Preparing the Furnace- Are you ready for the trials-Forgiving of Debt- Or Not

Joseph F. Dumond

Isa 6:9-12 And He said, Go, and tell this people, You hear indeed, but do not understand; and seeing you see, but do not know. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn back, and be healed. Then I said, Lord, how long? And He answered, Until the cities are wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land laid waste, a desolation, and until Jehovah has moved men far away, and the desolation in the midst of the land is great.
Published: Aug 17, 2012
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News Letter 5848-025
28th day of the 5th month 5848 years after the creation of Adam
The 5th 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 twenty-first week of this the Third Tithe Year for the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow Deuteronomy 26:12


August 18, 2012


Shabbat Shalom Brethren,


We have had to update this News letter on New News just in. And we are posting this right here at the begining.

After posting this weeks News letter I have been shown the following four articles. I consider them of great importance and wanted you to have them before waiting until next week.

The most important one is the one about how President Morsi has quietly removed the Egyptian military heads and replaced them with his own people and what this means to Israel.

In The Prophecies of Abraham we have shown you that Israel and Egypt will be at war and that the UN will rescue Israel and lead away Egypt as captives naked. At the same time the UN will also subdue Sudan. Although we are not sure of all the details, this is what we do know.

One lady wrote tonight as well the following after reading these articles.
“The Prophecies of Abraham – the book – points this out. It is like looking at a roadmap to the 7th Millennium. If one just follows the map – the signposts of Yehovah – it can only lead there. Watching/reading the news is, as I’ve often said, like having a newspaper in one hand, and a bible in the other. The two line up more and more as each day goes by. And The Prophecies of Abraham book opens eyes to see what has been there in scripture all along. Truly mind-blowing.”

Brethren I do urge you all to get a copy and read this book before these events over take you unawares. This coming Egyptian crisis will lead to a unification of Europe and the Islamic States. And this will lead to the destruction of the USA and UK and the State of Israel. They will go into captivity together Hosea says. And all of this is according to the Sabbatical and Jubilee cycles. It is time to take you head out of the sand and study into these things and then to begin to warn others of what is coming

On Sept 1, 2012, for those of you in the Missouri area, I will be speaking at
The Body of Yeshua Holy Temple
1215 S. Sprigg St.
Cape Girardeau MO 63701
Call: Tracy Zimmermann 573-986-8351 or
Winston Williford 573-382-2248

Again we will be covering the Sabbatical and Jubilee years and the Prophecies of Abraham and the 70 weeks of Daniel. So it will be a very full day. Come and expect to learn a great deal. And let others know about it as well.
Stephen Spykerman formerly of Israel and now relocated back in England will be here to speak in September 2012.

Here are the locations of those places he will speaking at. You have never heard a speaker like Stephen. He is just marvelous to listen too. I do encourage you all to come out and learn from his teaching on Torah.

Harry and I are thankful to be able to invite Stephen Spykerman, a Hebraic Root teacher for many years to come to Canada to share with us many spiritual insights our Heavenly Father has shown him. He will be teaching in Dornoch Retreat Centre which is about 2 hours drive from Mississauga.

We do realize that for some of you, it may not be possible to travel to Dornoch at those times as indicated, we are planning to have him teach in Toronto(Queens Quay area next to the ferry to Center Island) and Mississauga (close to Square One)on both Tuesday Sept 11 and Wed. Sept 12. We are open to suggestion to individuals or small group for the most convenient time for him to teach at either locations. We will announce the exact time and location for those meetings. Please have a look at more emails that we are sending so that you will have some idea of what he will be sharing. We encourage you to share with friends and relatives in the Toronto or Mississauga area for this great opportunity to learn more! Please feel free to let us know the location and time of the day and which topic you will prefer.
With Blessings,

Harry and Connie Lim 905-890-3327or 90-5-890-3188

Dates and Times
Fri. Sept 7, 2012, 7:00-9:00 pm CHRISTIANS & JEWS – The two faces of Israel
Sept 8, 2012 Sat.10:30-12:00 am “WHO ARE YOU, AMERICA? (Bring your own lunch if you are staying for the day. Coffee and tea will be available.)
Sept 8, 2012 Sat. 2:00-4:00 pm “DISCOVERING THE LOST TRIBES OF ISRAEL”
Sept 8, 2012 Sat. 7:00-9:00 pm “ASSYRIA THE ROD OF YAHWEH’S WRATH”
Sept 9, 2012, A small group discussion in Ayton, with question and answer period. Sign up for this session is required.

STEPHEN J SPYKERMAN, was born in September 1940 during the Nazi occupation of Holland.
He served as a deacon for many years in his local Church, however his imagination was caught when he first learned the truth about the two houses of Israel. During a successful career he became an international speaker in his field.

In the years prior to his retirement he became involved in a Speakers Bureau, after which he and a colleague set up their own International Speakers Bureau in London.

He started writing books and founded Mount Ephraim Publishing. Stephen has published 8 books to date.

This is a FREE seminar and there is no need to register.
Please take advantage of this opportunity to hear this international speaker and author.
Thank you very much for your attention.
Hope to see you soon!
You can contact John Bennett or Lori Zuluf if you have any questions about finding the meeting place. See you there.

After announcing the investment in the Farm in Israel a few weeks ago many of you have once again stepped forward with more donations for this cause. I want to thank you all for your generosity and support in this. If you are thinking about helping now would be much better than later. As planting time for the grape seedlings will expire after Jan 2013. So if we are going to help with this even more then we must do it now so that the trellises and seedlings can be ordered and the site prepared.

I will be over there the week before Sukkot and will be doing whatever Boaz and Rinah tell me to do. Whether, it is shoveling or digging holes or planting the actual grapes themselves. I am very excited to be able to help do this.

Once again let me state it clearly so that you all understand. 100% of all money donated for this farm project is used for this farm project. None of it goes to administration or to my travel cost or any of it to me at all. $100 donated for the farm ends up being $100 dollars spent on the farm. The only exception is that banking fees of about $20 a year for the account.

We are working with Boaz and Rinah who are followers of Menachem Mendel Schneerson (April 5, 1902– June 12, 1994 ), known as the Lubavitcher Rebbe or just the Rebbe among his followers. He was a prominent Hasidic rabbi who was the seventh and last Rebbe (Hasidic leader) of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. He was fifth in a direct paternal line to the third Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneersohn.

In spite of our differences of belief Boaz has agreed to let us have a tenth of whatever we have helped to plant in order to do a live test of the Sabbatical years. Boaz will be keeping the Sabbatical year along with the rest of Judah from the fall of 2014 to the fall of 2015. And he has agreed to harvest or let us harvest our portion at this time. We may not be able to sell it. Boaz has also agreed to let the portion set aside for us not to be harvested during the Sabbatical year from Aviv 2016 to Aviv 2017 and then compare the two.

Not only will Boaz be watching this but many others in Israel. Even the News Media may pick up on it.
And Boaz has agreed to lease us this land until the Jubilee year in 2045. All the produce from our portion will be given back to us and we can reinvest in this farm or use it on another one provided they allow us to keep the Sabbatical year of 2016.

So despite our differences we both believe in Yehovah and have agreed not to try to convert each other; but to try and work together as best we can and to be fair with each other.

And all of this is only possible because a small number of you also believed we should do this and backed up those beliefs with action and sent real money to me and trusted me to do this. So I thank you all so much for this. As does Boaz and Rinah.

Since 2005 I have been warning you each week of coming worldwide events that will have an effect on you. Things prophesied through the Sabbatical and Jubilee cycles. Also things prophesied through the Prophecies of Abraham. When I see them coming I tell you and when I see them happening on the nightly news I tell you. I never get to gloat about being right or to say I told you so; because at the time that I am right people are dying and hurting.

Again this week and this summer the news has been the drought. We have been warning you that in this the third Sabbatical cycle from 2010 until the Sabbatical year in 2016 we expect drought and famine to take the stage and increase into the next Sabbatical cycle of war which goes from 2017 to 2023.

Famine and pestilence always go hand in hand and we continue to watch for that as well.

Our newest book, Breaking the Curses by keeping the Shmita in 2016 is now completed and almost half edited. It should be going to the publisher in September and then hopefully ready for you after Sukkot. This book answers every objection and every question about the Sabbatical years. It was done so that anyone could understand the Sabbatical cycles, but in order to do that you also have to understand the rest of the 4th commandment and the history as to how things got so messed coming down to our day now.

As I work on this book world events continue to unfold as I share below.
How India’s drought could be catastrophic for its economy

The northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan, and the southern state of Karnataka have declared a drought, according to the Wall Street Journal. And the monsoon’s are 15% lower than the long-term average now, down from 22%.

While the drought in the U.S. has been severe and impacted the nation’s farm industry, the drought in India is likely to have a much bigger impact on the local economy.

Agriculture still accounts for about 15% of the country’s GDP, compared with 1.2% in the U.S. Indians also spend a larger portion of their income on food, which accounts for 36% of the consumption basket.

In fact, emerging economies tend to have a higher share of food in their consumption baskets with food having a 17% median CPI weight in developed economies, compared with 31% in emerging economies.
Asia prepares for food price shock

August 17, 2012 – ECONOMY – Since mid-June, grains, namely corn, soybeans and wheat have rallied 38 percent, 24 percent and 45 percent, respectively, after the worst U.S. drought in a half a century wiped out crops in the world’s biggest agricultural exporter. This prompted warnings from United Nations that the world could see a repeat of the food scare seen in 2008 as prices rose too rapidly, and officials from the Group of 20 countries to plan a meeting to discuss ways to cope with the price spikes. While grain prices fell in New York on Tuesday because of rain across most of the Mid-West, prices will persist around current high levels, economists from Standard Chartered said in a report published this week. This is especially the case should high temperatures persist across much of the U.S. well into August, they said. “If the price rises are sustained in the months ahead, we expect higher global food prices to affect Asia in early 2013, as our correlation analysis suggests a time lag of five to seven months for most Asian economies,” according Tai Hui, Head of Regional Research for Asia with Standard Chartered. Asia was hit hard in 2007 and 2008 when shortages of foodstuffs, especially rice, led to hoarding and riots. Food inflation hits Asia harder than other regions food make up a greater portion of consumer spending than in other parts of the world. In developing Asia, for example, it makes up 35 percent of consumer prices, compared with about 20 percent in the U.S. and Europe, according to the International Monetary Fund.

But just knowing these two things is trouble enough, but then on Thursday I was sent the following video and link;

And Thursday while I was out at 4 AM moving equipment I noticed Christmas lights hanging up on many of the homes in the neighbourhoods I was working in. And they had a sign that said Happy ED. Ramadan in 2012 will start on Friday, the 20th of July and will continue for 30 days until Saturday, the 18th of August. During Ramada the Muslim people are not allowed to eat during the day time. They fast at this time and then eat only after the sun sets.

I had not noticed how many of these homes had this sign in them until they were lit up this morning as I worked all across the northern part of Toronto. And then as the sun was setting as I made my last drop offs I began to see crowds of people setting up tables with food on them and then Muslims gathering around for the meal that they would eat that night. In one place they had three police cars directing traffic and the crowd.

And even up here in my little town, I am now seeing the burka in various forms being worn.

Yes Brethren Prophecy is marching on and the trap that is going to catch everyone asleep at the wheel is being set. You do not know you’re asleep until you wake up. How poignant are those words.

The importance of the Belgium video above is that it shows how Sharia law will be voted in just by sheer numbers of Muslim voters coming to the polls. And it will be this way all around the world. It just happened in France with the election of a new president.
Did the Muslim Vote elect a Far-Left Socialist as President of France?

By Ben Barrack on May 7, 2012in Blog, General

Prior to the May 7th election that elected far left socialist Francois Hollande as France’s president – ousting Nicolas Sarkozy – there was widespread agreement that Hollande would garner a majority of the Muslim vote. Islam versus Europe reported that 95% of Muslims voted Socialist in the last French Presidential Elections. The results were somewhat close with Hollande receiving 51.7% of the vote and Sarkozy 48.3%.

Last week, the Washington Post reported on the likelihood of Hollande benefiting from the Muslim vote:

They are France’s millions-strong minority with a voice that usually falls silent at election time. But this year, there is a special new effort to mobilize French Muslims to speak up at the ballot box in Sunday’s presidential race — amid a surge of Islam-bashing among the French right.

Imams and Islamic associations are calling on Muslims to do their duty as citizens and go to the polls. And while they’re not officially endorsing anyone, the call itself is a bold move in a country where statistics on religious affiliation are formally banned and where secularism is enshrined in the constitution.

Socialist Francois Hollande — the poll favorite — is more likely to benefit from the get-out-the-vote push, because conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy has spoken out against Muslim practices in his campaign and experts say that Muslims in poor neighborhoods and Muslim youth tend to vote for the left. But the Muslim vote is diverse, and there’s no guarantee that the push will bring out voters, since Muslims have tended in the past to avoid politics.

At the celebrations all the Islamic country flags were in full view demonstrating again how strong this Muslim voice has now become in Europe.

Again I refer you to the book of Daniel which tells us that the Beast Power, the European Power will come to power under the leadership of The Blessed Virgin Mary, and will then convert to Islam, the god their fathers never knew.

Dan 11:36 “And the sovereign shall do as he pleases, and exalt himself and show himself to be great above every mighty one, and speak incredible matters against the ?l of mighty ones, and shall prosper until the wrath has been accomplished
– for what has been decreed shall be done –
Dan 11:37 and have no regard for the mighty ones of his fathers nor for the desire of women, nor have regard for any mighty one, but exalt himself above them all.

The Mighty one of his fathers is the Blessed Virgin Mary. Catholicism is going to be removed and Islam is going to rule.

Dan 11:38 “But in his place he shall give esteem to a mighty one of strongholds. And to a mighty one which his fathers did not know he shall give esteem with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts.

Allah only came on the world scene in 70 C.E. Fairly new. This is the god the world never knew just over 1300 years ago.

Dan 11:39 “And he shall act against the strongest strongholds with a foreign mighty one, which he shall acknowledge. He shall increase in esteem and cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain.

Babylon, known today as Europe is going to be taken over by Muslims who will not respect the Virgin Mary of Catholics. Europe and the Muslim hoards United with the Middle East together will attack the USA and Destroy it. It is right here in Daniel and now on the nightly news. Are you ready? Have you repented with Yehovah? Time is runnning out!!!

In the news this week was this article from The


It’s a Matter of Trust

James Quinn, Bullion Management Group | August 8

Some misguided people say that America’s national debt of 102 percent of gdp, up from 57 percent in 2000, is not a problem. They cite historically low interest rates as proof this mountain of debt is harmless. Of course, it is a matter of trust and faith in the ability of a few people that their understanding of economics will see the U.S. through this little rough patch. The wisdom of Ben Bernanke is unquestioned, even though he missed the housing bubble and didn’t foresee a recession.

The debt bubble is unsustainable; the only thing keeping interest rates low is coordinated manipulation by central bankers, the insolvent too-big-to-fail banks using derivatives and politicians desperately attempting to keep the worldwide debt Ponzi scheme from imploding. Their “solution” is to kick the can down the road, but the road eventually ends.

At some point, something will trigger a collapse. No one knows exactly when the crisis of confidence and loss of trust will come, but come it will.

You brethren do have a good idea of when that “can” will reach the end of the road. You know when the trigger comes concerning the economics of the world. All you have to do is understand when the Sabbatical years have come in history. Once this is done then all you have to do is compare when the recessions and depressions begin and end in history.

I have shown you this in the video about the recessions when I was first explaining the Sabbatical years.

Many of the recessions of the past 100 years have come just before and on a Sabbatical year. Why is that? It is because when you do not obey this commandment there are consequences. Part of keeping the Sabbatical year is found in Deuteronomy 15 as well as in Leviticus 25.

Deu 15:1 “At the end of every seven years you make a release of debts. 2 “And this is the word of the release: Every creditor is to release what he has loaned to his neighbour, he does not require it of his neighbour or his brother, because it is called the release of ????. 3 “Of a foreigner you could require it, but your hand is to release whatever is owed by your brother. 4 “Only, there should be no poor among you. For ???? does greatly bless you in the land which ???? your Elohim is giving you to possess as an inheritance, 5 only if you diligently obey the voice of ???? your Elohim, to guard to do all these commands which I am commanding you today. 6 “For ???? your Elohim shall bless you as He promised you. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And you shall rule over many nations, but they do not rule over you. 7 “When there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, within any of the gates in your land which ???? your Elohim is giving you, do not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, 8 for you shall certainly open your hand to him and certainly lend him enough for his need, whatever he needs. 9 “Be on guard lest there be a thought of Beliya?al in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of release, is near,’ and your eye is evil against your poor brother and you give him naught. And he shall cry out to ???? against you, and it shall be a sin in you. 10 “You shall certainly give to him, and your heart should not be grieved when you give to him, because for this reason ???? your Elohim does bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand. 11 “Because the poor one does not cease from the land. Therefore I am commanding you, saying, ‘You shall certainly open your hand to your brother, to your poor and to your needy one, in your land.’

5 only if you diligently obey the voice of ???? your Elohim, to guard to do all these commands which I am commanding you today. 6 “For ???? your Elohim shall bless you as He promised you. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And you shall rule over many nations, but they do not rule over you.

Did you forgive the debts that people owed you in 2009-2010, the last Sabbatical year? Did anyone forgive you your debts? It does not matter if someone else forgave you first; even if no one else forgives you your debts, you must forgive them their debts. No if ands or butts.

Do this if you want to be blessed.
Does the nightly news sound to you like we are being blessed for our good deeds? I think not. Most of the world is lending to the USA and they are dictating to the USA what policies will be in force.

Maybe we missed something. Maybe the blessings of Deuteronomy 28 will show us the way out.

Deu 28:1 “And it shall be, if you diligently obey the voice of ???? your Elohim, to guard to do all His commands which I command you today, that ???? your Elohim shall set you high above all nations of the earth. 2 “And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of ???? your Elohim: 3 “Blessed are you in the city, and blessed are you in the field. 4 “Blessed is the fruit of your body, and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your livestock – the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks. 5 “Blessed is your basket and your kneading bowl. 6 “Blessed are you when you come in, and blessed are you when you go out. 7 “???? causes your enemies who rise against you to be smitten before your face – they come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. 8 “???? commands the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and shall bless you in the land which ???? your Elohim is giving you. 9 “???? does establish you as a set-apart people to Himself, as He has sworn to you, if you guard the commands of ???? your Elohim and walk in His ways. 10 “And all peoples of the earth shall see that the Name of ???? is called upon you, and they shall be afraid of you. 11 “And ???? shall make you to have plenty of what is good, in the fruit of your body, in the fruit of your livestock, and in the fruit of your ground, in the land of which ???? swore to your fathers to give you. 12 “???? opens to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. And you shall lend to many nations, but you do not borrow. 13 “And ???? shall make you the head and not the tail. And you shall be only on top, and not be beneath, if you obey the commands of ???? your Elohim, which I command you today, to guard and do. 14 “And do not turn aside from any of the Words which I am commanding you today, right or left, to go after other mighty ones to serve them.

It really must suck to be you, knowing what blessings you could have had if you had of obeyed Deuteronomy 28 and now on the nightly news you are seeing what you are truly getting. Doing it your way…. How is that working out for you? Temperature over 100 again where you live; No rains still where you live; Rivers turning blood red and the fish dying where you live; The Mighty Mississippi drying up. So how is this working for you; doing it your way?

Deu 28:15 “And it shall be, if you do not obey the voice of ???? your Elohim, to guard to do all His commands and His laws which I command you today, that all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you:

You could have had the blessings had you obeyed, but you can see that you do not obey and do not have any of those blessings; not as an individual and not as a Nation. So now you get the curses for not keeping the Torah of Yehovah.

I was just going to quote those that pertain to the economic issues but you all need to read the whole thing again and you need to tell your families.

Deu 28:16 “Cursed are you in the city, and cursed are you in the field. 17 “Cursed is your basket and your kneading bowl. 18 “Cursed is the fruit of your body and the fruit of your land, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks. 19 “Cursed are you when you come in, and cursed are you when you go out. 20 “???? sends on you the curse, the confusion, and the rebuke in all that you set your hand to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, because of the evil of your doings by which you have forsaken Me. 21 “???? makes the plague cling to you until He has consumed you from the land which you are going to possess. 22 “???? smites you with wasting disease, and with inflammation, and with burning, and with extreme heat, and with the sword, and with blight, and with mildew. And they shall pursue you until you perish. 23 “And your heavens which are over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you iron. 24 “???? makes the rain of your land powder and dust; from the heavens it comes down on you until you are destroyed. 25 “???? causes you to be defeated before your enemies – you go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them. And you shall become a horror to all the reigns of the earth. 26 “And your carcasses shall be food for all the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the earth, with no one to frighten them away. 27 “???? shall smite you with the boils of Mitsrayim, with tumours, with the scab, and with the itch, from which you are unable to be healed. 28 “???? shall smite you with madness and blindness and bewilderment of heart. 29 “And you shall be groping at noon, as a blind man gropes in darkness, and not prosper in your ways. And you shall be only oppressed and plundered all the days, with no one to save you. 30 “You become engaged to a wife, but another man does lie with her. You build a house, but do not dwell in it. You plant a vineyard, but do not use its fruit. 31 “Your ox is slaughtered before your eyes, but you do not eat of it. Your donkey is violently taken from before you, and it is not given back to you. Your sheep are given to your enemies, with no one to save them. 32 “Your sons and your daughters are given to another people, and your eyes look and fail for them all day long, and your hand powerless. 33 “A people whom you have not known eat the fruit of your land and all your labours. And you shall be only oppressed and crushed all the days. 34 “And you shall be maddened because of the sight which your eyes see. 35 “???? smites you in the knees and on the legs with evil boils of which you are unable to be healed, and from the sole of your foot to the top of your head. 36 “???? brings you and the sovereign whom you set over you to a nation which neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you shall serve other mighty ones, wood and stone. 37 “Thus you shall become an astonishment, a proverb, and a mockery among all the peoples to which ???? drives you. 38 “You take much seed out into the field but gather little in, for the locust consumes it. 39 “You plant vineyards, and shall labour, but you neither drink of the wine nor gather, for the worm eats it. 40 “You have olive trees in all your border, but do not anoint with oil, for your olives drop off. 41 “You bring forth sons and daughters, but they are not with you, for they go into captivity. 42 “Locusts possess all your trees and the fruit of your ground. 43 “The sojourner who is among you rises higher and higher above you, but you come down lower and lower. 44 “He lends to you, but you do not lend to him. He is the head, and you are the tail. 45 “And all these curses shall come upon you, and they shall pursue and overtake you, until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of ???? your Elohim, to guard His commands and His laws which He commanded you. 46 “And they shall be upon you for a sign and for a wonder, and on your seed, forever. 47 “Because you did not serve ???? your Elohim with joy and gladness of heart for all the plenty, 48 you shall serve your enemies whom ???? sends against you, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in need of all. And he shall put a yoke of iron on your neck until he has destroyed you. 49 “???? brings a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you shall not understand, 50 a fierce-looking nation, which shows no regard for the elderly nor show favour to the young, 51 and they shall eat the fruit of your livestock and the fruit of your land, until you are destroyed. They leave you no grain, nor new wine, nor oil, nor the increase of your cattle or the offspring of your flocks, until they have destroyed you. 52 “And they shall besiege you at all your gates till your high and fenced walls, in which you are trusting, come down in all your land. And they shall besiege you at all your gates in all your land which ???? your Elohim has given you. 53 “And you shall eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and your daughters whom ???? your Elohim has given you, in the siege and distress in which your enemies distress you. 54 “The man among you who is tender, and who is very delicate, his eye is evil against his brother, against the wife of his bosom, and against the rest of his children whom he leaves behind, 55 against giving any of them the flesh of his children that he eats, because it is all that has been left to him in the siege and distress with which your enemy distresses you in all your gates. 56 “The tender and the delicate woman among you, who have not tried to set the sole of her foot on the ground because of her delicateness and tenderness, her eye is evil against the husband of her bosom, and against her son, and against her daughter, 57 and against her seed which comes out from between her feet, and her children whom she bears, for she eats them in secret for lack of all, in the siege and distress with which your enemy distresses you in all your gates. 58 “If you do not guard to do all the Words of this Torah that are written in this book, to fear this esteemed and awesome Name, ???? your Elohim, 59 then ???? shall bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary plagues, great and lasting plagues, and grievous and lasting sicknesses. 60 “And He shall bring back on you all the diseases of Mitsrayim, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you, 61 also every sickness and every plague, which is not written in the book of this Torah, ???? does bring upon you until you are destroyed. 62 “And you shall be left with few men, although you had become as numerous as the stars of the heavens, because you did not obey the voice of ???? your Elohim. 63 “And it shall be, that as ???? rejoiced over you to do you good and increase you, so ???? does rejoice over you to destroy you and lay you waste. And you shall be plucked from off the land which you go to possess. 64 “And ???? shall scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other mighty ones, which neither you nor your fathers have known, wood and stone. 65 “And among those nations you are to find no rest, nor have a resting place for the sole of your foot. But there ???? shall give you a trembling heart, and failing eyes, and sorrow of being. 66 “And your life shall be hanging in suspense before you, and you shall fear day and night, and not be certain of your life. 67 “In the morning you say, ‘Oh, that it were evening!’ And at evening you say, ‘Oh, that it were morning!’ because of the fear of your heart, with which you fear, and because of the sight which your eyes see. 68 “And ???? shall bring you back to Mitsrayim in ships, by a way of which I said to you, ‘You are never to see it again.’ And there you shall be sold to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one to buy.”

You could have avoided all of these things had you just obeyed the commandments. How simple that is and yet no one does. How sad to know this and then to have to watch it all be taken away step by step, year by year.

The current economic jitters will come to rest just before or during the next Sabbatical year of 2016 which begins in March of 2016 and goes to March of 2017. All you have to do is release the debts of anyone that owes you money. We all need to do this individually and as a Nation. Here come the yah butt church people. Yah but ya butt and they have all these reasons why they can’t or better said why they will not obey. So don’t and then you can reap the curses that come in the 4th Sabbatical cycle of war. Yes this next Sabbatical cycle is going to be war and famine and disease and cannibalism of your own children. Think of that as you tuck them in tonight. And if that thought is upsetting to you then take it up with Yehovah and change your evil ways and begin today. Just do it and stop with the yah butts.

Even as I prepared this part of the News Letter I get the following email.

August 11, 2012 – ECONOMY – Until recently, it was a sign of political correctness not even to consider the possibility of a euro collapse. Investment experts at Deutsche Bank –Germany’s largest bank — now feel that a collapse of the common currency is “a very likely scenario.” Germany’s second-largest bank — Commerzbank — has also flagged fears of a Eurozone collapse whilst bracing for a worsening of the euro-crisis. “The greatest downside risk remains an uncertainty shock from an escalation of the sovereign debt crisis, ie, the collapse of the monetary union,’ Commerzbank states in its latest quarterly report released this week, adding that it thought the risk was higher now than in autumn last year. Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has also warned of the “psychological break-up” of Europe if the euro crisis is not soon resolved. Spain and Italy, the two chief trouble spots, are threatened with a financial collapse that could tear the 13-year-old currency union apart and rock the global economy. The World Bank has also warned that the euro collapse could spark a global crisis. It isn’t easy to predict how such a tornado would affect the global economy, but it’s clear that the damage would be immense. Is the euro about to fall further, possibly leading to serious concerns about a devaluation spiral of the European single currency? Over the last three months, the euro has lost around 5 percent of its value against a basket of major currencies. Against the US dollar, it has lost around 8 percent. Is there a need for a clearer signal that the Eurozone debt crisis has now reached the global currency markets? The second phase started in July 2011 when tensions spread to Italy and Spain, and this “shock to confidence” was followed by a “sharp change” in investment flows as foreign private investors started cutting exposure not just to Italy and Spain but also to Belgium, France and even Germany. In Greece, Ireland, and Portugal, foreign deposits have fallen by an average of half, and foreign government bond holdings by an average of one third, from their peaks. Whilst the Eurozone crisis is much more complicated and likely to be protracted, during the 1997-98 South East Asian financial crisis there was substantial flight of capital from those countries. The third phase of the crisis has now begun and it shows a remarkable new element: domestic investors in the Eurozone are starting to push more money abroad, in a dynamic like the ones we have witnessed in traditional emerging market currency crises like the Asian and Latin American crises. Residents knew the changing nature of risks and rewards earlier than non-residents. Several months ago, capital outflows from the peripheral Eurozone countries prompted a worldwide dialogue about the significance of the balances of the European payments system known as Target2, as the euro-system –particularly the German Bundesbank –took over the financing of these private capital outflows. Economic deterioration, ratings downgrades and especially a Greek exit would almost certainly significantly accelerate the timescale and increase the amounts of these outflows from the Eurozone, turning the process into a step-by-step stampede. Residents’ attempt to be the first ones to exit was subsequently identified as the likely cause for precipitating that crisis. As the capital flight accelerated, in parallel, there was a sudden and palpable loss of confidence throughout South East Asian economies. Is the Eurozone mirroring some of the defining features and significant milestones of the South East Asian financial crisis and collapse? There are growing signs with every passing week that the crisis of confidence in the Eurozone is assuming an ever larger new dimension. For some weeks, it has been apparent that capital is no longer simply flowing from the southern countries to the core countries of the Eurozone, particularly Germany, but actually heading offshore.

With all of this uncertainty going around and then there are the many USA cities and states that have declared bankruptcy in recent months.
Growing number of cities in US declare bankruptcy

Updated: 2012-07-31

By Agencies in San Bernardino, California (China Daily)
A spate of defaults has occurred in municipalities all over the country

The city of San Bernardino, California, declared bankruptcy on July 10, following similar moves in the past month by Mammoth Lakes and Stockton, also in California.

A fourth city, Compton, on the outskirts of Los Angeles, could be the next city to turn to bankruptcy protection.

City officials announced earlier this month that Compton could run out of money by summer’s end, with $3 million in the bank and more than $5 million in bills due, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Before them it was Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Jefferson County, Alabama, and Central Falls, Rhode Island – the list continues.

San Bernardino has burned through its reserves and is out of other ways to pay for its longstanding deficit spending. It faces a deficit of nearly $46 million.

“This problem has been coming for a long, long time,” said council member Fred Shorett. “It’s here now.”

In past decades, many US municipalities declared bankruptcy. Since 1981, 42 cases were filed.

In December 2010, financial analyst Meredith Whitney told the TV program 60 Minutes that more than 100 US cities could go bust in the next year.

“There’s not a doubt on my mind that you will see a spate in municipal bond defaults. You can see 50 to 100 sizeable defaults – more. This will amount to hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of defaults,” she said.

According to Stephen Lendman, writer of How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War, until the 1930s, it was legally impossible for US cities to declare bankruptcy. The 1934 Bankruptcy Act changed things. Cities and municipalities were included.

Earlier rules became today’s US Bankruptcy Code Chapter 9. It’s available exclusively to cities and towns, he wrote in a recent article published on the website of The Centre for Research on Globalisation, an independent research and media organization based in Montreal.

In October 2011, Jefferson County declared Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Its debt exceeded $4 billion, which was the largest municipal filing in US history.

Along with many small towns, transportation and school systems, Pennsylvania’s capital, Harrisburg, filed later.

In May 2008, Vallejo, California, declared it. Up to then, a California city that large never took this route. At the time, City Manager Joseph Tanner said: “This has been a long, frustrating process for everyone. There are no winners here tonight.”

Vallejo’s city council voted unanimously to approve Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. Its finances were in shambles.

According to Lendman, Detroit hasn’t gone bust but it’s dying. Half or more working-age residents have no jobs. Those with jobs have low-paid, part-time or temporary ones.

For more than a century, Detroit was US industrial heartland. It drew workers from around the country for high-paying jobs with good benefits. However, in the last decade, half the population left.

Lendman noted that large and smaller US cities are troubled, short of bankruptcy. They include New York, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Detroit, Pontiac, Cincinnati, Honolulu, Washington, Newark, Camden, Paterson, Harrison and Salem, New Jersey, and Gary, Indiana.

In August 2011, Central Falls declared bankruptcy. Located north of Providence, it’s Rhode Island’s poorest municipality. In 2010, it entered receivership.

In March 2011, Boise County, Idaho, filed for protection. It did so to buy time to figure out how to pay creditors.

In October 2009, Prichard, Alabama, declared bankruptcy for the second time. Mayor Ron Davis just finished paying creditors from its 1999 filing. He released a statement saying other options weren’t viable.

In 1994, Orange County, California, went bust. It’s home to some of the countries most affluent communities. Bad speculative investments caused the bankruptcy.

Now once we look at the numbers we see the following.
Let’s take a look at the numbers. San Bernardino has an annual budget of $258 million; it is running a budget deficit of $45 million. Where does that money go? To the unions, largely. About three-quarters of the general fund goes to personnel; 78 percent of that 75 percent goes to public safety employees, the most lucratively compensated of all government workers. The city retirement fund amounts to 13 percent of the general fund. San Bernardino, like most other California cities, is heavily taxed. The average wage-earner makes about $30,000 per year, and the city suffers from nearly 17 percent unemployment.

The statistics are strikingly similar in Stockton. Sixty-eight percent of the general budget each year goes to city retirees and compensation for workers. Their budget deficit was $26 million; the year before, it was $37 million; the year before that, $23 million. Retirement costs constituted some 17.5 percent of the budget. The unemployment rate in Stockton clocks in at over 20 percent. Estimated per capita income? Just under $20,000.

Then there’s Los Angeles. Los Angeles faces a $238 million shortfall; it faces a grand total of $27 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. How much of the budget do union pensions consume? A full 15.4 percent of city expenditures. As for the unemployment rate, it’s north of 13 percent, and average income is at $26,000.

Noticing a pattern? Deficits as far as the eye can see. Rotten economic situations. And union pensions that take up a substantial chunk of the budget.

So what are these cities to do? They become Detroit. Forced to pay these pensions, they raise taxes; all those who make money flee; those who are left have less services and pay more into the system. This is what liberalism wreaks on cities. No city has ever gone bankrupt from spending too little cash.

California has yet to learn its lesson, however. Gov. Jerry Brown plans to spend more and more money on the unions, and then ask Californians to tax themselves at a higher rate to pay for it. There’s only one problem for the governor: It’s against the law to compel the earners to stay in the state. And they’ll get out as soon as humanly possible.

California is going the way of Stockton and San Bernardino. The only difference is that when the state does go bankrupt, the federal government will undoubtedly try to step in. But what happens when the federal government goes bankrupt for pursuing Californian policies?

If you think your pension money is safe because of your union or the fact that you were with the city, time to think again.

I have invested in a farm in Israel to developed it and others, and make it prosperous while I can do something, so that when the time comes, we might find some refuge. But if you want to invest in your own self first, then in time we will see just how that is working out for you. Or not.


Triennial Torah Cycle

We continue this weekend with our regular Triennial Torah Reading 

Num 15      Dan 1-3       Romans 4-5


Remaining Faithful (Numbers 15)

This chapter starts off on a positive, encouraging note. God says, “When you have come into the land you are to inhabit…” (verse 2). This might seem odd on the heels of the last chapter. But remember that despite what had happened, God had stated that the younger generation would eventually enter Canaan. And in giving various commands regarding the making of grain and drink offerings in the land, He was also reaffirming that promise.

Verse 19 refers to a “heave” offering, a term that may sound strange to our ears. The word heave means “to lift up.” It is thus the same as a wave offering. Here it is explained that the Israelites were to heave the first of each grain harvest. “Right at the beginning of the harvest, the harvester had to acknowledge that his produce was a gift from God. By holding up the very first produce from a harvest or the first cake made from the first grain of the season, the worshiper thanked God as the giver of all good gifts” (Nelson Study Bible, note on verse 17-21).

The chapter then moves on to the subject of sin. When someone got mixed up or forgot to perform a particular duty, such a sin of ignorance could be readily remedied. But deliberate sins, or sinning “presumptuously” (literally, “with a high hand”)—in essence, defiantly shaking one’s fist in God’s face—was another matter entirely. It merited a severe penalty. Following in the chapter is an example of just such a situation—that of a man deliberately working on the Sabbath. The people didn’t know how to deal with such a willful breaking of the commandment, so they temporarily incarcerated him until they could get instructions. The law already stated that he should die (Exodus 31:15), but not the means of death. God told Moses the man should die outside the camp of Israel at the hands of the people by stoning. This way all Israel would participate in and realize the severity of the punishment and the absoluteness of God’s commandments. Today, no one is executed for Sabbath breaking. But God has already shown us His decreed penalty and exactly how He feels about the need to obey His laws. Indeed, the penalty for all sin is ultimately death (Romans 6:23).

Man is not to seek after the things of his own heart, or his own eyes, or the pride of life, because those things are of the world (verse 39; 1 John 2:16). Rather, we must forsake the spiritual harlotry of our old, sinful nature and set ourselves apart to follow only the true God (verses 40-41). We do need to use tassels today as memory devices to remember all of God’s laws, as God told the Israelites. Instead, God’s Spirit writes His laws on our hearts and minds (Hebrews 8:10), helping us to remember all of His commands (John 14:26).


The Dream of Empires (Daniel 1:18-2:49)

Daniel 1:18 brings us to the end of the Babylonian court training period for Daniel and his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (a.k.a. Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego). But there appears to be a chronological discrepancy with chapter 2. Chapter 1 says that the boys were to be trained for three years after their capture by Nebuchadnezzar (verse 5). Yet chapter 2 says that Nebuchadnezzar’s dream occurred in the second year of his reign, and verse 13 implies that the training was finished since Daniel is considered to be one of the “wise men.” How do we resolve this?

In its note on the second year of the king in Daniel 2:1, The New Bible Commentary states: “This phrase is thought by some to conflict with the three-year period of training mentioned in ch. 1. But the phrase ‘three years’ (1:5) need refer only to portions of years.” What this would really mean is that the training was for a time period spanning three calendar years and not three full years. The short time prior to Nebuchadnezzar’s first year on the throne would have been year one. The first year of Nebuchadnezzar would have been year two. And the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign would have been year three. It was during this year—in 603 B.C.—that the training period ended.

Jamieson, Fausset & Brown’s Commentary points out: “The very difficulty [in chronology here] is a proof of genuineness; all was clear to the writer and the original readers from their knowledge of the circumstances, and so he adds no explanation. A forger would not introduce difficulties; the author did not then see any difficulty in the case” (note on 2:1).

Remarkably, Daniel and his friends proved far wiser than not only the other students, but than all the wise men of the realm (1:20). Besides the fact that God surely aided their intellectual development, we should consider that these young godly men of Judah’s court were surely well studied in Scripture, including the brilliance of the civil law system God gave through Moses as well as the unparalleled wisdom of the book of Proverbs.

In verse 21, we are told that Daniel continued in the service of the Babylonian court until Cyrus of Persia conquered the empire in 539 B.C., 66 years later.

Sometime later in Nebuchadnezzar’s second year, he has his famous dream, the subject of chapter 2. Nebuchadnezzar was immensely troubled by this vivid dream. He knew it meant something and he felt he had to know what. Perhaps he saw it as a “message from the gods.” When he mentions the dream to his spiritual advisers, they respond in Aramaic (verse 4). Starting with their response and continuing to the end of chapter 7, the original language of the book of Daniel is Aramaic, the common language of the empire. Perhaps Daniel intended a broad gentile readership for this section.

The advisers asked that the king tell them his dream. But to be sure that whoever interpreted the dream was telling the truth, he required that they first tell him what he had dreamt. Any good storyteller could make up an “interpretation” (and perhaps the suspicious Nebuchadnezzar suspected his “wise men” often did just that!), whereas only one with supernatural knowledge could reveal the dream itself. Nebuchadnezzar let his fear turn to hostility and, ever the absolute ruler of his kingdom, goes “over the top” with his very real threats to kill all the “wise” men. Like too many rulers who have absolute power, it seems he was extremely ill-tempered with no care for human life. People were replaceable, even innocent young men who were not even involved in his problem. Among those threatened were Daniel and his three friends—but all of this was ultimately from God for a purpose.

How do we react when others make bad decisions that affect us? Daniel’s reaction carries an important lesson for every Christian. We all face bad decisions on the part of others—at work, at home, from the government and even at times in the Church. And this was a bad decision. Daniel’s very head was on the line. But he didn’t just stand around and complain about the government. Instead he took action—but it was tempered with tact and wisdom (verses 14-16; compare James 1:5). The word translated “wisdom” in verse 14 is related to the Hebrew word meaning “to taste.” In English we talk about a person having “good taste,” meaning having a sense of appropriateness. Daniel’s “good taste” was spiritual in nature. He had the wisdom (good taste) to know what was appropriate when approaching the rulers of the land. But he took no personal pride in his wisdom. He knew it came from God (Daniel 2:18).

However, to Daniel, just realizing God’s help was not enough. When God answered his need, his next reaction was to go back to God and offer thanks and praise (verses 19-23). Author Sinclair Ferguson correctly remarks on Daniel’s example: “We need men and women with that spirit today. We do not need more pomp or noise or triumphalism. In the last analysis, we do not need money in order to establish a witness to God in the highest reaches of our society. We need Christians of complete integrity who know that God’s eye is on them. With that we need people who pray. Perhaps more than anything else we need Daniel’s spirit of prayer” (Mastering the Old Testament, 1988, Vol. 19, p. 59).

With the answer in hand, Daniel goes to the king and reveals the dream and its meaning. The image the king saw may have been frightening, but it had great significance, foretelling a succession of great empires. Even in the first century, the identities of the four gentile kingdoms mentioned were understood, as we can see from the writings of Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 10, chap. 10, sec. 4). The head of gold, as Daniel explained, was the Neo-Babylonian Empire under Nebuchadnezzar. The silver chest with two arms signified the empire of the Medes and Persians, which conquered and supplanted Babylon. The belly and thighs of bronze represented the Greco-Macedonian Empire of Alexander the Great, which swallowed up Persia. After Alexander’s death, this Hellenistic empire continued in a divided form until its divisions were taken over by the next great kingdom, the Roman Empire, represented by the legs of iron. (The two legs apparently signified the east-west division that characterized the Late Roman Empire). Each succeeding metal is less valuable—perhaps showing the wealth of each succeeding empire being more thinly spread, as each empire was bigger than the previous. But, though less valuable, each succeeding metal is stronger, as each empire was more powerful than the last.

However, extending from the legs are feet and toes of iron mixed with clay—a brittle and unstable mixture because it would not bond well. These are destroyed by a stone from heaven, which reduces the entire image to dust. This stone clearly represents the Messiah, Jesus Christ (see 1 Corinthians 10:4; Psalm 18:2; Matthew 16:18; Romans 9:33; Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:6-8), coming from heaven to smash the governments of this world. The stone then grows into a great mountain that fills the whole earth. As a mountain in Bible prophecy is often symbolic of a kingdom, this signifies the Messiah’s Kingdom extending to fill the entire earth after destroying the succession of great empires. And indeed, that is what we see in Daniel’s explanation in Daniel 2:44. This fact is important to understand, for it shows that the Kingdom of God is a literal kingdom to be set up on earth—the fifth and final kingdom in succession—and not some ethereal sentiment set up in men’s hearts, as many believe the Kingdom of God to be.

While most biblical scholars agree that the stone from heaven refers to the Messiah coming to set up His Kingdom, there are differing views about when it occurs. Some claim that “these kings” mentioned in verse 44 refers to the four preceding kingdoms with the stone representing Jesus Christ’s first coming during the days of the first-century Roman Empire. Others view the toes as representing 10 nations extant at the end time in a loose federation (the brittle mixture) as a final resurrection of the Roman Empire (compare Revelation 17:12-14). The latter is the correct meaning. The Roman Empire has continued intermittently throughout history since its official fall in A.D. 476. The darkest and most ominous revival will exist on the world scene at the time of Christ’s return.

To understand, we have to look at all the prophecies concerning the succession of empires and the Kingdom of God, especially those in the book of Revelation. Part of the key is given in Daniel 2:35, which states regarding the kingdoms that “the wind swept them away without leaving a trace” (NIV), something that did not happen to the Roman Empire while Jesus was on earth—nor has it ever really happened. In addition, the description in Revelation makes it very clear that the Kingdom of God is not here yet, but will commence at the return of Jesus Christ. To learn more about this, request or download our free booklets The Book of Revelation Unveiled and You Can Understand Bible Prophecy.

Writing to a Roman audience, Josephus explained the succession of gentile empires. But it is interesting to see what he said to the Romans regarding the stone from heaven. Notice: “Daniel did also declare the meaning of the stone to the king; but I do not think proper to relate it, since I have only undertaken to describe things past or present, but not things that are future; yet if any one be so very desirous of knowing truth, as not to wave such points of curiosity, and cannot curb his inclination for understanding the uncertainties of futurity, and whether they will happen or not, let him be diligent in reading the book of Daniel, which he will find among the sacred writings.” In the same space, Josephus could certainly have explained what the stone was, but it is clear that he did not want to provoke the Romans by telling them their empire would eventually be smashed by God.

Daniel 2 ends with another glimpse of Daniel’s magnificent character wherein he shows his loyalty to his friends and petitions the king for special favor for them. As will happen numerous times during his long sojourn in Babylon, God rewards Daniel’s character and loyalty with wealth and position.


Into the Fiery Furnace (Daniel 3)

Some historians believe that the language used in this chapter shows that the story occurred many years after the incidents in chapter 2. While this part of the book was written in Aramaic (the international language in use throughout the Neo-Babylonian Empire), the terms used for the various office bearers were Persian, not Babylonian, indicating that Daniel wrote the story many years later, after Babylon’s fall to Persia, using Persian equivalents for the various officers to make them understandable to the Jewish readers of that time. We must remember that the early part of the book of Daniel is not a contiguous narrative, but a collection of independent accounts from the life of Daniel. Chapter 3 contains one of these separate accounts.

It seems that Nebuchadnezzar didn’t really get the point from Daniel’s interpretation of his dream that there is only one true God. As this chapter opens, the king decides to build a huge idolatrous image or statue. There’s no indication that the image was of the king himself. It may have been a representation of his patron god Nebo, or Nabu. The people’s “prostration before Nebo would amount to a pledge of allegiance to his viceroy, Nabu-kudurri-usur, i.e., Nebuchadnezzar” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, note on verse 1).

The construction was quite large, measuring sixty cubits high and six cubits across. “A cubit in Israel was approximately 18 inches; in Babylon it was about 20 inches. Therefore Nebuchadnezzar’s image was 90 to 100 feet tall. The 10:1 ratio of height to width, however, suggests that the image was standing on a high pedestal so that the proportions of the figure itself would be closer to the normal ratio of about 4:1” (Nelson Study Bible, note on verse 1). That would mean it was perhaps a 40-foot-high statue on a 60-foot-high pedestal-still mammoth and imposing. Alternatively, some have seen the dimensions as suggestive of an obelisk or some other phallic image. Whatever the case, the construction was lavished with wealth, being made of gold, or at least overlaid with gold (the latter seeming more likely, given its great size).

The nature of the image is not relevant to the main focus of the story. If it had been important the account would have been more specific. Whatever the image, most Babylonians were expected to bow down and worship it, including all the Jewish exiles. Just how many Jews refused to worship it is not known since the Bible only records the story of Daniel’s three friends. But it seems logical to assume that this was just what the locals were waiting for-a chance to get rid of their Jewish overlords. After all, the Jews were the captives. They were supposed to be beneath the Chaldeans, not in positions over them. Whatever the reason for singling out these three, it was to become a major lesson once again for Nebuchadnezzar and, no doubt, the rest of the Jews in Babylon.

Many have wondered why Daniel wasn’t accused with his three friends. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary lists six possible reasons:
“1. Since Daniel is not mentioned in this chapter, he may have been absent from Babylon at the time, perhaps on government business in some other part of the kingdom.
“2. He may have been closeted with other members of the king’s cabinet, working on legalistic or military plans.
“3. He may have been…too ill to attend the public ceremony; we know from 8:27 that sickness occasionally interfered with his carrying on with government business (cf. also 7:28; 10:8).
“4. It may simply have been assumed that as the king’s vizier (prime minister, for his responsibilities amounted to that status; cf. 2:48), he was not required to make public demonstration of his loyalty by worshipping the image of his god. After all, there is no indication that Nebuchadnezzar himself bowed down to the image. It may have been that he simply sat on his royal dais surveying the scene, with his closest friends and advisers at his side.
“5. It is true that Daniel’s office as ruler over the capital province of Babylon (2:48) was not specifically listed in the seven categories of public officials (cf. 3:3, though, of course, the rulers of subordinate provinces were required to be on hand); and none of the “wise men” (hakkimayya), over whom Daniel had been made chief, were included in the call for this public ceremony. As a type of accredited clergy serving under the state, they may have been exempted from this act of allegiance; their religious commitment would be presumed to be beyond question. In other words, Daniel did not belong to any of the special groups of jurists, advisors, financial experts, or political leaders included in the terms of the call.

“6. Perhaps Daniel’s reputation as a diviner was so formidable that even the jealous Chaldeans did not dare attack him before the king” (note on verses 16-18).

Here we also have another proof of genuineness: “[Commentator] Ford…makes the following observation: ‘Had the story been the invention that many have suggested; had it originated in the days of the Maccabees to nerve the faithful against Gentile oppression, it is unlikely that the chief hero would have been omitted. Reality transcends fiction, and the very “incompleteness” of this account testifies to its fidelity.’ It is hard to see how the force of this deduction can be successfully evaded. There is no psychological reason for an idealizing romancer to leave Daniel out of this exciting episode. The only way to account for this omission is that in point of fact he was not personally in attendance at this important function” (same note).

Returning to the story, consider the enormity of the spectacle. A towering golden statue looms over the pageantry as a magnificent orchestra starts playing, giving the signal for the worship to commence. The music is powerful enough to signal worship to everyone in Babylon. (Incidentally, leading the orchestra are the six most common instruments of the day as well as “all kinds of music.”)

Daniel’s three friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah-referred to by their Babylonian names Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego-are ready to die for their beliefs. There is no way they will bow down to the image.

Now Judah’s enemies in Babylon get their chance. They report the disobedience to the king and he takes immediate action, summoning them to appear before him and explain their disobedience to his edict.

They demonstrate what the apostles were to teach many years later: “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). They tell the king that their God is able to deliver them from harm, but even if He chooses not to, they were willing to die rather than disobey God by worshiping the image. Job had made a similar statement many years before: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15). Like the apostle Paul’s sufferings many years later, their example of faith will be a marvelous lesson to all mankind (compare 2 Corinthians 4:2, 12; Hebrews 11:35-37).

“These courageous young men were willing to give their lives, if necessary, to show loyalty to God alone. Appreciating their devotion, God spared their lives in a powerful and miraculous witness to King Nebuchadnezzar (verses 19-30). The faith and faithfulness of these young men remains an enduring example of respect for God. Their example should inspire all of us to honor our Creator with a similar sense of loyalty and dedication” (Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Keep?, p. 22).

“These three young men put their lives on the line when they chose not to bow before King Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image…. They did not know whether God would intervene to save their lives or not. They knew God could, but they didn’t know that He would. Regardless of the outcome, their living faith convicted them to put God first-a principle Jesus emphasized during His earthly ministry (Matthew 6:33)…. Godly belief inevitably leads to doing. This is why we read in James that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). Living faith comes by doing what God says is good and right and being willing to accept whatever results may come from our actions. The examples and testimonies of the men and women we read about in Hebrews 11 show us we can believe God. He does not lie (Titus 1:2), and, as our loving, faithful Father, He delights in providing for us. ‘Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning….’ (James 1:17-18)” (You Can Have Living Faith, pp. 18-20).

The Jews’ open defiance of Nebuchadnezzar only makes his anger worse, and he gives what seem to be absurd orders concerning their execution. Given that the furnace would have been designed for smelting, it would have already been hot enough to consume the men, but he orders additional bellows under it to make it seven times hotter than usual. To make sure that they will be engulfed in flame and won’t escape, he leaves them fully clothed even with their hats on and then binds them before having them thrown into the furnace. The furnace is so hot that even the men who threw them in were killed.

“Apparently there was no door or screen to hide the inside of the furnace from view. Judging from bas-reliefs, it would seem that Mesopotamian smelting furnaces tended to be like an old-fashioned glass milk-bottle in shape, with a large opening for the insertion of the ore to be smelted and a smaller aperture at ground level for the admission of wood and charcoal to furnish the heat. There must have been two or more smaller holes at this same level to permit the insertion of pipes connected with large bellows, when it was desired to raise the temperature beyond what the flue or chimney would produce. Undoubtedly the furnace itself was fashioned of very thick adobe, resistant to intense heat. The large upper door was probably raised above the level of the fire bed so that the metal smelted from the ore would spill on the ground in case the crucibles were upset. So the text says (v. 23) that the three ‘fell down’ (nepalu) into the fire. Apart from the swirling flames and smoke, then, they were quite visible to an outside observer, though, like the king, he would have to stand at a distance” (Expositor’s, note on verses 19-23).

Nebuchadnezzar (and no doubt all those with him) are astonished. Not only do they see the three walking around inside the furnace, no longer tied up, but with them is a fourth person whom Nebuchadnezzar says is like a son of gods. The New King James Version translates this as “the Son of God,” but this is misleading because it is the king who says this and he doesn’t know anything about the real Son of God. The Babylonians believed in multiple gods, and the language of the original Aramaic literally means “like a son of gods.” The Bible doesn’t tell us what he really saw. It may have been an angel, it may have been the preincarnate Christ or it may have been a divinely created apparition. Whatever Nebuchadnezzar saw, it must not have appeared as a mere ordinary person for him to think it god-like. When the three men come out, this fourth does not-having apparently disappeared.

Once again the king is stopped in his tracks. But although he knows that the Jews have a very powerful God, he still doesn’t recognize that the God of the Jews is the only God (verses 28-29). That lesson is still to come. At this point, God is the God of the Jews, not the God of Nebuchadnezzar. But Nebuchadnezzar is highly impressed and wants to honor their God, while at the same time emphasizing his own authority by issuing another extreme decree (verse 29). And the three Jews are promoted, obviously to the chagrin of their enemies (verse 30). Thus we see God’s ironic and poetic justice.

The three men, literally thrown into a refiner’s fire, could well have quoted the words of King David, which he meant only figuratively: “For you, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined; You brought us into the net; You laid affliction on our backs; You have caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; but you brought us out to rich fulfillment” (Psalms 66:10-12).


Romans chapter 4

Paul continues on with his teaching of equality in the Faith between Torah obedience and following a good conscience, between circumcision and uncircumcision, between Jew and Gentile. He brings up Abraham, and how we are never told and we never read that our father Abraham was never justified by works. This proclamation is never made in Scripture. Abraham believed Elohim and it was reckoned to him for righteousness “because” that belief drove him to action as well.

Those who believe to obtain their reward by their working for it, by reason, see the reward as something that can be paid for… like a debt that is owed. The problem is that the debt cannot be paid, it is unpayable for all men have sinned and the wages of sin is death. Therefore, the reward cannot be paid for by mankind. Now the person who believes that the Master has declared men to be right – and that to include the wicked – truly this is faith, and is counted as righteousness.

Abraham was declared righteous prior to the act of circumcision and the promise was given before the sign of the circumcision. And Abraham believed Elohim far beyond the physical because he and Sarah were past child bearing age. But Abraham believed Elohim and that he would do all that He spoke of and Abraham acted accordingly to that Faith. This faith was his righteousness.

Romans Chapter 5

Being declared right by Faith is exceeding joy and good news, in that it provides a way to peace and access to Yeshua and expectation of glory (eternal life). These expectations cause us to count all things as joy, even the persecutions, hardships, pressures of life, etc. In His love, He has given us the Spirit for help and joy through all of life’s trials. Such great love and demonstration of love that all this – His death and resurrection – occurred for sinners! He was beat, spit on, and died for wicked people, evil men and women, and for a fallen world which proves His love all the more.

So now, if He went through all of that for wicked persons, how much more now for those who have now been declared right and not wicked? How much more now shall there be in and for deliverance? And just as the trespass of Adam brought sin and death into the world, the righteous and obedient act of One brings righteousness into the world.


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