Josiah’s Prophets

The fruit of a righteous king was prophets and young people who stood for God at a time when not standing for Him would have been comfortable.  Female, male, young, old, with hateful country men, or with pagan kings these voices for God carried a common theme and spoke of things in the future.  They stayed true and spoke when it was not easy.

  • Huldah is the wife of the wardrobe keeper (Temple garments for the priest). That would make them both Levites.  She was sought out after Josiah was read the Law and he realized just how much his father and grandfather had sinned.  Her word in 2 Chronicles 34: 22 – 28 is good for Josiah, but God has no intention of letting up on Judah.  She tells of the destruction to come, the theme found in all of these prophets of God.
  • Jeremiah to me is special. He endured four evil kings, his own family doing him harm, the people rejecting his words from God, seeing the prophesies fulfilled, and finally to die in Egypt where he did not want to be.  As a young man God gave him a huge task, to test His people (6: 27 – 30).  Parts of Jeremiah are out of order, but I would think that his work during Josiah’s reign are from chapter 1 to 9/10.
  • Zephaniah – Chapter 1:1 clearly states the time of his ministry; 3:18 may indicate that he was serving before and during the eighteenth year of Josiah (it refers to “sorrows for the feast”). He may have influenced both Jeremiah and Ezekiel, but the Lord definitely spoke the same words through him that He spoke through Jeremiah and Ezekiel.
  • Ezekiel is best known for the visions he received about the new Temple and the new Jerusalem. Chapter 1:1 gives his age and verse two timestamps him starting his ministry in Jehoiachin’s fifth year of exile.  His location is north of the city of Babylon by the Kebar River/Canal.
  • Daniel started his role of prophet in Babylon during the reign of Jehoiakim, but he would have been influenced by Josiah and the feast during the thirteen years the Passover was observed. Being a royal he may have also known Jeremiah, and had that influence as well. It could be possible that he met Ezekiel, but it is doubtful. Daniel’s locations are south of the one for Ezekiel.  Babylon, Susa, Ulai Canal, and the Tigris River are some of the locations mentioned in the Book of Daniel; it is noteworthy that two of his visions came when he was beside a river.  This custom survived into Paul’s time as seen in Acts 16: 13 when he found Lydia in Philippi.
  • Uriah (Jeremiah 26: 20 – 23) Actually, he is mentioned with King Jehoiakim but let’s put the start of his ministry during the time of Josiah. (The reasoning here is time, Jehoiakim was king for eleven years, so he should have been older than that!) He prophesied against Jerusalem, and was hunted down and killed by Jehoiakim. This passage does give a look at Jehoiakim and some of his poor conduct.
  • There are several false prophets listed in Jeremiah, but like Uriah we don’t know when they started. They are mentioned in the time period of Zedekiah. Both Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Zephaniah have sections about false prophets: Jeremiah 23: 33, Ezekiel 13, Zephaniah 3: 4.

The Chronological Bible puts Habakkuk during Josiah’s reign.  That is as good as any place but he could have been with Isaiah and Micah.

Fruit and Nuts – Grapes + Recabites

Grapes, raisins, vines/branches, and wine

When it comes to symbolism what better icon is there than the grape plant for representing the Church of Jesus?  Jesus used it in parables, it is part of our communion and it is referred to throughout Scriptures. Now as with most symbols you can attach several meanings to grapes and its vines; I am going to look at a few and let God reveal others to you.

  1. Part of Communion – The wine is to represent the Blood of Jesus. * Sorry, I did not say grape juice! I do go to a church that uses grape juice but ancient Israel would have had to ferment it in order to keep it. Several churches I know use grape juice so as to not have weaker Christians stumble and I am good with that!* But wine is a “living drink” having come from many individual grapes all put together and joined by yeast (it does not have to symbolize sin) to become something new. Yeast in Luke 13:21 is used as a picture of the Kingdom of God.
  2. Jesus refers to Himself, as the Vine and we, the Church, are the branches. John 15:5
  3. Nazirites – People separated to God for a season could not eat or drink any part of the grape plant while under the vow. (Look in Numbers 6 and remember that Samson was a Nazirite and so was John the Baptist, probably.) Interesting type and shadow, that people in the Old Testament who choose to get close to God had to give up grapes, a symbol for the church.
  4. Medicine – In 1 Timothy 5:23 Paul urges Timothy to use a little wine because of his stomach; the alcohol can kill germs.
  5. The vine in Judges 9: 12+13 – refuses to rule over other plants so that it can do its job. I did not find any reference to a “vine” that was not grape.
  6. Misuse of wine – I guess the one that stands out is Noah getting drunk after the Flood. Proverbs 20: 1- “Wine is a mocker” (NIV) speaks for its self or Proverbs 23:29-35, “When will I awake so I can get another drink.”
  7. Raisins – They are grapes with most of the water (Holy Spirit) taken out of them but they still can revive a weak individual. Ex. 1 Samuel 30:12

However, you view wine drinking is between you and Jesus but the grape plant and its fruit are and always will be part of Church symbolism.

The picture of the grapevine is from http://free-extras.com/images/growing_grapes-5434.htm

Recabites (NIV) or Rechabites (KJV)

First, my apology to anyone who is not familiar with American slang; the word “nut” can carry several meanings and for this blog, it is someone who is crazy (at least according to worldly standards).

The main story of the Recab family is found in Jeremiah 35. Here the prophet Jeremiah is instructed by God to have all of the men of the family come to the Temple and serve them wine. No pressure right, THE MAN of God invites you to church and expects you to join in “the boys night out” he is throwing. They refuse and state that they don’t drink because of a long-standing family tradition. (Drinking alcohol is not the point but it could be; I know it is a very volatile topic. I don’t drink because it is one thing that God delivered me from when I got saved. I have found out through the years that it is not me who is uncomfortable with not drinking but the drinkers around me.) They also state another family tradition of not owning houses or planting fields. Now all of this combined for some people would qualify them as “NUTS”, no “American Dream” of your own house; then to top all of that off they tell the man of God, NO.

So who were these Recabites who would say no when put into such a pressure situation? According to 1 Chronicles 2:55 they are one of the family groups that came from Caleb, the faithful spy in the Exodus story. Now there are several “Recabs” in the Bible and not all of them are from Caleb and when you read verse 55 you may recognize Kenites and again there are several groups with this name that do not seem to be related. But more specifically they may have come from the Jehonadab who sided with Jehu in 2 Kings 10 (it makes you wonder if they are part of the 7000 in 1 Kings 19) to get rid of Ahab and the prophets of Baal. So taking a stand and following God was a long time family tradition for the Recabites.  And in Jeremiah 35:19 God honors them because they honored the instructions of their ancestors. With a promise to always have a family member who serves God!

The picture of the Recabites is from http://lavistachurchofchrist.org/Pictures/StandardBibleStoryReadersBook5/images/scan0017.jpg

The Number Thirteen in the Bible

Numerology is part of studying the Bible; there are certain numbers that have been assigned certain meanings.  Three, seven, six, twelve, eight and forty are just a few numbers that most Christians will be able to give you as having an important significance in the Bible. Three is a “God” number for the three persons of the Trinity.  Seven represents completeness from the seven days of the week. Six is the number of man this comes from the fact that we were made on the sixth day and the number 666 from the Book of Revelation.  Twelve represents government as shown by the twelve disciples and the number of the tribes of Israel (the sons of Jacob). Forty is the number testing or trail as shown in the years spent by Israel in the wilderness and the length of days Jesus was tested after He received the Holy Spirit. Eight is the number of new beginnings given that the eight day of Creation started a new week.  The number fourteen is also an interesting study if you would like to see mine you may click this address https://ificouldteachthebible.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/the-number-fourteen-in-the-bible/  A study of the number fifteen is available at Cleaning Up to Celebrate.

Unfortunately, people and Christians in particular start to focus on the number instead of the God of the numbers. So we get people with triskaidekaphobia which is the fear of the number thirteen. Beliefs about this number are varied and separating fact from fiction is about impossible. Some early ideas on this number and its “significance” to bring bad luck are hinged on the assumption that there were only 13 people at the Last Supper and that Jesus died on a Friday the 13th. (World Book Encyclopedia)

I would like to offer a different look at the number 13 from a Biblical perspective. I already know that this does not fit into most numerological frameworks but I will ask you to follow through my reasons and then you make up your mind.  I will show that a possible meaning for the number thirteen is the signal for the “start of or the beginning of something new.”  I am not trying to mix this with the number eight in any way.

These are a few of the instances that there is thirteen of something and each of these represent the “start of a new thing.”

1. In Genesis 17:25 Ishmael is circumcised at the age of thirteen which is when God made the promise to Abraham; this contrast with Isaac being circumcised at eight days old.

2. 1 Kings 7:1 Solomon took 13 years to complete his palace.

3. Genesis 14: 4 Sodom rebelled after 13 years of servitude to Chedorlaomer king of Elam (Babylon) and Abraham rescued Lot.  This brought on Melchizedek’s blessing and Abraham’s covenant with God.

4. Esther 3: 12 Haman had orders written on the 13 day of the first month about the 13 day of last month to kill all Jews.  They have to defend themselves and so put an end to the threats of Haman the Agagite an Amalekite and a new time of freedom for the Jews.

5. Jeremiah starts his ministry in the 13th year of Josiah (Jeremiah 1:2).  Josiah had started purifying the land in his 12th year of being a king.  Jeremiah may have been 13 years old when his ministry started.  The term for his age shows a child up to the age of becoming a young man.

6. Joseph was 17 years old when he was taken as a slave. He was 30 when Pharaoh put him in charge of Egypt (13 years). Genesis 37:2 to 41:46.

7. The Children of Israel went around Jericho 13 times before they yelled and the walls fell down.

There are many more “13’s” in the Bible but I hope you get my point about it showing a “new start.”

My personal feeling about thirteen/Friday the 13 and other lucky things is summed up in this: It is bad luck to be superstitious!  ← (This is another post in my blog.)

So I look at it this way.

 Number 13

graphic by Ryan Johanningmeier

http://about.me/ryanjo

 

WHAT TYPE OF METAL ARE YOU? Part 1

Metals have always been important to man and all of them are of use and value.  We have even given humans metal characteristics: good as gold, dirty copper, you sunk like lead.  In the Old Testament of the Bible God told Jeremiah, that he was to be a tester of metals and that the Israelites were the ore that Jeremiah was to observe and test. With God having given Jeremiah this command, I wondered what lessons there were to be learned. (Jeremiah 6:27)

In the Bible Israel is described as being a “land flowing with milk and honey” but it only had copper and iron as naturally occurring metals.  Lead, tin, silver, and gold all had to be imported by dealing with foreign nations. So let us look at the six metals (In the Bible six represents the number of man.) that were used in Israel during Bible times and see if we can observe something about people and how we behave.

Lead, then as now, was used to make fishing weights, solder, and it was something to be inscribed into.  Lead may have been imported in pure form into Israel; if it was an impurity in another metal, such as lead in silver, the refining process required great heat and air so that it could burned out or separated from the other metal.

In people, lead symbolizes the things from outside of us that keep us held down in the spirit and in the natural.  Worrying, fighting, and just dealing with these “imported” things can “solder” us together and give shape to our lives.  Only the heat and wind of the Holy Spirit will refine the lead out of our lives.  An example of “lead” was the grumbling aliens that followed Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land.  The aliens kept complaining and caused Israel to stumble.  Another example of “lead” would be if you have ever been told by someone that you are useless and no good and you have believed what was said about you instead of believing what God says about you.