Old Testament Overview        


Introduction and General Comments
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Amos Micah
Song of Solomon


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Introduction and General Comments   

The OT is about Death and Life (So is the NT !)

Disobedience Led to Death

Genesis reveals the fall from the original created 'very good' life
      to the inescapable death of Adam and Eve, and of all their offspring.
The death of man did not happen without warning.
And the Lord God commanded the man, 'You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."  Gen 216,17
Deceived by Satan, Adam and Eve chose to disobey God and to eat.
They both died. Adam and Eve still walked and talked,
      but their beautiful, free relationship with God was broken.
      This walking death was passed on to all their succeeding generations.
God was not surprised. He kept his promise.
Could there be any way of undoing this greatest of all tragedies?

God's Rescue Plan

This spans some 4000 years; from Adam to Jesus.
      No one can say that God is not patient.
The fall is only one chapter: the rest reveals the gracious rescue plan of God.
      It offers man the redemption that changes this death to eternal life!
      This makes the Bible consistently being the world's No.1 'Best-seller'.

God begins revealing his plan to restore man in the same chapter as the fall.
His plan that required another death; the crucifixion of the Son of God.
It tells us clearly there is no other way for man to be restored to life with God.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.  Jn 317,18

I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  Jn 1125,26

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  Jn 146

Many see Jesus only as an example to follow,
      rather than the much needed Saviour.
      We don't just need help; we need rescuing, saving.
The OT is about God revealing that his justice required a payment, a sacrifice.
      He provided Adam and Eve with skins (animal sacrifice)to cover their 'guilt'.
      Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.  Heb 922
      Many from Abel onwards looked forward to the 'better sacrifice'.
Jesus confirms that Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.  Jn 856
      Abraham had prophesied that God would provide.  Gen 228, 14
The OT men of faith looked forward to the day of Christ; just as we look back.
Of course they didn't know the detail of 'one perfect and sufficient sacrifice'.
      That it would be on a Roman cross hundreds of years later.
      But reading Ps 22 and Is 53, 55 may surprise us how much they did see.
      Calvary was his only and perfectly prepared plan.

The Law

Throughout the OT we trace this rescue plan revealed to all who sought the Lord.
      Men like Adam, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abram...
      Some tried hard to please God; to save themselves.
             But they soon had to admit their totally inability to do so.
      Many however, never even tried; preferring the 'me, now' life-style.

The Law was (and is) good.
Many wisely try to obey it, but the standard is always too high. Why?
      It does not remove the attractiveness of sin that God says is wrong.
      It does not even ensure the right motives for doing what is right.
      And probably worse is that most are selective in which Laws to keep.
God's intention was that the Law should reveal the truth to us.
      Our natural fallen nature has an inclination to sin, and to enjoy it.
      We prefer to honour ourselves, rather than the Lord Almighty.
The OT history of God and man clearly shows us that we are dead.
       We need a new heart, new life; we must be born again.

The Law thus becomes a blessed schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.  Gal 324
      We seek Christ to change us.
      Only he can remove the guilt of our past and assure us of his forgiveness.
      Only he can remove the power of sin and give us the new nature.

Revelation of the Truth

The plan of God is not always obvious in the OT, or even in the NT!
"The new is in the old concealed; the old is in the new revealed."
The parables of Jesus, are not always picture stories to explain the teaching,
      but are often intended to hide what is concealed!  Is 69,10  Math 1310-17
Jesus always delights to reveal the secrets of the kingdom of heaven
      to those who earnestly seek him; but not to everyone.
The OT reveals only one Creator, one Redeemer and one way to eternal life.
      Today's multi-faith deceived world refuses to acknowledge this truth.
In studying the scriptures always carefully note the context.
      The "when, where and to whom" of God's promises, prophecies and events.
God's wisdom is far beyond man's best understanding.  Is 558
      It is much more valuable than gold.  Ps 197-11
Read all the OT, not just the selected 'nice' bits and the interesting stories.
There are solemn warnings that need to be heeded as well as gracious promises.
Much of the OT is the tragic consequence of man thinking he knows best.
The ultimate folly of man's pride is when he is content without the one trueGod.
How different from many who sought God;
      who found him and who were found by him.

Scripture always reveals God's truth.
Our failure to understand what God has ordained does not change it.
Should we dare to disagree with God, that will not alter the truth one iota.

A young boy in a school RE class was asked, "If Jesus were to walk through the door, what would you say?" He replied, "I would hand him a Bible and say, 'Jesus Christ, this is your life!'"

The OT tells us of God

God tells us about himself.
He is the great Creator of all that is seen and unseen. Consider the vast distances of the universe, the order of each solar system, the wonder of this unique planet, its seasons, the diversity, the minute details that he planned, the beauty of sub-atomic structures. Such creation requires infinite wisdom and power.

The unchanging God tells us of:
      His reaction to man's disobedience,
      His rescue plan,
      His choice of Israel through whom the Messiah was born,
            and through whom we have been given the Scriptures.
    He reveals what is right and what is wrong. He offers men salvation and life.
    He reveals his wisdom, his provision, his best structure for life, his power,
            his compassion, his warnings, his judgement - and man's response.
    He shows how he divides all men into either willing dependence
            or proud independence.
    He makes known his faithfulness, his promises, his plans for now and for the end.
    His Word gives us a longing for him,
            and for his kingdom of righteousness, truth and justice.

We see and hear so much about men's folly. All the bad news in the daily media.
How refreshing it is to learn something about the Almighty God
      He is so good and gracious and merciful.
We discover that the God of the OT is the same God as in the NT.

History and Hope

The Jews: remember their past and hope for the future Messiah.
      Their National anthem is the "Hatikvah" = The Hope
Only by learning from the past and 'seeing' the future
      can a man have an adequate understanding of the present.

The 'facts' and the comments of history are never impartial.
      History in the Scripture is no exception;
            it tells us of the relationship of God and man.
      We are shown the clear results of those who sought the Lord God
            and obeyed him, and the disastrous consequences of rejecting him.
The facts are those important to God.
The comments are God's conclusions.
      Both are accurate and selective. But they are never an 'economy of the truth.'
God tells us all we need to know, not all there is to know!
Much remains a mystery - always an anathema to proud men.

God reveals much about the future through his prophets.
      Their predictions are seen to be totally reliable; they happened.
      Some prophecies have yet to be fulfilled, they concern the future.
At each of the three Jewish feasts the cry is not only "Next year in Jerusalem",
      but "Please may Messiah come soon."

God's Covenants

Another word for Testament is Covenant.
God made covenants with Noah, Abraham, Moses and David.
What he solemnly promised is revealed and the results are seen.
God also revealed a (new) Covenant to Jeremiah and Ezekiel.
      An unbreakable promise that would be fulfilled by Jesus.

God has also given us many promises (prophecies) concerning the 'End Times'.
      Mostly proclaimed by Daniel, Joel, Zechariah, Isaiah and Ezekiel.
In a world bent on wickedness, these are especially valuable
      to reassure us that God remains the 'Sovereign Lord'.
Persecuted Christians will always appreciate the unchangeable Word of God.
All God's Covenants are binding. He has never broken them, and he never will.
We see his unshakeable faithfulness to the Jews.
      God has always kept all that he has promised - the good and the bad.
By the grace of God, believing Gentiles are grafted into these Covenants.
      We too are greatly reassured by God's track record.

Sacrifices and Feasts

What is the purpose of a sacrifice?
      It is not a vain means of trying to either bribe or appease God.
            This is the reason idol worshippers make offerings.

Passover reveals that sin needs to be redeemed, paid for with blood.
      Life for life.
Weeks (Pentecost) thanks God for his providing the 'first-fruits'.
      Gratitude for the giving of life, of 'new birth'.
Tabernacles (Booths) celebrates God's presence as we journey through life to life.
      Here we remain as 'pilgrims and strangers', but one day it will be 'face to face'.
    Our journey and the Kingdom of God will be complete.
Each feast reminded the Jews (and us) of what God has done and will do.
They reveal God's successful plan of salvation.

There is also the wisdom of the Sabbath.
      Each Sabbath we are reminded of God's sheer brilliance in Creation.
      It is not only a day of rest, but must be kept holy or separated for the Lord.
Any man neglecting this command is greatly the loser thereby.
It is not God restricting men, but a day of opportunity.
      A day to enjoy being with Jesus, to worship, to learn and share the truth.
How can mere man know better than God what is best for us?

Poetry in Scripture

Much of the OT prophecy is written as poetry.
      e.g. all the psalms and nearly all Isaiah and Jeremiah.
Poetry speaks to the heart with feelings as well as to the mind.
The words have beauty, symmetry, balance, rhyme, rhythm and repetition.
It uses facts and paints pictures.
It leads to wonder and imagination and action, as well as knowledge.
And is nearly always brief!

Poetry is predetermined, thought out - this is no bad thing!
It is often set to music which adds another dimension to its beauty and effect.
Hebrew poetry emphasises the sense rather than the sound.
      It often has a play on words which is usually lost in translation.
      Unlike traditional English poetry,
Hebrew poetry uses repetition and wordplay more than rhyme or rhythm.
             This helps us remember what is said.
      This parallelism can:
             repeat the same thought in different words,  (Ps 241 Ps 1262a)
             contrast thoughts,  (Ps 244a,4b Ps 1265a,5b)
             or amplify the thoughts.  (Ps 247a,7b Ps 1262a,2b)

God has not changed

Popular opinion often says that the God of the OT was harsh and severe,
      and the God of the NT is understanding and loving.
      That love has now replaced fear.
      But God remains the same.  Mal 36  Num 2319  Heb 721
It is man's opinion of God that has changed. Why?
      In the hope that he may escape the punishment that God has decreed.
      Many today are deceived into thinking God will not condemn anyone;
            that tearful grief over sin, and repentance is outdated and unnecessary.
Jesus taught that repentance remains the gate to salvation.
      Math 417 Lu 133-5  Rev 25 33 317-19

Note that the New Testament contains:
      Knowing the terror (fear) of the Lord, we try to persuade men.  2 Co 511
      But only a fearful expectation of judgment ...  Heb 1027,31
      It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of Almighty God.
      Final judgement of God. The Tribulation is ordered by God.  Rev 6-20

And the Old Testament contains:
      God gives the opportunity of assurance of sins forgiven
            on the day of Atonement.  Lev 16
      But in thy great mercy you did not put an end to them.  Neh 931
      God spared the repentant people of Nineveh.  Jonah
      Thy mercy, O Lord endures for ever.  1 Ch 1634 (also Ps 1005 136 Jer 3311)
      When Israel was a child I loved him. ...  Hos 111,8
            How can I give you up, O Ephraim.  (also Ezek 168)


Security of faith requires knowledge of the Scripture.  2 Pe 115-21
Jesus told the Sadducees that they were in error
      because they knew neither the Scriptures (the OT)
      nor the power of God (to forgive sins and give life).  Math 2229
They misunderstood the purpose of the Word of God.
      They studied it, but came to the wrong conclusions.
The whole purpose of the OT was to prepare the people for the coming Messiah.
      but when he came they did not recognise him
      and they refused to come to Jesus for the life they needed.  Jn 539,40 111
Consequently they had no assurance, no security, no forgiveness, and no life.

Today, what does the sureness of our faith rests upon?
      The total accuracy and reliability of the Scriptures.
God has said that even if the heavens and the earth should perish,
      his Word will never pass away.  Lu 2133
It is true that faith is enhanced by prayer and by experience,
      but it is the unchanging, indestructible Word of God
      that remains our security and the arbiter of all that we believe and trust.

In this OT Overview we are seeking God to reveal his truth
      all that we need to learn from him.
      You will seek me an find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Jer 2913
Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.  Jer 333 (and Deut 429)
In difficult and tearful years, Jeremiah proved this to be true. So will we!


OT Time Spans

First 2000 years
Adam Adam and Eve 'die'. Death then spreads to all. Given skins.
Abel offers a better sacrifice.
Enoch walks with God after the birth of Methuselah.
Noah Wickedness abounds / Judgement / Atonement in the Ark.
Covenant: never destroy by flood again, (next time by fire!)
Ham is cursed.
Babel: man thinks he can succeed without God.

Next 2000 years
Abraham     God's choice. Obedient.
Promised descendants who would bless all the nations.
Given land. Given righteousness. Given Isaac.
Sodom destroyed.
Prophecy: 400 years enslaved in Egypt, but will then be released.
Sacrifice of Isaac. God will provide. Believes in resurrection.
Esau and Jacob. The flesh and the spirit remain at war.
Jacob limps and 'rests' upon his 'Staff'.
Joseph sold. Unjustly imprisoned. Righteous interpreter.
     He rescues family in famine. Like Jesus.
Moses God's rescue plan.
Judgement of the gods of Egypt.
Delivered and provided for.
Given Commandments, the Law and the Feasts.
Fails test of obedience, so not allowed to enter land.
Faith; or rebellion and despair.
Joshua Yeshua leads in triumph.
Disobedience of Achan not tolerated.
Canaanites wickedness now complete - they are destroyed.
Gain land as promised.
Judges See-saw of righteousness and wickedness.
Kings Israel insists on a king. God's warning ignored.
Prophets provide God's searchlight on present and future.
Wickedness prevails. The result?
Permanent Exile for Israel. 70 years in Babylon for Judah.
Promised return fulfilled in 538 BC (and 1948 AD)
God is consistently faithful and patient.

The preparation complete; God sends his Son! Gal 44


Old Testament Books        [Contents]

Jewish Christian Chronology of OT Books
The Law:

The Prophets:

The Writings:
Song of Songs

Song of Songs
4000 - 1700  Genesis

1300 - 1200  Exodus
            Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

1200 - 1000  Judges,  Ruth

1000 -   600  Psalms,  Proverbs
            Song of Songs
            Samuel, Kings, Chronicles

  750 ±   Hosea ,Joel, Amos ,Micah

  745 -   685  Isaiah

  620 -   586  Nahum, Zephaniah
            Jeremiah, Lamentations, Habakkuk

  605 -   538  Daniel
  597 -           Ezekiel

  520   Haggai, Zechariah

  450 ±   Esther, Ezra,
            Nehemiah, Malachi

Other books whose date is indeterminate:
Job, Jonah, Obadiah

Much of OT is history (facts) - selected history - God's selection.
It reveals God's actions, his prophecy, his promises (good and bad), his foundations and his plan.
It is also man's response - his rebellion;  or his gratitude, dependance and obedience.
The remainder of this web page summerises the context and contents of each book.


Genesis       [Contents]

Genesis 1-11  
At the dawn of time
'Genesis'= beginning, roots
Creation of man 4000 BC
Sin and death afflict all men
God's 'very good' Creation
Death (fall) of man. God is not surprised
Establishes that forgiveness of sin requires a sacrifice
      i.e. Redemption or atonement
Very few seek God and thus find salvation
God's judgement of wickedness by a world-wide flood
Righteous (and obedient) Noah is given atonement
Ham is cursed (Egypt and Canaan) - jokes at sin
Babel (Babylon) built. God confuses arrogant men
Population spreads
Genesis 12-50  
About 2000 BC
The Patriarchs -
God's chosen people and land
God's plan of salvation
Abraham called out of Ur and idolatry
God makes a covenant - Blessing of God himself
Also to be given to all nations
Promise of land and descendants
God appears to Abraham nine times
Abraham righteous by faith (believing)
He and others saw the day of Jesus,  Jn 856
      and greeted it from afar. Heb 1113
Prophesies 400 years of slavery in Egypt
'God will provide' (the perfect Lamb)
Blessed by Melchizedek with bread and wine
Gave gifts to Ishmael, but all that he had he gave to
      his 'only son' of promise, Isaac
Hagar and Sarah - bondage and freedom. Gal 421-51
Judgement of Sodom, sodomy + pride.  Ezek 1649
Incest by Lot's daughters produce Ammon and Moab
God wins the heart of Jacob, who becomes Israel
      blessed by God at Peniel and Paddan-Aram
'Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated'
Joseph (Yeshua) is sold,
      but saves many in a foreign land
Died in Egypt but buried in Israel, land of promise

Unique History - Only the Bible tells us accurately of the beginnings of man.
      And only the Bible tells us accurately of the end.

Basic themes revealed in Genesis
Bonding Creator God and man. Walked together in Eden
Adam and Eve.
God and Abel, Enoch, Noah ...
Separation and Death Adam and Eve tried to hide from God.
Driven out of Eden
Cain and Abel
Prophecy of Methuselah and the flood.
Hagar and Sarah, Ishmael and Isaac, Esau and Jacob
Redemption Promised 'Offspring' of Adam and Eve will crush serpent's head
Skins for Adam and Eve, better than fig leaves!
Abel offers and awaits a 'better sacrifice'
'Pitch' of atonement for Noah. Heb 'Kaphar' Gen 614
Abram says, "God himself will provide the lamb" and
   "On the Mt of God it will be provided."
Melchizedek gives Abraham bread and wine
Peniel - Jacob Israel
Lion will come from Judah (Jacob blessing his sons)
Some seek God Abel, Seth (426), Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Jacob ...
Judgement Serpent's head will be crushed
Men will toil for food + women have pain giving birth
Cain, the Flood, Ham, Sodom and Gomorrah
Chosen God chooses Abraham and the Jews;
Jesus is a Jew - not Palestinian (= Roman Philistine)!
"Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." Mal 12,3
God has a right to choose! Ro 96-29
Israel chosen to bless all nations

God's principles clearly seen in first 2000 years of history in Genesis.
God's faithfulness is revealed in next 2000 years of Israel's chequered history.
God waited for the right time for the promised Saviour to come.
And he waits patiently for the right time for his return,
    to judge (separate) wickedness for ever and to renew the world.
God's faithfulness seen during last 2000 years - since Christ came.


Adam to Jacob Time Chart


Exodus       [Contents]

Written by Moses
Exodus about 1350 BC
After 400 years slavery
e.g. Timna copper mine
Route of Exodus uncertain
      No record outside of Bible
      No archeological finds
God's plans fulfilled
Preparation for Redemption
Hyksos Pharaohs were not Hamites but Semites.
Egypt became fiercely nationalistic under Ahmose.
Imposed harsh slavery on Jews. Gen 1513
Who remembered this prophecy by Abraham?
Egypt blessed under Joseph and cursed under Moses.
God always fulfills prophecy. Gen 123
God is faithful, compassionate and on time.
God reveals his name - 'I AM', YHWH, Always
    and his title 'El Shadai' = God Almighty. 314 Gen 171
Plagues are a judgement on the gods of Egypt. 75 1212
    see also 1 Kgs 18 Judg 1623-30 1 Sam 5-7
Pharaoh hardens his heart 5 times, then God 6 times.
First Passover - saved by blood of the Lamb (Ram)
    1 year old, "just old enough to butt"!
4 Cups of Jewish Passover. 66-8
    Freedom from Egypt (and sin),
    Redemption (‘bought with a price - 1st born),
    Chosen to be holy (and give birth to Messiah),
    Hope. God will fulfil all the he has promised.
The greatest escape from slavery in world history.
National and spiritual identity. (land given later)
Jews remain distinct. Extinction and assimilation fails.
Creator or all becomes the Redeemer of a few.
War with Amalek (grandson of Esau. Gen 3612)
Tested - faith always is.
Given provision of food and water in the desert,
    shoes did not wear out (sharp flint, not sand).
Given Commandments (after deliverance).
God is Almighty. He decides what is right and wrong.
The Law is Not optional - then or now.
    (Jews added oral law after exile, then Mishnah and Talmud)
The Law of God is based on:
      Respect (for God and others),
      Responsibility (no excuses, not my genes)
      Retribution (there is always a price to pay)
Law should 'lead men to Christ'. Gal 324 Math 2524
Without Moses to lead, they worship Golden Calf
      and 'rose up to play'.  (Idols, drunk plus sex).
      Such is the fallen nature of man.
The Tabernacle is detailed and made
    'that I may dwell among them'.  Exd 258 2935
Led by pillar of fire and cloud - God's presence.

There is none so gracious and merciful as our God.

The Names of God
Elohim God Gen 11 Ps 191
Adonai Lord Mal 16
Yahweh (God's sacred name)
(often substituted by Adonai)
Gen 24
Yahweh Elohim The Lord God Gen 2
Yahweh-Maccaddeshem   The Lord, thy sanctifier Exd 3113
Yahweh-Rohi The Lord, my shepherd Ps 231
Yahweh-Shammah The Lord who is present Ezek 4835
Yahweh-Rapha The Lord, our healer Exd 1626
Yahweh-Tsidkenu The Lord, our righteousness Jer 236
Yahweh-Yireh The Lord will provide Gen 2214
Yahweh-Nissi The Lord, our banner Exd 1715
Yahweh-Shalom The Lord is peace Judg 624
Yahweh-Sabbaoth The Lord of Hosts Is 61-3 1 Sam 1745
El-Eylon God, most high Gen 1418-20 Is 1414 Dan 722
El-Roi God who sees Gen 1612
El-Shaddai God Almighty Gen 171 283 Ps 911
El-Olam God everlasting Gen 2133 Is 4028
Elohe-Yisra-el The God of Israel Ge 3320 Is 176
Qedos-Yisra-el The Holy One of Israel Is 14
Abir Yisra-el The Mighty One of Israel Is 124
Nesah Yisra-el The Glory (strength) of Israel     1 Sam 1529
Attiq Yomin The Ancient of Days Dan 79
Ehyeh I AM (variation of Yahweh) Exd 314

Jehovah is an erroneous translation of Yahweh.
Hebrew has no "J" or 'ja' but uses 'ya'. ( = Yod)
Jireh = Yireh in Hebrew  or YHWH


Testings in Sinai - Num 1422

Egyptian army at the Red Sea 14,15 Separated by pillar of cloud
Water divided. Drowns all Egyptian army
Mara - water bitter 1522-26 Wood thrown into water, becomes sweet
Desert of Sin (Tzin) - no food
161-30 Quail that evening, and Manna each morning.
Don't collect on Sabbath and don't keep any for next day
Disobedient. Tried to keep it, sought Manna on Sabbath
Kept manna had maggots except on Sabbath, when none
Rephidim - no water 171-7 Moses struck rock. Given water
Amalek attacks 178-16 Defeated by Joshua in valley and Moses on Mt
Moses a long time on the Mt.
Israelites make golden calf
32 Idol was ground up and eaten
Moses intercedes twice
3000 die by sword and many by plague
Taberah - complained of hardship 111-3 Fire consumes some. Moses intercedes
Kibroth Hattaavah - Craved for other food.
This manna is so boring!
114-35 70 elders prophesy. Quail 3 ft deep!
But many die before finished eating
Miriam and Aaron talk against Moses
(his Cushite wife, Midianite i.e. from Ham)
12 Miriam becomes leprous
Aaron pleads for mercy, Moses prays for her healing
Miriam o/s camp for 7 days
Paran - 12 sent to explore Canaan
People grumble when report known.
People had 'contempt for God'
    and 'tested God ten times'. 1411,22
13,14 Excellent land and fruitful, but too strong
10/12 afraid, people mourn
But Joshua and Caleb say we can take possession
Moses intercedes but none shall enter
Presumptuous few attacked and killed
No unbelievers will enter promised land
Korah, Dathan, Abiram + 250 rebel.
Wanted priesthood as well as leadership
161-40 Ground swallows up the 3 and fire consumes 250
Next day whole assembly grumbles
     against Moses and Aaron
Moses intercedes as plague starts. But 14,700 die
Staffs of 12 leaders + Aaron's staff
      put in Tent of Meeting overnight
Aaron's staff budded, blossomed and bore almonds
Kept in Ark as reminder of rebellion
Kadesh (Merribah) - no water; people grumble 201-13 Moses struck rock when told to speak to  it.
Therefore he will not lead people into promised land
Edom denies Israel passage through their land 2014-21 Edom sends large army, Israel turns away from them
Arad attacks Israel 211-3 Pray to God. City completely destroyed
People impatient - no bread 214-9 Many die from snake bites
Moses makes bronze snake on a pole
Amorites (Sihon) refuses passage, attacks 2121-31 Defeated by Israel and all his cities
Bashan (Og) attacks Israel 2132-35 Struck him down, no survivors
Balaam hired to curse Israel 22-24 God makes him bless Israel - because God does
Moab (Balaam) seduces Israel
to sexual immorality and to sacrifice to Baal.
25,31 Each judge had to kill Baal worshippers
Plague kills 24,000.
Midianites (from Ham) are enemies - Defeated
  295 Clothes and sandals didn't wear out.
Provided with food and water
for all the 40 years they were in the desert
To know that 'I am the Lord your God.'


Leviticus       [Contents]

Levites given religious leadership
God tells us what is the best!
Law and holiness
Structure for life
Ignored at our peril
Purpose of the Law - righteousness.  Ps 197-11
     Impossible to keep without Christ.  Gal 324
Need for holiness and how to live a holy life    
Always a great need, but specially so today
Five main Offerings defined:  2-7
      Sin, Guilt, Burnt, Grain and Fellowship
      Symbolic of the one atoning sacrifice of Jesus
           Lev 14 16  Heb 9,10  Heb 101  Gen 44
Requirement for worthy Priests to offer them
Death of Nadab and Abihu. c.f. Heb 7,8
    also Josh 7  2 Sam 6
10 Commandments amplified by the Law
Significance of the annual Feasts. 16,23-25
      Passover, Weeks and Tabernacles
Sabbath Year and Jubilee.  25
Result of obedience and of disobedience.  26


Numbers       [Contents]

Israel's journey from Sinai to Kadesh,
   then they stop.
God's testings
God spoke to Moses.  (x56 in Num  x46 Exd  x33 Lev)
Numbering and arrangement of Tribes
Further Laws 5,6. Dedication Offerings 7
Celebrate 2nd Passover. 9
Fire and cloud - and Israel, move on. God leads. 1011
Cost of not believing the spies - and God! 13,14
      Wandering and no 'Rest'. Heb 41-11 Math 1128,29
Possession of land (or exile) depends on righteousness
      and faith. (both God's and ours)
Book of Wanderings and War - the sad way of man!
But God's redemptive plan does not change.
Moses also learns cost of disobedience. 20 But Lu 930
Provision of food and water in the desert,
      and clothes didn't wear out. Deut 295
      Such is the grace of God
Rebellion instead of gratitude
      Broke their covenant with God many times,
      but God never broke his: and never will. Ro 1129
Further laws. 15, 18,19
Tassels 1539 Ruth 39 1 Sam 244,5 Math 920
The Journey continues. 20-27, 31-34
God refuses to reverse blessing of Israel (Balaam) 22-24
      or abstain from punishment. Ro 1129 Jer 3136,37
      Israel enticed and compromised Moabite women. 25
      As later at Pergamum. Rev 212-17
More on the Feasts. 28-30


Deuteronomy       [Contents]

Last 'sermon' of Moses
Reminds them of the Law
Care needed to keep it
Blessing and Curse
The 40 years of wandering are now complete
God's grace to a rebellious people is revealed to all
Moses reminds them of the events of these years. 1-3
He does more than remind the people
      of God's Law and Covenant; 4,5
      he pleads with them to keep it,
      and to add and subtract nothing. 42
          (Pharisees add to Law and Sadducees subtract)
      to seek God. 429
      to be careful, do not forget. 46,9 611,12 8-11
Chosen because loved. 77,8
Wickedness must be totally destroyed. 72
Summary of the Law. 1012 Mic 68 Math 2237
God promised them the land, but more important,
      he had offered them righteousness
Later they twice forfeit the land (586 BC and 70 AD)
      But they remain chosen. Jer 3135-37 Ro 1129
"Hear, O Israel ..." 41 51 63,4 91 203
      God always desires us to hear
      But see Is 69-13 2910-13 Math 131-13
Reminded about Freedom and the Feasts. 15,16
      They reveal God's order and his plan.
Various laws. 17-26  e.g. laws for a king. 1714-20
Mt Gerizim and Mt Ebal. 27,28
      Blessing and curse:
      Consequence of obedience and disobedience.
2 Cups at Jewish weddings - blessing and adversity.
      'We are in this together - for better or for worse.'
Covenant renewed and defined. 2912-16
Joshua given the leadership. Future warning. 31
Moses sings and blesses Israel. 32,33  c.f. 1st song Exd 15
      "There is no one like the God of Jeshurun ...
      O Israel, who is like you, a people saved by the Lord."
Moses dies, with bold eyes and in full strength.
      Meek, obedient, no greater prophet. 3410-12
      Nu 123 Ps 3711
"Take to heart all these words." 3246
Hymn "None is like Jeshurun's God"
"Remember ..." x16 in Deut.
Learn God's Word, and learn from history.
Don't just read the Word of God, learn to live by it. 83


Joshua       [Contents]

God judges Canaan (Amorites)
    and gives it to Israel
Whose land is it today?
One day the whole world will be judged
    and be made righteous
Joshua = 'The Lord saves' (Gk. Jesus, Heb. Yeshua)
      (No J in Heb. YHWH = Yeshua not Jehovah)
Fought, and won battle against Amalek.  Exd 178-13
   He and Caleb give a 'good report'.  Num 1426-34
   Had to wait 40 years wandering in desert
Chosen by God through Moses.  Num 2718
   'A man in whom is the Spirit'  Deut 349
'As I was with Moses, so will I be with you.' 15
Crossed Jordan in full flood! 3,4
Circumcision. Manna ceases. Covenant renewed. 5
Joshua meets Commander of the Lord's army. 513-15
Jericho and Rahab. 6
Ai and failure. Joshua seeks God earnestly.
Achan's sin and deceit. 'Devoted things'. 7
Gerizim and Ebal. Reads all Law of Moses to all. 8
Gibeon deceives: they did not enquire of the Lord. 9
   But Joshua keeps his promise to them.
Many kings defeated. 10-12
Much remained undefeated. 13
Land allocation. 14-22
Cities of refuge. 'Eye for eye'. 20 Deut 1921-2018
   Not legalised revenge, but to ensure justice.
Inheritance for the Levites. 21
Farewell address. Be bold and careful to obey. 23
Choosing at Shechem. Stones for Witness against them
      that they are not able to keep their 'decision'. 24
      Repentance and faith vital for new birth
      Choosing to ‘follow Jesus' without this is impossible

Joshua is much more than a story of war and conquest;
      or even about the moral issue of war to gain land (and resources),
      the treatment of civilians in war, or the concept of a 'just war'.
      It is about justice! God's judgement of sin.  Gen 1516
Rejected by Muslims and an embarrassment to modern man!
Many now say, "God is love, he does not destroy anyone, especially 'innocents'.
      This is ethnic cleansing, 'no survivors' and war crimes on a grand scale.
      and they totally ignore the Geneva convention!"  e.g. 621 825 1028,30,32,35,39
Many Christians try to slake their conscience by saying it was in a pre-Jesus era.
Humanists and some Christians ignore this book and wish it were not included;
      they do not see it as God's unchanging Word, relevant for today.
God will repeat judgement of the Flood, Babel, Sodom, & Canaan in the Tribulation.

1. As Almighty and Creator, this world belongs to him,
       he can choose what he does with it. We are only tenants.
400+25+40 years earlier God had promised the land to Abraham.
Now he fulfills his promise - he is not slow to do so.
It was not Joshua who decided to take the land; it was God's gift to Israel.
Does Israel have tenant rights today? (c.f. UK in N.Ireland or Gib.)
Gift of land is conditional on righteousness. Exiled in 586 BC and 70 AD.

2. Wickedness deserves punishment.
For all who have not experienced the relief of forgiveness,
      this is rejected and considered an anathema.
The Canaanites were wicked. Gen 1516 1 Kg 2126
God did not spare the world in Noah's day, nor the men of Sodom.
     Why should he spare the world today?
Our arrogance and wickedness exceed all previous generations.
He gives us every opportunity to repent. 2 Pe 39
Men prefer darkness to light; Jn 319 Jer 724
    sin is a pleasure and holiness is seen as a restriction.

Learn from history. See from God's perspective in this book.
God does punish sin. No escape. See that God is never unjust.
Today world-wide rise of wickedness deception + love that grows cold. Math 244,12
      But men hear what they want to hear, and reject or ignore the truth.
False prophets always tell men of an easy way. Jer 614 531
      e.g. Peace now, revival just around the corner, God will not punish,
            the church will triumph, experience is what matters,
            truth in all religions, ...

But the Final Judgement will come - at last!! Rev 55
      7 seals, 7 trumpets and 7 bowls of wrath. Rev 6-19
It is not called 'The Great Tribulation' for nothing!  Math 2422
Then no more sin, or even temptation.
      Righteousness, truth, obedience and justice everywhere.
      We shall see Jesus and be with him in his glory for ever,
            and even be like him!

This is the lesson that Joshua - a great man of God, and a most valuable book.

Judges       [Contents]

History of approx 300 years (Joshua to Saul), 6 oppressions + 5 deliverances.

The Israelites were not missionaries to a foreign land,
     but instruments of God's judgement on the evil Canaanites.
This seems harsh. But God is the Almighty and he knows best.
This was the lesson of the book of Joshua. But it was quickly forgotten.
Israel didn't share God's hatred of sin. Nor did they see the justice of punishment.
How many today are willing to accept this lesson from the unchanging God?

The big problem was compromise. Who was their king?  Would Israel obey God?
They did not drive out the Canaanites.  119 121 127 131 133
Why did they fail?  
     Tired of war
     Enjoyed 'freedom' from God and his Law
     Looked to their own power instead of the power of the 'Commander'. Josh 515
      They thought they had won the victories, not God. c.f. UK in WW2 and later.
'Another generation that did not know the Lord nor what he had done.'  210

Result?  Spiritual laziness, pride, compromise and rebellion.
They did not see it as being wrong to worship other gods.  23 211,12 217 36
So God was angry. 212 220  Other nations to remain to test them.  222 31,4
And the Israelites failed the test - just as we have done!

Nomads become Settlers. By God's grace and generousity life had become easy, too easy!
      But success often becomes a problem. Ezek 1649 Deut 611
We learn more in the difficult times than in the easy ones.
Dan rejected the land of their inheritance, W. of Jerusalem on the border with Philistines.
      They sought land of ease, N of Galilee, but it included Baal!  134 18
      In moving they lost the real inheritance. They are not included in list of tribes in Rev 75-8

Man is clearly seen as quickly reverting to his naturally wicked ways.
Godly leaders are not a permanent solution. The only hope is the coming of Christ.
Yet God is repeatedly quick to forgive whenever men repent and seek him.
There were some great men and women of God. All very different in character.
The Jimmy Owes musical 'If My People' came and went 25 years ago,
      but few took any notice with lasting tears.
What does it take to make a nation respond to God's amazing grace?  Lu 1631

Samson compromises his Nazarite vow by eating honey from dead lion,
      then using a dead donkey jaw-bone as a weapon.
He desires a foreign wife with good looks - hardly a good Nazarite principle.
He calls upon the Sovereign Lord, who grants request for revenge upon the Philistines.

Micah steals his mother's silver. Mother blesses the Lord by making silver image!
A Levite becomes his priest, and then priest to Danites (+ silver image).
Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. 176 2125
And what a sorry mess it causes - then and always.
Why don't we take more notice of God?  
    No one is greater or more gracious.
    And no one knows better what is best for our good.

History of Israel when Ruled by Kings

1 and 2 Samuel       [Contents]

1 Samuel tells of Samuel and Saul
2 Samuel tells of David
Begins with the momentous transition from Judges and Prophets to Kings.
      God gave them warning;  but the people still chose kings, and bore the consequences.

Israel chose to be ruled by men, and in doing so they rejected the rule of God.
Judges were ordained by God. e.g Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samuel.
Kings were hereditary or by coup (except Saul and David).
Judges were mostly righteous, only a few kings were.
Of Judah's 20 kings only David was 'a man after my own heart'.
      Asa, Jehoshophat, Amaziah, Azariah, Hezekiah and Josiah
      each refused to listen to the Lord at the end of their lives;
      and some allowed the High Places to remain.
None of the 20 kings of Israel were righteous.
Warned that kings would be dictators who take, take, take. 1 Sam 811-18 c.f. 124
      "Two things are certain in life, death and taxes."
Throughout history very few men with power who were not corrupted by it.
God's word of warning always proves correct.
He knows what is in the heart of every man.
Power corrupted Saul and Solomon, but not David.
      David never used force to either obtain or to keep the throne.

Why did the people want a king instead of a judge to rule them?
Samuel's sons were also wicked. The people rejected their injustice.
Children do not always follow after their parents. Same are better, others worse.

Although the people rejected the rule of God;
      God allowed them to choose. His theocracy was not a dictatorship.
      God warned them, so their choice was informed, not blind.
      God chose the first two kings, but they remained fallible.
      God still sent them many prophets - at least 18 between 900 and 450 BC
            Elijah, Elisha, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel etc
But the result was still disastrous:
      Israel divided after Solomon. Jeroboam made 2 golden calves to worship
      Permanent exile and of Israel in the north (remaining few became the despised Samaritans).
      140 years later Jerusalem, the Temple and the Ark destroyed. Judah exiled to Babylon.
      Enslaved till 538 BC. Then return by the enduring grace of God.
Is our modern democratic Government any better?
      Are the majority usually right?  Very rarely!  Math 713,14 Jn 615
      To be elected, a leader must be popular.
      This inevitably leads to false promises before an election:
          and afterwards to pretence, secret dealings and intrigue to retain favour and power.
      'Right' decisions are rarely popular.

In the UK the Government executive continue its intent on increasing its power;
      e.g. sacking of hereditary peers in Nov. 1999 after 800 years.
Promoted as a good socialist policy that eliminated traditional elitism and privilege.
But it was actually to give more power to the Government executive.
It also makes a possible dictatorship that much easier.
In Dec 2007 Prime Minister Blair delivered England to be under the power of the European Union Commission.
He refused a promised referendum.
He cunningly arranged for Gordon Brown to sign the Lisbon Treaty at the same time as he resigned.

What is God's intention for the future?
Wickedness will increase culminating in the 7 year Tribulation.
      Rev 6-19   1 Tim 41   2 Tim 31-5   2 Thes 21-17 Math 248, 21-31
      Rev 13 reveals a satanic dictator (the Beast) and his partner (the False Prophet)
           who deceive the world with signs and wonders.
      They blaspheme, persecute the church, Dan 721,25 127 Rev 137 176
          and lead all nations to attack Jerusalem. Zech 12, 14
      They are defeated by Christ. Rev 1911-21
      Satan is confined to the Abyss for the 1000 year reign of Christ. Then he is released.
      Again he deceives the nations and attacks the King of Kings (Gog and Magog war)
          and is banished to the pit for ever. Rev 20.
      Then there is an eternal 'new heaven and a new earth with the blessed rule of Christ. Rev 21,22.
      Note: Like the early church, I do not believe there is a pre-tribulation rapture (an early escape).
               Nor that there will there be an end-time rule of a triumphant Church before Christ returns.

1 and 2 Kings       [Contents]

Solomon, the division, and the kings of Israel.
Israel, the northern tribes - kings Jeroboam to Hoshea and permanent exile in 722 BC
     and Judah in the south - kings Rehoboam to Zedekiah until 70 year exile to Babylon in 586 BC
Similar to Judges:
Wickedness has consequences. There is no such thing as costless sin.
God is always eager and ready to forgive and restore. Requires repentance.
God sends his prophets to the wicked and the righteous.
These 2 books are 350 years of Jewish history - 930 to 586 BC
They detail the consequences of the decision by the people to be ruled by a king.

1 + 2 Chronicles       [Contents]

1 Chronicles tells of Genealogy from Creation to David.
2 Chronicles tells of Solomon and the kings of Judah.

The history of man is always chequered but throughout we are shown God's faithfulness and power.
In spite of man's propensity to wickedness, God consistently offers opportunity, mercy and life.
His promise of a Messiah stands like a beacon and it would be faithfully fulfilled.
The Christ would be like David - but much, much, better.
See Letter to the Hebrews for the 13 ways in which Jesus is 'better' or 'superior'.
In the Chronicles God repeats that he alone is to be worshipped, honoured, obeyed.
Learn from history :
    the eternal reward of righteousness
    and the terrible consequences of wickedness.

Some highlights and lessons:
1 Sam 314
1 Sam 5

1 Sam 73
1 Sam 1224
1 Sam 1745
2 Sam 711-
2 Sam 9
2 Sam 11
1 Kg 1212
1 Kg 17
1 Kg 21
2 Kg 2
2 Kg 24
2 Kg 25
1 Ch 91
1 Ch 11
1 Ch 15
1 Ch 1232
1 Ch 1721
1 Ch 2911
2 Ch 11   

2 Ch 110
2 Ch 714
2 Ch 153
2 Ch 20
2 Ch 265
2 Ch 32
2 Ch 34
2 Ch 3621

The guilt of Eli's house will never be atoned by sacrifice 
Philistines capture the Ark. God's hand was 'heavy' upon them
God's covenant is precious and not for the heathen (or unbelievers)
Esau c.f. Jacob. Ro 913
Samuel insists on real repentance 
Samuel's last words 
Goliath defies the Lord Almighty; and is killed by David 
God promises David an eternal Kingdom 
David's compassion for Mephibosheth
David's adultery, murder and forgiveness. Ps 51
Jeroboam returns from Egypt and builds 2 golden calves etc 
Elijah, the prophet who prays
Ahab wants Naboth's vineyard. He gets it; at a price!
Elisha sees 'reality' - chariots and horsemen. (+ 2 Kg 6)
Jehoiakim rebels against Nebuchadnezzar and sides with Egypt
Zedekiah rebels against Nebuchadnezzar. Jerusalem destroyed
Exile because unfaithful. 2 Kg 177-18
Jerusalem captured from the Jebusites
David brings Ark into Jerusalem
Like Michal, Europe has refused to celebrate 'Jerusalem 3000'
and will probably pay the same price
Men of Issachar understood the times 
"God went out to redeem a people for himself," - an eternal kingdom 
"Yours Lord is the greatness and the power ..." 
Solomon firmly established his rule - 
   by murder (1Kg 2) and later by whips. (2 Ch 104)
"Give me wisdom ..." And God did 
"If my people ..." It remains a very big 'If' 
Asa's reforms - after a long time without God, a true teacher or the Law 
Edom, Moab and Ammon attack Jehoshaphat
He trusts God; singers lead the victorious army
Uzziah seeks God during days of Zechariah. (Prophet, but not author) 
Sennacherib ridicules God. An Angel kills 185,000 in one night!
Josiah's reforms. But the heart of the people is not with him, or God
God gives the land 70 years of Sabbath rests (exile in Babylon) 

Saul, David and Solomon

Samuel's sons were dishonest, so people said, "Give us a king like the other nations."
They reject God's authority.

God chooses Saul; tall and impressive.
Samuel anoints him.
God changes Saul's heart. The Spirit of God came upon him.
Saul thinks Samuel unreliable; offers sacrifice himself. Rebuked.
A foolish vow prevents complete destruction of Philistines.
Jonathan is spared from Saul by 'people pressure'.
Saul rejects the word of the Lord. Spares Agag etc.
Rejected by God. 1 Sam 15 Samuel mourns.
Bitter war with Philistines all his life.
After Samuel's death, Saul is frightened by the Philistines.
God did not answer. He consults a witch, who did!

David anointed king by Samuel in 1025 BC. 1 Sam 16
Despised younger brother of a 2nd marriage. (2 Sam 1725 etc)
But God saw his 'shepherd' heart, and that his goal was God.
David slays Goliath 'in the Name of the Lord of Hosts'.
David flees from Saul. Fugitive in the desert for 13 years.
Twice he refuses the opportunity to kill 'the Lord's anointed'.
Uses his time usefully! Not resentful. See Psalms.

Laments death of Jonathan - a better friend than his brothers.
War with Abner and remains of Saul's army.
Reigns 7 years in Hebron and then 13 years in Jerusalem.
Conquers Jerusalem.
Builds himself a cedar palace and added to his two wives.
Defeats Philistines. Also Moab, Edom, Ammon, Aram.
Brings Ark into Jerusalem. Nathan reveals God's promise.
Adultery, murder, repentance and forgiveness.
God forgives our sins, not our excuses.
Desires to build Temple, but is refused. He plans and provides.
Absalom rebels. David flees. His 3 commanders fight and win.
David numbers fighting men. (A foolish boast with grave consequences)

Adonijah sets himself up as king. Failed.
David had promised Bathsheba it would be Solomon.
Gives Solomon BOLD advice, warning and just commissions.

Solomon secures his throne. Adonijah, Shimei and Joab killed.
Marries king of Egypt's daughter.
God was pleased to grant his request for wisdom.
7 years to build the Temple, all according to David's provision.
Dedication of the Temple. The Ark is transferred.
God affirms his promise to Solomon, and warns him.
13 years building his own cedar Palace.

Married 700 foreign wives who turned his heart from the Lord. 1 Kg 111-13
Offers sacrifices to Chemosh (Moab) and Molech (Ammon)
He also received annual tribute of 666 talents (22 tons!) of gold.  1 Kg 1011
    This degree of riches cannot have helped.  Lu 1825
God is angry - he had appeared twice to him. 1 Kg 35 92
Ahijah prophesies division of the kingdom.
Jeroboam (in charge of all forced labour) rebels,
    has to flee to Egypt. Returns after death of Solomon.

Solomon dies. Kingdom divides.


Ezra.   458-444  BC       [Contents]

Note Ezra and Nehemiah were a whole generation after the return from Babylon       under the leadership of Joshua (not son of Nun) and Zerubbabel. Ezra and Nehemiah were combined in the Septuagint, Josephus and Mishnah.
      Jews and Christians separated them in about 200 AD.   Ezra 11,2 = 2 Ch 3622,23

Ezra 1-6
Recounts history of exiles return from Babylon to Judea in 537.
Lists, letters and decrees. Details - 42,000 walked 1000 miles with possessions.
      1 in 6 had a donkey and only elite had a camel.
It is God who moves the rulers of the nations to do his bidding.   Ezra 13,4,5,7
He determines the timing of the Jews return and the rebuilding of the Temple.
His servant Daniel probably showed Cyrus the writings of Isaiah. Is 4424-4513
And most importantly Ezra tells how the Temple had been rebuilt.
      Opposition had caused delay in rebuilding 530-520. Completed in 516.
      God fulfilled his promise precisely on time. Jer 2511 2910
Some think that Jeremiah's prophecy starts at the first stage of the exile in 605,
     and refers to the return to Jerusalem in 537. But this is only 68 years.
But if it relates to the Devastation of Jerusalem, the Temple destruction (Dan 92)
     and the departing presence of God in 586 to the rebuilding completion in 516, then it is exactly 70 years.

After 58 year gap. (516 - 458) Ezra changes from history to his personal account.

Ezra 7-10
Ezra, a priest born in Babylon and a good Scribe, goes to Jerusalem.
He is deeply grieved with returned exiles; and wept publicly. Instigates a purge on idolatry and inter-marriage.
     c.f. today's liberality, toleration, moral laxity and 'anything goes' society.
What about 'minority rights'?  Justice for the oppressed is one thing, but welcoming sin is another.
Homosexuality remains sinful whatever man may say. So does adultery and the idol worship of 'other faiths'.
Ezra deals with the restoration of the Law that affects the people's daily lives.

He also desires to honour God in the Temple.
This is good, but beware that it does not revert to worshipping the building and the tradition.
Men can be more concerned with the presence of the beautiful stones than the presence of God.  Lu 215,6
Today we would be dismayed at the destruction of Westminster Abbey or St Paul's Cathedral,
     but are we concerned that the Spirit of God has already left!?  Ezek 104,18 1123 Jn 219 Math 2751

Ezra's Oral Law became Mishnah (in about 250 AD) and then Talmud.
    'Do this, and God will be pleased,' and never again send us into exile.
Jesus kept all the 613 Laws of Moses but ignored this additional Oral Law,
      which has over 1500 laws concerning the Sabbath!.
Pharisees add to the Law, Sadducees subtract. Like today's Authoritarians (+RC's) c.f. Liberals.

This book raises some vital issues.
      What is the value of the Law and of tradition?
      What does make for peace - with God?  Lu 1942 Ro 418-52 Jn 1633


Nehemiah   445-433, and 425? BC       [Contents]

While Ezra was the chief priest, Nehemiah was the governor. He tells of:
    the rebuilding of the walls and city of Jerusalem
    setting up a righteous priesthood
    a new civil administration.
Nehemiah was an outstanding leader; a godly and just administrator.
A man of :
    prayer  14 24 44 49 69  519 1314,22,29,31
    no compromise 220b 137-9,28
    courage  22 220 414 69
    action  217 49,13 1325
    anticipation  27 418 938
    discernment  612,13 89,10
    sensitivity  14 22 56
    hard work  410 421,23 615
    inspiration  46,15 512 816,17 312b
    history 18,9 97-32 131-3 1326
    wisdom  212,16 417 57
    humility  515 937
    confession  16 217 44 933
    honesty and plain speaking  23 59 68 930 1311 1315,17,23-27
    justice and compassion  57,11,14
    trust  220a 414,20
    and above all a man of God, who saw him as the Almighty.

Such a man deserves to be the subject of many sermons as an example to follow.

Evil men are always quick to degrade Israel. 210,19 41-3,8 62,9,13

Ezra teaches Law at Tabernacles. People rejoice Neh 8.
     And confess Neh 9.  And promise Neh 938 - 1039
Nehemiah went back to Artaxerxes in 433.
He returned to Jerusalem before Artaxerxes died in 422.
They had quickly compromised with regard to tithes, marriage and the Sabbath.  Neh 13.
     How easily wickedness grow - like weeds.

These books recount the history up to 420 BC. Then blank up to Messiah.
(read the Maccabees in the apocrypha or Josephus for the successful war against Antiochus Epiphanes in 167 BC)


The Prophets - Hosea, Joel and Amos       [Contents]

Hosea, Joel and Amos were contemporary prophets each had the same message to the northern tribesof Israel.
What was the national situation in say 750 BC ? Why did God send them?
The nation had enjoyed 40 years of peace and prosperity under Jeroboam II,
      the 14th of 20 evil, idol-worshipping kings of Israel.
Solomon started the rot when he built idols for his many foreign wives. 1 Kg 117
He introduced slavery for his building programme.  1 Kg 1210,11
After he died Jeroboam I led a successful 'freedom' coup,
      but having no Temple in his separate northern kingdom,
      he made two golden calves and worshipped them.
Baal (god of weather - harvest and prosperity) was soon added.

After 200 years God was forgotten or side-lined
      by this arrogant, wealthy, unjust, immoral, indulgent, 'we know better' society.
Israel was politically secure and spiritually smug ... until ...

"The word of the Lord came to Hosea."

Like most other prophets he was greatly distressed by national wickedness.
As a young man he began to see Israel as God saw it.
Men saw peace, prosperity, privilege, a 'never had it so good' party time.
God saw idolatry, prostitution, injustice, pretence and especiallyunfaithfulness.

Hosea was called to experience something of how God felt.
His life and relationship with his wife would reflect the relationship of God and Israel.
      As Israel was unfaithful to God, so Gomer would be unfaithful to Hosea.

But what would God do about it?  What could the righteous Hosea do?

God told this young prophet and husband that his marriage would be a disaster. 12-9
His three children were to be:
    Jezreel           =  I will punish/scatter. Gomer was unhappy about his name!
    Lo-Ruhamah  =  I will no longer show mercy! Even worse. Jn 319
    Lo-Ammi       =  Not my people - and he was not Hosea's child.
The fun-loving Gomer had found the grieving prophet poor company.
God had shown Hosea what he saw in Israel.  Hos 4-14
      He saw that God cannot ignore sin.

What had they done that God hated?
Priests (and therefore people) ignored the law of God (by deliberate choice).
     They even relish their wickedness.  46,8 91
A spirit of prostitution (sex) leads them astray.  412b 54 610  Adultery.  74
Consult idols - Golden calves, Baal for prosperity, Astarte for fertility.  84-6
      Desired the blessing of God, but not God. They did not seek him. 77b,10
      Unfaithful to their God. 412a
Drunken mockery. 75 Dan 54
Religious, but God hated their many offerings. 66 101 Amos 521 Mal 16-14
      We can never win God's acceptance by our 'offerings'.
Priests and people had contempt for Amos and Hosea.  97b also Jer 253
Presumption, false confidence. 61-5
Ephraim boasts, 'I am very rich. ...
They will not find in me any iniquity or sin.' 128 Rev 187
Arrogant. 55 710
Easily deceived. 711 102
The merchant uses dishonest scales. 127 (and prospers temporally.  Jer 121)
Stubborn. 416

When they go with their flocks (for sacrifices) to seek the Lord,
     they will not find him ... 56,15 Amos 812  Song of Sol. 52-6
I will remember all their evil deeds. 72a 813b 99b  Amos 87
The days of punishment are coming, the days of reckoning are at hand. 97a
     (so bad that) they will call on the mountains to cover them. 108b  Rev 616
I will go back to my place until they admit their guilt. 515
     Repentance is more than occasional remorse. 714 Joel 212,13a Deut 429
          It is not trying to escape the consequence of sin. e.g. ‘safe sex' campaign.
          It is hating sin and realising the judgement of God is severe! Ro 1122
     See how much we need the covering sacrifice of Jesus our Redeemer,
          and the effective service of him as our Advocate.  Heb 725 1 Jn 21 1 Tim 25

Priests    - encouraged idolatry, made rich from fertility/prosperity rites.
Prophets - false, sought popularity not truth.
Princes   - enjoyed abuse of power, injustice to maintain their privileges.
People    - sought easy profit and a superstitious religion without repentance.

But costless sin is a satanic lie.
      You will not surely die ... you will be like God!  Gen 34,5

Meanwhile what should Hosea do with his wife Gomer?
      (She had left him to live with another man - as God had told him she would)
He could have legitimately have had her stoned, but he would have to throw the first stone.
He could have quietly divorced her.
He could have done nothing - and just hoped that one day ...
But God told Hosea to 'redeem' her. 31  
      It cost him £20 in silver + £60 in barley.
      Nearly 800 years later it would cost his Son far more than it cost Hosea.

God and Hosea tried everything to keep his wife.
      God warned, punished, and even 'allured' Israel. 26-16  But it all failed.
Yet God still yearned to have mercy.
      But only on the day of their repentance would he be able to do so.
"I will show love to the house of Judah." 17
"You will be called 'sons of the living God'." 110
"In that day you will call me 'my husband'... I will betroth you to me for ever ..."
"I will say to those called 'Not my people', 'you are my people'."  216-23

God reveals his agony, his reluctance to punish and his plan of salvation.
"Whenever I would heal Israel, the sins of Ephraim are exposed." 71
"I long to redeem them but they speak lies against me." 713b
"How can I give you up, ... they will come trembling." 118,11 35 Zech 1210
"I will ransom them from the power of the grave." 1314
Yes, these things will come to pass, as well as the destruction.

Hosea was obedient to the most difficult instructions.
He did not live to see that day - except by faith -
      But, like Abraham, Hosea saw it then shining in the distance.  Jn 856 Heb 1113
     And he still speaks the truth of it.

God must punish.
God remains faithful. He did come to redeem us from sin.
It was God himself who bore the punishment we deserve, but cannot pay.

In those dark days (as also now) it is easy to see what is wrong,
     but only the prophet of God can reveal accurately what God will do.
     Now (sin and destruction)
     And in the future (redemption and hope for the new kingdom of Christ)

The people and their leaders took no notice of Hosea.
      They enjoyed their sin too much.
So God sent another and very different prophet.

God sent Amos       [Contents]

A rugged farmer from Judah (Tekoa is 6 miles S. of  Bethlehem).
'The Lord roars!'  
      Amos is no gentle diplomat. Nor is he an ignorant yokel.
First he reads God's detailed charges against the surrounding nations. 12-25  
      Naturally he is welcomed.
But then he turns to Israel! (26-915)
      He thunders God's view of their religious hypocrisy and social corruption.
      The poor are used, bought and sold.  26,7 41 511
      The courts are 'rigged' in favour of the rich.  27 57,10,12b
      Father and son 'use' the same girl.  27
      All true prophecy is stifled. 212 712 The righteous are oppressed.  57b,12b
      Corruption is so ingrained that they didn't know what was right.  310
      Drunken raves were common.  41
      They even bragged about their offerings.  
           But the Lord hates their presumption. 45 518,21 Is 111-15
      They were complacent, affluent, careless and proud.  61,4-6,8  Is 98-12
      They were deaf and unresponsive.  46-11
It all sounds somewhat familiar to the UK today.

I warned you again and again, so ... 412 56 78
The Lord roars!  I will not turn back my wrath ... I will crush you .  12  38  26 213
You only have I chosen ... therefore I will punish you for all your sins.  32
An enemy will overrun the land ... you will be taken away with hooks.  311 42 67
      God fulfilled this in 722 BC using the Assyrians.
Prepare to meet your God!  412
I will deliver up the city.  68  
I will never forget anything they have done.  87
Not one will get away, none will escape. It will be too late.  214-16  91b 814

Not surprisingly, Amos was no longer welcomed!  710-17  
      Prophets are rarely, if ever, popular.
Their purpose is to reveal God's message; the truth, however painful it may be.
See what men did when 'last of all the King sent his (only) Son.'  Math 2137

Jesus didn't come as an example of how to live, but to be our Saviour, Redeemer.
To be told you could do better, and if you do God will be pleased, is easy to admit;
      but it does not challenge our naturally wicked nature.
To be told that I am a sinner needing salvation, that nothing I do can help,
      that only Jesus can redeem me, is a challenge that most find offensive.

"Yet I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob."  98
750 years later many Samaritans (remnant of Israel) were saved.  Jn 439-42  Act 84-8
"In that day I will restore David's fallen tent."  911
Over 700 years later Jesus came and opened the kingdom of God to all believers.
"I will bring back my exiled people."  914
God did this in 1948 AD
"I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted."  915
Has Israel returned now, never again to be exiled? It seems likely.
In this time of Jacob's trouble, the Lord will return and rescue chosen Israel. Ro 1126
    But there must first come the 7 year tribulation; then Christ will reign in Zion.

The people were also deaf to Amos.
They heard the 'roar' of the Lord; but they rejected and despised the truth.
750 years later the people would treat the word of the Lord of Glory the same way.
      Jesus said, "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world,
            but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil."  Jn 319

So in his grace, God sent yet another prophet.

The word of the Lord came to ...  Joel       [Contents]

Hosea Amos and Joel were three very different prophets, with the same message.
God, in his amazing grace, gave Israel every opportunity to repent
      during the 30 years prior to their exile by the Assyrians in 722 BC.
Like all prophets Joel had earnestly sought the Lord about what he was going to do.
So God told him his plans:
11 - 211  A warning of destruction.
Locusts had decimated their crops. 14    It was a real, live warning from God.
      Also drought that withers plants; and the joy of mankind. 110,12
Joel sees the disaster as a parable: a vast destructive army. 16 22
      (probably Assyria, no dates in Joel)
"Hear! Blow the trumpet." 21 15
      Summon everyone. It is so vital, so urgent.
      But no one else seemed to see any imminent danger.
             They were all so smug and so self-satisfied.
             They even thought that the Lord would only bring good!  Amos 518,21

But Joel (and other prophets) saw clearly that:
      'The day of the Lord' would not bring salvation to all, but destruction.
             16,15 21,2,11  Jer 259 307  Math 2421  2 Thes 21-12  2 Tim 31-5
Some today think that this army in Joel 211 is the church triumphant!
      But in the context, it is the Assyrian army of judgement sent by God.
      When will the Church wake up and realise the context of scripture really matters?
      Presumptuous men quote verses to mean the opposite of God's clear intention.

212-17  Last opportunity for real repentance.
Repentance must always be real - with all your heart ... with weeping.  212
It is much more than remorse, which only seeks escape from the consequences of sin.
      The Lord declares, Return to the Lord your God.
      We desire a new heart, and also yearn for the presence of God.  Ps 421-3
Remember God sees through any sham, he sees our hearts and knows every thought.
    God is truly gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.  213
      But there is a time when the opportunity has passed. It is then too late.  Gen 716  Math 2510-13
    The opportunity was missed in 722BC, 586 BC and in 70 AD.

218-27  Then the Lord ... will take pity on his people ...   218
Joel prophesies the national restoration of Israel that follows true repentance.
      Never again to be shamed.  317,20,21  Ro 1125-27  Amos 915
    The full benefits of God's compassionhis have only been partly fulfilled.
      But it will be.  God always keeps his word.   Lu 2133

228-32   Afterwards I will pour out my Spirit ...
A key to understanding the significance of this verse
      is seeing when Afterwards or In those days refer to.
As Peter proclaimed, it was partly at Pentecost, after Calvary, in 33 AD.  Act 216-21
But what else will happen when God pours out his Spirit?
      Joel tells us about the signs and wonders that are seen.
             They are not pleasant! They are not God's healing and deliverance.
             It will be a time of Blood and fire and billows of smoke.
             The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood
             before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord!!  230,31
As Paul warns us, The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance
with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles,
signs and wonders
.  2 Thes 29  also Rev 133,7,13,14
      While God has been pleased to pour out his Spirit since that first Pentecost,
             this Joel quotation refers to the days of the Great Tribulation,
             in the last days, when there will be persecution and widespread martyrdom.
             210,30,31 313,15  Rev 115,6 137,13  Rev 812 1610  Math 2429
      It is then that we will need the outpouring of his Spirit more than ever,
             if we are to resist Satan's deceptions and have the courage to stand.
      Should we have the privilege of living in such days of intense persecution,
             God will give us this word to be our strength and security.

31-16   In those (last) days ... I will restore the fortunes of Judah ...
      I will gather all nations ... I will enter into judgment against them ...
There will be war. All nations will attack Jerusalem.
      32,12  Rev 1414-20 1616 1911-21  Zech 121-9  Dan 926b
At that time all nations will be judged by God,
      for they scattered my people ... and divided up my land. 32
      All modern governments (and church leaders) need to hear this word of God.
Joel says Israel will be judged now (i.e. in 722 BC).
      But later (at the end) her enemies will be judged, while she is restored.
Note that the last days are not peaceful - as many think or hope.
      It is a time to beat ploughshares into swords!  310 c.f. Is 24  (context is vital).
Who will hear the Lord 'roar'?  316a   Everyone!
And to whom will he be a 'refuge'?  316b  Israel, his chosen ones.  Prov 1810
      This is also true for believing Gentiles who are grafted into the Vine.

317-21  Blessings of the new Kingdom.
In the Millennium that follows the tribulation, Jerusalem will be holy. 317
All men have consistently resisted the desire of God for righteousness and justice.
One day Jerusalem will be a holy city from which the Word of God will go out
      to bless all the eager and hungry world.  Is 23
Note: this city of Jerusalem is in Israel, not in "England's green and pleasant land."

The life-giving fountain which was opened by Jesus 2000 years ago at Calvary,
      will flow in abundance.  Zech 131  Ezek 471-12  Rev 211
In that day the healing of the nations will be completed.
All men, even believers, need healing from the many various hurts or scars.
      In that day the Saviour touch us all. What a day this will be.
      Catch the vision of it, the hope, the certainty, the glorious relief.

Meanwhile, what was happening in the south, in Judah, where Micah and Isaiah lived and prophesied?

Micah  750-710 BC       [Contents]

Micah prophesied to Israel and Judah  (="who is like the Lord?")
The Sovereign Lord hated the golden calves at Dan and Bethel.  1Kg 1225-33
      Therefore the Lord is coming ... to make Samaria a heap of rubble!  13.6
      All her idols will be broken to pieces.  17
Basis of all idolatry is to gain a 'better' life.
      Either by assuaging anger of gods (fear). Jer 3235
      Or seeking to please gods by offerings to gain prosperity or children.  Col 35
I will bring a conqueror against you. And he will take you into exile.  115,16
They plot evil ... they covet fields and seize them.  21,2
Therefore ... I am planning disaster ... from which you cannot save yourselves.  13
Men think that sin against God doesn't matter. It does.

False prophets say, Do not prophesy.  26
      They lead my people astray. 35  They tell fortunes for money.  311a
      They even presume Is not the Lord among us? So no disaster ...  311b
      The leaders hate good and love evil.  32
             They despise justice and distort all that is right.  39
Therefore ... Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble.  312
They will cry out to the Lord, but he will not answer them.  34  Hos 56

What happened:
  732  Galilee and Gaza conquered by Tiglath Pileser. Others pay tribute.
  722  Samaria conquered by Assyria.
  701  All Judah (except Jerusalem) conquered by Sennacherib.
  586  Jerusalem destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar.

Micah is also given a vision of the future: In the last days ...  41
      41-8 describes the reign of Christ the king.   Also Is 22-4

But first Judah will go to Babylon; there you will be rescued.  410
      The Christ, the rescuer, will come from Bethlehem.  52
Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labour gives birth.  55
      The day will come when they will really cry out to the Lord.  Zech 1210,11
      And in that day all idols etc will be destroyed.  511-14  Zech 131,2
       He will deliver Jerusalem from Assyria (but not from Babylon).  56b  2 Ch 321-23

God's case against Israel and Judah:
He asks, My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you?  63
Recall how God released you from slavery in Egypt,
      that he redeemed you and provided for all your needs.  64,5
He tells them of God's simple (but not easy) requirement:
      To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.  68
He reveals their current wickedness: dishonesty, violence, deceit.  610-12
      Therefore I will hand you over to ruin.  616
Micah tells the people of the resulting misery, despair and distrust.  71-6
But he adds, I watch in hope of the Lord, I wait for God my Saviour.  77
      How wise.

Then he sees again that at the end God will restore his chosen people.
Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise.
      Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.  78
Though my eyes will see her downfall ...
      and the earth will become desolate ... as a result of their deeds.   710b,13
Yet he sees God rescuing Judah again as in the days when you came out of Egypt.
      I will show them my wonders.  715
      Wonders of grace, mercy and faithfulness.
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives transgression ... ?
      You do not stay angry for ever but delight to show mercy.  718,19

God will surely fulfill the pledge he made in days long ago to Abraham.  720

Once again we are told that the Lord must punish evil, he cannot overlook sin;
      but there is a day of redemption when all who repent and believe will be saved.
All that God has promised through his prophets has, or shortly will, come to pass.

Isaiah  740-680 BC       [Contents]

Isaiah prophesied to Judah

Pride and rebellion will be punished. 12,23 211 1 Sam 1523
"Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me." 113 2913
God hates hypocrisy and pretence. If we doubt, say so.
      If we sin don't excuse it but confess it honestly.
      Trying to bribe God is both foolish and detestable.
Sin can be forgiven. 118 551-561
      But what does it mean 'to reason together'?
      Learning the truth about God and about ourselves.  Jn 832  Job 28-31
      The poor in spirit freely admit sin. Math 53-10
             And the meek are eager to learn about Jesus.
Zion will be redeemed with righteousness and justice. 126,27
      Righteousness demands a 'perfect' sacrifice. Justice demands payment in full.
The Lord will reign in Zion during the Millennium. 22-4 (same as Mic 41-3) also Is 11
      Jerusalem, the 'Mountain of the Lord.' 22  Zech 83
             On this Mt. salvation and kingship is provided by Jesus. Gen 2214
The Vineyard Love-Song. 51-7 What more could God have done? Nothing!
             e.g. Creation, history, Scripture, testimony and most of all the Cross.
      Yet he was, and is, rejected.
      The ingrained sin and rebellion of all men is so firmly rooted.
God seeks justice and righteousness (dominant theme). 57 97 2817 3216,17 335,6
      But he sees only bloodshed, distress, rebellion and idolatry - and weeps.
Why do men constantly defy God, ignored his commands, and ridicule his warnings?
      The consequential judgement and the 6 Woes are entirely justified. 58-25a 291-10
God has done everything possible to rescue man.
      The offer of salvation in Christ still remains open.
Isaiah cries for his own forgiveness; it is atoned for. 65-7
Given surprising commission:
      Tell them the truth; rejection of it will prove they have closed their ears. 68-10
Jesus taught in parables, not to make truth simple for all to understand,
             but so that those who could hear would learn.  Mk 410-12  Is 2911 c.f. 18
             To others the secrets of the kingdom of heaven were denied.
Sign of young woman. 714 Before her child is 12, Assyria will destroy Aram + Israel
      But (another) child is called Immanuel, for God will not leave them desolate.
      He will come and stay! He will be their Wonderful Counsellor ... 96,7
      This 'Stump of Jesse' will rule in righteousness for ever. 111-16 97
      He will gather the scattered remnant a second time. 538 BC and 1948 AD 1111
      And there will be joy in the salvation of the Lord in that day. 121-6
When? Now only in part, but in the last days it will be fully fulfilled.
             Isaiah does not separate the First and Second Coming. e.g. 92,7 612
God's anger at:
      Pride and Presumption 98-12
      Stubborn and Misleading 913-17
      Passion and Possessions 918-21
      Poor oppressed 101-4
Songs of praise: 12, 25, 26
      In that day you will say ... the Lord has become my salvation. 121-3
      On this mountain the Lord Almighty ... will swallow up death for ever. 257,8
      Men will be in perfect peace because they trust in the Lord. 261-4 c.f. 910

Judgement of Nations 13-24, 27-31 (17 out of 66 chapters!)

Babylon. (Not yet a world power in 730) 13,141-23, 211-10
      The Lord assembles a noisy multitude for war! Terror, destruction. (586) 134-8
      Sun darkened, world punished, earth shakes. (End times) 1310-13
      Then Babylon destroyed by Medes. (Cyrus in 539) 1317 Is 4426-4513
      Babylon will become a wilderness. 1320 1413-15 (It did in about 200 BC)
      'Babylon', the satanic world economic 'house of cards' will also fall. 218 Rev 182
      The arrogant motive and resulting fall of Satan is described. 1412-15
      The Lord will have compassion on Jacob; once again he will choose Israel. 141

Assyria. (Defeats Aran in 732 and the remainder of Israel in 722) 1424-27 105-34
      God planed to crush the ruthless, brutal Assyrians. (Angel kills 185,000 in 701)
Philistines (originally from Phenicia in 1500 BC; same time as Exodus) 1428-32
      Do not rejoice that your enemies are defeated. They would be 150 years later.
             Assyria at Haran in 609 and Egypt in 605 at Carchemish. Both by Babylon.
      God will destroy your roots. Alexander did so in 322BC. Zech 96
             Note Arafat's false claims today. e.g. "Jesus was a Palestinian!"
             Beware of false history. There never was Palestinian nation. PLO founded 1964
      The Lord has established Zion, and in her his afflicted people will find refuge.

Moab (from incest with Lot) 15,16
      Wealth and pride destroyed in a night. Total defeat in 3 years. By Assyria 735BC
      God will bring down their pride despite the cleverness of their hands. 259-12

Damascus (Aram or Syria) 17
      It will become a heap of ruins. 171 Not yet fulfilled; but it will be!

Cush and Egypt 18-20
      Amazingly Israel, Egypt and Assyria worship the Lord. 1924,25
      How this will come about remains to be seen.
      It is utter folly to rely upon Egypt. 206 311 303,7,16
      Egypt will be desolate, Edom a desert waste,
             because of violence done to the people of Judah. Joel 319

Edom and Arabia 2111-17 Ezek 2512-14 Amos 111
      The Lord has a day of vengeance, a year of retribution ...
             Petra will become thorns ... a haunt for jackals ... wild goats ... owls. 348-15

Tyre's pride will be humbled. 23
      Nebuchadnezzar destroyed mainland Tyre in 572.
      Alexander destroyed island Tyre in 322BC

Jerusalem and Ephraim 22
      You looked to stored weapons, walls, water and provisions,
      but you did not look to the One who made it (Jerusalem). 228-11,25
      The Lord Almighty called you on that day to weep, but see there is joy ... 2212,13
      Whole generation would die in exile in Babylon. (604/597/586 to 539) 2218
      The understanding of this message will bring sheer terror. 2819b Dan 715,28
      Woe to Ephraim now says Isaiah,
             but later the Kingdom of Righteousness is coming.
             In days to come Jacob will take root. 276
             A Cornerstone will be laid - trustworthy, just and righteous. 2816,17
             In that day the deaf will hear ... the blind will see ... the humble will rejoice ...
                    No longer will Jacob be ashamed ... they will stand in awe ... 2918-24

All the earth. (at the end) 24
      Defiled and disobedient, covenant broken. 245
      The earth will be shaken. 2413,19 Heb 1226-29
      The Lord will punish the powers in the heavens above and kings below. 2421
      The moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed. 2423
      The Lord Almighty will reign on Mt Zion. 2423

Assyria and Hezekiah (in 701) 36-39
      By this time all the cities of Judah are destroyed by Assyria, except Jerusalem,
      where Hezekiah and the people trust the Lord. Jerusalem alone is delivered. 361
      Sennacherib dares to challenge God; and naturally he loses! 3618,20 3717,36
Hezekiah not ready to die: no son. Spared, but has evil son, Manasseh. 38
      Exile to Babylon is prophesied. 39

Various Highlights:

3010,11  Don't tell us visions of what is right, tell us pleasant things. Jer 614
                        Stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel.
3012,13  You rejected God's clear warnings, preferring injustice and deceit;
                       but what you rely on will collapse suddenly.
3016,17  Woe to those who think they can escape God's verdict.
3015        In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust.
                       But you would have none of it.
3018-22  Yet the Lord longs to be gracious. One day you will weep no more.
                       You will be guided by the Lord and throw away your idols.
276          Vineyard (Israel) will bear fruit. Not just Jaffa oranges or Avocado pears. 23
2713       Exiles will gather to worship the Lord on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.
296,8     The Lord will come suddenly. All nations will attack Mt Zion. Zech 121-9
2922       "... the Lord who redeemed Abraham ..." Jn 856 (and many others in OT)
315         The Lord Almighty will shield Jerusalem. (Context vital. i.e. Not in 586)
                       But not Lachish or any other Judean towns.
                        The Lord himself will fight for Jerusalem at the end. Zech 141-3
318         Assyria will fall by the sword that is not of man. 3736
32,35    Kingdom of Righteousness is described. (Isaiah so longed for this)
                      Shelter, streams in the desert, Rash will understand, No fools.
                       Abandoned until the Spirit is poured upon us, then righteousness
                        which results in peace, trust (confident in the Lord) and good farming.
                 Blind see, deaf hear, lame leap. (fulfilled in part. Lu 722)
                       (again notice) only the Redeemed walk in the Way of Holiness.
335,6    The Lord is exalted.
                       He fills Zion with justice and righteousness, salvation and wisdom.
                       The fear of the Lord is the key. (c.f. disobeyed, ignored, ridiculed)
337-14   c.f. days when brave men wept, treaties were broken, no-one was respected,
                       the land mourned and sinners terrified
3317      Your (righteous) eyes will see the King.
3321     No more slavery or drudgery. (but there will be satisfying work!)
3324     No sickness. Sins forgiven.

40-66 Various Revelations:

Judgement; Personal and National - the consequence of deliberate rebellion.  
God clearly warns all men who mock him, but most ignore it, and pay!  Gal 67
      6614-16, 22-24 612   also 139-13 2421-23 295,6 341,2 574
Our sin requires Redemption - but not with gold or any human effort. 1 Pe 118,19
      4421-23  5110,11  523  5920
Chosen - by grace. 431-3  442  497
The Suffering Servant, the Redeemer. 5213 - 5312
      Jesus is the only one able to bear the just punishment for our sins.
      All men need a Saviour Redeemer, not just an example to follow.
Urgent - Seek the Lord, while he may be found.  551-7  443  Jn 414  Rev 2217  Jer 2913
      All are invited, not just Israel.  551  566-8  651  Jn 737
      'All day long I held out my hands to an obstinate people.' 652  Jn 939-41
Current, but temporary problem - 'Israel's watchmen are blind.'  5610
      'The righteous perish and no one ponders it'.  571
      'No one calls for justice.'  594   'No one calls on your name.'  647
      'I called but you did not answer. Therefore ...'  6511,12  (see The Listener)
The Remnant will return: 435-7  495,6  5111  568  1111,12  141   Jews and Gentiles.
      Note: Isaiah prophesied this 150 years before their exile in Babylon.
Cyrus will command Jerusalem to be rebuilt. 4424 - 455
Babylon will fall, but Israel will be restored. Then all will know that I, the Lord,
      am your Saviour.  4925,26    The only Saviour. 4310,11
Encouragement for 'little Israel', whom God has chosen.  4113,14  431,2  442,3  497
      God remains faithful.  4421  408  Ro 111,25-29
Israel will be a light to Gentiles, and open blind eyes.  426,7  Lu 229-32  Gen 123b
      She has done so, and will do so again.  Act 18  2828  Is 496
There is no one who can compare with God Almighty.  4010-26  446  Job 384-402
'I live in a high and lofty place, but also with him who is contrite.'  5715  662
True fasting (and repentance) must lead to a righteous life. 58
Jerusalem will become the City of Righteousness:
       6014-21  621-5,11,12  126 21-4  96,7  335,6,17-24
These promises have only been partly fulfilled when Messiah came the 1st time.
      More fulfilment when Jesus comes again and rules from Zion in the Millennium.
      And even more in the 'new heaven and the new earth'.  Rev 21,22
This is our longing and our secure hope.  Heb 1039 1113-16
Good news, life, freedom, healing, gladness, righteousness are given by grace,
      by the anointing of the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord,
      first on Jesus, and then even upon us.  611-3  Lu 417-21

Nahum  640 BC       [Contents]

Prophecy to Nineveh who had repented under Jonah's ministry 100 years earlier.
       Faith is not inherited. Learn from the 'see-sawing' in Judges.
Nineveh was founded by Nimrod.  Gen 108-12
       This ancient and evil city became the capital of Assyria.
       Temple of Ishtar = Astarte (fertility god) restored in 2300 BC
First the prophet declares that the Lord is slow to anger and great in power;
       (but) the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.  13
       Aren't we all guilty? Yes, but the salvation of Jesus can remove our guilt.
       He delights to give men every opportunity to embrace the truth and be saved.
       But those who insist on rebellion against God will be punished.
       Satan still tempts men to disbelieve God with "You will not surely die ..."  Gen 34
              Nahum reminds us of the truth of God's just judgement.
              The Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath.  12, 6  Is 348  Rev 610 1419
       He also reminds us that he is slow to anger. God is not vindictive.
              History makes clear that he is reluctant to punish.  2 Pe 39
              God's patience with wicked men is amazing;
                     but there does come a day - often it is unexpected!  Math 251-13  Lu 133
'The Lord is good. ... He cares for those who trust in him.'  17
He contrasts the Lord's plan for Nineveh (cut off) with Judah (afflicted no more).  112a c.f. 112b
But what for Nineveh? Will they hear and obey again the warning of Jonah?   No.
       Therefore she is pillaged, plundered, stripped ...  210
Nineveh ... plots evil against the Lord and counsels wickedness.  111
Carved images and cast idols.  114
Woe to the city of blood, full of lies, full of plunder, never without victims.  31
Wanton lust ... enslaved nations by prostitution and witchcraft.  34
How long will God seem to ignore such wickedness?
       His patience is all too often misinterpreted as weakness or he can be ignored.
But God uses this little known prophet to remind us of the truth.
       "I am against you," declares the Lord Almighty.   35
       Nothing can heal your wound; your injury is fatal.  319
Assyria was destroyed by Babylon in 612.
Now it is called 'the mound of many sheep'!  Zeph 213

Nahum also sees a new and distant day for Judah.
       Look, ... the feet of one who brings good news ...
       Celebrate your festivals, O Judah ... no more will the wicked invade you;
              they will be completely destroyed.  115  Is 358-10  Col 113
       Judah will be delivered from Assyria, and from sin.
What a day! What a sure and certain hope! The peace of God is good news indeed.

Zephaniah   635 BC        [Contents]

A noble prophet (like Isaiah) and a descendant of Hezekiah.
He was a contemporary of Nahum and the young Jeremiah.
In spite of Josiah's reforms, Judah took no notice of any of the prophets God sent.
       Hosea, Joel, Amos, Micah, Isaiah and more recently Nahum and Jeremiah.
       God clearly warned Judah both directly and by the exiling of Israel.
What was the verdict of the Lord Almighty to their rejection of him?
       I will stretch out my hand against Judah ...   14a
       Idolatrous priests worshipped Baal, the starry host and Molech.  14b,5
       They did not seek the Lord nor enquire of him.  16
       Superstition plus Violence and deceit.  19
       I will punish those who are complacent ... who think the Lord will do nothing.  112
              They thought they could safely ignore the Lord.
              They were in for a big surprise!
       The great day of the Lord is near ... a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish.
              Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them ...
              for he will make a sudden end of all who live on the earth.  114-18
       This sudden end refers to the destruction of Jerusalem 45 years later by Babylon,
              and also to end times when 'Babylon' is destroyed in a single hour. Rev 1810
              Then Lord's return will be like lightning; and to most, unexpected.  Mk 1332-37

How can we be ready?
Seek the Lord, ... seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps ...  23

Also, all Philistines will be destroyed, none will be left.  24,5
Likewise Ammon, Moab, Cush (Egypt) and Assyria.  28-15
Why? For insulting and mocking the people of the Lord Almighty.  210  Gen 123
      She said to herself, "I am, and there is none besides me."  215  Rev 187
Today's Palestinians (Roman for Philistine) need to take heed.
God will certainly fulfill his word. How or when I do not know, but he will.

What about Jerusalem?
Zephaniah answers this question in 31-8
      Woe to the city of oppressors, rebellious and defiled!
      She obeys no one, she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord ...
      Her prophets are arrogant, her priests profane the sanctuary ...
      The Lord within her is righteous ... yet the unrighteous know no shame ...
      Therefore ... the whole world will be consumed by the fire of my jealous anger.
It was a great surprise to Jerusalem of that day that God was angry with them.
      God is the Almighty and he will not allow men to go on ignoring his warnings.
      Jeremiah wept and preached for over 40 years.
      In 586 BC Jerusalem paid a high price when God fulfilled his promise!
            After 18 months of devastating siege, Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city.

But at the end of time God has a different plan, which he also revealed to Zephaniah:
He will assemble the nations (in 586 it was only one nation, Babylon), and
     the whole world will be consumed by the fire of my jealous anger. 38  Zech 142
I will leave within you the meek and humble, who trust in the name of the Lord.  312
He tells them that in that great awakened day of Jewish repentance:  (Zech 1210)
      The Lord has taken away your punishment ...
      He is mighty to save.
      He will take great delight in you.
      I will rescue the lame ...
      I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home.
Today we see Israel whom God has gathered,
      but sadly only a few Jews seek the Lord or ther home with him,
      nor even the land he gave them.   Gen 1210  1518  178
      And many are intent on giving away Judea (the gift of God) to the Palestinians.
      It seems that God is not going to allow this,
            even with Oslo, International pressure, 'Road Map' and the Security Fence.
The Lord Almighty declares to his people,
       The Lord, the king of Israel is with you; never again will you fear any harm.  315
       No more angry snipers, no deceived suicide bombers, no chemical missiles ...
       But as Isaiah and Micah said,
              The word of the Lord will go out from Jerusalem.  Is 23  Mic 42
          So it will do so!
Come Lord, come quickly.  Rev 2212,20


Habakkuk   620 BC       [Contents]

The lament of 12-4 indicates that he prophesied when Jehoiakim (609-605 BC)
       quickly reversed the reforms of Josiah, which had left most people untouched.
Unlike all other prophecies, this was not proclaimed to the people,
       but is a record of his dialogue with God.
His great cry was, "How long, O Lord?"  12  Rev 610
       Why don't you do something about all this wickedness - now ? 13
What were God's options for justice?
       If the people were willing, revival. But the king, priests and people were unwilling.
       So the only other option was punishment.

God tells him the unbelievable:  15
       He planned to bring the Babylonians to destroy Jerusalem!  16
       God reveals what sort of nation they were.
              They are rightly feared for they laugh at all fortified cities. 110
              They are guilty men, whose own strength is their god.  111
       It was not being punished that surprised Habakkuk,
              but the fact God chose these even more wicked Babylonians.
Habakkuk was a man who saw 3 questions for every answer given.  e.g. 113a,13b,17
He didn't question God's authority or wisdom; like Daniel, he longed for
       and was impatient for the rule of God on earth and the end of sin.  Dan 924
He sees God as eternal and righteous.
       Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?  113
       The wicked man continually prospers and lives in luxury.  116  Ps 733
       So I will stand at my watch and wait for God's answer to my complaint.  21

God's 2nd answer was the revelation awaits an appointed time; (the end)
       though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come.  23
       The day of God's reign may seem delayed, but it will come.  Math 2445-2546
       Woe to ... (x5)  Arrogant, greedy, thieving, violent, drunk, idolaters.  26,9,12,15,19
            But never satisfied.  25
Today, after 2600 years, the wicked still prosper; but they will not do so for ever.
       Like Belshazzar, the days of arrogant men are numbered.  Dan 54,26,30
       Habakkuk was told to write the revelation of God on tablets (that would last).  22

Habakkuk stands in awe of the Lord and his mighty power.  32-11
He saw that God shook the earth and in his anger threshed the nations.  36,12  Hag 26,7 Heb 1227
       And also that God came out to deliver your people.  313
So now the prophet is at peace; he knew God's answer and says,
       I will wait patiently for the day of calamity ...  316  Ps 377 1 Pe 320
       I will be joyful in God my Saviour. The Sovereign Lord is my strength. 318,19
The mystery of 'when' remained, but the questions ceased.


Obadiah   590 BC       [Contents]

This is what the Sovereign Lord says about Edom. 11  (See 'Esau and England')
     Man thinks so differently from God, who tells us the truth.  Prov 1921 Is 558
Edomites were descendants of Esau. Blood brothers, yet so different.  (See 'Two Brothers')
     'Flesh' and 'Spirit' have always been at war. Gen 2523,23, 27 Ro 85-9 Gal 517
Why does God say Jacob I loved but Esau I hated ? Mal 1
     Proud, macho Esau saw no need for God.
         He had contempt for God's covenant - and for God. Gen 2534
    Though Jacob lied and cheated;
         he admitted his need, he hungered for God and sought his blessing. Gen 3226
The pride of your heart has deceived you ... who can bring me down?. 13
     Petra was rich and seemed very secure - their rock fortress was easily defended.
God's verdict - You will be destroyed for ever. 110  Why?
    Because you gloated over the defeat of Jerusalem. 111,12 (605 and 597 BC)
    And God just changed the trade route through Petra; so their wealth vanished. Easy!

Esau also chose to marry 2 Hittite wives. Grief to parents - and to God. Gen 2634,35
Esau lost the blessing and developed a murderous grudge - like Cain. Gen 2741
Jealousy is dangerous. He refused to admit it was all his own fault.
Jacob sent away, so he inherited 100% of Isaac's possessions for a few short years,
      but lost his soul for ever. A very poor choice.
'Spirit' of Esau in descendants:
      Edomites refused to allow Israelites passage on their way to Canaan.
      Doeg glad to murder 85 priests who gave David Goliath's sword. 1 Sam 21,22
      No compassion for Judah when exiled to Babylon. Obediah
            Like Palestinians rejoice over suicide bombs, 9/11 and Iraqi Scuds in 1991
      Herod the Great murders Bethlehem babies to protect his own throne. Math 216
      UK murders 180,000 babies/year (abortion) and we think God doesn't notice!
Esau refused to repent.

Will England follow the example of Jacob or Esau?

The day of the Lord is near for all nations ... 115
     A day will come when all men and nations will reap what they have sown.
But on Mt Zion there will be deliverance; it will be holy ...
         and the kingdom will be the Lord's. 117,21
     In that day the house of Esau will be stubble. 118
     In that day the proud man will be humbled, wickedness destroyed;
    God will be honoured and obeyed, truth and honesty will prevail.
The kingdom of God will be established for ever.  Jer 235,6  Heb 18
How hard it is to be patient!


Jeremiah   Jerusalem 626 to 586 BC       [Contents]

Jeremiah = to build or to throw down.
His name is highly significant in discerning the prophecy of Jeremiah to Judah.
    God would both destroy and build.
A priest from Anathoth, 3 miles NE of Jerusalem. Taught scriptures.
Contemporary prophets - Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Obadiah
Daniel and Ezekiel would have heard Jeremiah in Jerusalem prior to their exile in Babylon.
He was not a hopeless misery, as some suppose, but a man of faith who grieved.
     Throughout his long ministry he wept alone over the wickedness of Judah.
     He didn't just criticise, that is all too easy, but he cared - like his Lord.
          414,19  821-91  Lu 1334 also Jer 1024
How could the people exchange the Glory of God for worthless idols? 211,21
Jeremiah is quoted in Math 218 1129 2113 Heb 1016 Rev 84 1310 182,4 etc
Mostly Hebrew poetry - concise, careful, emotional and rational (heart + mind).
Prophesied during reigns of:
    Josiah         640-609
    Jehoahaz     609
    Jehoiakim   609-598
    Zedekiah     597-586
    Jehoiachin   598
    See 2 Ch 34-36 and 2 Kg 22-25 for history

Ministry (chronologically)
1 626
Jeremiah anointed prophet when still a reticent teenager,
God promised to rescue him and to remain with him,
    but told he must speak all that he hears. 14-19 1520 3911,12
Persecuted. 1121 1818 201,2, 7-9 268,11,21 3715,16 384-6,28
    Rescued from Satan's clutches but not from hardship.
    He died only when his work was completed (41 years).
Sensitive and earnest, he would faithfully speak and write
    all that he heard. 17
"Declares the Lord" etc x 304 in 1364 verses!
Sees Almond tree, God says, "I am watching" (Heb.)
    (Hebrew ‘Saqed'= almond, ‘Saqad'='to watch')
God is not blind or deaf to anything man does. He sees it all.
Judgement on wickedness will come from the north.
2-6 626-609
Jeremiah reveals social and spiritual corruption as sin.
    Never popular. People rebelled, forsaking the Lord. 217
Jerusalem consistently refused to hear or respond to correction; 229,30
    53 610,16,19 724-28 117-10 253,4 3233 3514,15 444,5  Therefore ...
Judah failed to learn from Israel. 36-10
Claimed innocence and refused to blush. 235 33 615
If I can find one honest person I will forgive. 51 Gen 1823-32
All are greedy for gain. (basis of idolatry) 613 811
False prophets say "peace".  But God is angry. 614  Is 3010
False hope. 222 531
Presumed 'God will do nothing'. 512   Today 'God of Love'.
Sin always has a high price tag - Judgement, death, destruction.
   515-17 61,6,11,19 911,25,26
7-10 Post 621 Reforms
Preaching in the Temple Gate. (i.e. to 'religious' people)
Reform your ways. Do not trust deceptive words. 74,8,10
Repeatedly sent prophets. 713,25,26   No one repents. 86
Even prayer will not turn away God's national judgement.
    716 1111b 2320  Lu 131-5  Math 23
They even sacrificed their children to idols (Molech). 731 3235
Senseless shepherds do not seek the Lord. 1021
Sin = Content without God - Rich man c.f. Lazarus
Since my people are crushed, I am crushed, I mourn. 821
Reforms removed public idols, but not private ones. 1113
Idol worship is so ridiculous! 105 c.f. 6
11-20 609-605
Terms of the Covenant (and Law) clearly restated. 111-5
Men of Anathoth plot to kill him. 1118-23
Complaint. Why do the wicked prosper? 121
    God's answer - I will uproot and destroy them. 1214
    No escape. 1111 (Not until later. 1215)
Signs of spoiled linen belt and of full wineskins. 131-14
Drought encourages yet more false prophecy. 141-16
    But God says they will all be exiled. 1418b 1319 1613
    Natural disasters are rarely seen as the hand of God.
Do not marry, mourn at funeral or enjoy any feast.
    Costly signs. 161,5,8 c.f. Ezekiel and Hosea
Blessing of trust in God or curse of deceit. 175-9
Clay pot is re-shaped = a nation that heeds warning.
    But Judah refuses to change. 181-12 So destruction.
    'Fired' pot is smashed - not repairable. 191-13
Jeremiah put in stocks. God's verdict is unchanged. 201-6
221-23 608 Do what is just and right. King built himself new palace. 2213,15
Exiled Jehoahaz will not return. 2210-12
Jehoiakim's body will be thrown outside city. 2219
26 608 Because you've not listened, this city will be destroyed.
Jeremiah threatened with death. God protects him.
35 606 Recabites rewarded for their righteousness and obedience.
25 605 Leaders and people refused to listen for 23 years
    so destruction of Judah and exile for 70 years.
    586 to 516 (not 605-537). 2511 2910
Jehoiakim surrenders to Nebuchadnezzar without fight
    Daniel and best young men taken to Babylon.
36,45 604 Jehoiakim burns scroll with contempt.
Baruch given assurance of God's protection.
23 604 Righteous Branch will come. Judah will be saved. 33
Lying prophets will deceive many.  Math 244,11,24
2224-30 597 Jehoiakim captured after siege. Body thrown over wall. 2219  
      see Josephus p.217
Jehoiachin made king, exiled and told he will never return.
      Cursed. Signet ring passed to Shealtiel. 2224 Hag 223  2 Ch 26
      Uncle Zedekiah appointed by Nebuchadnezzar.
Temple treasure, Ezekiel and others taken to Babylon.
Zedekiah, you are like a basket of rotten figs. 24
Judah will serve 'my servant Nebuchadnezzar' in Babylon.
    Then I will come and bring them back. 276,22
God himself will fight against Jerusalem. 214-14 259  c.f. Zech 12,14
Hananiah, the false prophet, dies as predicted. 28
Letter to exiles. After 70 years you will return. 29
If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. 2913  Deut 429
'The end' (and 586 BC) will be 'a time of trouble for Jacob'. 307
Your wound is incurable, but I will heal your wounds.
Only later will you understand this miracle. 3012,17,24
'Yet I will not destroy you completely.' (unlike Jerusalem)
    518 1415 1615 231-6 2913 307,11
I have loved you ... I am Israel's father ...
I will make a new covenant ... I will forgive. 313,9,31,34
Buys his cousin's field. Nothing is too hard for God. 32
    Not even the restoration of Judah. 3016-24 31 336-26
    Not even the restoration of Judah. 3016-24 31 336-26
Now, the Babylonian siege will succeed. 3226-36a
God will gather and make everlasting covenant. 3236b-44
Righteous Branch will surely cleanse and save Judah. 33
Officials reneged on promise to free slaves.
    So they will endure famine, plague and slavery. 34
588-586 Zedekiah seeks an answer, but rejects God 5 times.
    342-5 211-14 373-10 3717 3814-28
Jeremiah beaten and imprisoned for discouraging the soldiers. 3718-21
    But he is not silenced!
Thrown into cistern. Rescued. 381-13 3915-18
Jerusalem falls, city and Temple totally destroyed. 39
Zedekiah's sons killed, then he is blinded and exiled to Babylon.
40-44 586
Nebuchadnezzar orders special care for Jeremiah. 3912
    (Daniel had been his respected PM for 17 years)
Jeremiah given freedom by Nebuchadnezzar. 404
Righteous Gedaliah assassinated by rebel Jews. 407 - 413
Johanan takes Jeremiah to Egypt. 4116 - 4313
46-51 Various Judgement of God upon Gentile nations. (and Ezek 25-32,35)
52 Epilogue

Jeremiah Reflects the Saviour

Jeremiah warned the Jews of the destruction of the 1st Temple.
Jesus warned the Jews of the destruction of the 2nd Temple. Both were ignored.

After Calvary, God waited 40 years (till 70 AD) - the period of testing.
Jeremiah preached and warned the people for 40 years.

Both suffered many assassination attempts and were rejected by men.
    Jer 1118,21 268 3626 384 Lu 429,30 Jn 71 859 1031,39 1150 c.f. Jn 184,5

Both wept - not for themselves, but for the people.  821-91 Lu 1941
In Israel it takes a man to cry. In most countries of the West it is thought cissy.
      Stoicism is Greek, not Hebrew.
One day God will wipe away all the believer's tears.  Is 258 Rev 717
Jeremiah's personal lament reflects the crying heart of God.  207-18 Lam 3

Jeremiah's cave (where he prayed) is next to Golgotha (Gordon's Calvary).

Honest prayers. 1023-25 121-4 207-18 and Lamentations.
God answers, but not as we might expect. Is 556-11

Jesus poured out his heart to his Father in Gethsemane - Math 2636-46
      and at Calvary - Ps 22

The world talks much about their 'rights';
      Christians talk about responsibility and admit that we deserve nothing.
We live in a meritocracy; you only get what you work for.
But the Kingdom of God is based on:
      mercy (not getting what we deserve)
      grace (getting what we do not deserve)
Jeremiah didn't deserve his life of trials, rejection and tears. Neither did Jesus.
Jesus didn't deserve to be crucified - we did.
Jesus was raised from the dead; Jeremiah lives with his Saviour today and for ever!

Which part of the life of Christ do we seek?
Are we willing to walk an uncomfortable, unpopular road.
Are we eager to share salvation with this wicked generation?
Is the Church like the men of Issachar,
      who 'understood the times and knew what Israel should do.' ?  1 Ch 12 32

Lamentations       [Contents]

Each chapter is a carefully written acrostic. (except Lam 5)
    i.e. Each verse starts with successive Hebrew letters (Lam 3 is a triple acrostic).
Each poem tells of the sin, the anger of God and his mercy. Considered feeling.

1 is about Jerusalem's weeping. Referred to as 'She' in 11-11 and 'Me' in 112-22
Tells of the personal agony of destruction of city, the Temple and people.
Admits to many sins, and it was the Lord who has brought this grief.
Jeremiah was not comforted because Nebuchadnezzar gave him freedom.

2 is about God's perspective. 'He' was angry and ordered this just judgement.
Jerusalem had refused to listen to God. (Jeremiah warned them for 40 years)
Then the Lord fulfilled his word - none escaped.

3 is personal, ' I ', Jeremiah felt deeply the continuous rejection and persecution.
Yet, God is compassionate and faithful - 'I will wait for him' and for salvation.
Both calamities and good things come from the Lord. Why should I complain?
'Streams of tears flow from my eyes because my people are destroyed.'

4 is about 'They', the prosperous sons of Zion were once gold but are now clay.
Their agony in extreme famine is far worse than the sword.
Their suffering was not arbitrary, but just punishment for proud, unrepentant sinners.

5 is about 'Us'. Our dancing has turned to mourning. Zion lies destroyed.
'Woe to us for we have sinned.'   'Restore us to yourself, O Lord that we may return'
    (Not granted to them, but only 70 years later)

Lamentations is sung every year in synagogues on the 9th Av.
i.e. the exact day the Temple was destroyed in both 586 BC and also in 70 AD.


Ezekiel   Babylon 593 to 573 BC                    [Contents]

A young priest deported by Nebuchadnezzar in 597.  2 Kg 248-17
A brick-making slave in Babylon, who knew he would never serve in the Temple.
In his grief he sought God - intense, urgent.
After 4 years, God spoke to him:
Vision of Four Living Creatures and of God.  14 - 314  
      Wheels moved in unison at every thought of God; what a contrast to Jerusalem.
Like Daniel, Ezekiel was overwhelmed for 7 days.  315  Dan 728  827
"... declares the Sovereign Lord." (or similar) x 205. 24 511 63
      God is Lord, not Nebuchadnezzar. In distress our God remains 'King of kings'.
      This judgement is not a sign of God's absence, but his presence. He ordered it.
Commissioned. 23-8 Like Jeremiah. Eats scroll, tasted sweet initially.  33,14
      'Listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak.'  310
      The exiles did not like what they saw or heard because they rejected God.  37-9
Ezekiel struck dumb by the all-wise God; told to build clay model of Jerusalem.  4
      He acts the siege and famine for 390 + 40 days. Then the final destruction.
      He gains an 'Oscar'; there was no one who did not see God's message -
      Jerusalem will be destroyed and the whole generation will die in Babylon! 5-7
      'Then they (or you) will know that I am the Lord'  610,13,14 etc x 53 in Ezek.
They will know, but what will they do?   Repent?   Regrettably rare. 122
      Many thought God was blind and would just ignore their sin. But No!
The prophet correctly proclaims: Disaster, doom and the just wrath of God!  7
'Sees' idolaters in the Temple and Glory of the Lord departing - unnoticed.
God marks all who grieved; the rest are killed.  9, 10, 1123
Wicked leaders proclaim peace but the Lord sends a sword.  112,3,8-10 1310

The same Sovereign Lord who sent Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Jerusalem
      graciously promises to return,
      and given them an undivided heart and a new spirit. 1116-21 1422 3627 3714
Returned in 538 BC and 1948 AD. Await a greater fulfilment of  a 'new spirit'.

Elders in Jerusalem and Babylon had 'set up idols in their hearts'.  85,12,14,16 143,6 1620
Judgement so sure that Noah, Daniel and Job would only save themselves. 1414
Allegory of Israel - despised at birth, rescued by the Lord, but rebelled. 16
The sin of Sodom was not only homosexuality,
    they were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned. They refused to help the poor and needy. 1649
A history lesson of rebellion and idolatry. 201-26 (+Act 7) So I am against you. 213
Yet I looked on them with pity. 2017 Afterwards ... I will accept you. 2039,41
Sins catalogued; they were careless and content without God. 221-12 Lu 1619-31
All must bear the consequences. 2335,49 'Lord, make us hungry for you.'
Why has God been so patient with the UK?   We certainly do not deserve it.

God took 'the delight of his eyes' (his wife) and told him not to mourn.
For God was about to destroy his love, Jerusalem; but he wouldn't weep. 2415-26
The people loved their Temple, but not their God. Like Westminster Abbey.
Who said it was good being a prophet?!

When the first fugitive arrives with news of Jerusalem's destruction,
Ezekiel speaks again - as promised. Another sign. 3321,22 1st words. 3324-33

Judgement of other nations. 25-32, 35. (also Jer 46-51) Why included in Bible?
There is a price to pay for rebelling against God and against his chosen people.
The UK Foreign Office the EU and even the USA need to heed these chapters.
Hatred of Israel and of true Christians will have disastrous consequences.

Ezekiel sees Messiah as the good Shepherd who searches for his sheep.
Life under his care is very different from being under man's dominion. 3411-31
Israel scorned by nations, therefore: 3615,22-36
      a) Restored on Mountains of Israel.
      b) Not for your name but my Holy Name. Mercy is never deserved.
          The world will know that I have done this, not you. (or the IDF)
      c) Promises them cleansing and a new spirit.
Today Israel is a nation but is currently giving away the Judean hills to the Palestinians.
Israel does not yet know that it is Lord who restores them, not a UN Resolution in 1948.
Israel is not yet cleansed - but God's promise is clear and will be fulfilled.
Bones (Israel) hear the Word of the Lord and come together (as Israel today);
    then prophesied to the breath, and the bones with flesh came to life. 371-14
          (this second part has yet to be fulfilled)
Two sticks united prophecy. Gathered, cleansed, one King, everlasting covenant.
This too will be fulfilled when Jesus returns for his Millennium reign.

Gog and Magog. 38, 39
Israel is in peace and safety. Rev 20 shows this to be at the end of the Millennium.
Who are these people? Many speculations. Some even place it pre-Tribulation!
God will destroy Satan and the evil nations in just and final judgement. Uses fire. 2 Pe 310
Cleansed Israel will forget their unfaithfulness c.f. Zech 12 when they mourned.

Vision of New Temple (573). 40-46
Description brings conviction. 4310
Design (detail) reveals forgiveness. 4311
      a) Wood altar and Most Holy Place, but no Laver, Ark (Mercy seat), or Lampstand.
      b) Sacrifice had to be repeated daily. Need for perfect Sacrifice. Heb 725 88,12
Sees the Glory of the Lord return. 434   (When and to whom?)
The ever-flowing, healing River. 471-12 Rev 221,2  This river is sorely needed.
Boundaries of the land and City gates. 4713-4835
This eternal city is called, "The Lord is there."

These visions of Ezekiel are not physical and literal, but they are real and they are true.
There is no fantasy and no human make-believe.
The Kingdom of God is more extensive and the healing more complete!
      It is, 'immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine'.   Eph 320,21
This is what Ezekiel sees after 25 years in exile.


Daniel   Babylon 605 to 539 BC       [Contents]

Daniel (late teens) was taken to Babylon in 605 by Nebuchadnezzar.
18-17 Resolved not to defile himself with idol meat. Not a vegetarian.
He and 3 friends graduated with 1st class honours. All renamed.

Hebrew names
Note their significance

Babylonian Names

Daniel God is my judge Belteshazzar Bel protects the king
Hananiah Yahweh has been gracious Shadrach Command of Aku (lunar deity)
Mishael Who is like God is? Mechach Who is like Aku is?
Azariah The Lord has helped Abednego Servant of Nebo
    Nebuchadnezzar Nebo has protected the succession rites.

Babel, Babylon, Baal, Bel (also called Marduk) same God of weather, prosperity.
Nebo (son of Bel) god of learning, science, writing. But see Is 461,2,5,9,11 Jer 101-8

By God's hand Daniel, a Jewish exile became his Prime Minister for 45 years.  Dan 1
The principal message is that it is 'the Most High God' (x13 in Dan).
    and he alone, who orders the timing of world events. He appoints and dis-appoints rulers.
    God had not suffered defeat when he ordered Judah's fall. Jer 251-11 2910-14 Hab 16
Daniel is seen as a consistent, courteous, courageous, honest and wise man of God.

God reveals dreams and writings to Daniel from the beginning:
     (like to Joseph, exiled in Egypt, who also became PM).
Statue = 4 world empires - as man sees them.  Dan 2
Gold, silver, bronze, iron = Babylon, Mede/Persia, Greece, Rome.
Revealed as man sees them - strong, valuable, glorious.
Each would trample on Jerusalem until the times of the Gentiles is fulfilled. Lu 2124)
Finally a Stone 'uncut by human hand' destroys them all.
      It becomes a great mountain.  This part of the vision is usually forgotten.
      Jesus Christ and his Kingdom. Rev 20 and 21,22. Lu 209-18  Most vital word
Beasts = same 4 empires, but revealed as God sees them (destructive beasts).  Dan 7
      Lion, bear, leopard, and 'most terrible'. (see more details below)
Ram and Goat = Medes/Persians and Greece. Dan 8
      Small horn arises from Goat
      Daniel is appalled at this 'master of intrigue', a foretaste of the Antichrist.
Felled tree = God's personal warning and Nebuchadnezzar's testimony.  Dan 4
Writing on the wall = God's judgement of Belshazzar. Same as Goliath, Sennacherib...  Dan 5
      No man can defy God and get away with it.

Nebuchadnezzar makes a statue. All gold . In earlier dream only head was gold.  Dan 3
He thought his ‘gold' kingdom was indestructible - and God was wrong.
Foolishly challenges the God of Daniel's 3 friends who refuse to worship it, or him.
God miraculously rescues these 3 faithful Jews in the fiery furnace.

The old man Daniel is again honoured by the new ruler, Cyrus (= Darius the Mede)
     He had served Babylon for 66 years. (over 40 years as Nebuchadnezzar's PM)
God is seen to preserve Daniel from lions and anti-Semitic jealousy.  Dan 6

God reveals much to his prophet Daniel in persistent honest prayer: 711,15 815 93,21 102
Prophets interpret the past, discern the present and predict the future.   Dan 9

Vision of 4 Beasts 4th (71-14) 553
Beast with 10 horns different. Nameless - so terrible. It crushed and devoured victims
From it another little horn arises, defeats 3/10 and is boastful.
Daniel is deeply troubled. He seeks God's answer and is given interpretation. 715-28
10 horns are 10 kings, from them comes the blasphemous little horn.
It will oppress the saints for 3½ years, until destroyed by the 'Ancient of Days'.
In this final Judgement the Son of Man is given the everlasting Kingdom.
Daniel remains troubled; not by what he didn't understand,
    but by what he did understand concerning the future oppression of the saints.

Vision of Ram (Medes and Persians) and Goat (Greece). Dan 8.  551
Goats horn broken and 4 came up in its place.
4 Generals would succeed the Greek, Alexander the Great
Another horn grew out of them. (Antiochus IV ~170 BC, not 'the little horn'.)
Saints and sacrifices given over to it. Gabriel explains the character of Antichrist.
A master of intrigue, strong, successful, proud, completely wicked.
Deceit prospers and saints are destroyed (martyred). Then God destroys him.
Maccabees defeat Antiochus after 2300 sacrifices (1150 morning +1150 evening)
Their surprising victory was ordained by God. Celebrated at Hanukkah by Jews.
Rev 13 describes the Antichrist of the last days; a similar demonic character.
Daniel ill, exhausted and appalled.

12 years later in 539 Daniel understood his reading of the Scriptures.
Confession of his and the nation's sin. Prayed earnestly for God to hear.  Dan 91-19
Gabriel comes again. 920-27   Reveals 70 x 7 years. (70 = 7+62+1)
This time table doesn't seem to be exact, but it establishes one clear promise.
     God will provide atonement for sin and bring in everlasting righteousness.   924
This is Daniel's great desire, and that of all who seek the Saviour. OT  and  NT.
Anointed One will be cut off. Ruler will destroy Jerusalem and Temple.
2000 year gap during which 'war will continue until the sudden end'.
The Peace Treaty in last 7 years, but broken in middle, sacrifices cease
    and desolating Abomination is set up until judgement is poured out on him.

In 537 Daniel sees the Lord of Glory, others fled.  Dan 10
Touched by hand and told, "Daniel, you are highly esteemed."  1010,19
Strengthened, told of battle in the heavenlies, and what is in the Book of Truth.
The immediate and amazingly detailed future is revealed. 530-164 BC.  112-39
This accurate prophecy was fulfilled so exactly that some say Daniel 11,12 must have been written later!
The events of 'last days' are also revealed.  1140-1213
Great distress; but redeemed delivered, resurrection to everlasting life or contempt.
Power of holy people broken for 3½ years.  127 725
Blessed is he who waits.

God gives us this overview of 'the times of the Gentiles' and world end-time events,
    not to prove our own various theories, but for us to be prepared and ready.
It is vital that we are not deceived.  Math 24 4,11,24 25 5,13 Rev 13 14
Nor discouraged or afraid.  Math 24 12,13,22 Dan 7 22 12 10,12 Rev 13 10b,18, 14 12
      Dan 6 26 Math 24 13 1 Co 1 7,8 Rev 18 20 2 10 Jn 6 26-29 Ps 73 Rev 19 1-8
No one can say that our gracious God has not warned us.
Today it is tragic that generally speaking the Church doesn't seem to heed it.
Most remain ignorant; caught up in either compromise with world values,
     or in enjoying their 'experiences'.

Parts of the visions are 'sealed until the time of the end'.  129
The events will only be recognised as they happen.
Beware; and don't become lazy or complacent.
In Math 24,25 Jesus tells 4 parables about what different people do
     while the Master or King's return is apparently delayed.
The Lord, who knows the minds of men, has included them for our learning.
Read and understand.  Be like the men of Issachar in David's day
"who understood the times and knew what Israel should do".  1 Ch 12 32

See also Joel 2 28-32 Zech 12-14
Much of Revelation is founded in Daniel by the gracious God who gave us both books.

More detail on this and other books can be found on the home page index:

Haggai   520 BC       [Contents]

In 538 Cyrus decreed that the Jews could return to rebuild the Temple.  Is 4428 451,13
About 42,000 returned under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua.
They completed the foundations, but were stopped by the Samaritans.  Ezra 38 - 45

After 18 years without progress and 66 years after the Temple's destruction,
    the word of the Lord came to Haggai. He challenged their priorities:
When is 'the right time' to do what is difficult?  12 Act 2425
Beware of 'Door pushing' guidance. (If it's easy or it works quickly, it's of God!)
"Imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised."  Heb 612
    e.g. Abraham, Jacob, Joseph ... Jesus.
Many have laid 'good (Christian) foundations' but have failed to finish building.

God's School for selfish indifference:
      "Consider (why) ... you planted much, but harvested little."  19 Is 510 Math 633
"Because my house remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house."
Note that trials are not always because of personal sin. e.g. Job c.f. Ps 733
'The whole remnant obeyed the word of the Lord' (Heart change. 1 Chron 2910-16)
    and they "worshipped the Lord in earnest". 112 (NLB)  A most beautiful verse.

"Be strong and work. For I am with you. Do not fear."  24,5
The new Temple was small and poor compared with the golden splendour of Solomon's.  23 Ezra 312
But what mattered was that God was with them.
Haggai longed not only for a new Temple, but for the return of God.  Ezek 1018 444
The second Temple was completed in 4 years in 516.
      As promised, exactly 70 years after it was destroyed in 586.  Jer 2511
"Consider how things were ... I struck all the work of your hands ...
      [but] from this day on I will bless you."  215-19
    c.f. Today, God is often seen as only being benevolent, and can safely be ignored.

"I will shake the heavens and the earth ... and the nations ..."  26,7a,,21 and Heb 1222-29
What does this mean? Signs (warnings) on earth and in the heavens.
When will man see how puny he is compared to Almighty God?  Exd 1918
"Lord Almighty" x12 in 38 verses. (c.f. "Sovereign Lord" in Ezekiel)
Physical shaking or collapse of national governments leading to New World Order dictatorship?
"I will fill this house with glory and in this place I will grant peace."  27b-9
Jesus is better in every way. Heb 86 1224 He has fulfilled this promise.
Peace with God by the one true and effective sacrifice of Christ himself.
Jerusalem has yet to know real peace - Why?  Lu 1942 2 Kg 922
      See  article on Jerusalem   [then use back arrow to return here]
Note what Jesus said about true and false peace. Math 1034 Jer 811 Jn 1427 1633

True peace: Math 1129 Lu 750 Act 1036 Ps 3711 Is 96,7 535 Ezek 3726

An interesting postscript - "I will overturn royal thrones ...
      Zerubbabel and Shealtiel, I will make you like my signet ring."  222,23
          i.e. Shaeltiel is not blood descendant but a 'new' line.
      Bloodline of Mary not through cursed line of Jehoiachin. Jer 2224-30   Lu 3 c.f. Math 1

Zechariah   520 - 480 BC       [Contents]

An exiled priest and a contemporary of Haggai.
Both had returned in 538 under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua.
The people were frightened and vulnerable. Was God with them again?
The Lord Almighty (x45 in 211 verses) calls for Repentance - obeyed. 11-6

Visions of Zechariah:
1. Man on Red Horse among the Myrtle Trees. 17-17 (the behind the scenes activity. e.g. 2 Kg 6)
"I am very zealous for Jerusalem, I will return to Jerusalem with mercy;
My house will be rebuilt. 1 Co 311
The Lord will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem."
This book is largely about Jerusalem (x36) and its eternal Priest and King.
     - a 'must' for all world leaders - but they have, and probably will ignore it.
       (c.f. blind teenager who wins 1999 Israeli Bible quiz with a perfect score)
God's anger at world complacency (peace without God).  Amos 66

2. Four Horns and Four Craftsmen. 118-21
Craftsmen will terrify the (enemy) horns that scattered Israel.  Prov 1810

3. Man with Measuring Line. 21-13
"Jerusalem will be a city without walls. ... I myself will be a wall of fire.
      And I will be its glory within. I will live among you."   24,5
This has always been God's longing. He will surely fulfill it.  Exd 258

4. Cleansing of Joshua, the High-Priest. 31-10
Satan rebuked. Only God can do this.
"Take off his filthy clothes. See, I have taken away your sin."   34  2 Co 521
"I am going to bring my servant the Branch".  38  Is 42 Jer 3315 Gen 29 = the Cross
"And I will remove the sin of this land in a single day."   39  Jn 1930 1 Pe 224 Rev 27

5. Gold Lampstand and Two Olive Trees. 41-14
"Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit."  46  1 Co 420 Mk 29-12
"O mighty mountain ... you will become level ground."  47
7 branch Lampstand = 7 eyes of the Lord. Rev 112-20
2 Olive trees = 2 anointed to serve the Lord. Rev 115,6

6. Flying Scroll. 51-4
Curse upon thieves and liars. Is 358-10

7. Woman in Measuring Basket (55-11) = Wickedness. Taken by 2 angels to Babylon. Rev 17

8. Four Chariots. 61-8
Red, black, white and dappled horses = 4 spirits of heaven, going out E, N, W and S.
God controls all the world and its governments. Dan 220,21 c.f. Dan 725

Coronation of Joshua the High-Priest. 69-15
As a forerunner of Jesus (King of Salem), Joshua is crowned. Heb 711-25 Act 224
He, the Branch, will build the Temple of the Lord   Jn 219-21 Eph 220
    and will be priest on his throne. (and our Advocate. 1 Jn 21,2 Ro 834)

Messages of Zechariah. 518 BC

Men of Bethel asked if they should continue Fasting?  71-3
1. Wrong motives? "Was it for me you fasted ... or feasted?"  74-7
Was it for an easier life-style, or a holy life with God?

2. Administer true justice and have real compassion for the needy. 78-10
Is 111-17 581-12 But they stubbornly refused. The Lord was angry.
He scattered them and made the pleasant land desolate. 711-14

3. Jerusalem will be restored.  81-17
"I am very jealous for Zion. I will return to Zion ... called City of Truth, the Holy Mountain."   82,3
"I will save my people and bring them back."  87  (Now as well as after Babylon)
"Do not be afraid.  Speak the truth to each other."  815,16

4. Fasts will be joyful feasts.  818-23 Ezra 619-22 + 60 years later Neh 8
Many will go to Jerusalem to seek the Lord Almighty.
Jews will be honoured because of the Lord their God. (c.f. today!)

5. Judgement on Judah's enemies.  91-8 (Not only her neighbours, but sin)
Power of strong, rich Tyre will be destroyed. 332BC Alexander (also US, UK)
Pride of the Philistines will be cut off.
How can any man stand proud before God?

The first 2 tell us what the people had to do.
The last 3 tell us what God planned to do.
These were only partly fulfilled by Christ at his 1st Coming.
They will be fulfilled at his 2nd Coming. Maybe in our generation!
Jerusalem will be restored, her feasts joyful and her enemies vanquished.

The Messianic Future.

The King is Coming. 99-1012  (some refers to 1st and some to 2nd Coming)
"Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion ... your King comes to you,
      righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey."  Jn 1212-16
"He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea."
"I will free your prisoners."  Lu 418,21 Is 22-4 Rev 204
"The Lord will appear over them ... shield them ... save them on that day."
"How attractive and beautiful they will be!"
"Ask the Lord for rain." (Not idols) (e.g. Josh 1519 or Carmel Contest 1 Kg 19)
"The Lord Almighty will care for his flock."  Jn 101-18 Ezek 3411-16
"From Judah will come the cornerstone."  Is 2816
"Though I scatter them, ... they will return ... I will bring them back."   20th C.

Two Shepherds and two staffs.  111-17
Prophesies rejection of Messiah at 1st Coming,
      and their subsequent destruction in AD70 (1.5M Jews die) 111-3
One shepherd (Jesus) valued at 30 pieces of silver. Math 2615 273,10
Another shepherd (Pharisees and Sadducees + End-time Antichrist)
      But they will not care for the lost. This is not the end of the story!  Ezek 34
Jerusalem an Immovable Rock. 121-9  
      (Why should Rome and Islam have a greater claim for Jerusalem than the Jews?
            for whom it has been their capital for 3000 years)
All nations who try to move her will hurt themselves.
"Jerusalem strong because the Lord Almighty is their God."
"People of Jerusalem will look on me, the one they have pierced, and mourn."
Their return will be both physical and spiritually with weeping. 1210-14

The 1st Coming. 131-9
"On that day a fountain will be opened ... to cleanse them from sin."  (and 39)
"On that day I will banish idols from the land."  And all false prophets.
"Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered."
    2/3 struck down, and remaining 1/3 tested in fire. "They are (still) my people."  Ro 1129

The 2nd Coming. 141-21
"I will gather all nations against Jerusalem, ½ city exiled ...
      Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations. ...
      Mt of Olives split, Then the Lord God will come."
"On that day ... when evening comes there will be light ...
      Living water will flow ... The Lord will be king over the whole earth.  (Ezek 47)
      Jerusalem will be secure."
"Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet.... great panic.
"Survivors from all nations will worship the King." All other plagued.
"There will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord Almighty."


Malachi   430 BC       [Contents]

With the Temple rebuilt (516) and now 70 years later the walls (445 BC),
     they were disappointed with God. He had not rewarded their diligence!
They expected he would make them a mighty nation again.
Malachi reveals the problem, and God's unswerving faithfulness.

'Jacob I loved'; but God hates the humanist, macho 'Esau' spirit. 12-5
Esau was skilled and strong; he saw no need for God or his blessing.
      He valued it so little that he sold it for a bowl of soup!
      He was the original 'me, now'. And he married two Hittite wives.
Jacob was 'tied to his mothers apron strings' and rejected by Isaac.
      But in his need (that continued with Laban), he sought God.
      He yearned for his blessing from Isaac and from God himself at Peniel.
Esau became the father of the Edomites; Jacob's descendant bore the Messiah!
      (See 'Two Brothers'   and  'Esau and England')
Humanism, being content without God remains a grave stumbling block for man.
     Consider the sobering story of the Rich man and Lazarus. Lu 1619-31

In worship they did not come to honour God, but to seek his blessing, his gifts.
     Like those who worshipped Baal and Ashtarti for prosperity and fertility.
They even brought blind, blemished animals for sacrifice to the Lord Almighty. 17-14
      Like Cain who just brought 'some corn', anything will do. What an insult.
          c.f. Abel who gave the best of the firstborn, knowing that was not good enough.
           Hebrews 11 say he offered it in faith; looking for the 'better sacrifice' of Jesus.
      Or Simon who brought nothing c.f. Mary who gave everything. Lu 736-50

'Lord Almighty' x24 in 55 verses - as in Haggai and Zechariah.
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."
Men of every generation ignore or insult God at our peril.

Judah had begun to marry foreign women and worship their gods. 211
      As did Solomon. 1 Kg 111-13  This was also Balaam's enticing teaching. Rev 214
It was not that they were foreign, but that they worshipped idols.
      Boaz married Ruth and she became the great-grandmother of David.
Beware of 'other faiths'. They are not innocent, 'other ways to the same God'.
      They are as idols, a demonic distraction from the only Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Also Christians marrying non-Christians; with spiritually disastrous consequences.  2 Co 614,15

Judah wept before God who hadn't given them what they asked for,
     but they did not weep for their sins. 213 Hos 713,14 Ps 5117
'My goal is God himself, not joy, nor peace , nor even blessing, but himself, my God.'
Note that prosperity does not prove our righteousness.
      Nor do trials proove sin. e.g. Job, though even he repented before the Lord.

God is coming! Who can endure the day of the refiner's fire?  32
How gracious of God to warn us; but how few are willing to heed the warning.
Many have asked, 'Why do the wicked prosper?'  314 Jer 121 Ps 733
      "You will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked. 318
      Do we yet see this distinction? Like all God's promises, this too will be fulfilled.

"But for you who revere my name,
     the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in his wings."
42 Zech 131
"See, I send you the prophet Elijah
     before that great and terrible day of the Lord comes."
460 years later, John the Baptist came, right on time!
Jesus affirmed that he was the Elijah who was to come. Math 1114
What did he proclaim?
      "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." Math 32
      "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" Jn 129
Jesus is the only one who can heal the mortal wound of sin; the disease that afflicts all men.

Today the world continues to reject God, especially in the prosperous West.
This last prophecy of the OT tells us that it is still the day of opportunity.
His message 2500 years ago remains totally accurate, relevant and ever more urgent.

Psalms       [Contents]

See 'Poetry in Scripture' page 2
David in the psalms portrays a wonderful honesty; there is no pretence.
Whether sad or angry, rejoicing or contrite, searching or trusting, he says so.
Their expression covers a rich breadth of human experience.
And they add considerable revealed truth of God.
The Psalms are much more than an interesting autobiography.
What David feels is always set alongside the truth of God, which is then affirmed.
"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God."  Ps 425

Why do the nations conspire ... against the Lord?
The One enthroned in heaven laughs! ...
Therefore you kings, be wise; be warned ... serve the Lord with fear.  Ps 2

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars,
which you set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him ...?  Ps 8

Prophetic - Ps 22     Real repentance - Ps 51          Forgiveness - Ps 32, 34, 65, 130
Trust - Ps 27, 46     The Law of the Lord - Ps 19    'Search me, O God' - Ps 139
Reality - Ps 73        Praise and worship - Ps 95, 98, 100, 103-106, 144-150 etc

Some Psalms were written by Asaph (David's song leader);
and some by the 'sons of Korah' (sacred musicians); and others.

Proverbs       [Contents]

Contains a wealth of wisdom, that could only have come from the heart of God.
They are mixed up like a string of beautiful pearls.
If only men would desire to follow such wisdom; to see it as wise and true.
All men will soon discover it is only possible through new birth
     and the continued receipt of much grace.
It is one thing to know about the truth, to make resolutions and to have goals,
     but for the heart to be righteous, we need Jesus.  Jn 539,40,44 Jer 3131-34
Many see God's wisdom as too difficult or too restrictive; and give up.  Math 2514-30

Today there is an abundance of knowledge; but wisdom is rare.
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." 17 ...
      Then comes revelation!


Ecclesiastes       [Contents]

This is Solomon's honest testimony of a life that had failed.
He began with everything and finished with nothing of value.
Yes, he had built the Temple - and much else besides.
But he had squandered the blessing of God.
He had lived a life satisfying his own desires.
He had built and worshipped idols he made for his many foreign wives.
Wisdom alone is never sufficient.
He wrote 3 books, but failed to heed what he had written.
He sought answers to life's problems in his own wisdom instead of from God.
He wrote 3 books, but failed to heed what he had written.
It is sad, but not surprising that he concludes that everything is meaningless.
His wisdom led to pride, not humility and reliance upon the Lord.
Though studded with truth, his conclusions are those of a man gone wrong.
Whilst he knew about God, there is no evidence of his seeking him, or of repenting.
       There is no joy in knowing God's forgiveness or assurance of eternal life.
How different Solomon was from his father David.
This book is a most relevant lesson today when so many see life as pointless;
      when knowledge abounds, but Christ crucified is rejected and scorned.

Song of Solomon       [Contents]

A beautiful book that reveals the love of Christ for his Bride,
     and of her longing for him.
Christ tells of his love for his Bride; but she was "like a garden locked, a fountain sealed."
      So Holy Spirit, "Blow on my garden".  412-16
Once she refused him and then when she went to open the door, he was gone!
Why? Her hands dripped with myrrh (good works).  52-8
Our relationship with Jesus depends solely on what he has done.
Then their joy of being together knew no bounds.
See her "coming up from the desert leaning on her lover."  82
Her Bridegroom brought her from the desert to fragrance and fruitfulness.
"Many waters cannot quench love." It cannot be bought or sold.  87 Ro 838,39

Wonderfully Jewish in character.
It does not see the passion between husband and wife as something to be ashamed of.
The language of love is delicate, sensitive c.f. modern basic, crude TV.

Tragically men have always cheapened God's best.
The family is being destroyed by: economics, lust, and sodomy.
Too late, man will discover that God is right and his laws are the very best.
As both Creator and Redeemer, he should know!


True Stories - Ruth, Job, Jonah and Esther       [Contents]

Ruth  1100 BC A beautiful story of a Moabitess who learned to trust God.  Ps 910
Not by chance; but God ordained she gleaned in fields of Boaz.  23
No one who takes refuge in the Lord will be disappointed.  212
Her obedience and faithfulness turned despair into glory.  Ps 348
She became the great-grandmother of King David. (Not known to her)
Closer kinsman wanted Elimelech's land, but not the foreign woman.
     (The redeemed land would belong to her issue, not to him)
Always read by Jews at Pentecost. (First-fruits harvest)
Job God knew that Job would not crumble under hardship.
He allowed and even suggested it to Satan, who was thus defeated.
His friends wrongly said the crisis was because of undisclosed sin.
Almighty God questions Job and reveals himself.
      Job falls before him, "... Now my eyes have seen you.
     Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes."
God has his way with him and blest him then and for ever.
      No man can really 'attain' unless he first kneels before God.
      Moth, rust, thieves or death will take away all this world's riches.
In obedience and with grace he prays effectively for his 3 friends.
Jonah  763 BC He ran away from God's commission for fear of looking a fool.
      He suspected that God's word would cause Nineveh to repent.
      And then God would not fulfill Jonah's prophecy of destruction.
Died in a great fish and was resurrected by God.
      Sign quoted by Jesus untrue unless this is what happened. Math 1240
Jonah obeys, and Nineveh is saved (but destroyed by Babylon in 612 BC).
      Example of real repentance. Stopped doing evil - not just talk.
Jonah did not rejoice; though heaven did.
We must each wonder at the continued grace and patience of God.
Jonah's words are 'aided' by total eclipse in 763 + flooding and famine.
      God's timing is always perfect.
Population of UK is 58 million; very few know right from wrong!
We have been warned in many ways; but have yet to repent.
Esther  473 BC Haman was an Agagite.  31  
Conflict with Mordecai began over 1000 years earlier
      Esau .v. Jacob, then Amalek .v. Israel during Exodus.
Then 500 years previously Samuel slew Agag,
      and Doeg betrayed David and priests of Nob.
Proud Haman hated Mordecai and planned to destroy all the Jews.
      Haman was not the first or last with this evil intent.
      55 years ago Hitler also failed. Within 3 years Israel was re-born.
The Jewish queen of a Persian king risked her life for her people.
      God enabled her courage and beauty to save the day.
"An eye for an eye" is justice, not excessive revenge.
      The Jews took no booty.  Lev 2420   Math 538
Celebrated by Jews at the feast of Purim (4 weeks before Passover).
"He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep." Ps 1214
God's law - 'the soul that sins shall surely die' cannot be changed either.
From beginning to end, only Jesus can set us free from sin and death.
      Gen 217   Ro 521  8