The Goodnews About Hell Pt. 3

I was doing my research on when the church actually embraced the doctrine of eternal conscious torment seeing the shocking translations of the words, Hades, Sheol and Gehenna. I found a fantastic article that in my own estimation couldn’t have been a better compilation of facts well research without any form of bias.
Please remember that I am not using this medium to draw any conclusions for you. This is for those who are open hearted. This is to stir us up to study, not for disputes.
This article was put together by the guys at Brazen Church. Though most of it was contributed by Julie Ferwerda.
Enjoy!
The Irony of “Orthodoxy”
When you begin to study Church history you quickly realize that “orthodox Christianity” is an oxymoron. Merriam Webster defines orthodox as, “conforming to established doctrine, especially in religion.”[i] You might also hear it defined as “right doctrine.”
Orthodox suggests that there are certain truths and doctrines that have always been peacefully and consensually agreed upon, accepted by the majority of “people like us” throughout all the centuries. And as the story goes, various groups of “heretics” have attempted to tamper with this “right doctrine” throughout history, only to fail miserably as the truth remained undiluted over the centuries.
These are the assumptions many of us grew up believing. We were handed an absolute narrative, told that it has withstood the test of time, and invited nicely to never question it ever… or else. Mainstream Christianity wants us to think there has always been a harmonious consensus, and those who question are not simply disagreeing with their pastor… oh no! 
You are going against 2,000 years of what “those who follow the Spirit of God” have always believed and accepted as truth.
While tradition and orthodoxy have been instrumental in preserving certain truths — and indeed, there is a profound beauty to be found in sacramental liturgy — the reality is that for centuries, Christian Orthodoxy preserved itself through fear and control, opting to protect it’s doctrinal “truth” through the active suppression of opposing ideas.
What’s particularly ironic is that the modern Evangelical Church tries hard to distance itself from the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church while the core of it’s theology comes directly out of the councils, doctrines, and creeds established by the early Roman Catholic and Latin Church.
The truth is that since the very beginning, Church history has been rife with unrest, conflict, and even bloodshed — primarily over matters of establishing orthodoxy. And with today’s easy access to the annals of Church history, it’s time for us churchgoers to rethink the myth of orthodoxy, and begin re-evaluating what we’ve been taught.
For instance, many Christians insist that if you question hell, you are rejecting what has always been agreed upon by the Church, yet the doctrine of eternal torment was not a widely held view for the first five centuries after Christ, particularly in the early Eastern Church, the Church of the early apostles and Church fathers such as Paul, Clement of Alexandria, St. Gregory of Nyssa, Origen, and others.
What we do see during this time is the expansion and proliferation of pagan myths about the afterlife, which were then repackaged as eternal, fiery torment in the Western (Catholic) Church, primarily by Latin theologians and Church leaders from Rome. It seems this was most likely motivated by political expediency. The idea of eternal torment was a prime tool for controlling the average churchgoer with fear and was congruent with secular mythologies of the time. Later, pop culture added fuel to the fire (pun intended) through imaginative works like Dante’s Inferno.
That Awkward Moment Eternity Slipped In
The invasion of Hell into Church doctrine ultimately starts with the invasion of “eternity”. Words like “eternity, eternal, everlasting, etc” don’t truly exist in scripture. Rather, these words are all derived from the root word Aión which means “an Age” or “Eon”.
Take a phrase like aionas ton aionon. This phrase shows up several times in the Greek New Testament (Romans 20:10, for example) and has been traditionally translated as “forever and ever”.
But here’s the problem. Aión means “Age”, not “forever”. And even worse, tonmeans “of”, NOT “and”. For example, Abraham was the father of (ton) Isaac. ALL THREE WORDS of this phrase are completely mistranslated. What it actually says is “Ages of the Ages”.
We see this root word Aión every time we see “eternal”, “eternity”, “forever”, “everlasting”, etc. All of these words revolve around the concept of Ages.
So why are we telling you this?
Because “Ages” played a crucial role in the way early Church fathers viewed life. It was a highly significant paradigm to how they viewed God, this life, the afterlife, etc.
Due to the history of the Biblical text and the numerous influences in its popular translations, we’ve been left with a very Plato-esque focus on this concept called eternity. But that was not the paradigm of the “orthodox” church until St. Augustine, a student of Plato, funneled Christian doctrine through Plato’s teachings of the “eternal soul”.
Plato made several philosophical arguments that have ironically come to define our mainstream Christian paradigms.
1. First, Plato believed that the soul was separate from the body and that the soul was fundamentally pure but tends to become deformed through association with the body.
2. Second, like his teacher Socrates, Plato believed that the soul itself was immortal, thus necessitating an eternal destination for the soul after the body dies.
3. Third, Plato proposed that good actions result in a reward in this life, but more importantly, a greater reward after death. Similarly, bad actions result in consequences in this life, but even greater punishment after death.
Plato linked some of his ideas to prevailing Greek mythology, including the locations of Hades and Tartarus. In Greek mythology, Tartarus is the location deep below Hades where the Titans were enslaved and the wicked were tormented. According to Plato, this is where divine punishment was meted out.
It is of this philosopher that St. Augustine remarked,
“The utterance of Plato, the most pure and bright in all philosophy, scattering the clouds of error . . .”
These ideas proposed by Plato are not from the Bible. They are Greek philosophy. BUT we have spent centuries reading them into the Biblical text and even translating the Biblical text through their lens.
But if we go back before the time of Augustine, we find 5 centuries of Church fathers who never carried this lens.
How Hell Invaded Church Doctrine.
The big point we are building up to here is that the early church fathers DID NOT believe in eternal torment. We aren’t talking about the first guy or two post-Paul. We are talking about the first 5 centuries after Christ.
Let me repeat that, just so we are clear.
Eternal torment was not a pillar of church doctrine for the first 5 centuries after Christ.
Dr. Ken Vincent, retired psychology professor from Houston Community College, and author of over one hundred books in the fields of psychology and religion, notes:
The first person to write about “eternal hell” was the Latin (West) North African Tertullian (160–220 A.D.), who is considered the Father of the Latin Church. As most people reason, hell is a place for people you don’t like! Tertullian fantasized that not only the wicked would be in hell but also every philosopher and theologian who ever argued with him! He envisioned a time when he would look down from heaven at those people in hell and laugh with glee! [ii]
Out of the six theological schools in Tertullian’s day and beyond (170–430 A.D.), the only school that taught the doctrine of eternal torment or hell to its students was the Latin (Roman) school in Carthage, Africa. Four of the other five taught that, through the death and resurrection of Christ, all people would be saved through restorative judgment and reconciliation in a plan of Ages.[iii] This teaching was called, “Universal Salvation” or “Universal Reconciliation.” Dr. Vincent says,
By far, the main person responsible for making hell eternal in the Western Church was St. Augustine (354–430 CE). Augustine…was made Bishop of Hippo in North Africa. He did not know Greek, had tried to study it, but stated that he hated it. Sadly, it is his misunderstanding of Greek that cemented the concept of eternal hell in the Western Church. Augustine not only said that hell was eternal for the wicked, but also for anyone who wasn’t a Christian. So complete was his concept of God’s exclusion of non-Christians that he considered un-baptized babies as damned. When these babies died, 
Augustine softened slightly to declare that they would be sent to the “upper level” of hell. Augustine is also the inventor of the concept of “hell Lite,” also known as Purgatory, which he developed to accommodate some of the universalist verses in the Bible. Augustine acknowledged the Universalists, whom he called “tender-hearted,” and included them among the “orthodox.”[iv]
Not only was Augustine somewhat the champion of the hell doctrine in the Western Church, he also had a major influence on the onset of religious bigotry and hate campaigns in the following centuries.
In the 1907 book, Lives of the Fathers: Sketches of Church History in Biography,written by Frederick D. Farrar, who was Chaplain in Ordinary to the Queen of England, we read about Augustine:
The advocacy of hell came primarily on the scene with Augustine: In no other respect did Augustine differ more widely from Origen and the Alexandrians [Eastern Church] than in his intolerant spirit. Even Tertullian conceded to all the right of opinion.
[Augustine] was the first in the long line of Christian persecutors, and illustrates the character of the theology that swayed him in the wicked spirit that impelled him to advocate the right to persecute Christians who differ from those in power. The dark pages that bear the record of subsequent centuries are a damning witness to the cruel spirit that actuated Christians, and the cruel theology that impelled it.
Augustine was the first and ablest asserter of the principle which led to Albigensian crusades, Spanish armadas, Netherland’s butcheries, St. Bartholomew massacres, the accursed infamies of the Inquisition, the vile espionage, the hideous bale fires of Seville and Smithfield, the racks, the gibbets, the thumbscrews, and the subterranean torture-chambers used by churchly torturers.[v]
Samuel Dawson, author of, The Teaching of Jesus: From Mount Sinai to Gehenna a Faithful Rabbi Urgently Warns Rebellious Israel, says:
Most of what we believe about hell comes from Catholicism and ignorance of the Old Testament, not from the Bible. I now believe that hell is the invention of Roman Catholicism; and surprisingly, most, if not all, of our popular concepts of hell can be found in the writings of Roman Catholic writers like the Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265–1321), author of Dante’s Inferno. The English poet John Milton (1608–1674), author of Paradise Lost, set forth the same concepts in a fashion highly acceptable to the Roman Catholic faith. Yet none of our concepts of hell can be found in the teaching of Jesus Christ![vi]
Following on the heels of Augustine, the greatest influence on today’s hell theology via most modern Bible translations came from Jerome’s Latin Vulgate. Jerome translated this tainted version of the Scriptures from a very inferior Latin text in the late 4th century:
For over a thousand years (c. AD 400–1530), the Vulgate was the definitive edition of the most influential text in Western European society. Indeed, for most Western Christians, it was the only version of the Bible ever encountered. The Vulgate’s influence throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance into the Early Modern Period is even greater than that of the King James Version in English; for Christians during these times the phraseology and wording of the Vulgate permeated all areas of the culture.[vii]
What was the problem with Jerome’s Bible? It was heavily influenced by Latin hell-inventing theologians like Tertullian and Augustine.
When you realize that the hell doctrine was so late in being adopted by the Church (and hence, Scriptures), the poorly constructed walls of orthodoxy begin to crumble. It was several hundred years after Jesus and the apostles that men began formulating many of these new Church doctrines and creeds, many still a part of Evangelical Christian orthodoxy to this day.
Had our old English Bibles been translated directly out of the Greek instead of Latin, it’s very probable that the doctrine of eternal torment would never have found its way into our modern Bibles and theology at all. Many of these doctrines were strong-armed into the Church through major dissension and even bloodshed, with intolerant, oppressive Church leaders insisting that they were “led by the Spirit” on such matters.
The Afterlife According To Gregory
While we’ve been telling you a lot about what early fathers didn’t believe, I think it would be helpful for us to look at what some of them did believe.
We are going to look briefly at St. Gregory of Nyssa, who lived from 335 to 395 AD. In addition to being canonized, St. Gregory served as the Bishop of Nyssa and is known for his significant contributions to both the doctrine of the Trinity and the Nicene creed.
In other words, this guy is one of the founding fathers of church orthodoxy. If you aren’t aware, the Nicene creed serves to this day as the universal statement of faith for not only the Catholic church, but most anyone who would call themselves “Christians”.
St. Gregory DID NOT believe in eternal torment. But let’s not stop there. What he DID believe in was universal salvation — that all would ultimately be reconciled to God.
For it is evident that God will in truth be all in all when there shall be no evil in existence, when every created being is at harmony with itself and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord; when every creature shall have been made one body.
St. Gregory, like many in his day, believed that we were on a progression through the ages, where at the end of the Age, those who had purged themselves of evil in this life would enter into the blessedness of the Age to Come, while those who hadn’t would be passed through cleansing fire, after which they would also enter into that same blessedness.
Whoever considers the divine power will plainly perceive that it is able at length to restore by means of the aionion purging and atoning sufferings, those who have gone even to this extremity of wickedness.
And in another quote:
Wherefore, that at the same time liberty of free-will should be left to nature and yet the evil be purged away, the wisdom of God discovered this plan; to suffer man to do what he would, that having tasted the evil which he desired, and learning by experience for what wretchedness he had bartered away the blessings he had, he might of his own will hasten back with desire to the first blessedness …either being purged in this life through prayer and discipline, or after his departure hence through the furnace of cleansing fire.
In other words, St. Gregory is saying that God gave us free will, so that in tasting evil, we would realize how wretched it is and hasten back into a righteous state of blessedness — or as we might say here at Brazen Church, hasten into the abundant life Jesus came to show us — and that this hastening to blessedness will come either in this life, through prayer and discipline, or in the life to come, by passing through cleansing fire.
This isn’t a renegade theologian firing shots at Christendom thousands of years into orthodoxy.
This is a FOUNDER of orthodoxy. This is a man responsible for forging the unifying statement of faith for all of Christianity. This is a man who attended the first ever council of the Church in Nicaea.
And THIS MAN, this founder of the faith, not only shows no traces of a belief in Hell — He actually believed ALL WOULD BE SAVED. And while not all of his contemporaries shared his belief that all would be saved, the opposing belief was that the wicked would be destroyed… NOT tormented forever.
Conclusion
It shocks me to hear people argue that the doctrine of Hell has been the definitive belief of Christendom since the days of the New Testament. Such a claim demonstrates a fundamental ignorance of Church history and is a testament to how extensively St. Augustine’s doctrine influenced the orthodox church.
The idea of eternal torment comes primarily from Greek thought — a merging of mythology and the ramification of belief in an immortal soul.
For 5 centuries, Christian doctrine remained unaffected by Hell until St. Augustine forcibly inserted it into orthodoxy, using a combination of power and violence to ensure it’s survival. Since that time, we’ve seen the gradual evolution of Christian doctrine in and around this concept, until today, the average believer has no idea that the concept of eternal torment isn’t even Biblical.
This doctrine of Hell has been used for centuries to control the masses with fear. Today, it prevents the world, both Christian and non-Christian alike, from seeing a loving Father.
A Christianity with Hell is a Christianity that must inherently be full of fear, and yet 1 John 4:18 tells us:
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
So there you have it. Pls take your own time to do your own research to confirm if the above is true. Let your heart guide into the truth about the nature of Father with a balanced view of the revelation that the scriptures provide.
Sources
You can read more on their articles refuting the hell doctrine here

JUDGMENT TO BEGIN AT THE HOUSE OF GOD

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17)

This is one of those scriptures that throws a divide on the implications on embracing the grace message. For those who argue for a balance in preaching the grace message based on the exclusion of a forth coming judgment this is one go-to-place in the scriptures.
As always context is key to understand Peter’s message. It will be improper to do a positional doctrine without examining all the elements in the verse and the surrounding verses.

Let’s put some flesh to the passage now.

12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning THE FIERY TRIAL WHICH IS TO TRY YOU, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that YOU PARTAKE OF CHRIST’S SUFFERINGS, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If YOU ARE REPROACHED FOR THE NAME OF CHRIST, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. 16 Yet IF ANYONE SUFFERS AS A CHRISTIAN, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.
17 FOR the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now
“If the righteous one is scarcely saved,
Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.
When looked at context you will see Peter addressing the fact the believers of the first century in his time were going through severe persecution. This is also evidenced in other places in the New Testament. Paul’s letters seem to convey this lot.

Peter tells them that FIERY TRIALS is about to come against them. He asks them to rejoice as they partake in a form of suffering for their stand on the gospel. He tells them it is necessary because Jesus tells his disciples of it in the Olivet discourse.

9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. (Matthew 24)

This fiery trial is based on decisions taken against the church by their Jewish brethren and leadership. Then in vs 17 he first says “for” which means “because”. His precious statement links what he is about to say in vs 17.

This dilemma is because “the time has come”.  When Peter said “the time has come” he uses the word “kairos”. This word means more than just time. It “frequently refers to time for decision in eschatological references.

The persecution of the church refers to an appointed time for fulfillment. Fulfilment of what the Lord told them as signs on the end of the old covenant/creation in Matthew 24.
Now not only did Peter say the appointed time had come, he said the time had come for “the judgment” [to krima] had come. The definite article is present in the greek but strangely absent in many Bible translations.

What judgment is he referring to?

In Matthew 16:27-28 Jesus said he was going to come in judgment to reward every man before his generation passed away.

For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. 28 Verily I say unto you, THERE BE SOME STANDING HERE, WHICH SHALL NOT TASTE OF DEATH, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

This scripture puts it very clear that this was an event that was due upon that generation and not in our time.

Paul also echoed this too;
30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world (oikoumene, ) in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men”

The root word Oikoumene, used for “world” in this passage, actually means “inhabited or civilized world,” not world as in global planet earth. This is the same Greek word used in Luke 2:1: “Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.”

Surely Ceasar Augustus did not carry out the census in every nook and cranny of the planet earth. This world was their civilized world that was under the radar of their control.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.” (Matthew 24:9)
Why would the apostles be hated in all nations if they had not preached the gospel in all nations? They were hated by all nations because they preached in all nations. What they did they preach that would stir up that hatred? The gospel had at its foundation the fact that the Mosaic laws were no longer a determining factor for salvation and relationship with God. This did not go down well the Jews who all their lives were born into it for centuries. The gospel at its best was blasphemy at the worst for them hence the persecution.
The gospel going round the Roman empire was to give the Jews everywhere the opportunity to embrace the redemption in Jesus and escape the wrath that was to be unleashed. That wrath was the day of judgment demonstrated in the removal of that old covenant world.
It needs to be noted that Peter said that the judgment would “begin at the house of God”; and would include those “who do not obey the gospel.” In their reference as Hebrews, the house of God refers to the temple. Jesus told them in Matthew 23 that the house would be left desolate.
Those who do not obey the gospel are not believers who sin. They were Jews who refused to accept the gospel of Jesus. Paul talks about them and still presents the theme of judgment on them in 1 Thessalonians 3.
4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all YOUR PERSECUTIONS AND TRIBULATIONS THAT YOU ENDURE, 5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; 6 since it is a righteous thing with God to REPAY WITH TRIBULATION THOSE WHO TROUBLE YOU, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 IN FLAMING FIRE TAKING VENGEANCE ON THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW GOD, AND ON THOSE WHO DO NOT OBEY THE GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe,[a] because our testimony among you was believed.
If you pay a close attention to the above statement by Paul you will see the harmony with Peter’s:
The church was being persecuted by the Jewish leadership and it was time for wrath (expressions of the law) to fall on them. That was the judgment. This theme runs throughout the scripture from Cain and Abel, Ismael and Isaac etc.
The judgment occurred at the “house of God” and it was found wanting from the cross when it’s veil was torn apart. The cross made it obsolete and it became known in scriptures as the synagogue of Satan (Revelation 3:9).
Daniel prophesied the same event in chapter 12 as occurring for times, time and half a time (3 1/2 years which was the length of the siege of Jerusalem by the Romans) and when the power of the holy people were shattered (the Law and city).
It is also important to understand the word “judgment” is not always as we use it in the English language. The word itself, krino, means to separate. 
In those events that occurred at the end of that age there was a separation going on even in the midst of the persecution of the church.
Jesus used the metaphors of the 10 virgins, the wheat and the tares, the sheep and the goats and others to teach the separation to distinguish those who were true Jews of faith (Galatians 3:7), and who were the Jews of the flesh, the apostate murderers of Jesus and the saints.

Ad70 demonstrated who the true sons of God were. It brought about the kingdom which demonstrated the full manifestation of sonship in the image of Christ. We are not waiting for any judgment to happen in the church of Christ. We are rather living in the endless kingdom age expecting the knowledge of the glory of the Lord to cover the earth as the waters covers the sea.

IS BIOLOGICAL DEATH A CURSE THAT REMAINS?

In recent times I have been in some discussions that has to do with resurrection and immortality. Topics of such interest always generate endless debates as it bothers on the afterlife and its implications to our existence now. We have many divided opinion in regards to this.

In some of my recent blogs I have case submissions that the resurrection that was promised in the scriptures had to had to occur at the end of the old covenant age and not end of the physical cosmos. I have also stated that the resurrection is a spiritual reality that has seen just men receive immortality when they were woken from their sleep from the days of Adam running the timeline of the first century church.

You can visit my blogs for more on this as this write up is to address an issue that arose from them; Was Adam created as an immortal being?

I will ask you read the following with an open mind and trust the Holy Spirit to confirm it in your heart as what I am about to share is not a common teaching in the Charismatic circle.
Immortality means not subject to die. If Adam was created immortal in nature then the question that first comes up is “Didn’t he die in the garden?” We remember the instruction he received from God in the garden that in the DAY he eats of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he would die.

Of course many of us agree that this death is spiritual and not physical because Adam did not die that same day biologically as lived for another 900 year plus.

So the next conclusion would be that physical death caught up with him since he died spiritually. In order words spiritual death caused Adam to die physically. Adam died after the fall but it was not occasioned by the fall.

This was my former position until I had to engage in some thorough look at this again. This was especially made possible when I realized that the resurrection that the bible talks about has nothing to do with the reassembling of dead decomposed bodies.

The Bible never uses the terms “resurrected body,” “resurrection of the body,” or “physical resurrection.” What we see are the phrases “the resurrection of the dead” and “the resurrection from the dead.”

Adam’s sin brought man to a place where they were trapped in a place called Sheol in Hebrew language and Hades in the Greek as prior to Jesus’ redemptive work, no one went to Heaven:
“No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven” John 3:13 (NKJV) 

If you look at all the references with regards to Sheol in the Old Testament then you will realize that after physical death man was not in communication and away from the presence of the Lord. There was a promised hope that the Messiah would undo all that. Redemption had to deal with THAT death.

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might, for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave whither thou goest. (Ecclesiates 9:10)
“I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave, I will be your destruction! Pity is hidden from My eyes. Hosea 13:14 (NKJV) 

But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, For He shall receive me. Selah Psalms 49:15 (NKJV) 

All people were believed to go to Sheol when they die:
What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah. Psalms 89:48 (NASB) 
Now back to our focus. Many of us were raised up believing due to the work of sin that God will destroy the earth and give us one where everything would be perfect. No animal would eat another and that we will without experiencing biological death. Now I am about to present to you what looks like an alternative view.
Do we know that biological death is INTRINSIC with all created beings and things?

The concept of “no physical death” is not well supported in the scriptures and presents a host of theological, logical, and scientific problems. We shall review them.

The ecosystem is created by God and he intended it to regular life and living on the earth. Biological death is an important part of all ecosystems, and without it, life itself could not exist in a “good” state very long.
Some claim that vegetarianism was practiced by all creatures before the Fall. Does that include the fishes of the sea too?

There is no Biblical indication that any plant eaters became carnivores only after the Fall. It is one of those suppositions among many we have made.  

The way God created numerous creatures it only shows them as carnivores, with various adaptations for capturing, killing, and digesting other creatures. They would have to be re-created in a quite different form if they were not so originally.  

The scriptures indicate that predation and animal deaths are part of God’s “good” creation.
Psalm 104 (20-28) states,
You appoint darkness and it becomes night, in which all the beasts of the forest prowl about.
The young lions roar after their prey and seek their food from God.
O LORD, how many are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your possessions.
They all wait for You to give them their food in due season.
You give to them, they gather it up; You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good. 
If created beings (humans and animals) were immortal before the Fall, and could not starve, why did they need food?

Many animals were created with defense mechanisms or structures to fend off predators. These include inherent features from sharp spikes and spines (as seen on porcupines) to highly offensive odors (skunks), to poisonous glands in their skin (various amphibians) to corrosive or toxic sprays (skunks, cobras, etc.) to protective armor (turtles, armadillos, etc). Each creature is unique in their defense mechanism. For others it is camouflage in order to hide themselves or repel predators.

What would be the need for any of these defense systems if all creatures were herbivores? 
The greatest implication for physical immortality is that it would require a total cessation of all aging processes. That will be an impossibility with the presence of of sunlight, background radiation, bacteria, etc. which exist in the original creation. It will have to be another earth for this work maybe heaven.
Another angle to this is if all creatures were meant to be immortal, there would be no need for reproduction. God could simply have created the exact prime number of creatures of each kind, and they would have lived forever. That is not how Genesis states it.
Reproduction is essential to continuity in life. It is tied to the cycle of life and death. Reproduction is needed to replace the dead and ensure stability in human existence. This was part of God’s mandate to Adam the first man.

How would you have imagined a world where there is no physically dead person from Adam till and nothing to check reproduction? Currently we have over 7 billion people living on the earth now. Add that to all that has lived before now and generations yet unborn.

The ecosystem requires biological death to play a role. It allows for the dissipation and recycling of nutrients in the environment. When plants and animals die, their bodies are decomposed by other organisms (mostly microbes and fungi) which return nutrients to the earth, allowing plants to grow.

If biological death ceases life cycles will eventually stop, preventing plants from growing. Without plants, many animals which eat only plants cannot live.

Now I am about to share with you the research of Glenn Morton, a reputable Christian and scientist that proves that the “death code” is written in every created being and that it is not curse.

We have seen that God designed the developmental pathways as part of His grand design of life on our planet.  Yet what is little known in YEC circles is that death plays a big role in the creation of a human. In order to
understand this we need to look at how cells die.
A cell can die in one of several ways but what concerns us here are starvation and apoptosis. Killing a cell via starvation (either oxygen or food) is an ugly way for a cell to go. Clark describes this type of
cellular death. The lack of oxygen causes the mitochondria, the cells energy generators, to shut down.  Finding the power source dimming, the cell kicks in back up systems which burn emergency stores of starch and fat and maybe even protein. Messages pile up all over the cell as instructions are ignored. The lysosomes, the garbage collectors are overworked as cellular trash pile higher and higher.

As all sources of energy run out,metabolic stillness comes over the cell. The last crucial system to cease are the pumps that man the cell walls. The pumps at the cell wall which keep potassium in and water and calcium out of the cell finally fall silent. The calcium rushes in and distorts the mitochondria. Next water pours through the cell wall in untold quantities, placing a huge pressure on the outer cell wall. Finally the cell wall bursts spilling cell stuff all over the place. The cell is dead. The macrophages, cellular cannibals, come and eat the remnants of the dead cell.

There is a second form of cellular death which is more peaceful, but it is death nonetheless.  It is apoptosis, cellular suicide.  A cell that has been instructed to commit suicide behaves very differently. There is no inrushing of water and no explosion as the water bursts the cell. The cell, in this case, chops its own nucleus into millions of small snippets of DNA. The rest of the cell doesn’t even notice for a while but the cell is already irreversibly dead. The cell then physically detaches itself from all of its neighbors.  The cell begins to undulate with small pieces of cell pinching off and floating away. These small pieces are called apoptotic
bodies. Inside each apoptotic body, the cellular machinery continues on, mitochondria making ATP and cellular pumps continue pumping. The apoptotic bodies are then eaten by neighboring cells.

What is interesting is that God uses apoptotic death to create each and every animal.  In the case of human development, our hands look like paddles at the end of the sixth week of development.  But then the cells between the fingers undergo apoptosis and die.  What they leave behind are the fingers.  Look at the inside of one of your fingers now.  The ancestor of the cells you are now looking at barely escaped death during your development. If they had been a  smidgen closer to the webbing, they too would have been instructed to die.

So, what does this have to do with Eden?  Well if God created the cellular  biochemistry, then He also created the instructions for cellular death and God himself used death to create us! But what is even the most amazing thing, God created a secret code which instructs any cell given this code to self-destruct.

Cells selected by CTLS [cytotoxic T lymphocyte-grm] for death are not murdered; they commit suicide.
 “So it turned out that all of the years spent looking for special CTL weapons had, after all  was said and done, been wasted.  CTLS are not equipped with weapons for destroying altered cells. What they are equipped with is knowledge of a special security code.  Every cell in the body-not just a few extraneous cells in the developing fetus-has embedded in it a self-destruct program.  What CTLs know, uniquely among all the cells in the body, is how to punch in the security code that activates that program and ultimately causes the selected cell to commit suicide.” …
And as we develop from a single cell, our cells become mortal.  The death gene, designed by God, is still active.
The scriptures give us the understanding that the earth was not created to be destroyed but to be man’s home in this dimension and life will continue.
“One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever.” (Ecclesiastes 1:4) 

Generations have been born after Christ finished work and all believers have tasted biological death not because the work is not complete waiting a future ceasation of the aging process. This is only so because this is what God intends for us to come and demonstrate the inherent nature in us gifted by him and live the life he planned us to live showing the glory of His name.

“Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:21) 

 “Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end…” (Isaiah 9:7) 

“Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, And you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord, For He commanded and they were created. He also established them forever and ever; He made a decree which shall not pass away.” (Psalm 148:4-6)
We all get the time and opportunity to make our own contribution in making the world more beautiful for those coming after us to enjoy and maximize, just as Jesus did. He came to die and use death to recover our lives back. Redemption won all the way!

Now we have his grace to reign and rule in life. With healthy lifestyles and gracious living we find life on earth fulfilling. God’s kingdom here on earth is a spiritual reality that causes us to submit to his reign of love and glory. In this we will reproduce the garden wherever we are, no struggles, no death and no pain.
Credits:
Death Before the Fall, God Created Cellular Death Codes – G.R. Morton.
No Physical Death Before the Fall? Glen J. Kuban

THE RIGHTEOUS NO LONGER SLEEP IN THE GRAVE

The resurrection of the dead was also captured through a harvest motif. This was a time of separation to indicate the true sons of God, ones born of the Spirit and not those who laid claims to their physical lineage as Jews.
Jesus explained through a parable.
Matthew 13:38-40 KJV
The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one ; [39] The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. [40] As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of THIS world.
This is better captured in the Youngs Literal translation which is closer to the Greek.
36 Then having let away the multitudes, Jesus came to the house, and his disciples came near to him, saying, `Explain to us the simile of the darnel of the field.’
37 And he answering said to them, `He who is sowing the good seed is the Son of Man,
38 and the field is the world, and the good seed, these are the sons of the reign, and the darnel are the sons of the evil one,
39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is a full end of the age, and the reapers are messengers.
40 `As, then, the darnel is gathered up, and is burned with fire, so shall it be in the full end of THIS age.
So in the book of Revelation John sees this in a vision.
Revelation 14:14-16 KJV
And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. [15] And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. [16] And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
So when was this to happen? 2,000 years later? No.
Revelation 1:1 KJV
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must SHORTLY come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
This echoed the prophecy of Daniel that the resurrection was to happen at the time of the end and not the end of time. The end of the Mosaic age.
Daniel 12:1-4 KJV
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. [2] And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. [3] And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. [4] But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
Daniel 12:8-9 KJV
And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things ? [9] And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
Daniel 12:13 KJV
But go thou thy way till the end be : for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.
This is why when Paul to the church at Thessalonica to encourage them in the severe persecution that they were going through of a hope that was to be fulfilled in their time.
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

The righteous no longer sleep in the grave. They now reside in the presence of the Lord. Jesus is the resurrection in us. It is no longer a promise but a present reality.


GRACE; MORE THAN THE LAW FULFILLED… DO’NT FORGET THE PROPHETS



The old testament is largely divided into 3 parts; The law, Psalms and Prophets. Until the grace community understand how these Big 3 are fulfilled in Jesus we will keep hovering on an incomplete message. Largely many in the grace message only understand how the law was fulfilled in Jesus.

26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24)

This is the location of many voices in the grace community. But there’s more.
Later that same day Jesus expounded of himself to the disciples.
44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. (Luke 24)
With most in the church not having a thorough knowledge of the major and minor prophets of the old testament it becomes a difficult task breaking down symbolisms and decoding prophetic language found in the new testament.
This is the place where proper and biblical study takes us further to realize the consummation of salvation at the return of the Lord in judgment over that old covenant age. The fulfilled study of eschatology presents a comprehensive howbeit unfamiliar teaching of how all things indeed have been fulfilled to usher in the endless reign of the kingdom.
Earlier in Jesus ministry he announced his mission by reading from the book of Isaiah which is documented in the book of Luke 4.
 16 Now Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 
     18 ​​​​​​​“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
       because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
       He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
       and the regaining of sight to the blind,
       to set free those who are oppressed, 
     19 ​​​​​​​to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  

The interesting about that prophecy is that he left out the following verse.
“..and the day of vengeance of our God” (Isaiah 61)

His first coming fulfilled that first part. He told his disciples that his return would see the other being fulfilled. 

22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. (Luke 21)

What things?
As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass? (Luke 21)

This had to do with the prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem that was fully transpired in ad70.

This knowledge is spreading among laymen and will gain ground to demonstrate the faithfulness of Jesus in his words. With His abiding presence in us and death reversed humanity can rest in the eternal goodness of the Father.
Grace to you.

WILL A NURSING CHILD PLAY BY THE COBRA’S HOLE IN THE KINGDOM?



For people who told to a futuristic view of endtimes still expect a physical kingdom where some impossibilities will exist. Unless we understand prophetic and figurative expressions used in the Old Testament will have false expectations where whole doctrines will be built and passed down to generations yet unborn.

One of such places can be found in Isaiah 11:9
The NURSING CHILD SHALL PLAY BY THE COBRA’S HOLE,
And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den.

Will a small child put his/her hands into snake’s hole in the kingdom?
Isaiah starts by introducing the chapter a figurative language.

“There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse,
And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.”

So the question is this. Was Jesse a plant, does he have a stem and branch growing out of him?
Isaiah’s prophecy was simply referring to Jesse’s descendant who we know as Jesus. This was to confirm his lineage. Just the same Jesus is the seed of Abraham.

He describes Christ as one whose;
“Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins,
And faithfulness the belt of His waist.”

Do we have to imagine him as a wrestler wearing a belt that is inscribed in gold with the phrase “Righteousness and Faithfulness”

Later in vs 15 we see;
“The Lord will utterly destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt;..”
Does the sea of Egypt have a tongue for tasting food?
Let’s look at the text.

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,
The leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
The calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little child shall lead them.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze;
Their young ones shall lie down together;
And the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole,
And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den.
9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
As the waters cover the sea.”

This is about the redemptive work of Christ. This work involved the bringing in the gentiles where the hostility that once existed would be removed and co-existence. Paul’s calls this the mystery that was hidden in ages.

Vs 10 actually explain what the figurative part meant;
“And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse,
Who shall stand as a banner to the people;
For the GENTILES SHALL SEEK HIM,
And His Resting Place Shall Be Glorious.”

This was fulfilled when Peter was first sent to the house of Cornelius, the Roman official. He experienced firsthand that God wanted everyone into the kingdom. It was an aberration for a Jew to be in the house of a gentile and let alone dine with them. This was before the new covenant age.

I love the way it is captured in the Message translation;

10 On that day, Jesse’s Root will be raised high, posted as a rallying banner for the peoples. The nations will all come to him. His headquarters will be glorious.”

Paul explained in Ephesians 2;

For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, (Ephesians 2:14,15 NASB)

Who is he himself? Jesus. The rod of Jesse.

He also proved that this was being fulfilled during his apostolic ministry when he wrote in Romans 15

8 Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the FATHERS, 9 and that the Gentiles might GLORIFY GOD for His mercy, as it is written:
“For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles,
And sing to Your name.”
10 And again he says:
“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!”
11 And again:
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles!
Laud Him, all you peoples!”
12 And again, Isaiah says:
“There shall be a root of Jesse;
And He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles,
In Him the Gentiles shall hope.”

So when he says that no one will be hurt in the mountain. He was referring to Mount Zion where we are brought into the same family of faith. In this mount which signifies the kingdom no one is a threat and no one is more favoured. The glory of the Lord is resting on all in Zion.

This also includes the concept of the wolf and lamb dwelling together. Although many wrongly quote it as the lion and lamb living together (due to passed down traditions). Isaiah still rehearses it again in a subsequent chapter.

 “The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,” says the LORD.” [Isaiah 65:25]

The wolf (Gentiles) and the lamb (Jews) now dwell in the mountain of the Lord (Zion) i.e. the kingdom. This is not a future regathering of Jews in our time. The current state of Israel does not represent this either as some would propose or neither does it refer to a future period of utopia.

It is the reunion of the families of the earth in the SEED; Jesus. To whom was the Abrahamic promise fulfilled. There is no more Jew and non-Jew for all have been made in Christ.

REVELATION: EARLY DATE VS LATE DATE



The most important issue that determines the interpretation of the book of Revelation is the date that it was written. 
There are two views:
The late date view (AD 95-96), which most in the evangelical and charismatic camps hold to and
The early date view (AD 65-66).
The early date view says that Revelation speaks of the birth pangs of the Kingdom, occasioned in the passing away of the old covenant age and the beginning of Church history.

The late date accommodates a wide variety of interpretations; it views the book as the end of the kingdom, Church history and the entire world.

The late date view is based exclusively from external evidence read on a statement made by Irenaeus (A.D. 120-202). He is the only source for this late dating of Revelation while all other sources are based on him. It is this same Irenaeus that is noted for making mistakes in recording dates and times in his writings. Irenaeus claimed that Jesus’ ministry lasted nearly twenty years, from the age of thirty until the age of fifty. Yet people who chose to believe the internal evidence presented in the scriptures.

The truth is that the text of Revelation provides a self-witness for the date it was written.
Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.” (Revelation 11:1-2)

The vision communicated in the book of Revelation refers to a temple standing in a city called the “holy city.” Based upon Hebrew Scriptures, it is easy to see that a Jewish Christian such as John would have had the historical Jerusalem in mind when he spoke of the holy city and not another 2,000 years later:

Awake, awake, Clothe yourself in your strength, O Zion; Clothe yourself in your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; For the uncircumcised and the unclean Will no longer come into you. (Isaiah 52:1)

We see a more specific identification of this city in Revelation 11:8:

And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. (Revelation 11:8)

This reference to the temple must be the historical structure for three reasons.
First of all, it was located in Jerusalem. 

Secondly, according to Revelation 11:2, it was to be under attack for 42 months. History confirms that Nero commissioned Flavian Vespasian, a Roman general, to engage Israel in war in February, A.D. 67. He actually entered the Holy Land and engaged in battle and the Jewish War with Rome lasted from spring, A.D. 67 until the temple fell in August, A.D. 70, a period of forty-two months. 

Luke 21:20 contains Jesus’ prophecy regarding the destruction of the temple as he informed his disciples:
“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. (Luke 21:20)

The time from Revelation 11 fits with what history tells us of the Jewish War.

Another reason that supports the early date that can’t be entirely dismissed is in what Jerome noted in his writings that John was seen in AD 96. He stated that he was so old and frail that “he was with difficulty carried to the church, and could speak only a few words to the people.”

Revelation 10:11, states that John must “prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.” It would have been impossible for John would be able to speak to many nations and many kings at any date after AD 96 since he was already elderly and feeble. That alone would have signaled a failed ministry unless for the early dating. This is also important when you consider that he was told not to seal the vision because it’s fulfillment was at hand and soon to dawn on them.

If we can only keep aside religion then we will realize that the book of Revelation is not a picture of a terrible angry God that wants to destroy the earth because of sin, haunt us with scary beasts or about an antichrist programming our lives with a microchip etc. The finished work of Jesus introduced a new world for the new creation to exist to manifest the glory of God and hence dominate the earth with His presence and power.

The book of Revelation is about the end of that old covenant world and administration that has given way for the endless kingdom of Jesus to reign over the earth permeating the glory of heaven on earth. This is achieved in the revelation of Jesus.

ENDTIME AND TIME INDICATORS



Reading the scriptures just based on our timeline, it would be easy to jump to the conclusion that the disciples were now asking about the end of the world in Matthew 24. But when you look at it closely in context from chapters 21 through 25 you will discover that there is no sensible explanation for why the disciples would have recovered from the long open rebuke of Jesus to the Pharisees and declaring the destruction of the Temple.

It just doesn’t make sense that they would be suddenly changing topics mid-sentence to ask about something completely unrelated like the end of the world. Therefore, it only fits that the disciples were still asking questions about the current discourse. When they asked about the “end of the age,” they were not asking about the end of the world.

This is just a simple solution when you look at the from the original languages. In Greek, the word for “world” is kosmos, whereas the word for “age” is aion. The disciples asked Jesus about the end of the aion. They did not ask about the end of the kosmos.

It is clear from the context even through the parables that Jesus was going to come and bring destruction to Jerusalem and the Temple; therefore, if the Temple was destroyed, it would mean the end of sacrifice. With no temple there would be no more sacrifice, which would mean no more priesthood and rituals. This would be the end of an age which we might we might call, the end of an era. The disciples were asking when the end of the Age of Moses, which Jesus had just prophesied, would happen.

Because many have taught that Jesus was talking about the end of the world, the understanding of many other related verses has also been distorted. By appreciating that the disciples were asking about the end of the Age of Moses, we can clearly understand many verses that are scattered throughout the New Testament.

In that same Matthew 24 Jesus gave the timeline when the prophecy of the end of the age would be fulfilled.

Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away (Matthew 24:34-35).

To the Jewish people, a generation is forty years, not 80 and 100 many have claimed. This is clearly seen in the fact that a “generation” died in the wilderness during the forty-year journey (Deut. 29:5 gives more details). Therefore, Jesus was saying that this prophecy would happen before forty years had gone by. Jesus said this in AD 30, and the entirety of His Matthew 24 prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70. The Jews wondering in the wilderness was a shadow of a coming reality in the advent of the New testament which was the true promised land in Jesus.

The New Testament is filled with exhortations that a near eschatological event was on the horizon for those living at that time. Here are some scriptures to prove that the end of the age was upon that first century church and not in our time:

“The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12)

“But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none” (1 Corinthians 7:29).

“Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Corinthians 10:11).

“Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.” (Philippians 4:5).[5]

“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world” (Hebrews 1:2).

“[Jesus] would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb. 9:26).

“[Let us not forsake] our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25).
“For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay” (Hebrews 10:37)

“Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! (James 5:3)

“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door” (James 5:7–9)

“The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer” (I Peter 4:7)

“Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.” (1 John 2:18).

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John” (Rev. 1:1)

“Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.” (Rev. 1:3).

“I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” (Rev. 3:11)

“And [the angel] said to [John], ‘These words are faithful and true’; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place” (Rev. 22:6)

“And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.” (Rev. 22:7)

“And [the angel] said to [John], ‘Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.’” (Rev. 22:10)

“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.” (Rev. 22:12)

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” (Rev. 22:20)

It’s is impossible to turn the above time indicators into an “any-moment rapture” or prolonged periods of prophetic history. This would be to arrogantly disregard the authority of scriptures and make it fit for us without context. The Kingdom of God is growing, and we are not looking for a future “falling away” of the Church. We are looking forward to the explosion of God’s grace upon the earth until His glory covers the earth.

THE SEVEN FEASTS OF THE LORD PT 1



INTRO AND THE FEAST OF PASSOVER

We commence a new series I have indicated in recent times. This series is not well sought one but it holds beautiful thoughts on the full redemptive work of the Lord Jesus. Their significance is outstanding and its prophetic message is one that will the church to understand the agenda of the kingdom of God here on earth.

These feasts are not the like the holidays that we observe when we decide to rest from official work. These Jewish feasts was pronounced by God to be part of Israel’s calendar. They are seven and we can find a proper reference to the book of Leviticus 23. There they are listed in chronological sequence.

These seven holidays are called “The Feasts of Yahweh.”

They are:

1. Passover

2. Unleavened Bread

3. First Fruits

4. Pentecost

5. Trumpets

6. Day of Atonement

7. Feast of Tabernacles

For the purpose of our study let’s start with Leviticus 23:1-6

“The Lord spoke again to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord’s appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations—My appointed times are these:

3 ‘For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to the Lord in all your dwellings.

4 ‘These are the appointed times of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them. 5 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month [a]at twilight is the Lord’s Passover.”

Let’s look at certain words in the text. The words “appointed times” are from the Hebrew mow’ed, which means: “fixed times, to meet at a stated time.”

The word “holy convocations” is the Hebrew miqra, which means: “rehearsal.” This is quite interesting. The Lord decided to use the Feasts as appointed times of worship for Israel serving as “dress rehearsals” of the full scope of the finished work of Jesus. They were prophetic events that were to happen in the future of that first generation that received the law.

In these Feasts God was showing Israel His plans for the redemption of humanity and the restoration of all things in Jesus. They were pictures paralleled things that would be fulfilled in Jesus.

Also another phrase to note is, “You shall proclaim…”–this is from the Hebrew word, qara, it means: “to call out to those who are bidden.” As Israel rehearsed these Seven Feasts year after year, they were a calling out to those who were bidden. The Lord was calling out to them to trust the Messiah when he came.

When you look at these Seven Feasts indepth you will see how it presents the sequence, timing, and significance of the major events of the Lord’s redemptive journey with man. The feasts speaks of the work that began at Calvary, where Jesus gave Himself for the sins of the world as the perfect lamb (Passover), through to the consummation of the Messianic Kingdom that was posited at the Lord’s Second Coming.

Another thing to note is that the study of these feasts is a study in typology. This is method of biblical interpretation where certain things as contained in the old testament prefigure one in the new testament. A type is a shadow cast on the pages of the old testament of the person of Jesus which becomes revealed by the Spirit. In their time it was a prophetic picture of the good things that God purposed to bring to fruition in Christ.

Paul explains that the Feasts were types:

Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day– things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Colossians 2:16-17 NASB

Colossians 2:17 clearly indicates that the Feasts are shadows to teach us about the Messianic work of Jesus. Each Feast is a prophetic picture of the Jesus. They give us understanding to see God’s prophetic calendar

One important thing I will like to notice from what Paul wrote in Colossians that the Feasts are a shadow of things to come. “To come” is from the Greek word mello. The Greek verb “mello” in the infinitive means: “to be about to”(see Thayer, Arndt & Gingrich, New Englishman’s Greek Concordance).

So, at the time of Paul’s writing of Colossians, the Feasts, all the Feasts, were all about to become shadows. The realities were “about to” come. If we miss it here then we fix a timeline that will not present the proper fulfillment of the prophecies concerning the kingdom.

It is generally taught that the first four Feasts were being fulfilled in Christ’s First Coming but we are still looking for the fulfillment of the Fall Feasts in our future. Paul in his time stated that all the Feasts were about to become shadows.

The author of Hebrews states:

“For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.” Hebrews 10:1 NASB

The Law was a shadow. The coming of Christ cast its shadow in the law. The purpose of the Law of Moses is to give us a foreshadowing, a pre-figurement, of the person and work of Christ. The old sacrifices were a shadow, never substance. The shadows can’t do the job. The law cannot pass away if certain elements are still to find fulfillment after its final demise.

So we kick off with the first feast the Feast of:

1. Passover:

“These are the appointed times of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them. ‘In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the LORD’S Passover.” Leviticus 23:4-5 NASB

This is the foundational Feast. The other six Feasts that follow are built upon it. It was celebrated in the spring of the year, on the 14th day of the Hebrew month, Nisan which falls into our March/April.

The first Passover was observed when Israel was about to be delivered from slavery in Egypt. Pharaoh had been refusing to release His people when The Lord sent Moses to him. In spite of a series of devastating plagues, Pharaoh was adamant. In preparation for the final and most terrible plague which was the death of every first-born, God gives Moses specific instructions for how the Israelites are to be saved.

Exodus 12 gives us the picture of the first Passover:

Now the LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 2 “This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you. Exodus 12:1-2 NASB

In the first verses of this chapter we see the significance of this Feast in that Yahweh changes the Hebraic calendar with its introduction. The month that God was referring to was the month of Nisan. The month of Nisan was initially the seventh month in the calendar but right in the middle of the year, God gives them a new beginning. This reveals how in the midst of our timeline Redemption stepped through the cross and gave humanity a new dispensation. Everything now counts from the cross.

“Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household. 4 ‘Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them; according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb. 5 ‘Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 ‘And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight. 7 ‘Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 ‘And they shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9 ‘Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails. 10 ‘And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire. 11 ‘Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste– it is the LORD’S Passover.” Exodus 12:3-11 NASB

Verse 3 tells us, “On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household.” Who is the antitype of the lamb? It is the Lord Jesus. The Apostle Paul sees this and points out to them that, “Christ, our Passover Lamb, was sacrificed for us.” (I Cor. 5:7).

When Jesus met John Baptist at the Jordan, he was introduced as the “Lamb of God”.

These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. 29 The next day he saw Yeshua coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:28-29 NASB

In this John is referring to the Passover Lamb. The Jews understood his message. This lamb would be he that would through death take away sin and the power of death. Those who put their faith in Him would be saved. This is beyond the bondage of Egypt, but from the bondage of sin and guilt and delivered into the Kingdom of God, one with life, joy, peace, righteousness and love.

Isaiah the Prophet also spoke of Israel’s Savior as a lamb:

All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. 7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. Isaiah 53:6-7 NASB

Isaiah 53 is a beautiful rendition of the work of Jesus, the Lamb of God.

Then it continues;

‘Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. Exodus 12:5 NASB

The Israelites were required to bring a lamb is to unblemished. In the New Testament we see Christ identified as the unblemished Lamb:

“knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” 1 Peter 1:18-19 NASB

Peter makes it very clear here that Christ is a spotless, unblemished Lamb. Only unblemished lamb can impute righteousness to man and this can only be fulfilled by Jesus. Paul also mentions Christ was sinless in 2 Corinthians 5:21 “Him who knew no sin…”

Now it gets more interesting in the following next verse:

‘And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight. Exodus 12:6 NASB

Israel was commanded to take a lamb on the tenth day of Nisan and set it aside until the fourteenth day. These four days were fulfilled by Jesus during the Passover week. Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the Temple, which was the house of God, and went on public display there for four days, from Nisan 10 to Nisan 14. During this period Jesus was examined by many in fulfilling this Scripture. These include the chief priests and elders, Pilate, Herod and Annas the high priest.

Notice this:

And Pilate came out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.” John 19:4 NASB

Then see what is in the middle of Exodus 12:6 says:”The whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it.” Here we see that it is the responsibility of all Israel, indeed of all people, in the offering or the lamb and importantly the crucifixion of Christ. It was the sins of ALL OF US which crucified Him.

What time did this happen?

Mark tells us:

It was the third hour when they crucified Him. Mark 15:25 NASB

This is nine o’clock in the morning, the time of the morning sacrifice. Can you imagine that at the very same moment that they are binding the passover lamb to the horns of the altar on the temple mount, they were also binding Jesus to the cross. At this same time they are singing the Hallel, which is Psalms 113-118:

The LORD is God, and He has given us light; Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar. Psalms 118:27 NASB

Though the text in Exodus 12 says that the lamb is to be killed “at twilight”–the literal Hebrew reads: “between the two evenings.” The lamb was to be killed “between the evenings.”

6 `And it hath become a charge to you, until the fourteenth day of this month, and the whole assembly of the company of Israel have slaughtered it between the evenings;” (Exodus 12:6) Youngs Literal Translation

The biblical day goes from evening to evening. The phrase, “between the evening” (from Exodus 12:6), refers to the period of the day that goes from noon to 6:00 p.m., which is exactly 3:00 p.m. This would be the ninth hour of the day, counting from 6:00 a.m.

Jesus died at the ninth hour of the day. This would be exactly 3:00 p.m.:

And about the ninth hour Yeshua cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?” Matthew 27:46 NASB

In the evening of the fourteenth of Nisan, at exactly 3:00 p.m., the Passover lamb was to be killed. Jesus, our Lamb, was crucified on the very same day, at the very same time as the Passover lamb: the 14th of Nisan at 3:00p.m. Coincidence? No. The lamb was the type and Jesus is the antitype. Unfortunately they busy giving God a lamb but they were oblivious of the fact that God had presented HIS own lamb.

Another interesting fact is that the ninth hour was also an hour of prayer. At this time they would sing the Hallel:

The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation. Psalms 118:14 NASB

The word for Salvation is “Yeshua or as we know it in english “Jesus”. He is the final Lamb slain for the sins of the world. The Father was all the while showing them but they could not see.

Now let me share with this wonderful discovery I learnt from research about what happens at the close of the Passover.

Usually thousands of lambs would be sacrificed on Passover, starting at around 9:00am. The shofar would sound to announce to the surrounding areas that the last lamb of about 250,000 which translates over 40,000 per hour had been slaughtered. This would be about 3:00pm, the night hour of the day.

The high priest who had closely inspected the lamb, satisfied that it was unblemished would say that it had no fault. The main lamb offering at the temple mount during Passover was made by the high priest after all the others had been made, about 3:00pm.

The High Priest in the Temple after slaughtering all the lambs on Passover would finally come to The Passover Lamb and would yell out in a loud voice “I thirst” and the High Priest would be given a drink. Then the High Priest would offer up The Passover Lamb. After slaying the Passover Lamb the High Priest would yell out “It is finished” and the sins of the people would be covered.

It was exactly 3:00pm when Jesus, our High Priest, gave up His Spirit and said His last words; “It is finished.”

Hmmn…. Glory to God. The work is done!


(To be continued)

EZEKIEL 28: IS SATAN THE PRINCE OF TYRE?

Recently I did a post on Facebook on how many Christians see the “Devil” as more knowledgeable than any human alive today hence his being able to deceive many and hold sway over their life.

One of the intriguing responses I received had to do with the identification of Satan being the prince of Tyre found in Ezekiel 28, a personality drawn to be wiser than Daniel and one who was found in Eden. The qualification goes on.

As always I advocate the place of the contextual background of the book. Without this, we will be reading our own understanding into the contents of this prophetic book.
The book of Ezekiel consists of thirteen prophetic revelations that Ezekiel saw over a period of twenty-two years. It is a book that is centered on theme of judgment.
Ezekiel is prophesied judgment on Judah and neighboring nations and cities, with Babylon as the primary instrument of God’s judgment. The nations that were to be judged include:
Judah,
Ammon,
Moab,
Edom,
Philistia,
Tyre,
Sidon,
Egypt,
Assyria,
Elam, and
‘Gog of Magog’.
The thirteen prophecies aren’t exactly arranged in the order they came to Ezekiel but he employs apocalyptic language in communicating how the events were to play out. Essentially the prophecies in the book call wrongdoing of those kingdoms out and pronounce judgment upon them.
Some of these prophecies was communicated in the form of lamentations. The Hebrew word translated lamentation in the book is qiynah. Its general meaning is a dirge or lament, especially as sung by Jewish professional mourning women. This lamentation follows the fall of a great personality.
So Ezekiel was made to sing the dirge of certain personalities and kingdoms that was to be no more. Their glory would be past and their rule cut short.
In the heart of the book we find ourselves in Ezekiel 26-28 where his oracles against Tyre fill the whole of his sixth prophecy. In chapter 26 he prophecies the conquest of Tyre by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Then in chapter 27 he continues the lament over the city’s extensive trade and renowned beauty.
When we get to chapter 28, with the focus now coming onto ‘the prince of Tyre’ and ‘the king of Tyre’, he goes further to describe the personality of this ruler and why he was being cut down. At this point injecting “Satan” into the prophecy is probably one of the most unimaginable thing one can do. It’s a zero respect for exegesis.
Some would say that it is two personalities. That Satan was behind the face of the evil king driving him to whatever he does. One thing they forget is that Ezekiel had all the while being using imageries to reveal judgments over these nations and this lamentation was about the certain end of a man and not a spirit being known as Satan. We will see more of it.
In this chapter Ezekiel specifies a ‘prince’ (28.2) and a ‘king’ (28.11) as the recipients of his prophecy.
As recognized by Jewish understanding it is common for a king to also be called a prince. This is so because the Hebrew word for ‘prince’ (nagiyd, נגיד) can simply means ‘ruler’, ‘leader’, or ‘commander’.
In 2 Samuel 5.2-3, where both titles are used for David.
Also, in time past, when Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel out and brought them in; and the Lord said to you, ‘You shall shepherd My people Israel, and be RULER over Israel.’” Therefore all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and KING David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord. And they anointed David KING over Israel. 
Let’s see the first ten verses from the ESV (English Standard Version);
28 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus says the Lord God:
“Because your heart is proud,
    and you have said, ‘I am a god,
I sit in the seat of the gods,
    in the heart of the seas,’
yet you are but A MAN, and no god,
    though you make your heart like the heart of a god—
you are indeed wiser than Daniel;
    no secret is hidden from you;
by your wisdom and your understanding
    you have made wealth for yourself,
and have gathered gold and silver
    into your treasuries;
by your great wisdom in your trade
    you have increased your wealth,
    and your heart has become proud in your wealth—
therefore thus says the Lord God:
Because you make your heart
    like the heart of a god,
therefore, behold, I will BRING FOREIGNERS upon you,
    the most ruthless of the nations;
and they shall DRAW THEIR SWORDS against the beauty of your wisdom
    and defile your splendor.
They shall thrust you down into the pit,
    and you shall die the death of the slain
    in the heart of the seas.
WILL YOU STILL SAY, ‘I AM A GOD,’
    in the presence of those who kill you,
THOUGH YOU ARE BUT A MAN, AND NO GOD,
    in the hands of those who slay you?
10 You shall die the death of the uncircumcised

    by the hand of foreigners;
    for I have spoken, declares the Lord God.”(Emphasis mine)
From what we have read through Ezekiel 28, we find the king’s story to be the following: He was blessed with wisdom, beauty, and widespread trade, seated on the sea. But with the great wealth of his trade, he became arrogant and violent. Because of this sin, the king would be destroyed by foreign invaders sent by God.
This story is identical to what we find in Ezekiel 26–27, where the prophet condemned the city Tyre itself. The city was beautiful
and say to Tyre, who dwells at the entrances to the sea, merchant of the peoples to many coastlands, thus says the Lord God:
“O Tyre, you have said,
    ‘I am perfect in beauty.’
Your borders are in the heart of the seas;
    your builders made perfect your beauty.
 (27.3-4,11),
Filled with trade
all the ships of the sea with their mariners were in you
    to barter for your wares. (27:9b),
Seated on the sea
 She shall be in the midst of the sea a place for the spreading of nets, for I have spoken, declares the Lord God. And she shall become plunder for the nations,
And they will raise a lamentation over you and say to you,
“‘How you have perished,
    you who were inhabited from the seas,
O city renowned,
    who was mighty on the sea;
she and her inhabitants imposed their terror
    on all her inhabitants!
 In their wailing they raise a lamentation for you
    and lament over you:
‘Who is like Tyre,
    like one destroyed in the midst of the sea? (26.5,17; 27:32).
God would send foreign invaders to conquer the city
therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and will bring up many nations against you, as the sea brings up its waves.They shall destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers, and I will scrape her soil from her and make her a bare rock. She shall be in the midst of the sea a place for the spreading of nets, for I have spoken, declares the Lord God. And she shall become plunder for the nations,
“For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will bring against Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar[a] king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses and chariots, and with horsemen and a host of many soldiers. He will kill with the sword your daughters on the mainland. He will set up a siege wall against you and throw up a mound against you, and raise a roof of shields against you. He will direct the shock of his battering rams against your walls, and with his axes he will break down your towers. 10 His horses will be so many that their dust will cover you. Your walls will shake at the noise of the horsemen and wagons and chariots, when he enters your gates as men enter a city that has been breached. 11 With the hoofs of his horses he will trample all your streets. He will kill your people with the sword, and your mighty pillars will fall to the ground. 12 They will plunder your riches and loot your merchandise. They will break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses. Your stones and timber and soil they will cast into the midst of the waters.13 And I will stop the music of your songs, and the sound of your lyres shall be heard no more. 14 I will make you a bare rock. You shall be a place for the spreading of nets. You shall never be rebuilt, for I am the Lord; I have spoken, declares the Lord God.
(26.3-6, 7-14).
Where many attribute this personality to the spirit being known as Satan is found in the following verses that state
“You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you.
In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you. By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade you profaned your sanctuaries; so I brought fire out from your midst; it consumed you, and I turned you to ashes on the earth in the sight of all who saw you. All who know you among the peoples are appalled at you; you have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more forever. (Ezek. 28:12–19 ESV)
So in the midst of this prophecy would Ezekiel start to address a spirit being? Remember that this identified “anointed Cherub” had much trade done in dishonesty and would be destroyed by men and would be no more as people would be appalled that his glory was trampled on.
The term used here for the king of Tyre as a ‘cherub’ who was in ‘Eden’ should be understood as a metaphor that describes the king’s great privilege and glory not as a spirit but an exalted authority. The Complete Jewish Bible puts it this way;
You were a keruv, protecting a large region;
This speaks about the territorial coverage of this king. The word “covereth” is actually the Hebrew that means to protect. This is not the same imagery of the Cherub that bowed before the ark of God. This is a special reference to an exalted personality with power over a region. This power is one that was sanctioned by God.

Also it worth to note that mountains in scriptures signifies governments and kingdoms. So when it says the mountains of God. It is simply referring to authorities that God establishes to achieve his purposes. If the so called ruler then begins to see himself as the “Sovereign One” his pride becomes his downfall. The scriptures are replete with gentile kings who fall into this category.
This king was originally blameless—a wise king who gained great wealth (28:3-5)—but he became proud and violent; therefore, God cast him from the garden, which is also the “mountain of God”.
Also worthy to note is that the fall of Adam in the garden of Eden is used as a metaphor for the corruption of a king who in the end thought he could become like a god. Their ambitions driven by pride always became their route to destruction.
When you delve further into chapter 31, where Ezekiel draws a dirge for Pharoah he also employs a similar imagery with the garden of Eden.
It was beautiful in its greatness,
    in the length of its branches;
for its roots went down
    to abundant waters.
The cedars in the garden of God could not rival it,
    nor the fir trees equal its boughs;
neither were the plane trees
    like its branches;
no tree in the garden of God
    was its equal in beauty.
I made it beautiful
    in the mass of its branches,
and all the trees of Eden envied it,
    that were in the garden of God.
10 “Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because it[b] towered high and set its top among the clouds,[c] and its heart was proud of its height, 11 I will give it into the hand of a mighty one of the nations. He shall surely deal with it as its wickedness deserves. I have cast it out. 1
(Ezekiel 31:7-10)
The summary is this. The king of Tyre is a human, who Ezekiel expects to be destroyed when Nebuchadnezzar conquers and destroys the city of Tyre. According to the dating of the prophecy we can actually identify who this anointed Cherub is.

Ezekiel dates this prophecy to the ‘eleventh year’ on the ‘first day [of the first month]’. The dating of Ezekiel’s prophecies is based on the number of years of ‘the exile of King Jehoiachin’ (Ezekiel 1.2), which would date chapters 26–28 to the year 586 BC. This was shortly after Nebuchadnezzar had conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the first temple, so Ezekiel anticipates the king of Babylon to soon march against Tyre.

So based on the overall context and the internal dating of the prophecy from the book, this king of Tyre of Ezekiel 28 was Ithobaal III and not Satan. Neither will be the Antichrist as some also speculate.

It’s time for the church to realize the place of exegesis rather use tradition to read scriptures. We have empowered Satan through bad theology and many are walking in defeat.

Jesus has been made unto us wisdom. No other spirit being can possess more wisdom than you. This wisdom is breathed by the Holy Spirit. It is by this wisdom that we can see the heart of God in scriptures and our place in him.

By His grace which is a gift to us, we have been ordained to reign in life. Open your heart to the glory of the Lord resident in you and manifest sonship wherever you are.

 

Grace to you.

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