And Jehovah answered me, and said, Write the vision,
and make it plain upon tablets, that he may run that readeth it.
(Habakkuk 2:2 [ASV])


Last Updated

  13 Apr 2021

MARKSWATSON.COM

Watson's Web
Biblical and Prophetic Perspective For Our Times


For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words,
of him shall the Son of man be ashamed,
when he cometh in his own glory,
and the glory of the Father,
and of the holy angels.
(Luke 9:26 [ASV])


I have set Jehovah always before me:
Because he is at my right hand, I
 shall not be moved.
(Psalms 16:8 [ASV])





Mark can be reached
here.   


Contents On This Page

- Job Part 41
- Encouragement
- Job Part 40

- Job Part 39
- Visitation
- Job Part 38
- Religion Watch
- Job Part 37

13 Apr

Job Part XLI


Then Job answered and said,
Hear diligently my speech;
And let this be your consolations.
Suffer me, and I also will speak;
And after that I have spoken,
mock on.
(Job 21:1-3 ASV)

Job begins his retort to Zophar's speech with both an entreaty that Zophar and has friends listen to his words and follows with a bit of dry humor and says they can continue to mock him when he is done, until then, suffer that he may speak.

As for me, is my complaint to man?
And why should I not be impatient?
Mark me, and be astonished,
And lay your hand upon your mouth.
Even when I remember I am troubled,
And horror taketh hold on my flesh.
(Job 21:4-6 ASV)


Job here I think tries to correct a misconception in the minds of his comforters. He is not nearly as concerned with their opinion of him as they seem to think, his argument and complaint is not with them, but with God. He needed comfort and support from his friends and instead he got sermonized by men who clearly did not really know or understand God. They have engaged in this debate that to Job was irrelevant, because his controversy was not with these so called friends, whose comfort they offered Job was like laying on a bed of nails.

Job is upset and why should he not be troubled by all that has befallen him. We should keep in mind that Job has on other occasions appealed directly to God to argue his case before him. This appears to be another occasion (vs 4).

Job then goes on to say (paraphrasing), look at me? are you not astonished!? How could we modernize and make it more colorful and down to earth for today? 'Come on man, look at my face... I look like something out of horror flick and could scare away all the neighborhood kids just by walking down the street!' (see Job 30:8-11).

His friends should have put their hands over their mouth in silent astonishment rather than their constant needling of him.

Job says that even as he remembers these things he is afraid when he thinks of all the evil that has befallen him. It still scares him; his kids dead, his wealth gone, he now sitting in the city dump scraping his skin with shards of a broken pot.

Wherefore do the wicked live,
Become old, yea, wax mighty in power?
Their seed is established with them in their sight,
And their offspring before their eyes.
Their houses are safe from fear,
Neither is the rod of God upon them.
(Job 21:7-9 ASV)

Job here returns to his old argument and rebuts the fanciful theology of Zophar, stating clearly that what happens to the wicked is clearly not what Zophar and his friends say it is. He has seen the wicked do pretty well, their household and bloodlines established - they are secure and God does not punish nor chastise them; completely contrary to Zophar's 'make up your own facts' theology. What Zophar and his friends have said simply did not line up with reality.


Their bull gendereth, and faileth not;
  Their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf.
They send forth their little ones like a flock,
And their children dance.
They sing to the timbrel and harp,
 And rejoice at the sound of the pipe.
They spend their days in prosperity,
And in a moment they go down to Sheol.
And they say unto God, Depart from us;
For we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.
(Job 21:10-14 ASV)


Job here recounts in poetical language just how good the wicked live. This idea of them wasting away is simply not reflected in any reality except in the 'creative theology' that resides in the minds of Job's friends. But Job hits an important point in verse 14 and it's one we should talk about just a bit.

The point he makes is that all the good times, prosperity and partying, they make the soul of the wicked man hardened and contemptuous of God. In that passage they tell God to depart, 'get lost' - they say to the Almighty, we don't want to know anything about you! Such is the wicked boast of many a rich and powerful man who made their bank account and belly swell as a result of the evil dealings.

Christ dealt with this issue in his ministry and a relevant passage on this can be found below.

And he said unto them,
Take heed, and keep yourselves from all covetousness:
for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance
of the things which he possesseth.
And he spake a parable unto them, saying,
The ground of a certain rich man brought
forth plentifully: and he reasoned within himself, saying,
What shall I do, because I have not where to bestow my fruits?
And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns,
and build greater; and there will I bestow
all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul,
Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years;
take thine ease, eat, drink, be merry. But God said unto him,
Thou foolish one, this night is thy soul required of thee;
and the things which thou hast prepared,
whose shall they be? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself,
and is not rich toward God.
(Luk 12:15-21 ASV)


What this man did was complete folly. The Greek word for 'foolish' (vs 20) is G878 in Strong's Greek.
This is where Christ enlightens us, that the man's soul now is required of him and he may have had a lot of money in the Roman bank account of his day, but he was not rich towards God.

So the man in Job 21:14 is expressing this same folly that Christ spoke of in Luke. Job was close to the truth of the matter that his friends were either too blind or too puffed up with spiritual arrogance to see.

Yet Peter also speaks about such people in his second letter. He sums it up with this verse.


the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly
out of temptation, and to keep
the unrighteous under punishment
 unto the day of judgment;
(2Pe 2:9 ASV)


In short, the Lord is giving the wicked man the rope he will need to hang himself, the wood needed to build the scaffold, and the shovel required to dig his own spiritual grave.

What is the Almighty, that we should serve him?
And what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?
Lo, their prosperity is not in their hand:
The counsel of the wicked is far from me.
How oft is it that the lamp of the wicked is put out?
That their calamity cometh upon them?
 That God distributeth sorrows in his anger?
That they are as stubble before the wind,
And as chaff that the storm carrieth away?
Ye say, God layeth up his iniquity for his children.
Let him recompense it unto himself, that he may know it:
Let his own eyes see his destruction,
And let him drink of the wrath of the Almighty.
(Job 21:15-20 ASV)



In verse 15, the wicked man continues his mockery of God and demonstrates their contempt for him.
In verse 16, the phrase 'prosperity is not in their hand' probably means that while they have good things, often all the good things this life has to offer, it is not theirs really, it's God's to give and take at his discretion. Job separates himself from such men and their ways; their counsel are things he wants nothing to do with.

Job follows by appearing to answer Bildad's question on the light of the wicked being put out (Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, And the spark of his fire shall not shine  - Job 18:5). He asks how often their candle is put out and their destruction come? How often does this really happen?. This is the real question Job is asking here.

The rest of the passage is not as clear as it might seem, but it appears that what Job is doing is anticipating an argument from his friends and answering a previous contention that God will visit the sins of the evil man upon his posterity. They may argue that maybe what Job puts forward is true, if so then they would argue that the sins of the fathers will visit the children (Exodus 20:5). This doctrine is also being debated by Job, but let us remember that this book was almost certainly written long before the Book of Exodus and the Mosaic Law.

We shall continue our look a Job next week, God willing!!!

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7 Apr

Encouragement

Grace and peace to each of you. In these difficult times I always want to make sure that I do my best to encourage each of you who comes by the site. I know how hard life can be and this walk of faith can at times be difficult and the last thing I want to be is one of those sites that harp on the negative, the disasters and casting a dark light on everything, as is the habit of some. 

We can often become discouraged and confused when things don't turn out the way we wanted or hoped. In such times we need to remember the proverb.


Trust in Jehovah with all thy heart,
And lean not upon thine own understanding:
In all thy ways acknowledge him,
And he will direct thy paths.
Be not wise in thine own eyes;
Fear Jehovah, and depart from evil:
It will be health to thy navel,
And marrow to thy bones.
(Pro 3:5-8 ASV)


In times when we don't understand why something is happening to us, this is what we need to do. Trust in the Lord - with all of our hearts. It's what David  had to do before he rose to the throne and it's what Job had to do. Both had to have at sometime, felt almost betrayed and abandoned by the God in whom they trusted. But each hung in there - through thick and thin and kept faith with God. Job was restored and doubly blessed and David did ascend to the throne, according to God's promise. But they had to wade through a proverbial swamp full of crocodiles and walk through the valley of the shadow of death first. But they kept moving forward did not look back and kept faith with God, despite the dangers.

What? You think its has been easy doing this blog? It's not has hard as it used to be, but there are times it has been exceptionally difficult. But I had my orders from the Lord and I carried them out. I say this to each of you so that you won't get discouraged when the harsh realities of life come crashing in your front door. A major illness in the family, a death, the loss of a job, a major expense you simply cannot pay for, you get very sick or maybe you have to do time for a crime you never even thought about committing - these things happen, they can happen to anyone.

But your job is to not give into despair and bitterness. We must never rail against God and put the blame on him for the troubles in our life. Chances are there is something here God wants to teach you and you won't realize what the lesson is until it's over. It's often that way with me. I had to learn some things the hard way and as the last big trial was ending the Lord just spoke to me and let me know that if I had learned one key lesson, the trial would come to an end. It did. There is no chance I will forget that lesson as I think I will have to go through a 'remedial' course in the school of hard knocks if I ever do.

Such a lesson does not appeal to me!


The key for each of us who serves the Lord is this - we all have to go through trials. There is no way around it. So if it happens to you, don't be shocked or dismayed. It goes with God's plan.

fear thou not, for I am with thee;
be not dismayed, for I am thy God;
I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea,
I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
Behold, all they that are incensed
against thee shall be put to shame and confounded:
they that strive with thee shall be as nothing,
and shall perish. Thou shalt seek them,
and shalt not find them, even them that contend with thee:
they that war against thee shall be as nothing,
and as a thing of nought. For I, Jehovah thy God,
will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee,
Fear not; I will help thee.
(Isa 41:10-13 ASV)


Things gone awry? Feel like a hundred boulders just landed right on top of you? Brothers we have a God who loves us and will take care of us if we fully put our trust in him. You got enemies? The passage above makes it plain that they won't be around long. Just hang tough, God see's what they are doing. He has not forgotten about you or their deeds. Let them finish digging their own graves - they may be only 5-and-a half feet down - let them get that extra 6 inches of digging completed. Save the manual laborers the sweat needed to do it. Your God is indeed looking out for you. But you must - absolutely MUST put your trust in him and do what he tells you.

So no matter what you are going through, keep faith with God. Don't get discouraged and don't, whatever you do throw in the towel on your faith. That is exactly what the devil wants you to do. Invariably, he is targeting your faith - the key ingredient in our salvation.

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1 Apr

Job Part XL

We continue here with the last two verses of Job's response to Bildad.

If ye say, How we will persecute him!
And that the root of the matter is found in me;
Be ye afraid of the sword: For wrath bringeth
the punishments of the sword,
That ye may know there is a judgment.
(Job 19:28-29 ASV)


This passage's linguistic complexity is a bit much for me. It is not easy to translate nor to understand fully, as some commentators make plain. There are many different translations of it. Those of you who have parallel Bibles may want to look at the comparisons.
I gather from this passage as a whole that Job is in a round about way, warning his detractors not only of his innocence, but that God would not be so kind to those who so persecuted the innocent, particularly while they were in such terrible suffering and guiltless of any serious sin. God does not look kindly on anyone who brings harm to those he calls his friends.


Then answered Zophar the Naamathite,
and said, Therefore do my thoughts
give answer to me, Even by reason
of my haste that is in me. I have heard
the reproof which putteth me to shame;
 And the spirit of my understanding answereth me.
(Job 20:1-3 ASV)


Zophar could not wait to answer Job (my haste) as what Job said obviously struck Zophar very hard and he clearly did not like it. Zophar claims his spirit is one of understanding. However, the word that Zophar uses for 'thoughts' (vs 2) is one that cannot be ignored. It could men opinion, but here seems to me to have the connotation of perhaps uncertainty, doubt - H5587.

Job, I think hit the root of the matter and it kind of put his friends on the defensive. Zophar then continues his speech with poetic style. Zophar, however was not convinced of Job's statement of faith and innocence.

Knowest thou not this of old time,
Since man was placed upon earth,
That the triumphing of the wicked is short,
 And the joy of the godless but for a moment?
Though his height mount up to the heavens,
 And his head reach unto the clouds;
Yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung:
They that have seen him shall say,
 Where is he?
(Job 20:4-7 ASV)


Zophar, while using interesting and most descriptive poetic language, falls back into the same old theology, arguments and patriarchal age 'pop wisdom' that simply did not fit Job's situation. His basic argument that the wicked man's prosperity and victories in this life don't last long and it has always been so since Adam (Man in vs. 4 - H120) has been on earth.

He shall fly away as a dream,
and shall not be found:
Yea, he shall be chased away
as a vision of the night.
The eye which saw him
shall see him no more;
Neither shall his place any more behold him.
His children shall seek the favor of the poor,
And his hands shall give back his wealth.
His bones are full of his youth,
But it shall lie down with him in the dust.
Though wickedness be sweet in his mouth,
Though he hide it under his tongue,
Though he spare it, and will not let it go,
But keep it still within his mouth;
Yet his food in his bowels is turned,
It is the gall of asps within him.
(Job 20:8-14 ASV)


Zophar here talks about the fate of the wicked and how he one day will cease to exist all together. Job has talked of judgment and made passing reference to a resurrection (Job 19:26), this Zophar appears to refute in his 'understanding'. Then he goes on to discuss the fate of the wicked man's progeny and that they will be slaves in an impoverished house. In other words, they would be like the slaves of slaves, the lowest form of poverty.

Zophar then goes on to talk about the wicked man as well as his words and the very food that the wicked man eats shall be poison in his belly.

He hath swallowed down riches,
and he shall vomit them up again;
God will cast them out of his belly.
He shall suck the poison of asps:
The viper's tongue shall slay him.
He shall not look upon the rivers,
The flowing streams of honey and butter.
That which he labored for shall he restore,
and shall not swallow it down;
According to the substance
that he hath gotten,
he shall not rejoice.
(Job 20:15-18 ASV)


Zophar continues his poetic diatribe against the wicked. These words require no further comment.

For he hath oppressed and forsaken the poor;
He hath violently taken away a house,
and he shall not build it up.
Because he knew no quietness within him,
He shall not save aught of that wherein he delighteth.
There was nothing left that he devoured not;
Therefore his prosperity shall not endure.
In the fulness of his sufficiency he shall be in straits:
The hand of every one that is in misery shall come upon him.
When he is about to fill his belly, God will cast
the fierceness of his wrath upon him,
And will rain it upon him while he is eating.
(Job 20:19-23 ASV)

In Zophar's theology, the things he describes always overtake the wicked and one key reason is that they forsook and oppressed the poor.

Zophar's words seem to spend a lot of time on the belly (H990; vs 15, 20, 23) and food. It is not clear why this is, but perhaps Job was once rather corpulent and this fact Zophar wanted to point out in his veiled accusation.

He shall flee from the iron weapon,
And the bow of brass shall strike him through.
He draweth it forth, and it cometh out of his body;
Yea, the glittering point cometh out of his gall:
Terrors are upon him. All darkness is laid up for his treasures:
A fire not blown by man shall devour him;
It shall consume that which is left in his tent.
The heavens shall reveal his iniquity,
And the earth shall rise up against him.
The increase of his house shall depart;
His goods shall flow away in the day of his wrath.
This is the portion of a wicked man from God,
And the heritage appointed unto him by God.
(Job 20:24-29 ASV)


Zophar's words aren't anything we have not heard in various poetic language so far in the book of Job. His view of God is almost that of a cold, exacting and almost mechanical being whose ways must always bow to the narrow theology of the speaker.

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26 Mar

Job Part XXXIX


They that dwell in my house, and my maids,
count me for a stranger; I am an alien in their sight.
I call unto my servant, and he giveth me no answer,
Though I entreat him with my mouth.
My breath is strange to my wife, And my supplication
to the children of mine own mother.
Even young children despise me;
If I arise, they speak against me.
All my familiar friends abhor me,
And they whom I loved
are turned against me.
(Job 19:15-19 ASV)
This had to be one of the more painful experiences for Job. All those who professed to be his friends and family turned on him. His servants, his wife even children spoke against him. His closest buddies were revolted by him. The word for abhor (vs 19) is H8581 in the Hebrew in Strong's.

In short, they hated to see him coming as he was something to be despised in their eyes, though in God's eyes, there was not a more righteous man living (Job 1:8; 2:3). His so called friends did not know that it was nothing that Job did that caused his woes. It was the devil's work, plain and simple.

I want to digress here for just a moment because I think for many of us as we move into times that may be considerably more difficult in the future, is this. The devil can use your friends and family against you. This can often be done in an unwitting fashion on their part, but they still are doing the devil's work. If you remember, that this whole trial and whole situation was brought on by Satan and it was him (not God) that moved against Job.
    And Jehovah said unto Satan,
    Hast thou considered my servant Job?
    for there is none like him in the earth,
    a perfect and an upright man,
    one that feareth God, and turneth away from evil:
    and he still holdeth fast his integrity,
    although thou movedst me against him,
    to destroy him without cause.
    (Job 2:3 ASV)

And Jehovah said unto Satan,
Behold, he is in thy hand;
only spare his life.
(Job 2:6 ASV)
So those individuals who moved against Job, they did not know it, but their behavior fell perfectly in line with the attack that God allowed.

One key way he does that is what we see in the above passage - devil can hit you at home, with your family and friends. He hits you hard and remember this, the evil one does not play games - he has a goal, a (spiritual) military objective in mind and your job is to make sure he never reaches it. As in a battle, you do not give up key ground to the enemy. Rather, you make sure you stand and wage your spiritual fight. But remember that like a battle, one has to deal with spies, traitors and cowards who are often at your back supposedly backing you up. There are abundant examples of all of these ignoble traits in our Bibles and centuries of military history. These things apply equally as well to spiritual warfare. Ask Caesar, one of the world's great military geniuses - how did they do him in? A knife in the back.

The key I want to impress on you is that when you talk about Spiritual Warfare, you had better know what you are talking about. Spiritual warfare is not exposing some re-hashed conspiracy theory often put out there by the devil himself to misdirect your energies. No, we must know and understand that warfare means just that - warfare; it's a struggle. Job's travails show us just how vicious, cruel, mean and desperate the devil can be. If you draw breath and serve the Lord, sooner or later you will find out just what 'Spiritual Warfare' means or become a casualty on the battlefield, never knowing what hit you.

My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh,
And I am escaped with the skin of my teeth.
Have pity upon me, have pity upon me,
O ye my friends; For the hand of God hath touched me.
Why do ye persecute me as God,
And are not satisfied with my flesh?
(Job 19:20-22 ASV)

Job again uses his poetical phraseology to describe his horrible physical condition and then asks his friends to have pity on him. So far they have been rather cruel and unmerciful; harsh and judgemental. Job did not call them for their criticism, he needed their support. Instead, he finds his friends in their theological 'battle array' ready to stick arrows, pins and needles into their fallen and suffering friend. We have no right to make matter worse for those who are suffering, even those who are doing so under the Lord's chastisement. Even those who are our enemies, when they fall or are afflicted. We are enjoined not to rejoice over it.

Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth,
And let not thy heart be glad
when he is overthrown; Lest Jehovah see it,
and it displease him, And he turn
away his wrath from him.
(Pro 24:17-18 ASV)
Job was their friend and while there did not appear to be any rejoicing over Job's condition, there did not seem to be much mercy or pity for Job either. Job appeals to them on this front. One can almost feel Job's heart break over the way those who said they once cared about him have treated him, family, friends even servants.
Oh that my words were now written!
Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
That with an iron pen and lead
They were graven in the rock for ever!
But as for me I know that my Redeemer liveth,
And at last he will stand up upon the earth:
And after my skin, even this body, is destroyed,
Then without my flesh shall I see God;
Whom I, even I, shall see, on my side,
And mine eyes shall behold, and not as a stranger.
My heart is consumed within me.
(Job 19:23-27 ASV)

In verse we find that Job uttered a prayer, a request as it were. It was a request that he probably never thought would really be answered and yet, here we are about 3000 years after the events of Job's life, we find that his words were indeed written down in a book and the witness of his suffering have helped many generations deal with the problem of trails, tribulations and human suffering.

His words were indeed set down. Albert Barnes notes that the idea of printing was almost certainly foreign to someone who lived in Job's times and probably should not have been used by the translators of the KJV; the ASV uses the word inscribed. The Hebrew word is H2710 in Strong's.

The idea I think helps to correctly put the idea of an iron pen in verse 24. Job is asking that his words be set down on a stone tablet with an iron pen, so the years will not wash them away. He wants the world and posterity to know about his sufferings.

He also clearly wants heaven and earth to bear witness that he puts his hope in God. Verse 25 are words that even today are used in our hymnals and Gospel songs. Job's prayer was heard by God and we can bear witness to that fact by you reading these passages today and singing some of the songs that use Job's words.

But Job's hope is totally uncharacteristic of the known theology of his day. He goes on to prophesy that one day, his redeemer would come in the latter day and stand upon the earth and goes even further, in a clear hope of a resurrection, saying that even after his body has decomposed, yet and still in his flesh (body  - H1320) he will see God (vs 26). Moreover, he makes it plain that this is not a figurative hope or one of a future generation will see, but one that he himself will see with his own eyes.

What is amazing to me is that Job somehow knew that a resurrection was going to happen, long before the Torah and Moses, long before the Jewish law and the arrival of the Messiah. He somehow knew in the depths of his soul that God had a plan to bring back those who loved him to look him in the face.

We will continue our look at Job soon.

Blessings to you all in Christ!!

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23 Mar

Visitation


There are some themes I particularly like writing about. And there are those I don't. This is one I don't like to very much. But none of us who knows God should ever ignore this one. Today, we are going to talk about the time of visitation. When God visits a nation or a people who have been wayward. I have quoted this passage before, but I think it meet it is used again.

Then he cried in mine ears with a loud voice,
saying, Cause ye them that have charge
over the city to draw near,
every man with his destroying weapon in his hand.
And behold, six men came from the way
of the upper gate, which lieth toward the north,
every man with his slaughter weapon in his hand;
and one man in the midst of them clothed in linen,
with a writer's inkhorn by his side. And they went in,
and stood beside the brazen altar.
And the glory of the God of Israel
was gone up from the cherub, whereupon it was,
to the threshold of the house:
and he called to the man clothed in linen,
who had the writer's inkhorn by his side.
And Jehovah said unto him,
Go through the midst of the city,
through the midst of Jerusalem,
and set a mark upon the foreheads
of the men that sigh and that cry over
all the abominations that are done
in the midst thereof. And to the others
he said in my hearing, Go ye through
the city after him, and smite:
let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity;
slay utterly the old man, the young man and the virgin,
and little children and women;
but come not near any man upon whom is the mark:
and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began
at the old men that were before the house.
 And he said unto them, Defile the house,
and fill the courts with the slain:
go ye forth. And they went forth,
and smote in the city. And it came to pass,
while they were smiting, and I was left,
that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said,
Ah Lord Jehovah! wilt thou destroy
all the residue of Israel in thy
pouring out of thy wrath upon Jerusalem? Then said he unto me,
The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great,
and the land is full of blood, and the city
full of wresting of judgment: for they say,
Jehovah hath forsaken the land,
and Jehovah seeth not. And as for me also,
mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity,
but I will bring their way upon their head.
And behold, the man clothed in linen,
 who had the inkhorn by his side,
 reported the matter, saying,
I have done as thou
hast commanded me.

(Eze 9:1-11 ASV)

This is the whole chapter and I think we all have read this passage in the past and it gave us all some pause; something to step back and very seriously consider. The basic theme is Israel had sinned and done so grievously. God was having no more of it and was exceedingly angry. He was going to put a stop to it and this was it. We don't know who these men were who carried out the commandment of the Lord. They may have been angels - that is what I think, though some commentators think they may have been some of Nebuchadnezzar's generals; those mentioned in Jer 39:3.

What follows is the inevitable result of sin and rebellion. God finally brings in judgment. Not chastisement, not rebuke but judgment. Judgment usually has some aspect of finality about it.

God did not show mercy in the above passage. Those days were over. Those who were appointed to carry out this punishment were forbidden to show any of it (9:5). God can visit his people and he can visit nations and peoples and this kind of visitation can destroy a kingdom or even empire. Think about Belshazzar and what happened when God judged that empire. God did not wait around to accomplish his aim. The hand wrote on the wall and hours later it was fulfilled (Dan 5:30).

Israel was rebuked by Christ Jesus for not knowing the hour of her visitation.

For the days shall come upon thee,
when thine enemies shall cast up
a bank about thee, and compass thee round,
and keep thee in on every side,
and shall dash thee to the ground,
and thy children within thee;
and they shall not leave in thee
one stone upon another;

because thou knewest
not the time of thy visitation.

(Luk 19:43-44 ASV)

Christ was right there among them, the Messiah they had waited for and yet they despised him, hated him and eventually murdered him. They also had John the Baptist who proclaimed the coming of the Lord, beheaded. Let us keep in mind that what Christ was saying about Jerusalem, deeply moved him, he was not happy about this at all as he wept over the city and its spiritual state (Luke 19:41), The hour of visitation is nothing that we should yearn for or be happy about. But we should be aware in woeful anticipation that one day, if there is no repentance and the sins continue, it will arrive.

When? That is always the question people ask. It will happen when God commands it, not when we think it should happen. Our job as saints is to make sure that we are accounted like those above whom the Lord spared and marked out for protection in that day. How did Peter put it?

Beloved, I beseech you
as sojourners and pilgrims,
to abstain from fleshly lusts,
which war against the soul;
 having your behavior seemly among the Gentiles;
that, wherein they speak against you as evil-doers,
they may by your good works,
which they behold, glorify God
in the day of visitation.

(1Pe 2:11-12 ASV)

Now we don't know for sure what visitation Peter is referring to, but I think it has a general meaning. Any kind of divine visitation where God checks up on and 'weighs' the actions of the sons of men, individuals, the Church, nations or the world in general.

We as Christians should always be ready for any kind of divine visitation, personal, collective or national.

But when is the visitation for America coming? I do not know. The Lord has not shared that information with me, but I do think he is still very much in the 'get them to repent' mode of dealing with the nation and world. God is not done yet with America. The problem as I see it is that America, much of it is done with God. By that I mean truly honoring and obeying him and doing those things that please him. In some quarters there seems to be an open defiance of him and his ways.

Yet God is not blind to much of the good that is still here in the Nation. Despite all of our sins and evils, Americans are still some of the most charitable people on earth. God see's both the good and the bad in every one of us.

Many of you can't wait to get this over and move into the Kingdom of heaven. Some of you are a bit impatient for God to deal with the world and its sins. I say this to each of you who feel this way - wait, chill out and don't get ahead of God. All things will happen at their appointed time. God's time, not ours. He has an overall plan for the last days and America's fate and day of destiny will be determined by God, not our impatience. God has his own plan and his own reasons for doing things the way he does them. It's not my way and it's not your way. It's his way and we must never forget that God is sovereign.

Yea, since the day was I am he;
and there is none that can deliver out of my hand:
I will work, and who can hinder it?
(Isa 43:13 ASV)


This is God's affair and this is God's justice, not yours or mine. We too must each stand before him and give account, as all the sons of men must do. We must learn to fully submit to God's eternal wisdom and love of righteousness and justice. God has a plan of which we humans only play a part in. Remember there is another aspect to this whole end-time drama. There are the angels; those who remained loyal and those who turned on the Lord that also must be factored in. There are probably other aspects to this that we simply have no way of being privy to. Don't think God has explained everything to us. I can assure you he has not. We only, as Paul phrased it, see through a mirror darkly and only to the degree God allows.

But for the world? Those who know not God? Those who defied and mocked him and those whom he sent?

And what will ye do in the day of visitation,
and in the desolation which shall come from far?
to whom will ye flee for help?
and where will ye leave your glory?
They shall only bow down under the prisoners,
and shall fall under the slain.
For all this his anger
is not turned away,
but his hand
is stretched out still.
(Isa 10:3-4 ASV)


The day of visitation is a day of horror and anguish. So let us be aware of the lateness of the hour and not be caught unawares as many probably will be.

Moreover, let us not sit on pins and needles waiting for the end time drama to play itself out to the end. We should keep busy with whatever God has for us to do. As I said the other day, God does not like idleness. We have all heard the saying about the devil finding work for idle hands.

So let us do as we are commanded 'occupy' till the Lord comes, live our lives in quiet humility, living a life righteous and holy; full of honor and truth. The day of visitation will come and when it does, most of us will wish we had not been around to witness it, so many troubles that day will bring.

And Jehovah, the God of their fathers,
sent to them by his messengers,
rising up early and sending,
because he had compassion on his people,
and on his dwelling-place: but they mocked
the messengers of God, and despised his words,
and scoffed at his prophets, until the wrath of Jehovah
arose against his people,
till there was no remedy.
(2Ch 36:15-16 ASV)


But let we who serve our God always remember this aspect of God's character. God is a no non-sense God and he has a no non-sense attitude about unrepentant sin and evil - individually or collectively.

Loving though he is, he simply will not abide evil.


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18 Mar


Job Part XXXVIII

 Then Job answered and said, How long will ye vex my soul,
And break me in pieces with words?
These ten times have ye reproached me:
Ye are not ashamed that ye deal hardly with me.
And be it indeed that I have erred,
Mine error remaineth with myself.
(Job 19:1-4 ASV)

Picture this scene and put yourself in Job's situation. You are sitting on a pile of ashes, scrapping your skin with a potsherd, sick about to die, in terrible pain and look like something out of a horror flick and your so-called friends are not helping you, but are rubbing salt into your wounds. Every word of false accusation had to sting him terribly, hence the use of the phrase 'break me in pieces' with their words. What they said was very hurtful to Job and as we will find out at the end, made the Lord quite upset as well.

Job remarks that this whole time they reproached him for bad behavior they neither witnessed nor had any real evidence for. Job had opened up his soul in deep distress and for the most part, he got back thinly veiled contempt and spiritual arrogance from his so-called friends. Verse four shows us that Job's attitude is hardly as self-righteous as his accusers make it out, he acknowledges that he may have erred and made mistakes. Who has not? All men of God err and make mistakes. Not a single one is perfect, save Christ. We are all miserable sinners and while these miserable comforters are busy hurling their veiled accusations at Job, what kind of sins are they hiding? Job here makes it clear that he will keep his own sins to himself. Clearly Job had lost a lot of respect for these 'comforters'.

If indeed ye will magnify yourselves against me,
And plead against me my reproach;
Know now that God hath subverted me in my cause,
 And hath compassed me with his net.
(Job 19:5-6 ASV)

With their words, they were setting themselves up as judges and raising themselves above their station with their haughty accusations. 

This is why we must be careful not to judge others. This is what Bildad, Zophar and Eliphaz were doing, it was wrong and most hurtful. When we look at others and their sins, trials and tribulations we must remember this - that God see's all and we see only partially and only on the surface. It's easy to pass judgment on others when we don't have all the facts and Job's comforters were woefully devoid of the facts - the real reason Job was undergoing a trial.

In their ignorance they displayed a coldness and arrogance that would soon require Job's direct intercession in order to keep them from being sternly rebuked in hot anger by the Lord. Lesson - don't judge others, no matter how much you may think you can see the whole picture, appearances can often be most deceiving. DON'T JUDGE OTHERS!! It's easy to do, but it is forbidden... unless you want to be judged by the same unwise standards and misinformation you judge others with (Matt 7:1ff).

In verse six Job recognizes that God is in his affliction, though he incorrectly blames God for it. Yes, God allowed it, but Job's real enemy was not revealed to him, at least not so as we can tell with any certainty in this book. What is clear is that Job understood God's sovereignty, understood that he was for the most part innocent of any great crime that deserved his fate, but he did not understand the spiritual battle that was being waged over him. He says that God has subverted his cause.

 Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard:
I cry for help, but there is no justice.
He hath walled up my way that I cannot pass,
And hath set darkness in my paths.
He hath stripped me of my glory,
And taken the crown from my head.
He hath broken me down on every side,
and I am gone; And my hope hath he plucked up like a tree.
He hath also kindled his wrath against me,
And he counteth me unto him as one of his adversaries.
His troops come on together,
And cast up their way against me,
And encamp round about my tent.
He hath put my brethren far from me,
And mine acquaintance are
wholly estranged from me.
My kinsfolk have failed,
And my familiar friends
have forgotten me.
(Job 19:7-14 ASV)

Here Job describes in vivid and poetical detail the kinds of sorrow that God (in his mind) had burdened him with. He was once rich and well respected (glory) and now he has been humbled. In every imaginable way, he has been troubled and attacked. This is exactly how the devil was going to try Job and within the latitude of the trial that God allowed. The only thing the devil could not take, was Job's life. So Satan took everything he was allowed to.

Job goes on to note that his hope is also gone. Job's use of the phrase 'I am gone' probably means he is close to death and on his way out of this world. The metaphor of the tree is probably meant to signify what happens when one is cut down by the roots.

Job attributes this to God's wrath (vs 11) and how he thinks God now looks upon him, as a foe. He see's God directing an army against him to destroy him (vs 12).

Job then considers how his family and friends have forsaken him. This probably was one of the more painful things he had to face. But this is one thing a serious trial will do, it will show you who your friends are and where the false ones are. People who you thought would stand by you and treat you right you find out have turned on you like a rattlesnake turns and strikes an unsuspecting traveler... for no good reason.

So the next time you go through a serious trial - a series of serious setbacks or other problems in your life, remember this - mark who stands by you and who does not. Mark it carefully, not in vengeance or bitterness, but for future reference and when you need a friend you can count on and trust.

You may want to take a few moments and do a search on some quotations on fake friends. Some of the quotations I found are very good. Take a few moments and see how others, the wise, the interesting as well as the rich and famous view false friends.


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16 Mar

Religion Watch

Where Much Of the Church Got It Wrong.

What was Christ's mission? This, I think is a fundamental question for the Church in our times. 

Well, what it was not was to help the elite make a new world order, it was not to save the planet from greenhouse gases, or build a better war machine to fight some 'evil empire'. His mission was to save souls from the power of sin and the devil and from the eternal fire (prepared for the devil and his fallen host of angels) that awaits those who refuse to turn from the evil of their ways, and choose to follow in the devil's footsteps. The Church's mission is to preach and live the everlasting gospel so that men would not fall under judgment and the wrath of our God to whom every soul; every man woman and child, rich or poor, black or white will give full account on judgment day. This was Christ's purpose, so that men may know God (John 17:3), who he is and what he is really all about and to redirect men from the path of evil and sin, to righteousness and justice, in Christ Jesus.

I think this where the Church got it wrong and continues to get it wrong today. It tries to be popular and worldly when we are called out of this world and its wicked ways. This is where I think so much of the Church has lost touch with God. Much of it I think, has ceased to be of any use to him for the purposes he empowered it. I am not going to pick on any particular denomination. It's the whole western system of 'Church' that in my view, has failed God and his purpose for the Church in more ways than one.

I think ultimately for many in Church leadership, it's a question of faith. Do they really believe and have faith - active faith in God or are they stuck in a rut and can't get out because the pay is too good? Are they really Christ's? For some, they have paved a road with excellent intentions, but it leads nowhere but to the lake of fire, unless it is built on the firm foundation of Christ Jesus and him crucified and risen from the dead.

But what I see is a very subtle and powerful move by the devil to get control of all organized religion. I think what is happening to many church's around the world is just part of the picture. The powerful men in our world; the billionaires, the power-brokers who live behind the scenes who wield tremendous influence around the world need to 'co-opt' religion for any plan for a new order or any global reorganization to succeed.

What about Persecution? What about the persecution of the Jehovah's Witnesses (JW's) all over the world. The USCIRF has done a report on this recently. Here is part of what they said.

Overview of Global Persecution

Jehovah’s Witnesses have been banned in several countries, and individual Witnesses imprisoned for alleged “extremism” or their conscientious objection to military service. The majority of these countries belonged to the former Soviet Union (FSU), with the notable exceptions of Eritrea, Singapore, and South Korea. In April 2017, for example, the Russian government banned Jehovah’s Witnesses as an “extremist organization,” placing them in a similar category as terrorist groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and Al-Qaeda.

Russia was not the only country in the FSU to explicitly or implicitly target this community, or even the first to do so. In fact, in July 2007, Tajikistan placed Jehovah’s Witnesses’ publications on its list of prohibited literature, one year before it banned the community entirely as an “extremist organization.” In Turkmenistan, although not technically banned, Jehovah’s Witnesses have not been granted registration and are therefore unable to operate legally, and the government has arrested and imprisoned many Witnesses for their conscientious objection to military service. The situation in Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan is somewhat better; in these countries, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been able to legally register and operate, albeit only in select cities. Yet authorities and societies in these countries still tend to view the community with suspicion—as “non-traditional,” foreign, or even a threat—and Witnesses still experience legal and social persecution. - (USCIRF) Issue Update: The Global Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses
There is also a piece out of Human Rights Watch, which can be easily found. Is this is a sign of things to come. The answer is - I think so, particularly in certain parts of the world.

Think SCO, a subject I have spend some time on here. SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) is often ignored, but it is a very important regional alliance. One key goal of the SCO is to fight what they call the three evils. Those 'evils' are terrorism, separatism and religious extremism. In some places, people whose religion are not or cannot be registered with the state are, for all intents and purposes, labeled as 'extremists'. This is kind of what many of the problems in Xinjiang are all about. So yes, it's about all non-state sponsored versus state sponsored/approved religions. In Russia, the JW's are banned as an 'extremist' organization. Note how this falls right in line with the SCO and their three evils?

I think it is all part of a stratagem, get control of religions - put as many religious leaders in service to or in 'debt' to the state or on their payroll and then when the time is right, use certain religious leaders to root out and deal with those who are 'not approved' by the state.

You can read a lot about persecution in this part of the world by heading over to Forum18. They have some very informative stories.
(begin excerpt from Form18) The authorities carried out at least 86 house searches – usually involving armed officials - between late October and mid-December 2020 across 16 regions of Russia. Raids, investigations, and criminal prosecutions continue against Jehovah's Witnesses and Muslims suspected of carrying on the activities of banned "extremist" organisations, with some raids including torture.

The most recent known raids on Jehovah's Witness homes were in Tambov Region in late December 2020, and in the Udmurt Republic on 21 January 2021. Three Muslims who met with others to study Islam with the writings of Said Nursi are known to be under criminal investigation in Tatarstan and Dagestan.

Eight Jehovah's Witnesses and one Muslim Nursi reader are serving labour camp terms as "extremists".

Many other Jehovah's Witnesses are currently serving suspended sentences. Three have been convicted since the start of 2021. Receiving a suspended sentence means a convicted person must live under restrictions specified by the judge, regularly register with probation authorities, and avoid conviction for any other offence during the probationary period or risk being sent to prison. - RUSSIA: "The policy of expelling 'extremists and terrorists'" by Forum18
It's not just Russia. Kazakhstan as well has troubles along these lines. They too are members of SCO.

My point here is this. The some of the world's governments and elite feel they need to manage and control religion. This is not just about Christianity, it's about all religions that they view as a potential threat, and to authoritarian  governments, anything they do not fully control or can destroy at will is viewed as a potential threat. They can't control these people and if they start to meet secretly they will have a hard time destroying them. The answer to me looks like what we see today.

Let us all remember that satan is the Prince of this world and he has nothing... absolutely nothing in Christ (John 14:30; 16:30). It is he that runs the kingdoms of this world, east and west, left and right, north and south.

We as genuine Christians have a hard job ahead of us and some difficulties. We must be prepared for them.

This country (the US) with all of its myriad of problems and issues, still believes in and pushes for religious liberty. Let us pray continually that this never changes.

FYI - for those who will ask or wonder - no, I am not a Jehovah's Witness. I merely believe that all men should be able to worship, witness and and assemble themselves regardless of their faith in peace; Muslim, Protestant, Buddhist, Catholic and Native religions without any persecution, surveillance, harassment or undue administrative and legal burdens designed to prevent non-violent religious activities.

Just know this, those of you who may not be sympathetic to the plight of the JW's or others religious groups, if they can outlaw, harass or otherwise criminalize someone else's religion, one day they can come and do the same thing to your religion.

Keep your eye on the SCO and for those of you who don't know much about it, there are several articles that can be found as well as a map that shows you who is a member. Wikipedia's piece is good, though a bit long and detailed. I think it's one of those really big geopolitical changes that is hiding in plain sight, though many people have probably never heard of it before.

The world is changing and the Church had better open its eyes and stay awake in these troubling and difficult times.

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9 Mar

Job Part XXXVII


Then answered Bildad the Shuhite,
and said, How long will ye hunt for words?
Consider, and afterwards we will speak.
Wherefore are we counted as beasts,
And are become unclean in your sight?
Thou that tearest thyself in thine anger,
Shall the earth be forsaken for thee?
Or shall the rock be removed out of its place?
(Job 18:1-4 ASV)

Bildad shoots back his response to Job's speech. But this time, he is even more scathing than before. First he attacks Job because he is long winded. He has talked and talked and Bildad here seems to imply he waited patiently for Job to end in order to issue his retort. He seems to imply that Job was just rambling and that his words were not well considered. He chides Job for accounting his comforters as being mere animals, without intelligence and in his rage, having lost respect for them. This may have been a reference to Job's words in 12:7. The phrase, tearest thyself in thine anger is one that seems to imply that Bildad was accusing Job of acting like a madman and Bildad was making it clear that the world did not revolve around Job and that he was being self-centered as he vented his sorrow and anger, and seemingly railing at everyone. In short he is asking if (in his view) the whole spiritual and moral order of the world should be overturned to suit Job. Bildad's words are scathing... but he is not finished yet.

Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out,
And the spark of his fire shall not shine.
The light shall be dark in his tent,
And his lamp above him shall be put out.
The steps of his strength shall be straitened,
 And his own counsel shall cast him down.
For he is cast into a net by his own feet,
And he walketh upon the toils.
A gin shall take him by the heel,
And a snare shall lay hold on him.
A noose is hid for him in the ground,
And a trap for him in the way.
Terrors shall make him afraid on every side,
And shall chase him at his heels.
His strength shall be hunger-bitten,
And calamity shall be ready at his side.
The members of his body shall be devoured,
Yea, the first-born of death shall devour his members.
He shall be rooted out of his tent where he trusteth;
 And he shall be brought to the king of terrors.
There shall dwell in his tent that which is none of his:
Brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation.
His roots shall be dried up beneath,
And above shall his branch be cut off.
His remembrance shall perish from the earth,
And he shall have no name in the street.
He shall be driven from light into darkness,
And chased out of the world.
He shall have neither son
nor son's son among his people,
Nor any remaining where he sojourned.
They that come after shall be astonished at his day,
As they that went before were affrighted.
Surely such are the dwellings of the unrighteous,
And this is the place of him that knoweth not God.
(Job 18:5-21 ASV)


Bildad here begins to use symbols from hunting and laying traps to describe the fate of the wicked. This whole passage does not contain any new information on the simplistic theology of these comforters but gives us an insight into their thinking and their anger at Job. But it does show a kind of progress of the fate of the wicked and its stages, which are outlined in stages in the Cambridge Bible Commentary for Schools and Churches for these verses. 
Thus summarizes the theology of Bildad with regards to the wicked, of whom his words are not so cleverly disguised to point at Job.

Bildad's words are nothing new. Again, it's basically the same theology that he and his friends were propounding with Job since the beginning of the discourse which in essence says - your fate looks too much like that of the wicked for us to ignore it, you must have some gross and secret sin that God is now punishing you for...confess and repent!
We will continue our look at Job next week, God willing!

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