Psalm 119 and Discernment

Posted September 21, 2011 by bereansearching
Categories: Bible Studies

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oil lamp

Psalm 119:105…”Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

Discernment and Psalm 119:

In the past year or so a number of  “Psalm 119 Discernment ” conferences have been held and continue to be held according to this website:  http://www.wretchedradio.com/wretched-events.cfm

On the home page we find this verse: Psalms 119:15-16, “I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.  I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

With that as our starting point, let’s take a brief look at a just a few verses of Psalm “119” (the longest chapter in the bible) to see what we might discern from them.  One thing we  should all notice immediately is that nearly every single verse has some direct reference to God’s law, statutes, precepts, commandments, judgments, testimonies, way(s), and word(s).  This is what makes this chapter unique! (although interestingly, and not by coincidence, Chapter “19” comes the closest to it…please take a look)

It is clear that from beginning to end, from A to Z, chapter 119 is all about God’ s Word, and that can only mean that ultimately, spiritually, it is all about Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.

In Revelation we read four times (1:8, 1:11, 21:6, 22:13) that Jesus says,

I am ALPHA AND OMEGA, the beginning and the end, the first and the last”   Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet and equivalent to the Hebrew first and last letters of the alphabet,  Aleph and Tav (tau) in the Old Testament that demarcate the beginning and end of Psalm 119.  We also know that Jesus is the Word made flesh…

John 1:14, And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”  Therefore if we really use “discernment” with respect to Psalm 119, we can see Jesus is in every verse of Psalm 119.  The Word (hence Jesus) is described in almost each and every verse of Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, as the following: Word, Testimonies, Precepts, Law, Commandments, Judgment(s), Statutes, Ways (or The Way), Ordinances. 

Psalm 119:11, Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

As True Christians, We all want to have Jesus hidden in our hearts by reading and pondering God’s Word, the Bible, in our hearts.

Psalm 119:18  “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law

We should all pray that God gives us the discernment to see Jesus wondrously interwoven throughout the whole Bible.

Psalm 119:105 “Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

Jesus in the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:16), and we should all hope that Jesus shines His Light into our life through the reading and hearing of His Word, the Bible. 

What have you discerned from Psalm 119?


The Mount of Transfiguration: What Was It Really All About?

Posted May 26, 2010 by bereansearching
Categories: Bible Studies

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clouds-above-the-mountains-in-icelandThere is some additional corroborative evidence that Jesus Christ should be the primary focus of every Christian’s Bible study.  It has already been shown in the previous paper, “Unveiling the Mystery of the Bible“, that it is the purpose of God, working through the ministration of His Holy Spirit, that He, alone, is the One Who must remove the veil from a person’s heart to allow him to see Jesus in the Old Testament scriptures.  God explains that it is by this means (and for His glory) that God revealed the New Testament of Jesus Christ (whereby salvation is possible, to both Jew and Gentile, only through Jesus Christ’s work of perfectly keeping the law and applying His work to us by His Spirit and not through our keeping the law apart from Him).  We see this in II Corinthians chapter 3, verse 4: “And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:  Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency [is] of God;  Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.  But if the ministration of death, written [and] engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which [glory] was to be done away:  How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?

God also underscores that the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ was not some last-minute addition to God’s original plan, but all along was central to it.  This is found in Romans 1.  There we read, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called [to be] an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,  (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)  Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;  And declared [to be] the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:”  To underscore that the term “gospel” does not just relate to the New Testament, God speaks of the Jews in Moses’ day as having heard the same gospel as we read beginning with Hebrews 3:12: “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.  But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;  While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.  For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.  But with whom was he grieved forty years? [was it] not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?  And to whom sware he that they (the unbelieving Jews in Moses’ day) should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?  So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.  Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left [us] of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.  For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard [it].”

Again, in Colossians chapter 1, we read, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus [our] brother, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,  Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love [which ye have] to all the saints, For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word (they heard it before only out of the Old Testament in those days) of the truth (Jesus is the “Truth” [John 14:6]) of the gospel (God’s covenant of grace through the person and work of Jesus Christ);”.

The Mount of Transfiguration Accounts:

The transfiguration of Jesus is a rather surprising account that we read about in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  The following verses review that account in its entirety:

Matthew 17:1-8, “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,  And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.  And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.  Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.  While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.  And when the disciples heard [it], they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.  And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.  And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.  And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.

Mark 9:2-10, “And after six days Jesus taketh [with him] Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.  And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.  And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.  And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.  For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid.  And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.  And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.  And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead.  And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.

Luke 9:28-36, “ And it came to pass about an eight days* after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.  And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment [was] white [and] glistering.  And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:  Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.  But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.  And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said.  While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud.  And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.  And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept [it] close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.

*NOTE: There is one “apparent” contradiction between the Luke account and that found in Matthew and Mark (i.e. eight days versus six days).  Please note that the Luke account says “about an eight days after” while the Matthew and Mark accounts state unequivocally “after six days.”  Although God’s purpose in providing this variation in the timing description is not immediately clear, it is not inconsistent with a parallel account in Exodus 24:16, where we read, “And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.”  We are also reminded of the fact that on that same mount Moses was told in Exodus 34:21  Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.

When we review and combine (or synthesize) these three accounts of the transfiguration into one, cohesive, whole, we find that the disciples (Peter, James, and John) first saw Jesus transfigured to a glorified state, and, furthermore, Moses and Elijah (who were also in a glorified state) were speaking with Jesus (concerning Jesus’s death that would occur at Jerusalem).  Setting aside for a moment the issue of Peter’s offer to build “three tabernacles,” we next learn that a cloud overshadowed them, and God the Father speaks to the disciples concerning Jesus, “this is my beloved son:” and commands, “hear him.”  They “fell on their face, and were sore afraid.”  “Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise and be not afraid.”  Immediately afterwards, the only other person they see is Jesus (Moses and Elijah are gone).  Finally we read of Jesus’s reference to His death and resurrection, and His command to the disciples to keep secret what they had seen until after that time.

A number of questions come to mind.  What was the purpose for Jesus having been “transfigured”, and why did it happen before His death and resurrection?  Why did only Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus?  Why did they talk of Jesus’s coming death?  Why did they vanish after God the Father spoke from the cloud?  What was the significance of Jesus’s coming, His touching the disciples, and saying arise, be not afraid?  What about the three tabernacles that Peter offered to build?  Why did the disciples not understand the coming death and subsequent resurrection of Jesus Christ?

The Transfiguration: A Witness and Testimony of Jesus’s Majesty, Honor, and Glory That is Linked to His Resurrection* 

The most obviously significant aspect of the Transfiguration account is the Transfiguration of Jesus Himself.  The Bible tells us in Matthew 17:2 that Jesus “was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.“; and in Mark 9:2&3 “was transfigured before them.  And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.“; and in Luke 9:29, “And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment [was] white [and] glistering.”  The big question we are immediately faced with is, “What is the purpose of this phenomenon?”   In seeking to answer this question, rather than just speculate, let’s look to God’s own commentary as spoken through an eyewitness to the original event.  Peter, as one of those witnesses states emphatically in II Peter 1:16-18, “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majestyFor he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  And this voice which came from heaven we (Peter, James, and John) heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

We are told that Jesus received honor and glory from God the Father in His excellent glory in Heaven.  This reaffirmation of the transfiguration account emphasizes that Jesus was indeed “glorified.”  The word translated as “majesty” that was used first by Peter is from a seldom used word, “megaleiotes” (Strong’s #3168).  It is a reference to more than Christ’s beauty of holiness and royal splendor.  In Luke 9:43, the same word is used to refer to Jesus’ “mighty power” over physical things.  Therefore, Peter is saying in effect that the prophets (both of the Old Testament as represented by Moses and Elijah, and the New Testament represented by Peter, James, and John (because, like Moses and Elijah, they too heard God speak directly to them)) were witnesses to the glory and mighty power of Jesus in the universe.

*  Thanks to the late Thomas Schaff, for his significant contributions to this section.

Certainly Jesus performed many amazing works to which Peter was a witness, but Peter had particular work in mind, that was Jesus’s resurrection and therefore His power over death and hell.  We can conclude this because Jesus tied His transfiguration to His resurrection in Mark 9:9, “And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead.”  Jesus knew that His apostles would not fully understand the meaning of what they had seen on the mountain until He arose from the dead.  Therefore He told them to say nothing until then.  The resurrection would make the meaning of all that happened on the mountain clear to them so that they could tell it to others.

The Transfiguration was a revelation, or “preview,” of Who Jesus Is, and, in a way, the resurrection was proof that the revelation was true.  If they understood the resurrection, then they would understand the meaning of what happened on the mountain.  Also, if they understood the events on the mountain, then they would understand the meaning of the resurrection.  However, until Jesus rose from the dead, the apostles wondered about the meaning of the resurrection, as we see in Mark 9:10, “And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.

At the time that Peter wrote the letter of II Peter, Peter understood the meaning for the events on the mountain and the meaning of the resurrection.  One other thing that stood out according to Peter, was the statement by the Father repeated in II Peter 1:17, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  Therefore, there is a close correlation between the resurrection and the Words of the Father.  The resurrection was proof that Jesus was indeed the “beloved Son,” the Person of whose glory Peter caught a glimpse when he was on the mountain.  (Incidentally, there is another corollary that can be found at the time of Jesus’s baptism.  We read in Matthew 3:16&17, “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:  And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  In that account Jesus’s coming out of the water was a another preview of the Jesus’ resurrection after having come under the judgment of God [the river Jordan is a type of Hell] at the hands of John the Baptist [a type for the law of God that demands “…the wages of sin [is] death;” [Romans 6:23].  Please refer to the paper, The Role of Baptism in the Life of the Believer)

Jesus was declared “beloved”.   He perfectly obeyed the Will of the Father in that Jesus voluntarily laid down His life.  Jesus showed that He completely paid for the sins of His sheep when He raised Himself from the dead and prove that His sacrifice was acceptable as a holy and complete payment for sin as we read in Romans 1:4, “And declared [to be] the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:” and Hebrews 5:8&9, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;“.

Moses: An Allegory for the Law of God that Spoke of Jesus Christ (In a Veiled Fashion)

But what of Moses and Elijah?  Where do they fit in?  We know that Moses is so intimately identified in the Bible with the Law of God that we often read of the “law of Moses” as we read in I Kings 2:2&3 where David’s last words to his son Solomon were, “I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man; And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:.”  We also read in John 5:45 where Jesus said to the Jews, “Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is [one] that accuseth you, [even] Moses, in whom ye trust.  For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.  But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?”  Furthermore, in II Corinthians, Chapter 3 beginning at verse 11, we find that the emphasis is on the fact that Jesus was concealed by God as if by a “veil” in the Old Testament (represented allegorically by Moses with “a veil over his face”), but revealed with “great plainness of speech” in the New testament as follows, “For if that which is done away [was] glorious, much more that which remaineth [is] glorious.  Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:  And not as Moses, [which] put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:  But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which [veil] is done away in Christ.  But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart.  Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.

Elijah: An Allegory for the Old Testament Prophets that Spoke of Jesus Christ and His Sufferings and the Glory that Should Follow

The Bible also makes it clear that the prophets of God in the Old Testament spoke of the Person and Atoning Work of Jesus Christ (i.e. His suffering and death) as we read in IPeter 1:7-11, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:  Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:  Receiving the end of your faith, [even] the salvation of [your] souls.  Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace [that should come] unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.”  Again, in Acts 3:18, “But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.

Mark 14:21, “The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.

The Law and the Prophets

When we look at how God uses the law (represented here by Moses) and the prophets (represented here by Elijah) we find some additional corroboration to underscore that indeed we are on the right track.  To begin, we find that God describes “the law and the prophets” as being essentially equivalent to the Old Testament as we read in Matthew 11:13, “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John (referring to John the Baptist who we read about in the New Testament).”  We also know that God distills the essence of the whole Old Testament into just two commandments (one of which is commonly referred to as the “golden rule”, as we find both in Matthew 22:37-40, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.“) and in Matthew 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”  In John 1:45, we also find the account where, “Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”  Furthermore, in Acts 28:23 we read about the preaching of Paul from “the law and the prophets”, “And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into [his] lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and [out of] the prophets, from morning till evening.”  Finally, in Luke 24:44, we read of Jesus speaking to the disciples after His resurrection, “And he (Jesus) said unto them, These [are] the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and [in] the prophets, and [in] the psalms, concerning me.”  The law and the prophets (as well as “the psalms”) spoke concerning the person and work of Jesus Christ! (And only Jesus was able to perfectly keep “the law and the prophets” and therefore also “the two great commandments.”)

Please note that the last quoted verse, Luke 24:44, is in perfect harmony with what can be found earlier in Luke (in verses 18:31-33) regarding what Jesus told the disciples just before his death and resurrection, “Then he (Jesus) 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.”  Please also note that when Jesus originally told the disciples these facts, they did not understand them because it was “hid” from them, as we read in the next verse, Luke 18:34, “And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”  However, when Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection, we then read in Luke 24:45-47 that Jesus gave them the understanding, “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,  And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:  And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”  This is just one more example of everyone’s need for God to open his spiritual eyes to spiritual truth even when something is plainly stated in the scriptures.

Before we leave this section, we should also consider one more aspect about the Mount of transfiguration and its relationship to “the law and the prophets.”  In Matthew 5:17 Jesus says, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”  Jesus fulfilled all that the law commanded and demanded, and prophets spoke concerning.  

One more thing…When we look at the last few verses of Luke, Chapter 16 we see the parable of the rich man in Hell crying out to Abraham (while holding Lazarus) in Heaven to send messengers to his brothers who haven’t died yet so that they could be warned to repent and avoid Hell, we read the following:  “Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear themAnd he (the rich man in Hell) said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he (Abraham) said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” The one rose from the dead was not just Lazarus, it was Jesus Christ.  And then we are reminded of Mathew 17:5, “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.”!!!

The Overshadowing Cloud Points to the Glory of God in the Presence of His Saints 

There are numerous references to a “cloud” in the Bible, but the ones that appear to best express the its biblical meaning are found as follows: Exodus 19:16, “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that [was] in the camp trembled.”  Exodus 24:15, “And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount.   Exodus 24:16, “And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.”  Exodus 33:21&22, “And the LORD said, Behold, [there is] a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:  And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:,” and a little later referring to the same account in Exodus 34:5, “And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him (Moses) there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.”  Exodus 40:34, “Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.”  Numbers 14:14, “And they will tell [it] to the inhabitants of this land: [for] they have heard that thou LORD [art] among this people, that thou LORD art seen face to face, and [that] thy cloud standeth over them, and [that] thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.”  Deuteronomy 31:15, “And the LORD appeared in the tabernacle in a pillar of a cloud: and the pillar of the cloud stood over the door of the tabernacle.”  There are also these verses, in the Book of Hebrews that follow immediately after the recountng of the great heros of faith (The Believers/the Saints) that glorified God, we read in Hebrews 12:1&2, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Then compare with these verses: Joh 17:10  And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I (Jesus Christ) am glorified in them (the saints).  2Th 1:10  When he (Jesus Christ) shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

The Three Tabernacles?

Notice also the numerous references to “the tabernacle”.  Remember that in John 1:14 we read, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt (tabernacled) among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”  The word translated “dwelt” is from the Greek word “skenno” which means “to tabernacle” which is the same as we find in Revelation 21:3, “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God.”  Can you see why it was erroneous for Peter to want to build “three” separate tabernacles for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah?  In the historical setting it was unnecessary because Moses’ and Elijah’s habitation was a heavenly one, and more importantly, there is only one tabernacle, or abode, for the people of God.  As Jesus states in John 14:2, “In my Father’s house (singular) are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”  Furthermore, in the spiritual context, the Door of the Tabernacle, and the Tabernacle Itself, is Jesus Christ.  Most importantly, it was Jesus alone, Who prepared that tabernacle, not the disciples.

The Disciples’ Fearful Falling to the Ground, and Jesus’s Raising Them Up

We read in Matthew 17:6 that the disciples, when they heard the voice of God, “fell on their face.”  That action is representative of what anyone will do when he hears the voice of Almighty God.  It is a sign of worship, reverence, and obeisance.  We see examples of such action in Genesis 17:3, “And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,…”; in II Samuel 9:6, “Now when Mephibosheth (an allegorical type of every believer), the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David (an allegorical type of Jesus Christ), he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant!“; in II Chronicles 20:18, “And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with [his] face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD.“; and in Luke 5:12, “And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on [his] face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.”   Please also note the similarity of the obedient nature exhibited by Joshua in Joshua 5:14, “And he said, Nay; but [as] captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?” and the obedient nature of Jesus in Matthew 26:39, “And he (Jesus) went a little farther, 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].

In the Matthew account of the Transfiguration, we read in Matthew 17:7, “And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.”  Immediately, we see a number of features in this verse that pertain to the gospel message (regarding the Person and work of Jesus Christ) that are found everywhere else in the Bible.  The essence of salvation is predicated on the coming of Jesus Christ.  He, alone, is the means of that salvation.  Salvation is dependent on His Work.  That is also why we next read that He touched them, and He said to arise, and He said to be not afraid.

Touch:

There are quite a number of verses in the Bible that pertain to Jesus’s “touching” or being “touched” by someone.  In every case the result is symbolic of what happens to someone who becomes saved.  We see this in the case of Jesus’s healing the leper in Matthew 8:3 (and Mark 1:41 and Luke 5:13), “And Jesus put forth [his] hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”  In the cure of the Peter’s mother-in-law from a fever in Matthew 8:15, “And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.”  In the cleansing of the woman from her issue of blood as we read in Matthew 9:20 (and Mark 5:27-34), “And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind [him], and touched the hem of his garment:  For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.  But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.” and Matthew 14:35 (and Mark 6:56), “And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased;  And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.”  In Matthew 9:27-30, “And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, [Thou] son of David, have mercy on us.  And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.  Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.  And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See [that] no man know [it].”  In Mark 7:32, we read of the deaf and dumb man being healed by Jesus, “And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him.  And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue;  And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.  And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.”  Finally, in Luke 7:12-16, “Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.  And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.  And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare [him] stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.  And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.  And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.

Not only did these miracles serve as physical proofs that Jesus was the promised Messiah (according to Luke 7:22 which, in answer to John the Baptist’s query on that subject, which states, “Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.“), but in each of these miracles are found clear references to the miracle of salvation so equally and graciously given by God to whomever He wills.

Arise:

The word “Arise” spoken by Jesus to the Dead man in the funeral bier in Luke 7:14 is the same word spoken by Jesus to the disciples on the Mount of transfiguration!  The word used in both accounts is from the Greek word, “egiero” (Strong’s # G1453)  It is also the same word used in Luke 8:49-56, “While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue’s [house], saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master.  But when Jesus heard [it], he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.  And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden.  And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.  And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.  And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise.  And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.  And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.”  Again we see the beautiful portrait of God performing the miracle of salvation.  Note that just as was the case on the Mount of Transfiguration, we see Jesus “touching” (in this case the dead girl), Jesus”s saying both to “Arise” and “Fear not.”

Fear Not:

According to the Matthew account, after the disciples heard the voice of God the Father speaking to them from the cloud, they “fell on their face, and were sore afraid.”  This fear is reminiscent of what we find was the case back in Exodus 19:16 when the ten Commandments were given.  That Exodus account closely parallels the Mount of Transfiguration account in that it involved another “Mount” (Mount Sinai), another cloud (a thick cloud), when the people heard another “voice” (of a trumpet and thunderings) and trembled.  Furthermore, in Exodus chapter 20:18&19, immediately after Moses had finished reading the Ten Commandments (“the Law”), we read, “And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw [it], they removed, and stood afar off.  And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.”  Then Moses told the people to “fear not” (just as Jesus told to the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration to “be not afraid”) as we read in the next verse, “And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.

The Bible makes it clear that the “fear” of God is the beginning of Wisdom as we read in Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy [is] understanding.”  We also know, according to Hebrews 10:31, “[It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”  God tells us Matthew 10:28, “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.”  God is the One Who has that power, for we read in Isaiah 8:13, “Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and [let] him [be] your fear, and [let] him [be] your dread.”  However, once someone has become saved, because, in reality, Jesus “touched” that person (to cleanse him of his sinfulness (typified by the various states of leprosy, uncleanness, disease, deafness, dumbness, blindness, and death) and commanded that He “Arise” (from the dead), while that person would have rightly “feared” God with a terrifying “Fear” at the initial “hearing” of the word of God, there is no longer any reason to continue to have that kind of “fear,” but rather an ongoing reverential “Awe” of the God of his salvation.

 

The Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ

The disciples questioned among themselves concerning the meaning of the Jesus’s being risen from the dead.”  This was because the revelation of the meaning of it was withheld from them until the appropriate time by God as we read later in the account of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus following (and on the very day of) Jesus’s resurrection in Luke 24:13-32.  Interestingly, there again we read of “Moses and all the prophets,” “And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem [about] threescore furlongs.  And they talked together of all these things which had happened.  And it came to pass, that, while they communed [together] and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.  But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.  And he said unto them, What manner of communications [are] these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?  And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?  And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:  And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.  But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.  Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;  And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.  And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found [it] even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.  Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:  Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?  And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.  And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.  But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.  And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed [it], and brake, and gave to them.  And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.  And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?”  Please also note how just a few verses later, in verse 44, Jesus reiterates to His disciples the point that all the Old Testament scriptures ultimately have their fulfillment in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ, “And he said unto them, These [are] the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and [in] the prophets, and [in] the psalms, concerning me.”

The Ethiopian Eunuch

A similar account is found in Acts 8:26-39 concerning the encounter between the Ethiopian eunuch and Philip, “And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.  And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,  Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.  Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.  And Philip ran thither to [him], and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?  And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.  The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:  In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.  And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?  Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.  And as they went on [their] way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, [here is] water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?  And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.  And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

 

Conclusion

In all these accounts, we find the Old Testament scriptures (typified by Moses and Elijah, and in the last account, by Isaiah) are always pointing to the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Once the scriptures are expounded upon by a guide, or preacher, of the Word (in the first instance God the Father; secondly Jesus Himself; then, in the third account, the Holy Spirit led disciple, Philip) the elected hearers see and hear only Jesus.  They know Him.  But, perhaps most significantly, it is with their spiritual eyes and ears, not their physical ones.  In the transfiguration account the disciples first saw Moses and Elijah (who typified the Old Testament scriptures) but after they were told by God to “hear” Jesus, they “saw” only Jesus (Moses and Elijah had disappeared).  In the road to Emmaus account, the two disciples didn’t see the person and work of Jesus in the Old Testament Scriptures, they only saw Moses (“the law”) and “the prophets” (including Elijah).  They didn’t recognize Jesus because it was witholden from them until Jesus “broke the bread” for them.  Lastly, the Ethiopian eunuch didn’t know if Isaiah spoke of himself or some other man.  However, once Jesus was expounded to him from the text (by a disciple commissioned and under the power of the Holy Spirit), then the Ethiopian believed Jesus to be the Son of God.*

Other Verses to Ponder:

II Corinthians 4:5-10, “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.  [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.

Hebrews 1:1&2, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

Hebrews 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

II Peter 3:17&18, “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know [these things] before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.  But grow in grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him [be] glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Colossians 2:6-9, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, [so] walk ye in him:

Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.   For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

I Corinthians 8:6, “But to us [there is but] one God, the Father, of whom [are] all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom [are] all things, and we by him.

* It is interesting to see yet another parallel with the account of Jesus and the disciples on the road to Emmaus in the account of Joseph (who typified Jesus Christ) and his brothers (typifying the disciples/believers) in Genesis 45:1-5.  In both cases, the identities of Joseph and Jesus were hidden from the others until a later time when they were alone with them.

 

Postscript: Elias (Elijah) Must First Come?

There is yet another lesson to be learned from the Mount of Transfiguration account.  Immediately after the recording of that account in both Matthew and Luke we find the following statements:

Matthew 17:9&10,  “And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.  And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?

Mark 9:11, “ And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come?

Notice that it is evident that the scribes of Jesus’ day had concluded that Elijah would have to return in a physical, bodily, form before a resurrection of the dead on Judgment Day could occur.  In all likelihood, they were drawing that conclusion from what they read in Malachi 4:5&6 where we read, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD; And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

In Luke 1:13-17, we see that this should correctly be understood to mean that the children of Israel (the children of God) would be led back to God (the fathers) by John the Baptist as a prophet of God.  It reads, “But the angel said unto him, fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard: thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.  Thou shalt have great joy and gladness and many shall rejoice at his birth.  For he (John the Baptist) shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and he shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.  And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.  And he (John the Baptist) shall go before him (Jesus Christ) in the spirit and power of Elias (Greek for Elijah), to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

We see then, that the prophesy of Malachi 4:6 was already fulfilled during the life of John the Baptist!  Jesus Himself confirmed this, because when speaking of John the Baptist in Matthew 11:14+15, Jesus said, “And if ye will receive [it], this is Elias (Elijah in Greek), which was for to come.  He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.“!  To further underscore that this is the only way to interpret Malachi 4:5+6, we read in Matthew 17:10-13, “And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.  But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed.  Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.  Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

The disciples of Jesus “understood” that Malachi 4:5+6 had been fulfilled by John the Baptist.  They “received it.”  They “had ears to hear.”  If anyone can’t accept this, then that person is exactly like those who had John the Baptist thrown into prison and beheaded, and worse, also had Jesus Christ crucified, because “they knew him not.”  Such a person would be doing what he pleased (listed) with the word of God and would be rejecting the true Jesus of the Bible.

Let’s Look back again for a moment at Malachi 4:6, to consider the meaning of “the hearts of the fathers are being turned to the children, and the hearts of the children are being turned to the fathers.”  Again, we must compare scripture with scripture (1 Cor 2:13) to see what God really has in mind.  We know that while, historically, “fathers” in the Bible refer to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (i.e. see Deut 29:13, and 30:20) we also know that they are allegorical representatives of God Himself.  Remember that in Malachi 1:6, we see that, “a son honoreth his father and a servant his master: if then I (God) be a father, where is mine honor?”  Even the plural form, fathers, is consistent with this idea (i.e., God in three persons, as in “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:,” from Genesis 1:26).  The “children” on the other hand (the disobedient in the land of Israel, the children of God), would be turned to the wisdom of the just (their hearts turned to God) and that this would be done so that God would prepare a people for Himself (through salvation through Jesus Christ, as John the Baptist preached).  Also note that in Titus 3:3 we read, “for we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived,… But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared.

When God warns of “smiting the earth with a curse,” from Malachi 4:6, He was teaching that if He did not prepare a people for Himself through the redemptive action of Jesus Christ (as the Lamb of God) which was required for the salvation of His people, then His justice would demand that the whole earth would remain under the curse of God, doomed to destruction on that great and dreadful day (Judgment Day), and none would be saved.

Remember that John the Baptist’s primary message was, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” as he declared when he saw Jesus Christ coming (see John 1:29 and 1:36).

 

                       The Holy Temple of God Must Be Built Before Jesus Can Come?

This reminds me of a similar misunderstanding of Scripture that faces most Christians in our day.  Many people believe that before Jesus Christ can return there must first be the rebuilding of a literal, physical, earthly holy temple of God in the earthly, physical, city of Jerusalem.  They fail to realize that the holy temple of God is a spiritual structure made up of true believing Christians (described as pillars in the temple) that will be made manifest coincident with the appearance of the new Jerusalem in Heaven.  This is what we read in 1 Peter 2:5-8, where God equates the true believers to “lively stones” that are part of the spiritual temple of God of which Jesus Christ is the “chief cornerstone.”  “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, Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10, Luke 20:17, Acts 4:11, and Romans 9:53)

So that there can be absolutely no doubt that the holy temple of God could never, ever, again be defined by physical stones and mortar, we read in 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 corner stone: In 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.

Finally, in 2 Corinthians 6:16, we read, “Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said (see Ezekiel 37:26&27), I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

To more clearly understand why there could never again be any need for an earthly, physical temple of God following the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, we have only to search the scriptures to review what happened at the precise moment of His death.  We read in Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38, and Luke 23:45 that, at that very moment, the veil of the temple was rent in twain (torn in two) from top to bottom.  The result was that the “Holiest of all,” (see Hebrews 9:3) the tabernacle altar of God (where only the high priest, alone, could venture once a year to make an atoning sacrifice of blood on the Day of Atonement) which had heretofore always been hidden from outside view by the veil, had now been fully exposed by God to show that the sign or figure that the “Holiest of all” of the temple represented had been perfectly fulfilled in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ; as He was both the sacrificial Lamb of God and the High Priest that offered the perfect atoning blood sacrifice.  God was showing that the function of the earthly temple had come to an end! (Read all of Hebrews chapter 9 to see that this is so)

Although the Jewish high priest (Caiaphas) no doubt rushed in to repair the torn veil so that he, and the other Jewish high priests that followed him, could continue the yearly atonement sacrificial rite until the physical temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D., the priestly actions would have been pure vanity and rebellion against God.  They could not have had any effect or substance so far as God’s plan of salvation was concerned.  In fact, (according to Isaiah 66:1-4) they would have only been an abomination in God’s sight (because by carrying out those rites, the Jews were continuing to deny that Jesus Christ had come to fulfill the law of sacrifice, which had all along been the sole focal point of the blood sacrifices that were carried out in the temple before Christ died).  This is the most likely reason why God finally allowed the physical temple in Jerusalem to be destroyed for the third (and last) time, and why he scattered the Jews (until our day).  Additionally, because God also subsequently allowed the Islamic Dome of the Rock to be built on the temple site in Jerusalem, the Jews have been prevented from rebuilding the temple ever again (despite the fact that the Jews have had political sovereignty over Jerusalem since 1967).

Today’s Application

When people today argue that Jesus cannot return until the Temple is first rebuilt in Jerusalem, they are in effect speaking just like the scribes in Jesus’s day who did not have the understanding that the fulfillment of the coming of Elijah would be spiritually fulfilled in John the Baptist.  They do not see that in the same way the Temple of God is a “spiritual house” (made up of the universal body of believers joined together through the witnessing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ) that must be first be completed, and not a physical building.

Is Mormonism Christian?

Posted September 21, 2009 by bereansearching
Categories: Uncategorized

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MORONI2An Examination of Selected Mormon Doctrines and Historical Claims When Viewed in the Light of the Bible

The following analysis is the partial result of several years of careful study of Mormon doctrines and historical claims and how they stand up when compared to God’s Holy Word, the Bible.  As true believing Christians and former Mormons*, we have been afforded a unique vantage point from which to undertake such a study.

The purpose of this study is to share the fruits of our labors with those of the Mormon faith as an act of loving concern.  It is our hope that whoever receives this study will read it, will ponder the things presented in it, and will search out the Bible to see whether those things are true or not.  Because we do not claim to have done a perfect job (as we are only Christians growing in grace), it is not so important whether anyone agrees with what we have written here as it is that they search out, and become like the Bereans to find God’s truth in the Bible.  It is our fervent prayer that God will ultimately bring all those who read this study to His truth, according to His perfect will.  If anyone takes offense at these words, please accept our apologies in advance.  May God richly bless you.

  Introduction

As is common to all faiths that profess a belief in Jesus Christ as Savior, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS church) claims to have derived its doctrines from the Bible. However, the LDS church is among those faiths that have developed doctrines based on a wider authority than that which is found in the Bible alone and in its entirety.  Much of LDS doctrine is also based on what the LDS church claims to be additional revelation from God, apart from the Bible, and furthermore it claims that God continues to add to His Word in our day (through a living “Prophet, Seer, and Revelator,” who, by its definition, is also the President of the LDS church).

Because of this clear difference in what constitutes the doctrinal authority, conflicts can, and do, arise between the espoused doctrines of the LDS church and the doctrines that are found in the Bible.  In order to deal with such conflicts, the LDS church either claims that the Bible (the Authorized King James Version) was just incorrectly translated, or, more boldly, just asserts that it (the LDS church) alone has been given (by God) the Divine authority to interpret any and all Holy Scripture.

In our quest for truth, we have found that, on a number of issues, these doctrinal differences can be vast.  Somewhat surprisingly, we have also found that there are many people, both LDS members and non-members alike, who remain unaware of these differences.  Because we, by the grace of God through the hearing of His Word, (Romans 10:17, “So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God“) have been shown that:

1)      The Bible alone and in its entirety circumscribes the whole Word of God, and

2)      That the Bible is therefore the sole source of Divine Truth (Salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ, see John 14:6), and that

3)      The Bible alone must form the basis for all theological doctrine, and

4)      Whether God has given or has not given that truth to an individual… ultimately determines the eternal destiny of that person: either Heaven or Hell.

We are therefore compelled to share and proclaim that truth to all men, for God Himself commands it!

In Ezekiel 3:13-19, we read,

Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.  When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked [man] shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.  Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.”  (See also Mark 16:15).

In what follows, we discuss just a few of the areas where we have found LDS doctrines and historical claims to be in serious conflict with the Bible, and in so doing we elaborate on what the Bible teaches on those subjects because it is our desire to bring the reader to truth that man’s greatest need is salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.  John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  (And Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!)

                    An Examination of Some Mormon* Doctrines and Historical Claims

                                               When Viewed in the Light of the Bible

                                                               Table of Contents

Baptisms for the Dead………………………………………………………………………………………

Genealogies……………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Spirit Prison…………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Celestial Marriage…………………………………………………………………………………………….

Wedding Garments…………………………………………………………………………………………..

Aprons of Fig Leaves (Temple Garments?)……………………………………………………………

Salvation by Grace (Plus Works?)……………………………………………………………………..

Resurrection and Exaltation versus Salvation………………………………………………………….

Water Baptism…………………………………………………………………………………………………

Baptism by Immersion Only ?………………………………………………………………………………

Joseph Smith’s Death……………………………………………………………………………………..

Modern Day Prophets…………………………………………………………………………………….

Prophets of God……………………………………………………………………………………………..

Negating God’s Holy Word………………………………………………………………………………..

In the Name of Jesus Christ………………………………………………………………………………

New Jerusalem (in Missouri?)……………………………………………………………………..

The Holy Temple of God, Where Is It Now?………………………………………………………

Is There an Eternal Hell?……………………………………………………………………………………

The Key to Understanding God’s Word…………………………………………………………….

Conclusion………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

*The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, hereinafter referred to as the LDS church.

Baptisms for the Dead

One of the more unique (quintessential?) doctrines of the LDS church involves baptisms for the dead.  Before we can address this issue, however, we must first understand how the Bible defines the word “dead.”  The Bible makes it clear that the fleshly body is in bondage to sin and death and the unsaved (though they be physically alive) are considered by God to be dead, both in body and in spirit!  In Ephesians 2:1 (repeated again in Ephesians 2:5), we read of the believer’s state before becoming saved as, “and you, hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins,”  Also in Matt. 8:22 Jesus called the unsaved who were yet physically alive as dead.  “Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.”

When the unsaved physically die, their bodies and spirits go to the grave, a place of silence (Psalms 115:17, “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.” see also 1 Sam 2:9 and Psalms 94:17), to be raised up at the last day to be judged according to their works.  No matter how “good” those works may have been in their own eyes, those persons will be found lacking, and therefore guilty, and will have to spend an eternity in hell (where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” Matthew 25:30 and Luke 13:28).

For the children of God (the true believing Christians), however, even though they have attained everlasting life in their soul existence (their spirit essence), their physical bodies are still under the curse of death.  When the children of God are baptized, they baptize their physical, fleshly bodies as a sign of obedience that is only a response to the baptism already performed on their hearts by God.  It is also a sign of faith that on the last day, Judgment Day, their physical, earthly bodies (the dead) will be raised, and in a “twinkling,” will become glorified spiritual bodies to which their spirit essence will be united.  This is why it says in 1 Cor. 15:29, “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” and in 1 Cor. 15:51-53 it says, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.  In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trump (Judgment Day): for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible (fleshly body) must put on incorruption (glorified body) and this mortal (dead) must put on immortality (life).

You see, for the true believing Christian, “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (in spirit).” (see 2 Cor. 5:8), but on the last day, the believer (in spirit) will be reunited with his resurrected and then glorified body.

Baptisms were never intended for the deceased in the grave; for them there is no hope if they were not saved before their death (Heb 9:27). (See spirit prison section below.)  The baptism Paul had in view in 1 Cor 15:29 refers to the water baptism of the fleshly corruptible bodies (the dead) that the believers inhabit during this earthly sojourn as a sign of faith that they will be raised unto life in Heaven with Jesus Christ.

Genealogies

It has also been argued that the doctrine of “baptisms for the dead” is supported by Malachi 4:6, whereby the hearts of the fathers are being turned to the children, and the hearts of the children are being turned to the fathers.  Again, we must compare scripture with scripture (1 Cor 2:13) to see what God really has in mind.

In Malachi 1:6, we see that, “a son honoreth his father and a servant his master: if then I (God) be a father, where is mine honor?”

God was chastising His people of Israel, particularly the priests, as pointed out later in the same verse.  Malachi 4:5 (the beginning of the last paragraph of Malachi that includes 4:6) shows that, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD; And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

In Luke 1:13-17, we see that this should correctly be understood to mean that the children of Israel (the children of God) would be led back to God (the fathers) by John the Baptist as a prophet of God.

It reads, “But the angel said unto him, fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard: thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.  Thou shalt have great joy and gladness and many shall rejoice at his birth.  For he (John the Baptist) shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and he shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.  And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.  And he (John the Baptist) shall go before him (Jesus Christ) in the spirit and power of Elias (Greek for Elijah), to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

We see then, that the prophesy of Malachi 4:6 was already fulfilled during the life of John the Baptist, not in our day by the Mormons doing genealogies and baptisms for the deceased who are in the grave!  Jesus Himself confirmed this, because when speaking of John the Baptist in Matthew 11:14+15, Jesus said, “And if ye will receive [it], this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”!  To further underscore that this is the only way to interpret Malachi 4:5+6, we read in Matthew 17:10-13, “And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.  But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed.  Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.  Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.”

The disciples of Jesus “understood” that Malachai 4:5+6 had been fulfilled by John the Baptist.  They “received it.”  They “had ears to hear.”  If anyone can’t accept this, then he is exactly like those who had John the Baptist thrown into prison and beheaded, and worse, also had Jesus Christ crucified, because “they knew him not.”  Such a person would be doing what he pleased (listed) with the word of God and would be rejecting the true Jesus of the Bible.

Looking back again at Malachai 4:6, we also know that while, historically, “fathers” in the Bible refer to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (i.e. see Deut 29:13, and 30:20) we also know that they are allegorical representatives of God Himself.  Even the plural form, fathers, is consistent with this idea (i.e., God in three persons, as in “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:,” from Genesis 1:26).  The “children” on the other hand (the disobedient in the land of Israel, the children of God), would be turned to the wisdom of the just (their hearts turned to God) and that this would be done so that God would prepare a people for Himself (through salvation through Jesus Christ, as John the Baptist preached).  Also note that in Titus 3:3 we read, “for we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived,… But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared.

When God warns of “smiting the earth with a curse,” from Malachi 4:6, He was teaching that if He did not prepare a people for Himself through the redemptive action of Jesus Christ (as the Lamb of God) which was required for the salvation of His people, then His justice would demand that the whole earth would remain under the curse of God, doomed to destruction on that great and dreadful day (Judgment Day), and none would be saved.

Remember that John the Baptist’s primary message was, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” as he declared when he saw Jesus Christ coming (see John 1:29 and 1:36).

As for the practice of doing genealogies, the Bible declares in I Timothy 1:4, “Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.” (i.e. Read the Bible for edification, and don’t do genealogies.)  Also in Titus 3:9, “But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions and strivings about the law: for they are unprofitable and vain.”

  Spirit Prison

             Reference is often made to 1 Pet. 3:18-20 and 1 Pet. 4:6 regarding the so-called

“spirit prison.”  These verses are generally misinterpreted as they are not viewed in the context of the whole rest of the Bible.  When taken out of that context, they can easily be interpreted as saying (as the LDS Church says it does), that Jesus, after he was crucified, went into a “spirit prison” to preach the gospel of salvation.  Unfortunately, this interpretation is not at all in conformity with the whole rest of the Bible.

First of all, what does the Bible teach us about a “spirit prison.”  The term “spirit prison” does not exist in the Bible, but the Bible does discuss “spirits in prison” as it says in 1 Pet.3:19.  What God has in view does not refer to something that takes place after death, but rather the current state of all human beings who are physically alive, their subjection to God’s judgment for their sins, and their desperate need for salvation through Jesus Christ.  To see that this is the correct interpretation, we can begin by looking at Psalms 142:7, a prayer of supplication, in which David beseeches God to, “Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name:”.  In Isaiah 42:6+7, we read how it was prophesied that Jesus Christ (as Savior) would be “a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” (See also Psalm 146:7&8)

In Luke 4:18 Jesus quotes from Isaiah 61:1,2 and said “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of the sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.”

In this verse we see the reference to the captives (prisoners) and in both Psalm 68:18 and Ephesians 4:8 that, “He (Jesus Christ) ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave good gifts to men.”  His resurrection and ascension fulfilled and assured the promises to the elect of God that they would be freed from the bondage to sin and death.  The unsaved of the world, though they are alive physically, are dead in their sins, and are slaves (prisoners) to Satan.  They are also spiritually blind.  If they remain in that condition when they physically die, they are doomed to an eternity in hell.  This is why it is so important for the true Gospel to be preached to all the world, and why we read in 2 Cor. 5:11, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;”

To more clearly understand that God frequently uses such allegorical (parabolic) language throughout the Bible, the following is offered as a simple example: in the Old Testament, Moses was a type or figure (allegory or parable) of Jesus Christ who would lead His people (the chosen ones) out of the land of bondage, Egypt (a picture of man’s bondage to sin) into the promised land (which was a type or figure of Heaven).  Pharaoh was a type or figure of Satan to whom the people of God were formerly bondservants or prisoners (i.e. Egypt is often referred to as the land of “captivity”).  Pharaoh was swallowed up by the “sea”, which is also a frequent spiritual reference to hell in the Bible.  (For further discussion of this point, see the last section of this paper.)

Getting back to 1 Pet. 3:18-20; what is in view here is that Noah, being a prophet of God, spoke by the Holy Ghost to the wicked (unsaved) in his day, who were the “spirits in prison,” who were sometimes disobedient (and remained that way) because they refused to heed God’s call through Noah.  God was “long-suffering,” as it took quite awhile to build the ark, but only a few; that is, Noah and his family, were saved.  The “spirits in prison” had their chance to heed the call of salvation while they were yet physically alive in Noah’s day.  We know that Noah had the Holy Ghost (or Spirit of God, or the Spirit of Christ) just as the other prophets of old did.  In Acts 28:23-28, we see that Paul preached a sermon and, “testified the Kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning to evening.”

In case you think that Noah could not have preached the “Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ” in Noah’s day; in 1 Pet 1:10-12 we read, “of which salvation (salvation of souls) the prophets who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it was testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

As for those people in Noah’s day, that died in their sins, they heard the Gospel of salvation and they rejected it.  There is no second chance after physical death.  In Hebrews 9:27 we read, “It is appointed unto men once to die, and then the judgement.“!  There is no half-way house, no purgatory, no reprieves, no pardons, no bailouts!

 Celestial Marriage

This brings us to another difference in the gospel of salvation as taught in the Bible as opposed to that espoused by the LDS Church: the concept that some marriages can continue in Heaven.  God clearly teaches (for God repeats it 3 times in the Bible to underscore it) that in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in Heaven.”  See Matt. 22:30, read especially the whole context in Luke 20:27-38, and Mark 12:25.  It is claimed by the LDS Church that these three times repeated statements can be circumvented by “celestial marriages” conducted in this life in the LDS Temples.  This claim has served primarily to “tickle the ears of men” who want to believe that it is true, in spite of what the Bible has to say about it.

The Bible does state, however, that there will be something like a marriage in Heaven, in that it declares that Jesus Christ will be the Bridegroom, and the true Church (which is made up of the body of true believing Christians, the elect of God, the true saints) will be the Bride.  Jesus, in a parable, declared in Matt.22:2, “The kingdom of Heaven is like unto a certain king (Heavenly Father), which made a marriage for his son (Jesus Christ).”  This particular marriage-like relationship is reiterated best in Isaiah 62:5, but see also Matt. 9:15 and 25:1-10, Jer. 3:11, Rev. 18:23, and John 3:2

Wedding Garments

It is interesting to note that in the parable, Jesus talks of guests without their “wedding garments” (Matt 22:12) and when the king saw a guest without the wedding garment, he ordered that the guest be bound hand and foot, taken away and cast into outer darkness: where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (which is a picture of an eternity in hell).  The wedding garments spoken of in the parable do not refer to cotton underwear made by fleshly hands, but rather to the garments of salvation and the robes of Christ’s righteousness (see Isaiah 61:10) with which God clothes the believers to cover their sins so they can enter into the kingdom of Heaven and stand in the presence of God.  Those who would like to enter Heaven “on their own terms” by their own merits, trusting in their own “good works,” rather than solely on the grace of God, will not have their sins covered (Ephesians 2:4+5, 2:8+9).  Their own righteousness (good works) are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).  They will be cast out, into hell, come Judgment Day! (see also Matt.7:21-23)

Aprons of Fig Leaves (Temple Garments?)

It is interesting to note that in Genesis 2:17, God warned Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…”for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shall surely die.”  When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree, they did not physically die for hundreds of years, but from God’s vantage point they were dead in their sin immediately-they were spiritually dead.  It is also interesting that immediately they knew they were naked in their sin and attempted to cover their nakedness with aprons of fig leaves ( Genesis 3:7).  That action was totally unacceptable in God’s sight (they remained naked), so He made a coat of skins by which He covered their nakedness (obviously blood also had to be shed*).  This covering of their nakedness (by God) was a picture of God’s salvation plan for His chosen people, whereby He would clothe them with the robes of Christ’s righteousness.  Jesus Christ, as the “Lamb of God,” was sacrificed so that their sins could be covered.  His blood had to be shed as the only possible perfect and acceptable atonement for sin.  It was solely the work of God, not of man, that was acceptable to cover them.  This should be a clear warning to anyone who believes that salvation is in anyway dependent on the works of man.  In attempting to earn their salvation by their “good works,” they will be found totally lacking (naked) on Judgment Day as though they were wearing aprons of fig leaves.

Salvation by Grace (Plus Works?)

The Bible makes it clear that works, no matter how “good,” do not have any role in a man’s salvation.  In Eph.2:4+5, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” and 2:8+9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”  The general response to this by those who want to believe in a “grace plus works gospel” is to quote from James chapter 2 where we read the following in verse 20, “But will thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” and in verses 24 and 25, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”  While these statements are certainly true because they are found in the Bible, they must be understood (in the context of the entire Bible) to mean that if a person is truly saved (alive in the spirit, which is purely the act of God), then good works must be in evidence flowing from him, otherwise he obviously cannot have been saved (he is spiritually dead).  That this is the correct understanding can be more clearly seen when we look at the often quoted verse (but always out of context) from Philippians 2:13, where we read at the end of the verse, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”  As this quote stands alone, it clearly would have to be understood as meaning that the believer is involved in his own salvation.  However, when we read the very next verse (which is seldom if ever quoted together with the previous line), we find, “For it is God which worketh in you to will and to do of his good pleasure.”  It is God, alone, to whom all the credit belongs for any good in our lives.  It is not at all of ourselves!  In and of ourselves there is no redeeming quality or righteousness.  Whatever good we do has been made possible first by God’s action of doing a good work in us.

Ot her references that illustrate the futility of mankind’s efforts to play a role in their own salvation can be found in Isaiah 64:6, Romans 3:10, James 2:10, and Mat.5:48.

_______

*In Hebrews 9:22, we read, “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without the shedding of blood is no remission (of sins).”  Note also how in Genesis 22:8, we read, “And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself (God Himself) a lamb (as Jesus Christ) for a burnt offering,“.  Only Jesus, as the Lamb of God, can be the acceptable sacrifice to God for sin.  He also had to burn in Hell as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of those (the chosen ones, the elect) whom He came to seek and to save.

Resurrection and Exaltation versus Salvation

It hs been claimed by some in the LDS Church that “immortality”, which they have defined as the binding together of body and spirit to an eternal existence at the resurrection, is by grace alone; while “exaltation” (a word that is not found once in the Bible) is the result of the works of man in the form of “Temple ordinances” such as baptisms for the dead, etc.  Such terms, as defined here, have no Biblical validation.  “Salvation” is by grace alone, not “immortality,” as we read in Ephesians 2:8+9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”  The Bible indicates that an eternal existence awaits the saved and the unsaved alike with the resurrection of their dead bodies come Judgement Day.  Jesus said in John 5:28+29, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”  Using the above definition of immortality (as meaning the resurrection of the dead to an eternal existence), we are forced to conclude that the resurrection to damnation should be considered a “gift.”

Salvation, (the resurrection unto life), not damnation, is the gift of God!  Salvation also means much more than just an eternal existence, it is an eternal existence in Heaven where we will be forever in the presence of God and see Him face-to-face.  All those who are given salvation are spoken of in Romans 8:17 as being “joint-heirs with Christ.”  Salvation is given only to the elect of God; not because they earned it through doing good works, but because they are chosen by God to salvation and viewed as having done good by having been given faith in Jesus Christ, alone, as their Savior.  He did all the work, and He completed it at the cross.  Those who are saved can’t even take credit for their faith, because, as we read in Hebrews 12:2, Jesus is the “author and finisher of our faith.”! (see also Phil 3:9)

Water Baptism

When many people see the word “baptism” in the Bible, they immediately think of water baptism.  As a result, they often equate water baptism to a trigger that activates or insures their salvation.  However, water baptism is only a sign, not the substance of salvation.  We can see how this must be so when we look to the Old Testament (in Genesis 17:1-14) to find that just as circumcision was a “token” (sign) by which God established His everlasting covenant of salvation with Abraham and his seed (represented physically by national Israel until Christ’s crucifixion and spiritually forever by all true believing Christians) by the works of the law (which, because it demands that the law be kept perfectly, only led to condemnation and therefore exposed everyone’s desperate need of a redeemer/savior and which also prophetically pointed to the necessary “cutting off” of the Lord Jesus Christ which was fulfilled in His bloody sacrifice at the cross).  Water baptism is a sign of the new (and also everlasting) covenant of grace with the spiritual Israel which points to the cleansing action of the Holy Spirit that takes place in the heart of every believer (and which openly began in earnest at Pentecost in 33 A.D., but which also reached back to at least Abel) which would never have been possible if Jesus had not perfectly fulfilled the demands of the old covenant.  Water baptism can never be the means of salvation, just as circumcision was never the means of salvation in Old Testament times.  This point is also clearly pointed out in Galatians 5:1-4.

For those that doubt that this is so, it is useful to remember that although both brothers, Ishmael and Isaac, were circumcised by their father Abraham, only Isaac was saved.  Likewise, although both of Isaac’s sons, Jacob and Esau, were circumcised, only Jacob was saved.  Even more significant, we find in Romans 9, verses 10-13, that even while Jacob and Esau were still in the womb, God had already decided to save only Jacob, and not Esau, although both subsequently received the outward sign of circumcision.  God explains how this can be so in Deuteronomy 30, verse 6, where we see that the outward sign, the work of man, had no substance in relation to salvation, but rather it is only the inward work of God according to His sovereign choice (Rom 9:18), the circumcision of the heart, that could only bring salvation.  So too, we can see that water baptism is only an outward sign, which, by God’s grace alone, is a reflection of the substantive baptism, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, which takes place within the heart of the one who is being saved. That baptism, the only one that can save, is the action of God alone, not of man!

The linkage of circumcision with baptism is not our doing, but God’s!  In Colossians 2:8-14 we read, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  For in him (Jesus Christ) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.  And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances (the law) that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross;”.

We can also see that in the light of this linkage, water baptisms are to be administered to  adult confessing believers in Christ, and to their children also as a sign (just as circumcision was a sign in Old Testament times) as evidence of the hope of the believers in the resurrection unto life in Jesus Christ for their physical, sin cursed, fleshly bodies (the dead).

By comparing water baptism and physical circumcision as “works,” and seeing how they do not have the power to save, we can more clearly understand the Biblical teaching that salvation is by grace alone, not of works.  Not only was this clearly stated in Ephesians 2:8+9, but other passages, such as those found throughout Romans chapter 4, particularly verses 9-11, reiterate that point.  In Galatians chapter 2, verse 16, we also read, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”  Later in verse 21 we read, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law (works), then Christ is dead in vain.”  Galatians chapter 3 really underscores this point.  Please read that chapter, or, at least verses 1-3.

Finally, when in Acts 2:38 we read, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”, the baptism in view could not be water baptism.  Such outward washing can never provide forgiveness of sins.  The baptism referred to in that verse, and others that refer to the need to be baptized (see particularly Mark 16:16), can only be focusing on baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Again, it can only be referring to the action of God, as He permanently washes away the sins of the one who He has chosen to come to faith in Jesus (which also brings about the indwelling (gift) of the Holy Spirit), that is “Salvation.”  Also, please remember the “thief on the cross” was saved and yet he was never baptized with water.

Baptism by Immersion Only ?

Baptism by immersion is said by many denominations to be the only valid and acceptable method of baptism in the eyes of God.  While baptism by immersion is certainly an acceptable method, it is by no means the only method as we can see if we take the time to search out God’s word in the Bible.

The words baptize and baptism (from “baptizo” in the original Greek, meaning ceremonial ablutions or washings) are only found in the New Testament.  The purpose being to represent the washing away of sins.  When we look back in the Old Testament, we see a clear connection to such a washing; and God never uses the word “immersion,” but He frequently does use the word “sprinkle.”

1.     In Ezekiel 36:25-28, we read:

“Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean:

            from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 

            A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you:

            and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you

an heart of flesh.  And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk

            in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgements, and do them.”

2.     In Numbers 8:5-7, we read:

“And the LORD spake unto Moses saying, Take the Levites from among the children of Israel, and cleanse them.  And thus shall thou do unto them, to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purifying upon them, and let them shave their  flesh, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean.”

3.     In the New Testament, in Hebrews 10:22, we read:

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure  water.”

In all three of these cases, we can see that washing, cleansing, and purification (from sins) are directly linked by God to an act of “sprinkling” clean water (Jesus’s blood), much as the blood of the peace offering bullock was sprinkled on the people of Israel by Moses as a sign of the covenant between God and His people in Ex. 24:8.

                                                            Joseph Smith’s Death

             Regarding the death of Joseph Smith, the LDS records show that he not only had a gun in the Carthage Jail, but he shot and killed some of those in the mob that stormed the jail.  It is recorded in the official History of the Church, Introduction Vol. 6., p.XLI, that he fired at least two shots and, “brought his man down every time.”  John Taylor, Third president of the LDS Church (who was a witness to the event), testified that, “he had been informed that two of the wounded men had died of their wounds,” History of the Church, Vol. 7,pp 102-103.

In review of the facts of the event, it should be clear to anyone that in dying with a gun in his hand, Joseph Smith not only invalidated his prior claim that he was, “going to the slaughter like a lamb” (a vain attempt to compare himself to Jesus Christ), but that he also invalidated his claim to ever having been a Prophet of God.  In response to these findings, it has been said, “certainly a man has a right to defend himself.”

This may or may not be true for a man, but it is definitely not true for a “Prophet of God!” (or any believer in Jesus Christ).  At no time was it ever the example of a Prophet of God to trust in the arm of the flesh to protect himself (to save his own physical life).  Let’s see what the Bible has to say on this issue.

In Psalms 44:6 we read that, “For I will not trust in my sword and bow, neither shall my sword save me, But thou (God) hast saved us from our enemies,…”  In the New Testament we read that when the High Priest’s servants came to take Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter, who had a sword, cut off the ear of one of them (Malchus).  Jesus rebuked Peter and warned that, “all they that take up the sword shall perish with the sword” (Matt.26:52).  In John 18:11, we also read that Jesus was prepared to go to the slaughter like a lamb when he also told Peter, “put up thy sword into the sheath, the cup my father has given me, shall I not drink it?”  When Jesus was taken, he did not even open his mouth to defend himself against his accusers and those who sought to kill him.  He was truly the “Lamb of God” (See Isaiah 53:7 and 1 Pet. 2:23).  When Stephen, another Prophet of God, was taken out to be stoned, he did nothing to defend or protect himself (Acts 8:58-60).  These examples illustrate that indeed Joseph Smith was a man only, nothing more.  He acted as an unbeliever, who, rather than trusting his fate to God’s sovereign will and protection, chose instead the “arm of the flesh.”  Jeremiah, (17:5-6) who was a true Prophet of God said:

Thus saith the LORD; cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.  For he shall be like heath in the desert and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.”

It is also interesting to note that Joseph Smith’s last words are said to be, “Oh Lord my God,” which, although they appear to be the prayer of a man about to face death, also constitute the beginning of the Masonic “signal of distress,” according to the Mormon writer, E. Cecil McGavin, (Mormonism and Masonry, p.17 and in The Life of Heber C. Kimball, p. 26.).  Joseph Smith was a Mason, and because a large proportion of the mob consisted of Masons; it is entirely consistent with his use of a gun (by which he attempted to save his physical life) that he would have also placed “his trust in man,” through an appeal to his fellow Masons, to save his life.  In Matthew 7:21 we read, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

                                                     Modern Day Prophets

Having examined Joseph Smith’s death we can see, therefore, that not only was his claim to being a prophet invalidated, but so too are all of his “prophesies” and “revelations.”  Just as significantly, we are forced to conclude that so too are the prophesies and revelations invalidated of anyone who claims to have inherited Joseph Smith’s office as “Prophet, Seer, and Revelator.”

That office, which is often described in terms which are normally ascribed to Prophets of God before the Bible was completed, was recently held in the LDS church by Spencer W.  Kimball.  While claiming to have such uniquely divine perceptive powers, it is not surprising that when put to a critical test during his tenure, Spencer W. Kimball failed to detect forgery, fraud, and a related impending double murder, when the man responsible for those crimes was in Spencer Kimball’s immediate presence.  A photograph on page 3 of the Church Section of the Deseret News, May 3, 1980, clearly shows Spencer Kimball closely examining (with a magnifying glass!) what was later proven in court to be a forged document (while the subsequently convicted forger and murderer was at his right hand), and accepting the document from the forger on behalf of the LDS Church’s Historical Department.  “Roughly $20,000” worth of items from the LDS Church Archives were subsequently given to the forger in exchange for that forged document.

Before the Bible was completed, Peter (from whom the LDS Church claims its office of Prophet, Seer, and Revelator was received) was confronted with a similar case of deceitfulness.  In Acts Chapter 5, verses 1-11, we read how Annanias and his wife, Sapphira, attempted to defraud God in their day by withholding a portion of their tithe, and how the evil that was in their hearts was immediately revealed to Peter by God.

As for whether or not there are prophets in our day; yes, indeed, there are prophets (but not as the LDS Church teaches, because the Word of God cannot be added to, as it was completed with the completion of the Bible; see Rev.22:18).  As every true believing Christian quotes from the Word of God as found in the Bible, alone, he is serving in the role of a prophet of God.  The Word of God, as found in the Bible, proceeds out of the mouth of God as a two edged sword (see Rev. 19:21) to both save, and to cut away in judgment.  In Isaiah 55:11, we read, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”  The true believers, as servants (Amos 3:7) and ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20) of Christ, bring His light into the darkened world.  They are His chosen vessels to be indwelt by the Holy Spirit to preach the Word of God, as it is found in the Bible alone.  Once the Word of God is declared, the Holy Spirit works in the hearts of men to save God’s elect.  Those who hear the true, unadulterated Word of God and reject it, or who aren’t satisfied with it (and who want to follow a different or additional gospel) will be cut down and cast into the “Lake of Fire” (Rev. 20:15) come Judgment Day!

                                                                 Prophets of God

There are several religious groups which claim to be under the authority of living prophets of God.  Many of these groups say that they believe in the Bible as the Word of God, but are willing to accept the idea that additions can continue to be made to God’s Word in our day through new Divine revelation.  Such a position is in direct opposition with that held by those claiming to be true believing followers of Jesus Christ (as their Lord and Savior) who totally reject that any gospel other than that circumscribed by the Bible (alone, and in its entirety) is the true Word of God.

The Book of Mormon (in 2 Nephi 29:3-6), when referring to such believers, says:   “A Bible!  A Bible!  We have got a Bible, there cannot be any more Bible.

But thus saith the Lord God: O fools, they shall have a Bible;… Thou fool, that shall say: a Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible…,”

In calling such believers “fools,” these verses actually mock the Word of God; but this should not be surprising because, as we have already shown, Joseph Smith, the man who “revealed” those words was a false prophet, as proven by the last act of his life.

In Mark 13:22-23, Jesus warned that in the last days, “For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders to seduce, if it were possible even the elect.  But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.”  In Matt. 7:15 we read where Jesus also warned, “Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep’s clothing (giving the outward appearance of being associated with Jesus Christ, the “Lamb of God”), but inwardly they are ravening wolves”.  In 2 Corinthians 11:13-14 we read, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.  And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”  Finally we read in Galatians 1:8-9, “but though we, or an angel from heaven, preach unto you any other gospel than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”

In 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12, we are further warned about those “…whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

In Jeremiah 23:16-32, God also warns of false prophets and their lies.  In verse 25, we read, “I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed”.  In verse 28, we read, “the prophet that hath a dream,  let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word (Jesus Christ, see John 1:1), let him speak (declare) my word (Jesus Christ) faithfully (as revealed by the Holy Spirit in the Bible only).  What is the chaff (the unsaved, false prophets, who are doomed to be burned in the fires of hell after the separation from the wheat on the threshing floor of Judgement Day) to the wheat (the saved, true prophets, who will be gathered into the harvest home of God in Heaven to be with Jesus Christ for all eternity)? saith the LORD“.

Please also read, Deuteronomy 13:1-3, where God reveals how He uses false prophets to “prove” or test His people to see if they will remain faithful.

                                                        Negating God’s Holy Word

It has also been publicly claimed by at least one LDS Church spokesman* (and never refuted by the LDS church) that, “Moses was translated, not buried, because he did not die.”  The Bible, however, clearly states that Moses did in fact die, it even states it two times to underscore the fact. In Deuteronomy 34:5-8 we read, “So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD.  And he buried him in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knowest his sepulchre unto this day.  And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.  And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning were ended.”  The language used here is almost exactly the same as when Aaron died, as we read in Numbers 20:28+29, “…and Aaron died there in the top of the mount: and Moses and Eleazar came down from the mount.  And when all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead, they mourned for Aaron thirty days,…”.  This conclusion is confirmed by Deut.32, verses 48 through 52.

The oldest available Hebrew texts read this way, so there is no way to say these verses were incorrectly translated.  It would seem that the argument being given is that those verses were incorrectly written or incorrectly transcribed, which is considerably beyond the LDS doctrinal claim that the only errors in the King James Bible are those having to do with translation.  It would seem, therefore that the LDS Church has taken extreme, unjustified, liberty with God’s Holy Word, the Bible.  The LDS Church has, in effect, taken away from the Word of God, a very serious matter!

_____

*Theodore A. Tuttle at a BYU Devotional on 7 September 1980.

The reason for the question of whether or not Moses actually died probably arose because Moses appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration with Elijah (who did not die, but was translated).  Rather than trusting the Bible as God’s Word, the doubters seem to have placed their trust in their own wisdom and understanding.  However, back in the Bible, in Jude verse 9, we get an indication of where the solution to the apparent contradiction probably rests.  There we read, “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”  Evidently God had resurrected Moses’ dead body prior to Jesus’s death and resurrection so that Moses could appear on the Mount of Transfiguration with Elijah, to represent the law and the prophets witnessing and testifying to Christ’s forthcoming crucifixion.

The capriciousness with which the LDS Church treats God’s Holy Word in the Bible is most clearly brought out in its treatment of The Song of Solomon, which is a beautiful portrait (of the love between Jesus Christ, as the bridegroom, and His bride, the Church), that God painted using allegorical language in a parable, written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit through His servant, Solomon.  Many people are not aware that the LDS Church does not even recognize this book of the Bible to be the inspired Holy Word of God.  According to the LDS Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Student Manual (Religion 302, copyright 1981),p.5, “The Song of Solomon, which the Prophet Joseph Smith said was not to be considered inspired writing, is only one of many songs written by Solomon.”

                                                       In the Name of Jesus Christ

Among the many claims of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons) it has been said that one of the evidences that the LDS Church is uniquely qualified and commissioned as the only “true Christian church” is because it is the only church to include “Jesus Christ” within its name.  Nowhere in the Bible can we find any evidence to suggest that we should place any trust in persons or institutions because of their use of the name of Jesus Christ.  In fact, the Bible suggests just the opposite!  In Matt. 7:21-23, Jesus warns:

“Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter

                        into the kingdom of heaven: Many will say to me in that day,

                        Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?  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.”

             There are many churches in the world today that claim to be bringing their gospel in the name of Jesus Christ, but if they don’t know Him as Lord God and the perfect savior, they are preaching another Jesus.  In 2 Cor. 11:3-4, the Bible says:

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve

                through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from

                the simplicity that is Christ.  For if he that cometh preacheth

                another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another

                spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have

not accepted, ye might well bear with him (share the same end?).”

                                                 The New Jerusalem (in Missouri?)

There are many who have been taught that when Jesus comes back on the clouds of glory that He will establish a new Jerusalem; a literal, physical city, at a location somewhere on this earth.  Some people believe that it will be at the location of the old Jerusalem, while others, particularly those in the LDS church, believe that it will be located in the United States, and, more specifically, in Independence, Missouri.  Let’s see what the Bible has to say regarding this issue.

With regard to the possibility that this earth will even exist beyond Jesus’s second coming (Judgement Day), In 2 Peter 3:7, we read, “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgement and perdition of ungodly men.”  Further on in verse 10, we read, “But the day of the LORD will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”  God reiterates this point in verse 12 and finally in verse 13 we read, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

In Revelation 21:1, it reads, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.”

Regarding the new Jerusalem, however, in the very next verse we read, “and I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”  Later, at the end of verse 9, one of the seven angels told John, ” Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”  And in verse 10, “and he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain and shewed me that great city, holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.”  We can readily see that the city, the new Jerusalem is not some literal, physical, city, but rather the kingdom of God encompassing the body of all true believing Christians, the true eternal Church, which God looks upon as the bride of Christ!

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, verses 25 and 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).”

Additional support is found in Hebrews 12:22-23 , where we read, “But ye are come unto Mount Si-on and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,”.

As to the timing of the fulfillment of the coming of the new Jerusalem we are told in Matthew 24:29-31, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

       The Holy Temple of God, Where is it Now?

This brings us to another problem.  There are those in various religions today who claim to have access to a literal, physical, earthly holy temple of God.  As was indicated above, the holy temple of God is a spiritual structure made up of true believing Christians (described as pillars in the temple) coincident with the new Jerusalem in heaven.  This is entirely consistent with what we read in 1 Peter 2:5-8, where God equates the true believers to “lively stones” that are part of the spiritual temple of God of which Jesus Christ is the “Chief Cornerstone.”  “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, Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10, Luke 20:17, Acts 4:11, and Romans 9:53)

So that there can be absolutely no doubt that the holy temple of God could never, ever, again be defined by physical stones and mortar (whether in Jerusalem; Salt Lake City, Utah; Independence, Missouri; or anywhere else for that matter), we read in 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 corner stone: In 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.”

Finally, in 2 Corinthians 6:16, we read, “…Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said (see Ezekiel 37:26&27), I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

To more clearly understand why there could never again be any need for an earthly, physical temple of God following the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, we have only to search the scriptures to review what happened at the precise moment of His death.  We read in Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38, and Luke 23:45 that, at that very moment, the veil of the temple was rent in twain (torn in two) from top to bottom.  The result was that the “Holiest of all,” (see Hebrews 9:3) the tabernacle altar of God (where only the high priest, alone, could venture once a year to make an atoning sacrifice of blood on the Day of Atonement) which had heretofore always been hidden from outside view by the veil, had now been fully exposed by God to show that the sign or figure that the “Holiest of all” of the temple represented had been perfectly fulfilled in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ; as He was both the sacrificial Lamb of God and the High Priest that offered the perfect atoning blood sacrifice.  God was showing that the function of the earthly temple had come to an end! (Read all of Hebrews chapter 9 to see that this is so).   Although the Jewish high priest (Caiaphas) no doubt rushed in to repair the torn veil so that he, and the other Jewish high priests that followed him, could continue the yearly atonement sacrificial rite until the physical temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D., the priestly action would have been pure vanity and rebellion against God.  They could not have had any effect or substance so far as God’s plan of salvation was concerned.  In fact, (according to Isaiah 66:1-4) they would have only been an abomination in God’s sight (because by carrying out those rites, the Jews were continuing to deny that Jesus Christ had come to fulfill the law of sacrifice, which had all along been the sole focal point of the blood sacrifices that were carried out in the temple before Christ died).  This is the most likely reason why God finally allowed the physical temple in Jerusalem to be destroyed for the third (and last) time, and why he scattered the Jews (until our day).  Additionally, because God also subsequently allowed the Islamic Dome of the Rock to be built on the temple site in Jerusalem, the Jews have been prevented from rebuilding the temple ever again (despite the fact that the Jews have had political sovereignty over Jerusalem since 1967).

   Is There an Eternal Hell?

There are many so-called “Christian” denominations that claim that the Bible is the Word of God, yet they totally ignore all that the Bible declares regarding Judgment Day and the associated punishment from God that will be meted out to everyone of the unsaved of the world on that “great and very terrible day of the LORD” (see Joel 2:11).  It has become most unpopular to talk of God’s wrath and punishment for sin, eternal damnation, or the fires of an eternal hell.  Are these just euphemisms, or are they and integral part of God’s magnificent salvation plan?

In order for someone to claim that he is “saved,” or that Jesus Christ is their “Savior,” he must have a clear idea of what he has been saved from.  If he claims that he is escaping the just penalty for his sins, he is correct, for the Bible clearly teaches that “the wages of sin is death.” (see Romans 6:23)  However, the Bible doesn’t stop there, because it talks of the “second death” which is the just end that awaits all sinners who remain unsaved; those whose names are not written in the “book of life.”  In Revelation 20:14-15 and 21:8 we read that the second death means to be cast into “the lake which burns with fire and brimstone.” In reference to this same fire, Jesus declared three times that the unsaved would “go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” (see Mark 9:43-48)  In Matthew 3:12, John the Baptist declared that Jesus would “throughly purge his (threshing) floor, and gather his wheat (the believers) into the garner (harvest house); but he will burn up the chaff (the unsaved of the world) with unquenchable fire.”  We also know from Revelation 14:11, that “the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night.” 

The Bible specifically mentions hell 54 times, but it is clearly alluded to many more times in other words.  As Jesus taught in Matthew 15:14, “when the blind (false prophets and false teachers with their false gospels) lead the blind (the unsaved), they both fall into the ditch” From Psalms 7:15, a ditch is equated to a pit, and from Isaiah 14:15, we know that a pit is equated to hell reserved for Satan and all his dominion (see also Psalm 143:7 and Psalm 9:17).  This was determined by comparing scripture with scripture.  The Bible is its own interpreter or dictionary.  The interpretation is therefore God’s alone and not man’s (i.e. not of our private interpretation).  Other times God refers to hell as outer darkness as in Matthew 26:30, where Jesus in a parable declared, “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  Finally, in Matthew 10:28,  Jesus warned: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him (God) which is able to destroy both body and soul in hell.

It should also be remembered that Jesus not only gave his life as “a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28), but He had to endure the wrath of God on behalf of all who would believe on Him because God’s justice demands that the penalty for the sins of the believers had to be paid in order to make their salvation possible.  Jesus not only died for those whom He came to seek and to save, but He had to endure the equivalent of an eternity in hell for them (something which is humanly incomprehensible).

Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;” 2 Corinthians 5:11.

                                     The Key to Understanding God’s Word, the Bible

In 2 Peter 1:20&21, we are told, “Knowing this first, that no prophesy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophesy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of old spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”  In order to understand the word of God, the Holy Spirit must first enlighten us.  We must be given the spiritual eyes to see and the spiritual ears to hear.  We must have been given the wisdom of God, by God.  This will come when we are truly seeking Him (because He first sought us, see John 6:44) and fear (have reverential awe of) Him.  We are told in Psalms 111:10 that, “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom:”, and in Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of Knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”  The more we study God’s word, the Bible, the more our faith grows and the spiritually wiser we become.  In Romans 10:17, we learn that, “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (With such study, it can also be found that the Bible has been precisely crafted by God, by His Holy Spirit, into one cohesive, consistent whole, from beginning to end.)

In Psalm 78:1&2, God calls upon all believers to, “Give ear O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.  I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings* of old:” (yet immediately thereafter only an historical account is provided!)  In Proverbs 1:5&6, we read, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.

In Proverbs 25:2 we also read, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings (the believers) is to search out a matter.

In 1 Corinthians 2 (the whole chapter) we learn more of the secrets to understanding God’s Holy word, the Bible:

a) in verse 5, “that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in  the power of God.”

b) in verse 7+8, “but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the  hidden wisdom, which God ordained from before the world unto our glory, which none of   the princes of this world know:

c) in verse 10, “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit  searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”

d) in verse 13, “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth: comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

            e) in verse 14, “But the natural man (everyone in the unsaved state) receiveth not  the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know  them, because they are spiritually discerned.

________

* From the Hebrew, “chiydah,” (also used as dark sentences or speech) meaning hard question or riddle, and is synonymous with the word “proverb” or “parable”.

The Bible requires spiritual insight to understand it, a faculty given by God as part of salvation.  Since Proverbs 1:20-23 and 1 Corinthians 1:30 describe Jesus Christ as wisdom, then verse 7 is really saying, “We speak Jesus Christ in a mystery.”  This is a repetition of 1:18, which says that those who are perishing (the unsaved) do not understand Christ as the Savior they need.  Those who are saved know who He is, for they see Him in the Bible (John 5:39).  They can see how God pre-figured Jesus and salvation through Him alone in all the Old Testament historical accounts.  Such examples can be found when we look at the lives of Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Boaz, David, Mordecai, Nehemiah, Jonah, etc.  However, for the rest (the non-elect unsaved who are spiritually blind), such wisdom is “hidden,” because God hides the truth of the Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ from them (God leaves them in their blindness!).

Remember, the Bible makes it clear that Jesus spoke in “parables.”  In Matt. 13:34 we read that:

All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables;  and without a parable spake he not unto them:  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

Jesus explained to His disciples why He spoke in parables to the multitudes.  In Mark 4:11+12, we read:

And he said unto them, Unto you (the elect) it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without (the non-elect), all these things are done in parables:  That seeing they may see and not perceive; and hearing they may hear and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.”

It can even be said that effectively the entire Bible was written as a “parable,” in that only if God has given the reader “ears to hear” and “eyes to see” (Proverbs 20:12, “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them), can the Bible truly be understood and applied to his heart, otherwise the Word remains hidden to that individual.  It is the only way to “hear” Him (see Matt. 17:5).  Because this is so, we can also see how it is possible to “see” the Lord Jesus Christ (He is both the Word and Wisdom) on each and every page, whether it be in the New, or Old, Testament.

The conclusion of the matter is, only if (by the grace of God, alone) we have the Holy Spirit indwelling in our hearts (because we are called and chosen by God) can our spiritual eyes and ears be opened to the hidden truths of God (in concurrence with our gaining a desire to be obedient to them!).  Because these truths are of God, they must be spiritually (not carnally/humanly) discerned.  In Romans 7:14 we read, “For we know that the law (the whole word of God, the Bible) is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.”  Therefore, only while being guided by the Holy Spirit, can we humbly search and compare scripture with scripture (comparing spiritual things with spiritual things), within the context of the whole Bible, to begin to unlock the spiritual secrets that God has hidden within His word, the Bible.

APPENDIX:   Who or What is the Bible Really Talking About?

Many people who follow false gospels claim that certain verses in the Bible specifically refer to their leaders, either past or present.  For example, the LDS church claims that Isaiah, Chapter 29, is describing Joseph Smith and the “marvelous work and a wonder” that he would do (in establishing the LDS [Mormon] church).  The LDS church also claims that Isaiah 29:10-12 is referring to a transaction in the early 1800’s in which a man named Martin Harris traveled to New York City to show some written characters that were claimed to have been copied from the Book of Mormon’s “golden plates” to a Professor Charles Anthon.  According to the account, Professor Anthon later asked Martin Harris to show him the originals.  Martin Harris is said to have then told Professor Anthon that part of the “plates” were “sealed,” and that he was forbidden to bring them.  The Professor is then said to have replied, “I cannot read a sealed book.”  The LDS church says that Professor Anthon is the “learned one” referred to in Isaiah 29:11 and Joseph Smith is the one that is “not learned” referred to in Isaiah 29:12 (and who, despite that handicap, was able to “translate” the “sealed” book [the Book of Mormon]).  Is this claim valid?  Is this possible?  Let’s see what the Bible has to say.

                                                            Biblical Ground-Rules

Before we begin to come to any truth regarding the Bible, we need to know God’s rules concerning its interpretation.  In II Peter 1:20&21 and 2:1&2 we read, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost.  But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

These verses are saying that if anyone gives forth an interpretation out of their own intellect or from the carnal minds of others that have taught them, they are false teachers and the truth is not in them.  But how are we to know which is out of a man’s mind as opposed to what God is really saying?  God gives us the means in the Bible.

In I Corinthians 2:13 we read, “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”  And we know from II Samuel 23:2, “The spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word [was] in my tongue.”  Clearly the word of God, the Bible, is spiritual, as it was written under the direction of the Holy Spirit.  So if we want to learn the true meaning of any verse then we need to compare scripture with scripture (spiritual things with spiritual things).  Also in I John 2:27 we read, “But the anointing (of the Holy Spirit) which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

We also learn that if anyone is a true prophet (one who is declaring God’s word faithfully), then certain criteria must also be met.  All true Believers, the true prophets, must have the testimony of Jesus Christ, and no one else.  That is why we read in Revelation 19:10, ” And I fell at his feet to worship him.  And he said unto me, See [thou do it] not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”  We can see, the Bible is the word of God, and Jesus Christ is both God and the Word made flesh (See John 1:1 and John 1:14).  Revelation 19:13 reiterates this point, “And he (Jesus Christ) [was] clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his (Jesus’s) name is called The Word of God.”

In John 5:39, we read where Jesus was reviling the Jews and said, “Search the scriptures (only the Old Testament in that day); for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me (Jesus Christ).  Also in Hebrews 10:7 where God explains Psalms 40:7 as saying that the book (the Bible) is talking about Jesus Christ, “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me, [Jesus Christ]) to do thy will, O God.”  Remember also in Luke 24:27 where Jesus, after His resurrection, was walking on the road to Emmaus with the two who did not recognize Him?   There we read, “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”   Later on, in verse 31, we read, “And their eyes were opened, and they knew him;

                                                                Isaiah, Chapter 29

With these rules in mind, let’s look at Isaiah 29:10-12.  There we read, Isaiah 29:10, “For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.  And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which [men] deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it [is] sealed:  And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.

We can see that Isaiah 29 is primarily a testimony by God against the prophets, seers, and rulers (the Priests and Pharisees, the “learned ones”) who claim to understand the word of God, the Bible, but who really have no understanding at all.  To them this “book” is “sealed,” even though they are “learned” men.  They are false prophets and the Light of Christ is not in them.  They do not have the Holy Spirit to guide them to the truth that leads to eternal life.  They are “spiritually blind” and therefore dead in their sins.

As  for the “not learned” one, there is no implication that he can do any better.  All he can say, and rightly so, is that “I am not learned.”  That is all that is said.  There is nothing said about any interpretation or translation of the “sealed” book (which in any case is the Bible, and not the Book of Mormon).  Moreover, regarding the “not learned,” the Bible has only unpleasant words to say.  If we turn to II Peter 3:16, for example, we’ll find that regarding the understanding of scripture by such a one, “As also in all [his] (Paul’s) epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”

So who then can understand this sealed book, the Bible?  The Believers can.  We know this from Isaiah 8:13-16, “Sanctify the LORD of hosts (Jesus Christ) himself; and [let] him [be] your fear, and [let] him [be] your dread.  And he (Jesus Christ) shall be for a sanctuary (to the Believers); but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem (those who claim to have fellowship with God, but really do not).  And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.  Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples (the true Believers).”  Also in Isaiah 8:20, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, [it is] because [there is] no light in them.”  (Matthew 6:23, “But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great [is] that darkness!“)

Now getting back to Isaiah, chapter 29; if we go to the next two verses, verses 13&14, we read, “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near [me] with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:  Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, [even] a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise [men] shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent [men] shall be hid.”  To understand this passage we don’t go to men, we go to God through His Word the Bible.  In Matthew 15:7-9 (and Mark7:6-9), we read where Jesus was rebuking the Pharisees and scribes (the learned ones, the prophets, rulers, seers of that day whom God had blinded referred to in Isaiah 29:10&11) and God records for us, “[Ye] hypocrites, well did Esaias (Isaiah in Greek) prophesy of you (not a 19th century professor), saying,  This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far from me.  But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.”  Jesus also said in Matthew 23:27, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead [men’s] bones, and of all uncleanness.”

                                                 A Marvelous Work and a Wonder?

As for the “marvelous work and a wonder,” God is declaring that inspite of the fact that so many “learned” men of Israel (who intellectually knew what the Bible says) are so blind to any understanding of what it is really talking about, God would save a remnant of all humankind (both Jews and Gentiles*) for Himself.  We are told this in the concluding section of chapter 29, beginning with verses 18 and 19, where God capsulizes the essence of salvation, “And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book (the “sealed” book, the Bible), and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.  The meek also shall increase [their] joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel (the Lord Jesus Christ).”

______

*God refers to the Gentiles in Isaiah 29:17 as Lebanon (not Israel) which will become a fruitful field.

God tells us that He would effectuate His salvation program first, marvelously, by the redemptive action of the Lord Jesus Christ (as the Passover Lamb at the cross) and then, wonderously, by “the opening of the blind eyes” (spiritually speaking) through the pouring out of His Holy Spirit beginning at Pentecost.  For proof that this is the only correct interpretation, we must first turn to Isaiah 42:6&7 where we read, “I the LORD have called thee (Jesus Christ, as the servant) in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, [and] them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”  Then in Luke 2:30-32, we read that the devout man Simeon, upon seeing the child Jesus in the temple at Jerusalem, declared to God under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;  A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Finally, in Acts 13:38-41, we read that (after Pentecost) while Paul and Barnabas were preaching the gospel of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ in Antioch in a Jewish synagogue, they said, “Be it known unto you therefore, men [and] brethren, that through this man (Jesus Christ) is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:  And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.  Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;  Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.”  Because many of the Jews did not believe, they were rebuked by God as we read in verses 46-48, “Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you (the Jews): but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.  For so hath the Lord commanded us, [saying], I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.  And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”  This is true meaning of a “marvelous work and a wonder”.

                                                                     Conclusion

In conclusion, we can see that the “sealed book” referred to in Isaiah, chapter 29, is the Word of God, the Bible, not the Book of Mormon.  We can see that the “learned one” is anyone who claims to have Biblical authority in his doctrinal pronouncements, but who is really preaching a false gospel because God has blinded him to the truth concerning salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.  If God has given you the “eyes to see”, it should be clear by now that it could have absolutely nothing to do with some professor in New York City in the early 1800’s.  As for the “marvelous work and a wonder”: it is God’s magnificent salvation program for all mankind, wrought by God the Father through Jesus Christ His Son and the Holy Spirit, planned from before the foundations of the world. (not by a man from upstate New York 150 years ago).  We have only used God’s Word, the Bible, as the sole authority on which to base this interpretation…not the pronouncement of a false prophet. (who, in this case, was appropriately also said, by his own followers, to be “not learned” by reputation)

                                           The “Many Books” of Ecclesiastes 12:12

It has been claimed by some who believe in false gospels, particularly those whose gospel is based on additions to God’s Word (the Bible), that those additions (like the book of Mormon) are among the “many books” referred to in Ecclesiastes 12:12.  Let’s see if that is what the Bible is really talking about.

In Ecclesiastes 12:12 we read, “And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books [there is] no end; and much study [is] a weariness of the flesh.”

What is God saying here?  Is He saying that He is going to send us more truth and wisdom in many more books in addition to the Bible such as, for example, “the Book of Mormon”?  If He is, why does He indicate that by study or reading those many books is “a weariness of the flesh.”  Isn’t the Word of God supposed to be a refreshment for thirsty souls and a rest for the weary?  That is exactly what we read in Isaiah 28:12, “To whom he said, This (referring to His Word) [is] the rest [wherewith] ye may cause the weary to rest; and this [is] the refreshing: yet they would not hear.,” and also in Acts 3:19, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;”.  We can see then that the “many books” have absolutely nothing to do with God’s Word.

So, therefore, if the Mormons claim that the “many books” referred to in Ecclesiastes 12:12 include the Book of Mormon, they are correct.  This is because God tells us that man-made books are many and the study of them are “a weariness of the flesh,” because they are all vanity.  Because they are not part of God’s Word, they profit the reader nothing (regarding eternal salvation).  We can know this is true, because in the very next verse 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.

And God’s commandments aren’t just the Ten Commandments, they are all of God’s word as found in the Bible alone, and in its entirety.  As we read at the end of the Bible, in Revelation 22:18, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:”  Because if we add to that revealed book, we would be adding to the whole Bible, which contains all of God’s revealed word to mankind.  If we add new revelation in addition to the Bible, we are adding to the book of The Revelation.  If we fear God, we must be obedient to anything and everything that we read in His word, the Bible (alone and in its entirety!).  We cannot look to other books, because they are a truly “a weariness of the flesh!”  They offer no hope of salvation, only the Judgment of God.

POSTSCRIPT:  After having shared this paper with individuals of other faiths, we have found that there is one major “stumblingstone” to its acceptance.  Although many faiths, including the LDS church, claim to believe the Bible is the “Word of God;” when confronted with conflicts between Biblicly-based doctrine and that of their church, they dismiss the Bible as untrustworthy (due to claimed errors in its translation) and defer to the declarations of their church leaders as their final authority.  In so doing, they have built their house upon the moveable and changeable “earth!” (sinking sand) See Luke 6:46-49 and Matt.7:24-27. 

An Exposition of the Book of Esther: A Christian Commentary

Posted September 19, 2009 by bereansearching
Categories: Bible Studies

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

lotThe casting of “pur” or “lot” in the Book of Esther is like the rolling of dice, but as we know from Proverbs 16:33, “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.

An Exposition of the Book of Esther: The Little Known (Little Understood?) Book of Prophecy that Reveals God’s Magnificent Plan of Salvation Through the Person and Work of Jesus Christ

The Book of Esther is read every year to the assembled congregations of the Jewish people in their synagogues to the present day.  It is read as part of the celebration of the Feast of Purim (also known as the “Feast of Lots” which are objects used as a form of divination, something like “dice”, and from which we get the term “lottery”.)  The feast is celebrated to remember the deliverance of the Jews whose date of destruction, their judgment day, was pre-determined by the casting of “pur” or “lot” (Esther 9:24) to be at the end of the year, but was ultimately, amazingly, turned into a day of deliverance and salvation, in accordance with God’s Will, which was all pre-ordained by God (Proverbs 16:33).

The Book of Esther is indeed about the miraculous physical deliverance of the Jews of national Israel (the physical descendants of Abraham).   More importantly, however, it is also about the miraculous spiritual deliverance of the true “Jews,” the body of believers, the Church of Jesus Christ (the spiritual descendants of Abraham through Christ who include a remnant of both national Israel and the Gentile nations).  Because the Book of Esther has both an earthly (historical) and a Heavenly (spiritual) meaning, it is an historical “parable.”  While it does provide an account of an actual period in history, it was nonetheless written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and has been incorporated into God’s Word the Bible.  It is a vignette orchestrated by God in the first instance (historically) and written down as precisely crafted in the Bible in the second instance (spiritually) to fulfill God’s own purposes.

Perhaps the most important of God’s purposes for the Book of Esther was to convey, in one short (ten chapter) account, most, if not all, of the key elements of His magnificent salvation plan.  The message of the Book of Esther is the same Gospel message that can be found everywhere else in the Bible as it focuses on the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The only difference is that, each time Jesus is found in the Bible, we can learn more about Him and God’s Gospel plan through Him (which glorifies God in the process).  However, to truly “see” Jesus (to believe with our hearts and not just our minds), we must have our spiritual eyes opened by God.  Given that this can be the case, then another purpose for God having provided us with the Book of Esther is that it will edify and strengthen the faith of the saints (the believers).

Esther is also a prophetic book because it culminates with a picture of Judgment Day at the end of creation and the eternity in Heaven that will follow for all who are counted among the people of Jesus… and the eternal death and destruction in hell for all those who are not.

So where do we see Jesus in the Book of Esther?  Some Christian commentaries conclude that it is Esther who, “as the advocate for her people,” is the deliverer of salvation to her people and therefore portrays Jesus Christ.  Is that correct?   Let’s look at the six main characters in the order of their appearance:

1) King Ahasuerus: A very great and powerful king who reigned over a “glorious  kingdom” with the “honour of his excellent majesty.”

2) Queen Vashti: A beautiful queen, the first wife of the king Ahasuerus.  When she was bidden by the king (by his “commandment”) to a great feast, she refused to come while holding her own feast for the women; so the king decreed that she could never again come into his presence.  He also decreed that her royal estate be given “to another that is better than she.”  King Ahasuerus sent letters to all his provinces to be published “to every people after their language.”

3) Mordecai: A certain Jew, “the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite“, who lived in the king’s palace and sat in the king’s gate. He was the nearest kinsman to Esther, being her elder cousin.

4) Esther: A fair and beautiful maid, a virgin, (and an orphan, because “for she had neither mother or father”)  who was brought up by Mordecai, and he “took for his own daughter“… “when her father and mother were dead“.)  Esther pleased king  Ahasuerus and “she obtained kindness of him.”  “And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.

5) Hegai (Hege): The King’s Chamberlain, the keeper of the women (evidently a eunuch). (We also read about another King’s Chamberlain in Chapter 4, named Hatach, who is evidently also a eunuch.)

6) Haman: A chief prince of king Ahasuerus who because he saw that Mordecai bowed  not to him (Haman), nor reverenced him, “Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that  were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.

The Plot:  King Ahasuerus replaces his first queen, Vashti, for her disobedience, and gives her royal estate to Esther (the Jewish orphan raised up by her elder kinsman, Mordecai) who has been anointed by the King’s Chamberlain, Hegai.  Later, prince Haman, in his prideful wrath, convinced the king to decree the destruction of “a certain people” (the Jews) from throughout the land at the end of the year by accusing that they did not keep the king’s laws.  Haman also sought to have Mordecai hanged on the highest gallows that Haman had made.  When Mordecai heard about it, he put on sackcloth and ashes outside the palace gate.  “Then called Esther for Hatach, one of the king’s chamberlains, whom he had appointed to attend upon her, and gave him a commandment to Mordecai, to know what it was, and why it was.” Later under commandment from Mordecai, Esther went into the kings presence (at the risk of death, but walking by faith…”if I perish I perish“) to inform the king (over time through two sequential banquets) of Haman’s plot to kill her people.  However, Mordecai, because of an earlier act of faithfulness to the king (which Esther had “certified the king [thereof] in Mordecai’s name”, although the king had forgotten for a time), was honored by the king, and arrayed in the king’s royal apparel wearing the king’s royal crown and allowed to ride through the street of the city on the king’s horse.  This was the very honor that Haman, because of his pride, had sought for himself.  Instead of receiving that honor as he expected, Haman was subsequently humiliated. Moreover, when Esther later revealed Haman’s plot to the king, and, as the king soon supposed Haman was about to assault Esther, Haman was ordered to be hung from the same gallows that he had made for Mordecai.

In the final battle, at the end of the year, where Haman had planned to have all the Jews destroyed and consumed in one day, all those who hated the Jews, including all of the ten sons of Haman were themselves removed “with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction.”  The next day, after this great battle, the Jews rested from their enemies and “made it a day of feasting and gladness,” to be remembered and kept throughout every generation.  Finally, because the king had advanced Mordecai “next unto the king” (his right-hand man, so to speak), Mordecai was “great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed.”  We also read earlier, after the death of Haman, that “Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad.  The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour.

If we compare this historical account with the rest of the Bible, we can find some amazing and unequivocal parallels between the following:

1)  King Ahasuerus with Heavenly Father (or more generically, Almighty God)

2) Queen Vashti with National Israel of the Old Testament

Vashti was a beautiful first queen, but she rebelled against the King and refused to come to his feast, but rather held her own fest for the women in the royal palace that belonged to the King.

3)  Mordecai with Jesus Christ (God as Savior)

It is Jesus Christ who delivers His people, the “Jews.”  He is the one who ascended to the Right Hand of God the Father.  Jesus is the one we read about in Revelation 19:11-16. Jesus wears the “many crowns”, riding the “white horse”, and Jesus bears the Name that is “Faithful and True“.  He is the one who Satan sought to destroy on the cross, but it was Jesus who instead vanquished Satan at the cross.  Jesus (as the God-Man) is the One Who nurtures the believers by serving in the role of their near kinsman.  We also know that at the Great Battle at the end of the age, on Judgment Day, all who are in league with Satan (the unbelievers) will be destroyed with him at that time.  Then will the “Jews” (the true believers in Jesus Christ, the Messiah, please see Romans 2:28-29) find rest from their enemies.  We also know that the believers are referred to throughout the Bible as the Bride of Jesus Christ (and Jesus Christ is also God).  That bride is described in the Bible with all the attributes ascribed to Esther.  The true believers replaced national Israel (pictured by Vashti), God’s former chosen people, whom He effectively divorced at the cross (please see Jeremiah 3:8 regarding the initial divorce by God of the first ten tribes of Israel, see also Isaiah 50:1) because they would not come when bidden to the final Passover Feast (they rejected Jesus as Messiah, the Perfect Passover Lamb of God, see also Luke 14:15-24).

4)  Queen Esther with the body of believers (from both Jews (the remnant) and Gentiles; the true “Jews” or the eternal Israel)

5)  Hegai (Hege)…and Hatach, the King’s Chamberlains, with God, the Holy Spirit

A chamberlain eunuch appointed by King Ahasuerus to attend Queen Esther whose name means either “eunuch” or “meditation“; “word“; “groaning“; “separation”, who prepared Esther to come into the presence of the King by purifications with nothing but what Hegai he appointed, and that was “six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours, and with [other] things for the purifying of the women.”  Another of the King’s Chamberlains, who also would have had to have been a eunuch like Hegai, is named Hatach, Hathach [Hā’tăch]—meaning either “a gift” or “verity“(truth), and both attributes are clearly used in the Bible as representations of the Holy Ghost/Holy Spirit.   The Holy Spirit Annoints the believer, Is an Intermediary for them in prayer to God the Father, Is a Gift from God, and also is the “Spirit of Truth” Who leads the believer into all Truth (Jesus).  (Please see the more extensive exposition further below.)

6)  Haman with Satan

Regarding Haman’s role, from Isaiah 14:12-15, we clearly see that Satan, the chief prince of all the angels that became devils, in his great pride sought to “be like the most High,” but was subsequently consigned to Hell. (Note that Satan wanted to exalt his throne above the “stars” of God; In the Bible the stars represent the believers, typified by Esther (whose very name means “Star”).  We see this also clearly in Daniel 12:3, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.“)

Remember also, in Matthew 4:8-10, how the devil, like Haman to Mordecai, desired for Jesus to “fall down and worship” him, and Jesus answered, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

Biblical Validation of the Esther Exposition

             This commentary was not written with any presumption that this author understands every nuance of the Book of Esther.   No one (other than God Himself) can ever claim the ability to plumb the depths of the riches of God’s Word, the Bible.   However, if we humbly, faithfully, approach the Bible with no other pre-suppositions than that God is the sole Author of the Bible, then we can begin to see by that faith (albeit as “through a glass, darkly” 1 Corinthians 13:12) the truths that God has hidden within His Word.  As we have already learned, there is much more to the Bible than meets the “physical” eye, and it’s not just an intellectual exercise.  The Bible itself uses such terms such as “mystery” and “dark sayings” to describe how it has been uniquely crafted by God in a magnificent, and yes, even a mysterious way, whereby He has deliberately veiled or hidden the true spiritual meanings of its passages from those whom He has not given the “spiritual eyes and ears.”

In Mark 4:11+12 we read, “And he (Jesus Christ speaking to His disciples) said unto them, Unto you (the elect of God, all true believers) it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without (the non-elect), all [these] things are done in parables:  That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and [their] sins should be forgiven them.”  In the final analysis, it is only by the Grace of God that anyone is empowered to discover that Jesus Christ is the mystery and hidden wisdom of the whole Bible, and that salvation is by Him Alone. (See 1Corinthians 2:7+8.)

I Corinthians 2:13 teaches, “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (i.e. scripture with scripture).  The only thing “dangerous” about this method of interpretation is that unless it is done faithfully, using the Bible as its own sole interpreter, men will arrive at wrong conclusions based on their own thoughts rather than those of God.

Chapter by Chapter Expositional Outline of the Prophetic Book of Esther:  Comfort for the Believers at all Times (God’s Magnificent Salvation Plan in Ten Chapters)

 (Psalms 68:5, “A father of the fatherless (i.e.,Esther), and a judge of the widows (i.e.,Ruth and Naomi), [is] God in his holy habitation.“)

I.          God’s Magnificent Salvation Plan: National Israel (under the Law) rebels: making a way for the remnant of both Jews and Gentiles (under Grace)(Esther 1:12 and Esther 1:19) Please see Romans 4:15

II.         God Remembers His Covenant:  The Establishment of the New and Better Covenant (Esther 2:1-4)   Please also see Hebrews 8:6-13.

  • Jesus Christ (Mordecai) Shows Mercy to the Fatherless (Esther)  (Esther 2:7)
  • The Work of the Holy Spirit in Purifying the Believer to enter into God’s presence (Esther): (Esther 2:15)
  •  A Rebellion Against the King by Those Who Kept the Door (The rebellion of Adam&Eve, or false prophets?) (Esther 2:21-23)

III.       Satan Given Dominion Over This Creation Immediately After the Fall of Adam (Esther 3:1 and Esther 8:5)  Please see Romans 6:23

IV.       The Atonement of Jesus Christ (Esther 4:1) followed by “three days and nights” of fasting.

V.        The Faith of the Saints (Christ’s Faith, Ephesians 3:11&12)  (Esther 5:1&2) Please see Hebrews 12:2, Numbers 24:17, and Psalms 45:6 (note that Esther did not put on “royal apparel” until the “third day”)

VI.       Palm Sunday (Esther 6:11)

VII.      The Last Passover Feast and Christ’s Victory over Satan at the Cross (Esther 7:10)

VIII.     The Great Commission and the New Testament Era Beginning at Pentecost (Esther 8:1-17)

IX.       Judgment Day and the Transition to Eternity

X.        Eternity in Heaven (Esther 10:3) Please see Galatians 3:16 & 29

NOTE: There is not one direct reference to God found anywhere in the Book of Esther.  As a result, Martin Luther declared it to be an apocryphal book.  It is also the only Old Testament book missing from the Dead Sea Scrolls, possibly because the Essene sect believed that Esther was not sufficiently faithful to the Mosaic Law, i.e., she married the Persian king.  Nonetheless, it is important to also note that Mordecai is specifically mentioned among those who returned to Jerusalem in the restoration following the initial captivity into Babylon as can be found in both Ezra 2:2 and Nehemiah 7:7. This double witness validates that Mordecai was a real person during the associated time period.

Selected Expanded Expositions From the Book of Esther

Esther 2:1: God Remembers His Covenant

             In Esther 2:1, we read, “After these things, when the wrath of king Ahasuerus was appeased, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her.” This verse can in no way be interpreted as saying that King Ahasuerus changed his mind and later intended to restore Queen Vashti to her former estate, for Esther 2:4 and Esther 2:17 make it clear that she is replaced by Esther.  How then are we to interpret this verse?  When we realize that God had in effect been married to National Israel in the Old Testament as we read in Isaiah 50:1, “Thus saith the LORD, Where [is] the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors [is it] to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away.” and in effect did warn that he would put her away for her rebellion in Hosea 2:2, “Plead with your mother, plead: for she [is] not my wife, neither [am] I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts;” and furthermore that He would betroth Himself to whom He had not been married as we read in Hosea 2:23, “And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to [them which were] not my people, Thou [art] my people; and they shall say, [Thou art] my God.”  We also know that this people who were “not my people” includes the remnant chosen by Grace out of all the world, including a remnant from National Israel (Hosea 2:16-20).

What else does the Bible say on this issue?  With respect to remembering Vashti we know that God never forgot His covenant with Israel for we read in Leviticus 26:42, “Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.”  This is also repeated in the last four verses in Isaiah 16:60-63, beginning with “Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant.” God remembers his covenant and promises to establish a new and everlasting covenant (with the spiritual eternal Israel, the true believing Christians, out of all the world saved by grace and not by the works of the law). That is why we read in Luke 1:72, that Zacharias, under the inspiration of The Holy Spirit, said that in Jesus Christ, God was about, “To perform the mercy [promised] to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;”.  God remembered and performed His covenant to Israel with a new and everlasting covenant in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.

Esther Chapter 3: The “Law” is Given

             In Esther chapter 3 we read where Haman, as the chief of the princes with him, because of His pride, reports to the king in verse 8, that there is a people that is scattered throughout the kingdom who do not keep the kings laws and the king should not suffer them to live.  Haman even offered a great sum of silver to bring about the people’s destruction in verse Esther 3:11, “And the king said unto Haman, The silver [is] given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee.”  Isn’t it an interesting “coincidence” that when God gave the commandment (the Law) to Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he told them that the day they ate of it the would die, the serpent (Satan) tempted them to not “keep the King’s law.”  Isn’t it also true that, until the cross, Satan was allowed to come before God (see Job 1:6 & 7) to be the accuser of the believers for not perfectly keeping the Law of God, for in Revelation 12:10 we read, “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.”  Note also that the not only was Judgment Day in view when God gave the first commandment, i.e. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin [is] death;” (in the second part of that verse is the way of escape that we read about in Esther chapter 8, “the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.“), but God allowed Satan to have dominion over this whole creation by right of conquest.  That is why Jesus said in John 18:36, “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”

Esther 4:1: The Atonement of Christ

            “When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry;

A close look at Esther 4:1 will reveal a beautiful summation of the atonement of Jesus Christ, the One Who “perceived all” that God’s Law decrees.  He knew that He must come as the sin bearer to redeem His people and so He humbled Himself (typified by Mordecai’s putting on of sackcloth with ashes), as the king of Nineveh did in Jonah 3:6, “For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered [him] with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.”  Jesus humbled Himself by taking on a human body of low estate to become the sin bearer of all who would believe on Him.  Incidentally, if we look at Psalms 69:11, in this clearly Messianic Psalm that, “I made sackcloth also my garment; and I became a proverb to them.”  Please remember that this is the same Psalm that so particularly reveals the details of Christ’s atonement on the cross.  As a result it is the most frequently quoted Psalm referring to Jesus Christ in the New Testament, including that by Jesus Himself.  In Psalms 69:4, “They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, [being] mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored [that] which I took not away.”  Compare this with John 15:24&25, “If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.  But [this cometh to pass], that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.”  In Psalms 69:21 we read that, “They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”  That verse Messianically describes what happened to Jesus while He was hanging on the cross, as we find in Matthew 27:34, “They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted [thereof], he would not drink.”  Also in John 19:28-30 we read, “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.  Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put [it] upon hyssop, and put [it] to his mouth.  When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”  In verse 9 we find, Psalms 69:9, “For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.”  Compare this with John 2:17, “And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.” and Romans 15:3, “For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

If Jesus had not provided a substitutionary atonement for His people, the “Jews,” the Law would demand that they would perish at Judgment Day at the end of the age (typified by the end of the year in Esther).  When Jesus died on the cross in Jerusalem, Jesus completed that work and, like Mordecai, gave out a “loud and bitter cry” as we read Matthew 27:46, “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”  Matthew 27:50, “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.” (see also Mark 15:34&37 and Luke 23:46)

Notice also the parallels between the actions of Esther (as a type for the Church) and Mordecai in Esther 4:4, “So Esther’s maids and her chamberlains came and told [it] her. Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him: but he received [it] not.” with that of Peter (as another “type” of the Church) and Jesus when Peter attempted to physically defend Jesus and keep Him from His atoning work.  In John 18:10&11 we read, “Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.  Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?

That cup was the cup of God’s wrath for sin that Jesus had to suffer.

In Esther 4:16 we read, “Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.” Note that we had already compared Mordecai putting on sackcloth and sitting in ashes and giving out a loud and bitter cry being equivalent to the suffering atonement of Jesus Christ.  But now we can see mention of a period of three days and three nights. It is clearly reminiscent of the three days and three night period of Jesus atoning sacrifice, death and burial between the Garden of Gethsemane on Thursday night (Passover evening) until His Resurrection on Sunday morning,  on the third day, 1 Corinthians 15:4For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Esther Chapter 5: Jesus’s Resurrection on the Third Day Made it Possible for Believers to Boldly Enter God’s Throne Room of Grace

Chapter 5 begins with, “Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on [her] royal [apparel], and stood in the inner court of the king’s house, over against the king’s house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house.” Note that Esther did not put on “royal apparel” until the “third day” and we know that Jesus rose from the dead on “the third day.” 

Esther boldly entered the throne room of King Ahasuerus, per the instruction given to her by Mordecai. Does not this parallel what we read in Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” 

And in Hebrews 10:19-22,  “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of JesusBy a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;  And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Also we read in Ephesians 3:11&12, “According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.”  And in 2 Corinthians 5:7 we read, “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)”

Jesus instructed us to freely ask…John 14:13&14, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do [it].  We also read in Philippians 4:6, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Also, in Psalm 65:4, “Blessed [is the man whom] thou choosest, and causest to approach [unto thee, that] he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, [even] of thy holy temple.

The Golden Sceptre of Grace (Another Type of Jesus Christ)

Regarding the Golden Sceptre held in the King’s hand (likely right hand)…these  verses clearly apply…and are therefore also a prefigurement of Jesus and His being the means by which we can boldly come before the Throne of God the Father to receive His Grace:

Genesis 49:10The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” 

Numbers 24:17I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel,and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.” 

Psalm 45:6, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.”

Hebrews 1:8, “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.”

God’s has total control over the hearts of kings…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.” and in Daniel 4:25, “That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

Esther Chapter 8: The New Testament Era Begins: The Great Commission and Pentecost (Which Occurs Only in the Third Month) 

              As additional confirmation that the parallels derived from Esther with God’s whole plan of salvation are correct, please look at Esther 8:9, which describes how on the 23rd day of the third month a new decree (“all that Mordecai commanded“) went forth by messengers on beasts under the commandment of Mordecai to every people and tongue in every province in the kingdom of King Ahasuerus.  This new decree, while not annulling the first decree, which originally allowed for the destruction of the “Jews” (the people of Mordecai), did offer a way of escape for the people of Mordecai from the judgment day set forth in the first decree. This is just like the Law condemning sinners was never annulled by God the Father, but God the Father provided The Way of escape from the just penalty for sin according to the Law through the Atoning Sacrifice of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.

NOTE: Is it only a coincidence that The Feast of Pentecost (also known as the Feast of “First Fruits” when the wheat first starts to ripen) is always during the third month of the Hebrew calendar (Sivan)?   On Pentecost in 33 AD (in the third month), we read in Acts 2:4-6, that the apostles were “all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”  “And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.  Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because every man heard them speak in his own language.”  And what they each heard the apostles speaking in his own language was “the wonderful works of God.”!  At that same time, Peter stood up and preached the Gospel of Salvation to that multitude, and of those who heard, about three thousand souls “gladly received his word were baptized.”

In Esther 8:9 we read, “Then were the king’s scribes called at that time in the third month, that [is], the month Sivan, on the three and twentieth [day] thereof; and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Jews, and to the lieutenants, and the deputies and rulers of the provinces which [are] from India unto Ethiopia, an hundred twenty and seven provinces, unto every province according to the writing thereof, and unto every people after their language, and to the Jews according to their writing, and according to their language.

Is not that amazingly similar to the last words of Jesus after the resurrection and just prior to His Accession?…

Mordecai “Commanded” just as Jesus “Commanded”

Acts 1:4-8, “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  

This is entirely consistent with what we read in Matthew 28:18-20 (the last verses of Matthew), “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the HolyGhost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Please note the similarity of this language with what Jesus commanded in Mark 16:15, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” and Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  In Revelation 14:6, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

Note also how in Esther 8:17, “And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.”  Doesn’t this sound exactly like the conversion that happened at the beginning of the New Testament era starting at Pentecost* in 33 A.D. when the Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ was first proclaimed?  The New Testament did not annul the Old Testament Law, but it offered the Good News of the Way of escape through Jesus Christ from the penalty of the Law, “the wages of sin is death“.   This is clear as we read in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Didn’t many of the people obtain the necessary “fear” of God and become Christians (the true “Jews”), thereby obtaining peace with God, as a result?  To have the fear of the Jews can also be interpreted as having the same fear of God that the Jews had.  And as we are told in Psalm 34:9, “O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for [there is] no want (no lack) to them that fear him.” (and remember that Amalek, the ancestor of Haman, “feared not GodDeuteronomy 25:18, and therefore God said that He would blot out the remembrance of Amalek forever.) We also read in Psalm 36:1, “The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, [that there is] no fear of God before his eyes.”  And we know that Haman was “wicked”.

Is not this repeated in the account given in Acts 10:42-45?  There we read, “And he (Jesus) commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God [to be] the Judge of quick and dead.  To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.  While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.  And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

And let’s look further at Acts chapter 2 to see how closely it correlates with Esther Chapter 8.

Gladness and Feasting

We see the word “gladness” is used similarly in Acts: 2:46, “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,”

Fear of the Jews, Fear of God

We see that the word “fear” is used in Acts 2: 43, “And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

The Role of Pentecost as the Feast of the First Fruits

We should also note the significance of Pentecost as it is the second of the three major feast days in the Hebrew calendar between Passover in the first month (Nissan) and the Feast of Tabernacles in the seventh month (Ethanim/Tishri).  We see it described by God in Leviticus 23:15&16, “And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD.” and Deuteronomy 16:9, “Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from [such time] as thou beginnest [to put] the sickle to the corn.” (the corn refers to barley corn, and the seven weeks, or 49 days, plus one equals 50 days or “Pentecost”)

The barley harvest lasted from Passover to Pentecost…and is it just a coincidence that in Ruth 1:22 we read that Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, “...came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.“?   Moreover, in Ruth 2:23 we read that Ruth found favor in the eyes of Boaz such that she was able to “…glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest;” (e.g., from Spring until the Fall). For more on the Book of Ruth, please see: https://bereansearching.com/2011/09/21/fatherless-and-widows-understanding-the-biblical-books-of-esther-and-ruth-a-work-in-progress/

So this period between Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles (which is at the time of the final harvest) spiritually represents the whole New Testament (New Covenant) era in which we see the “first fruits” of salvation, when the Holy Spirit was first poured out at the preaching of Jesus Christ in 33 AD on Pentecost until the end of time when the final harvest of souls are brought into God’s harvest house, Heaven, as typified by the Feast of Tabernacles (or Feast of “Ingathering”).  Remembering also that in 1 Corinthians 15:20, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the first fruits of them that slept.” Therefore, just as the first grains of the barley harvest were prophetic and symbolic of Jesus Christ as the first of mankind to be harvested, the first grains of the wheat harvest gleaned at Pentecost are prophetic and symbolic of the elect of God who will participate in the first resurrection (i.e., everyone called and chosen to become the children of God from the time of Adam until Christ’s return). 

Esther Chapter 9: The End of the Year, Judgment Day, and the Transition to Eternity

             With this concept in mind let’s look at Esther, Chapter nine.  There we read of a slaughter of Haman’s ten sons (a probable reference to the ten horns/ten kings that “completely” rule in the apostate corporate churches with the beast/antichrist during the final tribulation according to Revelation 17:12) on the thirteenth day of the last month of the year.  We read in Esther 9:18, “But the Jews that [were] at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth [day] thereof, and on the fourteenth thereof; and on the fifteenth [day] of the same they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.” 

It is also noteworthy that the Feast of Unleavened Bread (which presaged the partaking of Jesus Christ) also began on the fourteenth day coincident with the Passover (that was Judgment Day for Jesus and hence the believers, but then we read in Leviticus 23:5&6, “In the fourteenth [day] of the first month at even [is] the LORD’S passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.” And then in Numbers 28:16&17, “And in the fourteenth day of the first month [is] the passover of the LORD. And in the fifteenth day of this month [is] the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten.”

Please note how it was also on the fifteenth day that God declares the children of Israel departed from their bondage in Egypt, because of what we read in Numbers 33:3&4 “And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians. For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which the LORD had smitten among them: upon their gods also the LORD executed judgments.” And is not this quite interesting, in the Book of Revelation 11:12, we find almost the exact same kind of wording, “And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.” So God was clearly presaging “the end of the world” in both Esther Chapter 9 and Numbers 33, in that the children of Israel represented the body of Believers going up to Heaven and the Egyptians, represented all the unsaved of the world, watching them depart and being prepared for Judgment!  

The fifteenth day has other profound significance.  The fifteenth day is the day of the seventh month (Ethanim/Tishri) that begins the last of the three holy feasts (the only one not yet fulfilled), the Feast of Tabernacles! 

The Feast of Tabernacles (also called Feast of Booths or Sukkot in Hebrew when those celebrating the feast would do so while living in booths made from tree branches) was the seventh and final feast commanded in the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament). Most significantly, it was the third of and final of the three yearly occasions when all Jewish men were to appear in Jerusalem before the Lord to worship as we read in Deuteronomy 16:16, “Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread (starting with Passover), and in the feast of weeks (Pentecost), and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:”.  It was also when the temple in Jerusalem was being dedicated during this time as we read in 1 Kings 8:2, “And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto king Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which [is] the seventh month.” 

And similarly, The Feast of Tabernacles was when the Jews returned from captivity to rebuild the temple during the time of Ezra as we read in Ezra 3:1-6, “And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel [were] in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to JerusalemThen stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as [it is] written in the law of Moses the man of God. And they set the altar upon his bases; for fear [was] upon them because of the people of those countries: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD, [even] burnt offerings morning and evening. They kept also the feast of tabernacles, as [it is] written, and [offered] the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the custom, as the duty of every day required; And afterward [offered] the continual burnt offering, both of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of the LORD that were consecrated, and of every one that willingly offered a freewill offering unto the LORD. From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto the LORD. But the foundation of the temple of the LORD was not [yet] laid.

In the New Testament, Jesus preached during the Feast of Tabernacles (see John 7:2) in John 7:37-39, “In the last day, that great [day] of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet [given]; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” (Note: Interestingly enough, the seventh month was then called “Ethanim” (now Tishri), which means “strong” “valiant” or “constantly flowing” as pertaining to “living water”.)

In Leviticus 23:33-43, the Feast of Tabernacles was established to take place on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, lasting for seven days. The Feast of Tabernacles begins just five days after the Day of Atonement and 15 days after the Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets, which seems to also have strong ties with Judgment Day and the end of the world), shortly after the completion of the fall harvest period and continues for seven more days and ends on the 23rd day of the month. The time marked a celebration of the harvest as well as a remembrance of God’s provision during Israel’s 40 years in the wilderness living in tents (or tabernacles). It was also the time that the participants would bring in a tenth of their harvest (tithe) to Jerusalem.  It was also a holy day or Sabbath wherein no work could occur. Each day included offerings to the Lord, with the eighth day (the 23rd day) marking another holy day when no work is done

What does all this mean?…The Feast of Tabernacles points to the completion of the Eternal Temple of God, The New Jerusalem, all of the work is done, the departing of the believers from the bondage to sin and death, and it consists of all of the believers in Heaven praising God forever! 

The End of the Year is When Eternity Begins

             In the Book of Esther, the first decree went forth into all the great kingdom of Ahasuerus to be carried out in the end of the year in the twelfth month, Adar.  Isn’t it interesting that just as it is obvious that the twelfth month in the Book of Esther can be equated to the end of the year, God Himself defines the “end of the year” to a time of harvest.  In Exodus 23:16 we read, “And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, [which is] in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.”  Remember that Jesus said in Matthew 13:39 that, “the harvest is in the end of the world.”  The harvest that is equated to “the end of the world” refers to the completion of the final harvest wherein the believers’ souls, the “wheat,” are gathered into God’s barn, while the unsaved, the “tares,” are gathered together and taken out to be burned as we read in Matthew 13:30, “Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.”   At the end of time, the last Trump should herald the end of this creation and the transition to eternity wherein the true “Jews” (Christians from all nations, kindreds, people, and tongues) will celebrate the eternal Jubilee brought about by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ in the new Heavens and the new Earth in the presence of Almighty God.

 Esther Chapter 10: Eternity In Heaven, Believers Rest in the Peace of Jesus Christ

             The last chapters of Esther prophetically speak of the rejoicing of the believers in Heaven for all eternity.  Just as the Jews in Esther’s day had rest from their enemies, we are reminded in Psalm 37: 38-40, “But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off. But the salvation of the righteous [is] of the LORD: [he is their] strength in the time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

In the verse just previous to the above, in Psalms 37:37, we read, “Mark the perfect [man], and behold the upright: for the end of [that] man [is] peace.”  Who is He that is Perfect Who brings us peace?  The “Prince of Peace”, our LORD and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  See Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God,The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

 In Esther 10:3 we read, “For Mordecai the Jew [was] next unto king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed.”  Isn’t it a fact that Jesus Christ is the “Prince of Peace” (see Isaiah 9:6) and that in John 20:21 we read, “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace [be] unto you: as [my] Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”  It is hard to miss how Mordecai is a “type” of Jesus (as One with God Himself) as we can also read in Psalms 85:8, we learn that, “I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.”  and in Psalm 122: 7&8 we read where God is referring allegorically to the body of believers (Jerusalem, the city of God), “Peace be within thy walls, [and] prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace [be] within thee.”  In Acts 10:36, “The word which [God] sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)

All believers are considered the seed of Christ (the true eternal Jews), for we read in Galatians 3:26, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.“, and in Galatians 3:29, “And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (and the promise is the Covenant of God which He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).  Please note the beautifully clear parallels between Esther 10:3 and the following verses:

2 Samuel 22:50&51, “Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name. [He is] the tower of salvation for his king: and sheweth mercy to his anointed, unto David, and to his seed for evermore.”

Psalms 18:50, “Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.

Psalm 22:30&31, “A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done [this].”

Psalm 69:36, “The seed also of his servants shall inherit it: and they that love his name shall dwell therein.” 

Psalms 89:29, “His seed also will I make [to endure] for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven.

Psalms 89:36, “His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.

Psalms 112:2, “His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed.

In Isaiah 53:10, “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put [him] to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see [his] seed, he shall prolong [his] days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

The Bible makes it clear that, in God’s eyes, a “Jew” does not necessarily refer to a literal physical descendent of Abraham through Isaac, as we read in Romans 2:28 & 29, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither [is that] circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:  But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God.

Romans 9:1-8 reiterates how God views the eternal spiritual Israel (the believers in the Messiah, Jesus Christ), for Paul was moved by the Holy Spirit to write the following: “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,  That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.  For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:  Who are Israelites; to whom [pertaineth] the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service [of God], and the promises;  Whose [are] the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ [came], who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.  Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they [are] not all Israel, which are of Israel:  Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, [are they] all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.  That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these [are] not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.”   This is also consistent with what we read again in Psalms 22:30, “A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.” 

To underscore this idea, God tells us in Ephesians 2:11-22, “Wherefore remember, that ye [being] in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;  That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us];  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace;  And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:  And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.  For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.  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 corner [stone]; In 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.” 

We also know that the devil seeks to destroy those who are believers, those who form the true Church and are the Bride of Christ as we read in Revelation 12:17, “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Finally in 1 Peter 1:23, in referring to the believer, it says that we are born again of the incorruptible seed by the word of God and therefore have eternal life through Jesus Christ… “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth andabideth for ever.

Five Main CHARACTER PROFILES:

1] King Ahasuerus, Who Sat on the Throne of  “His Glorious Kingdom and The Honour of His Excellent Majesty”

Ahasuerus:  According to Strong’s Concordance of Persian origin.  It is said to be more of a title, refering to a king, rather than a specific name.  It is believed to be the same as either Artexerxes or Xerxes (which has been said to mean “Mighty Eye” or “Mighty Man”, but this is also unclear from the Biblical text alone).  No genealogy is provided (Remember that God Himself has no genealogy).  It should be noted that in Daniel 9:1 we read, that “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;”. Darius is one of the kings of Persia who commanded, in Ezra chapter 6, that the Jews rebuild the temple and walls of Jerusalem.  In verse 14 we read, “And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.”

All Glory and Honor are God’s, He Alone is Excellent

Esther 1:4,  “When he shewed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his excellent majesty many days, [even] an hundred and fourscore days.

Psalms 8:1, “{To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.} O LORD our Lord, how excellent [is] thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

Psalm 21:5, “His glory [Is] great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him.”

Psalms 145:5, “I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.

Psalm 145:10-13, “All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee.They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy powerTo make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.Thy kingdom [is] an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion [endureth] throughout all generations.

Psalms 72:19, “And blessed [be] his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled [with] his glory; Amen, and Amen.

I Chronicles 29:13, “Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.

Psalms 148:13, “Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory [is] above the earth and heaven.

Psalms 150:2, “Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.

Matthew 24:30, “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Jude 25, “To the only wise God our Saviour, [be] glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”

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.

I Chronicles 16:25-27, “For great [is] the LORD, and greatly to be praised: he also [is] to be feared above all gods.  For all the gods of the people [are] idols: but the LORD made the heavens.  Glory and honour [are] in his presence; strength and gladness [are] in his place.

I Timothy 1:17, “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, [be] honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Jeremiah 10:10, “But the Lord is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.”

 God and His Word are Unchangeable

            Esther 1:19, “If it please the king, let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she.”   (Compare with: Daniel 6:8, “Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.”  and Daniel 6:15, “Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians [is], That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.“)

Malachi 3:6, “For I [am] the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

Numbers 23:19, “God [is] not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do [it]? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

I Samuel 15:29, “And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he [is] not a man, that he should repent.

Jeremiah 4:28, “For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken [it], I have purposed [it], and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.

God’s Word (the Gospel of Jesus Christ) is “Published” Throughout All His Empire

Esther 1:20, “And when the king’s decree which he shall make shall be published throughout all his empire, (for it is great,) all the wives shall give to their husbands honour, both to great and small.

Psalms 68:11, “The Lord gave the word: great [was] the company of those that published [it].

Mark 13:10, “And the gospel must first be published among all nations.

Mark 16:15, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Deuteronomy 31:30, “And Moses spake in the ears of all the congregation of Israel the words of this song, until they were ended.  Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.  My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:  Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.  [He is] the Rock, his work [is] perfect: for all his ways [are] judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right [is] he.

And to emphasize that the Kingdom of God is from all nations, Revelation 7:9&10, “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and beforethe Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”

 The Seven Wise Men in Shushan the Palace

        In Esther 1:13&14 we read, “Then the king said to the wise men, which knew the times, (for so [was] the king’s manner toward all that knew law and judgment:  And the next unto him [was] Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, [and] Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, which saw the king’s face, [and] which sat the first in the kingdom;)”  Who do these seven wise men represent who know both times, law, and judgment?  God gives us the answer in Revelation 4:5, “And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and [there were] seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

Please note the similarity to what we find in Exodus 19:16 where we read, “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that [was] in the camp trembled.  And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.  And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.”  and in Exodus 34:2, “And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount.  Remember what God told Moses when Moses was to go up to Mount Sinai to visit with God?  In Exodus 33:20 we read, “And he (God) said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live“.  Doesn’t it appear that Mount Sinai was used of God to typify His throne?  Furthermore, by typifying God’s throne, both Mount Sinai in Exodus (and Shushan the palace in Esther 1:2, “[That] in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which [was] in Shushan the palace,“) must therefore represent Heaven.  We can say this because of what we read in Isaiah 66:1 (and Acts 7:49), “Thus saith the LORD, The heaven [is] my throne, and the earth [is] my footstool: where [is] the house that ye build unto me? and where [is] the place of my rest?“.  Finally, isn’t it also reasonable to conclude that the seven wise men in the book of Esther could therefore be representative of the “seven Spirits of God” that are always with Him and see His face and Who know the times, law, and judgment (which relates to the “fire”)?

 2] Mordecai, a Jew, and an Elder Who Sat in the Gate

           Esther 2:5, “[Now] in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name [was] Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite;  Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.

Although the meaning of “Mordecai” is not clear, but it is said to mean “little man”, which is interesting because Mordecai’s warning that saved the kingdom was not remembered.  Doesn’t this sound somewhat similar to what we read in Ecclesiastes 9:13-17, “This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me: [There was] a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it: Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man.Then said I, Wisdom [is] better than strength: nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard. The words of wise [men are] heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.

We do know that as a Benjaminite, Mordecai was of the tribe of Benjamin (the only full brother of Joseph), whose name means “son of my right hand.”  When Jacob gave a blessing to his sons this is how he blessed Benjamin: Deuteronomy 33:12, “[And] of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by him; [and the LORD] shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.”  Jair means “He Enlightens“: “Shimei*” means “renowned” or “famous“: and “Kish” means “power.” We know that a man named Kish was also the father of the first king of Israel, King Saul.  1 Samuel 9:1&2, “Now there was a man of Benjamin, whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power. And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.”  The only progeny of King Saul to have been recorded as not having been killed off was Mephibosheth (King Saul’s grandson through Jonathan) (please see: https://bereansearching.com/2017/01/17/mephibosheth-and-a-covenant-of-grace/ ).  

It should also be noted that the genealogy provides some additional information that could be pertinent to any study of Mordecai, so let’s look a bit closer.  The genealogy makes it clear that Mordecai was at least indirectly related (a kinsman) to King Saul.  As mentioned above, a man named Kish was the father of King Saul, who was also a Benjaminite (similarly, so was the Saul in the New Testament who later became known as Paul).  While King Saul was an outwardly handsome man, of great stature, and a king after the people’s heart, he was faithless and not a king after God’s own heart as was King David.  Nonetheless, God did show compassion and grace toward a remnant of that line by the hand of King David.  This was true for Mephibosheth (a grandson of Saul through Jonathan) who we read about in II Samuel 9:13, “So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet.” 

While it remains unclear if Mordecai (and hence also Esther) are descended from Kish apart from King Saul, or through him via Mephibosheth.  Either would seem to be possible, but if descended from Kish through Saul/Jonathan/Mephibosheth, then Mordecai and Esther could also be viewed as having a “royal lineage” through the failed house of Saul (and only due to the promised covenant between David (a type of Jesus Christ) and Jonathan (whom David loved). This would then be particularly noteworthy when we consider that King Saul disobeyed God’s command to utterly destroy the Amalekites, which included “Agag the king of the Amalekites1 Samuel 15:8.

(NOTE: Ironically, according to 2 Samuel 1:13, it was was none other than “the son of a stranger, an Amalekite” who looted King Saul’s crown and who evidently falsely claimed to David that he had dealt the final lethal blow to King Saul after King Saul had been wounded in battle by Philistine archers (even though the wounded King Saul is recorded in two places in the Bible as having taken his own life by falling on his sword, see both 1 Samuel 31:1-6 and 1Chronicles 10:4). The full account regarding that Amalekite begins in 2 Samuel 1:1 where we read that, “Now it came to pass after the death of Saul, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, and David had abode two days in Ziklag;” and ends with David putting that Amalekite to death 2 Samuel 1:16, “And David said unto him, Thy blood [be] upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I have slain the LORD’S anointed.” The same account is also brought up later by King David in 2 Samuel 4:10, “When one told me, saying, Behold, Saul is dead, thinking to have brought good tidings, I took hold of him, and slew him in Ziklag, who [thought] that I would have given him a reward for his tidings:)

The following is the discourse between King Saul and Samuel, who, as a prophet of God, condemned King Saul for that disobedience. In 1 Samuel 15:20-23, we read, “And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal. And Samuel said, Hath the LORD [as great] delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey [is] better than sacrifice, [and] to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from [being] king.”  It is therefore most interesting that had King Saul been obedient to God’s command, the book of Esther might not have needed to be written, because the adversary, Haman, who sought to destroy Mordecai and all of his people (the Jews), was none other than a descendent of King Agag (who Samuel hewed in pieces in 1 Samuel 15:33)! (but, yes, of course it was all foreordained to play out and be recorded exactly as it occurred in Esther).  Moreover, in the book of Esther, the descendants/relatives of King Saul thus fulfilled the command of God, which King Saul had failed to do, in putting out the name of Amalek forever, as typified by the hanging of Haman and his ten sons as we read in Exodus 17:14-16, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this [for] a memorial in a book, and rehearse [it] in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi: For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn [that] the LORD [will have] war with Amalek from generation to generation.” 

As for Jair, we read of a man named Jair in Judges 10:3-5, who was a judge in Israel; and in 1 Chronicles 20:5 of another son of a man named Jair (named Elhanan, which means “God is a gracious giver”) who slew the brother of the giant Goliath.  The genealogical namesakes remind us that Mordecai (like Saul who became Paul) was of a line that should have been cut-off by God, but nonetheless was instead a recipient of God’s grace.

We know that Mordecai was an elder in the city because he sat in the king’s gate.  Further, despite having saved the life of the king, he and his good deed were soon forgotten.  This is similar to the account in Ecclesiastes 9:14&15, “[There was] a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it:  Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man.”  Isn’t this similar to the wisdom of Jesus Christ who became poor that the believer’s might become rich in Him.  Didn’t Jesus save His beloved Church, the “city” of the New Jerusalem?  Nonetheless, following the abasement Mordecai suffered by the putting on sackcloth and sitting in ashes, eventually he was exalted to the right hand of the king.  Isn’t this similar to what we read of Jesus?

Hebrews 2:9, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

2 Peter 1:17, “For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Also in 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.

In Psalm 145 we read, “(David’s Psalm of praise.) I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.

Revelation 5:11-13, “And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.  And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, [be] unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

Revelation 7:12, “Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, [be] unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 19:1, “And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:

Mordecai’s Attributes:

Humility

Mordecai was a humble man who did not boast of his having saved the King.

Wisdom

Mordecai always took the wise and appropriate actions towards God and man.

Concern for Others

Mordecai showed compassion to Esther by raising her up as his own daughter and continuing to be concerned about her welfare and that of her (and his) people.

A Man to Whom Glory and Honor Was Ultimately Given

In reviewing the attributes of Mordecai and his portrayal relationship to Jesus in overturning the forces of darkness and receiving honor and glory in ultimate victory we can look to Psalm 21:1-13, “{To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.} The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!  Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah.  For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head.  He asked life of thee, [and] thou gavest [it] him, [even] length of days for ever and ever.  His glory [is] great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him.  For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.  For the king trusteth in the LORD, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved.  Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate theeThou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.  Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of menFor they intended evil against thee: they imagined a mischievous device, [which] they are not able [to perform].  Therefore shalt thou make them turn their back, [when] thou shalt make ready [thine arrows] upon thy strings against the face of them.  Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: [so] will we sing and praise thy power.

(Note that in both Ezra 2:2 and Nehemiah 7:7 we can read of a man named Mordecai, clearly considered a  senior person at the time, who was taken into captivity by the King of Babylon and later returned after the captivity.  The dates of the various Medo-Persian kings is not entirely clear, but there is at least the possibility that this could be the same Mordecai who, with Esther, has been relocated first to Persia after Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon was conquered.)

 3] Esther: A Portrait of the Bride of Jesus Christ

Esther 2:7, “And he brought up Hadassah, that [is], Esther, his uncle’s daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid [was] fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter.

Esther 2:15, “Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king’s chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed. And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her.

Esther: Her Persian name, of uncertain meaning or derivation.  Some commentaries claim that the name means “a star,” which, if true, would be consistent with the theme that Esther represents the believers over whom the devil wants to reign as we read in Isaiah 14:13.  Esther’s Hebrew name “Hadassah”, means “myrtle wood.”  Because this name is of Hebrew origin it is easier to find correspondence in other parts of the Bible.  When we search the scriptures, we find the following verses in which hadassah (myrtle) is also used:

Nehemiah 8:15, “And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as [it is] written.

Isaiah 41:19, “I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, [and] the pine, and the box tree together:

A quick aside…In Isaiah 61:3, we read where God says, immediately following the most significant Messianic verses in Isaiah 61:1 & Isaiah 61:2 (The same words proclaimed by Jesus in Luke 4:18 and John 1:32, John 3:34) addressing Jesus’s salvation gospel message to the otherwise hopeless of the world (those who would become His Church) ” ...that they might called the trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”

Isaiah 55:13, “Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign [that] shall not be cut off.

Zechariah 1:8-11, “I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that [were] in the bottom; and behind him [were there] red horses, speckled, and white.  Then said I, O my lord, what [are] these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these [be].  And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These [are they] whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth.  And they answered the angel of the LORD that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest.

It can be concluded from the above that the myrtle tree is a representation of the believers, i.e., in the case of Isaiah 41:19, where in the wilderness (i.e., the world) thorns (unsaved people) flourish, God raises up myrtle trees (the believers).  Notice how in Zechariah 1:11, the “angel” (actually “messenger”) of the LORD stood among the myrtle trees.  Does not God stand among the believers?  Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Esther’s Attributes:

Esther was a “maid” (verse 2:7)…II Kings 5:2-4, “And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife.  And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord [were] with the prophet that [is] in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.  And [one] went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that [is] of the land of Israel.”  NOTE; God used the little “maid” to be a witness of His power in Syria.

Esther was “fair” (verse 2:7)…Job 42:15, “And in all the land were no women found [so] fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren.”  Song of Solomon 2:10, “My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.

Song of Solomon 4:7, “Thou [art] all fair, my love; [there is] no spot in thee.

Song of Solomon 6:10, “ Who [is] she [that] looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, [and] terrible as [an army] with banners?

Esther was “beautiful” (lit. of good appearance or good countenance) (verse 2:7)…Song of Solomon 6:4, “Thou [art] beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as [an army] with banners.” and Isaiah 52:1, “Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.”  NOTE: God declares his bride to be the new Jerusalem in Revelation 21:2, “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Isaiah 52:7,  “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

Esther was a “virgin” (verses 2:3 with 2:8)…Isaiah 62:5, “For [as] a young man marrieth a virgin, [so] shall thy sons marry thee: and [as] the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, [so] shall thy God rejoice over thee.”  Jeremiah 31:4, “Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.

I Corinthians 7:28, “But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.”

II Corinthians 11:2, “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present [you as] a chaste virgin to Christ.

Esther was an “orphan.” (Esther 2:7)… Lamentations 5:3, “We are orphans and fatherless, our mothers [are] as widows.

As and orphan, Esther was also “fatherless”…Deuteronomy 10:18, “He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.

Job 29:12, “Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and [him that had] none to help him.

Psalms 68:5, “A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, [is] God in his holy habitation.

Jeremiah 49:11, “Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve [them] alive; and let thy widows trust in me.

James 1:27, “ Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Esther was “loved.”  (Esther 2:17)… Deuteronomy 33:2&3, “And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand [went] a fiery law for them.  Yea, he loved the people; all his saints [are] in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; [every one] shall receive of thy words.

I Kings 10:9, “Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.

John 3:16,  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  We know that God loves those whom He sacrificed His Son to save.

John 13:23, “Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.”  Jesus loved John who typified all true believers.

John 13:34, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

John 14:21, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”  Jesus reveals (manifests) Himself to those whom He loves.

John 15:9, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

II Thessalonians 2:16, “Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given [us] everlasting consolation and good hope through

grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.

Esther found “grace.” (Esther 2:17)…Genesis 6:8, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

Jeremiah 31:2, “Thus saith the LORD, The people [which were] left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; [even] Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.

Acts 4:33, “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

Acts 15:11, “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

Acts 20:32, “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:

Esther found “favor.”  (Esther 2:17)…Genesis 39:21, “But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.

Psalms 5:12, “For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as [with] a shield.

Psalms 30:5, “For his anger [endureth but] a moment; in his favour [is] life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy [cometh] in the morning.

Psalms 30:7, “LORD, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, [and] I was troubled.

Psalms 89:17, “For thou [art] the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted.

Psalms 119:58, “I entreated thy favour with [my] whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.

Proverbs 3:4, “So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.

Proverbs 8:35, “For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.

Proverbs 12:2, “A good [man] obtaineth favour of the LORD: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn.

Isaiah 60:10, “And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee.

Luke 1:30, “And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

Acts 7:10, “And delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.

Acts 7:46, “Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob.

Esther was made a “Queen.”  (Esther 2:17)…I Kings 10:13, “And king Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside [that] which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants.

II Chronicles 9:1-3, “And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to prove Solomon with hard questions at Jerusalem, with a very great company, and camels that bare spices, and gold in abundance, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.  And Solomon told her all her questions: and there was nothing hid from Solomon which he told her not.  And when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built,.

Matthew 12:42, “The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon [is] here.

Esther wore a “crown” (Esther 2:17)…Genesis 49:26, “The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.

Leviticus 21:12, “Neither shall he go out of the sanctuary, nor profane the sanctuary of his God; for the crown of the anointing oil of his God [is] upon him: I [am] the LORD.

Proverbs 4:9, “She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.

Isaiah 28:5, “ In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people,

Revelation 2:10, “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast [some] of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

II Timothy 4:8, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

4] Hegai (and Hatach): Types of the Holy Ghost/Holy Spirit

Hegai (Hege): In Esther chapter 2 we read of the King’s chamberlain, the keeper of the women, Hegai (who was in all likelihood a eunuch, see below).  We are told that Esther obtained kindness of him, and later received a total of twelve months of purification, six months with the oil of myrrh and six months with sweet odors.  It would not be inconsistent to conclude that in this prophetic parable, Hegai is a type of the Holy Spirit that anoints and purifies (sanctifies) the believers, and Who makes it possible for the believers to come into the presence of The Everlasting Almighty King, God Himself

Please note how in Esther 2:15 we are told, “Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail (which in the Hebrew means “the father of power, might, strength, and virtue,” i.e. another portrait of God the Father) the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king’s chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed. And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her.”  Again we can see the connection with the Holy Spirit, because the believers who have been sanctified by the anointing and indwelling of the Holy Spirit require “nothing but” that which the Holy Spirit provides in order to come into the presence of the Everlasting King…The Lord God Almighty!  

It is also interesting that the name Hegai (also spelled once as Hege in the Esther account) is thought to mean in the Persian, fittingly, “eunuch” https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h1896/kjv/wlc/0-1/.  However, some translators have concluded that Hegai (Hege) can also be interpreted as “meditation; word; groaning; separationhttp://www.kingjamesbibledictionary.com/Dictionary/Hegai.  If indeed this is the case, we can certainly see parallels between Hegai and the Holy Spirit given what we find in Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” And we also know that The Holy Spirit witnesses to our spirit: Romans 8:16, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:“  

And isn’t interesting that they “myrrh” is applied for the first half of the year, and the sweet odors the second half of the year.  Is it not interesting that the Old Testament points to the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, and that myrrh is used to prepare a dead body for burial as we read in John 19:38-40, where Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus prepared the body of Jesus with “myrrh and aloes” before placing Him in the tomb, and “wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.”  And when Asa, the King of Judah died, we read in 2Chronicles 16:14 that, “they buried him in his own sepulchres, which he had made for himself in the city of David, and laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odours and divers kinds [of spices] prepared by the apothecaries’ art: and they made a very great burning for him.” But is it not also interesting that in the New Testament we read in Revelation 8:3-4, that, “And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, [which came] with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.

Hatach: We are first introduced to Hatach in Esther Chapter 4.  There we see him as the vehicle of communication between Esther and Mordecai in verses 5&6 and between Mordecai and Esther in verses 9&10. It is also interesting to note that Hatach (הֲתָךְ hăṯāḵ reportedly means “Verily” (hence “Truth“) https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h2047/kjv/wlc/0-1/  or possibly also “Gifthttps://www.biblegateway.com/resources/all-men-bible/Hatach-Hathach), and is also a proper masculine noun. Both attributes are clearly used in the Bible as representations of the Holy Ghost/Holy Spirit. See for example:John 14:17, John 15:26, John 16:13 and Act 2:38, Act 10:45, Hebrews 6:4. It was through him that Esther communed with Mordecai “to know what it [was], and why it [was]” and thereby learned the details of Haman’s plot against the Jews.

If we therefore consider that, if Esther represents the eternal Church (the believers) and Mordecai is an allegorical prefigurement of the Lord Jesus Christ, then it would seem quite reasonable to view Hatach, like Hegai earlier, as another “Type” for God, representing the Holy Ghost/Holy Spirit.  Most particularly so, because Jesus said, in John 16:13, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” The Holy Spirit communicates to us The Truth, and we know that Jesus is the Truth (John 14:6). We also know that Salvation is a Gift, for in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” and Hebrews 6:4 says, “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,…” and in John 14:16-18, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in youI will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”

We can now more clearly see that as both Hegai and Hatach thus had an important role in ensuring the deliverance of the Jews through preparation and intercession, just as the Holy Spirit Works in the preparation sanctification, and intercession for the believers.

5] Haman as an Agagite Was Also an Amalekite: a Vessel “Unto Dishonour”

 Esther 3:1, “After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that [were] with him.

Esther 7:6, “And Esther said, The adversary and enemy [is] this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen.“*

* The specific words “adversary“, “enemy“, and “wicked” (when taken together) are used pointedly in the Bible to describe the devil, Satan (i.e, 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:; 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.“; and, Matthew 13:38, “The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked [one];

Haman:  According to Strong’s Concordance: of foreign derivation, however is very close to Hebrew word meaning “rage,” “tumult,” “destroy,” or “vex.” Another translation claims the name means “Magnificent” (which is not inconsistent with what we read of the devil in Isaiah 14:12…”How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!)

Hammedatha:  “Threshing”?   Possibly pertains to the last judgment, or threshing when the evil are cast into hell

Agagite:  “Flame”?  Again possibly pertaining to those things that are taken out and burned by fire.

Haman’s Genealogy: Haman was a direct descendent of King Agag, hence Amalek, hence Esau.  Let’s see what God has to say about each of these individuals that make up the ancestry of Haman:

Esau:

Malachi 1:2&3, “I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? [Was] not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob,  And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.

In Obadiah 8-10, “Shall I not in that day, saith the LORD, even destroy the wise [men] out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of EsauAnd thy mighty [men], O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter. For [thy] violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever.

Romans 9:13, “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

Amalek:

Genesis 36:12, “And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz Esau’s son; and she bare to Eliphaz Amalek: these [were] the sons of Adah Esau‘s wife.

We also can find that, in Exodus 17:8-13,  Joshua fought against Amalek under the inspiration of Moses, who arms were supported by Aaron and Hur, and that he slew them with the sword. Amalek was evidently not completely destroyed, however, and at the end of this war Moses was ordered to write in a document, as a reminder, that the Lord would one day blot out the memory of Amalek from under the heaven as we read in Exodus 17:14-17, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this [for] a memorial in a book, and rehearse [it] in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.  And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi:  For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn [that] the LORD [will have] war with Amalek from generation to generation.

God reiterates His command in Deuteronomy 25:17-19, “Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt;  How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, [even] all [that were] feeble behind thee, when thou [wast] faint and weary; and he feared not God.  Therefore it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee [for] an inheritance to possess it, [that] thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget [it].”  

In that context it should be remembered that it was the Edomites who would not let the Israelites pass and threatened to kill them if they even set foot inside of Edom.  See Numbers 20:14-21.  And remember that “Esau is Edom” as we read four times in Genesis 36 (verses 1, 8, 19, 43). 

Amalek was the first enemy that Israel encountered after the crossing of the Red Sea as we read in I Samuel 15:2&3, “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember [that] which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid [wait] for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.  Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

I Samuel 15:18, “And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed.

King Agag:

I Samuel 15:32&33,  “Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past.  And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal.

It is also interesting to note that in the parable of Balaam versus Israel (where Balak, the king of Moab, sought to hire Balaam to curse Israel), God made Balaam prophesy that Israel (and its ultimate King, Jesus Christ) would be exalted above king Agag as we read Numbers 24:7, “He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed [shall be] in many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.”  However, Balaam was forced by God to curse the line of Amalek as we read in Numbers 24:20, “ And when he looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek [was] the first of the nations (the first of the  nations to confront returning Israel); but his latter end [shall be] that he perish for ever.(NOTE: There are several references to the slaying of the Amalkites with some at times escaping. It is not clear how Haman’s family escaped, but obviously they did.  In 1 Samuel 30:17 we find, “And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled. And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives.” and in  1 Chronicles 4:43, “And they smote the rest of the Amalekites that were escaped, and dwelt there unto this day.“)

(Another NOTE: The Bible, in Joshua 13:22, also tells us that this same Balaam (the son of Beor, “of Pethor of Mesopotamia”, according to Deuteronomy  23:4) was a “soothsayer” (diviner) and that Balaam was among those that Israel subsequently slew with the sword (also in Numbers 31:8).  According to the Bible, Balaam was deserving of death because he gave counsel to Balak to cause Israel to stumble, as we read in Numbers 31:16, “to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord.” and in Revelation 2:14,”But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac (Balak) to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.”  Moreover in Micah 5:12 God specifically stated, “And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers:”)

Haman, like Satan, is the “Accuser”

Note the similarity between the accusation by Haman against the Jews in Esther 3:8&9 (“And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king’s laws: therefore it is not for the king’s profit to suffer them. If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king’s treasuries.“) with what we find in Ezra 4:4-6, “Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building,  And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.  And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they [unto him] an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.”  Furthermore, we also know according to Revelation 12:10, that Satan (described in the immediately preceding verse as, “…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.“) is the accuser of the brethren before God, “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 let us consider the end of all those, like Haman, who are deemed to be enemies and wicked as we had read in Esther 7:6, “And Esther said, The adversary and enemy [is] this wicked Haman…” 

Psalm 37:20, “But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD [shall] be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.

Psalm 37:28, “For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.

Psalm 9:17, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, [and] all the nations that forget God.”

Then there is this analysis that was recently found on the internet at http://www.gotquestions.org/Book-of-Esther.html under “Foreshadowings” …very well said…
“Just as Haman plotted against the Jews in order to destroy them, so has Satan has set himself against Christ and God’s people. Just as Haman is defeated on the gallows he built for Mordecai, so does Christ use the very weapon that his enemy devised to destroy Him and His spiritual seed. For the cross, by which Satan planned to destroy the Messiah, was the very means through which Christ “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; [And] having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Colossians 2:14-15). Just as Haman was hanged on the gallows he built for Mordecai, so the devil was crushed by the cross he erected to destroy Christ.”

APPENDIX: Questions and Answers

Having provided this study and the fundamentals through which it was derived, let’s look at a few questions that have been brought to this author’s attention regarding the preceding commentary.  First, it has been asked, “What are the implications of a pagan, drunken, self-centered, and rash king (who seeks and is bound by the counsel of his advisors) being likened to God?”

Can A Pagan King Be Likened To God?

             Is it really possible that a “pagan” king can be likened to God?  If we turn to Genesis 41:39-44, we can see a similar account where another pagan king, a pharaoh of Egypt, elevated Joseph (who, like Mordecai, is a classic allegorical pre-figurement of Jesus Christ) to his right hand.  Notice the language, “And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck;  And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him [ruler] over all the land of Egypt.”  Isn’t it Jesus Christ to whom every knee will eventually bow? (see Philippians 2:10)  And doesn’t the fine linen pertain to the righteousness of Christ which will eventually also be imputed to the believers? (See Rev. 18:19).  What about kings Cyrus and Darius of Persia when they each gave a commandment to rebuild the temple? (see Ezra 1:1-2, Ezra 6:12)  (Also note that in Ezra 6:14, Artaxerxes (Ahasuerus) is also listed with Cyrus and Darius, right after the God of Israel as having given that commandment.)  In Daniel 6:25, we read, “Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.”  Who is it that has the power to declare to all people, nations and languages, that dwell in all the earth, “Peace be unto you?”  Only God Himself! (John 20:19, John 20:21, John 20:26, and Revelation 1:4)  So then, you be the judge, can a pagan king be likened to God?

Drunken with Wine?

             Regarding the issue of “drunkenness”, there is no place in the book of Esther where there is an explicit reference to drunkenness on the part of the king Ahasuerus.  What was recorded in Esther 1:10 was only, “When the heart of the king was merry with wine.”  We should take a moment to review what is a parable…A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly or spiritual meaning.  While we may speculate that in the historical context this means drunkenness, we have to be careful to see what God means spiritually by the use of such language.  If it can only mean drunkenness, then we would also have to accuse God of being a drunkard, because in Judges 9:12-13, we read, “Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, [and] reign over us.  And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?”  Incidentally, in this parable, “the vine” represents Jesus Christ (John 15:1+5), and as everywhere in the Bible, good wine represents the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  Take for example, in Luke 10:34, we read how the Good Samaritan treated the half-dead man, “And went to [him], and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.”  The wine represents the shed blood of Jesus Christ and the Oil represents the Holy Spirit (Psalms 23:5), and Jesus is that Good Samaritan as He saves every believer.  In Psalms 104:14-15, we read how the Lord God “causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;  And wine [that] maketh glad the heart of man, [and] oil to make [his] face to shine, and bread [which] strengtheneth man’s heart.”  We have just observed what the wine and oil represents, and every believer should know that the bread represents Jesus Christ’s body that was given for us (please see John 6:35 and John 6:31 and Matthew 26:26, Mar 14:22, and Luke 22:19 ).

Before we leave the subject of wine at the feast (Jesus’s death on the final Passover) to which Vashti (national Israel) refused to come.  Did the wine (Jesus’s shed blood, as the atoning sacrifice culminating with His crucifixion) cheer God (make His heart merry)?  In Isaiah 53:5 we read how Jesus “[was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”  And then in Isaiah 53:10, “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put [him] to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see [his] seed, he shall prolong [his] days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

One other aspect that relates to feasting and wine that is in the book of Esther not yet mentioned relates to the “banquets of wine” at which king Ahasuerus sat down with Haman in the presence of Esther (Esther, chapters 5-7).  Did God ever sit down at a feast table with Satan in the presence of believers where wine was also present?  Indeed He did.  At the last Passover feast, the “last supper,” God (as Jesus Christ) sat next to Judas Iscariot (who we know was indwelt with Satan, Luke 22:3) in the presence of Jesus’s eleven other disciples (believers) at the Passover feast where we know the Jesus instituted the sacrament service with wine (representing His shed blood).  As Jesus said in John 13:18, “I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture (Psalms 41:9) may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.

Note also how that immediately after the banquet of chapter 7, Haman was hung on the high gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai.  The same day as the Passover Feast at which Judas Iscariot subsequently betrayed Jesus (under the prompting of Satan, see John 13:2), Jesus was hung on the cross (see Galatians 3:13).  The fact of the matter is, although Satan sought to destroy Jesus at the cross, it was Satan who was actually dealt a death blow on that same cross.  (Incidentally, at the same time, so was Judas Iscariot (who in effect was typifying Satan) hanged, see Matthew 27:5).  On the last day, Judgment Day, Satan and all his dominion will be permanently cut-off and cast into the lake of fire, as typified by the death and subsequent hanging of Haman’s ten sons.

Self-Centered?

             There is not too much that can be said about this other than God is the Great “I AM.”

In Revelation 4:11, we read, “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.

In Esther 1:4, we read about king Ahasuerus’s “riches of his glorious kingdomand the honour of his excellent majesty …”  (Psalms 148:13, “Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory [is] above the earth and heaven.” and Psalms 150:2“Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.“)

In Est 1:1 we read that the kingdom comprised 127 provinces.  This is a large prime number, and as a result, it cannot be divided into any smaller numbers.  God’s kingdom is also great and indivisible.  Just as the decrees or commandments of king Ahasuerus could not be rescinded, neither can the laws of God be nullified by another decree.  God’s law is eternal and irrevocable (as is to be expected of a just God). Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luk 21:33, God says, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”  God also says in the Bible (Romans 6:23), “For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  When someone goes to hell for his sins, it is an irrevocable edict.  And if someone is saved by grace (through Jesus’s perfect fulfillment of the law), God assures that person will remain in Heaven forever.

Rash?

             The anger and wrath of a just God in the face of sin is never rash.  When God sends sinners to hell for eternity, some might consider that rash (particularly in our day).  If all we see in Esther chapter 1 is a simple historical account, it might appear as though the action of Ahasuerus was rash.  Keep in mind that one sin is sufficient to send anyone to hell (just look at what happened to Adam and Eve, and hence all of mankind descended from them, for their one sin).  Queen Vashti was bidden by the king to come to the feast (while at the same time she was holding her own feast “for the women [in] the royal house which [belonged] to king Ahasuerus.”).  Remember the parable of Matthew 22:1-14?  The “remnant”, that Jesus said was bidden to the wedding feast, but who refused to come and then slew the King’s servants (the Christians), was National Israel!  Like Vashti, she acted rebelliously.  She refused to come.  She was disobedient.  Anyone who takes the same action in response to God’s command to “Come unto me” will be cast out of the presence of God forever.  Would anyone dare call that rash? [It has also been pointed out to this teacher, that Queen Vashti has attributes that can also be likened to the apostate church (as opposed to the true eternal church of Jesus), which in effect also refuses God’s command to come to His feast while conducting its own feast in the house that otherwise belongs to God]

Seeking and Being Bound to the Advice of Counselors?

             The answer to this question is found in the fact that God is in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  That is why we read in Genesis 1:26,  “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”  God Counsels with Himself.  Note also how there were 7 counselors.  The number seven pertains to the perfection of God’s plan, so it is entirely appropriate that there would be 7 counselors.  Please see Revelation 1:16 and 20 regarding the 7 stars in Jesus’s right hand that were described as a “mystery” and which were “the angels (messengers) of the seven churches.”  Finally, as was explained above, God is bound by His own law that He established before the foundation of the world.

 Queen Vashti Permanently Replaced by Esther?

             Many people have taken issue with the idea that Queen Vashti could represent National Israel and “her royal estate being given unto another that is better than she,” (The another, meaning Esther, a figure or type of the true eternal body of believers from both the Old and New Testaments.)  This can be so because the gospel of salvation (through the person and work of Jesus Christ) is intended for the whole world, both Jew and Gentile, and no longer exclusive to National Israel (although a remnant will nonetheless be saved).

Please see Matthew Chapter 22 where Jesus provides the parable about the king who prepares a marriage feast for his son, but those that were bidden did not come…”they made light of it” and others slew the servants of the king.  So then in verses 7 -9 we read, “But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.” Isn’t this just like the case we read about for Queen Vashti, the kings first wife, and then the search for another wife who was better than she (more worthy)?

The concept of God becoming estranged from National Israel is a difficult one for most Christians to accept.  God said that except for adultery there could be no divorce (please see Matthew 5:32 based on Deuteronomy 24:1) and the Bible makes clear the spiritual adultery of National Israel (please see Hosea 2:2).  Nonetheless, based on Mark 10:2-12, God took the higher road, in that the final separation did not finally take place until the death of Jesus (God in the Flesh) on the cross.  That death effectively terminated the previous marriage according to the original law (Genesis 2:24), freeing Jesus to marry another whom God esteemed to be better than she, which is the new bride, the eternal Christian Church. 

The Likeness of Jesus Christ: Esther or Mordecai?

            Many, if not all, other commentaries on the Book of Esther claim that Esther (if she can be likened to anyone or anything) is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, because (the authors of those commentaries claim), “Esther saved her people from destruction.”  Is that true?  Before we begin to answer that question, we must first be aware that absolutely nowhere in the Bible is a bride (or queen) ever likened to Jesus Christ.  Jesus is always the Bridegroom (or Prince or King), while the Church (the body of Believers) is always represented by a woman, the bride (see Matthew 9:15, Mark 2:19, Luk. 5:34, Psa. 19:5, Isa. 61:10, Jer. 7:34, Jer. 16:9, Jer. 25:10, Jer. 33:11, Joel 2:16, Rev. 18:23).  That having been said, was it Esther or Mordecai that saved the Jews?

In Esther 2:22, we read where Mordecai overheard a coup against the king, “And the thing was known to Mordecai, who told [it] unto Esther the queen; and Esther certified the king [thereof] in Mordecai’s name.”   Who had the knowledge at the first?, and in whose name was the testimony certified?  It was in Mordecai’s name, not Esther’s!  When we, as Christians, petition (pray to) Heavenly Father, do we close the prayer in the name of the bride, or the Bridegroom?  We are to pray to Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ!  He is the One with knowledge that gives life, and He imparts it to us by His Holy Spirit.  We don’t even know how or what to pray for unless He first tells us.  Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Remember also that Esther was an orphan (being “fatherless,” she was, according to the Bible, spiritually desolate by nature…as everyone is before being saved), she was brought up or nourished by Mordecai, and not the other way around.  He was, in effect, her kinsman redeemer (much as Boaz, another figure of Christ, to Ruth the Moabitish widow…and as a “widow” she was another Biblical figure of everyone who is desolate by nature before being saved. Please see: https://bereansearching.com/2011/09/21/fatherless-and-widows-understanding-the-biblical-books-of-esther-and-ruth-a-work-in-progress/).  Esther went into the king’s presence at the instruction of Mordecai, walking by faith (“if I perish, I perish“).  She only acted as any faithful believer in Christ should act, humbly trusting in God’s mercy alone to save her.  Note that in Hebrews 12:2, we read, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  The Church is the vehicle that God uses to bring the salvation message to save the true Jews (the elect of God, the true believing Christians).  The believers pray to their Father in Heaven for the salvation of God’s elect in the name of Jesus Christ.  We walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).  Furthermore, aren’t the believers told in Hebrews 4:16 to “…come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.“?

*Note: Shimei (or Shimhi or Shimi or Shimea https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h8096/kjv/wlc/0-1/) is also the name of a different man descended from Saul 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 I Kings 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)

The Battle of Armageddon: The Earthly Version Already Happened!

Posted September 19, 2009 by bereansearching
Categories: Bible Studies

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
PikiWiki_Israel_3346_Geography_of_Israel

Mt. Tabor, Israel…which overlooks the river Kishon and the valley of Megiddo/Jezreel.

Judges Chapters 4 & 5: The Battle of Armageddon (Judgment Day) Prefigured!

            Judges chapters 4 & 5 are unusual.  This is because God not only records an historical parable in chapter 4, but He assists with the revelation of the deeper spiritual meaning of that historical parable in chapter 5.  We are therefore provided the uncommon opportunity to prove or test this methodology of typological interpretation through a direct comparison of the preliminary understanding of, and conclusions drawn from, chapter 4 with those that God Himself specifies in chapter 5.

Concerning end-times prophecy, you can pick up almost any book today and you’ll find references to the battle of “Armageddon” (mentioned in Revelation 16:16).  In those books you’ll often find a description of some future earthly/physical battle that the authors believe will take place between various nations of the world and national Israel in the literal physical location of the plain of Megiddo in northern Israel.  Is there any validity to this interpretation?  Let’s take a look at what God has to say in Judges Chapter 4&5.

Israel Under the Judgment of God

             Judges, chapter 4, begins with the ominous statement, “And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, when Ehud was dead.

This statement reminds us of what God said earlier in the book of Judges.  In Judges 2:11-23, “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim:  And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that [were] round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger.  And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.  And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.  Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed.  Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.  And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD; [but] they did not so.  And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them.  And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, [that] they returned, and corrupted [themselves] more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.   And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice;  I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died:  That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep [it], or not.  Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua.

What is particularly ominous about the first verse of Judges 4 is that it was Israel, the people of God, that did evil in the sight of the LORD.  As a result, in the very next verse we learn, And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host [was] Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles.

It should be noted from the preceding that God is sovereign, and fully in charge of the historical situation and the destiny of His people.  He turns them over to the oppressor as a judgment against them for their sin of apostasy (rebellion, a form of spiritual fornication).  We should therefore not be surprised to learn that the oppresser in this case is Jabin, which means intelligent, cunning, wisely, who is the king of Canaan, the country originally inhabited by Canaan, the grandson of Noah, who Noah cursed in Genesis 9:25.  Furthermore, Jabin reigned in Hazor which happens to be a city (like Ai) that Joshua (Hebrew for Jesus, meaning “Saviour”) burned and where he slew a previous king also named Jabin (Joshua 11:1-15).  Although we are not given the meaning for the name “Sisera”, who was the captain of Jabin’s army, we do know that he is from Harosheth.  Harosheth, also spelled Charosheth, meaning to engage in mechanical work, carving, or cutting, is derived from the root word, charash, which is often translated negatively as “deviseth” as in Proverbs 6:14; and in Proverbs 6:16-19, where it is used in a context to describe the things that God “hates” and are an “abomination” to Him.  It appears already, therefore, that Jabin and Sisera can be none other than types or figures of Satan/antichrist, the abomination of desolation (Matt. 24:15), as he rules just before Judgment Day.

In Judges 4:3, we read how the children of Israel cried unto the LORD: for he (Jabin) had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.  The iron represents the judgment of bondage and its accompanying oppression for sin (see Psalms 107:10 & 11, Rev. 2:27 and Rev. 19:15).  That is why God refers to the land of Egypt as the “ironfurnace” in Deu. 4:20, 1 Kings 8:51, and Jer. 11:4.  It also corresponds to what we find in Daniel 7:19-7:27, where the fourth beast (representing the antichrist during the final tribulation?) had “iron teeth” (1 Pet 4:17, “judgment must begin at the house of God“), but his kingdom would be destroyed at the end of that period when the “Ancient of days (God Himself) came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.

Deborah, a Portrait of the Bride of Christ, Declaring Judgment

In the next verse we learn of the woman, Deborah (meaning bee, from the root word דָּבַר (dāḇar) H1696 meaning to “speak” or “declare” and is intimately linked with the Hebrew “word”דָּבָר (dāḇār)H1697).  It is an interesting fact that where bees gather you will also find honey, and honey is a type that God uses in relation to His Word/the Gospel of Jesus Christ (see Judges 14:8&9, and Psalms 119:103, and Rev. 10:9&10 and below under Abinoam).  However, “bees” are also used by God in the Bible to denote the judgment that God sends in response to rebellion (because they are given power to “sting” God’s enemies?, see Isaiah 7:18 and Deuteronomy 1:44).

Note: It is interesting to note that although Psalm 145:5 reads, “I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.” The Hebrew word that was translated as “works” should more accurately be translated “words” (דָּבָר (dāḇār) H1697).

It is often claimed by theologians (particularly in our day) that, in this historical account, it was Deborah who “saved the Israelites from Canaanite forces.”  In this study it will be shown that it was not Deborah, but Barak (as a type of Jesus Christ, Who is shoved aside by modern humanistically and worldly (not Godly) focused theologians who, consciously or not, are in complete rebellion against God’s line of authority .  They want to elevate the woman, Deborah (who actually represents the Church, the Body, the Bride of Jesus Christ) above the man, Barak (who represents Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, and the Bridegroom in the Heavenly Marriage in the Book of Revelation), who was really the savior in this historical account.  To argue that Deborah was the “savior” is entirely contradictory to God’s clearly established and clearly enunciated plan of authority and headship…for we know, according to 1 Corinthians 11:3, that, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman [is] the man; and the head of Christ [is] God.” as well as what we read in Ephesians 5:23, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.” and Colossians 1:18, “And 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 interesting that, when God recounts the great persons of Faith in Hebrews 11, that in amongst the Judges Gideon and Sampson, it was not Deborah who was mentioned, but rather Barak? We find this in Hebrews 11:32-34, “And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and [of] Barak, and [of] Samson, and [of] Jephthae; [of] David also, and Samuel, and [of] the prophets:  Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,  Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.”  This is because in each case the “man” named is actually a type of Jesus Christ that is entirely consistent with what we read in Luke 24:27 and John 5:39.

Deborah was a prophetess (one who declares the word of God) and a judge in Israel.  We also know that she was the wife of Lapidoth (לַפִּידוֹת (lapîḏôṯ)H3941), which is a plural form of the Hebrew word, “lapid” (לַפִּיד (lapîḏ)H3940 ), meaning “lamp” or “lightning“, see below under Barak).  We see the word lapid used 14 times in the Bible… lamp 7, firebrand 2, torch 2, brand 1, lightning 1, burning 1.  In Isaiah 62:1, “For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp (לַפִּיד (lapîḏ)H3940 ) that burneth.”  

Deborah must therefore very likely be a typological representation of the true believers during a time of great apostasy who actively, and faithfully, declare the whole counsel of God’s word that brings the message of both deliverance and judgment.  Such believers, together with all other believers throughout history, are described in the Bible as the Bride of Christ. We should also remember that Jesus is The “Lamp,” albeit from a different Hebrew word that is normally translated as “candle”, but translated in English as “lamp” here in 2 Sam 22:29 “For thou [art] my lamp (נִיר (nîr) H5216), O LORD: and the LORD will lighten my darkness.” and Psalms 119:105, Thy word is a lamp (נִיר (nîr) H5216unto my feet, and a light (אוֹר (‘ôr)H216),unto my path.” We can derive the correlation between Jesus and the lamp because Jesus is The Word made flesh, as we read in John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

Note that Deborah dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah (the “palm tree” may be another reference to Jesus, because as we read in Psalms 92:12, “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.”).  Such trees represent life and strength typifying the attributes of Jesus Christ.  Reinforcing this idea is the use of the word “dwelt.”  For the believer, Jesus is our dwelling place (i.e., Psalms 90:1, {A Prayer of Moses the man of God.} “LORD, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.  Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou [art] God“).  We also know that the palm tree was located “between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim“.  Ramah means “high place,” and Bethel means “house of God.”  Ephraim pertains to the tribe of Ephraim, descended from the younger son of Joseph who received the double portion, and who Jacob blessed with his right hand and said “in thee shall Israel bless.”

It is worth a moment to consider why the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.  A judge is someone who hears a matter and then pronounces a sentence against an accusation whether vindication or condemnation and punishment.  When the believers bring the gospel of salvation they are always bringing the two-fold message of deliverance from the bondage to sin and Satan through Jesus Christ or the alternative just punishment of sin which is an eternity in hell on Judgment Day.  How can anyone truly know about salvation through Jesus Christ unless they first understand from what they are being saved?  Every human being is by nature in desperate need of a Savior to protect him or her from the coming judgment and wrath of God, which is the just penalty for his or her sins.  Furthermore, we know that if “He that spared not his own son” (Romans 8:32) in that Jesus had to endure God’s wrath in hell, will not God also do the same to those who do not become saved?  II Corinthians 5:11, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;

Barak, a Portrait of Jesus Christ as the Ultimate Judge

             Next we read in verse 6, And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedesh-naphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, [saying], Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?

This is the first reference to Barak.  Barak (בָּרָק (bārāq)H1300), interestingly enough, also means “lightning” (exactly as Lapidoth, the husband of Deborah!), but also “glittering sword.”  Might Barak therefore also be a type or allegorical prefigurement of Jesus Christ?  In Exodus 19:16, we read of when Moses was on Mount Sinai and God made His presence known to the people, “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings (בָּרָק (bārāq)H1300), and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that [was] in the camp trembled.” 

It should be noted that immediately following the giving forth of the Ten Commandments, we also read in Exodus 20:18, “And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings (לַפִּיד (lapîḏ)H3940 ), and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw [it], they removed, and stood afar off.” 

It is as if God is saying that Barak and Lapidoth are essentially the same.  As proof that this is indeed the case, in Ezekiel 1:13, we read in the same verse where Ezekiel describes the “visions of God,” “As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance [was] like burning coals of fire, [and] like the appearance of lamps (לַפִּיד (lapîḏ)H3940 ): it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning (בָּרָק (bārāq)H1300).”  This is repeated in Daniel 10:6, where we read how Daniel, just like Ezekiel, describes Jesus in a vision, “His body also [was] like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning (בָּרָק (bārāq)H1300), and his eyes as lamps (לַפִּיד (lapîḏ)H3940 ) of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.”  And isn’t it interesting that we see the same two words together again in Nahum 2:4, where judgment is being pronounced against Nineveh, “The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall justle one against another in the broad ways: they shall seem like torches (לַפִּיד (lapîḏ)H3940 ), they shall run like the lightnings (בָּרָק (bārāq)H1300).”  

As though the picture of Barak representing the Lord Jesus Christ is not clear enough, we find in Psalms 77:18 and 97:4 the following declarations of the LORD reigning and His works and judgments, “The voice of thy thunder [was] in the heaven: the lightnings (בָּרָק bārāq)H1300lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook.” and “His lightnings (בָּרָק bārāq)H1300enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled.” 

Lightning and Arrows Used Together to Bring Judgment

And for additional emphasis on the connection with Jesus, Being God’s Word, and His association with bringing judgment, there is Zechariah 9:14, “And the LORD shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning (בָּרָק bārāq)H1300): and the Lord GOD shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south.” Also please note the particular and unmistakable harmony of these three additional verses that also tie “lightning” with  “arrows” or weapons of warfare to bring destruction, hence judgment:

2 Samuel 22:15, “And he sent out arrows, and scattered them; lightning (בָּרָקbārāq)H1300), and discomfited them.”
 
Psalm 18:14, “Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings (בָּרָקbārāq)H1300), and discomfited them.”
 
Psalm 144:6, “Cast forth lightning (בָּרָקbārāq)H1300), and scatter them: shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them.

God uses “Lightning/Lightnings” to Describe Jesus an His Coming in the New Testament

Remember how, in Matthew 24:27, we read where Jesus Christ tells us directly that His coming on Judgment Day will appear as lightning, “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
 
In Matthew 28:3, describing “the angel of the Lord descended from heaven”, we read that, “His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
 
Luke 17:24, “For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one [part] under heaven, shineth unto the other [part] under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.”
 
Revelation 4:5, “And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and [there were] seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.”
 
Revelation 8:5, “And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
 
Revelation 11:19, “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
 
Revelation 16:18, “And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, [and] so great.
 
Finally, back in Deuteronomy 32:41, the same word Hebrew word “barak” is alternatively translated as “glittering sword”, “If I whet my glittering sword (בָּרָק bārāq)H1300), and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me.”  So then, not only does Barak clearly and irrefutably represent Jesus Christ, but Barak also represents Jesus Christ as Both The Judge, and The Means of Judgment coming on Judgment Day! 

Abinoam, a Portrait of The Father in Heaven

             Barak is also the son of Abinoam.  If the typological/allegorical methodology of interpretation, that has so far been employed in this study, is Biblicly valid (e.g, That it is entirely God ordained and true), then we should logically expect, given the evidence that Barak so clearly and unequivocally represents Jesus Christ, that Barak’s father, Abinoam, would provide at least some evidence that Abinoam is a typological representation of The Father in Heaven.  In other words, we have a sound basis, or “scientific” means, to both test, and hopefully prove, this methodology of interpretation.  We start with the theory based on previous evidence found in God’s Word (1 Corinthians 2:13), and now, using deductive reasoning, we are making a prediction using that theory.  In this passage of scripture we can put the theory to the test.  If the prediction (i.e. that Abinoam should be a clear “type” of The Father in Heaven) is validated, then likewise the theory is also validated. 

In perfect confirmation, with the above prediction, we find that Abinoam means “father (abi) of beauty (noam)” or “father (abi) of pleasantness (noam).”  Both progenitive attributes, “beauty” and “pleasantness”, can be shown to be unequivocal references to Jesus Christ, so therefore the “father” of those attributes that point to Jesus Christ, “beauty” and “pleasantness”, is a typological representation of God the Father in Heaven!  

Can we prove this?  We most certainly we can!  In Psalms 27:4 we read, “One [thing] have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty (noam) of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.”  In Zechariah 11:10-13, we read, “And I took my staff, [even] Beauty (Noam), and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people. And it was broken in that day: and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it [was] the word of the LORD.  And I said unto them, If ye think good, give [me] my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty [pieces] of silver.  And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty [pieces] of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.” Note that the believers knew that it was the word of the LORD!  The believers who wait upon God must “know” that it was Jesus who was cut asunder, and that the price paid by the chief priests was thirty pieces of silver, because Jesus is the Word made flesh as we read in John 1:14.

These prophetic verses describe exactly what happened to Jesus Christ (we know that Jesus (The WORD of the LORD) was cut asunder and broken by God for all believers, and that the first covenant of works under the Law was broken, so that the new covenant of grace could be instituted) and the thirty pieces of silver were the price given to Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus  and which were cast down in the temple (“The house of the LORD“) and which was later used to buy the potter’s field (see Matthew 27:3-10* and Acts 1:15-19). 

But what about “pleasantness”?  In Proverbs chapter 3, God, through King Solomon, is describing wisdom and understanding (again clear references to Jesus Christ) and in verse 17 we read, “Her ways [are] ways of pleasantness (noam), and all her paths [are] peace.”  [Note: Don’t let the feminine gender reference confuse you, because in the very next two verses, we see wisdom equated to “the tree of Life” and “that by wisdom the LORD founded the earth.”  We know, therefore, that “wisdom” has to be referring to Jesus Christ because of what we read in John 14:6, and Rev:2:7 and 22:2, and John 1:1-4.]  We can see, therefore, another excellent example of the perfection of God’s craftsmanship of both the actual history, and the recording of it in the Bible, to convey spiritual truth which can be found out if sought for like hidden treasure (see Proverbs 3:13-15).  If “beauty” and “pleasantness” (noam) represents Jesus Christ, then Abinoam unequivocally represents The Father in Heaven.  Because Abinoam is the father of Barak, Barak is again seen (from a new perspective, beyond the meaning of Barak in the Hebrew and God’s use of Barak in Biblical scripture) to represent Jesus Christ, the Son of God The Father.

Perhaps most importantly, the prediction was correct and therefore, likewise, the methodology is also proven to be valid. We have thus all been clearly shown a proven means of interpretation of the Bible from the Bible!  (and it was all simply done by only comparing spiritual things with spiritual things…by comparing scripture with scripture)

One More Thing: Honey like Noam is another reference to the Word of God, Jesus Christ (and the Gospel of Jesus Christ)

It was earlier mentioned with regard to Deborah (meaning “bee”, from the root word dabar, meaning to “speak” or “declare” and is intimately linked with “word”), that “honey” H1706 or “honeycomb”H5317 that comes from bees are both often used typologically for the Word of God/the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We also know that the promised land (typifying Heaven) is frequently described in the Bible as a place flowing with “milk and honey”H1706.  And it should be noted here that when Paul’s was shipwrecked, that the “certain island” that Paul prophesied about in Acts 27:26 was named Melita (now known as Malta) in Acts 28:1.  Melita means “Honey” and it was also used in this event to portray “Heaven”… to where all 276 souls on the ship were saved, even though the ship (representing the corporate church just before judgment day) was destroyed.  Some swam,And the rest, some on boards, and some on [broken pieces] of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.”  

Getting back to the meaning of honey, please also note for example, in Psalm 119:103, we read, “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! [yea, sweeter] than honey H1706 to my mouth!”  In Proverbs 24:13 &14, we can see a clear link between honey and “knowledge of wisdom”, which is associated with The Word (Which Is Jesus), “My son, eat thou honeyH1706, because [it is] good; and the honeycombH5317, [which is] sweet to thy taste: So [shall] the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found [it], then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.”  

And in Ezekiel 3:3&4, when God told Ezekiel to eat the roll (words were on the roll/scroll) we read, “And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat [it]; and it was in my mouth as honey H1706 for sweetness. And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them.” Clearly God is equating honey with His Word.

Please also note the similarity with Revelation 10:9 & 10, “And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.”

Also in Psalm 19:7-11, we read, “The law of the LORD [is] perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD [is] sure, making wise the simple.The statutes of the LORD [are] right, rejoicing the heart:the commandment of the LORD [is] pure, enlightening the eyes.The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD [are] true [and] righteous altogether. More to be desired [are they] than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey H1706 and the honeycombH5317. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: [and] in keeping of them [there is] great reward.”  

Please also note that when Jonathan ate the honey that his eyes were enlightened!  See 1 Samuel 14:25-29, with the last verse saying, “Then said Jonathan, My father hath troubled the land: see, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey H1706

So then, it is therefore no coincidence that we find in Proverbs 16:24, “Pleasant (Noam) words [are as] an honeycombH5317, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.”  Given that we have been shown that Noam is representative of Jesus, then we can see that this verse is really telling us that “Jesus’s words are like honeycomb and sweet to the soul and health to the bones.”  Jesus’s words (and He is The Word) give us eternal life and they are very sweet and indeed very healthy for us!

Finally, with regard to honey, as it is described in the Bible, we are also apparently given some warnings that we should take in the Word carefully, such as meditating on it, and not rushing through it as we also read in Proverbs 25:16, “Hast thou found honeyH1706? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.”  We simply cannot absorb the Bible as if we were reading any other book. And in Proverbs 25:27, we find this additional warning, “[It is] not good to eat much honeyH1706: so [for men] to search their own glory [is not] glory.”  While this last point is not entirely clear to this teacher, it may be that we are also being admonished by God that while studying God’s Word to seek enlightenment, we must be careful to discern our personal motivations.  Is it to glorify God? (which is all that it should be) or is it somehow a vehicle by which we are contributing to our own vanity because we have been enabled to see things that might otherwise be hidden from others? (Remember Jonathan and how his “eyes have been enlightened” when he “tasted a little of the honeyH1706 “, 1Sa 14:29 .) If we have been enlightened by God through the reading and hearing of God’s Word, not only should we be willing to humbly share that honey with others, but we must never presume for one moment any pridefulness as a result of any such enlightenment. Proverbs 20:12, “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.Whatever spiritual discernment that we might have, it is solely a gift from God, and therefore, God, Alone, gets ALL of the Glory!

*NOTE: In the Matthew 27:3-10 account of the 30 pieces of silver being cast down in the temple, which were used by the chief priests to buy the potter’s field (“the field of blood”), please note that in verse 9 it references the prophet Jeremy (Jeremiah) vice Zechariah, which can lead to some confusion.  If we look at Jeremiah 32:6-15, we can see a number of similarities as it references “redemption”, that it was “a field” purchased for 17 shekels of “silver” and reference to an “earthen vessel” (a pot made by a potter), and “Then I knew that this [was] the word of the LORD.Note how this compares to Zechariah 11:11, “the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it [was] the word of the LORD.” It is not clear why Jeremiah states 17 “shekels of silver” vice 30 “pieces of silver” as is found in both Matthew 27 and Zechariah 11 (Interestingly, Exodus 21:32 lists “thirty shekels of silver” as the penalty to an owner of any ox that gores another’s manservant or maidservant). Then verse 12 concludes that the evidence of the purchase would be written in “the book of the purchase, before all the Jews that sat in the court of the prison.” The purpose of these passages was to provide a testimony that although the Jews (Judah and Benjamin) would go into Babylonian captivity, God would free the captives (after 70 years, Jeremiah 29:10) and return them to Jerusalem and the surrounding areas, which allegorically pointed to Jesus freeing the believers from captivity in prison (in bondage within the gates of hell) to the New Jerusalem (heaven).  So the Gospel theme nonetheless remains consistent. 

The Believers are From Every Nation

But what does it mean to be from Kedesh-naphtali?   Kedesh (meaning ceremonially clean) was established as a city of refuge (together with the city of Shechem in mount Ephraim, see Joshua 20:7).  Furthermore, in Joshua 21:32 we read that Kedesh is in the area of land given to the tribe of Naphtali known as Galilee.

But what about Barak taking ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and Zebulun toward mount Tabor?  From Matthew 4:12-15 (and Isaiah 9:1), we learn that the land of both Naphtali and Zebulun (Naphtalim and Zabulon in Greek) is identified as being within the region of Galilee, “Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he (Jesus) departed into Galilee;  And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias (Isaiah 9:1) the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, [by] the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles (nations);” (But PLEASE also be sure to read the rest of Isaiah 9:2-6, footnoted below, as it succinctly lays out salvation is for the believers from every nation through Jesus Christ).**

And, is it not most interesting that the town of Nazareth, where Jesus grew up, in not only in the Galilee region but is also specifically in the land of Zebulon, just as was the home of Jonah (only very nearby in Gath-Hepher), but now, not surprisingly, we see that this same area was also the home of Barak!                                                                                         Please see: https://bereansearching.com/tag/jonah/  and the map below:

Map Source: https://i2.wp.com/ladderofjacob.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/galilee-01.jpg

When we look closer at the verses in Judges 4, we get the distinct impression that God is declaring that a multitude (typified by the number ten thousand) of believers is drawn from all the nations of the world,  both Gentile (non-Israeli) nations as well as the remnant saved by grace from the nation of Israel (primarily during the New Testament era and hence relating to the New Testament Church) and that they would go with Jesus to whatever mount Tabor represents. 

This interpretation is corroborated by Revelation 5:9-13, where, respecting the Lamb (Jesus Christ, “Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David”  Who “prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof” Rev 5:5-6, and Who we know Is “the Lamb of God” (John 1:29), we read the following:

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” 

It is important to note the very close similarity of the above to that which can be found in the Old Testament, in Daniel 7, verses 9 -14, where we see another account of Judgment Day illustrated by very similar language, “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fireA fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousands thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before himAnd there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” The Ancient of Days would have to be God The Father, while the Son of man is clearly Jesus Christ.

The “out every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” and “all people, nations, and languages” refers to all those saved by grace from both national Israel together with the Gentile nations and “the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands” shows us that the number of believers saved by Jesus out of all nations is a great multitude consistent with “all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues” was “a great multitude, which no man could number.”  It should also be noted that we read of a seemingly smaller number “an hundred and forty and four thousand.” in Rev 7:4 and in Rev 14:1-3, it is clear that the number 144,000 is a spiritual number representing all who are saved by the Lord Jesus Christ (the number is composed of 12 (representing the twelve tribes of ancient Israel) time 12 (representing the 12 Apostles of the New Testament era) times 1000 which emphasizes “completeness”.   “

And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

So we see then that the “ten thousand(s)” is a spiritual number used by God for typifying the great multitude of all of those who are saved by Jesus Christ, Who Is their Redeemer just as the number 144,000 also represents all those who are redeemed.

That multitude of believers is found in Heaven, praising God for their salvation as we read on in Rev. 7: 9-10 where they, “stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”

Remember also what we read in Matthew 12:14-18, after Jesus healed the man with the withered hand, “Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him. But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them allAnd charged them that they should not make him known: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.

Mount Tabor, a Portrait of Heaven with Judgment in View?

         As a mountain, we know that there is at least the possibility that mount Tabor could represent Heaven for we read in Psalms 121:1 {A Song of degrees.} “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills (from “har” in Hebrew which can also be translated “mountains”), from whence cometh my help.” and Psalms 123:1 {A Song of degrees.} “Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens.”  See also Psalms 24:3 “Who shall ascend into the hill (har) of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place” and  Psalms 48:1 “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain (har) of his holiness.

It is not entirely clear what the actual derivation of “Tabor” is…there seem to be a number of somewhat conflicting explantions.  One is that it is from the root word “taher” (Strong’s #2891) meaning to be pronounced clean or purged and purified.   Without doubt, Heaven is entirely “Pure” and those who ascend to Heaven have to have been made spiritually clean by Jesus’s sacrifice. (It is also interesting to note here that Mt. Tabor is a leading candidate to be the site of  Jesus’s Transfiguration (The Mount of Transfiguration)…and while we can’t confirm or deny that assertion from the Bible; based on what we can learn in the course of this study,  it would not be surprising).

In verse 7, we read how Deborah would bring Sisera to the river Kishon* (from the Hebrew qowsh or yaqosh, meaning “to set a trap or snare, like that of a fowler”) that is located at the foot of Mt. Tabor in the middle of the plain of Megiddo (from which Armageddon is derived) for Barak to meet in battle. Armageddon is specifically mentioned as the location representing the end of the world as we read in Revelation 16:16 -18, “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue ArmageddonAnd the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is doneAnd there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.

Remember, that in Luke 21:34 & 35, Jesus spoke of Judgment Day in the context of a snare, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and [so] that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.” Moreover, regardless of the derivation of Mt. Tabor, we do know that God clearly has established severe Judgment at the foot of mount Tabor in association with the river Kishon (“to snare”), and the Megiddo (e.g., Armageddon) valley that it flows through, because it is also a fact that after Elijah confounded the 450 prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18:20-40 on top of mount Carmel (near the Mediterranean Sea), that we read in verse 40, “And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.

And is it not very interesting that both mount Tabor and mount Carmel are both mentioned in the same verse in Jeremiah 46:18, “[As] I live, saith the King, whose name [is] the LORD of hosts, Surely as Tabor [is] among the mountains, and as Carmel by the sea, [so] shall he come.” It would seem that God is saying that He Is surely coming again in Judgment (on Judgment Day) as surely as He did bring Judgment to the valley of Megiddo (Armageddon) from both mount Tabor and mount Carmel in the past.

*Note: The destruction of Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon is corroborated in Psalms 83:9, “Do unto them as [unto] the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison:

Deborah “Arose”

By verse 9 we find that Deborah “arose” and went with Barak to Kedesh (the city of refuge).  In verse 10, we read how Barak “called” Zebulun and Naphtali (the believers from out of the Gentile nations) and he “went up with ten thousand men at his feet: and Deborah went with him.  These references of going up with Barak prophetically make it clear that all believers are partakers of the first resurrection of the dead “in Christ” which took place on Easter Sunday, 33 A.D.  This is why we read in verse eight, “And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, [then] I will not go.”  While anyone can speculate that in the earthly historical account that Barak was fearful, the Bible does not support that anywhere explicitly.  This is because the spiritual implication (that Jesus’s resurrection and ascension to Heaven includes that of His Church…without whom He would not go) would otherwise be lost.  This idea is also entirely consistent with what we find in Ephesians 1:20, “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set [him] at his own right hand in the heavenly [places],” and in Ephesians 2:6, “And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus:

Deborah and Barak map

Map source: https://sonlightcamp.org/2017/01/15/first-light/

Judges 4:14-16, Judgment Day (The Ultimate Armageddon) is Coming!

Skipping ahead to verse 14, we read, “And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this [is] the day in which the LORD hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the LORD gone out before thee?  So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him.”  Does this sound familiar?  It should, because in Jude 14&15 we are given a prophesy of the second coming of Jesus on Judgment Day with “ten thousands of his saints.”  There we read, “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,: To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard [speeches] which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

Please note the similarity in the language we find concerning the last words of Moses before his death in Deuteronomy 33:2&3, “And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand [went] a fiery law for them.  Yea, he loved the people; all his saints [are] in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; [every one] shall receive of thy words.

In verses 15 & 16, we see the total defeat of Sisera and all his host: “And the LORD discomfited Sisera, and all [his] chariots, and all [his] host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off [his] chariot, and fled away on his feet.  But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; [and] there was not a man left.

The Believers Will Take Part in Bringing Judgment on Judgment Day 

It should also be noted here that the 10,000 men who come down from Mt. Tabor after Barak represent all of the “saints”, the “believers”, the “saved” who will come down from Heaven with Jesus on Judgment Day (we know this from Jude 14, “…Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints.“).  It is the eternal Church, the body of believers of which Jesus is the eternal Head.  It is clear that the destruction of the host of Sisera was by the “sword”, and it could not have been done by Barak alone, it was also done by those who came with him.  If we turn to Psalm 149:5-9, we read that, “Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds.[Let] the high [praises] of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand; To execute vengeance upon the heathen, [and] punishments upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron;To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD.”  And what is the “twoedged sword”? It is the Word of God! The Bible tells us so here in Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Also in Revelation 1:16 where we read about the twoedged sword coming out of the mouth of Jesus (“the Son of man“), “And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance [was] as the sun shineth in his strength.”  Everyone who is unsaved will be judged on the basis of God’s Word, Who is Jesus, and it is the saved believers who are the attendant messengers and witnesses of that Word.  Finally, we know from John 12:48 where Jesus said, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

But why is the Word of God specifically called a “twoedged” sword?  It is because the Word of God brings both life and death, both salvation or condemnation, “comfort” and “vengeance” (see: https://bereansearching.com/2022/07/20/a-christian-perspective-on-the-book-of-nahum-comfort-and-consolation/) .  We read in 2 Corinthians 2:14-17, “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who [is] sufficient for these things? For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God:but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

 Judges Chapter 5 is God’s Commentary on Judges Chapter 4

             Although there is one last aspect of final judgment in this historical account, which seems to point to the woman, Jael, (the wife of a descendent of the Father-in-Law of Moses), who is directly involved in the slaying of Sisera with a hammer and nail, as being a type of the eternal church bringing about the death of the devil’s captain through the bringing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the “Word” (Jeremiah 52:7, “[Is] not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer [that] breaketh the rock in pieces?”)…let us move ahead to Chapter 5 to test the validity of this exposition and interpretation of Judges chapter 4.  In Judges chapter 5, we read of the song of Deborah and Barak.  In that song, giving praise to God for “the avenging of Israel,” we find four very significant verses

First, in Judges 5:12, we read, Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam.    We need to take a close look a the underlined phrases in this verse.

“Awake, awake”

The repetition of the words Awake, awake (two times) is worthy of note.  It reminds us of what we find three times in Isaiah:

Isaiah 51:9, “Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. [Art] thou not it that hath cut Rahab, [and] wounded the dragon?”
 
Isaiah 51:17, “Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the LORD the cup of his fury; thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, [and] wrung [them] out.
 
Isaiah 52:1, “Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.

These awakenings are pointing to the resurrection of the saints because of Jesus Christ’s resurrection.  Jesus is the arm of the LORD Who destroyed Egypt (Rahab) wounded the dragon, the devil (Sisera in this historical account). In Isaiah 51:17, God is referring to the earthly Jerusalem, while in Isaiah 52:1, God is referring to the Jerusalem and Zion which are the true eternal Church (typified by Deborah in this historical account).

Leading “Captivity Captive”

The key phrase is “lead thy captivity captive.”  This phraseology describes the restoration of God’s elect to their former estate.  It refers to the action of God in bringing His people back, or delivering them, from the bondage and oppression into which He had earlier placed them for their transgressions of His law (see Jer. 29:14, Jer. 30:3, Jer. 32:44, all of Jer. 33, Eze. 39:25, Amos 9:14,and Zeph. 3:20).  It pertains to the ultimate restoration of the fellowship mankind initially had with God in the Garden of Eden; the significant difference being that this restored fellowship can never be lost again.

The specific phraseology of “lead thy captivity captive” is found in only two other places in the whole Bible.  In Psalms 68:18, “Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, [for] the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell [among them].” and in Ephesians 4:8, “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.”  In Psalm 68 it is a Messianic prophecy, and in Ephesians it is a specific statement about the Lord Jesus Christ, Who Is the means whereby the elect of God are delivered from the bondage to sin and oppression of Satan and finally restored into fellowship with God at the end of time!  There can therefore be absolutely no doubt that God specifically established Barak as a pre-figurement of Jesus Christ, and what Jesus will do to the oppressor and his host when Jesus returns on Judgment Day

Note how this is also consistent with what we read in Isaiah 61:1, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound;”  And what prison is being discussed the Bible is talking about? It is the prison house of the devil (“Lucifer” in Isaiah 14:12) due to the fall of Adam as we read 14:17, “[That] made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; [that] opened not the house of his prisoners? And remember that Jesus made clear in Matthew 16:18, “And 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.”

The Valley of Megiddo is Where the River Kishon Flows (1Ki 18:40)

The second verse of note is Judges 5:19, because God makes it clear that the battle is to be linked with the valley of Megiddo, and therefore no question of its relationship to the Armageddon we read about in Rev. 16:16, The kings came [and] fought, then fought the kings of Canaan in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo; they took no gain of money.

Thirdly, in Judges 5:20, God shows that this whole event has been a perfectly crafted historical parable typifying Armageddon at Judgment Day, because He says, They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera.  Clearly, this description has nothing to do with the earthly, historical and physical battle we read about in Chapter 4.  Rather God is telling us that Chapter 4 contained typological representations.  Chapter 4 portrayed Jesus Christ (typified by Barak in this historical account) coming down from Heaven (typified by mount Tabor in this historical account) with His multitudes of saints (typified by the stars, please see Gen 22:17, Isaiah 14:13, Dan 12:1-3) on Judgment Day (typified by the battle in the valley of Megiddo, a.k.a. Armageddon) to slay Satan and all of his host, the fallen angels and the unsaved of the world (typified by the kings of Canaan and all their host).

Genesis 22:17, “That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;

From Isaiah 14:12-15, we clearly see that Satan, the chief prince of all the angels that became devils, in his great pride sought to “be like the most High,” but was subsequently consigned to Hell. 

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! [how] art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations. For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

Note that Satan wanted to exalt his throne above the “stars” of God; In the Bible the stars represent the believers as we read next in Daniel 12:3, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

Finally, in Judges 5:21, God tells us that, The river of Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon. O my soul, thou hast trodden down strength.  This appears to be further evidence of the finality of the death that is in view, i.e. when God casts Satan and all his dominion into the lake of fire (from Revelation Chapter 20) for all eternity!  And it is also consistent with the last verse (31) of Chapter 5, “So let all thine enemies perish, O LORD: but [let] them that love him [be] as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. And the land had rest forty years.”

Conclusion

             In this study we have seen yet another case where God has masterfully crafted history, and the recording of it, to prefigure the return of the Lord Jesus Christ on Judgment Day.  From it we have learned that the battle of Armageddon is not some future earthly battle involving earthly political nations, i.e. Russia, etc., attacking the political state we now know as national Israel in the valley of Megiddo.  That scenario has nothing to do with the Armageddon of the Bible, because Armageddon is actually Judgment Day itself!  Judgment Day will be the last event in history when the Lord Jesus Christ will come back in the clouds of Glory to destroy all wickedness, and send all of the unsaved to an eternity in Hell, and put an end to this entire creation, which is under the curse of sin.  It will mark the end of time and the beginning of eternity wherein righteousness will dwell in new heavens and a new earth forever.  In II Peter 3:10 we read, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” But thankfully in II Peter 3:13 we read, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

It should also be noted how prevalent judgment is in the word picture painted by God in Judges 4 & 5.  It is safe to say that the whole account is dripping with judgment.  First we found that Deborah, who typified the believers, is described as a judge who declared judgment during a time of judgment from God on National Israel.  Then we found that Barak represents Jesus as the ultimate Judge at a battle that perfectly typifies the ultimate judgment that definitely will come on the Last Day, Judgment Day.  We even saw how the geographic setting appears to be pointing to that judgment.  It is therefore entirely appropriate that God has painted this so very vivid picture of judgment in the book entitled “Judges.”

In II Corinthians 5:11, we are admonished, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.”  Given that God has recorded such a clear and unequivocal prophetic warning of the final judgment that is so assuredly coming; it is incumbent on everyone to search his or her own conscience (and heart) and ask himself or herself the big question: Am I ready to meet God?  It is my sincere prayer that whosoever reads this review will undergo that self-examination and be able to answer in the affirmative.  If not, it is still possible to cry out to God for mercy, for it is still the day of salvation.  (Please also remember that Barak was just a pre-figuring “shadow” of Jesus Christ, not the “substance.”  Only through the Person and Work of Jesus Christ is there any hope of salvation.  Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.“)

**Isaiah 9:2-6, “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Today’s Application: Are You Ready?

         Jesus is the only Way of escape from the just penalty for our sins. All other ways that man can devise will lead only to Hell come Judgment Day. You are either with God or against God.  Have you made peace with God through Jesus Christ?  Please pray to God for mercy through Jesus Christ and He will show you mercy.

A Christian Study of The Book of Jonah

Posted September 19, 2009 by bereansearching
Categories: Bible Studies

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Engraving of “Jonah Cast Out by the Big Fish” published in “The Story of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation” Published by Charles Foster in 1883. The engraving is now in the public domain.

“Can There Any Good Thing Come Out of Nazareth?”  

“Search, and Look: For Out of Galilee Ariseth No Prophet”

Introduction

In John 1:45 we read, “Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.  And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.

Why did Nathanael ask this question?  We get the feeling that it was some kind of contemporary euphemism which indicated that Nazareth, a city in Galilee, was a place of poor reputation.  We find support for this idea in John 7:52, where we read, “They (the chief priests and Pharisees) answered and said unto him (Nicodemus*), Art thou also of Galilee?  Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.” (We should also be aware that this is entirely consistent with what we read just a few verses prior in John 40-41, “Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the ProphetOthers said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee?“)

Wouldn’t it be logical to assume that these men, being Jewish “chief priests and Pharisees,” would have had to have been thoroughly familiar with the scriptures (“Moses in the law, and the prophets”…the Old Testament in that day) to allow them to make such a bold and emphatic challenge to Nicodemus?  Nonetheless, all true believing Christians know that Jesus is “Good” in answer to Nathanael’s question (for He is God, as we read in John 1:1-3 and John 1:14), and that He also was the specific fulfillment of the Prophet found in Deuteronomy 18:15 (“The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;“) because Acts 3:20-26 gives us this commentary, “And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:  Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.  For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.”  The New Testament also makes reference to Jesus as, “the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee” as we read in Matthew 21:11 for example, “And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.

However, we must remember that the priests and Pharisees in Jesus’ day were looking for that coming “Prophet” only on the basis of what they found in the Old Testament “scriptures.”  It is clear from the challenge to Nicodemus by the chief priests and Pharisees that, according to their understanding and knowledge of the Old Testament scriptures, there was no scriptural basis or precedent to expect that a prophet would arise out of Galilee.  How, then, are Christians (who use the New Testament to claim that Jesus is the fulfillment of Old Testament scripture) to deal with this issue?  The answer is that we must be like the Bereans of Acts 17:10&11, who “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”

       The Book of Jonah Is the Place to Search and Look!

             The Bible offers no “plain and simple” information from which to determine either 1) a rebuttal to the challenge made to Nicodemus by the chief priests and Pharisees , or 2) whether or not Nicodemus was himself able to give them such a rebuttal.  However, when we look in Matthew 12:38-41, isn’t it interesting that we find the account in which “certain of the scribes and Pharisees” asked Jesus to show them a sign to validate that He was indeed the Messiah (that great Prophet) to which Jesus’s only response was to refer them to the book of Jonah.  They said, “Master, we would see a sign from thee.  But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas (Greek for “Jonah”): For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.  The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas [is] here.” (please also see Matt. 16:4)

In Luke 11:29&30, Jesus provides additional insights, “And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation.”

Could it be that the Old Testament support we seek is found in that book, the Book of Jonah?

[The reader should also take note of the importance of the above statements by Jesus, because Jesus also validated that Jonah was indeed a real person, and a real prophet, and that Jonah was really swallowed by a fish/whale for 3 days and nights…and moreover that he served as a “sign”hence anyone who disbelieves in the book of Jonah is, in effect, calling Jesus, hence God, a liar.]

[It should also be noted that the Book of Jonah is read every year to the assembled congregations of the Jewish people in their synagogues on Yom Kippur to the present day. Yom Kippur, which occurs on the 10th day of the seventh month (Tishri), is the holiest day of the year in Judaism. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a day-long fast, confession, and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services.  Sadly, they remain entirely unaware that Jonah was established by God as a prophetic sign of The Messiah, Jesus Christ.]

At this point, it would be quite helpful to recall what Jesus Himself said regarding the challenge of the chief priests and Pharisees to Nicodemus to “search and look.”  First, in Matthew 23:1-3, we read, “Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,  Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, [that] observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.  In other words, the scribes and Pharisees did not practice what they preached.  They did not “search and look”; but Jesus said we should do whatsoever they said to do, which in this case is to “search and look.”  Secondly, Jesus specifically told the Jews themselves to “search the scriptures,” as we read in John 5:39, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me (Jesus).”**  So let’s do just that.  Let’s search and look in the scriptures as Nicodemus was challenged to do; particularly looking in the book of Jonah as Jesus implied, to see if we can refute the question and assertion that form the subtitles of this paper (and also to see how the book of Jonah testifies of Jesus).

Chapter 1: Jonah (or Jesus?)

Let’s begin our search of the scriptures by focusing on the very first verse of Jonah, where we read:

Jonah 1:1, “Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,

A lot of very important information is packed into this little verse.  At the start, it is clear that Jonah’s office was that of a prophet, for the word of God came specifically to the prophet to declare unto the people (Heb 1:1, Jer 29:19, Hos 12:10, and many others).  We also learn that Jonah’s father was named Amittai.

The son of Amittai?  

Who is this Amittai?  When we “search the scriptures”, we find that the only information concerning him is found in 2 Kings 14:25, and there we find that God provides pretty much the same information.  However, when we search out the meaning of Amittai we can begin to see what God has in view.  In the Hebrew, Amittai means “faithful”, “trustworthy”, or “true”.  Who is it that is repeatedly declared to be faithful and true in the scriptures?  God!  In Isaiah 25:1 we read, “O LORD, thou [art] my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful [things]; [thy] counsels of old are faithfulness [and] truth.  In Deuteronomy 7:9, we read, “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he [is] God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;”  In John 7:28 we read, “Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not.”  We can see then that Amittai is a type or figure chosen by God to represent God the Father.  So who does that suggest Jonah might spiritually represent?  Remember how above in John 5:39 Jesus said the scriptures testified of Him, hence the title of this chapter heading, “Jonah (or Jesus?)”

But what about Gath-hepher? 

If we go back for a moment to 2 Kings 14:25, we are provided additional evidence to confirm that we are on the right track.  There we learn that Jonah’s abode or home was in Gath-hepher; “He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the LORD God of Israel, which he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which [was] of Gath-hepher.

Gath-hepher is a primary clue from at least two distinct vantage points.  First, if we look in the back of our Bibles at the ancient map of National Israel, we will find, to our utter amazement, that the town of Gath-hepher from the Old Testament is located no more than two miles north of Nazareth from the New Testament.  To assure ourselves that this is indeed the case, we have only to search it out in God’s word.  From Joshua 19:13, we learn that this town (also referred to as Gittah-hepher) was within the borders of the land given to the tribe of Zebulun, “And from thence passeth on along on the east to Gittah-hepher (in the original Hebrew this is the same as “Gath-hepher”, and, which translated, means either “winepress of digging” or “winepress of shame” https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Gath-hepher.html), to Ittah-kazin, and goeth out to Remmon-methoar to Neah;” 

From Matthew 4:12-15 (and Isaiah 9:1), we learn that the land of Zebulun (Zabulon in Greek) is identified as being within the region of Galilee, “Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he (Jesus) departed into Galilee;  And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias (“Isaiah” in Greek, see Isaiah 9:1) the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, [by] the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles (nations);”

Please also note that when we take a close look at Isaiah 8:11 to the end of that chapter, and then Isaiah 9:1 (which Matthew 4:12-15 just pointed us to) and then the verse immediately following (Isaiah 9:2), we can gain some additional insights to show us that Jesus is the Christ, and that “Great Prophet”, Whom the people in Jesus’s day were not expecting to have come from Galilee nor would see that Jesus would be the Means of Salvation to all the world (gentiles) and not just the Jews only (of which a remnant would still be saved).

For the Lord spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying,12 Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.13 Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. (See also Romans 9:30-33) 15 And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.16 Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.17 And I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.18 Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.19 And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.21 And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward.22 And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness.”  Then Isaiah 9:1 reads, “Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.”  The dimness and darkness surrounded the nation of Israel (“both houses of Israel” and “the inhabitants of Jerusalem”). However, in the very next verse (Isaiah 9:2) we read, “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.”  Which leads us to  John 9:5, where Jesus announces, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” after which he immediately healed a blind man, “born blind”.  Then we read later in John 9:39,”And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.”

Getting back to the issue of Galilee…From this Bible study we can see that Jonah was the son of Amittai who was from Gath-Hepher which is in the land given as part of the inheritance to the tribe of Zebulun which is in the region known as Galilee.  Isn’t that astounding?  They were both Galileans!  God raised up the great prophet Jonah from the exact same neighborhood as the ultimate “Prophet”, Jesus Christ (except that Jonah lived about 800 years earlier than Jesus).  (NOTE: The reader should also be aware that another prophet of God, Nahum, may have, like both Jonah and Jesus, also been from Galilee, as Capernaum (located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee) in Hebrew means “village of Nahum”… Please see the study on the book of Nahum: https://bereansearching.com/2022/07/20/a-christian-perspective-on-the-book-of-nahum-comfort-and-consolation/). As we go on, we will see this is more than just coincidence, but for the moment it might be profitable to take a slight detour to review another aspect of this geographical information.

The “Winepress of Shame”?

From our geographical study of Gath-hepher we have found the unequivocal similarity between Jonah and Jesus based on the fact that both were “prophets” from Galilee.  However, there is one other aspect denoted by Gath-hepher that we must consider.  Gath-Hepher is a compound word that is generally thought to mean, “well of the winepress.”  In the Hebrew, Gath means “winepress.”  The word hepher, while sometimes translated dig, pit, or well, also means “shame” or “reproach” https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Gath-hepher.html”  Amazingly, when we search the Bible, we can again see how this focuses our attention on Jesus.  Let’s look at the winepress first.

“Gath” (גַּת, gat or gittahH1660) is translated as “winepress” in Lamentations 1:15, “The Lord hath trodden under foot all my mighty [men] in the midst of me: he hath called an assembly against me to crush my young men: the Lord hath trodden the virgin, the daughter of Judah, [as] in a winepress H1660 (gath/gittah).”  For further insight on the role of the winepress in scripture let’s look at Isaiah 63:2&3, where we read, “Wherefore [art thou] red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat (winepress)? H1660  I (Jesus) have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people [there was] none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.”  In Joel 3:13, we read, “Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press H1660 is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness [is] great.” And in Revelation 14:19, “And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast [it] into the great winepress of the wrath of God.  And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand [and] six hundred furlongs.”  In Revelation 19:13, “And he [was] clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

Clearly the winepress refers to God’s wrath that must be brought to bear in judgment for sin.  Jesus, as the believers’ atoning sacrifice, first had to endure that wrath and suffer the shame of God’s reproach for their sins.  

It should be noted here that if we look closely at the word “hepher” in the original Hebrew we find the following:

  1. The verb חפר (hapar) means to dig, both in order to unearth something and to bury something. Hence this verb may be used both to describe (1) a quest for something wanted, and (2) a quest to obscure or cover-up something unwanted.
  2. The latter usage appears to have evolved into its own verb, namely חפר (haper), to be ashamed, again both because (1) something secret was exposed or (2) something embarrassing is sought to be covered.

In both instances, we can clearly see that, from a Godly/Spiritual standpoint, the “something” that is to be both exposed or covered is SIN! Jesus bears the exposed sins of the believers, he bears our shame, He became “sin for us” as we read in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “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.”  Also in Isaiah 53:5, “But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” And our sin is covered in the robes of Jesus Christ’s righteousness as we read in Isaiah 61:10, “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

Psalms 69 gives us a glimpse of the shame and reproach Jesus had to suffer.  However, we are also reminded how, on Judgment Day, Jesus will return as the Judge who pours out God’s judgment on the unsaved for whose sins He did not pay in the winepress of God’s wrath.  We read of this in Isaiah 47:3, “Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet [thee as] a man,” and in Daniel 12:2, “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame [and] everlasting contempt.

Jonah: the “Dove”

Did you know that Jonah’s name means “dove“?  Do these terms relate to/prefigure Jesus?  Indeed they do!  Remember what the dove or pigeon was used for in the scriptures?  The dove or pigeon was used as a sacrifice offering for the “poor” and “leprous“.  We read this in Leviticus 5:7, “And if he be not able to bring a lamb, then he shall bring for his trespass, which he hath committed, two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, unto the LORD; one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering.”  Also in Leviticus 14:29, “And the rest of the oil that [is] in the priest’s hand he shall put upon the head of him that is to be cleansed, to make an atonement for him before the LORD.  And he shall offer the one of the turtledoves, or of the young pigeons, such as he can get;  [Even] such as he is able to get, the one [for] a sin offering, and the other [for] a burnt offering, with the meat offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for him that is to be cleansed before the LORD.  This [is] the law [of him] in whom [is] the plague of leprosy, whose hand is not able to get [that which pertaineth] to his cleansing.

We know that only Jesus is the valid atoning sacrifice which can satisfy God’s Levitical Law of Sacrifice for our spiritual destitution and the cleansing of our sin, our spiritual uncleannesses (typified by leprosy) and that it was He who was prefigured by the dove and the pigeon.  Interestingly, when we look in Jonah 1:4-16, we find that the mariners were forced to cast Jonah into the sea, because it was the only way that they could be saved from the tempest.  In essence, Jonah was “sacrificed” by the mariners to appease the wrath of God that otherwise would have destroyed the ship and all who were aboard it.  We should also remember God’s usage of the dove in the account of our LORD’s baptism, see Matt. 3:16, Mark 1:9, Luke 3:21&22, and John 1:31-34.

I trust that you have begun to see the amazing informational potential of the book of Jonah and its answer to both the question raised by Nathanael in John 1:45 and the challenge laid down by the chief priests and Pharisees to Nicodemus in Jesus’s day in John 7:52.  By way of exhortation, let’s review what we’ve learned:

Jonah was a prophet (a “Good” thing, in answer to Nathanael’s question) and, perhaps more importantly (regarding the challenge and erroneous assertion of the chief priests and Pharisees to their peer, Nicodemus), he arose from Galilee (the exact same region as Jesus!).  Furthermore, Jonah’s dwelling place was in Gath-hepher, which pointed to the judgment of God as we have seen.  That winepress was where the LORD became sin for the believers as God the Father pressed out of Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, the sweat as it were great drops of blood as one treading under foot the grapes in the vat. This was indeed the dwelling place of Jesus!  It was most necessary for Him to dwell in Gath-hepher for a time that He might become a sacrifice for the poor in spirit, the spiritually unclean.  For the believers, Jesus became poor and unclean, that they might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9) and clean before God.  Jesus was also referred to by God as the Prophet.  Jonah was also the son of Amittai, which means faithful and true.  We know that Jesus is the Son of God who is Faithful and True.  Finally, the dove again points us to the sacrifice of Christ for the sins of God’s elect and reminds us of the Holy Spirit as He came upon Jesus to validate His ministry as the Priest, Prophet, and King, and His evangelical work through His believers bringing salvation to a hostile world, yours and mine (typified by Nineveh in the book of Jonah).

 Chapter 2: Jonah’s Sojourn in the Sea Prefigures Jesus Christ’s Eternal Sacrifice 

            Some critics might dismiss the above exposition of Jonah as simply another one of so many so-called “fanciful” or “allegorical” interpretations.  They might say that these comparisons are only curious “coincidences” and have no validation other than in the mind of the beholder.  On that, you’ll have to judge for yourself.  However, before you pass judgment, it might be helpful to look at one more key element of comparison whereby God Himself provides the unequivocal validation for the above exposition.  When we carefully look at the corollary between: 1) what we find in the book of Jonah with 2) what we know about from the Bible concerning death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (that Jesus pointed to in Matthew 12:38-41), we will find something very interesting.  We know that Jesus was referring to the three-day and night period that began with His torment beginning in the Garden of Gethsemane on Thursday night and which was completed at His resurrection on Easter Sunday morning because of what we read in Jonah 1:17: Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

In Hell Forever?

             However, in Jonah 2:1&2, we also read, “Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell(***) H7585 cried I, [and] thou heardest my voice.”  Jonah is described here as being in “Hell”, but we know he was only in a fish/whale at the bottom of the sea, correct?  Then, later, in Jonah 2:6 we read, “I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars [was] about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.”  Now Jonah is crying out that he is there “for ever“, which means “for everlasting eternity“!  

But doesn’t it explicitly state in Jonah 1:17 that Jonah was only in the belly of the fish/whale for three days and three nights?  And why does it say “the earth with her bars,” if Jonah was only in the sea?  Please remember, this Bible student did not put these words in the Book of Jonah, and neither did any New Testament era theologian.  These words are in the original Hebrew texts just as they have been for over 2500 years.  They were put in the Bible by God Himself through the work of His Holy Spirit (please see 2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:21).  They unequivocally pre-figured Jesus’s torment, death, and resurrection; as well as the fact that Jesus, somehow, in the space of the referenced “three days and nights”, actually endured the equivalent of an eternity (“forever“! as Jonah cried) in “Hell” (as Jonah also cried) for the sins of all who would ever believe on Him as their Savior (The Atonement began in the Garden of Gethsemane Thursday evening, followed by Jesus going to the cross and dying on Friday afternoon, and then Jesus’s body entombed before sundown Friday, and remained there until the Resurrection on Sunday morning, which was the third day).  As for “the earth with her bars,” we are given another reference to the prison house of hell, which also parallels with Jesus’s description of his atoning sacrifice in Matthew 12:40, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Note: When Jesus said “it is finished”John 19:30, Jesus fulfilled the Passover sacrifice, but Jesus’s dead body was taken to a tomb to lie until Resurrection on the third day, Sunday morning.  Moreover, Jesus said to the one repentant thief on the cross in Luke 23:43, “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise“.  We must assume then that the spirit of the thief went to Heaven, given that for a believer, “to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”  Then in Luke 23:46, “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.” So it would seem that Jesus’s spirit also went to Heaven upon His death, if we assume that the full penalty was paid for the sins of the elect at that point (serving as the elect’s substitutionary Judgment Day).  Nonetheless, Jesus, somehow, spiritually, must have also endured an equivalent to the eternal horrors of Hell that culminated at the cross even though His Body remained dead in the tomb until Sunday morning.  We should also Remember that in both Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34, we read that Jesus cried aloud, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” which highlights the unimaginable supernatural (as well as physical) agonies that Jesus was enduring upon the cross.)

Note also the similarity with Psalm 18:4-6, where we read, “The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell H7585 compassed me about: the snares of death prevented (went before) me. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.”  

No Corruption

We also read in Psalm 16:10, “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell H7585; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence [is] fulness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.”  And this is exactly what Peter preached at. Pentecost, essentially word for word from Psalm 16:10 regarding Jesus in Acts 2:27 and thereby also confirming Jesus’s connection to Jonah, “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Interestingly, when we go to Psalm 49:15, we read, “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: H7585 for he shall receive me. Selah.” The word for “grave” is the exact same Hebrew word for “hell.”  Some scholars try to explain away the use of “hell” by saying it is just “death”, but they ignore the fact that Peter is quoting Psalm 16:10 in the Greek New Testament by referring to the “hell” there as  “hades”, which is not the grave, but a place of disembodied spirits/souls. The correct Hebrew word for “grave” is קֶבֶר, H6913 qeber, keh’-ber; or (feminine) קִבְרָה qibrâh; from H6912; a sepulchre:—burying place, grave, sepulchre.”

Please also note the consistency between this and what we read in 2 Samuel 22:4-7, “”I will call on the LORD, [who is] worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. When the waves of death  compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid; The sorrows of hell H7585 compassed me about; the snares of death prevented (went before) me; In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry [did enter] into his ears.” (Note: It is worth reading all of Chapter 22 for more comparable insights, like in verses 16 and 17, “And the channels of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were discovered, at the rebuking of the LORD, at the blast of the breath of his nostrils. He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters;).

Note also the similarities between what we read in Jonah Chapter 2:3, “For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.” with Psalm 42:7, “Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.” as well as Psalm 69:1&2, “[[To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, [A Psalm] of David.]] Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto [my] soul. I sink in deep mire, where [there is] no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.

Note also the similarity of Psalm 16:10 to Jonah 2:6, “I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars [was] about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.” Interestingly, in most reference Bibles, “many scholars and theologians” have highlighted this verse (usually marked with a star) as being “Messianic” (because “the verse embodies a prophetic reference to Christ”, which was confirmed in the New Testament by Peter at Pentacost), which would seem to at least suggest that those same scholars and theologians are in agreement that Jesus was in hell at some point. 

Crown of Thorns?

One additional note of interest from Jonah chapter 2 is where we read in the preceding verse, Jonah verse 5, we read “The waters compassed me about, [even] to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.”  The word weeds comes from the Hebrew word for “reeds” or “red” as in Red Sea, but isn’t it true that “weeds” can also be likened to thorns and thistles.  Therefore, couldn’t it be said that the weeds that were wrapped about the head of Jonah during his torment were similar to the crown of thorns placed around the head of Jesus during his torment?

Finally, we are reminded that Jesus, as He stood before John in the Book of Revelation, said in verse 1:18, “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.

Other Thoughts from Chapter 2

Jonah 2:6, “I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars [was] about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.

Matthew 12:40, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

Sacrifices of Thanksgiving Versus Lying Vanities

Jonah 2:8,  “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.”

Jeremiah 10:8 “But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock (staff?, gallows?) [is] a doctrine of vanities.”

Jonah 2:9, “But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay [that] that I have vowed. Salvation [is] of the LORD.

Hosea 14:2, “Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips.”

Isaiah 1:13, Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; [it is] iniquity, even the solemn meeting.

1 Samuel 15:22, “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD [as great] delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey [is] better than sacrifice, [and] to hearken than the fat of rams.”

Psalm 107:22, “And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.”

Psalm 116:17, “I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.”

Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.

Chapter 3: Preaching to the Gentile World

Jonah Chapter 2 ended with these words, “And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry [land].” When we consider that Jonah’s 3 day sojourn in the great fish/whale was a typological representation or “sign” pointing to Jesus’s atoning sacrifice, Jonah’s exiting of the sea creature would have to represent Jesus’s resurrection. Jonah’s exit would also therefore presage the beginning of the New Testament era where the Gospel proceeds forth into the Gentile world.  Prior to Jonah, God never recorded one of His Prophets being sent to the Gentiles. But here we see it happening as a type of Jesus’s post-resurrection, when He “arose” as the “firstborn from the dead”(Colossians 1:18) and declared the Great Commission to His eleven disciples, as we read in Mark 16:15, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” While not exactly the same, there is nonetheless a clear corollary with what we next find in Jonah Chapter 3:1&2, “And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.” Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian Empire and represented the center of the Gentile world of its day.

Upon his entry into Nineveh, Jonah (in verse 3:4) cried, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” Note two key things here, 1) There is only a pronouncement of judgment, without any mention of repentance or mercy, and 2) the timeframe given is forty days, and the number forty is always used in the Bible to signify a “testing period.” Israel was tested during Moses’s 40 days on Mount Sinai and Jesus was tempted in the wilderness sojourn for 40 days. And what do we see immediately after the pronouncement of judgment day for Nineveh?…a great conversion!  Verse 3:5 reads, “So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.” The people of Nineveh believed God and repented and humbled themselves in the hope that God might yet show them mercy.

We read more of the details in verses 6-9 where everyone in the kingdom of Nineveh, from the king to the nobles and below, humbled themselves before the God of the Bible, the God of all creation.  The humbling effort was manifest by the putting on sackcloth and sitting in ashes and proclaiming and observing a total fast that applied to all creatures in the kingdom in the hope that it might deter God’s wrath. “Who can tell [if] God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?”  Chapter 3 ends with,”And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did [it] not.”  

This change of mind of God is entirely consistent with what we know from God’s Own Mouth as we read in Jeremiah 18:8, “If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.”

So because there was evidence of both conversion and repentance after hearing the word of God preached, Nineveh averted its declared Judgment Day.  Throughout the whole New Testament era, the Gentile world has similarly heard the Word of God preached to it from the prophets of God as typified by Jonah.  God uses the believers as His Ambassadors to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice to the whole wold, such that if anyone believes God (as He is revealed in the Bible) and is humbled and repentant for sins, and cries out to God for mercy and Salvation through Jesus Christ, he or she can escape God’s wrath on Judgment Day.

And, dear reader, please note how well the above harmonizes with the Word of God as scribed by the Apostle Paul to the Colossians in Colossians 1:21-29, “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in [your] mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and [be] not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, [and] which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

Chapter 4: God is Gracious and Merciful (and Completely Sovereign)

We learn in Jonah Chapter 4:1 that when Jonah saw how God spared Nineveh, “it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.”  It is difficult for this student of the Bible to see an allegorical “type” for Jesus in this reaction of Jonah, the man.  Nonetheless, the next verse tells us why Jonah is unhappy. It is because he “knew” that God was a “gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.

Jonah knew this because, being a prophet of God, that it is made clear in the scriptures as we read in Exodus 34:6 as God revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai, “And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,…” and Psalm 86:5, “For thou, Lord, [art] good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.We also have this which was declared after Jonah by the prophet Joel in Chapter 2:13, “And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he [is] gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

Next we see in verse 3 that Jonah would rather die than deal with the situation. We can only speculate on why Jonah was in such despair. One thing that we do know is that, approximately 120 years later, another king of Nineveh, Sennacherib, destroyed all but Jerusalem in Judah, during the reign of Hezekiah (2 Kings 18 & 19, 2 Chronicles 32, and Isaiah 36 & 37). Whether or not this could have been foreseen by Jonah, we do not know.  However, roughly 150 years subsequent to Jonah, the prophet Zephaniah did pronounce a perpetual judgment against Nineveh that stands to this day (Zephaniah 2:13-15). This is also consistent with the denouncement against Assyria as given in Isaiah 10:5-19.

As for wishing to die, Moses said something similar in Numbers 11:15, “And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.”

Elijah the prophet also felt similarly when he was pursued by Jezebel as we read in 1 Kings 19:4, “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I [am] not better than my fathers.

 A lesson on God’s Magnificent Grace and Mercy

Jonah 4:5-11 provides us insights on how God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked as we are told in Ezekiel 33:11, “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?”  Psalm 34:18, “The LORD [is] nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” Psalm 51:17, “The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

God Alone is Sovereign Over His Creation 

Jonah 4:10, “Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither modest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:”

We can see that from the human, earthly, perspective, that Jonah was contending with God over the Administration of God’s Creation.  God used the gourd as an object lesson on His Sovereignty over His Creation. Jonah didn’t create the gourd, God did.  And God also had the power to keep it alive or kill it. 

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.”  For more on God’s Total Sovereignty please see: https://bereansearching.com/2015/12/28/the-real-inconvenient-truth-god-is-in-sovereign-and-in-charge-of-all-of-his-creation-this-universe-and-god-alone-determines-the-end-from-the-beginning-and-jesus-is-the-embodiment/

See also 1 Samuel 2:6, “The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.

The Gourd Came and Went “In the Night”

Why did God mention “night” rather than day?  It is likely because if we go back to Genesis 12-5, we read that God equates the night with darkness (wherein is no light), “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that [it was] good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.”  The night came first, and there was no light until God sent it.

The people of Nineveh were in darkness (hence in the night).  They had not yet seen “The Light”.  They were typifying the world in darkness until a preacher (Jonah) came to them bringing the light. And when they heard the word of God and of God’s judgment about to come upon them, they believed God and exhibited signs of repentance.  But God established Nineveh as a physical “type”, which while only temporally and physically saved from destruction, allegorically represents those in the world who will be eternally spiritually saved through the hearing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus taught in Matthew 4:16 (referring to Himself as prophesied back in Isaiah 9:2), “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.” The gourd also died in the night, as ultimately Nineveh, generations later, would as well be destroyed in the night (darkness), having never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  God is Sovereign over His entire Creation.

Other thoughts on the “Night”

Psalm 90:4-6, “For a thousand years in thy sight [are but] as yesterday when it is past, and [as] a watch in the night. Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning [they are] like grass [which] groweth up. In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth.”

1 Thessalonians 5:7, “For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

Psalm 30:5,”For his anger [endureth but] a moment; in his favour [is] life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy [cometh] in the morning.

God Loves and Cares for His Creation 

Jonah 4:11, “And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than six score thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and [also] much cattle?

In Matthew 5:43-45, Jesus taught us the following, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

We, by nature due to the original Sin of Adam, are enemies of God.  But God not only loves His enemies, He (as Jesus the Savior) voluntarily died for those of His enemies whom He chooses to save.   And let us also not forget, Psalm 50:10, “For every beast of the forest [is] mine, [and] the cattle upon a thousand hills.”

All that we, as believers in Jesus Christ, can say in response to the last verse of Jonah is what Jesus taught his disciples in Luke 11:12, “And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.”

Conclusion

             The big lesson of the book of Jonah is that God sent the prophet Jonah to the wicked city of Nineveh (typifying the world) to warn them of His impending judgment.  Although in the historical account, Jonah was acting rebelliously, he was nonetheless used by God to portray Jesus Who voluntarily left His Heavenly habitation and from the face of God the Father to come to this sin cursed earth to dwell among men, become the atoning sacrifice for the sins of God’s elect, and calm the raging sea of God’s wrath that would otherwise have destroyed them for their sins (and thereby reiterating what we read in Jonah 2:9, “But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay [that] that I have vowed. Salvation [is] of the LORD.”  As a result of Jonah’s atonement and resurrection after three days (typifying that of Jesus (as “a sign”) according to Jesus’s own teaching), the people of Nineveh were able to hear the warning, repent of their evil ways, and cry out to God for mercy; and then God showed them mercy.  (Psalms 51:17, “The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” and God also tells us in Hosea 6:6, “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”)  However, if the people of Nineveh had not repented, then God would surely have destroyed them.  Now each of us, who hear the similar warning of the impending Judgment of God from God’s Word the Bible, are in the same position before God as were the people of Nineveh.  The big difference is that the next time, on Judgment Day, while God does promise to spare (from His just wrath) all individuals who repent and cry out to Him for mercy, His judgment on the rest of world will not be stayed.  Those remaining non-believers will end up in Hell forever as the just payment for their sins.  According to the Bible, Judgment Day is inevitable!  Regardless of how soon Judgment Day is for all of this creation, for any one individual it is actually only a heartbeat away (and therefore generally much sooner than anyone might think).

Today’s Application: Are You Ready?

            The Bible makes it clear that if God was willing to put His own Son through Hell to save a people for Himself, how much more would He be willing to send the wicked who reject Him to Hell for their sins (please see Romans 8:32).  Jesus is the only Way of escape from the just penalty for our sins. All other ways that man can devise will lead only to Hell.  Have you made peace with God through Jesus Christ? Please pray to God for mercy through Jesus Christ and He will show you mercy.

POSTSCRIPT #1:  Yet Another Proof: A Condensed Version of God’s Salvation Program Interwoven in the Book of Jonah

Please also note how in Jonah 1:5, “the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god;”.  They cried out to their false gods for salvation and found no help, but then in verse 9, Jonah witnessed to them about his God, the True God, the “LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry [land].“.  Then in Jonah 1:14 we read that they “cried unto the LORD” asking for mercy; and finally, after they cast Jonah into the sea (who in effect became their atoning sacrifice), “the sea ceased from her raging” (the demands of hell, according to the Law of God, were assuaged) in verse 16, “Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.”  In effect, these men were converted and received salvation from God.  Please, dear reader, do not miss the very important and unambiguous fact that no matter how hard the mariners tried to save themselves through their own efforts (by rowing or lightening the ship), or by crying out to their false gods (representing false religions), they remained doomed to a watery grave.  In the same way, mankind cannot hope for a moment to find salvation from God’s wrath and hell by doing “good works” or through faith in any other god, because “Salvation is of the Lord.”  (It should be noted here that this quote is taken verbatim from Jonah 2:9.) Salvation can only come through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  That ultimately is the essence of the book of Jonah.

POSTSCRIPT #2: It is now nearly nine years since this study was first posted.  Since then I have continued to see additional harmony with the rest of the Bible.  In just reading Psalm 88, it is clear that they Psalmist is describing a situation matching that of both Jonah (in the fish/whale) and Jesus (enduring God’s wrath in “Hell” beginning in the Garden of Gethsemane, as The Atoning Sacrifice for sin…culminating in the resurrection that was typified by the vomiting of Jonah out of the great fish/whale).

Psalm 88 starts with: “O lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee:”  and then goes on to read, “Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry; For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave. I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength: Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand. Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deepsThy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah.”

The Psalm goes on to describe affliction and the forsaking of God (Reminding us of Psalms 22:1 “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?” and the corollary when Jesus cried out from the cross of sacrifice (see Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34), “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?“)

“Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth. Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: Lord, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee. Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah. Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction? Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? But unto thee have I cried, O Lord; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee. Lord, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me? I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted. Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off. They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about togetherLover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness.”

POSTSCRIPT #3Jonah or Jesus?: Sleeping in a boat during a tempest, then arising when called, and being the means to calm the sea and wind to save the ship and all who were aboard it

There is at least one other interesting parallel between Jonah and Jesus that is worth an effort to compare and contrast. Let us first take a closer look at Jonah 1:2-16, and consider the account of Jonah going into a ship with other men with a tempest arising while Jonah slept and, when, once awakened by panic stricken companions (who were about to perish), he was able to provide the means to calm the wind and waves of the sea to save the ship and his companions who were aboard it.

But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not. And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. [1]Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou? And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land. Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him. Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them. Wherefore they cried unto the Lord, and said, We beseech thee, O Lord, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O Lord, hast done as it pleased thee. So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows.

Now let us take a closer look at the account in the life of Jesus as recorded in both Mathew 8:23-27 and in Mark 4:35-41. There we read:

  “And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.  But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!”

 “And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ship.  And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?  And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

In both of these accounts in the lives of both Jonah and Jesus, we can see the supernatural actions taken by God to first bring a tempest against a ship in which both Jonah and Jesus were found to be sleeping by companions.  And once awakened, God intervened to stop the wind and waves from destroying the ships and thus saved the people aboard them.

In the first instance, we see that Jonah, who although a prophet of God, was still only a man and thus only a type of Jesus, having no power to directly stop the wind and waves himself, was nonetheless a prefigurement of Jesus (Who is also God) Who exercised His power over creation to directly stop the wind and waves to save the ship and all aboard it.

It should hopefully be clear from this comparison that God has provided us with another amazing example of how He uses types and figures in the Old Testament to point to the coming of Jesus in the New Testament.

[1]The “casting of lots” is a means that is used in the Bible to determine God’s Will as we read in Proverbs 16:33 “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.

POSTSCRIPT #4: Parallels in Psalm 107

It is also interesting to note how the whole account in Jonah chapter 1 is also quite similar to what we find in Psalms 107:23-30.  “They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;  These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.  For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.  They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.  They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end.  Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.  He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.  Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.


     * The chief scribes and Pharisees were specifically addressing Nicodemus, a fellow “man of the Pharisees,” “a ruler of the Jews,” but “who came to Jesus at night,” and who lastly gave evidence that he had become a believer in Christ.  Please see John 3:1, 7:50, and 19:39.

     ** In Luke 24:27, where we find Jesus searching out the scriptures for His disciples, “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets (which would have included Jonah), he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

     *** From the Hebrew word “sheol,”H7585 which is the only word in the Old Testament that is translated as “hell” as we read in the following sample of verses: Deuteronomy 32:22, “For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.” Psalms 18:5, “The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented (went before) me.” Psalms 116:3, “The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.”  (Incidently please note the similarities in the language of the last two verses with what we find in Jonah 2:3, “For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.” and in Jonah 2:6, “I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars [was] about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.“)  Finally in Psalms 86:13, “For great [is] thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.