Tag Archives: Prophet

IN THE ENDING OF SUMMER OF LIFE ARE YOU SAVED?


William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

Jeremiah is renowned as “the weeping prophet.” In tears he preached to the hardened inhabitants of Judah, and Jerusalem in particular. Did they love and appreciate him for warning them of looming disaster? Quite the contrary. They cast him in a dungeon, and treated him shamefully in other ways. Still, he preached on. Why did he do this? Because he knew, and knew that he knew, that the forces of Babylon would soon descend upon his beloved city and people unless repentance was imminent. God had both informed the prophet of this doom and commissioned him to preach to his hardened, backslidden people.
Some who dared to believe the prophet had fled to Egypt for supposed safety rather than repent. As time raced toward a deadline for the people of Judah to repent, their condition was thus summarized, “The harvest is past , the summer is ended , and we are not saved” Jeremiah 8:20
Is this actually a page from the annals of ancient history or a present commentary on our people today? Truly, and doubtless the clock of human history is wound down to very near the stopping point. Jesus is coming again! Judgment is coming! A new world order of Heaven’s rule is coming! Life is fleeting! The window of change narrows to a tiny crack! This is not just good preaching, it is God ordained, Biblically established fact about to happen, just as doom came upon an un-repentant people of Judah so long ago.
The summer is gone, and fall races toward us. How easily that is seen. But the same is true of life. So many have passed the summer and are already into the late fall of life, and they are not saved. God help us to not grow cold and hardened as the ancient people of Judah, but to be as the prophet who though not seeing a spirit of repentance in his people continued to cry out and to warn of imminent judgment. People are precious. They are made in the image of Almighty God, and there is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun! In this late summer of life, are you saved, is your hope in your works or in the grace of our wonderful Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus????

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Famine


 

rā‘āḇ

Have you ever been really hungry? We don’t mean you missed lunch and were “starving” by suppertime. Rather, have you ever been without adequate food for days, weeks, months, or even years, perhaps to the point of death? Images that come to mind here are the countless pictures of the Jewish Holocaust, of the walking skeletons created by the Nazis. To prove this horror was not propaganda, and to answer those he knew would one day deny it even happened, General Eisenhower ordered all civilian news media, military camera units, and even regular GIs to take as many pictures as possible. Incredulously, some still deny it.

The Hebrew rā‘āḇ (H7458) appears some one hundred times in the OT and is usually translated famine (also “hunger, dearth, and famished”). Both Abraham and Isaac, for example, experienced famine in Canaan (Gen_12:10; Gen_26:1), and it is mentioned fifteen times in the story about Joseph and the famine in Egypt (Genesis 41-47).

The theological significance of rā‘āḇ is particularly striking. God is clearly sovereign over hunger and famine (Deu_8:3) and provides for His people who are hungry (Pro_10:3). Jeremiah is especially dramatic in his use of this word some thirty-two times, most of which refer to the judgment that is to come upon Judah (by way of the Babylonians) because of her headlong plunge into idolatry.

It is Amos, however, who pictures a famine far worse than any physical one: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD” (Pro_8:11). While Amos (a contemporary of Jonah, Hosea, and Isaiah) was a Judean prophet, God wanted him to speak to the northern tribes (Amo_7:15). During a time of great prosperity and security, God told the people the day was coming when because of their moral decay and rejection of truth, they would no longer hear the Word of God read or preached. This soon happened with the Assyrian captivity, and such “deafness” continues to this day.

What could possibly be worse than such a famine? And what of our own day? Amos does, indeed, have “a word for any nation in Israel’s condition,” one writer observes. “Put his descriptions in [modern] dress and they will strike home.” In a very real sense, some aspects of contemporary Christianity are causing a holocaust. Is the day coming when we will no longer hear the Word at all?

Scriptures for Study: Notice the further details of Amos’ prophecy in Amo_8:12-13.

 

 

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Hebrew – Valley of Berachah


A biblical valley that provides us with great encouragement is the Valley of Berachah (about six miles southwest of Bethlehem) referenced in 2 Chronicles 20. God’s people find themselves once again in peril, this time from a horde comprised of Moabites, Ammonites, and others attacking from the northern and eastern coasts of the Red Sea (2Ch_20:1-2). King Jehoshaphat, as he should have, turned to God, “proclaim[ing] a fast throughout all Judah” and encouraging the people “to seek the LORD” (2Ch_20:3-4).
It is then in 2Ch_20:15 that God, through His prophet Jahaziel, uttered the key words of the story: “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” In the verses that follow, He commanded that they were simply to go into the valley, stand still, and not fight. When they did so the next day, God miraculously turned the enemy soldiers against one another and they slaughtered each other to the last man.
2Ch_20:25-27 record the response of the people to what God had done. As they went down to collect the spoils of the battle, they “assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah; for there they blessed the LORD: therefore the name of the same place was called, The valley of Berachah.” Berachah is a transliteration of the Hebrew berāḵāh (H1294), a proper name from the feminine noun berāḵāh (H1293), “blessing, the bestowment of favor.” As one authority writes, “To bless in the OT means ‘to endue with power for success, prosperity, fecundity, longevity, etc.” (Mark 9). In the present context, then, blessing God’s name takes the form of praising Him for what He has done (Mar_9:21-22; Mar_9:28).
In today’s atmosphere of “self,” we tend to think that we have to “do it all.” We perceive a “need” and immediately found a new organization, invent a new method, or start a new ministry. Much of our apologetics is simply arguing the evidence instead of proclaiming the truth. It seems we just don’t think God can accomplish His work.
Yes, He uses us, but He wants to use us His way, not ours. It has been said, when God’s people do God’s work in God’s way, they will receive God’s results in God’s time. How thrilling it is to trust the Lord and His Word, and what blessing and praise result when we do!
Scriptures for Study: Read and meditate on Psalms 103 today. Bless appears five times and is the Hebrew bāraḵ (H1288), the root of berāḵāh, and means “to kneel, bless, praise, salute.”

 

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God of Truth


 

Ēl-’Emûnâ

 

Few words captivate and consume this writer more than the word truth (grace is another). Sadly, however, few words are under more attack than this one. We live in an age of unprecedented relativism, where truth is “up for grabs,” is different for each person, and changes according to circumstances.

 

In stark contrast, God is the God of truth. As Moses sings, “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” (Deu_32:4). The psalmist echoes in a messianic prophecy, “Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth” (Psa_31:5; cf. Luk_23:46). And the prophet Isaiah repeats, “That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth” (Isa_65:16).

 

Truth is a translation of ’emeṯ (H571, or ’emûnāh, H530, ), which has at its root the ideas of firmness and certainty and includes such concepts as truth, rightness, and faithfulness. Also inherent in the word is the idea of faith, which in biblical usage “is an assurance, a certainty, in contrast with modern concepts of faith as something possible, hopefully true, but not certain.”

 

It is extremely significant that the Septuagint translates this Hebrew word with the Greek alētheia in some 100 instances. As one Greek authority defines it: “Etymologically alētheia means nonconcealment. It thus denotes what is seen, indicated, expressed, or disclosed, i.e., a thing as it really is, not as it is concealed or falsified. Alētheia is the real state of affairs.” The fundamental concept of truth is that it is absolute and certain, is incontrovertible, irrefutable, unarguable, and unchanging. If something is true, it is always true and can never be untrue, no matter what the circumstances.

 

This name greatly helps us understand who God is. He is the God of certainty, firmness, and assurance. He never changes and is absolutely dependable. Again, Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Heb_13:8, ). As we rejoice in the certainties of the God of truth, let our desire in turn be the pursuit of absolute truth in all things and in every area of life.

 

Scriptures for Study: What does Joh_14:6 declare? In Joh_16:13, what is one ministry of the Holy Spirit? In Joh_17:17; Joh_17:19, what is a result of truth?

 

 

 

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Hebrew Word – LORD of Recompense [Jehovah-Gemûlâ]


 

Yāhweh Gemûlāh

 

Because of His perfect, absolute righteousness, God is also called by two names that speak of His judgment upon unrighteousness. We find the first, for example, in Jer_51:56, where He is called Jehovah Gemûlāh. The prophet foretells that God will come “upon Babylon, and her mighty men are taken, every one of their bows is broken: for the LORD God of recompences shall surely requite.” The Hebrew gemûlāh (H1578)—a derivative of gāmal (H1580), “to deal, to recompense, to ripen”—speaks of full repayment for what is deserved.

 

There are many instances of this word (and other derivatives) that speak of recompense, both of judgment and blessing. Used positively, for example, when David was fleeing from Absalom, Barzillai provided him with supplies (2Sa_19:32), and David returned the favor (2Sa_19:36). It is even used to speak of benefits God has given (Psa_103:2). At times, the positive and negative are actually contrasted, as in the Virtuous Woman, who “will do [gāmal] him [her husband] good and not evil all the days of her life” (Pro_31:12).

 

It is the negative, however, that is truly sobering. The instance here in our text speaks of God’s retribution on His enemies, as does Isa_59:18 : “According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence.” The psalmist calls upon this God of Recompense to “give [the wicked] according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their endeavours: give them after the work of their hands; render to them their desert [gemûl]” (Psa_28:4).

 

We cannot help but make special note of Psa_94:2 : “Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward [gemûl] to the proud.” As we will observe in a future study, pride is never used in a positive way of man in Scripture. Here we read of, in fact, its costliness; God will recompense it, judging it as harshly as He did the Babylonians. How this should show us what a serious sin pride is!

 

Scriptures for Study: On the positive side, what does Psa_116:12 command? On the negative side, what does Isa_3:9 warn?

 

 

 

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Bible Analysis


I.THE OLD TESTAMENT

Jesus Christ recognized the Old Testament as containing three distinct divisions. He did not make the divisions, but He did recognize the divisions and used them as means of teaching His disciples during His resurrection ministry. When He taught them about the resurrection, according to the three divisions of the Old Testament, they then understood that He was to have been buried and rise again.

“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 (1) law of Moses, and in the (2) and the Prophets, and (3) the Psalms, concening me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures” (Luke 24:44, 45).

For a study of the Bible by subject matter, such as his resurrection, one is safe and justified in studying the Old Testament under the (1) Law of Moses, (2) and the Prophets, and (3) the Psalms. A recognition of our Lord’s approved divisiojn of study of the Old Testament is safe. To study the Old Testament by subject matter without recognizing these divisions, is unsafe, will lead to many doctrinal errors, which shall be pointed out in later chapters.

Most schools of theology arbitrarily divide the Old Testament into seven divisions, without Bible sanction, and such hinders one from effectively meeting gross heresy taught by suchyh as hold that they are still under part of the law, the moral law, of the Old Testament.

Seven wrong divisions of the Old Testament, that may lead to moral and doctrinal error are:

1.Moral Law
2.Ceremonial Law
3.Historical books
4.Major Prolphets
5.Minor Prophets
6.Psalms
7.Poetic books

In no place does the Bible say anything about “moral law” and “ceremonal law.” These are the evil inventions of men. In no place does the Bible say anything about the “major prophets” and the “minor prophets.” In no place does the Bible say anything about the “historical books” and the “poetic books.” While it is admitted that men may remember some historical incidents better by such an arbitrary division of the Old Testament, it is also recognized and here pointed out that such unjustifiable divisions for a real study of the Bible by subject and doctrinal matter will lead to gross Bible error.

For instance, if one accepts these seven divisions of the Old Testament as being authentic, the person who wants to stay under the seventh day Sabbath can say, and does, “The ceremonial law has been fulfilled, but we are still under the moral law.” The Bible says nothing about either the moral or ceremonial law’s being fulfilled, because there was no such recognition by the prophets, apostles, or Jesus. The Bible says the Law was fulfilled, not just a part, or parcel (Matt. 5:17, 18; Gal. 3:10, 13, 19, 24; Col. 2:14-17; II Cor. 3:6-11).

Just because one prophet wrote more or less than another does not make him major or minor to another. In the Law of Moses there were morals taught and there were ceremonies that were to have been strictly observed, but the Bible says nothing about “moral law” and “ceremonial law.” Ben M. Bogard stated: “The moral law was invented by Seventh Day Adventists to save their idea of the Sabbath” (The Golden Key, p. 9). It is wise to avoid such divisions of the Old Testament, as shall be seen in later chapters.

1.The Law of Moses.

This is the first division of the Old Testament. It included not only the five books of the Pentateuch but also the other books of the Old Testament that tell how Israel’s government functioned in carrying out the Law of Moses, under Joshua, the judges, and Saul, David, and Solomon, the three kings of undivided israel. The term, “the Law of Moses,” as used by our Lord, Luke 24:44, included every book of the Old Testament from Genesis through Esther (seventeen books).

2.The Prophets.

This second division of the Old Testament included those prophets who wrote books that were contained in the Old Testament Scriptures. These include every book of the Old Testment from isaiah to Malachi, without Bible recognition of one’s being major or minor to another (seventeen books).

3.The Psalms.

The third division of the Old Testament, as approved by our Lord for study, included those inspired books of songs or poetry, from Job through the Song of Solomon (five books). The term “psalm” means a lyrical piece to be sung to a musical instrument (Smith’s Bible Dictionary, p. 539). “The Psalms” not only referred to the single book in our Bible called “Psalms,” but also to Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon, all of which were written in poetry, to be sung or chanted in worship to the Lord, in connection with instrumental music. It is wise for doctrinal purposes to study the Old Testament according to our Lord’s approval, Luke 24:44, 45. It is folly to study it otherwise, that is to disregard His approved divisions, for study and teaching.

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