Tag: Prophets

Blessed Shanah Tovah 2015

Joshua 6 Jericho march…In the seventh month, on the first of the month, there shall be a sabbath for you, a remembrance with shofar blasts, a holy convocation. -Leviticus 16:24

Rosh Hashanah occurs on the first and second days of Tishri. In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, literally, “head of the year” or “first of the year.” Rosh Hashanah is commonly known as the Jewish New Year.

The name “Rosh Hashanah” is not used in the Bible to discuss this holiday. The Bible refers to the holiday as Yom Ha-Zikkaron (the day of remembrance) or Yom Teruah (the day of the sounding of the shofar). The holiday is instituted in Leviticus 23:24-25.

Shofar: Click to hear it blow!The shofar is a ram’s horn which is blown somewhat like a trumpet. No work is permitted on Rosh Hashanah. Much of the day is spent in synagogue. Another popular observance during this holiday is eating apples dipped in honey, a symbol of our wish for a sweet new year. Religious services for the holiday focus on the concept of G-d’s sovereignty.

“The Jewish new year is not just a time to renew our resolve to lose another fifteen pounds. Rather, it’s the time when our fate stands in the balance as G‑d reviews our past year and decides whether or not to renew our lease on His planet. As such, Jewish greetings for this time of year (the Jewish New Year is in the fall) reflect our prayers for a good, sweet year up ahead.

The catch-all greeting you can use for the entire season is “Shanah tovah” (שנה טובה), which means “Good year.” The word “u’metuka” (ומתוקה), and sweet, is sometimes appended to the end.

Here are some other greetings that you may hear:

Before Rosh Hashanah, people wish each other “Ketivah v’chatima tovah”(כתיבה וחתימה טובה) “A good inscription and sealing [in the Book of Life].” On Rosh Hashanah eve, as we return from synagogue service, it is traditional to greet one another with “Leshana tovah tikatev v’tichatem” (לשנה טובה תכתב ותחתם). When greeting a female, this is modified to“Leshana tovah tikatevee v’tichatemee” (לשנה טובה תכתבי ותחתמי). This means, “May you be written and sealed for a good year.”

From noon on Rosh Hashanah, when our fates are already written, until Yom Kippur, when our fates for the coming year are to be sealed, we wish each other “Gemar chatima tovah” (גמר חתימה טובה), “A good final sealing.”

Now for the Yiddish version: The standard wish is for “A gut gebentsht yohr,” “A good and blessed year” (א גוט געבענטשט יאהר). And since tradition tells us that our fate is not really sealed until Hoshanah Rabba, the customary salutation for that day is “A gutten kvittl” (א גוט’ן קוויטל), “A good inscription.”

No matter what we say, the main thing is to wish each other a good, sweet year with all our heart – because that is what G‑d values the most.”

(Read more: http://www.chabad.org/holidays/JewishNewYear/template_cdo/aid/174683/jewish/New-Year-Greetings-Explained.htm)

Rosh Hashanah will occur on the following days of the secular calendar: Jewish Year 5776: sunset September 13, 2015 – nightfall September 15, 2015.

“The Bible speaks of Rosh Hashanah as occurring on the first day of the seventh month. The first month of the Jewish calendar is Nissan, occurring in March and April. Why, then, does the Jewish “new year” occur in Tishri, the seventh month? Judaism has several different “new years,” Nissan 1 is the new year for the purpose of counting the reign of kings and months on the calendar, Elul 1 (in August) is the new year for the tithing of animals, Shevat 15 (in February) is the new year for trees (determining when first fruits can be eaten, etc.), and Tishri 1 (Rosh Hashanah) is the new year for years (when we increase the year number. Sabbatical and Jubilee years begin at this time).” (Read more: http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday2.htm)

Leviticus 23:24-25 New King James Version (NKJV)

24 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. 25 You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.’”

Biblical events of blowing of the trumpets and the victories of God’s people thereof:

Then seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord went on continually and blew with the trumpets. And the armed men went before them. But the rear guard came after the ark of the Lord, while the priests continued blowing the trumpets.

20 So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.

Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers—they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing—and they cried, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!”
21 And every man stood in his place all around the camp; and the whole army ran and cried out and fled. 22 When the three hundred blew the trumpets, the Lord set every man’s sword against his companion throughout the whole camp; and the army fled to Beth Acacia,[a] toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel Meholah, by Tabbath.
blowing of trumpts
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This year’s Yom Kippur: life, health and happiness

yom kippur in uk yom-kippur-verse-290In less than a month Yom Kippur will arrive. This year’s Yom Kippur will be held on September 22–23, 2015. Those who practice this ritual believe that God will accept their repentance, forgive their sins, and seal their verdict for another year of life, health and happiness. Here is an excerpt describing briefly how they view the yearly repeated Yom Kippur in terms of their relation with God.

“Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year—the day on which we are closest to G‑d and to the quintessence of our own souls. It is the Day of Atonement—“For on this day He will forgive you, to purify you, that you be cleansed from all your sins before G‑d” (Leviticus 16:30).

For nearly twenty-six hours—from several minutes before sunset on 9 Tishrei to after nightfall on 10 Tishrei—we “afflict our souls”: we abstain from food and drink, do not wash or anoint our bodies, do not wear leather footwear, and abstain from marital relations.”

“The day is the most solemn of the year, yet an undertone of joy suffuses it: a joy that revels in the spirituality of the day and expresses the confidence that G‑d will accept our repentance, forgive our sins, and seal our verdict for a year of life, health and happiness.”

(http://www.chabad.org/holidays/JewishNewYear/template_cdo/aid/177886/jewish/What-Is-Yom-Kippur.htm)

King David declared this need for forgiveness of sins in psalm 32:1-2
1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Here is the revelation from the Holy Spirit of a Christian relationship with God:

Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:29 NLT)

Hebrews 1 New King James Version (NKJV)

God’s Supreme Revelation

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself[a] purged our[b] sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

The Son Exalted Above Angels

For to which of the angels did He ever say:

“You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You”?[c]

And again:

“I will be to Him a Father,
And He shall be to Me a Son”?[d]

But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says:

“Let all the angels of God worship Him.”[e]

And of the angels He says:

“Who makes His angels spirits
And His ministers a flame of fire.”[f]

But to the Son He says:

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”[g]

10 And:

“You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth,
And the heavens are the work of Your hands.
11 They will perish, but You remain;
And they will all grow old like a garment;
12 Like a cloak You will fold them up,
And they will be changed.
But You are the same,
And Your years will not fail.”[h]

13 But to which of the angels has He ever said:

“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”?[i]

14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?

a morning call: Come out into the fields

This morning this watchman recaps what has happened during the last three days. On June 4 he was led to read Matthew 24, all about end day: Earthquakes, famines, wars, people hating each other, cold love, falsehood and deceptions, and persecutions from haters of God against those who love Jesus. Jesus also speaks of how to be a good servant of God and what He describes as an evil servant. On June 5 the Sabah earthquake at the Mt Kinabalu happened. Up to this point 8 visiting pupils, and 2 teachers are still reported as missing.

On June 5 I was led to read the book on Martyrs and posted excerpts about a preacher who was persecuted and killed by the church because he believed in the full Gospel of the Bible and preached the words of God free of charge to the congregation every Sunday! In those days believers of the words of God were burned to death because of they were bold to share the Good News of the whole Bible.

Today is the third day. As I listened to Pastor Sandra Kennedy’s Whole Life Ministries’ worship service and her subsequent prayer, I realized that it matters how far each of us have walked on the spectrum of our relationship with God in Jesus. I have increasingly met more elderly and seasoned (senior but fit) ‘foot-soldiers’ of God in the mission fields. They stand out in one aspect: their age. Most are of 50s and above, 60s and 70s. I was told some are in their 80s and still standing and walking.

Recently I met a man and wife in their 50s preparing to come out into one of the poorest people groups to serve. The love of Christ has compelled them. When introduced I was not surprised that he is one of the top established educators in his country and even internationally. He holds the highest position in the corporate entity he has decided to relinquish. He is paying a great monetary and other price to follow Jesus to the field. The cost of following Jesus is high. I was not surprised of the increasingly high caliber of the individuals whom the Lord has called and who have responded to Him.

Why are the senior ‘elites’ being called? Why are they responding? I can only use one word to describe our God, ‘AWESOME’. We have found various professionals, former bankers, financiers, educators, lawyers, medical doctors, accountants, engineers, international award-winning artists, corporate executives, businessmen and business women, pastors and evangelists conglomerating with the poorest and uneducated in the Kingdom of God. Matthew 22 described the wedding (great feast) invitation and the crowd that gathered when the intended guests did not turn up. The King’s instructed:

“Now, go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.” (22:9) “So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests.” (22:10)

From experience we know that it is difficult for a poor and uneducated younger man to invite an older person from a higher social, economic, and political power strata to Jesus. It appears that the last frontier now is to gather chosen from ‘exclusive’ social people groups which hitherto has been left out from the Kingdom of God. The Lord said, “invite everyone.” Yes, everyone. That is why the old guards are emerging out of their churches’ closets now and marching into the streets.

What about the young in the streets? Who will invite them? That is for the younger generation of Christians to ask the Lord. My personal  observation is that the more you bring the world into your churches the less you will be able to march out there and bring the lost youth in. By the way they are not in your part of the cities. Unless you leave your comfort zones and venture into the poorest deep waters and live among them you will not reach them.

trees in the fieldGood News: The retired Christians are no longer retired. There is no retirement age in the fields. Come out to the fields.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Bible promises:

They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing,
He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
And sow fields and plant vineyards, That they may yield a fruitful harvest.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine In the very heart of your house, Your children like olive plants All around your table.

Good News continues to advance 2

20150518 heaven is realWe read what Jesus says about the Good News of the Kingdom of God from a fresh perspective today in the Spirit. What does Jesus mean by the term ‘called’ and the term ‘chosen’? We often talk about being called. It  is a privilege to be called by the Lord. In the case of the Great Feast, it appears that a special group was first destined and called but the members had been otherwise engaged and had not heeded the Lord’s calling. They carried on their usual farming and business activities because they could not ‘hear’ God. This is real. Jesus demonstrated this deafness of the people. He came to earth and lived among people. He spoke to them about the Kingdom of Heaven. But they went on doing their own thing like He never appeared to them. Some even became so annoyed with His message that they plotted to kill Him. They succeeded.

Another group of people was called too. Jesus described them as ‘everyone’ whom the servants of the Lord can see. Many came to the Great Feast. But some came without the proper dressing for he wedding. The King-Host noticed and singled them out to be evicted.

To sum up: Three groups are called. Those who are first invited but have chosen to ignore the invitation. Those who are ‘everyone’ but respond with honor and respect for the Lord and put on their proper ‘clothes’ (the robe of righteousness which is Jesus) for the wedding in heaven with Jesus, and those who also respond to the invitation but cannot really be bothered with God. They merely turn up for any festive occasion for a free meal and free entertainment.

Why is there a difference in the response? Two groups do not bother with God and thus miss out the Great Feast, indeed, the eternity with God. What is the secret for the third group, the few whom Jesus describes as the ‘chosen’? What has disqualified the ‘called’ but not ‘chosen’?

I believe the answer is given by Jesus Himself. Reading the context in Matthew 21 and 23 we find that Jesus was addressing those whom He described below: “You testify against yourselves that you are indeed the descendants of those who murdered the prophets.” “…the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! ” (Matthew 23) “45 When the leading priests and Pharisees heard this parable, they realized he was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers. 46 They wanted to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowds, who considered Jesus to be a prophet.” (Matthew 21)

What is the difference between these people and the few who are both called and chosen? The description of the Pharisees and the Sadducees revealed that they were walking by flesh and not by the Spirit. They tried all sorts of their usual, normal human social, economic, political and religious ways to find fault and perhaps trap Jesus. They could not accept Jesus because they did not know Him in the spirit.

Who can accept Jesus and His life message? Those who can accept the reality of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, God is Spirit. Jesus talked about the reality of God, the Heavenly places, the Kingdom of God, all of which can only manifest in the lives of the believers through the Holy Spirit. (Read the Gospel and letters of of John, Paul’s epistles, and the book of Acts).

Bible verses:

When Jesus told the parable of the Great Feast in Matthew 22, He was surrounded and often accosted by the Pharisees and Sadducees.

15 Then the Pharisees met together to plot how to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested. 16 They sent some of their disciples, along with the supporters of Herod, to meet with him.

23 That same day Jesus was approached by some Sadducees—religious leaders who say there is no resurrection from the dead. They posed this question:

34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. 35 One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question:

41 Then, surrounded by the Pharisees, Jesus asked them a question: 42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”

Matthew 22 New Living Translation (NLT) Parable of the Great Feast

Jesus also told them other parables. He said, “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify those who were invited. But they all refused to come!

“So he sent other servants to tell them, ‘The feast has been prepared. The bulls and fattened cattle have been killed, and everything is ready. Come to the banquet!’ But the guests he had invited ignored them and went their own way, one to his farm, another to his business. Others seized his messengers and insulted them and killed them.

“The king was furious, and he sent out his army to destroy the murderers and burn their town. And he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren’t worthy of the honor. Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.’ 10 So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests.

11 But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. 12 ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ But the man had no reply. 13 Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

true prophets: Revelation 22

revelation 22

On the last day of 2014, a calendar year to mark the end of one season and in anticipation of entering another, if the Lord God Almighty allows, we read and meditate the last book in the Bible, as spoken by Jesus Christ Himself to the apostle John, the last prophet of the New Testament.

Revelation 22 New Living Translation (NLT)

Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit,[a] with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.

No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.

Then the angel said to me, “Everything you have heard and seen is trustworthy and true. The Lord God, who inspires his prophets,[b] has sent his angel to tell his servants what will happen soon.[c]

Jesus Is Coming

“Look, I am coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the words of prophecy written in this book.[d]

I, John, am the one who heard and saw all these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me. But he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this book. Worship only God!”

10 Then he instructed me, “Do not seal up the prophetic words in this book, for the time is near. 11 Let the one who is doing harm continue to do harm; let the one who is vile continue to be vile; let the one who is righteous continue to live righteously; let the one who is holy continue to be holy.”

12 “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

14 Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life.15 Outside the city are the dogs—the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie.

16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches. I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne.[e] I am the bright morning star.”

17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life. 18 And I solemnly declare to everyone who hears the words of prophecy written in this book: If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone removes any of the words from this book of prophecy, God will remove that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book.

20 He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!”

Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!

21 May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people.[f]

Footnotes:

  1. 22:2 Or twelve kinds of fruit.
  2. 22:6a Or The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets.
  3. 22:6b Or suddenly, or quickly; also in 22:7, 12, 20.
  4. 22:7 Or scroll; also in 22:9, 10, 18, 19.
  5. 22:16 Greek I am the root and offspring of David.
  6. 22:21 Other manuscripts read be with all; still others read be with all of God’s holy people.Some manuscripts add Amen.

Background reading:

Revelation 11:18

18 The nations were filled with wrath,
    but now the time of your wrath has come.
It is time to judge the dead
    and reward your servants the prophets,
    as well as your holy people,
and all who fear your name,
    from the least to the greatest.
It is time to destroy
    all who have caused destruction on the earth.” 

Revelation 12:10-12 New Living Translation (NLT)

10 Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens,

“It has come at last—
    salvation and power
and the Kingdom of our God,
    and the authority of his Christ.[a]
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters[b]
    has been thrown down to earth—
the one who accuses them
    before our God day and night.
11 And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb
    and by their testimony.
And they did not love their lives so much
    that they were afraid to die.
12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens!
    And you who live in the heavens, rejoice!
But terror will come on the earth and the sea,
    for the devil has come down to you in great anger,
    knowing that he has little time.”

Footnotes:

  1. 12:10a Or his Messiah.
  2. 12:10b Greek brothers.

True prophets: God speaks through king David

King David was a poet prophet, a king, a courageous and brilliant military man. But David was also a musician and a composer.  He wrote poetry (psalms) that are usually sung. When we read his psalms we can find that he prophesied about the Messiah and many prophecies through David and others (related confirmations) have already come true, in Jesus Christ (Messiah): Psalm 22:16-18; Psalm 2:7-9; Acts 13:33; Psalm 2:9; Revelation 2:27; Hebrews 2:8; Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:27; Psalm 22:16-18; John 19:25; Psalm 22:1; Psalm 41:9; John 13:18; Psalm 69:9; John 2:15-17; Psalm 69:21; Matthew 27:48; Psalm 110:1; Matthew 22:44; Psalm 110:4;  Hebrews 7:17; Psalm 118:22; Matthew 21:42; Psalm 118:26; Matthew 21:9;

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Psalm 110 New King James Version (NKJV)

Announcement of the Messiah’s Reign

A Psalm of David.

110 The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion.
Rule in the midst of Your enemies!

Your people shall be volunteers
In the day of Your power;
In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning,
You have the dew of Your youth.
The Lord has sworn
And will not relent,
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.”

The Lord is at Your right hand;
He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath.
He shall judge among the nations,
He shall fill the places with dead bodies,
He shall execute the heads of many countries.
He shall drink of the brook by the wayside;
Therefore He shall lift up the head.

david

True Prophets: Hosea one

What does true love mean? This is the theme of the prophecies in the book of Hosea.

Reading Hosea takes patience and spiritual understanding. Otherwise a ‘proper’ Christian will be shocked at some of the actions by faith that God has asked prophet Hosea to do to send His messages to two groups of people (nations) whom God has loved. Hosea is a faithful and godly prophet. He even married a prostitute when he was asked by God to do so as a symbol and sign together with his children, as God spoke of His continuous lovingkindness and undeserved favor for Israel, described as an unfaithful, ungrateful wife, who does not know what true love means. Prophet Hosea has displayed the true love that only when compelled by God’s love can any man ever live out.

Key verses from the book:

Hosea 14:8-9 New Living Translation (NLT)

“O Israel,[a] stay away from idols!
    I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you.
I am like a tree that is always green;
    all your fruit comes from me.”

Let those who are wise understand these things.
    Let those with discernment listen carefully.
The paths of the Lord are true and right,
    and righteous people live by walking in them.
    But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.

Today’s reading: Hosea 1 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Lord gave this message to Hosea son of Beeri during the years when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah, and Jeroboam son of Jehoash[a] was king of Israel.

Hosea’s Wife and Children

When the Lord first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute,[b] so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the Lord and worshiping other gods.”

So Hosea married Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she became pregnant and gave Hosea a son. And the Lord said, “Name the child Jezreel, for I am about to punish King Jehu’s dynasty to avenge the murders he committed at Jezreel. In fact, I will bring an end to Israel’s independence. I will break its military power in the Jezreel Valley.”

Soon Gomer became pregnant again and gave birth to a daughter. And the Lord said to Hosea, “Name your daughter Lo-ruhamah—‘Not loved’—for I will no longer show love to the people of Israel or forgive them. But I will show love to the people of Judah. I will free them from their enemies—not with weapons and armies or horses and charioteers, but by my power as the Lord their God.”

After Gomer had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she again became pregnant and gave birth to a second son. And the Lord said, “Name him Lo-ammi—‘Not my people’—for Israel is not my people, and I am not their God.

10 [c]“Yet the time will come when Israel’s people will be like the sands of the seashore—too many to count! Then, at the place where they were told, ‘You are not my people,’ it will be said, ‘You are children of the living God.’ 11 Then the people of Judah and Israel will unite together. They will choose one leader for themselves, and they will return from exile together. What a day that will be—the day of Jezreel[d]—when God will again plant his people in his land.

Footnotes:

  1. 1:1 Hebrew Joash, a variant spelling of Jehoash.
  2. 1:2 Or a promiscuous woman.
  3. 1:10 Verses 1:10-11 are numbered 2:1-2 in Hebrew text.
  4. 1:11 Jezreel means “God plants.”

 flowers in the sun

True prophets: Micah one

Prophet Micah prophesied for over forty years during the period of at least three kings from approximately 737–696 BC . He mainly passed on God’s messages to Judah. He prophesied the destruction of Samaria and Judah, both of which had come true later.

His famous prophecy on the birth of the Messiah, in a little town called, Bethlehem had come true too. Similar to the other faithful prophets of God, no-one heeded his warnings and laments during his lifetime. He also showed his human side of character. He heard the bad news from God and he lamented. But he also heard the Good News. Prophets can be heavy reading but we read hope and Good News too! On hindsight we know many of the prophecies have come true and many more are coming true even right now.

Key verse on the Messiah is in chapter 5 verse 1-2 (also refer to Mathew 2:3-6)

Micah 1 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

This is the word of Adonai that came to Mikhah the Morashti during the days of Yotam, Achaz and Y’chizkiyah, kings of Y’hudah, which he saw concerning Shomron and Yerushalayim:

Listen, peoples, all of you!
Pay attention, earth, and everything in it!
Adonai Elohim will witness against you,
Adonai, from his holy temple.
For — look! — Adonai is coming out of his place,
coming down to tread on the high places of the land.
Beneath him the mountains will melt,
the valleys split open like wax before fire,
like water poured down a steep slope.
All this is because of the crime of Ya‘akov
and the sins of the house of Isra’el.
What is the crime of Ya‘akov?
Isn’t it Shomron?
And what are the high places of Y’hudah?
Aren’t they Yerushalayim?

“So I will make Shomron a heap in the countryside,
a place for planting vineyards;
I will pour her stones down into the valley,
laying bare her foundations.
All her carved images will be smashed to pieces,
all she earned consumed by fire;
and I will reduce her idols to rubble.
She amassed them from a whore’s wages,
and as a whore’s wages they will be spent again.”

This is why I howl and wail,
why I go barefoot and stripped,
why I howl like the jackals
and mourn like the ostriches.
For her wound cannot be healed,
and now it is coming to Y’hudah as well;
it reaches even to the gate of my people,
to Yerushalayim itself.
10 Don’t tell about it in Gat,
don’t shed any tears.
At Beit-L‘afrah [house of dust]
roll yourself in the dust.
11 Inhabitants of Shafir, pass on your way
in nakedness and shame.
The inhabitants of Tza’anan
have not left yet.
The wailing of Beit-Ha’etzel
will remove from you their support.
12 The inhabitants of Marot
have no hope of anything good;
for Adonai has sent down disaster
to the very gate of Yerushalayim.
13 Harness the chariots to the fastest horses,
inhabitants of Lakhish;
she was the beginning of sin
for the daughter of Tziyon;
for the crimes of Isra’el
are traceable to you.
14 Therefore you must bestow parting gifts
upon Moreshet-Gat.
The houses of Akhziv will disappoint
the kings of Isra’el.
15 Inhabitants of Mareshah,
I have yet to bring you
the one who will [invade and] possess you.
The glory of Isra’el will come to ‘Adulam.

16 Shave the hair from your head as you mourn
for the children who were your delight;
make yourselves as bald as vultures,
for they have gone from you into exile.

Micah 5:1-2 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

 (2) But you, Beit-Lechem near Efrat,
so small among the clans of Y’hudah,
out of you will come forth to me
the future ruler of Isra’el,
whose origins are far in the past,
back in ancient times.
(3) Therefore he will give up [Isra’el]
only until she who is in labor gives birth.
Then the rest of his kinsmen
will return to the people of Isra’el.
(4) He will stand and feed his flock
in the strength of Adonai,
in the majesty of the name
of Adonai his God;
and they will stay put, as he grows great
to the very ends of the earth;
(5) and this will be peace.

Matthew 2:3-6 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

When King Herod heard of this he became very agitated, and so did everyone else in Yerushalayim. He called together all the head cohanim and Torah-teachers of the people and asked them, “Where will the Messiah be born?” “In Beit-Lechem of Y’hudah,” they replied, “because the prophet wrote,

‘And you, Beit-Lechem in the land of Y’hudah,
are by no means the least among the rulers of Y’hudah;
for from you will come a Ruler
who will shepherd my people Isra’el.’”[a]

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 2:6 Micah 5:1(2) Micah 5:2

True Prophets: Amos one

The prophets of God are model faithful messengers. We shall read some ‘chapter one’ of the respective prophets. Note that everyone of them comes to the point of their calling immediately and what God has impressed on their hearts. Without distractions. No diversions. No fear of men. Full of reverent fear of the Lord God Almighty. Every one of the prophets actually encounters God personally and speaks to God and even has long discourse with God without hindrances and pretenses. The God they know is real.

Can we do that? Yes. Jesus has done it whilst on earth. He has also given every believer the Holy Spirit, who leads us into all truth and discourses with us. The Holy Spirit tells us things to come. Many Christians have personally experienced hearing God through the the Holy Spirit (in a still small inaudible voice in our hearts; or mostly in God’s words as written or spoken when we read or listen to the Bible). The Holy Spirit speaks God’s words and never deviates from the Bible and the holy and righteous nature of God.

Hearing God is closely connected to the power of the Holy Spirit that works in the believers. We shall know because it comes together with: the righteousness of God, the peace of God, hope and joy.

~~~~~~Amos chapter one (Note: Amos, a sheep breeder who was called by God to be a prophet, only records what the Lord says)

Amos 1 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

The words of Amos, who was one of the sheep breeders[a] from Tekoa—what he saw regarding Israel in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah, and Jeroboam son of Jehoash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.

He said:

The Lord roars from Zion
and raises His voice from Jerusalem;
the pastures of the shepherds mourn,[b]
and the summit of Carmel withers.

Judgment on Israel’s Neighbors

The Lord says:

I will not relent from punishing Damascus
for three crimes, even four,
because they threshed Gilead with iron sledges.
Therefore, I will send fire against Hazael’s palace,
and it will consume Ben-hadad’s citadels.
I will break down the gates[c] of Damascus.
I will cut off the ruler from the Valley of Aven,
and the one who wields the scepter from Beth-eden.
The people of Aram will be exiled to Kir.
The Lord has spoken.

The Lord says:

I will not relent from punishing Gaza
for three crimes, even four,
because they exiled a whole community,
handing them over to Edom.
Therefore, I will send fire against the walls of Gaza,
and it will consume its citadels.
I will cut off the ruler from Ashdod,
and the one who wields the scepter from Ashkelon.
I will also turn My hand against Ekron,
and the remainder of the Philistines will perish.
The Lord God has spoken.

The Lord says:

I will not relent from punishing Tyre
for three crimes, even four,
because they handed over
a whole community of exiles to Edom
and broke[d] a treaty of brotherhood.
10 Therefore, I will send fire against the walls of Tyre,
and it will consume its citadels.

11 The Lord says:

I will not relent from punishing Edom
for three crimes, even four,
because he pursued his brother with the sword.
He stifled his compassion,
his anger tore at them continually,
and he harbored his rage incessantly.
12 Therefore, I will send fire against Teman,
and it will consume the citadels of Bozrah.

13 The Lord says:

I will not relent from punishing the Ammonites
for three crimes, even four,
because they ripped open
the pregnant women of Gilead
in order to enlarge their territory.
14 Therefore, I will set fire to the walls of Rabbah,
and it will consume its citadels.
There will be shouting on the day of battle
and a violent wind on the day of the storm.
15 Their king and his princes
will go into exile together.
The Lord has spoken.

Footnotes:

  1. Amos 1:1 Or the shepherds
  2. Amos 1:2 Or dry up
  3. Amos 1:5 Lit gate bars
  4. Amos 1:9 Lit and did not remember

Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness,peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

prophet path

a new watchman: Your watchmen shall lift up their voices

The test of a true watchman is he or she must be able to see, hear and speak what the Lord God says, speaks and gives understanding. God reveals His purpose to them and they wait to see the accomplishment of God’s purpose. Meanwhile, they keep telling and testifying for God.

It is often not a pleasant task as watchman are being raised for hard and turbulent times, preparing for the changes ahead. People do not like changes.

In the reality (both spiritual and physical) changes are the only constant.

The good and perfect plan of God will continue to progress, bringing changes, inside and outside an individual, the sum total of individuals, until this history of mankind ends.

THE WATCHMAN’S DUTIES: SEE; DECLARE; SPEAK AND TESTIFY OF THE LORD; DO NOT REST UNTIL THEY SEE WHAT GOD HAS PROMISED IS ACCOMPLISHED

For thus has the Lord said to me: “Go, set a watchman, Let him declare what he sees.”

I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; They shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent,
THE GOOD WATCHMAN
Your watchmen shall lift up their voices, With their voices they shall sing together; For they shall see eye to eye When the Lord brings back Zion.

THE BAD WATCHMAN

Isaiah 56:10

His watchmen are blind, They are all ignorant; They are all dumb dogs, They cannot bark; Sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.
INDIVIDUAL IS REQUIRED TO WATCH TOO

Matthew 26:41

Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
JESUS WAS A WATCHMAN

Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”

Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?
Jesus prays in the garden  Matthew 26:39-40

a new watchman: rising up early in the morning

watchman rising up early
watchman rising up early

One mark of being a watchman is this phrase which God has repeatedly spoken: “rising up early”.

Why? God does it. He expects His watchman do the same.

Watchman rising up early includes: hearing God, taking down His message, conveying by speaking the message to the target audience.

The watchman messenger must take note that it does not promise the intended positive outcome. When the people reject the message they actually reject God.

Out of eight times this phrase appeared in the Bible, Thrice, the Lord uses it to describe Himself. Five times He uses it to describe His messengers (prophets, servants) four of which are recorded in Jeremiah.

God says of He Himself being rejected by the people: ““and I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you did not hear, and I called you, but you did not answer,” He speaks of His people not taking heed of His warning. “Obey My voice.” “And they have turned to Me the back, and not the face; though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not listened to receive instruction.” (Jeremiah 7:13; 11:7; 32:33)

God speaks of His messengers being rejected by them: “I have also sent to you all My servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, ‘Turn now everyone from his evil way, amend your doings, and do not go after other gods to serve them; then you will dwell in the land which I have given you and your fathers.’ But you have not inclined your ear, nor obeyed Me.” (Jeremiah 35:15; 7:25; 26:5; 29:19)

___________________the bad news:

2 Chronicles 36:11-16

11  Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king,..but he stiffened his neck and hardened his heart against turning to the Lord God of Israel. 14 Moreover all the leaders of the priests and the people transgressed more and more, according to all the abominations of the nations, and defiled the house of the Lord which He had consecrated in Jerusalem. 15 And the Lord God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. 16 But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy.

___________________the Good News:

Romans 10:20-21 New King James Version (NKJV)

20 But Isaiah is very bold and says:

I was found by those who did not seek Me;
I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me.”[a]

21 But to Israel he says:

“All day long I have stretched out My hands
To a disobedient and contrary people.”[b]

Romans 11:25-27 New King James Version (NKJV)

25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved,[a] as it is written:

“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
27 For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.”[b]

Zechariah 13: a fountain of blood

We have arrived at Zechariah 13 for the 5 am class, the second last lesson for this season. God’s words have come to pass and are still coming to pass as the history of this world is being lived out until the full completion of God’s plan.

There are two prophecies here:

  1. God will open a fountain to cleanse His people of sin and uncleanness.
  2. God speaks of one-third be preserved and refined by Him.

Here are related Bible verses about what Jesus has done and will do and what does He expect of His believers:

how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Zechariah 13 New King James Version (NKJV) Idolatry Cut Off (false prophets  exposed and eliminated)

13 In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.

Fountain filled with Blood of Jesus
Fountain filled with Blood of Jesus

“It shall be in that day,” says the Lord of hosts, “that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they shall no longer be remembered. I will also cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to depart from the land. It shall come to pass that if anyone still prophesies, then his father and mother who begot him will say to him, ‘You shall not live, because you have spoken lies in the name of the Lord.’ And his father and mother who begot him shall thrust him through when he prophesies.

“And it shall be in that day that every prophet will be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies; they will not wear a robe of coarse hair to deceive. But he will say, ‘I am no prophet, I am a farmer; for a man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.’ And one will say to him, ‘What are these wounds between your arms?’[a] Then he will answer, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.’

The Shepherd Savior

“Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,
Against the Man who is My Companion,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“Strike the Shepherd,
And the sheep will be scattered;
Then I will turn My hand against the little ones.
And it shall come to pass in all the land,”
Says the Lord,
That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die,
But one–third shall be left in it:
I will bring the one–third through the fire,
Will refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them.
I will say, ‘This is My people’;
And each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”

Footnotes:

  1. Zechariah 13:6 Or hands

Further notes: Here is another Prophet’s message: during the Babylonian invasion only the remnant was preserved. But Zechariah was prophesying for the future as the remnant had returned to Israel after their exile to Babylon.

One-third of you shall die of the pestilence, and be consumed with famine in your midst; and one-third shall fall by the sword all around you; and I will scatter another third to all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them.