News Letter 5848-049
20th day of the 11th month?5848 years after the creation of Adam
The 11th Month in the Third year of the third Sabbatical Cycle
The Third Sabbatical Cycle of the 119th Jubilee Cycle
The Sabbatical Cycle of Earthquakes Famines, and Pestilences
This is also the end of the Forty Fifth week of this the Third Tithe Year for the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow? Deuteronomy 26:12
February 2, 2013
Shabbat Shalom Brethren,
Are you watching the news?
Have you noticed that The Prophecies of Abraham and DVD have many more notches in their belts this week?
There are floods in Australia again. In 2011 they had floods of the century, and now once again they are having once in a century floods again for the second time in three years. Maybe they should call them twice in a century floods. Here is the news showing you the damage.
And we must remind you that just a few weeks ago that Australia was having extreme record-breaking heat and wild fires.
Also this week Scotland too was being flooded. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-21231827
What is going on? We showed you this video back in December. Is this the answer?
In 2013, Drought Is Worsening In Midwest And Plains States, Despite U.S. Winter Weather
CHICAGO, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Dry weather continues to plague the drought-stricken U.S. Plains and western Midwest with only light showers and snowfall expected this week, an agricultural meteorologist said on Monday.
“The Plains and the northwest Midwest will still struggle with drought, there’s not a whole lot of relief seen,” said John Dee, meteorologist for Global Weather Monitoring. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/28/2013-midwest-us-drought_n_2566189.html
Again we can see just how bad the current US drought is at http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu And brethren this is the winter season when the fields should be covered in snow and moisture. But notice how big the black area is. Does this not give you visions of the 1930’3 dust bowl?
We read of the tragedies around the world. 150,000 people have been displaced in Mozambique due to intense flooding, according to the United Nations.
People in Christ Church NZ who suffered the Earth Quake two years ago are paying outrageous rents for buildings to live in that are unfit for even a dog. People are complaining that once they have paid the rent they have not money for food. http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/poverty-rampant-in-quake-hit-christchurch-5328634
A historic Midwest drought prompted the US government on Friday to slash supply estimates for nearly everything in the US cornucopia, including corn, soybeans, and sorghum – a move that caused commodity prices to jump and concerns about the state of the global food cupboard to rise.
US corn and soybeans are crucial to global food supply because they are used for food, feed, cooking oil, and even motor fuel. Reduced supply and higher prices mean that poorer, import-reliant nations may not be able to replenish their food stocks.
“This is shocking,” Dan Basse, president of Ag Resources, said during a conference call on Thursday, ahead of the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report from the US Department of Agriculture. “This is getting people at the United Nations very concerned. The poor in the world are going to see tremendous pressure on their budgetary expenditure for calories. This has become a very scary situation, particularly for those in the world who are impoverished.”
A couple of weeks ago we told you about how the Great Lakes, a huge reserve of fresh water are at their lowest levels ever. And things are expected to get worse.
And in January 2013 we have a massive outbreak of the Norovirus.
As if this year’s robust flu season weren’t enough, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports today that a new strain of the vomiting disease norovirus has reached the USA from Australia. Last month, the bug, which causes nausea, forceful vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain, accounted for 58% of outbreaks of norovirus nationally.
This fall saw the pounding of the Philippines for the 17th time this year with yet another typhoon. http://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/storm_watch_stories3&stormfile=Reeling_Philippines_hit_by_another_strong_storm_28_12_2012?ref=ccbox_weather_category2
So how are you getting along with the new normal? Sever weather, causing droughts and floods. Outbreaks of disease, shortages of food and rising prices in food. Food going up about 6% in 2013. Are you ready? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssKKSDcuTE8
It has also been noted that the cost of the war on Terror is going to be around 5.4 Trillion up to 2011. (Among costs not covered by these figures are off-DoD spending beyond 2012, economic opportunity costs, state and local expenses not reimbursed by the federal government, nor reimbursements made to foreign coalition allies for their expenses.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_on_terror#cite_note-147
The Current Outstanding Public Debt of the United States is:
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 29th, 2013 (updated daily)
Every man, woman and child in the United States currently owes $54,086 for their share of the U.S. public debt. http://www.davemanuel.com/us-national-debt-clock.php
WASHINGTON – The soaring national debt has reached a symbolic tipping point: It’s now as big as the entire U.S. economy.
The amount of money the federal government owes to its creditors, combined with IOUs to government retirement and other programs, now tops $15.23 trillion.
That’s roughly equal to the value of all goods and services the U.S. economy produces in one year: $15.17 trillion as of September, the latest estimate. Private projections show the economy likely grew to about $15.3 trillion by December — a level the debt is likely to surpass this month.
“The 100% mark means that your entire debt is as big as everything you’re producing in your country,” says Steve Bell of the Bipartisan Policy Center, which has proposed cutting nearly $6 trillion in red ink over 10 years. “Clearly, that can’t continue.”
Long-term projections suggest the debt will continue to grow faster than the economy, which would have to expand by at least 6% a year to keep pace.
President Obama’s 2012 budget shows the debt soaring past $26 trillion a decade from now. Last summer’s deficit reduction deal could reduce that to $24 trillion.
Many economists, such as the Brookings Institution’s William Gale, say a better measure of the nation’s debt is how much the government owes creditors, not counting $4.7 trillion owed to future Social Security recipients and other government beneficiaries. By that measure, the debt is roughly a third less: $10.5 trillion, or nearly 70% the size of the economy.
That is still high by historic standards. The total national debt topped the size of the economy for three years during and after World War II. It dropped to 32.5% of the economy by 1981, then began a steady climb under President Reagan, doubling over the next 12 years. The combination of recession and stimulus spending caused it to soar again under Obama.
Among advanced economies, only Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan and Portugal have debts larger than their economies. Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Italy are at the root of the European debt crisis. The first three needed bailouts from European central banks; Italy’s books are monitored by the International Monetary Fund.
In the DVD I explain about the Sabbatical years and the curses for not keeping them we warned you of each of the News Items above. That was in 2005 and 2008. Terror Droughts and severe weather; Recession and depression; disease outbreak food shortages and I almost forgot earthquakes and volcanoes have also increased in activity in the past few years. Everything I have said in the DVD.
Then in the book The Prophecies of Abraham in 2010 we told you about the uprising in Egypt that would lead to the war with Israel. And once again this week Egypt is again rioting. The Arab spring that began in January 2011 is still bumping along in 2013.
Also in the book we tell you about the importance of North Africa, and in the news again the past couple of weeks has been the French war in Mali against Muslim terrorists. IN fact most of North Africa has small wars with Islamist killing and driving Christian communities away.
The burden against Egypt. Behold, the LORD rides on a swift cloud, And will come into Egypt; The idols of Egypt will totter at His presence, And the heart of Egypt will melt in its midst. “I will set Egyptians against Egyptians; Everyone will fight against his brother, And everyone against his neighbor, City against city, kingdom against kingdom. The spirit of Egypt will fail in its midst; I will destroy their counsel, And they will consult the idols and the charmers, The mediums and the sorcerers. And the Egyptians I will give Into the hand of a cruel master, And a fierce king will rule over them,” Says the Lord, the LORD of hosts. (Isaiah 19:1-4, nkjv)
Dan 11:40 And at the end-time, the king of the south shall butt at him. And the king of the north shall come against him like a tempest, with chariots and with horsemen and with many ships. 41 And he shall enter into the countries and shall overflow and pass over. He shall also enter into the glorious land, and many shall be stumbled. But these shall escape out of his hand: Edom and Moab, and the chief of the sons of Ammon. 42 And he shall stretch out his hand on the lands. And the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43 But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt. And the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.
because of the waving of the hand of the LORD of hosts, which He waves over it. And the land of Judah will be a terror to Egypt; everyone who makes mention of it will be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the LORD of hosts which He has determined against it. In that day five cities in the land of Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear by the LORD of hosts; one will be called the City of Destruction. (Isaiah 19:16-18, nkjv)
We have been telling you of the coming famine, and yet no one takes these things seriously yet. It would seem this weekly News Letter and the Prophecies of Abraham are just another source of entertainment for those who read their bibles occasionally.
We will get to the famine in just a moment.
Have you noticed what is going on in Syria?
The conflict in Syria has reached “unprecedented levels of horror”, peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has told the UN Security Council.
The UN-Arab League envoy said Syria was being destroyed “bit by bit” with grave consequences for the wider region.
Are you aware of the prophecy of Damascus? Notice the part about Ephraim. His fortress will cease! And Jacob will be thin and lean. The olives will be few and hard to get.
Isa 17:1 The burden against Damascus: Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a heap of ruins. 2 The cities of Aroer are forsaken; now they are for flocks; they shall lie down, and no one terrifies them. 3 And the fortress shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the rest of Syria. They shall be as the glory of the sons of Israel, says Jehovah of Hosts. 4 And it shall be in that day, the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall become lean. 5 And it shall be as reaping of the harvest grain, and his arm reaps the ears. And it shall be as he who gathers ears in the Valley of the Giants. 6 Yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three ripe olives in the top of the uppermost branch, four or five in the fruit-tree branches of it, says Jehovah, the God of Hosts.
This tells me that when Damascus is ruined then you will see a food shortage in amongst Ephraim and Jacob. Famine is coming folks.
For those of you who do see these things on the nightly News and have concluded the curses for not keeping the Sabbatical years are real and are happening right now all around us, I ask you to continue to tell people. To tell the ministries and to warn them and explain this to them. Do not stop.
After traveling around and meeting many of you over the years, and with the understanding of what is coming, I have asked Susan Earl to begin writing articles on health and proper diet. I have asked her to do this because many of you are fat and out of shape, the same as I am. No you are not big boned, or well endowed, you are fat and need to fix this in order to survive what is coming. You need to get healthy and stay healthy and to stop making excuses why you can’t or won’t. Stop eating things that come in a box and are processed. Begin to eat Raw vegetables and fruits. Cut back on your meat intake most of it is full of hormones and chemicals.
We have some hard years coming. Famine and pestilence and captivity if we survive the war which is the next Sabbatical cycle as we have been telling you for years now. If the things I have said in the past have come true, then you can bet the farm the things we are telling you are coming will come.
This is Susans introductory article. If you have comments for her and ideas and would like to help her in this subject area you can forward your thoughts to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward them on to her. In time she will have her own sightedmoon email once the new site is up and running.
I have just spent the last two weeks, for the first time in several years, succumbing to a virus. It is now gone and I am recovering. Since I am several years older than the last time I had an illness, I find it is taking extra time to restore my health. I sleep more and eat less. I need to change my lifestyle…once again… in order to prevent this happening next year. Whether or not you have suffered a setback in your health this winter, I hope I can give you some direction in changing yours as well.
Yesterday I had a breakthrough. I was playing with my baby granddaughter and as I lifted my head a familiar smell passed my nostrils. Spring! Yes, every year around this time, no matter what the weather, I have this same sensation! I can see, hear, smell, all but touch, spring. It’s only a few weeks away! Today I received an e-mail that reflected someone else’s experience of the same feeling. He was perusing his seed catalogue, as I am doing today. There’s nothing like the thought of working with the soil and growing my own food, all GMO and pesticide free.
Our bodies can’t handle the chemicals and additives that we find in the food we buy at our local grocer. So grow your own and become and stay healthy. For those of you who have never done this before, I’m sure you’re mumbling, “Yeah, right! And where do I find all that extra time? I don’t even have a clue where to start. AND I live in an apartment!”
Let’s go back to the Garden. That’s the amazing place where Yehovah walked in the cool of the day as companion to Adam, who was to keep the garden.
Gen 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
That was Adam’s job! Full-time! Wow! If Yehovah intended it for him, why would it not be intended for us? And Brad Scott tells us that we can learn more about God’s ways just by planting a garden. After all, it involves seed planting…
In order to get started we need to find a seed catalogue. I found one in Canada that sells heirloom seeds and I’m sure there are more out there. Americans have an even larger selection available. Why heirloom seeds? That is to ensure that there are no mysterious things, such as GMO’s, hiding in that tiny seed. Remember that seeds produce after their own kind.
Gen_1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
You want your plants to be pure, as Yehovah created them. So get online and find a company and order a catalogue. Don’t delay this because once you open the catalogue, you will want several days to choose your garden seeds. Beware, though, as I have just been informed this morning that chemical companies are buying up heirloom seed companies. Here is a link you may want to view: http://www.occupymonsanto360.org/2012/03/06/monsanto-free-seed-companies/
Once you have an idea of what you would like, think of your personal space that is available for growing. Do you have an acre, a back yard, a community plot, or a balcony? Maybe you only have a back stoop or a windowsill. But everyone has some space. Even if you only grow your own lettuce and a few herbs, you are helping yourself tremendously. Can you see yourself picking a fresh salad for dinner? If you have never done extensive gardening before, choose an area appropriate to your available time and expertise or you may be undaunted and lose interest. You can always go larger next year. Find a friend or family member who will support you in this endeavor. Even if it’s just encouragement you need, make sure they are sincere and won’t discourage you.
Now that you have your space, pick your seeds accordingly. If you have lots of space you can try a couple of varieties of each vegetable. If space is at a premium, choose carefully. Will you grow potatoes in a large plastic bin? How about a window box containing some parsley, basil and thyme? Use your imagination, buy a specialty book or two. You Grow Girl by Gayla Trail is a favourite of mine. It’s very simple to follow and contains inexpensive ideas that can be used anywhere. While you are waiting for your seeds to arrive, read the book cover to cover. The following are the Dirty Dozen ie. The foods most affected by pesticides and chemicals. Apples, celery, sweet bell peppers, peaches, strawberries, imported nectarines, grapes, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, domestic blueberries, potatoes, and added to that is green beans and kale/greens. If you can grow these yourself, you are way ahead of the game!
Beans grow abundantly in any garden so they are a good choice. For small spaces use climbers. Spinach, lettuce and kale are easy to grow and can be planted almost anywhere. Plant your own bell peppers. I like the yellow, orange and red varieties. One plant in a container can give you plenty. Cucumbers are very easy to grow. Again, for small spaces, use a climber and tie well as the cukes can get quite heavy as they grow. Many people have taken to growing grapes up the side of their houses. Check your neighbourhood to see if anyone has done this and talk to them about what works in your area.
Potatoes can be grown in a large half barrel or trash can. Clean your container well with bleach and rinse well to leave no residue. Ensure that there are holes punched around the sides and in the bottom for drainage to prevent rot of the potatoes. Mix loose planting mix and soil compost from your garden scraps you kept throughout the prior year (no more throwing out any food scraps into the gargbage!) or non-treated soil compost from the nursery with some water to dampen the mixture and put 6” in the bottom of the container. At this point you can cut up those old potatoes that you forgot you had in the dark dry cupboard under your kitchen sink and cut them into small pieces, making sure there is at least one eye on each piece. Don’t disturb those lovely long shoots that are already looking for soil to grow in. They will be your new roots. You can buy seed potatoes if you like, but they may be treated with chemicals, so using the ones you already have in your kitchen is the best idea. Besides, you only need two or three potatoes. **Perhaps put some in a paper bag under the sink right now in preparation for this spring’s planting! Place your seed potatoes on top of the damp soil mixture leaving 2-3 inches between each one. Put in another 6” of the damp soil mixture on top of the seed potatoes and make sure they are well covered. Keep the soil damp at all times, but be careful not to overwater. The plants will begin to appear. Keep adding more of the damp mixture to cover all but the top 5-7 leaves of the shoots. Keep watering as before. You may have to repeat this several times.
In about 10 weeks the plants will flower and begin to yellow. It is time to harvest. First dig in with your hands, and if things are ready, dump the barrel and enjoy the potatoes!
I have a large piece of land available this year. But taking everything into consideration, I choose to start with a small garden of 10×10 or so. Next year I can add to it. If I have too much to deal with the first year, I will become discouraged and my garden will turn out poorly. So choose carefully the size of your garden.
If you have a balcony, consider container planting. Use small tables or old chairs to give levels to your ‘garden.’ When planting in containers it is important to water frequently as the roots cannot go below ground to get what they need. It is preferable to water from below the plants but that is not always possible. A gentle spray on the leaves is good too.
Another resource book you may want to buy is one that tells you how to save seeds. You will want to ensure that you can plant seeds year after year when we can no longer be guaranteed heirloom really means heirloom. I have purchased The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds by Robert Gough and Cheryl Moore-Gough. I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, but it looks extensive. If anyone has a suggestion on a different book, please let me know.
There is another way to eat from the earth and you really don’t have to do any planting, just harvesting. Eat from the plants that are growing naturally all around you! For centuries these plants have been ignored and considered weeds. God is revealing to us today that these plants were put here for our nourishment. Notice how the weeds flourish while we fight them to plant what WE think is right to eat? There’s a reason for that.
Gen_1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
Garry Tibbo, who joined us for a few days at Sukkot last year, has a set of dvd’s called Free Living 101. He taught the group many things about eating directly off the land and subsidizing with your own garden. We ventured outside at the end of the two days to pick our own salad. It was strange, but tasted great and certainly had no ill effects on any of us. Check out his videos. http://www.garrytibbo.com/ If you call him he might even come to one of your gatherings! I will be doing more on this topic as the spring gets closer.
Recipe for the Week!
One more thing you can do right away is to make some fermented vegetables. You can make on jar or several, depending on your refrigerator space and the size of your family. These vegetables are a natural aid to digestion. Eat them with your meals to be sure that your food is properly digested and the nutrients utilized by your body.
Simply wash and chunk (some say to grate them, I did not) fresh organic (if possible) vegetables and fill a jar with a sealer lid within an inch of the top. I use cauliflower, broccoli, beets, carrots, kale, etc. Choose ones that you like so you will eat them. I also added garlic and fresh dill for flavour. Fill the jar with purified water to within ¼” of the top. Add 1-1 ¼ teaspoons Celtic or Himalayan sea salt (the moist salt is less processed, but the dry is fine). Hand tighten the lid on the jar. Let sit in a cool dry place for several days. I waited five days, some wait four and some seven. Don’t be frightened by it, just be sure to check the jars around that time. When you want to see if the vegetables are fermented, open the jar upright slowly and carefully over the sink. If there is fizzing they are ready enough to eat. Reseal the jars and put them in the refrigerator until you use them.
My fermented vegetables were not strong like some sauerkraut is. I gave a jar to a couple of friends to try and they both liked them, unlike some others they had tried. One lady has a very poor digestive system and she said they helped her very much. Here is a link for other recipes. http://www.culturesforhealth.com/how-to-naturally-culture-ferment-vegetables Just keep it simple!
Now some of you may be wondering why we are telling you to plant a garden? The answer is because many do not have the foggiest idea how to grow food unless it comes from the store. Everyone and I mean every one needs to begin to learn to plant and store food. Everyone needs to learn what is edible and is available in the fields and forests around you. How to survive off the land.
Here is why.
In 2005 I began to tell people about the Sabbatical cycles and from the very first presentation in New Hampshire and in Israel in 2005 until today I have not change those things I have been saying.
IN 2008 I was on the Prophecy Club Tour and we had huge problems. People were calling Stan and complaining about me telling people they were going to be eating their own children if they did not repent. Many of those who heard me on that tour had no intention of repenting. To them I was just another entertainer. And that is why they go out to those meetings, to be entertained by the newest speaker. My message to them that if they did not repent was not fun and did not leave a good taste in their mouths, especially when they thought about their own family members.
Lev 26:29 And you shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters you shall eat.
Deu 28:52 And he shall besiege you in all your gates until your high and fortified walls in which you trusted come down, throughout all the land. And he shall besiege you in all your gates throughout all your land which Jehovah your God has given you. 53 And you shall eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and of your daughters, which Jehovah your God has given you, in the siege and in the anguish with which your enemies shall distress you. 54 The man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the rest of his sons which he has left; 55 so that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his sons whom he shall eat, because he has nothing left to him in the siege and in the anguish with which your enemies shall distress you in all your gates. 56 The tender and delicate woman among you, who would not have ventured to set the sole of her foot on the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter, 57 and toward her young one who comes out from between her feet, and toward her sons whom she shall bear. For she shall eat them secretly for lack of all things, in the siege and anguish with which your enemies shall distress you in your gates. 58 If you will not observe to do all the words of this Law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and fearful name, JEHOVAH YOUR GOD, 59 then Jehovah will make your plagues remarkable, and the plagues of your seed great and persistent plagues; with evil and long-lasting sicknesses.
Jer 19:9 And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall each one eat the flesh of his friend in the siege and distress, with which their enemies and those who seek their lives shall distress them.
Lam 4:8 Their appearance is blacker than soot; they are not recognized in the streets; their skin has shriveled on their bones; it is dried up; it has become like wood. 9 Better are the ones slain by the sword than the ones slain by hunger; those who pine away, pierced because the fruits of my fields failed. 10 The hands of the pitying women have boiled their own children; they became their food in the ruin of the daughter of my people.
Eze 5:7 Therefore so says the Lord Jehovah: Because you multiplied more than the nations that are all around you, and have not walked in My Laws, neither have kept My judgments, nor have done according to the judgments of the nations all around you; 8 therefore so says the Lord Jehovah; Behold, I, even I, am against you, and will carry out judgments in your midst before the nations. 9 And I will do in you that which I have not done, and the like of which I will never do again, because of all your abominations. 10 So the fathers shall eat the sons in your midst, and the sons shall eat their fathers. And I will execute judgments in you, and I will scatter the whole remnant of you into all the winds.
I have written about this same thing many times in the past and been warning you that unless you began to keep the Sabbatical years you too would be eating the flesh of your own children.
Many of you argue with me and say I am nuts. You say “Your God would not do that to you.”
Here is a warning then to you. Take heed, now is the best time to repent and begin to keep the Torah; to begin to keep the weekly Seventh Day Sabbath from Sunset to Sunset, the Annual Holy Days as told to us in Lev 23 and the Sabbatical years as told to us in Lev 25. The next one is from Aviv 2016 to Aviv 2017. If you do not do this and practice the rest of the commandments then 2017 begins the cycle of war and your women will be raped and your men killed and your young boys sold into sexual slavery for a bottle of wine.
If you break the Sabbath, you can repent and keep it next week. If you break a Holy Day then you have to wait until next year to repent and keep it Holy. To prove to Yehovah that you will keep it. If you break the Sabbatical year then you have to endure the next cycle of curses and the next one is war and famine and disease and captivity, then you have to wait 7 years to keep the next one and that will be while you are in captivity.
Each Sabbath, each Holy Day and each Sabbatical year is a test to see who will and who will not keep this Holy Time or who will compromise it.
Joe 3:3 And they have cast lots for My people, and have given a boy for a prostitute, and sold a girl for wine, so that they might drink.
I am talking to you the person reading this. Do not think this is for some other people in some other land. These curses are coming to you in North America and Canada and England and Australia and South Africa. Yes you!!! It is time now to repent for the sake of those you love; your wife and your children. Look at them. Is your wife beautiful, or your daughters, and what about your sons? What about your grand children? Will they be used for sex slaves? Will they be kidnapped and eaten by those who are starving? How can you stop this or how can you protect them? Will you get on your knees and repent today? It is the only way.
In the news this week which I could not get on the national news in our area or the radio news station I listen to; it was all about the stars and the gossip and the sports people. But no real news. But there was real news taking place and it is horrendous.
IN North Korea they are doing the very thing I have been telling you is coming to you. They are stealing children and eating them. They are digging up the dead and eating them. It is time to wake up and be diligent.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2269094/North-Korean-parents-eat-children-driven-mad-hunger-famine-hit-pariah-state.html January 27, 2013
North Korean parents ‘eating their own children’ after being driven mad by hunger in famine-hit pariah state
Undercover reporters found a ‘shocking’ number of cannibalism incidents
Up to 10,000 people feared dead after ‘hidden famine’ in farming provinces
Drought and confiscated food contribute to desperate shortage, reports say
Reports of men digging up corpses for food and murdering children
A starving man in North Korea has been executed after murdering his two children for food, reports from inside the secretive state claim.
A ‘hidden famine’ in the farming provinces of North and South Hwanghae is believed to have killed up to 10,000 people and there are fears that incidents of cannibalism have risen.
The grim story is just one to emerge as residents battle starvation after a drought hit farms and shortages were compounded by party officials confiscating food.
Undercover reporters from Asia Press told the Sunday Times that one man dug up his grandchild’s corpse and ate it. Another, boiled his own child for food.
One informant was quoted as saying: ‘In my village in May a man who killed his own two children and tried to eat them was executed by a firing squad.’
The informant said the father killed his eldest daughter while his wife was away on business and then killed his son because he had witnessed the murder.
When his wife returned the man told her they had ‘meat’ but she became suspicious and contacted officials who discovered part of the children’s bodies.
Jiro Ishimaru, from Asia Press, which compiled a 12 page report, said: ‘Particularly shocking were the numerous testimonies that hit us about cannibalism.’
Undercover reporters said food was confiscated from the two provinces and given to the residents of the capital Pyongyang.
A drought then left food supplies desperately short.
The Sunday Times also quoted an official of the ruling Korean Worker’s party as saying: ‘In a village in Chongdan county, a man who went mad with hunger boiled his own child, ate his flesh and was arrested.
United Nations officials visited the area during a state-sponsored trip but local reporters said it is unlikely they were shown the famine-hit areas.
It has not the first time that reports of cannibalism have come out of the country.
In May last year, the South Korean state-run Korean Institute for National Unification said that one man was executed after eating part of a colleague and then trying to sell the remains as mutton.
One man killed and ate a girl and a third report of cannibalism was recorded from 2011.
Another man was executed in May after murdering 11 people and selling the bodies as pork.
There were also reports of cannibalism in the country’s network of prison camps.
North Korea was hit by a terrible famine in the 1990s – known as the Arduous March – which killed between 240,000 and 3.5million people.
HUNGRY parents in North Korea have been caught eating their CHILDREN to avoid starvation, according to reports.
One father is said to have been executed by firing squad for killing his two kids for food.
And it has sparked fears there could be further cases of cannibalism in the country.
The Sunday Times told how undercover reporters recorded several horror stories from inside the poverty-stricken nation.
They included one man who dug up his grandchild’s corpse to eat and another who boiled his child and ate the flesh.
Thousands of North Koreans are feared to be starving to death while their chubby leader Kim Jong-Un regularly dines on banquets.
It is claimed that more than 10,000 people could have died from in the provinces south of the capital Pyongyang alone.
One informant in South Hwanghae, said: “In my village in May a man who killed his own two children and tried to eat them was executed by a firing squad.”
The informant told how the man even offered meat from his daughter and son to his wife when she returned from a business trip.
He was arrested and sentenced to death after she informed the authorities and the children’s bodies were found.
The reports were originally compiled by Asia Press using “citizen journalists” working inside the country.
One official told them: “In a village in Chongdan county, a man who went mad with hunger boiled his own child, ate his flesh and was arrested.”
There is not enough food to go round the 24 million people who live in North Korea.
Many face starvation because of grim conditions for food production including crippling droughts.
But it is also under strict sanctions because of its nuclear ambitions.
However just last week the defiant country outraged the world as it announced plans for a third nuclear missile test.
But North Korea is not the only place where people are suffering from famine. Once again the Horn of Africa is starving.
Famine-hit Somalia faces a cholera epidemic as dirty water and poor sanitation are leading to an increase in outbreaks of the disease, World Health Organization officials warned on Friday.
The United States estimates drought and famine in Somalia have killed more than 29,000 children under the age of 5. UN officials have said some 12 million people are in danger of starvation as Somalia faces its worst drought in 60 years.
UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado said on Friday that tens of thousands of children have died and countless more are particularly at risk of cholera and other diseases because of drought and violence in East Africa.
IN Ethiopia they do not want to call it a famine. Instead they are calling it “acute food insecurity”. In Ethiopia, the word “famine” has been deemed politically incorrect because it conjures up images of hordes of skeletal humans walking across the parched landscape, curled corpses of famine victims under acacia trees and children with distended bellies clutching their mothers at feeding camps. It also portends political upheavals.
The one exception to the official embargo on the use of the word “famine” is Wolfgang Fengler, a lead economist for the World Bank, who on August 17, 2011, definitively declared, “This [famine] crisis is man made. Droughts have occurred over and again, but you need bad policymaking for that to lead to a famine.” In other words, the fundamental problem with “acute” or “chronic” malnutrition (short-term or long-term starvation) in Ethiopia is poor governance, not drought.
World grain reserves are so dangerously low that severe weather in the United States or other food-exporting countries could trigger a major hunger crisis next year, the United Nations has warned.
Failing harvests in the US, Ukraine and other countries this year have eroded reserves to their lowest level since 1974. The US, which has experienced record heat waves and droughts in 2012, now holds in reserve a historically low 6.5% of the maize that it expects to consume in the next year, says the UN.
“We’ve not been producing as much as we are consuming. That is why stocks are being run down. Supplies are now very tight across the world and reserves are at a very low level, leaving no room for unexpected events next year,” said Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
With food consumption exceeding the amount grown for six of the past 11 years, countries have run down reserves from an average of 107 days of consumption 10 years ago to under 74 days recently.
Prices of main food crops such as wheat and maize are now close to those that sparked riots in 25 countries in 2008. FAO figures released this week suggest that 870 million people are malnourished and the food crisis is growing in the Middle East and Africa. Wheat production this year is expected to be 5.2% below 2011, with yields of most other crops, except rice, also falling, says the UN.
The figures come as one of the world’s leading environmentalists issued a warning that the global food supply system could collapse at any point, leaving hundreds of millions more people hungry, sparking widespread riots and bringing down governments. In a shocking new assessment of the prospects of meeting food needs, Lester Brown, president of the Earth policy research centre in Washington, says that the climate is no longer reliable and the demands for food are growing so fast that a breakdown is inevitable, unless urgent action is taken.
“Food shortages undermined earlier civilizations. We are on the same path. Each country is now fending for itself. The world is living one year to the next,” he writes in a new book.
According to Brown, we are seeing the start of a food supply breakdown with a dash by speculators to “grab” millions of square miles of cheap farmland, the doubling of international food prices in a decade, and the dramatic rundown of countries’ food reserves.
This year, for the sixth time in 11 years, the world will consume more food than it produces, largely because of extreme weather in the US and other major food-exporting countries.
It is strange to discover that Walid Shoebat just wrote an article on Cannibalism JAnuary 28, 2013, the same time I am editing this article and preparing it to post. This is extremely stunning and disgusting. If I have not upset you already then you should be once you read this article.
http://shoebat.com/2013/01/28/islam-and-cannibalism/Islam and Cannibalism
by Ted on JANUARY 28, 2013 in GENERAL
By Walid and Theodore Shoebat
In the future, the Egyptian Islamists will not only be conducting systematic violence, but cannibalism against Christians and moderates.
In a recent video interview, one Egyptian scholar exposed the high school curriculum coming from Al-Azhar university, the most reputable of all Islamic schools, showing that it condoned cannibalizing non-Muslims:
We allowed the eating of the flesh of dead humans… under necessary conditions. It [dead human flesh] must not be cooked or grilled to avoid Haram (wrongdoing) …and he can kill a murtadd (apostate) and eat him
The interviewer commented:
The book that is being taught to general high-school students mentions that those who don’t pray can be grilled & then eaten
Al-Azhar finds their support for cannibalism in Islamic authority. According to Al-Shafie, who is considered to be the founder of Islamic jurisprudence:
One may eat the flesh of a human body. It is not allowed to kill a Muslim nor a free non-Muslim under Muslim rule (because he is useful for the society), nor a prisoner because he belongs to other Muslims. But you may kill an enemy fighter or an adulterer and eat his body (716 in volume 1, Al-Kortoby)
And where did Obama give his 2009 speech in Egypt, which empowered the Muslim Brotherhood? Al-Azhar.
As we write in our book, For God or For Tyranny, Muhammad and his minions conducted themselves in the voodoo-like act of blood drinking in which
Malik ibn Sinan drank his [Muhammad’s] blood on the Day of Uhud and licked it up. The Prophet allowed him to do that and then said, “The [Hell] fire will not touch you.” …and “Abdullah ibn az Zubayr drank his cupped blood. The Prophet said, “Woe to you from the people and woe to the people from you.” But he did not object to what he had done.
Abu Saad Khodri who stated in a strong Hadith in Sharh Hayat al-Sahaba, regarding partaking in the blood of Mohammed:
When, at the battle of Uhud, the helmet-rings had been taken out of the Prophet’s cheek, blood flowed from the radiant face of that Lord of the pure, and my father Malik Ibn Sinan sucked the wounds with his mouth, swallowing the blood. When they said to my father, “Malik, is blood to be drunk?” my father replied, “Yes, the blood of the Prophet of God I drink like a beverage.” At that time his Excellency, the Prophet, said, “Whoever wishes to see one who has mixed my blood with his own, let him look at Malik Ibn Sinan: any one whose blood touches mine, him the fire of hell shall not desire.”
Bizarre and psychotic narrations like this are too many to quote. They speak of drinking Mohammed’s urine and eating his excrement. Christians would ask, “Would such abominations be chosen over the precious blood of the sinless Lamb of God?” No Bible believer drinks literal blood.
The Egyptian scholar also added that the support for cannibalism from Al-Azhar will give the justification for “the establishment of committees for Promotion of Virtue & Prevention of Vice that’ll carry out this stuff [i.e. cannibalism]
In Egypt there is an Islamic mafia called Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice Authority, which is the exact name of the moral police in Saudi Arabia. They roam the streets assaulting, or even killing, those whom they speculate to be apostates. On November of 2012 a number of these mobsters entered the shop of Ahmed Gharib to use the bathroom, and when the owner told them that they had to ask for permission before using the restroom, they responded with: “we do not ask for permission”.
A few minutes later thirty bearded men entered the shop to “discipline him for insulting a religious figure,” and attempted to cut off Gharib’s hand, but he escaped with deep wounds. Gharib’s brother, angered by what they had done, insulted the mob, and so he was then seized and ordered to have his tongue severed off. But he too fled.
Egypt’s new constitution already establishes that the nation will be having a Saudi style Sharia police which will be implementing not only this sort of violence, but the eating of human flesh. Morsi’s coming ‘moral’ mafia and mere Egyptian individuals will be given the power to partake in such barbarism.
In fact, the constitution also mandates that any Islamic edict coming from the government must first go through Al-Azhar university scholars. This means that the okay for cannibalism will be observed in Egypt.
Last year, I wrote an article on how Egyptian society is becoming more and more savage, and how the Egyptian people are becoming like zombies. I wrote on how a butcher in Egypt killed his wife, flayed her flesh off the bone, and put it for sale as lamb in his market.
Now with Al-Azhar’s blessing, we are going to be seeing more of this type of violence. But why is this happening? While many people see Islam as a morally conservative religion, akin to Christianity and Judaism, they don’t understand that Islam is Satanic, and of no different spirit than any other pagan religion.
Egypt is merely going back to its heathen roots. In Ancient Egypt human sacrifice was followed by ritual cannibalism. On the temple of Edifu, all lands foreign to Egypt are pictured as being under the feet of the pharaoh, as four men, their arms bounded, are about to be ritually sacrificed. As the sacrificial victims are awaiting their deaths, a person hovers over them, reciting the “Book of the Subduing of the Nobility”. This rite was a part of an annual fertility ritual, the depictions of which have netted birds, fish, and mortals, as representing the enemies of the pharaoh–Asiatics, Beduin, Nubians, and others–which were to be eaten for “breakfast, lunch, and supper.” By consuming the flesh of their enemies, the Egyptians believed that they would absorb their desired qualities. (1)
Cannibalism continued on in Egypt even after the Christian Era, and regardless of Islam prevailing over the country, it was still prevalently practiced. In 1148, as Rudwan, a criminal, was fleeing for his freedom from the authorities, he was slain in front of the palace of the Khalifa. His head was cut off, and his body mutilated into little pieces only for them to be eaten by Egyptian soldiers in their infernal belief that they would absorb the courage of the victim. (2)
Cannibalism was practiced throughout the ancient Near East. In the Christian era the heathens of pre-Islamic Lebanon seized Cyril, a deacon of Heliopolis who despised heathenism, killed him, teared open his stomach and ate his liver. (3) These pagans did this because Cyril was Christian, and so will we see this being done by the Muslims toward the Copts.
And if one thinks that the Muslim have evolved into a modern mindset, one must remember what took place in Ramallah in which two Israeli soldiers were beaten and tortured to death, their bodies thrown down a window to the sounds of “Allahu Akbar”, and their flesh then chewed by the crowd.
Muslims in Ramallah held body parts of Israeli while they cried out “I eat the flesh of my occupier!”
The spirit of cannibalism is alive an well in Egypt. Just look at what the Egyptian cleric Muhammad Hussein Ya’qub said in this video:
This savagery will be taking place in Egypt, but his time at a much wider scale.
Whether you like it or not it is coming. Whether your ready or not famine and pestilence will be all around you. War will be everywhere. Sharia Law will be enforced and practiced, and Religious Cannibalism will be seen. What are you going to do then?
Pro 1:23 Turn at my warning; behold, I will pour out my Spirit to you; I will make my words known to you. 24 Because I called, and you refused; I stretched out my hand, and no one paid attention; 25 but you have despised all my advice, and would have none of my warning. 26 I also will laugh at your trouble; I will mock when your fear comes; 27 when your fear comes as a wasting away,(Famine) and your ruin comes like a tempest when trouble and pain come upon you. 28 Then they shall call upon me, and I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me; 29 instead they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of Jehovah. 30 They would have none of my counsel; they despised all my correction, 31 and they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own desires. 32 For the turning away of the simple kills them, and the ease of fools destroys them. 33 But whoever listens to me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
The only way to protect you and your family is to obey. It is not going to be if you following this teacher or that one, or if you in the right church or not, no it is and always has been if you are keeping the commandments and are walking with Yehovah and talking with Yehovah. Then and only then will you dwell safely and have quiet from the fear of evil.
Triennial Torah Cycle
We continue this weekend with our regular Triennial Torah reading
Deut 3 Haggai Neh 11-13 2 Cor 10-11
Last-Minute Encouragement (Deuteronomy 3)
Moses reminds the new generation how God gave the Israelites victory over their enemies—”there was not a city which we did not take from them” (verse 4), although all of them “were fortified with high walls, gates and bars” (verse 5). This, says Moses, happened because “the Lord your God has given you this land to possess” (verse 18). This reminder was to inspire confidence in the Israelites at this momentous time—encouraging them to have faith as they crossed into the Promised Land, where they would meet Canaanite resistance. Moses, rather than wallowing in self-pity over the fact that he himself would not enter the land, obeys God’s command to provide this encouragement, particularly to Joshua, the new leader (verses 23-28). They need not fear the enemy since God will fight for Israel (verse 22).
Several commentaries including Tyndale and The Nelson Study Bible state that the “bedstead” of Og mentioned in verse 11 could also be translated sarcophagus. So the reference may be to the size of his coffin. These dimensions equal about 13 feet by 6 feet.
“The Glory of This Latter Temple Shall Be Greater Than the Former” (Haggai 2:1-9)
The people of Judea had recommitted themselves to the work of God and had gotten off to a good new start. Through Haggai, God had exhorted them to the task and then encouraged them with the assurance of His presence with them. But that was of course not enough. This next message of Haggai illustrates the need for ongoing exhortation and encouragement—just as God’s people need today and at all times.
This next message comes just under a month from the recommencement of the temple construction. Interestingly, it comes on the 21st day of the seventh month, the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles (see Leviticus 23:33-44). It was at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles that Solomon had dedicated the first temple. And for those who were old enough to remember, the annual Feast of Tabernacles was probably the time of the greatest expression of joy before the splendor of the former temple.
In recalling these things, some measure of disappointment may have set in—just as had happened when the foundation of the second temple was first laid, when those who remembered the former temple of Solomon wept (see Ezra 3:12-13). This could have been part of the reason for previously quitting the reconstruction—the idea of “What’s the use? It will never be as good as it was before.”
Haggai now “puts the discouraging sentiments into the mouths of the audience. They were all thinking it, and now Haggai has said it. The new is inferior to the old, and that fact along with the other discouraging circumstances had thoroughly depressed the people and stifled their initiative. One account of the effort Solomon put into his temple is recorded in 2 Chronicles 1-4. Compare this with the meager means of the returned exiles, whose temple must have looked small indeed” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, note on Haggai 2:3-5). We can fall into this way of thinking with regards to the spiritual temple of God—His Church, considered either collectively or personally. Perhaps we reflect on the material accoutrements and accomplishments of the Church of God in the last century—with huge congregations, superb buildings and grounds, abundant financial means and a powerful, globe-girdling work. We could then look on the more modest physical situation of today and become discouraged—wondering what the use is of carrying on with the temple-building work God has delegated to us when our physical circumstances will seemingly never match what was there before. Maybe similar reasoning is applied to our spiritual condition if we have neglected our relationship with God: “I was so spiritually focused years ago. But I’ve made some wrong choices. I’ve done some bad things. I’ll never be where I was before. Why even bother?”
God did not leave the returned exiles hopeless. As Expositor’s notes: “Having brought the very problem of discouragement into focus, Haggai next offered the divine antidote: ‘Be strong…be strong…be strong… and work. For I am with you’ (v. 4). Notice the same imperative thrice repeated—to Zerubbabel, to Joshua, and to all the people. Notice also the threefold repetition of the formula ‘declares the Lord.’ The problem was essentially one of attitude. So the primary command was to take courage. When the people did that, the command to ‘work’ would be fulfilled quite naturally. For the Lord to have only said ‘work’ without giving assurances would have been inadequate motivation These people did not need to be whipped but encouraged—not cudgeled but made optimistic. The most uplifting thing they or anyone could hear was that God was with them….
“The thought must have passed through some minds that God was with them no longer. There must have been those who were theologically naive and doubted that God could be with them if the temple and the ark [of the covenant] in particular were not intact. Undoubtedly fear gripped many of the returnees—fear that God had…[eternally abandoned] Jerusalem, fear that no amount of praying or piety would induce him to bless them again, fear that the whole endeavor was in vain, fear that the political enemies would in fact win, fear that all was lost. Therefore, the words of God through Haggai, which must have had a ring of authority to them, would have been of great comfort And that encouraging word that shored up the sagging spirits of our spiritual forefathers should serve to bolster our spirits as well when we are spiritually discouraged” (note on verses 3-5).
Verse 6 is the only verse of Haggai quoted in the New Testament—in Hebrews 12:26. Haggai 2:5 is a reference to God’s Spirit being with the ancient Israelites at Mount Sinai. This is the time when Hebrews 12:26 says God’s “voice then shook the earth.” Haggai 2:6-7 goes on to describe the time when God “once more…will shake heaven and earth…and…all nations.” Hebrews 12:26-28 shows that the final shaking to come will leave only the Kingdom of God. This is certainly an end-time prophecy. It should be noted, though, that, as commentator Charles Feinberg explains, some have viewed Haggai 2:6-7 as referring “to the revolutions in the Persian and Greek empires. There were such shakings in these governments, but they can only be considered as initial and preparatory steps in the long process where the kingdoms are shaken from their position of rule, and finally the kingdom of the Lord Christ is realized upon earth” (The Minor Prophets, pp. 243-244). Given the turmoil at the beginning of Darius’ reign, it is conceivable that the returned exiles took this prophecy as applying to events of their own day—and misunderstanding this and the rest of Haggai’s prophecy as indicating the imminence of the messianic age.
Verse 7 mentions the “Desire of All Nations” and filling the temple with glory. Many have seen in these words a reference to the Messiah, Jesus Christ—that is, all nations desire a divine Savior and Deliverer and a relationship with the Creator of mankind even though they do not know His actual identity or understand God’s will. Others link the phrase “desire of all nations” to the mention of silver and gold in verse 8, seeing the “desire” as the precious things of the gentile nations being brought into the millennial temple of Ezekiel 40-44. Yet the mention of all the gold and silver in the world belonging to God may simply have been His way of telling the people that they need not fret over the absence of such precious metals from their present construction. After all, no matter how things look to them, God states that the glory of “this latter temple” shall be greater than the former (verse 9).
It perhaps seems odd that the millennial temple would be in view here considering that it will be a different temple than the one Zerubbabel built. Zerubbabel’s temple, the second temple, later renovated by King Herod, was utterly destroyed by the Romans. The millennial temple, as described in the final chapters of Ezekiel, will not be built until Christ’s return. It would seem, then, that the second temple must have been intended on some level here in Haggai 2. Consider that a comparison is being drawn with Solomon’s temple, and God is encouraging the people about the temple they are working on. How would it be an encouragement if the point were that the temple they were working on would not receive the greater glory—that the greater glory was instead reserved for a later temple to be built millennia after the one they were working on was destroyed?
Of course, Haggai’s immediate audience would not have known any of this bad news. Moreover, we should return to verse 3, where Haggai asks, “Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory?” Feinberg remarks, “From God’s viewpoint there was only one house of the Lord on Mt. Zion, whether it was the Temple built by Solomon, Zerubbabel, or Herod later” (p. 243). Indeed, there is continuity between the temples. Nevertheless, we should recognize that a contrast is being drawn between “this latter temple” and “the former.”
What, we might ask, did the second temple experience in the way of divine glory? After all, we’ve already seen that it was smaller. Moreover, factors evident upon later completion could have seemed to belie the idea of greater glory. “The Babylonian Talmud indicated five things were lacking in the Temple of Zerubbabel which were present in the Temple of Solomon: (1) the Ark of the Covenant [containing the Ten Commandments]; (2) the holy fire; (3) the Shekinah glory [the divine presence of God]; (4) the spirit of prophecy (the Holy Spirit); and (5) the Urim and Thummim” (p. 240). Yet consider that to this very temple, as later renovated by Herod, would come the Creator incarnate—God made flesh—Jesus Christ. Furthermore, as we will later consider in reading Acts 2, there is reason to believe that the temple may have been the “house” where Jesus’ disciples were gathered in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost following His death and resurrection—where the Holy Spirit came and filled them in a manifestation of power and thousands of gathered witnesses from different countries were converted as a result. This was the beginning of the New Testament Church—the spiritual temple of God as mentioned before—again providing a sense of continuity.
Indeed, the prophecy of the Desire of All Nations and the temple being filled with glory, while perhaps referring in part to events surrounding Christ’s first coming, would—given the apparent time frame of following the shaking of all nations—seem to have more direct reference to events surrounding Christ’s second coming. And the temple of God of that time referred to in the prophecy could well signify the spiritual one that continued right on beyond the destruction of the second temple and remains to this day—the New Testament Church of God.
Those elements of the first physical temple that were missing in the second have spiritual counterparts in the spiritual temple, the Church. Rather than the ark containing the Ten Commandments, the members of the Church of God have the law of God written on their hearts. Rather than the divinely ignited holy fire for sacrifices, those in the Church of God are offered up as living sacrifices, and their prayers as incense. The Shekinah (indwelling) glory of God abides within the members of His spiritual temple. The Church of God has the “prophetic word confirmed” (2 Peter 1:19). And rather than consult the Urim and Thummim, those in the Church are able to consult the full written Word of God and His ministry and receive discernment through God’s Spirit. It is the Church of God, the spiritual temple, that will obtain the greatest glory of all, when it is fully glorified—indeed, deified—at the time of Christ’s return. The glorified Church will then dwell with Christ at the physical millennial temple, again providing further continuity of the temple theme—that of a dwelling place, a house, a home for God and His family.
Haggai 2:9 ends with God’s promise, “And in this place I will give peace”—shalom, ultimate contentment and satisfaction, with all as it should be. That certainly has not described the history of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount of any age since Haggai wrote. And even the Church, while experiencing a measure of the “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7), has not received it in its fullness and perfection. That is something that lies yet in the future—the wonderful hope for which we wait.
“From This Day I Will Bless You” (Haggai 2:10-23)
Haggai’s last two recorded messages came on the 24th day of the ninth month in Darius’ second year (verses 10, 20)—corresponding to December 18, 520 B.C.
Haggai’s first message on this day opens with a discussion of holiness and defilement. The previous month, Zechariah had issued a call to repentance, as we saw in our last reading (Zechariah 1:1-6). Though the people were once again engaged in the work of God, they still had personal sins, including wrong attitudes, to contend with. It was essential that they remain conformed to God’s will.
In Haggai 2:11-13, God directs His prophet to ask the priests about issues of holiness. It was their responsibility to teach God’s laws to the people, and it seems likely that this exchange took place before a gathering of the people. “There were two distinct questions: (1) If a man were carrying sacrificial (holy) flesh [that is, a dedicated meat offering] and happened to touch another object, would the object touched thereby become holy or set apart to the Lord? (2) If a man who was unclean by reason of contact with a corpse should touch any such object, would the object become unclean because of the man’s uncleanness? The answer to the first question is negative; to the second it is affirmative. The passages bearing on the subject should be read carefully. (Note Lev 22:4-6; Num 19:11; and Lev 6:18.) Moral cleanness [which ritual purity symbolized] cannot be transmitted, said the Mosaic law, but moral uncleanness can. Legal impurity is more easily transmitted than legal purity. A healthy man cannot communicate his health to his sick child, but the sick child can communicate its disease to the father” (Charles Feinberg, The Minor Prophets, p. 245-246).
God explains that this is just how it had been with the Jewish nation (verse 14). When the returned exiles arrived in Judea, they had set up the altar of God and reinstituted sacrifices (Ezra 3:1-6). Yet when the people gave up on their duty to reconstruct the temple, the ongoing sacrifices did not purify them even in a ritual sense. Instead, God considered these offerings unclean because the whole focus of the nation was wrong. Even the priests to whom Haggai spoke had been guilty—and it must have stung when they understood the point he was making.
Consider the imagery here further. Haggai’s example was of a person, an individual, carrying sacrificial meat in his garment and of another person, again an individual, who was unclean because of a dead body. If there were one or a few people with right standing before God through physical and spiritual sacrifices, these could not spread righteousness throughout the nation just by their presence. On the other hand, a person who had become defiled through contact with a dead body would spread defilement (physical uncleanness being symbolic of spiritual uncleanness). A little sin in a group will spread (see 1 Corinthians 5). Perhaps what started as the wrong attitudes of a few people spread throughout the nation, eventually leading to the disengagement of the people from the rebuilding project.
Since Zechariah had just issued a call to repentance, we may surmise that some still had wrong attitudes even after the recommitment of the nation. Again, all it took was a few bad apples and the whole Jewish nation was at risk of being corrupted once again. The current rebuilding effort had to be accompanied by the right attitudes and ongoing obedience or the result would be the same. Just having a temple would not shield them from this reality. “The existence of the temple itself guaranteed nothing. The hearts of the people had to be in harmony with the sacrifices being made” (Nelson Study Bible, note on Haggai 2:13-14).
In verse 15, the New King James Version has “consider from this day forward….” And yet what follows concerns past circumstances. The Hebrew word translated “forward” literally means “upward,” and its meaning here is disputed. Some translations have it as “backward”—as in the English idioms where “up the chain” denotes an earlier episode and “down the line” denotes a later one. If the meaning is “forward,” the sense here is “From now on you need to think about these past circumstances.” If the meaning is “backward,” the concept is “Think back from this day on these past circumstances.” (The same applies to verse 18).
But the time frame of the past circumstances is not immediately clear. When was “stone … laid upon stone in the temple”? Some maintain that this refers to the laying of the foundation of the temple 16 years earlier (see Ezra 3:8-12). Others believe the reference is to the resumption of work on the temple just three months prior (see Haggai 1:14-15). Still others think the reference is to the day of Haggai’s present message, the 24th day of the ninth month—seeing verse 18 as saying that it was on this particular day “that the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid.”
To understand, we should consider the circumstances the people were to reflect on. God had cursed their efforts and their produce to humble them and provoke them to repentance (verses 16-17). Interestingly, verse 17 is a quote from one of the earlier Minor Prophets, Amos, who had applied these words to the nation of Israel (see Amos 4:9). Nevertheless, the wording parallels the Lord’s statements about the returned exiles in Haggai 1 (verses 6, 9-11). And it fits well with the point about their past defilement that He had just made in verses 10-14. Since their alienation from God and consequent punishment are said to have come before the laying of stone upon stone (verse 15), the stone-laying here would not seem to be the earlier laying of the foundation in Ezra 3—as the people were not then being punished for disobedience. (Unless the Exile as a whole is in view, but the blighted crops and hail seem to denote not the experience in Babylon but rather the punishment the people experienced in Judea after forsaking the temple reconstruction.)
How are we to reconcile the apparent contradiction of the temple foundation having been laid 16 years earlier (Ezra 3:8-12) and now again at the time of Haggai’s preaching (Haggai 2:18)? There are a few possibilities. It may be that the foundation laid 16 years earlier was unfinished—and that work on it was resumed and completed during Haggai’s ministry. It could also be that the foundation was earlier completed and even built upon but that, due to problems resultant from neglect, the structure had to be taken back down to the foundations and repairs made. It is also possible “that the first marked the subterranean foundation-laying and the second the first building at ground level as in ancient Mesopotamian practice” (New Bible Commentary: Revised, note on verse 18).
The laying of stone upon stone in verse 15, then, seems to refer to the resumption of the work on the temple three months prior. And the day of Haggai’s current message being the date the foundation was laid (verse 18) would appear to mean that the foundation was finished on that day. We could perhaps loosely paraphrase verses 15-19 like this: “Think about how things were. Before you resumed work on the temple three months ago, I made things really hard for you when you would not repent. But now from this 24th day of the ninth month (on which the foundation has been completed), you may not see the results yet but I’m turning things around for you to bless you.”
It is possible that there is a dual application to Haggai’s message. A number of people have recognized the 24th day of the Hebrew ninth month, Kislev, as marking an important occasion in the modern history of the Jewish people. In 1917 the date corresponded to December 9, the day the Turks surrendered Palestine to the British during World War I. The British represent the leading nation of Israelite descent (see our free booklet The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy). And Britain is subject to the British monarchy—the Jewish dynasty of David (see our online publication The Throne of Britain: Its Biblical Origin and Future). As noted earlier, Haggai 2:17 was quoted from Amos 4:9, which referred initially to destruction to come on the northern kingdom of Israel. The words seem parallel to the national curses for disobedience in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. These passages seem to set forth a 2,520-year withholding of blessings—for the northern kingdom extending from their captivity and fall in the late 700s B.C. to the late 1700s and early 1800s A.D. (see “Birthright Blessings Delayed for 2,520 Years” at www.ucg/brp/materials/index.htm). Yet what of Judah? Interestingly, 2,520 years prior to 1917 was 604 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar initially invaded ancient Judah in 605 B.C. but then quickly returned to Babylon to assume the throne of the Babylonian Empire upon the death of his father. As explained in the Bible Reading Program comments on Jeremiah 36, he returned in Kislev of the next year to secure his claim on Judah and its neighbors. It was at this time that a fast was called and Jeremiah’s book was read to the people—and King Jehoiakim, having one last opportunity to repent, instead burned Jeremiah’s book.
It certainly seems more than a mere coincidence that exactly 2,520 years elapsed from this confirmed subjugation of the Davidic dynasty in the Holy Land to Babylon until the restoration of the Davidic dynasty’s sovereignty over the Holy Land—and that this restoration occurred on the 24th day of Kislev. This would later lead to the return of Jews to the Holy Land and the formation of the Jewish state of Israel. Thus, it may well be that God’s statement that He will bless the Jews from the 24th day of Kislev concerns, on some level at least, the events of 1917. And there may yet be other applications, as the prophecy that follows in Haggai 2, still connected with the 24th of Kislev, concerns the end time.
Zerubbabel Chosen as a Signet (Haggai 2:10-23)
The l st four verses of Haggai 2 constitute a second message given through the prophet on the same 24th day of Kislev. This final message of the book is addressed to Judah’s governor, Zerubbabel.
The shaking of heaven and earth (verse 21) is repeated from verse 6—when God said greater glory than Solomon’s temple would fill the new temple. Unless Haggai in some unrecorded sermon disabused them of the notion, the reference to the throwing down of the “throne of kingdoms” and the destruction of the strength of the gentile kingdoms (verse 22) would likely have been seen by the Jews of Judea as a reference to the fall of Persia—a concept to which the turmoil at the beginning of Darius’ reign, which was still going on at this time, may well have lent credence.
God’s reference to Zerubbabel as “My servant” and to His choosing him as a signet (verse 23) would have had quite an impact as well. Zerubbabel’s grandfather was Jeconiah or Jehoiachin, whose descendants God had banned from the throne of David (Jeremiah 22:30). In giving that ban God had declared, “As I live…though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet on My right hand, yet I would pluck you off” (verse 24). Those considering Haggai’s prophecy might easily have wrongly concluded the following: the Persian Empire is now crumbling; God has overturned His ban on Jeconiah’s descendants; Zerubbabel will soon reign as king; Zerubbabel is the Messiah.
Time would soon reveal these conclusions as erroneous. Darius soon solidified his rule and strengthened and expanded the Persian Empire. God did not negate His own word in removing the dynastic ban He had placed on Jeconiah’s descendants. Zerubbabel never became king. And thus he was certainly not the prophesied Messiah. In fact, he mysteriously disappears from the storyline of Ezra shortly afterward, which we will later consider.
The book of Hebrews interprets the great shaking of Haggai 2:6 in an end-time sense. This is the reasonable interpretation of what is apparently the same shaking in verse 21. The overthrow of the “throne of kingdoms” (verse 22) will be accomplished in the same time frame. “Notice that it is ‘throne’ in the singular and not the plural. There is one supreme ruler over the earth, permitted by God and carried out by Satan, and it will be replaced by that of our Lord Jesus Christ. (See Rev 11:15)” (Charles Feinberg, The Minor Prophets, p. 247). Enemy forces fighting among themselves (Haggai 2:22) is another characteristic of the time of Christ’s return (see Zechariah 14:13).
Then in verse 23 we have the exaltation of Zerubbabel, which occurs “in that day.” Clearly this did not refer to the time of Haggai’s preaching. “In that day” would here signify the day of the great future shaking just indicated—the time of Jesus Christ’s second coming. Moreover, the phrase “in that day” is a typical formulation in prophecy for the end-time Day of the Lord.
Given all this, how are we to understand this future exaltation of Zerubbabel? There are a few different prevalent ideas. On one hand, Zerubbabel is seen as the predecessor of the Messiah. That is, in addressing Zerubbabel but specifying the time as that of the great shaking, the one really being addressed is the person who will hold Zerubbabel’s office at that later time—the Messiah. In another view, Zerubbabel is simply seen as a representative type or symbol of the coming Messiah—wherein the faithful Davidic leader of the Jews stands for the ultimate faithful Davidic leader of the Jews. Alternatively, the exaltation and choosing of Zerubbabel is viewed as a reference to the Messiah coming from his line of descent—and Jesus is legally reckoned as a descendant of Zerubbabel through His adoption by Joseph (see Matthew 1; we will consider the physical genealogy of Luke 3 when we come to the New Testament).
There is, however, another very real and even likely possibility. Near the beginning of Haggai’s short book, Zerubbabel had led the way in the nation’s repenting and returning to the work of God (see Haggai 1:12, 14). And here at the end, he is promised a sure reward. Zerubbabel would indeed reign as a king before God. But not through his physical descent from Jeconiah, as that was forbidden. Rather, at the end of this evil age, when the spiritual powers and governments that dominate this planet are shaken and overthrown, Zerubbabel will receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Spiritually born in a new body in direct descent from Almighty God, his descent will no longer be reckoned according to the flesh. Like all the saints, He will be able to sit with Jesus Christ on the throne of David and reign.
Zerubbabel, whose name means “the Seed of Babel”—signifying his birth there—can thus be viewed as typical of all God’s servants. We have all been born in the Babylon of this world. But like Zerubbabel, we can be the “chosen” of God. We can function as God’s signet. God may well have intended Zerubbabel to begin functioning in that capacity while still in the flesh—from that same 24th day of Kislev. In its entry on “signet” in the context of Haggai 2:23, A Dictionary of Bible Types states: “This unusual compliment is probably the greatest given to a man by the living God. He informed Zerubbabel that He would touch his life in such a blessed way that he would leave on every other life he touched the imprint of God and the impress of heaven. His conversation with others and his manner of life with them would make an indelible impression upon their hearts and they would know that he was a man of God” (1999, p. 371). This should characterize all of our lives even now. And if we remain faithful, when glorified in the Kingdom of God, together with Zerubbabel and the rest of the saints, we will be able to serve as the perfect representatives of God the Father and Jesus Christ for all eternity.
The People of Jerusalem and Other Towns of Judea (Nehemiah 11)
In chapter 5, Nehemiah had been concerned with the lack of people living in Jerusalem and a census was taken of the Jews of Judea with that concern in mind. Now we see that this was to provide the groundwork for a redistribution of the population so as to move more people into the capital. Nehemiah’s solution was to “tithe” from the outlying areas—directing a tenth of the people from around the country to relocate to Jerusalem.
This was determined by lot (10:1)—as was the responsibility for the wood offering in our previous reading (10:34). “The casting of lots, small stones or pieces of wood, was viewed by the Jews as a pious way of determining God’s will. Thus Nehemiah left the choice of those who should move to Jerusalem up to God. The practice was used in choosing portions of the land to be occupied by the original conquerors of Canaan in Joshua’s time” (Lawrence Richards, The Bible Reader’s Companion, 1991, p. 320).
Yet notice from verse 2 that those who moved did so as a willing offering of themselves. To uproot from family and friends and move to a distant place to forge new friendships and a new life is never an easy thing. Yet, they were willing to move for the sake of serving God, just as people through the ages have done (and still do) to serve God’s work and purpose.
Verses 3-24 list various residents of Jerusalem and some of their responsibilities. Verses 25-36 then list people in outlying areas. As in other passages regarding the people of Judea following the Babylonian Exile, we can see here that only two tribes of Israel are represented besides the priests and Levites—Judah and Benjamin. The people of the tribe of Judah dwelt in 17 towns and their surrounding villages. The Benjamites lived in 15 towns. “The limits of the Judean settlement after the return from Babylon have been confirmed by archaeological evidence; none of the YHD-YHWD (the official designation of the Persian province of Judea) coins have been found outside the area demarcated by these verses” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, note on verses 25-30).
The Dedication of the Wall and Separation From Foreigners (Nehemiah 12:27-13:3)
Many believe that the dedication described in this passage most naturally follows the 52-day rebuilding of the city wall in chapters 3-6. Others see it as occurring a little later if the book’s arrangement is chronological. Yet still others recognize it as occurring many years later—following the events of our previous reading. Indeed, a straightforward reading of the text leads to this conclusion. For according to Nehemiah 13:4, the reading from the law in verses 1-3 resulting in a separation from foreigners came before the high priest Eliashib provided Tobiah with quarters within the temple—which happened during Nehemiah’s absence (see verses 6-7). And the reading of the law and resultant separation are said to have happened “on that day” (13:1)—that is, on the day of the events of the previous passage describing the dedication of the wall and Levitical appointments made at the same time.
It appears odd that the city wall would be dedicated more than 12 years—and probably more like 15 or more years—from the time of its completion. It seems more likely that this was a rededication. And there would have been a good reason for this based on our previous reading. Notice in verse 30 that the people, gates and wall were purified. They had been defiled. Consider what had transpired. The wall and gates of Jerusalem had been rebuilt to maintain the peace and sanctity of the people and temple within. Yet the defenses had been “penetrated”—not by force of arms but by permitting evil to flow in (through the admittance of Tobiah and the Sabbath-breaking merchants and the intermarrying with pagans). So there was a real need here to purify the city wall and rededicate it to the sanctifying and protective purpose for which it was constructed. No doubt this would also have refocused the people on the great spiritual work and reformation of earlier years—helping to inspire a national recommitment to God and His ways.
As to the details of the ceremony, “There were two great processions, starting probably from the area of the Valley Gate (2:13, 15; 3:13) in the center of the western section of the wall. The first procession led by Ezra ([12:]36) and Hoshaiah (v. 32) moved in a counterclockwise direction on the wall; the second with Nehemiah moved in a clockwise direction. They met between the Prison Gate and the Water Gate and then entered the temple area (cf. Ps 48:12-13). ‘To the right’ [in Nehemiah 12:31] translates yamin. The literal rendering is misleading, as this procession went left to the south. The Semite oriented himself facing east; so the right hand represented the south (cf. the name of Yemen in southern Arabia; see Josh 17:7; 1 Sam 23:24; Job 23:9)” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, note on Nehemiah 12:31). Notice also that here we again see Ezra and Nehemiah together as contemporaries.
The specific mention of the prohibition of Ammonites and Moabites from God’s national assembly as discovered in the law and the separation this brought about (13:1-3) is directly related to what had happened in Nehemiah’s absence—the admittance of the Ammonite governor to the temple (verses 4-7) and the intermarriage with women of Ashdod, Ammon and Moab (verse 23).
Many would contend, and it could well be, that chapters 8-10 describing the reading of the law at the fall festivals and the renewal of the covenant that followed it actually follows after 13:3 chronologically.
As to why the events of our previous and current readings are switched around from chronological order in the book’s arrangement, we can perhaps see a logical reason. The first part of chapter 12 (verses 1-26) lists the leaders of the priests and Levites. This is probably followed by a description of the dedication ceremony because it gives a further listing of the Levites and their responsibilities (verses 27-47). Next the reading of the law and resultant separation from foreigners is mentioned because this happened on the same day (13:1-3). Finally, in the remainder of chapter 13, an explanation is given as to why this dedication ceremony and separation from foreigners was happening. This arrangement, probably chosen by Ezra in his compilation work, also allows the book to end with a prayer for God to remember all that Nehemiah had done in His service (13:31).
In its note on this verse, Expositor’s gives a great summary of Nehemiah’s life and work: “Nehemiah provides us with one of the most vivid patterns of leadership in Scriptures.
“1. He was a man of responsibility, as shown by his position as the royal cupbearer.
“2. He was a man of vision, confident of who God was and what he could do through his servants. He was not, however, a visionary but a man who planned and then acted.
“3. He was a man of prayer who prayed spontaneously and constantly even in the presence of the king (2:4-5).
“4. He was a man of action and cooperation, who realized what had to be done, explained it to others, and enlisted their aid. Nehemiah, a layman, was able to cooperate with his contemporary, Ezra the scribe and priest, in spite of the fact that these two leaders were of entirely different temperaments.
“5. He was a man of compassion, who was moved by the plight of the poorer members of society so that he renounced even the rights he was entitled to (5:18) and denounced the greed of the wealthy (5:8).
“6. He was a man who triumphed over opposition. His opponents tried ridicule (4:3), attempted slander (6:4-7), and spread misleading messages (6:10-14). But through God’s favor Nehemiah triumphed over all difficulties.”
The Religious Leadership (Nehemiah 12:1-26)
This passage lists leaders among the priests and Levites in the time of the first return under Zerubbabel and the high priest Jeshua and in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. Verses 12-21 give the later heads of the priestly families that arrived with Zerubbabel, listed in verses 1-7. The following succession of high priests is given: Jeshua; Joiakim; Eliashib (high priest when Nehemiah arrives); Joiada; Jonathan; Jaddua (verses 10-11, 22). There is wide dispute over whether this list is complete or skips some generations.
Verse 22 mentions this record being kept during the reign of “Darius the Persian.” This evidently refers to Emperor Darius II, also known as Ochus or Nothus, who reigned from 423 to 404 B.C.—though some argue for Darius III (Codomanus), who reigned from 336 until his overthrow by Alexander the Great in 330. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary states: “The fact that a Jaddua is mentioned as the high priest [at the time of Alexander] by Josephus (Antiq[uities of the Jews, Book 11, chap. 7, sec. 2]…) has caused some scholars to favor the later king [Darius III]. A Johanan appears, however, as the high priest [of Jerusalem] in an Elephantine papyrus [from the Jewish community of southern Egypt] dated to 407 B.C….and this favors an identification with Darius II. The recently discovered Samaria papyri [illustrating the routine practice of alternating generations having the same name] has persuaded some scholars that the Jaddua in Nehemiah was not the Jaddua in Josephus but the grandfather of the latter” (note on verse 22). The latter seems most likely, as the same commentary details in its introduction to the book of Ezra.
The tradition attributing to Ezra the compilation of this book and the canonization of the Old Testament also argues for identifying Darius here as Darius II (whose reign came 34 years after Ezra’s arrival in Judea)—and for Jaddua being an earlier high priest than the one referred to by Josephus. This is because Ezra would no longer have been living by the time of Darius III’s reign and Alexander’s conquest (as this would have been more than 120 years after his arrival).
For our next reading we are skipping over the rest of chapter 12 concerning the dedication of the city wall and skipping to 13:4, which begins a section that, as this verse states, came before the events surrounding the dedication. Chapter 13, as we will see, describes problems that Nehemiah faced when he returned from a trip back to the Persian court at the end of his initial 12 years as governor (see verses 6-7; compare 5:14).
Returning Home and Finding a Mess (Nehemiah 13:4-31)
Nehemiah’s first term as governor lasted 12 years—from the 20th year of Artaxerxes (444 B.C.) to the king’s 32nd year (432-431 B.C.) (see Nehemiah 2:1; 5:14; 13:6). Either Nehemiah was recalled to the Persian court at this time or it was the agreed-upon term limit from the start (compare 2:6). Note that Artaxerxes is referred to in 13:6 as the king of Babylon. This was accurate since Babylon was now part of Persia. It remained a significant fact since Babylonia was where most of the Jewish exiles dwelt. Moreover, it could be that the emperor was in temporary residence in Babylon when Nehemiah returned to him.
We don’t know how long Nehemiah remained at the imperial court. It could have been several months or even a few years. Verse 23 seems to argue for the latter, as we will see. In any case, it was evidently long enough for some serious lapses to occur in Judea during his absence.
When he finally comes back, Nehemiah encounters some major problems. First of all, his old nemesis Tobiah has returned. Recall that Tobiah, evidently the Ammonite governor who was probably part Jewish and related to some of the priests—and to whom many in Jerusalem had been pledged in service—was one of the main enemies who had attempted to thwart the rebuilding of the city wall, even writing threatening letters to Nehemiah (2:10, 19; 4:3; 6:10-12, 17, 19). And now this wicked man has his own guest quarters in the temple compound itself as sanctioned by the high priest! (13:4-7). It is an unconscionable outrage—an affront, in fact, to God Himself. Stunned and dismayed at what has happened, Nehemiah takes immediate action, having Tobiah’s furnishings thrown out and the defiled rooms cleansed (verses 8-9).
What brought the high priest Eliashib down from his wonderful example of personally working on the wall (see 3:1) to this disgrace is unknown. It may have been an act of desperation to keep a failing priesthood functioning. Consider that in his investigation of the matter, Nehemiah realizes that the people of Judea have not been giving their tithes and offerings to the Levites. With no means to live, the Levites employed at the temple returned to farming as a way to get by (verse 10). With very little supplied to them, the Levites did not in turn tithe and give offerings to the temple for the priests (compare 10:38). Notice that Tobiah was actually housed in the area that had previously been used to store the tithes and offerings (13:5). These rooms were evidently empty and unused. Perhaps Tobiah had used this situation as an inroad back into Jerusalem, particularly if some who had been formerly pledged to him called upon his help. It could well be that Tobiah struck a deal with Eliashib to provide for the needs of the priests if he were given the access to the temple complex. Perhaps there were certain other incentives such as renewed pledges of loyalty.
As to why the tithing and offering system had broken down, nothing is said. Perhaps the people simply let down in what they should have been doing. This matter could have been brewing even before Nehemiah left—coming to a head when the problem finally manifested itself in food shortages during his absence. In any case, the governor takes the leaders of the nation to task over this situation and finally gets the tithing system going again, appointing faithful overseers to ensure fair distribution (verses 11-13). In contrast to the poor example of Eliashib, Nehemiah showed himself steadfast in God’s way through all these years since we were first introduced to him. And he prays to God to reward his faithful leadership (verse 14).
It should be noted that if the covenant of chapter 10 was made years earlier, then the people let down in these areas despite its specific mention of maintaining faithfulness in tithes, offerings and providing for God’s house. Yet, if the arrangement order of the book is not strictly chronological, it could be that the covenant was made after the events of chapter 13 because of them. The same applies to the other two major problems Nehemiah dealt with after his return—Sabbath violation (verses 15-22) and intermarriage (verses 23-28).
Concerning the first problem, foreigners were coming into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day doing work inside the city and hauling in provisions, which were then sold to the Jews. Yet the law had specifically forbidden even foreigners from doing work within the gates of the Israelites—that is, within areas they controlled (see Exodus 20:10). The Jews were in the wrong not only for permitting this but also for what they themselves were doing—going about their regular shopping for the coming days on God’s Holy Day. Some see this passage as implying that it is wrong to pay for a meal on the Sabbath. Yet there is nothing in the Law that specifically forbids making a payment for something on the Sabbath. What the Law prohibited was working on the Sabbath such as doing regular business. Indeed, the Fourth Commandment is to treat the Sabbath as holy—distinct and separate, devoted to God. Yet here the Jews were engaging in routine commerce and stocking up on provisions for future use, thereby taking time and focus away from the observance of this special day.
Nehemiah’s immediate solution to the problem is to close the city gates during the Sabbath. After a couple Sabbaths of merchants camping outside the city—obviously in an attempt to lure the Jews into a return to shopping—Nehemiah threatens to take them into custody if they persist, leading them to stop (verses 19-22). Again Nehemiah prays for God to remember his service and to grant him mercy and salvation (verse 22).
As quick as Nehemiah is to deal with this matter, it seems highly unlikely that it could have been happening in the latter years of his prior administration. It must have started while he was away. A spiritual letdown that had been underway for some time, as evidenced by the lack of tithing, moved out of the shadows and became full blown in Nehemiah’s absence. Yet there was probably a more immediate reason for the buying and selling on the Sabbath. This whole situation was very likely connected to the presence of Tobiah. Perhaps many of the foreign merchants were part of the contingent the Ammonite governor brought with him. Allowing large numbers of foreigners to set up shop in the city may have been part of the bargain struck between Tobiah and the high priest (and other city leaders). It was only to be expected that these merchants would operate with no regard for the Sabbath just as they always had—or, if they gave it superficial homage to start with, that they would do all they could to push the boundaries so as to gradually flout this inconvenience.
This all speaks to the consequences of Eliashib’s terribly wrong decision. It is unlikely that he foresaw or intended these corruptions, but they teach a painful lesson. What seems like a small compromise at the time can often snowball into a cascade of sins.
The other problem Nehemiah encountered, intermarriage, was also probably a result of the reintroduction of Tobiah and his allies into Jewish society. Indeed, a grandson of the high priest had married the daughter of—of all people—Sanballat the Horonite, the Samaritan governor and archenemy of the Jews of Judea! (verse 28; see 2:10; 4:1-3, 7; 6:1-9, 12-14). This may have been part of cementing the alliance between Eliashib and Tobiah. Nehemiah mentions some Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon and Moab (verse 23). The people of Ammon and Moab would have been from Tobiah’s province. And the city of Ashdod was allied to Tobiah and Sanballat (see 4:7-8). This was a former Philistine city yet, as explained in the Bible Reading Program comments on chapter 4, its inhabitants were probably not full-blooded Philistines (compare Zechariah 9:6) as the city was destroyed by the Assyrians, repopulated by the Babylonians and given by the Persians to the people of Tyre and Sidon as an important port. Some of the Tyrian merchants of verse 16 may have been from Ashdod.
The “language of Ashdod” (verse 24) may have been Philistine, a Phoenician dialect or a local dialect of Aramaic, the international language of the Persian Empire. The language of Judea refers to either Hebrew or the Jewish dialect of Aramaic. Given that Judea was such a small province, it seems unlikely that the problem of intermarriage had been going on during the later years of Nehemiah’s first term in office, for he would most likely have found out about it and taken steps to put a stop to it. Yet if these marriages took place during his absence, then he must have been gone a few years to allow enough time for children to be born to them and for the children to grow to speaking age.
There may not have been many such children. Perhaps there were relatively few offenders thus far. Nevertheless, intermarriage with pagans was a “great evil” (verse 27). This problem had faced Ezra upon his arrival in Judea. And here it was again. Ezra’s initial response had been mourning and pulling out his own hair (see Ezra 9:1-4). Nehemiah’s different temperament is illustrated in his more drastic reaction of pulling out the offenders’ hair! (Nehemiah 13:25).
As with the Sabbath and tithing, it is not clear if the covenant to refrain from such intermarriage in chapter 10 came long before a resurgence of the problem in chapter 13 or if the covenant was made after Nehemiah’s dealing with the problem in chapter 13. As the prophet Malachi addresses some of the same issues dealt with in Nehemiah 13, many date his book to the time of Nehemiah’s absence. Yet it could well have been earlier, prior to Nehemiah’s initial arrival. Since the matter is unclear, we will wait until we have covered all of Nehemiah before reading the book of Malachi.
Yet again, Nehemiah prays to be remembered by God (Nehemiah 13:31). Though this is the end of the book, we have one more reading from Nehemiah that follows it chronologically.
2 Corinthians 10
The apostle states his authority with meekness and humility. (1-6) Reasons with the Corinthians. (7-11) Seeks the glory of Yehovah, and to be approved of Him. (12-18)
Commentary on 2 Corinthians 10:1-6
While others thought meanly, and spake scornfully of the apostle, he had low thoughts, and spake humbly of himself. We should be aware of our own infirmities, and think humbly of ourselves, even when men reproach us. The work of the ministry is a spiritual warfare with spiritual enemies, and for spiritual purposes. Outward force is not the method of the gospel, but strong persuasions, by the power of truth and the meekness of wisdom. Conscience is accountable to Elohim only; and people must be persuaded to Elohim and their duty, not driven by force. Thus the weapons of our warfare are very powerful; the evidence of truth is convincing. What opposition is made against the gospel, by the powers of sin and Satan in the hearts of men! But observe the conquest the word of Elohim gains. The appointed means, however feeble they appear to some, will be mighty through Elohim. And the preaching of the cross, by men of faith and prayer, has always been fatal to idolatry, impiety, and wickedness.
Commentary on 2 Corinthians 10:7-11
In outward appearance, Paul was mean and despised in the eyes of some, but this was a false rule to judge by. We must not think that none outward appearance, as if the want of such things proved a man not to be a real believer, or an able, faithful minister of the lowly Saviour.
Commentary on 2 Corinthians 10:12-18
If we would compare ourselves with others who excel us, this would be a good method to keep us humble. The apostle fixes a good rule for his conduct; namely, not to boast of things without his measure, which was the measure Elohim had distributed to him. There is not a more fruitful source of error, than to judge of persons and opinions by our own prejudices. How common is it for persons to judge of their own religious character, by the opinions and maxims of the world around them! But how different is the rule of Yehovah’s word! And of all flattery, self-flattery is the worst. Therefore, instead of praising ourselves, we should strive to approve ourselves to Elohim. In a word, let us glory in the King of our salvation, and in all other things only as evidences of his love, or means of promoting his glory. Instead of praising ourselves, or seeking the praise of men, let us desire that honour which cometh from Elohim only.
2 Corinthians 11
The apostle gives the reasons for speaking in his own commendation. (1-14) Shows that he had freely preached the gospel. (5-15) Explains what he was going to add in defence of his own character. (16-21) He gives an account of his labours, cares, sufferings, dangers, and deliverances. (22-33)
Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:1-4
The apostle desired to preserve the Corinthians from being corrupted by the false apostles. There is but one Son of Elohim, one Spirit, and one gospel, to be preached to them, and received by them; and why should any be prejudiced, by the devices of an adversary, against him who first taught them in faith? They should not listen to men, who, without cause, would draw them away from those who were the means of their conversion.
Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:5-15
It is far better to be plain in speech, yet walking openly and consistently with the gospel, than to be admired by thousands, and be lifted up in pride, so as to disgrace the gospel by evil tempers and unholy lives. The apostle would not give room for any to accuse him of worldly designs in preaching the gospel, that others who opposed him at Corinth, might not in this respect gain advantage against him. Hypocrisy may be looked for, especially when we consider the great power which Satan, who rules in the hearts of the children of disobedience, has upon the minds of many. And as there are temptations to evil conduct, so there is equal danger on the other side. It serves Satan’s purposes as well, to set up good works against the atonement of The Messiah, and salvation by faith and grace. But the end will discover those who are deceitful workers; their work will end in ruin. Satan will allow his ministers to preach either the law or the gospel separately; but the law as established by faith in Yeshua’s righteousness and atonement, and the partaking of his Spirit, is the test of every false system.
Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:16-21
It is the duty and practice of believers to humble themselves, in obedience to the command and example of the Yeshua; yet prudence must direct in what it is needful to do things which we may do lawfully, even the speaking of what Elohim has wrought for us, and in us, and by us. Doubtless here is reference to facts in which the character of the false apostles had been shown. It is astonishing to see how such men bring their followers into bondage, and how they take from them and insult them.
Commentary on 2 Corinthians 11:22-33
The apostle gives an account of his labours and sufferings; not out of pride or vain-glory, but to the honour of Elohim, who enabled him to do and suffer so much for the cause of Yeshua; and shows wherein he excelled the false apostles, who tried to lessen his character and usefulness. It astonishes us to reflect on this account of his dangers, hardships, and sufferings, and to observe his patience, perseverance, diligence, cheerfulness, and usefulness, in the midst of all these trials. See what little reason we have to love the pomp and plenty of this world, when this blessed apostle felt so much hardship in it. Our utmost diligence and services appear unworthy of notice when compared with his, and our difficulties and trials scarcely can be perceived. It may well lead us to inquire whether or not we really are followers of our Messiah. Here we may study patience, courage, and firm trust in Elohim. Here we may learn to think less of ourselves; and we should ever strictly keep to truth, as in Elohim’s presence; and should refer all to his glory, as the Father.