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2nd Chronicles 36:15-21

"When Judah Fell"

Babylonian Captivity For A Backslidden Nation!

Could It Happen To America?

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

 

"And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy. Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand. And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon. And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof. And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: to fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years."    2nd Chronicles 36:15-21

 

LESSON 1, VERSE 15:

The Lord is so good!

He always gives His people the Truth!

By means of His Word, the Bible, the inerrant Scriptures we all love!

Even to backslidden Judah, ripe for His judgment, the Lord kept sending them the Prophets. I mean right up until the very end of the Jews' pre-captivity existence as a Nation!

Read with me 2nd Chronicles 36:15. "And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place."

The "LORD God" identifies the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. By Name He is here Jehovah Elohiym. The God Who IS, Who is eternally! I am told the root verb in the middle of "Jehovah" is "I AM!" And "Elohiym" suggests the God of POWER and STRENGTH and MIGHT!

That great God, our God "sent" messengers to His people, again and again. "Shalach" means to "sow" as a farmer does his seed! "To cast forth" or just "to broadcast" the old folks used to say. Just like God put his Levites and Priests in 48 cities across the whole of Israel, so here does He call and send forth many a godly Preacher, declaring the Truth to His people! The "time" sense of this verb pictures God so sending his Men year after year, one after another. Several times in Israel's history she had a number of prominent Prophets ministering simultaneously!

The noun "messengers" translates "malak" and means "angels" 11 times and "messengers" 98 times and "ambassadors" 4 times in the King James Old Testament. It's derived from a "root" word that means "to dispatch, to send for as a deputy!"

"Rising up betimes," one word in Hebrew, is spelled "shakam" and suggests "early" rising! God gets up real early ... in fact, He never goes to bed according to Psalm 121. God sending His Preachers to Israel is so important it's so-to-speak the first item on God's schedule!

But our verse also tells us why God sends messengers. "And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place."

The noun "compassion" translates "chamal" and means "to pity" someone. To care for them and minister to them in their misery! In fact, 18 times in the King James Bible "chamal" is translated "to spare" something or someone. Obeying the preaching of God's Word can spare a people from many trials and heartaches, perhaps even national calamity!

But notice one more thing with me today. God's compassion quickly extends from His people to His Dwelling Place!

He not only wants to prevent the destruction of Israel, but also to deliver and protect their House of worship, the Temple.

But as you well know, when the Babylonians came ... they not only seized the nation, taking her away captive ... but also destroyed the Temple!

Oh, how God loves His House!

Just look at Jesus and His respect for that Temple. He sure was upset when it was turned into a house of merchandise. He also spoke of the "zeal" of God's House! And He grieved within Himself to think of its coming destruction when the Romans attacked Jerusalem in 70 AD, just a few decades after the Crucifixion!

Here's the overall Bible attitude toward God's House, toward Temple, synagogue or Church ... the place of holy assembly ... "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD." Psalm 122:1

Here's a little geography lesson about the Temple area. See if you can sense God's delight in the Place! "Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King." Psalm 48:1-2

Amen!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, VERSE 16:

The divinely inspired historian records for us the last days of Judah. I mean before the seventy years of Babylonian captivity, of national slavery in a foreign land!

One reason for God's judgment on His "chosen" People is the way they have treated, mistreated really, the Prophets of the Lord. Verse 16 of 2nd Chronicles 36 tells us more: "But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy."

I see three distinct actions or sins committed by the Jews here, all apparently against God's Men! Then I see the result of such wayward behavior, repeated and sustained as it was! Then the verse closes with an adverbial thought, telling us God's estimate of the seriousness of the situation.

Let's study.

Again, here's today's verse: "But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy."

The verb mocked, directed precisely and deliberately at the real Preachers of that day, the godly Men who stood true to the Word, is spelled "laab." It means "to joke" or "to jest" about something or someone. Uniquely, this word occurs here ... and only here ... in the whole Bible! We have no other verses to visit, studying its usage by the Holy Spirit! This means, among other things, that their mocking is especially cutting and bitter and ruthless. No other comparisons exist in Scripture. As a participle "laab" pictures constant ridicule also.

"Messengers" means ambassadors, men on a mission, men with a word from the King! In the King James Text eleven times "malak" also means "angels." When John on Patmos spoke the the "angels" of the seven Churches of Asia, he meant their Pastors I believe. Fellows, we are "errand runners" for Jesus! Mouthpieces for the Lord! Handling that job with integrity will invite mockery too, ridicule and sarcasm!

The second member of this triune attack, "and despised his words," is revealing too. This is not saying that they despised the words of the preachers. Rather they despised HIS Words, God's Words. Whereas the first jab was at the Men of God themselves, this one is hurled heavenward, at God Almighty! The Scriptures are "despised!" The verb "bazah" means "to hate, to hold in contempt, to see as despicable, to condemn or to scorn!" Big mistake, people! The first time it's used in the Bible, in Genesis 25:34, Esau is "despising" his very birthright! By the way, here's the third time "bazah" surfaces in Scripture. This one says a lot too! "Now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed." 1st Samuel 2:30

Belittling God's Word will ultimately affect the silly sinner, the attacker ... not the Lord God Who authored the Target! The Bible is indestructible! It is already permanently settled ... in Heaven! Remember Psalm 119:89 which says just that: "Forever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in Heaven."

The first wicked barb shot horizontally, the second soared vertically, now the third. They "misused his prophets." This word, "taa," means at its heart "to cheat." In our Bibles "taa" is only used twice. In its initial appearance, Genesis 27:12, it is associated with Jacob and is translated "deceiver!" Here's the ironic thing. As these fallen and doomed people "misuse" God's Prophets, they themselves are being "deceived!" They are trying to hurt the Preachers ... but they end up hurting themselves! If you remove the key sources of Truth from you life, God's Word and God's Men who preach it, you leave yourself vulnerable to deceit! And the master deceiver, Satan himself, will take advantage of your stupidity!

Watch.

Their "mockery" sails horizontally toward fellow Jews, the Prophets of God.

Their "despising" soars vertically, against God Himself!

And their "misuse" surprisingly boomerangs! Being initially fired at the Preachers again, it makes an aerial "u" turn and hits the rebellious crowd that launched it!

Deny the Bible ... and deceive oneself!

Not only that ... such apostate behavior caused another situation. "The wrath of the LORD arose against his people"

Typically "wrath," which is "chemah" in Hebrew, means that which is "hot!" Or even that which is "poison!" In the Old Testament Text it is 67 times rendered as "fury!" This is a strong word!

The verb "arose" is "alah" and means "to ascend." Four times in the King James Bible it is expressed as "increase!" God's anger constantly increased with the intensifying rebellion of these people, getting hotter and hotter by the week or month!

And this wrath is not at this time directed against the heathen, the Gentiles! No! It is aimed at the very "people" of God! "The Apple of His Eye!" Peter describes the principle at work here. "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?" 1st Peter 4:17

If you belong to the Lord, being one of His children, He will discipline and chasten you ... as a Father does his son or daughter! Hebrews 12:6 proves this. "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth."

How bad is it?

There now is "no remedy," God says!

"No," our prohibitive here, is spelled "ayin" and means "without" or "lacking" or even "naught."

And "remedy" or "marpe" means "healing or health!" It's only used 16 times in the whole Bible, a book with over 31,000 verses! Its "parent" word means "to mend" or "to cure."

These two words, "ayin marpe,"  occur in tandem in 2nd Chronicles 21:18 where they are rendered "incurable disease!"

Any nation on earth can reach that point, the point of no return!

Sinning and sinning until God declares, NO REMEDY!

Pray for America!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, VERSE 17:

The nation of Judah has sinned without restraint! Her days, long numbered by God, have come to an end! Captivity, national disgrace, lies ahead!

A foreign nation is poised to invade!

Scripture records the event as God moves in His holy wrath.  "Therefore He brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand." 2nd Chronicles 36:17

According to my sources the word "Chaldees" means "clod-breakers!" Not a nation of scholars or technicians or professional people, just clod-breakers! Common folks! Having no special strength or power, except they have been ordained of God to chasten His backslidden people! I once heard a Preacher say that when God got ready to "whip" His unrepentant people, any old "stick" would do!

By the way, God could "whip" America with a few million illegal aliens too! Or a handful of backward terrorists who know how to break more than clods! If the dear Lord can use a donkey to rebuke Balaam, you know He can use anything or anyone else He chooses.

The verb "slew" is "harag" in Hebrew and means to murder!

Now look at the age groups decimated. Talk about an "equal opportunity" process! Young and old, male and female! Folks, when God's judgment falls upon a land, that nation and all its inhabitants ... saved or lost ... are apt to suffer horrendously! The "King of the Chaldees slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age."

Often houses of worship are sanctuaries. There, if one can flee during war time ... he or she will be spared. But not so with these cruel Babylonians. I guess they had not heard this rule! See where the young men were killed? "In the house of their Sanctuary!" Do see that God no longer calls it His House, but theirs. They had so polluted the Holy Place via their sins that God no longer claimed it!

By the way, aren't the "young men," in Hebrew "bachur," supposed to be in the army? Fighting for the whole nation? Yet these fellows are hiding at the Temple! Point being, they have lost their will to defend their Country! Bravery is a thing of the past! Cowards now! Sin does that to a man! "The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion." Proverbs 28:1

Oh, let me add this here. "Bachur" is once in the King James Bible translated "chosen." God's choice young men ... dead! According to Jeremiah in Lamentations 4:2, look who are slain: "The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter!"

Sin is expensive, the most expensive thing in the world!

The noun for "sword" is "chereb!" It means a "knife, dagger, axe or mattock" according to its Old Testament usage.

The word for "compassion" also is interesting. "Chamal" as a verb means   "to pity" or even "to spare" something or someone. The term is negated by the negative particle "lo." It means "not" or "without" or absolutely "no!" This band of marauders spares nobody!

Even the "maidens" are killed. Usually these young pretty women are allowed to live, for obvious lewd reasons. But not so here. "Bethulah" means "virgins" 38 of 50 times in the King James Old Testament. Sin claims the lives of a nation's virgins! Morality is gone! Sensuality ruled long before Nebuchadnezzar did I fear!

"Zaqen" translates as "old men." Once in the Bible it is rendered "senators!" Fourteen times it's the "ancient."  But 115 times its the "elders" who are in view. The emphasis her is on the "old" part. I say that because once in Scripture "zaqen" is translated as "old women." That's in Zechariah 8:4.

Even the handicapped are murdered! "Stooped for age" is spelled "yashesh" and means feeble or decrepit! The "root" verb suggests that which has been "blanched," pale or having lost their natural color! This word is only used once in all the Bible, right here.

And I hesitate to say the Chaldeans "took" the Jews that day! Really, God "gave" them into their heathen hands!

In God's Hands ... or in wicked King Nebuchadnezzar's hands ... where would you rather be?

God temporarily "rented" a wicked King's "hands" for a while, to "whip" a sinful people!

Do remember, God is no Respecter of persons! Peter absolutely assures us of this in Acts 10:34.

Therefore, if the Lord so disciplined Israel and Judah ... what about the United States of America?

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, VERSE 18:

When a Nation is conquered by an invading force, she not only looses her people, her most precious resource, but also her treasures!

Look at the robbery, the looting, the pillaging done by the Babylonian army, obviously under the auspices of Nebuchadnezzar their King.

"And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon." 2nd Chronicles 36:18

Now in this case the first institution stripped was "the house of God," or the Temple. Its "vessels," spelled "keliy" in Hebrew, included all the implements and utensils in that grand structure! Each was holy, dedicated to God. But now, due to sin ... Judah's sin, they have been confiscated. "Great and small," or "gadol" and "qatan"  mean either big or little, more or less significant, or even older or newer. The point is this: all the Temple tools were taken! The Jewish "church" was stripped! If you object to my calling Israel a "church," see Acts 7:37 where Luke did the same thing, quoting Stephen.

But not only the instruments were stolen, so was the treasury! The noun "treasures" is "otzsar" and means the gold or silver, their money, plus anything else in their storehouses or cellars or armouries or garners! Their financial resources, dedicated to the upkeep and ministry of the Temple, are now gone!

Next "comes," really I should say "goes," the national treasury! "The treasures of the King" are taken too. In ancient days these men were often extremely wealthy individuals, easily qualifying as millionaires if not billionaires by today's standards.

Thereafter the "princes," are financially ravished too. This word, "sar," also means captains or chiefs or rulers or overseers. Each has amassed a large degree of wealth it seems! Nearly everybody today in high government positions seems to be wealthy also! Or did you notice? I don't think I am aware of a single "poor" Senator ... I mean poor in money or material resources of course!

In Old Testament days "riches" carried with them certain levels of "honor," if they were obtained honestly. Solomon in Proverbs 11:16 illustrates. "A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches."

Now let me apply this verse spiritually, practically too.

The first institution in any society to lose its glory is the Church. The devil simply attacks there first. No nation will ever "fall" if its preachers and churches are godly and strong! Look with me at Proverbs 14:34, which says: "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people."

The spiritual element must first backslide, corrode and compromise before the enemy has any chance to destroy a people!

That's why the Holy Spirit sequences this verse as He did. "And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon."

And the "tools" go first, even at God's House. Transitioning to today, they are after our Bibles and standards and schools and preachers and leaders! They won't even leave our "pulpits" standing either!

Then onward toward the Church's money. Massive spending for silly things, innumerable social causes, anything but the spreading of God's precious Word! Support to liberal seminaries, paying apostate politicians to come speak, upholding wicked associations of unbelievers ... all of which deplete God's people of their resources. Funds that should have been used for God-ordained purposes!

Bankrupt the Church, morally and materially! So plans the devil!

Then, when a people's moral underpinnings are shaken, broken, destroyed ... look out! It's like Psalm 11:3 asks: "If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?"

Indeed!

Once the godly schools have sold out ... little wonder the state universities drift into nothingness, nihilism, humanism, atheism, Darwinism, secularism, globalism!

Then, once the spiritual fiber of a Land is stripped, watch out!

Anything goes!

You can expect it!

Homosexuality, Lesbianism, wholesale abortion, preachers who believe nothing at first ... then gradually become anti-Christ in their theology with the passing of time.

In other words, the government becomes morally bankrupt ... then eventually ... financially destitute as well!

You mark my words, if America continues in her sin, and national revival is looking less and less possible each year, one day there will be a giant stock market crash! One day all the retirements funds ands money market accounts and savings institutions will go down!

Disaster will hit!

And it will follow the pattern today's verse just outlined too.

I'm not a Prophet in the sense Jeremiah or Isaiah were ... but I can read and study the Bible and follow the Holy Spirit's interpretive leading.

Hard days lie ahead for any rebellious godless land, especially one who had the Truth so clearly taught in by-gone days!

Listen to 2nd Peter 2:21, talking about a bunch of false preachers: "For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them."

I rest my case.

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, VERSE 19:

The paradigm of 2nd Chronicles chapter 36 continues, a pattern depicting the fall of a nation!

The death of a country!

Watch how the religious, the spiritual elements die first, then the political and national aspects of human life follow.

"And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof." 2nd Chronicles 36:19

Here is wholesale destruction.

The Hebrew verb for "burn" is "saraph" as in "seraphim," the angels of God.

To "break down" is to "throw or cast or pull down" something, to destroy or overthrow it. This is a Piel verb, indicating violent diligent action! They ripped the wall to pieces, leaving virtually nothing intact.

Then came the King's quarters, the palaces!

Next apparently the King's furnishings were ruined as well. These could include anything from the royal throne itself to his military weapons even to the kitchen pots and pans. "Keliy" is the word used.

"Goodly," the adjective, is "machmad" and means "desirable or pleasant."
 

It goes without saying that the rest of the nation, her homes and businesses and farms, were attacked as well.

Everything in ruins!

Why?

Because of sin!

Sin, the most expensive thing in the world!

Comparing Nebuchadnezzar and his reasoning to that of the devil, God's House was attacked first! That is always the case. A nation just will not crumble if its churches are strong, its preachers bold and its faith vibrant!

Next come the walls of separation!

Walls of protection!

When we get to the place as a Country where no barriers exist any longer ... between good and evil, between law and chaos, and between Jesus and all other gods ... our nation is nearing extinction too!

By the way, if you have not looked lately, we are there!

We had all best pray for our Land!

America's days may be numbered.

Washington may be next!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6, VERSE 20:

In the annals of history it did occasionally happen, especially ancient history.

One nation being taken captive and deported as a whole ... to another land!

Israel, the Northern Kingdom I mean, the Ten Tribes, were seized and scattered throughout the Assyrian Empire like that.

So did a similar judgment come Judah's way, the Southern Kingdom of Israel. The judgment came from God too, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob!

Yes, He chastens nations as well as cities or families or individuals! And the "whipping" is especially keen to those who have been close to the Lord it seems! "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." Jesus said this in Luke 12:48.

Let me share a verse with you that succinctly describes Judah's experience. "And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia." 2nd Chronicles 36:20

The "he" of our verse is King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonian fame. He is mentioned in Scripture 91 times under two slightly different spellings! Basically he is a "tool" in God's Hands to deal with backslidden Nation, Judah! A "scourge" or a "whip" or a "rod" of correction!

Many died the day Judah "fell."

Earlier verses in our immediate context have explained this. "Therefore the Lord brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand." 2nd Chronicles 36:17

To "carry away" is spelled "galah" in Hebrew. It surprisingly means "to uncover" or "to reveal" or even "to discover." Furthermore in the Bible it is "to remove" 6 times and "to show" 9 times. In fact, of all its 188 Scriptural appearances in the King James Text, it only 22 times is translated as "carried away."

"Carried away" were the Jews, to Babylon. Now that word, containing "Babel" so plainly, means "confusion!" It has the basic idea of confusion by "mixing" things or peoples or ideas together!

That's a good place for a worldly, backslidden, rebellious people to live, in the land of "confusion." In fact, that's really only a geographical change of address ... not a theological or philosophical one! For truly in their churches and universities and chambers of government they have already been living in chaos for a long time! In America today a "new idea" has arrived, one now called "post-modernism," one that itself questions the very concept of absolute truth! And you know what Scripture says about that! "If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" Psalm 11:3

The noun "servants" in our verse ... "And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia" ... just means "slaves!" It is spelled "ebed" in Hebrew and is used 800 times in the Bible!

Judah's time in Babylonian slavery lasted 70 years ... "until the reign of the Kingdom of Persia!"

Let me tell you what "Persia" means. This is exciting! "Paras" in Hebrew suggests that which is "pure," or "splendid!"

When Israel entered captivity she was immersed in confusion, worshipping every idol she could find, acting like immoral pagans and violating God's Law. That's Babylon!

Seventy years later, when many of her most dedicated people returned to Jerusalem and the Holy Land, the little Nation had repented and been purged, made "pure and splendid" by the God she had spurned! Get it? Pure and splendid, the very definition of Persia!

Truly, God's judgments are miraculous!

Ironic!

Better yet, to use the words of Psalm 19:9, "The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether." Amen!

But I remember Psalm 119:160 agreeing! "Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever."

Then John on Patmos demands a word: "And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments." Revelation 16:7

Also, "For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand." Revelation 19:2

Amen!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, VERSE 21:

The Nation of Judah had been taken captive.

There she would remain for seventy long years ... until she had "served her time" in a strange distant land.

And "why" such tragedy?

Because of sin!

This inclusive Biblical term, "sin," covers a lot of territory!

Adultery, fornication and other sins of the flesh must be listed.

Then add hatred, theft, divorce and the host of social sins.

But God, in 2nd Chronicles 36:21 adds a transgression that most of us would have not considered.

Read with me. "To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years."

The Jews were held in Babylon, which later was conquered by the Persians, until ... "threescore and ten years" had passed.

Why such, why seventy years?

Verse 21 lists several reasons.

We must consider these important ... they cost a generation of Jews their lives in a foreign land, living under heathen customs.

First, "to fulfil the Word of the Lord by Jeremiah." Here's an allusion to Jeremiah 25:11 and 12, as well as Jeremiah 29:10. The verb "fulfil" is "male" in Hebrew and just means something like "filled to the brim, to the point of overflowing." This pictures for us completed Bible Prophecy, having been realized in every detail!

Jeremiah clearly preached that Judah's sins, unconfessed as they were, would cost the Nation seventy years of long hard labor! They did!

But where did the Lord get the exact amount of time, seventy years precisely? "Until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths!" What does that mean?

God had ordained and written into the Law of Moses, the Law of Israel, that every seven years the land, the farmland which each Jew owned, would lie fallow ... unused ... at rest ... one year out of seven. That seventh year was called the "Sabbatical year." Here's the command in brief: "And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof: but the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still." Exodus 23:10-11

Again, in Leviticus 25:4-3 we read: "Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; but in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard."

Judah had ignored that command, willfully sinning against God! "Farm the land that seventh year anyway," she said!  More crops you know!

And God kept count!

Every seventh year as the Jews disobeyed God, the Lord remembered!

One, two, three ... fifty-six, fifty-seven ... sixty-eight, sixty-nine and seventy! When Judah had run up a total of seventy broken Sabbatical years ... over a 490 year span of time ... God said "Enough!"

Jehovah decided to let His Land, the Holy Land, "enjoy" her Sabbaths, even if He had to put the people in a foreign country to do so! The verb "enjoy" translates "ratzsah" and means "to take pleasure in" or "to delight in" something or someone!

Seventy years the land "lay desolate" ..."shamen" ... meaning "waste, ruin, deserted" and even "astonished!"

Also to "keep Sabbath" usually means "to rest or to cease" but once "celebrate!"

All happening ... "to fulfil threescore and ten years."

God keeps His Word!

A man or woman, a family or tribe, even a state or nation may disobey God's Law!

But always to their own detriment!

Precisely so!

It would not surprise me that a man or woman who does not tithe his or her income, robbing God every paycheck, will at the end of the year have paid doctors, roofers, surgeons, mechanics, the government, pharmacies, and others ... the exact amount they owed God! I mean having paid them above what the normal expenses for that year would have been! But without the eternal rewards which could have been theirs if they had just given 10% to God freely!

God keeps count!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8, SOME FINAL THOUGHTS:

"The Death of a Nation," that's what I was originally going to name this series of Bible studies.

Then, the Holy Spirit seemed to say, "You can't call it that!" The Nation of Judah was imprisoned for seventy years, but she did not die! Captive, but alive!

Yet this certainly has not been the case with every nation throughout history!

Many nations have died, not to be resurrected!

What makes Judah different?

The promises of God!

The Abrahamic Covenant for example.

God has committed Himself to maintain a perpetual Nation of Jews, Israelites!

Here's an example, a "proof" Text from Deuteronomy 4:40. Moses is talking to God's people: "Thou shalt keep therefore His statutes, and His commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever." See that? "For ever!"

And, if you have time, read this Paragraph. An eternal Israel is here absolutely guaranteed! Note especially the capitalized words near the end of the passage. "And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: and I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever." Ezekiel 37:21-25

That Nation, Judah specifically in our 2nd Chronicles 36 Text, but Israel as far as the whole Old Testament is concerned, will exist perpetually!

Even the New Testament, with its strong "Church" emphasis, says of Jesus in relation to His coming Kingdom Rule: "And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." Luke 1:33

"No end!"

No wonder they call her, Israel, the "everlasting Nation!"

But, startlingly, this comes to mind ... America has no such promise. I mean as a Nation!

If fact, one of the most often asked questions concerning Bible prophecy is this: "Where is the United States mentioned in the Bible? Especially regarding future events?"

There are some interesting ideas about that of course ... but all would agree that no definite and "by name" mention of America is found in the prophetic Word of God!

Could it be ...?

Could it be that by the time our Saviour returns, our Country no longer exists?

Destroyed ... because of sin?

Overrun?

Placed into captivity?

Controlled by a foreign people?

Robbed of her identity?

Wall Street gone?

Hollywood out of business?

Washington a wilderness habitation of wild animals?

Our cities flying another flag?

Hear me again ... nationally America could die!

Remember, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" applies to all, countries as well as individuals. Romans 6:23

More accurately yet, "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." Psalm 9:17

Maybe I cautiously should have left the Title in place ... "The Death of a Nation" ... not referencing Judah, but other rebellious reprobate Countries who hate Almighty God and resolutely disobey His Word!

What a sad thought indeed.

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

WHAT A SERIOUS TEXT WE HAVE STUDIED! IF IT HAPPENED TO ISRAEL, AND IT DID ... IT COULD HAPPEN TO AMERICA AS WELL! GOD IS NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS, OR OF NATIONS! IF HE SPARED NOT "THE APPLE OF HIS EYE," WHAT WILL HE DO TO THE REBELLIOUS GENTILE COUNTRIES OF EARTH?

 

 

 

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