Nehemiah in this particular Biblical account), would not only viewed the walls from an eternal perspective, but because of His Atoning sacrifice (that started on Passover night the Garden of Gethsemane after crossing the Brook Kidron/Cedron), also “purchased” the wall!

We know this to be true when we remember that all believers are purchased by the shed blood of Jesus as we read in 1 Corinthians 6:20, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Also in 1 Corinthians 7:23, “Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.”  

And, moreover, all the believers, the elect and chosen people of God, are the “lively stones” that are built into the wall of the  spiritual temple of God of the spiritual New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2) of which Jesus Christ is the “Chief Cornerstone.”  See 1 Peter 2:5-8, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in scripture, (Found in Isaiah 28:16 and Psalm 118:22) behold I lay in Si-on a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.  Unto you therefore which believe he (The Lord Jesus Christ) is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” (See also Isaiah 8:14-16, Matthew 21:42, Mar 12:10&11, Luke 20:17, Acts 4:11, and Romans 9:33)

See also Ephesians 2:19-22, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstoneIn whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”  

The believers are also not only the “lively stones” in the wall, but are also “co-builders” of that wall with Jesus Christ, as we are informed in 1 Corinthians 3:9-11. “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, [ye are] God’s buildingAccording to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.Note how this is also consistent with the last words of Nehemiah 2:16…as “the rest that did the work” is historically referring to those co-laborers with Nehemiah in building the earthly wall of the physical Jerusalem, who spiritually represent the believers with Jesus Christ in building the eternal church encompassing the New Jerusalem.

The New Jerusalem

To see that the new Jerusalem is a spiritual representation of the kingdom of God that is made up of the body of believers, we just have to turn to Revelation 3:12, where we read, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall no more go out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit saith unto the churches.”  This truth is also evident in Galatians 4:25&26, which contrasts the earthly Jerusalem and her children (the Jews of national Israel), described as being in bondage (to the works of the law), with the heavenly spiritual “Jerusalem which is above is free (through the grace of God), which is the mother of us all (all true believing Christians).”

5.  Jesus, like Nehemiah, went out by night by the gate of the valley before the spiritual “dragon well” and by a spiritual “dung port”.

In Hebrews 13:11&12 we read  “For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.” Jesus as the Sacrifice for sin, like the earthly blood sacrifices, had to be taken outside the camp/city and burned and the Kidron Valley is where that was done outside the gates of Jerusalem.

The reference to the dragon well is interesting.  It is not clear why there would be such a well in the city and it is the only reference to it in the whole Bible. When we look at the original Hebrew word translated as “dragon” we find that it is תַּנִּין (tannîn) H8577 , which is most often (26x) translated as “dragon”, but it can also be interpreted as whale (3x), serpent (3x) or sea monster (1x). Moreover, the original Hebrew word translated as “well” is עַיִן (ʿayin) H5869  is most often (495x) translated as “eye”, but “well” is only 11x?  Could it be that the “dragon well” is the “whale’s eye”?  Whereupon Jonah’s “three day and three night” trial comes to mind. In any case, one thing we do know is that a “dragon/serpent” is a “type” for the devil who was allowed reign over this earth, but was defeated by Jesus at the cross. Revelation 12:9 tells us, “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

It should also be noted that the Dung Port/Dung Gate (where, given that there was no sanitation utilities in those days, all the human excrement of Jerusalem would be carried out of the city) is located on the southern side of Jerusalem where the Kidron valley wraps around the southeast corner of the city.  We also know later in Nehemiah 3:13&14 that the “dung gate” was repaired, and the gate was sealed with “the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof.”  The spiritual implication is that there is nothing that will ever need to be removed again from the New Jerusalem to the Kidron valley (Hell).

Note also that, at the time, “the gates thereof were consumed with fire”.   This is because had it not been for the Divine intervention of God the eternal city of God would remained destroyed and consumed by fire of God’s wrath for eternity, no one would be saved, as everyone who is descended from Adam would have remained under the curse of God and be consigned to the fires of Hell.

6.  Jesus, like Nehemiah went by (over) the brook Kidron (Cedron in the New Testament).

As was mentioned earlier, in John 18:1, we read, “When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron (Kidron in Greek), where was a garden (Gethsemane), into the which he entered, and his disciples.”

Spiritually, the Brook Kidron strongly suggests the eternal fires of Hell, as the Brook Kidron is where all the refuse was dumped and continually burned from the ancient city of Jerusalem. It is mentioned explicitly in eleven verses in the Bible (ten in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament), and every time, in some form or another, it relates to Hell.  This is because the brook Kidron was where all the false idols were broken, stamped to powder, and then burned (e.g. 1Kings 15:13, 2 Kings 23:62 Kings 23:12 and 2 Chronicles 15:16), and also where the priests, the Levites, carried out all of the uncleannesses out of the Temple (2 Chronicles  29:16). The Kidron valley is also associated with “dead bodies” and “ashes”, as we read in Jeremiah 31:40 where God declared, “And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook of Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, [shall be] holy unto the LORD; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever.”

Consistent with that, Kidron also means “Very Black, Full of Darkness”.  Jesus describes Hell three times as “outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 8:12, Mat 22:13, Matthew 25:30). Finally, there is the account of king David fleeing from Absalom, leaving Jerusalem also crossed over the brook Kidron as we read in 2 Samuel 15:23, “And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over: the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over, toward the way of the wilderness.”  

The bottom line is that the Kidron valley, the valley of the brook Kidron, is an allegorical picture of Hell.  Jesus had to endure God’s wrath in Hell for the equivalent of an eternity during His three days and three nights outside the gates of Jerusalem. But the Good News is that we know that Jesus also arose from the dead, and that His resurrection proved that the full payment for the sins of His elect had been paid, and therefore Jesus, like Nehemiah, “returned“!   Hallelujah!

*Note: There is another reference to the brook Kidron. Shimei (or Shimhi or Shimi or Shimea) is the name of a man who we read about in II Samuel 16:5, “And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name [was] Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came.”  Later in II Samuel 19:16-20, Shimei repented of his sin against David and begged for mercy and David granted it in as we read in II Samuel 19:23, “Therefore the king said unto Shimei, Thou shalt not die. And the king sware unto him.”  However, in the case of that Shimei, we later read 1Kings 2:36-46 that because he did not obey King Solomon’s commandment to not cross the brook Kidron (he turned again to folly), King Solomon had that Shimei put to death. (For more background how this was pre-determined by David immediately before his own death in his last words of instruction to his son Solomon, please see also 1Kings 2:8&9)

7. Jesus, like Nehemiah, did not inform the rulers where He went or what He did; Neither had He told the Jews, nor the priests, nor to the nobles, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest that did the work.”

If we stop to think about this, in light of all of the above commentary (derived from the Bible alone), we will soon come to realize that Jesus did not tell anyone that He was the Atoning Sacrificial Lamb of God or that He was also the High Priest (after the order of Melchizedek) that offered Himself as the Sacrifice sufficient to pay for the sins of God’s elect, His Church and Bride. Jesus would purchase the stones for the wall with His shed blood.  That Jesus had to pay the equivalent of an eternity in Hell by going to Hell for the payment of the sins of the elect. How this can be the case is explained further in the study of the book of Jonah.

Luke 19:41&42…Jesus wept over Jerusalem where we read, “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things [which belong] unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.

John 8:43…Jesus speaking to the Pharisees said, “Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.

John 12:16…Note that it was not until after Jesus’s ascension that the disciples understood that Jesus was the fulfillment of all the Old Testament scripture and prophecies, “These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and [that] they had done these things unto him.”

The Bigger Picture: The Opposition to Nehemiah, Seeking to Thwart His Work 

Let’s take a closer look at some other interesting analogies that address the enemies of Nehemiah (It has already been shown above that Nehemiah is typological representative of the Lord Jesus Christ in both Jesus’s Atonement and in the building of His Church. The enemies of Nehemiah, who included a Moabite and an Ammonite, are representative of the devil and his co-horts arrayed in opposition to Jesus and His Holy Sacrificial Work of building His eternal church in saving/redeeming the eternal Israel.

In Nehemiah 2:10, we read, “When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard [of it], it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.” Sanballat (whose name reportedly means variously “bramble-bush”; “enemy in secret”; “strength”) was a Moabite of the hill town in Moab known as Horonaim (“a town of two caves”), and Tobiah (whose name “Jehovah is good”), an Ammonite, who was the servant of Sanballat were both vehemently opposed to Nehemiah

It is quite notable that these two named men, a Moabite and an Ammonite (along with representatives from many nearby nations in the world at that time, see Nehemiah 4:7 below) made many attempts to thwart and hinder the work of Nehemiah, which he had set out to accomplish…that of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and thereby seeking “the welfare of the children of Israel.”

It is no coincidence that these men were both descended from the two sons of Lot (via Lot’s daughters as we read in Genesis 19:37-38) who were named Moab and Ammon, and were therefore opposed to Nehemiah (who is a “Type” of the Lord Jesus Christ) who was coming to “seek the welfare of the children of Israel” (who represent the “elect of God”). This is because they were cursed of God as is recorded in God’s edict against them that we read in Deuteronomy 23:3, “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD forever:

In Nehemiah 2:19&20, we read, “But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard [it], they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What [is] this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king? Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.

Who might those two men represent?

IF the analogy presented above equating the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah following his solo journey to view (“purchase”) the walls during three days and nights with that laying the ground work for the building of the walls of the eternal Jerusalem, the Church, by Jesus Christ (Himself being the Chief Corner Stone), then those two persons ought to have counterparts in the New Testament who sought to defeat the efforts of Jesus in that work. Hmmmm?

And the Bible also tells us that Sanballat was a “Horonite”  As was mentioned above, A Horonite is someone who is from the town as Horonaim (“a town of two caves”) so it is reasonable that someone might live in a cave there, and one academic reference declares such a person to be a “trogolodite” (a caveman). (see A Dictionary of Scriptural Proper Names, by J.B. Jackson)  At a minimum, we have already been given some insight that Sanballat is a wicked person.  So once again, who might Sanballat represent? Who sought to defeat Jesus at the cross of Calvary to keep Jesus from completing His mission? And who was filled with hatred of Jesus and those who followed Jesus and are considered his kinsman (the True Jews) and for whom Jesus sought their welfare?

It is therefore no coincidence that Sanballat means variously “bramble-bush”; “enemy in secret”; and “strength”

These three names can all be shown to be negative in a number of ways:

  1. A “bramble bush” is like a thorn and a thistle, which we know from Genesis 3:17&18, that they are part of the curse upon man due to the Fall of Adam because of the devil’s lies, And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat [of] it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
  2. We should all know that the devil is the “enemy“, as we read in Matthew 13:39, “The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
  3. The devil has “strength” as he is also likened to a “strong man” as we read in Matthew 12:29, (and Mark 3:27) “Or else how can one enter into a strong man‘s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.” The strong man that Jesus was referring to is the devil. The devil was bound at the cross by Jesus, and Jesus said in Matthew 16:18And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

When Nehemiah and his escort arrived in Jerusalem, their return aroused the enmity of Sanballat and his allies. Nehemiah 2:10 tells us that “When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard [of it], it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.”  When Nehemiah actually disclosed his intention of building the walls of Jerusalem they laughed him to scorn,”But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard [it], they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What [is] this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king?Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.Nehemiah’s denouncement of Sanballat and Tobia indicated that, as enemies of God, they would have no possibility of salvation in God’s kingdom.

As soon as Sanballat and his associates heard that Nehemiah and the Jews were actually building the walls, they were angry; and Sanballat addressed the army of Samaria with a contemptuous reference to “these feeble Jews.”Nehemiah 4:1-3 tells us, ““But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews. And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned? Now Tobiah the Ammonite [was] by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall.” Sanballat and Tobia jointedly mocked the work undertaken by Nehemiah and the Jews with him to build the walls of Jerusalem.  Nehemiah and his builders, the Jews, vigorously hurried the work, while Sanballat and his associates organized their forces to fight against Jerusalem.  Nehemiah 4:7&8 “But it came to pass, [that] when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, [and] that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth, And conspired all of them together to come [and] to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.

Nehemiah prepared to meet the opposition and continued the work on the walls. We later read in Nehemiah  6:1 &2 Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and [that] there was no breachleft therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;) That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying,Come, let us meet together in [some one of] the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief. And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I [am] doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?” Then in verses 6:4-7 we learn that five different times Sanballat and his confederates challenged Nehemiah and the Jews to negotiate in the plain of Ono. They even threatened to accuse them to the king of Persia of a conspiracy of rebellion against the king to create fear in them to goad them to come to such a meeting or simply weaken them in their resolve and to cease their work. Nehemiah, albeit concerned, denounced them for their lies and prayed, “[O God], strengthen my hands.

Then Sanballat, with some of the “noble” Jews in Jerusalem, who were his hirelings, sought to entrap Nehemiah in the Temple by fearful false prophesies; but that scheme failed as well. Nehemiah 6:10-13. Nehemiah remained undeterred and completed the wall in 52 days as we are told in Nehemiah 6:15 Moreover in the next verse Nehemiah 6:16 we see, “And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard [thereof], and all the heathen that [were] about us saw [these things], they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God.

Nonetheless we next read in Nehemiah  6:17 that some of Sanballat’s Jewish allies, that included “nobels of Judah” who swore allegiance to Sanballat due to intermarriages of their families, kept Sanballat and Tobiah informed as to the progress of the work in Jerusalem and conspired to discourage Nehemiah with false reporting regarding Sanballat.  With the hand of the Lord upon Nehemiah along with Nehemiah’s far-sighted policy and his shrewdness, he was kept out of the hands of these neighbor-foes. 

In Nehemiah 13:1-3, we read how it became evident to all Israel in Nehemiah and Ezra’s time, through the opening of the Book of the Law beginning in chapter 8, that Israel was to have nothing to do with the Moabite or the Ammonite (such as Sanballat and Tobiah), “On that day they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people; and therein was found written, that the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God for ever; Because they met not the children of Israel with bread and with water, but hired Balaam against them, that he should curse them: howbeit our God turned the curse into a blessing. Now it came to pass, when they had heard the law, that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude.

In his reforms, so effectively carried out, Nehemiah discovered that one of the grandsons of the current high priest, Eliashib, had married a daughter of this Sanballat, and was thus son-in-law of the chief enemy of the Jews. Nehemiah also found that Eliashib had leased the storerooms of the temple to Tobiah, thus depriving the Levites of their share of the offerings in Nehemiah’s absence. The high priest (and/or possibly his son Jehoida and the unnamed grandson) was driven out of Jerusalem on the ground that he had defiled the priesthood as we see in Nehemiah 13:28 “And [one] of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, [was] son in law to Sanballat the Horonite: therefore I chased him from me.”

We can also see from the above verse that the high priest was in league with Sanballat in seeking to defeat Nehemiah’s efforts. Isn’t that interesting? In the New Testament, do we see a high priest who in effect was also in league with someone who was seeking to stop Jesus by having Jesus put to death at the cross? Yes we do, and his name was Caiaphas. Hmmm?

And what about Tobiah? Tobiah in Hebrew means “goodness of God” which is a good thing, but Tobiah was also an Ammonite, which is NOT “good” from a Biblical perspective as described earlier. Could it be that Tobiah represents those who give the impression that they are servants of God, but in truth are in league with the devil.  Remember that in Matthew 7:22 Jesus said, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

The bottom line is that Sanballat is a “Type” of the devil and Tobias is a “Type” of the Tribulation church under the Anti-Christ who want to defeat Jesus and prevent Him from building His Holy Church, the Elect of God, His Bride, the New Jerusalem.

There is still more to do regarding this Bible study concerning Nehemiah, Chapter 2.

I will try to get back to this study myself in the future…the Lord willing.

What other analogies can be found?  Please search for yourselves.

This is a work in progress…but it is posted now as a means to stimulate thought and further discussion. Please feel free to comment  on this or any of the other studies found in this Bible Study blog.

The real “Inconvenient Truth”

December 28, 2015

hurricane

Introduction 

God is Sovereign and in complete charge of all of His Creation (this Universe) and God alone determines the end from the beginning because God’s Sovereignty knows no bounds.

Jesus is the embodiment of that “Inconvenient” Truth

In recent times (2006) there was a documentary film created about a former United States Vice President’s campaign to educate citizens about “global warming”/”climate change” entitled “An Inconvenient Truth.” Valid or not, that film only had to do with some carnally, materialistically, and temporally focused issues of this world. The Bible provides us with insights on a far more important “Inconvenient Truth”…one that directly affects every single human being who has ever lived or ever will live. That inconvenient truth is not only real, but it deals with incarnate, supernatural, and eternal issues. That truth is the fact that God is Sovereign over very single facet of all creation and life, and, moreover, that He orchestrates all of the events of the universe solely for His Glory, His Honor, and His Majesty and that it intimately involves the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is “inconvenient” because it is the “Truth” that most of mankind does not want to hear and/or believe.

Another important aspect of this inconvenient truth is that we all currently live in a “Real-Temporal- Physical-World”, the same as has been recorded precisely in the Bible, which serves as a shadow (allegory) of the Real-Eternal-Spiritual-World (Heaven) that is both contemporaneous and future because it is outside of our space and time. And in either world, God is completely sovereign, He is directly involved in all aspects of both existences that ultimately serve the purpose of giving glory to God. Moreover, God tells us this in Ecclesiastes 3:15, “That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.” We are also told in Job 11:10 “If he cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder him?

Oftentimes, when we see evil or tragedy in the world, many will claim, “How can there be a God who allows such evil and misery to exist? How could a good God allow such evil things?” It is because it all serves God’s purposes. It goes back to the Garden of Eden.  Questions that arise include: Was the devil and his enticement that led to the Fall of man in the Garden of Eden an accident or unexpected event?  The Answer: Neither.  Was it some kind of an aberration to which God had to quickly develop a plan B?  The Answer: No, it was all ordained of God to provide the means by which God would Glorify Himself through the redemptive action of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who became the means by which mankind could be reconciled to God for that original sin (and all sins that they would commit in their own lives that would otherwise send them straight to Hell for eternity) and despite the adversarial actions of the devil throughout temporal history. Remember how we read in Revelation 13:8 that Jesus Christ is the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,”  which clearly indicates that His Sacrifice was not an afterthought. God clearly states His plan and His purposes to us in the Bible, just as we read here in Proverbs 16:4, “The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.*”  God reiterates this point in Job 21:30, “That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.”  And it should be very clear that “the day of evil”, “the day or destruction”, “the day of wrath”, is Judgment Day! 

* Remembering  also Ezekiel 33:11, where God says, “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked (הָרָשָׁ֔ע); but that the wicked (רָשָׁ֛ע) turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil (הָרָעִ֛ים, ha-ra-im) ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

God is Sovereign and in Total Control of Everything and Everything Belongs to Him

When we consider earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods, etc., we know that it is God Who is ultimately in control of nature (despite the fact of, or perhaps through the use of, mankind’s influence on climate change).  Alternatively, when we consider the human caused acts of violence like murder, rape, acts of terrorism, or war; we know that such evil is “allowed” by God to fulfill His purposes. While we cannot readily understand all of those purposes, the sin is due to solely to mankind alone.  Nonetheless, God does “allow” sin to exist, at least for now.  And we also know that God sacrificed (allowed evil to come upon) His Own Son to save sinners, not the righteous (because as we read in Romans 3:10-12, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.), and that salvation program undeniably glorifies God in ways that are too marvelous for us to fully comprehend. And God makes clear that this is the case as stated for example in Isaiah 43:7, “[Even] every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.”

We should also note that despite the numerous tragedies and acts of violence in the world that we hear about every day…there is still far more peace and comfort to the majority of humankind that is too often taken for granted, and that it is only God’s Divine Providence that protects the vastly greater multitudes from having to endure such tragedies on a daily basis, either the natural ones or those human caused.

Let’s take a look at a few important verses that reveal how God creates and uses evil, such that He can and has/will overcome it to His own Glory. But before we do that, let this be very, very, clear…God is NOT the author of sin! (Romans 9:14, “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.”) Sin is an inherent trait of man since the fall of Adam and Eve.  However, God has allowed sin to continue to exist and He clearly can and does use the outcomes of sin for His purposes.  The Death of Jesus on the cross was the result of man’s sin…being necessary in order to save sinners due to the fall of Adam, and was effectuated by the sin of mankind who crucified Him…God allowed the crucifixion to occur as it served God’s purposes to bring about mankind’s (the believers’) salvation and redemption… which absolutely brings glory to God.

However, nonetheless, we must always bear in mind what Jesus said in John 10:14-17, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.”  Jesus voluntarily went to the cross, eventhough outwardly it appeared otherwise.

We are also informed and admonished in James 1:13-15: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” This three step process ends only in death. Mankind is responsible for the sin (Not GOD!), despite the circumstances that led to it as ordained by God, Who is totally Sovereign.

And just think for a moment about David lusting after Bathsheba.  In 2 Samuel chapter 11 we read that…”And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and enquired after the woman.” We subsequently read how David took Bathsheba and then eventually had her husband, Uriah the Hittite, killed in battle to cover up David’s sin.  Soon thereafter those sins were exposed openly by the Prophet of God, Nathan, in 2 Samuel chapter 12, where God led Nathan to say, “Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.” This whole series of events was no incidental accident.  God foreknew, and clearly understood, what David would do when God presented David with that sinful opportunity (God was in no way surprised…But rather, God provided that opportunity…and God allowed it to happen… and He used it for our edification, exactly as it was recorded for us in the Bible!)   One reason being that this account ultimately brings Glory to God, because it shows that God not only could, but would, save a sinner as evil as David was for having committed the sins of adultery and murder, to show us that God does not save the righteous, but rather sinners (like all of us), and moreover that despite those grievous sins, God would still have Jesus to be descended from David, via Nathan, through Mary (Luke 3:23-31).

God also provides some insights on how such orchestration serves His purposes, as God tells us in Proverbs 16: 9, “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.” or in the case of such as King David (or really anyone) we read in Proverbs 21:1; “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”

In Isaiah 14:24, “The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, [so] shall it stand:

So let’s now move on to gain other insights on this inconvenient truth….In Isaiah 45 (Verses 5-7), God, in addressing Cyrus the King of Persia, says, “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil (The word for “evil” in Hebrew is the root word “רָע, (or phonetically “ra”) which can also be translated as adversity, calamitydistress, misery, trial, hardship, bad, or injury*): I the Lord do all these things.” We also read in Amos, 3:6, “…shall there be evil (רָעָה֙, ra-ah) in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?” In Proverbs 16:4 we find, “The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked (רָשָׁע , ra-sa) for the day of evil (רָעָה֙ , ra-ah).” See also: Job 21:30,”That the wicked (רָע , ra) is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.”  We also read in Psalm 78:49 that God sent “evil (רָע) angels” to punish Israel during the  wilderness sojourn, “He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them.” 

*The KJV translates Strong’s H7451 (רָע) in the following manner: evil (442x), wickedness (59x), wicked (25x), mischief (21x), hurt (20x), bad (13x), trouble (10x), sore (9x), affliction (6x), ill (5x), adversity (4x), ill favoured (3x), harm (3x), naught (3x), noisome (2x), grievous (2x), sad (2x), miscellaneous (34x).

The day of evil or day of wrath(s) would seem to be talking about Judgment Day (see 2 Peter 2:4).  Please remember also that in the book of Esther (please see other commentary on this site), the adversary Haman, who was an allegorical representation of the devil, was also called “the wicked” (הָרָ֛ע, ha-ra).  So, the result is that, in the Bible, God is making clear to us that He not only Is completely Sovereign, but He created all things, and formed everything for Himself, even including the wicked (whether  רָע  ra; רָעהָרָ֛ע, ha-ra; רָשָׁ֛ע, ra-sa; or הָרָשָׁ֔ע, ha-ra-sa) who will all be destroyed on Judgment Day.

It should also be pointed out that in Colossians 1:15-18 we read the following in reference to Jesus Christ, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for himAnd he is before all things, and by him all things consistAnd he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence.

And is it not true that God created the devil?  Moreover, does not the Bible say that the devil was bound at the cross?  We read about this as a war in heaven where the devil is cast out in Revelation 12:7-12:

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”  And then we read in Revelation 20:3 that the devil is bound in the bottomless pit until just before Judgment Day, “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand yearsAnd cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.” So then, it becomes clear that more evil can be expected leading up to just before Judgement Day, and that many woes will accompany that most tribulous time. We know that there will be many woes and that the vials of God’s wrath will be poured out on the earth, because we read in Revelation 15:7 that there are “seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.

While some may think that this is just a matter of interpretation, or that these verses are taken out of context, let’s take a look at some other scriptural passages to see what God reveals about this point.

Joseph Reveals Himself to His Brothers in Egypt

Before we move on to the main points of this study, there is one other amazing event that has come to the mind of this teacher, which unfolds in the Biblical account concerning Joseph within the book of Genesis. About ten years or so after Joseph was thrown into a deep pit by ten of his own (half) brothers, from which he was subsequently sold into slavery in Egypt (and forgotten and presumed to be dead by those same brothers), Joseph was raised to the right hand of the Pharaoh of Egypt.  During a time of famine (also orchestrated by God and foretold to Joseph by God providing Joseph with  the interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams), Joseph’s father, Jacob (Israel), sent his sons to Egypt to seek for bread. The story unfolds from Genesis Chapters 37-50 (sufficient for an enormous commentary far beyond the purposes of this one), which, for the child of God and student of the Bible, the allegory of Joseph as a type of Jesus Christ becomes unmistakable.

For this study, however, in just one recognition of God’s complete mastery over all time, and space, and even the hearts and minds of men, the key verses, Genesis 45:4-9 and Genesis 50: 19-21 are thus:

“And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not:”

And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil (ra-ah) against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.”

The Exodus Account is Another Allegory, Which Provides Us With Insights on How God Works

We can see something very interesting in the Exodus account of the ten Plagues that God brings upon Egypt in response to the Pharaoh’s repeated refusal to let God’s people go out from Egypt under the leadership of Moses.  Moreover, it is not only interesting, but contrary to most people’s understanding of those events. Hollywood, for example, has, through at least one film effort, created the impression that Pharaoh would not let the people go despite the repeated ten plagues solely as a result of his innate natural stubbornness or stupidity. However, in the Exodus account of the Bible (NOT the Hollywood version) we read where God informed Moses, beforehand, exactly how things would happen and why they would happen that way. God said that He would harden Pharaoh’s heart so that Pharaoh would not let the people go!

Exodus 4:3, “And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.”

Exodus 7:3, “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.”

Exodus 7:13, “And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.”

Exodus 7:14, “And the Lord said unto Moses, Pharaoh‘s heart is hardened, he refuseth to let the people go.”

Exodus 7:22, “And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the Lord had said.

Exodus 8:15, “But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.” (If this verse is taken out of context, it might appear that Pharaoh hardened his own heart, but the whole context shows that this was not the case.

Exodus 8:19, “Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.

Exodus 8:32, “And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go.” (this again would seem to suggest that Pharaoh hardened his own heart, but from the other verses we see that God was the initiator)

Exodus 9:7, “And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.”

Exodus 9:12, “And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had spoken unto Moses.” (This verse, like the majority of the others before it, makes it clear that it was God who hardened the heart of Pharaoh and not Pharaoh)

Exodus 9:34, “And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.” (what is interesting in this case is that it says Pharaoh sinned yet more! How could Pharaoh be responsible for this sin, if his heart was hardened by God and as had God had ordained?…this will be addressed below.)

Exodus 9:35, “And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the Lord had spoken by Moses.”

Exodus 10:1-2 “And the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him: And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the Lord.

Exodus 10:20, “But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.”

Exodus 10:27, “But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go.”

Exodus 11:10, “And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land.

Exodus 14:3, “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord. And they did so.”

Exodus 14:8, “And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand.”

Exodus 14:17, “And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.”

These verses all clearly reveal that the evil that Pharaoh subsequently does in preventing, and trying to prevent, Moses from leading national Israel, the representative chosen people of God, out of the land of Egypt…was all planned, ordained, and orchestrated by God. Therefore, Pharaoh was no more than a pawn in God’s hand, as Pharaoh was created by God, raised up by God, and used for God’s purposes…which purpose was solely to bring glory and honor to God. He was used of God to fulfill God’s promise to Moses in Exodus 6:6, “Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:”  God goes further in Exodus 9:16 to say in regards to Pharaoh: “And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.” This statement is repeated in the New Testament in the writings of Paul to the Romans, as in Romans 9: 17-18, “For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

God begins the introduction of the Ten Commandments by saying in Exodus 20:2, “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” And then in Deuteronomy 5:15, “And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.” Similarly, we also read in Deuteronomy 4:33-35, “Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live? Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; there is none else beside him.” And in Deuteronomy 26:8, “And the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders:” It is also notable that we read after Exodus 7:5, 1) “That the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD” and after Exodus 14:4, 2) “I will be honored upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host: that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD.”

The whole Exodus account was an allegory to show the power of God to save a people for Himself. God created Satan, just like He created Pharaoh, and raised them both up to serve his purposes of saving a people for Himself and Glorifying Himself in the process. Pharaoh was a powerful ruler who held God’s people in bondage, he served as an allegorical type for the devil who holds mankind in bondage to sin, death, and ultimately hell (note that God referred to Egypt allegorically as the “iron furnace” in Deuteronomy 4:20, “But the Lord hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day.” (similarly also see 1 Kings 8:51 and Jeremiah 11:4)   Just as God, by a mighty out stretched arm, working through amazing signs and wonders brought national Israel out of that house bondage, so too God, through the amazing sacrifice of His dear Son, Jesus Christ (as also the Passover Lamb of God) brought out His eternal spiritual Israel from bondage to sin and the devil (and otherwise destined for hell…the eternal “iron furnace”). We can say this confidently, for we read in Revelation 1:18, where Jesus (as the Lamb of God) says, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

God’s Sovereign Actions are Explained in Romans Chapter 9:“Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

To prove that the above commentary is not simply this teacher’s opinion, and that it is indeed true, we have only to see what is written in Romans, chapter 9, verses 13-26, where Paul, as the scribe who was guided by the Holy Spirit, wrote,

13 “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

25 As he saith also in Osee (Hosea in Greek), I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. (see Hosea 2:23)

26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.”

So there we have it!…God explains that He will have compassion on those who He wills and He will harden whom He wills. This is the REAL “Inconvenient Truth”! in John, 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” You see, Jesus is The Truth, and whether anyone likes it or not, Jesus is the very substance of that real “Inconvenient Truth.” Moreover, while the Bible also says in Mathew 22:14, that “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (note that it is not the few who “choose” God, but rather those “few” are the ones who are solely “chosen” by God).  This is also in keeping with what we read in Mathew 7:13-14, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” And please do not forget that Jesus clearly stated in John 6:44 that, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”  Salvation is ENTIRELY God’s Sovereign work!  This is exactly what we read in Jonah 2:9, “…Salvation [is] of the Lord.

Remember also that in 1 Peter 2:9, we read, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

Finally, let’s look again at John 6:44, where Jesus very plainly states: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”  God is making it that He Is entirely sovereign, and, yes, we are all nothing more than mere pieces of clay molded by the potter.  Although we are “physically alive”, we are all “spiritually dead” by nature because we are “dead in our trespasses and sins” by nature and it must be God who makes us alive and capable of responding.  Theses verses make that clear for all believers:

Ephesians 2:1, “And you hath he quickened (made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Colossians 2:13, “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened (made alive) together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;”

John 5:21, “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them (makes them alive); even so the Son quickeneth (makes alive) whom he will.”

Romans 4:17, “(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth (makes alive) the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.”

And God also makes clear that this quickening (making alive) is by the Power of God the Holy Spirit for we also read in John 6:63, “It is the spirit that quickeneth (makes alive); the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

Remember when Lazarus was called by Jesus to “Come forth“? Let’s take a close look at that account: In John 11:39-44, we read were Jesus comes to the grave of Lazarus where Lazarus’s sister (Martha) explained that it was too late to do anything, as her brother, Lazarus, was dead for four days laying in the grave and by now his body was so decayed that it would stink when they rolled back the stone over the grave.  Jesus was honored by God, The Father in Heaven, and then Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth” and Lazarus arose from the dead and came forth.  Did Lazarus exercise his “free will” to respond to Jesus’s call, or did God first draw him, and then enliven and empower him to respond.  How can a dead thing choose life?  You be the judge.

Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forthAnd he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

Yes, this means there is “predestination” (another aspect of the real inconvenient truth).  Does that mean we should throw up our hands in despair as though we have no hope?  God Forbid!

Dealing with the Real “Inconvenient Truth”: Predestination Does Not Inhibit Anyone from Crying Out to God for Mercy Through Jesus Christ

Nonetheless, the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that, according to the Bible, if anyone becomes convicted in his or her heart of his or her sins and hence his or her need of a Saviour…Who Is, and can only Be, Jesus Christ…then it is still possible for anyone to cry out to God for mercy and God will show mercy. In Mathew 7:7, Jesus says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:”

If anyone becomes at all concerned about the above, and does not want to be one of those whom God destroys, and would rather be a vessel of mercy (and honor), then that is already a great evidence that God is working in that person’s heart!  And with regard to such amazing salvation, although Philippians 2:12  “¶ Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”, we must remember that the very next verse tells us,For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” God Is Entirely Sovereign! And as additional comfort, Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Dear reader, if you are not already at peace with God through Jesus Christ, please just cry out to God in prayer and He will hear you and show you that mercy. But when He does show mercy, it will only be because of the inconvenient truth that it had always been God’s intention from the beginning, and even before the Universe was even created.  Ephesians 1:5 says regarding the believers… “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,” and Ephesians 1:9 , “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:” Finally, as Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write in 2 Thessalonians 1:11, “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:”

PostScript 1: God ‘s Sovereignty knows no bounds. God even has the power to send evil spirits to serve His purposes

The following verses are hard to be understood if we fail to understand that God is Sovereign and in control of everything, and that we are continually (every moment) at His mercy alone, and that we should honor and worship Him appropriately. Remember, in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 we read, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Similarly, in Proverbs 21:1, we read how God extends His Sovereignty over the world… even among the kings of the earth, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

Judges 9:23, “Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech:

1 Samuel 16:14, “But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him.

1 Samuel 16:15, “And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit (ra-ah) from God troubleth thee.

1 Samuel 16:16, “Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.

1 Samuel 16:23, “And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

1 Samuel 18:10, “And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand.

1 Samuel 19:9, “And the evil spirit from the Lord was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand.

1 Kings 22:23, “Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.

2 Chronicles 18:22, “Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil against thee.
 
Isaiah 54:16 includes this passage where God is speaking and He says, “Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.”  Pretty scary stuff, but it is entirely in keeping with what we read in 2 Corinthians 5:11, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;” and in Hebrews 10:31, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
 
As a final commentary on how Sovereign Almighty God really Is, please ponder these verses:
 
Proverbs 16:4, “The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” (and that “day of evil” is Judgment Day)
 
Revelation 4:11, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
 
Psalm 9:17, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, [and] all the nations that forget God.”
 
BUT…. always remember that for the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, there is this hope that we read in Psalm 121:7,8:

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

We may be tormented by evil and perplexed (think back to Joseph and his tribulations), but do not despair, because God will preserve us (the believers) in the end if we trust in Him.

2 Corinthians 4:8-11:

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18, For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Isn’t it interesting that, Matthew 6-13, when Jesus instructed His disciples to pray, He said thus:

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask himAfter this manner therefore pray ye:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Postscript 2: God Alone Is Sovereign

We should also remember that God explicitly stated the following (via Moses in Deuteronomy 32:39-42 as part of what is referred to as the “Song of Moses”) where God makes clear that He is the only True God, and is completely Sovereign, and that He Alone has the power over life and death, and that goes beyond the physical, it includes eternal life in Heaven and eternal death in Hell:

See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever. If I whet my glittering sword (“Barak”, in the original Hebrew, please see: https://bereansearching.wordpress.com/2009/09/19/the-battle-of-armageddon-the-earthly-version-already-happened/), and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me. I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.”  

Additional confirmation can be found in 1 Samuel 2:6-10, “The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, [and] lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set [them] among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them. He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail. The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall givestrength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.

Conclusion

The real inconvenient truth is that The Triune God, as Self-described in the Bible, is Real, and That God Is Almighty and Is Alone completely Sovereign! God is the One Whom we should fear. In Matthew 10:28 Jesus tells us, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” And God is the One Who will Judge the world at the end of time (in all likelihood, VERY soon), and if Jesus is not a person’s substitutional sacrifice, then that person will have to suffer an eternity in Hell for sin on that Judgment Day. Jesus is the only Way of escape from the just penalty for our sins. As inconvenient as this truth may seem, it is the truth nonetheless, because all other ways that man can devise will lead only to Hell.  Please pray to God for mercy through Jesus Christ and He will show you mercy.

Ecclesiastes 12:13,  “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man.”