Archive for the ‘Scriptures’ Category

The National Day of Prayer – Yom Kippur

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.  I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there” (2 Chronicles 7:14-15).

Every year Christians in America celebrate a national day of prayer.  They use 2 Chronicles 7 as their mantra and recite it with the hope that ‘God will heal the land of America.’  It’s obvious no one studied the context in which the prayer was spoken and who it was for.  This prayer was a call for Israel’s national repentance, not the repentance of America or India or Russia.  I have often wondered why and how a Thursday in May was chosen. Why isn’t this mantra recited during the Biblical ‘appointed time’ of Yom Kippur?  Is it because we embrace the Scriptures of Israel while rejecting God’s holy days because of anti-semitic views?

God chose and consecrated ‘this temple’ in Jerusalem so that His name would be there forever, but there were conditions.  Since Yahweh is the same yesterday and tomorrow, His conditions remain the same especially if Americans want ‘healing in their land’ apart from embracing the fullness of the God of Israel.

But if you turn away and abandon my regulations and mitzvot [commandments] which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, worshipping them; then I will pull them up by the roots out of the land I have given them. This house, which I consecrated for my name, I will eject from my sight; and I will make it an example to avoid and an object of scorn among all peoples.  This house, now so exalted — everyone passing by will be shocked at the sight of it and will ask, ‘Why has the LORD done this to this land and to this house?’ But the answer will be, ‘It’s because they abandoned the LORD the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and took hold of other gods, worshipping and serving them; this is why [the LORD] brought all these calamities on them.’”

Like Israel, the America has gone astray.  God’s commandments have been abandoned by those who should be the light for a lawless grace that negates obedience.  Pagan gods and goddesses are worshipped in the ‘name of Jesus’ creating a very lukewarm religious American culture.   What happened to Israel was written for our learning (1 Corinthians 10:11).

Yom Kippur WallAs the day of Yom Kippur approaches, as ‘temples of God’s Spirit and  people called by His Name, we should be joining with the nation of Israel and Jewish people around the world to corporately repent of abandoning the God of Israel for other gods, customs and traditions; other ways of worshipping Him than the way He desires.   If we want to claim the Scripture “If my people who are called by my name,”  we must also claim the reasons that have brought havoc on this country and the world.  We must mourn for our unrighteous judgments and sins against Yahweh.    If we truly desire a national day of prayer,  Yom Kippur has stood the test of time.   If we truly desire national repentance, the Day of Atonement is God’s ‘appointed time’.

“In that day …  I will pour out on the house of David and on those living in Yerushalayim a spirit of grace and prayer; and they will look to me, whom they pierced.” They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son; they will be in bitterness on his behalf like the bitterness for a firstborn son. When that day comes, there will be great mourning in Yerushalayim, mourning like that for Hadad-Rimmon in the Megiddo Valley. Then the land will mourn, each family by itself —“ (Zechariah 12:10-11).

©2016 Tentstake Ministries

The Gates and Walls of Nehemiah

“Our feet were already standing at your gates, Yerushalayim” (Psalm 122:2).

Nehemiah chapter 3 outlines the rebuilding of the gates and walls of Jerusalem in the days of Ezra.  Its focus is on the names of those who set the gates and rebuilt the walls surrounding each gate.   Biblical/Hebrew names have always fascinated me and, in Scripture, they always have prophetic significance.  As I began researching the meanings of the names, I found incredible messages.

Nehemiah's Jerusalem

Nehemiah’s Jerusalem

It is important to note that the boundaries of city of Jerusalem in the days of Nehemiah were very different, and much smaller, from modern times.  Some gates had different names; other gates didn’t exist or exist now.  The layout of the city went south into the City of David or Mount Zion rather than west towards what is known today as the Old City.  Excavations of the Broad Wall are found near the center of the Jewish Quarter near the Hurva Synagogue.  

 

Sheep Gate

“But the one who goes in through the gate is the sheep’s own shepherd” (John 10:2).

Sheep Gate or Lion's GateNehemiah 3 begins with the restoration of The Sheep Gate.  This gate was where the lambs were brought for examination and eventual sacrifice in the Temple.  Today, the Sheep Gate is known as the Lion’s Gate and is the entrance to the Arab Quarter near Bethesda. 

“Eliashib, the high priest along with the Levite priests rebuilt the Sheep Gate to the Tower of the Hundred and onto the Tower of Hanna’el.   Next to the priests, the men of Jericho and Zakur, the son of Imri continued building” (Nehemiah 3:1-2).   

The meanings of the names of those who restored the Sheep Gate:

My God will return with a strong utterance [a shofar blast implying warfare].   

The prophetic voice: “The LORD will roar from Tzion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the heavens will tremble.  But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel” (Joel 3:16).

Fish Gate

“So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn” (John 21:11).

The Fish Gate was the next to be restored  in the north wall of ancient Jerusalem near the modern-day Damascus Gate which is also in the Arab Quarter.  The Fish Gate was the closest gate to the fish market and fishermen from the Galilee, whether Arab or Israeli, used this gate to bring their fish to market.

“The sons of Hasna’ah rebuilt the Fish Gate.  Next to them M’remot the son of Uriyah, the son of Hakotz, made repairs. Next to them Meshulam the son of Berekhyah, the son of Mesheizav’el, made repairs. Next to them Tzadok the son of Ba‘ana made repairs. Next to them the men from T’koa made repairs” (Nehemiah 3:3-5).  

The meanings of the names of those who restored the Fish Gate:

“Thorns, the myrrh of death, God is my Light, my shalom, my deliverer.  My righteous one is blessed by Yah through a confirming Tekoa [trumpet blast].”

In John 21, the Hebrew numerology for the 153 fish with each number being represented by a letter means: “I Am Yahweh.” 

The prophetic voice: “On that day [the day of the LORD],” declares the LORD, “a cry will go up from the Fish Gate, wailing from the New Quarter, and a loud crash from the hills. Wail, you who live in the [fish] market district; all your merchants will be wiped out,  all who trade with silver will be destroyed” (Zephaniah 1:10-11).

Damascus GateOld “Ancient” Gate

“Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Yeshua is the Messiah” (Acts 9:22).

The Old Gate was known as the Sha’ar Yahshana meaning ‘ancient entrance/pathway.’  This ‘ancient’ gate was located on the north side of Jerusalem and may have been what is known today as the Damascus Gate.  The Damascus Gate leads out to the Nablus Road and, in ancient days, led directly to Damascus, Syria.   

“Yoyada the son of Paseach and Meshulam the son of B’sodyah made repairs to the Old City Gate…. Next to them M’latyah the Giv‘oni, Yadon the Meronoti and the men from Giv‘on and Mitzpah made repairs; they worked for the people associated with the governor of the territory beyond the [Euphrates] River. Next to them ‘Uzi’el the son of Harhayah, goldsmiths, made repairs” (Nehemiah 3:6-8). 

The meanings of the names, places, and vocation of those who repaired the Old Gate:

“Yahweh favors, passing over, sparing.  Shalom in the counsel of Yah.  Men of the ‘hill city’, watch[tower] for the deliverance of the LORD who will judge the great stream.  God is my strength.  Yah protects and tests the heart.”

Gibeon or Giv’on was conquered by Joshua just like Jericho.   Gibeon means ‘hill country’.  Mitzpah means ‘watchtower’ and was a city in Benjamin located near Jerusalem.  The word ‘Euphrates’ is an Assyrian word meaning ‘the great stream’.

Goldsmiths are mentioned twice in Nehemiah 3 as those who worked on repairing the wall. 

“The crucible [tests] silver, and the furnace [tests] gold, but the one who tests hearts is the LORD” (Proverbs 17:3).

The ways of Yahweh are described by the prophet Jeremiah as ‘ancient paths’ (Jeremiah 6:16).   These ‘ancient pathways’  in Jerusalem that so many have walked on over the centuries are accessed through ‘ancient gates’ like the Sha’ar Yahshana. 

The prophetic voice:  “I will break down the gate of Damascus; I will destroy the king who is in the Valley of Aven and the one who holds the scepter in Beth Eden. The people of Aram will go into exile to Kir,” says the Lord” (Amos 1:5). 

Israel Scrapbook

Broad Wall Excavation in Jewish Quarter

Broad Wall

One other job description mentioned in this group of men is a perfume maker who helped repair the way to the Broad Wall.  The Broad Wall was a defensive wall about 23 feet thick built during the reign of King Hezekiah.  It is believed that the city of Jerusalem at this time was confined to the fortified, narrow hill running to the south of the Temple Mount known as the City of David.  There are remnants of this wall in Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter. 

“Next to him Hananyah, one of the perfume-makers, made repairs; they renovated Yerushalayim as far as the Broad Wall” (Nehemiah 3:8).

His name means:

“Grace and mercy are a sweet-smelling gift of the LORD.”

Ephraim Gate

“Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the people of Judea. Instead he withdrew to a region near the wilderness, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples” (John 11:54).

The Ephraim Gate is not mentioned in Nehemiah 3 as needing repairs, however, it is mentioned in Nehemiah 8 when the people built their sukkot (booths) at this gate and Nehemiah 12 as part of the processional walk of choirs during the dedication of the wall at Feast of Tabernacles.   According to 2 Kings, the distance between the Ephraim Gate and the Corner Gate was 400 cubits, or 200 yards long.  Ephraim was the name of second-born son to Joseph in Egypt.  In Hebrew Ephraim means ‘fruitfulness.’

“Next to them Refayah the son of Hur … made repairs. Next to him Y’dayah the son of Harumaf made repairs opposite his own house. Next to him Hatush the son of Hashavn’yah made repairs” (Nehemiah 3:10-11).

These are the meanings of the names of the men who repaired the wall to the Tower of the Ovens:

“Yah has cured, examined, guided, assembled.  Yah has imputed to me.”

Prophetic voice: “See, I will bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them will be the blind and the lame, expectant mothers and women in labor; a great throng will return. They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble, because I am Israel’s father, and Ephraim is my firstborn son” (Jeremiah 31:8-9).

Tower of the Ovens

They [the Levites] were in charge of the bread set out on the table, the special flour for the grain offerings, the thin loaves made without yeast, the baking and the mixing, and all measurements of quantity and size” (1 Chronicles 23:29).

The Tower of the Ovens,  or in Hebrew tannurim, was located at Bakers’ Street off the western wall of Jerusalem.  This area was considered the baking district of Jerusalem.  The Sabbath showbread for the Temple was baked here by Levite bakers (1 Chronicles 9:31-32).    Zedekiah had his guards feed Jeremiah a daily loaf of bread from Bakers’ Street (Jeremiah 37:21).  This is the only place Scripture mentions that women worked on the wall –  the daughters of HaLochesh.

“Malkiyah the son of Harim and Hashuv the son of Pachat-Mo’av [Sheik of Moab] made repairs on another section and on the Tower of the Ovens.  Next to him Shalum the son of HaLochesh … he and his daughters, made repairs” (Nehemiah 3:9-12). 

The meanings of the names of those who worked on the Tower of the Ovens and the nearby wall:

“God is my King, dedicated to God, important, honored, considerate, one who whispers.” 

Prophetic vision: Those who walk righteously and speak what is right, who reject gain from extortion and keep their hands from accepting bribes, who stop their ears against plots of murder and shut their eyes against contemplating evil— they are the ones who will dwell on the heights,  whose refuge will be the mountain fortress.
Their bread will be supplied, and water will not fail them” 
(Isaiah 33:15-16). 

Valley Gate

“‘Uziyahu [Uziah] built towers in Yerushalayim at the Corner Gate, at the Valley Gate and at the Angle, and fortified them” (2 Chronciles 26:9).

The Valley Gate gate was most likely on the southwestern side of the city between the Tower of Ovens and the Dung Gate.  It doesn’t exist in modern-day Jerusalem.   It was through the Valley Gate that Nehemiah left the city to inspect the wall that had been broken down and the gates which had been burned by fire (Nehemiah 2:13). 

“Hanun and the people living in Zanoach repaired the Valley Gate … and they rebuilt 1,500 feet of the wall, as far as the Dung Gate” (Nehemiah 3:13).

The meanings of the name of the man who repaired the Valley Gate along with those living in Zanoah:

“Rejected, stinking; gracious and merciful.”

There are several valleys around Jerusalem.  The Kidron Valley, the Tyropoeon Valley, and the Hinnom Valley.   The Kidron Valley is dotted with thousands of burial sites and is known as ‘the valley of the shadow of death.’  The Tyropoeon Valley, called the ‘valley of cheesemakers’, separates Mount Moriah with the Temple Mount from Mount Tzion also known as the City of David.  The Hinnom Valley is on the south and west of Jerusalem.  In Hebrew, the Hinnom is gehenna.  Scripture calls this place the ‘valley of slaughter’ because of the sacrifices to Molech which took place there (Jeremiah 32:35).  It is most likely that the Valley Gate led out to the Hinnom Valley.

Prophetic voice: “A voice cries out: “Clear a road through the desert for the LORD! Level a highway in the ‘Aravah for our God! Let every valley be filled in, every mountain and hill lowered, the bumpy places made level and the crags become a plain. Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed; all humankind together will see it, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken” (Isaiah 40:3-5).

The Dung Gate

“The bull for the sin offering and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the Holy Place, is to be carried outside the camp; there they are to burn up completely their hides, meat and dung” (Leviticus 16:27).

Dung GateThe Dung Gate in Hebrew is Sha’ar Ha’ashpot or “Gate of Garbage”. It received its name from the refuse and ash that was removed from the Temple and taken out out of the city into the Valley of Hinnom where it was burned.  The Dung Gate is mentioned in Nehemiah 12:30 when the priests and the Levites dedicated the gates and the wall.  There was a ramparts walkway on which the people could walk around the city and offer their praise and worship to Elohim (Nehemiah 12:13).   

“Malkiyah the son of Rechav, leader of the district of Beit-Hakerem, repaired the Dung Gate … (Nehemiah 3:14).

The meanings of the names of the men who repaired the Dung Gate from the district of Beit-Hakerem:

“God is my King.  He enlarges the people, the house of his vineyard.”

The present-day Dung Gate was built during the Ottoman Empire and is probably not in the same place as it was in Nehemiah’s day. The gate was widened in 1948 to allow cars to enter.  In the days of the Temple, it was a gate where refuse was taken; today it is the main gate into the Jewish Quarter where tourists visit the Western Wall and the Temple Mount.

Fountain Gate

““For my people have committed two evils: they have abandoned me, the fountain of living water, and dug themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water!” (Jeremiah 2:13).

The Fountain Gate was on the ophel or the part of the eastern hill that sits between the City of David and the Temple Mount.   It was near the Pool of Siloam and was used by the people for a cleansing immersion before proceeding to the Temple. It was at the pool of Siloam that Yeshua told a blind man to go and wash the mud out of his eyes.   ““Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing” (John 9:7). 

“Shalun the son of Kol-Hozeh, leader of the district of Mitzpah, repaired the Fountain Gate; … he also rebuilt the wall of the Pool of Siloam, by the royal garden, as far as the stairs that go down from the City of David. After him Nechemyah the son of Azbuk, leader of half the district of Beit-Tzur, made repairs from the place opposite the tombs of David as far as the artificial pool and the soldiers’ barracks” (Nehemiah 3:15-16). 

The meanings of the names of the men who repaired the Fountain Gate and the areas around the pool and tombs:

“Prosper, all prophets, the watchtower.  Yahweh comforts, sends.  Strong devastation, House of Rock.

Prophetic voice: “And he [Yeshua] said to me, “It is done! I am the ‘A’ and the ‘Z,’ the Beginning and the End. To anyone who is thirsty I myself will give water free of charge from the Fountain of Life” (Revelation 21:6).

Gate of the Guard

“He stationed guards at the gates of the house of the LORD, so that no one who was unclean in any respect could enter” (2 Chronicles 23:19).

From the Fountain Gate, a number of priests repaired the wall sections attached to their homes until they reached the Gate of the Guard.  It was in this section that Eliashib, the high priest lived.   Like the Ephraim Gate, the Gate of the Guard needed no repairs. 

“After him the Levites made repairs: Rechum the son of Bani; next to him Hashavyah, leader of half the district of Ke‘ilah, made repairs for his district. After him their colleagues, Bavai the son of Henadad … made repairs. Next to him ‘Ezer the son of Yeshua, leader of Mitzpah, made repairs on another section, opposite the ascent to the armory at the Angle. After him Barukh the son of Zakkai worked diligently … to the door of the house of Elyashiv the high priest. After him M’remot the son of Uriyah made repairs on another section, from the door of the house of Elyashiv to the end of the house of Elyashiv.

The meanings of the names of the Levites who repaired the wall to the high priest’s house:

“Merciful and compassionate to the one whom God sees building the ‘little city’.  With the desire of the LORD, the grace of the beloved, help and salvation are ‘the witness between two’.  The pure blessing, my God will restore from bitterness, the myrrh of death to the Light of the Lord.”

The priests from the plains continued the repairs from the high priest’s house to the Courtyard of the Guard. 

Binyamin and Hashuv made repairs opposite their house. After them ‘Azaryah the son of Ma‘aseiyah, the son of ‘Ananyah, made repairs next to his house.  After him Binui the son of Henadad repaired another section, from the house of ‘Azaryah to the Angle and to the Corner.  Palal the son of Uzai made repairs opposite the Angle and the tower that projects out from the upper part of the royal palace near the Courtyard of the Guard” (Nehemiah 3:17-25).

The meaning of the names of the priests who repaired the wall:

“Consider, the Son of the Right Hand, Yah’s helper, the work of the LORD, the cloud [glory] of the LORD, building up the grace of the beloved.”

Prophetic voice found in the Millennial Temple of Messiah shown to the prophet Ezekiel:   He [the angel] went to the east gate, climbed its steps and measured one of the gate’s doorposts at ten-and-a-half feet wide and the other one the same. There were guardrooms, each ten-and-a-half feet square; the distance between the guardrooms was eight-and-three-quarters feet” (Ezekiel 40:6-7). 

The Water Gate

“All the people came together as one in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the teacher of the Law to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded for Israel” (Nehemiah 8:1-3).

The Water Gate led down to the Gihon Spring which was located near the Kidron Valley. It was at this gate the people of Israel gathered to hear Ezra read the Torah on the ‘first day of the seventh month’ or the Feast of Trumpets.

“Next to him, Pedaiah son of Parosh and the temple servants living on the hill of Ophel made repairs up to a point opposite the Water Gate toward the east and the projecting tower. Next to them, the men of Tekoa repaired another section, from the great projecting tower to the wall of Ophel” (Nehemiah 3:26-27).

The meanings of the names of those who repaired the wall to the Water Gate:

“Redemption of the LORD, a flea [come to seek my life], a confirming trumpet.” 

Prophetic voice from Ezekiel’s vision of the Millennial city of Jerusalem: “He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side” (Ezekiel 47:2).

The Horse Gate

“The whole valley of corpses and ashes, including all the fields as far as Vadi Kidron, and on to the corner of the Horse Gate to the east, will be separated out for Adonai; it will never be uprooted or destroyed again” (Jeremiah 31:39).

The Horse Gate was close to the king’s stables and the men of Jerusalem would ride their horses out of this gate to war. 

“Above the Horse Gate the priests made repairs, each one opposite his own house.  After them Tzadok the son of Immer made repairs opposite his house” (Nehemiah 3:28-29).

The meaning of the names of those who repaired the wall around the Horse Gate:

“A righteous lamb speaks.”

The prophetic voice: “Next I saw heaven opened, and there before me was a white horse. Sitting on it was the one called Faithful and True, and it is in righteousness that he passes judgment and goes to battle” (Revelation 19:11).

East Gate

“Kore the son of Yimnah the Levi, gatekeeper at the East Gate, was responsible for the voluntary offerings to God; he had to distribute the offerings made to Adonai and the especially holy gifts” (2 Chronicles 31:14).

Eastern Wall where Yeshua will return …The East Gate was part of the Eastern Wall and had an entrance directly to the Temple area and courtyards.  It is believed that Yeshua used this gate to ride into Jerusalem; however, the actual East Gate is now underground.   The Eastern or Golden Gate faces the Mount of Olives.  It is closed and waiting for the Messiah’s return to Jerusalem and the glory of the LORD to be restored in the Temple.

“After him Sh’ma‘yah the son of Sh’khanyah, the keeper of the East Gate, made repairs.  After him Hananyah the son of Shelemyah and Hanun the sixth son of Tzalaf made repairs on another section. After him Meshulam the son of Berekhyah made repairs opposite his own room” (Nehemiah 3:29-30).

The meanings of the name of the keeper of the East Gate and those who repaired the walls:

“He who hears or obeys the LORD, the divine presence settles.  Grace and mercy are a gift of the LORD.  God is my perfection, gracious and merciful, human paid  for friends.  Yahweh blesses.”

The prophetic voice: “The LORD’s glory entered the house through the gate facing east” (Ezekiel 43:4). 

The Inspection Gate

He [King Hezekiah] appointed military commanders over the people, then gathered them before him in the open space at the city gate and spoke these words of encouragement to them: “Be strong! Take courage! Don’t be afraid … we have Adonai our God to help us and fight our battles!” (2 Chronicles 32:608). 

The Inspection Gate is also called the Muster Gate and is also perhaps the Gate of the Guard.  The Hebrew word for this gate is miphkad and means ‘appointed place.’  It was at this gate where King David would inspect his troops before heading into battle.  It is most likely the gate where King Hezekiah mustered his military commanders to remind them that the LORD fights Israel’s battles.  

“After him Malkiyah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs as far as the house of the temple servants and the merchants, opposite the Mustering Gate and on to the upper room at the corner.  Finally, between the upper room at the corner and the Sheep Gate the goldsmiths and merchants made repairs” (Nehemiah 3:31-33).

The meaning of the name of the goldsmith who worked on the Inspection Gate:

“Yahweh is King”.

The prophetic voice: “For we must all appear before the Messiah’s court of judgment [an appointed time called Yom Kippur], where everyone will receive the good or bad consequences of what he did while he was in the body” (2 Corinthians 5:10)

©2016 Tentstake Ministries

Spiritual Warfare Scriptures

When we belong to Messiah, the enemy never has the final word over our lives. We are secure in God’s hands as His plan is always to reveal His glory.   Never allow the ‘world’ to define who you or anyone else especially when the ‘world’ doesn’t acknowledge evil and and embraces the enemy.   Press on, be courageous and never be held back by fear or defeat. The battle belongs to Adonai Tzvaot, The LORD of HOSTS, and He has the final say and victory.

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Messiah” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

“Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith” (1 Peter 5:8-9.

“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their vindication is from Me,” declares the Lord” (Isaiah 54:17).

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” ˆ(Ephesians 6:11-17).

“In all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Yeshua Messiah” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).

“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one”  (2 Thessalonians 3:3).

“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you” (Luke 10:19).

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

“The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways” (Deuteronomy 28:7).

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

“Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).

“…the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work” (1 John 3:8).

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

“One of your men puts to flight a thousand, for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, just as He promised you” (Joshua 23:10).

“Do not fear them, for the Lord your God is the one fighting for you” (Deuteronomy 3:22).

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31).

“Through You we will push back our adversaries, through Your name we will trample down those who rise up against us” (Psalm 44:5).

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

“For You have girded me with strength for battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me” (Psalm 18:39).

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart…” (Psalm 91:1-4).

“This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15).

© 2016 Tent Stake Ministries

2 Kings 17 – Replacement Samaritans

This morning I was reading in 2 Kings about Assyria along with Samaria (today’s West Bank) and Judah which make up the Land of Israel.  

Assyria was a major kingdom in the area of modern Iraq.  Two of its largest cities were Nineveh and Asshur.   Nineveh was the city to which Jonah was sent to warn of impending destruction if the people didn’t repent.  They did and were granted a reprieve.  The area was settled as early as 6000 BC and by 3000 BC had become an important religious center for worshipping the goddess Ishtar, known today as Easter. 

Asshur was another large city in Assyria that was located on the banks of the Tigris River.  Asshur was also the main god of the city and is equivalent to the Babylonian god, Marduk who was worshiped for water, vegetation, judgement and magic.  

Assyria was a warring kingdom and took captives from every nation in the Middle East along with countries in Africa.  After Samaria was taken captive, the Israelites living there were taken to Assyria where they eventually assimilated into the culture around them.   Those who had been taken captive  from other nations were moved into Samaria so that the land would be populated again.   These new tenants worshipped the gods from their native nations and the God of Israel didn’t approve.   The king of Assyria, Sancheriv,  sent a priest to live in Samaria to teach the new residents about Israel’s God. Still, everyone made gods of their own and put them in temples on high places. 

“They both feared the LORD and served their own gods in the manner customary among the nations from which they had been taken away.  To this day they continue to follow their former [pagan] customs.  They do not fear the LORD.  They do not follow the regulations, the rulings Torah or mitzvah which the LORD ordered the descendants of Jacob to whom he have the name Israel with whom Adonai (the LORD) had made a covenant and charged them:

‘Do not fear other gods or bow down to them, serve them or sacrifice to them.  On the contrary, you are to fear the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt with great power and an outstretched arm.  Worship him, and sacrifice to him.  You are to observe forever the laws, rulings, Torah and mitzvah which he wrote for you. You are not to fear other gods, and you are not to forget the covenant I made with you.  No, you must not fear other gods but must fear the LORD your God; THEN he will rescue you from the power of all your enemies. 

However, they didn’t listen, but followed their old [pagan] practices.  So these nations mixed fearing the LORD with serving their carved idols; likewise their children’ and to this day, their descendants do the same as their ancestors did” (2 Kings 17:33-41).

The people living in Samaria after Assyria’s invasion were not true Israelites, they were ‘new Israelites’.   They were people from other nations settling the land, people who had once lost everything to the Assyrian empire. Though they appeared to be Israelites, making a ‘new Israel’,  they continued to worship their gods with their pagan ways.  The God of Israel did not accept their type of worship in His Land and sent lions to devour them.

The priest sent to them came from the town of Beth-el, (Hebrew: House of God).  Though these people were being taught God’s laws and commandments from a priest from the ‘House of God,’  they continued to worship God with their more ‘familiar’ ways.  They lost God’s protection and the very same people who had experienced Assyria’s genocide in their own lands were attacked again.   After three years, Samaria was captured and the ‘false Israelites’ were taken captive.  

“This happened because they did not heed the voice of the LORD their God, but violated his covenant, everything that Moses the servant of the LORD had ordered them to do, and would neither hear it nor do it” (2 Kings 18:12).

If this is how God dealt with those who looked like Israelites, but didn’t live like they were commanded,  how will He deal any differently with those who want to replace them, who mix the holy and the profane, and refuse to hear or do His Words, spoken by a Jewish Savior from the House of Bread (Hebrew: Beth-Lechem)? 

Eventually Judah was attacked and King Hezekiah gave the King of Asshur what he asked for in gold and silver.  Controlling Samaria and then Judah wasn’t enough for the King of Asshur,  he wanted Jerusalem too.  His armies  surrounded Jerusalem and the king mocked God in the presence of those who were at King Hezekiah’s palace and on the city walls.  It is even recorded that he had his servants speak in Hebrew, not Aramaic,  because he wanted everyone listening to understand his threats against the God of Israel.  

“Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you, because he won’t be able to save you from the power of the king of Asshur.  And don’t let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD by saying, ‘the LORD will surely save us; this city will not be given over to the king of Asshur.  Don’t listen to Hezekiah.’  This is what the king of Asshur says: ‘Make peace with me, surrender to me.  Then everyone of you can eat from his vine and fig tree and drink the water in his own cistern; until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land with grain and wine, a land with bread and vineyards, a land with olive trees and honey; so that you can live and not die” (2 Kings 18:26-32).

When I read these verses, I saw the anti-messiah promising a kingdom of peace where every man eats from his vine and fig tree.  This kingdom of peace will be somewhere else – not Israel –  a land filled with grain, wine, olive trees and honey.  Is this what America was to those who settled here, a place of peace and God’s ‘new Israel’?  A place where the God of Israel would be given a type of lip service, a foundation, but worshipped in the ways of the nations that immigrated here?  A place where BOTH fearing the LORD and worshipping other gods would become customary and acceptable because of ‘freedom of religion?’   If the God of Israel didn’t allow ‘freedom of worship of other gods’ in His own land, why would He allow it in a ‘new Israel’ that takes His name in vain?

The king’s emmisary continues, “So don’t listen to Hezekiah; he is only deluding you when he says, ‘The LORD will save us.’  Has any god of any nation ever saved his land from the power of the king of Asshur?  Where are the gods of Hamat and Arpad?  Where are the gods of Shefarvayim, Hena and Ivah? Did they save Samaria from my power?  Where is the god of any country that has saved its country from my power, so that the LORD might be able to save Jerusalem from my power?’”

Now the king of Assyria’s arrogance becomes emboldened.    Who can come against him? Who?  Anyone?  Any nation of the world?  I am reminded of Yeshua when tempted by the devil refused to bow down for any  kingdom in this world inclusive of the United States!  His Kingdom isn’t of this world and therefore, no kingdom is worthy to be called Israel, except Israel!

The King of Asshur begins by belittling King Hezekiah of Judah.  According to Second Kings,  King Hezekiah did what was right in the eyes of the LORD.  He followed the example of King David, his father,  by putting his trust in the LORD, the God of Israel.  There have been no other kings of Judah like him since nor any before him.  “For he clung to the LORD and did not leave off following him but obeyed his mitzvot [commands], which the LORD had given to Moses.  So the LORD was with him.  Whenever he went out to battle, he did well.  He rebelled against the king of Asshur and refused to be his vassal.  He drove the Philistines back to Gaza and laid waste to their territory …” (2 Kings 18:6-8).

Then the King of Asshur attacks the gods of Samaria and the nations.  There are no gods that can stand against his power which is truthful.  None of those false gods protected their worshippers from attacks in their native lands or even in the land of Israel.  Other gods have no real power – they are still created and still under the authority of the Creator of the Universe!  

Finally, the King of Asshur ‘taunts’ the God of Israel saying that there is no way He can protect Jerusalem from his power.  I remember going to church years ago on the Fourth of July and the altar was covered with an American flag and a photo of the current president was on top.  I knew there was something deeply wrong with that scenario.  Sometimes I believe that Christians put the USA above the God of Israel believing that this country is the greatest there ever was almost to the point of worshipping the country and its leaders rather than the One who has allowed this country to survive.  Both Assyria and Rome were considered great kingdoms and both are nothing but archeological ruins.

The response of the people in Jerusalem is silence because the king’s order was ‘Don’t answer him.’  

King Hezekiah sent his secretaries to Isaiah, the prophet.  Isaiah tore his clothes, covered himself in sackcloth and entered the house of the LORD, the Temple in Jerusalem.   He prays a simple, but powerful prayer to the God of Israel.

“YHVH, God of Israel, who dwells above the cherubim!  You alone are God of all the kingdoms on earth.   You made heaven and earth.  Turn your ear, O LORD, and hear!  Open your eyes, O LORD, and see!  Hear the words that Sancheriv sent to taunt the living God.  It is true, O LORD, that the Kings of Asshur have laid waste to the nations  and their lands and have thrown their gods into the fire.  For those were non-gods, merely the product of people’s hands, wood and stone; this is why they could destroy them. Now therefore, O LORD our God, please save us from his power – so that all the kingdoms on earth will know that you are the LORD, God – you only”  (2 Kings 19:15-19). 

God responds to Hezekiah’s prayer.  He confronts the King of Asshur’s  arrogance saying that he didn’t just attack Zion and Jerusalem with his haughty voice, but came against the ‘Holy One of Israel’.  God was going to defend the city of Jerusalem.  And He did.  That night the angel of the LORD killed 185,000 men in the camps.  The king of Assyria returned home to Nineveh as prophesied, and one day while he was worshipping in the temple of Nisrikh, two of his sons killed him and ran off to Ararat.

God fought for Jerusalem the sake of Himself and the covenant He made with King David.  Those who lived in Samaria and appeared to be Israelites, but were from other nations and worshipped other gods, He removed from His Land and they are still in exile worshipping other gods with their children.   Only a Jewish remnant was left to take root again in the Land and bear fruit for the Kingdom (2 Kings 19:30-31).

If the United States is considered the ‘new Israel’ and the church as ‘replaced Israel’ as God’s people, won’t He deal with us as He did the ‘real’ Israelites who lived in His Land?  Will He allow those who are called by His name to continue to mix the holy and the profane?  Will He continue to allow the hardness of heart and the  unwillingness to hear and obey His Word?   Does ‘replacement theology’ really believe that ‘new Israelites’ will not bear the consequences of arrogance and pride like the King of Asshur? Only a remnant of Jewish people lived to plant roots and bring forth the Word of the LORD; not the replacement Samaritans who considered themselves ‘new Israelites.’ 

©2015 Tentstake Ministries

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