Tag Archives: kingdoms

Who is on Your Throne

Ezekiel 1-3: Who is on the Throne?

            As I write this blog, there is a runoff election in Georgia and the United States senate is preparing to vote on the Electoral College for the President. I find this significant in the fact the most powerful position [in my estimation] will be decided and the aftermath will reflect either a positive or negative reaction.

            During the past six months, Americans have been embroiled in the political debate for support of a candidate, the media has played its part, often moving from reporting to persuasion of people. Currently in the world, we are fighting a Pandemic, wars and rumors of wars, famine and cultural differences. So, how are we to deal with all this? In our reading, Ezekiel the priest is privileged to have a vision, a nightmare if you ask me. God through the Holy Spirit allows Ezekiel a very strange vision.

Before we go there, let us take a snapshot look at the setting. In the opening verses of Ezekiel one we have a very specific time and place description. Ezekiel writes during the Babylonian captivity of Judah and Benjamin. [Southern Kingdom] Daniel is in Babylon and Jeremiah has already pronounced doom of Judah.

So here is Ezekiel, a Hebrew priest, some forty years into captivity receiving a vision from God. Ezekiel sees four faces, and figures in a chariot. This reflects the Babylonian deities/gods. Each beast/deity stands for a season and a direction. If we look at this vision, the one on the throne is Nebuchadnezzar, not God. While the Jews were allowed to continue their religious rituals, they were still in captivity because of their stubbornness and rebellion. It would be very easy for the Jews to lament that God had left them. But nothing could be further from the truth. While we will leave God, God will never leave or forsake us.

When we look at the 2020, we could say “What in the world is going on?” Where is God in all this? Why is He allowing all this turmoil to happen? A quick answer would be that God has not left us, but He has let us wallow in our own rebellion and carnality. The problem is that believers think that culture and society is the problem. The truth is “As the Church goes, so does the nation.” If believers were the salt and light they were called to be – we [America] would not be in this condition/situation.

Believers this last year have faced great trials, but the trials and tribulations were not from “persecution for their testimony of Jesus.” Their trials and even anxiety are from being engulfed in the world scheme of things instead of focusing on the mission and task we are called to – You shall be My witnesses – preaching, teaching and baptizing the converted lost souls.  Instead, we have played politics and engaged in societal arguments.

Why was Judah where they were? Because of their rebellion and hard-hardheartedness towards God. Many have asked me “is this the Last Days?” The answer is yes, but is it the cataclysmic last days? I do not know.

Ezekiel was allowed to see who was really on the throne – God, not man, not some deity of a lost nation – but God! This begs the question, who is on the throne of your heart? Have you and I embraced the gods of politics, government, and cultural arguments?

Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is my King, my Lord! We are passing through this world – our allegiance must be to the Eternal Father in Heaven and His Kingdom, not this earthly kingdom that will fade away.

So, does it matter who wins the Presidency – yes. But greater still is who is on your throne?

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Kings and More Kings

2 Kings 11-17; I have included a number of chapters together. Most of the reading over the last couple of weeks seemed to get boring if not redundant. King and king is described with how he took the throne, and how he was removed from the throne. The kings we read about are from Aram, Assyria, Judah and Israel. Out of my own curiosity I search to see if there was a single document that listed all the kings – yes there is – Google The kings of Israel & Judah and you will get a nice colorized version of all the kings during the united and divided kingdoms. This period of time in bible history is very depressing. Kings would come to power in Israel [northern kingdom] through coup de tat or through relatives  killing the off. Of the 19 kingdoms in the North – all did evil, the only exception was Jehu, who was considered mixed. The Northern ten tribes are whisked off the pages of history with the fall of Samaria in 722 BC. I found it quite interesting how Israel and Judah tried to buy their security with the very enemy that would destroy them, and in Judah’s case, the buying cost came from the riches of the Temple that Solomon built. Two historical figures from world history are identified – Tiglath-pileser of Assyria and Shalmanesar also king of Assyria. These two kings from Damascus were used by God to punish the idolatry and wickedness that reigned in Israel. I kept reading the same sentence over and over in regards to the evil Israelite kings – “He did evil in the sight of the Lord; he did not depart  from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat; which he made Israel sin.” All I could think of was how shameful the name and legacy of Jeroboam was to be identified with the continual sin of Israel for 19 generations! 

Judah was somewhat better, but Judah doesn’t get a free pass. Judah had their evil kings too. Twelve of Nineteen did evil in the sight of the LORD. Two long reigning kings Asa and Uzziah were the longest “good kings.” If we go back to the united kingdoms we find that Saul did evil, and Solomon did right in his youth, but evil in his old age.

When I think of all the despots and tyrants that have ruled the earth in the last few hundred years, I wonder how our God in heaven has been able to tolerate we – His creation?! The times of the kings indicates how absolute corruption is the default condition for most earthly kings. I’m reminded the Jesus said – “My kingdom is not of this world.” Even when there were good kings, there was always one BUT. . . they did not tear down the high places, and people offered incense on the high places. This tells me that there were “reforms” but not repentance. We find that King Josiah a good king, did a great work in trying to restore Judah back to the Father. However, it was seen as Josiah reforms, not the people, for as soon as he departs history, four evil kings follow.

I think back at our own day and time – we ask the question whether a president is a good one or a bad one? We have to be careful with this because we do have deconstructionists that are trying to rewrite history to their liking. Time has to pass of sufficient length for that to be known. Our deconstructionists friends have brought great dispute on what many of us have been taught throughout our lives. Anyway! Scripture tells us that there is no power given except that which is given by God. A thought I had when reading about all the evil in high places; what about the people that lived during the time of an evil king? Now I know back then most of the people were far enough removed, that who was in power didn’t affect their lives. Let’s ask that question of today? Are w living in good government or bad? The question has an answer besides yes or no – God knows! He is in control, therefore we are admonished to be in subjection to all authority over us. Kings and Presidents will give an account for their power given them to rule; we will give account for our obedience.

Kings and Queens concepts that as Americans we miss – We have a King in Jesus Christ – He has absolute power to rule, it has been given to Him [Matthew 28:18-20], yet how many of us subjects of His divine kingdom, give him the just due respect and obedience? We are subjects of an eternal kingdom; we must not let ourselves be taken in by the here and now kingdoms. Be found faithful in honoring and obeying laws of the Land and the Law of Truth in our hearts.

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Like Unto Joseph – Daniel

We start the year with reading from Daniel, this blog covers the 1st 6 chapters. I titled the blog the way I did because looking at Daniel and Joseph they had similar experiences. Joseph sent into “exile” by his brothers – ultimately winding up in Egypt. Whereas Daniel was taken captive into Babylon during the first deportation; around 587 BC. Both entertained Kings; were elevated because of their ability to interpret dreams. Most obvious, the fact that the Lord God was with them and they prospered. Daniel served from a young age of about 20 years old. He was of aristocracy lineage, royalty of sort, so he was taken in first wave of exiles. Early on we find that even though Daniel [and friends] are in a foreign country, they held to their convictions and faith. The story of not eating the King’s food and wine, so as not to be defiled, speaks highly of these youth. We must remember the context of this book – Judah had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar as punishment by God for their gross idolatry and immorality.  In an attempt to “convert” the Jewish children to the ways of the Kingdom, and show superiority to the masses; a test to indoctrinate them in all kinds of literature, and such seemed to be the way to go. Only thing is, these youth were already the cream of the crop; not much risk there. I find it very admirable that in a strange place, names changed and cultural difference prevalent; that there was the “made up mind” not to give up on who they were as Israelites. Under the same circumstances, I’m not sure how people would handle it today.  End of that story, the four Hebrew children were better than those who had been indulging in the fine food and wine of the King.  A Point of Interest – even though the Jews were in exile; they were given freedom to continue worship and cultural practices; such was not the case for the Northern Kingdom of Israel, they became the “Lost 10 Tribes” being so dispersed.

Daniel was elevated over all the Babylonian “counselors” until Cyrus was made King. The Image Dream is a huge revelation in this book. More than just a dream; Nebuchadnezzar is given a glimpse of future history for the next 600 years. Daniel gives the dream its interpretation for Babylon to be the greatest earthly kingdom – ever; followed by Persians-Medea; then the Greek empire under Alexander, then finally the Roman rule and the Caesars. I find this significant, for this was prophecy of God to man, and the facts we look at being fore-told, came true as God said. The historical accuracy of scripture is often overlooked. Too many times the Bible is discounted because it’s just “a religious book.” A statement was made by the “counselors” in 2:11, that no god could give the interpretation for gods did not reside with men. We have a Creator, Savior, and Heavenly Father that is Here! He has not created and left us to our own vices. God is at work in humanity, bringing His Plans to fruition. Daniel’s knowledge came from the Lord, not from his education. Daniel asked for interpretation and was given it – James 1:5-7 works!

There was one more Kingdom revealed by Daniel – the Eternal Divine Kingdom of God. the Picture that Peter draws in 1 Peter 2:6-8 is glaringly obvious in 2:31-35. Impact? There will be great kingdoms on Earth, but the Kingdom of God will always remain. Out of this dream interpretation, Daniel is promoted again. This time to the Chief prefect; of course Daniel didn’t forget his friends, they are elevated as well. The testimony of Nebuchadnezzar of “your God is god of gods” is short-lived. In chapter 3, Nebuchadnezzar builds an image of gold for all to bow down to and worship. So much for humility and praise of God. The herald cried out – when the music plays, all fall down – interesting I use to play a game that we fell down when the music stopped! We know the story, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego refused to bow. I wondered as I read, why Daniel wasn’t thrown into the fiery furnace> He was in-charge, I guess they just wanted to make an example of the friends – Daniel was in good favor with the King. As you can imagine, people from the home country watching these upstart exiles being promoted was enough jealousy to cause them to be watched for opportunity. NOTE: is we are living out our faith, the world will not have to look too hard to find who we serve.

I am not sure what King Nebuchadnezzar was eating, but he sure had a lot of weird dreams! This dream however was a result of his own pride and arrogance. God reminded him just who was the greatest, and who was in-charge. For 7 years, Nebuchadnezzar was like a “wet dog” outcast from society; he did repent, but only until then would God restore him to the previous glory. In chapters 5-6 we find another king, Beltshazzar [note different spelling of Daniel’s new name Belteshazzar] the son of Nebuchadnezzar, doesn’t learn much of a lesson, for he exhibits the same pride and arrogance his father did. The hand-writing was literally on the wall for him! Kings will come and go; but Our God will always reign!

 

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