Standing Upon Godly Shoulders – part 7

Last time we examined some of the Old Testament prophets, whom God inspired with the Holy Spirit, so that they could speak for Him to His children in Judah and Israel. Their tasks included issuing a warning that conquest and enslavement awaited those who would not desist from their rebellious ways against Jehovah God. In addition, as they were to bring the continuing message of hope for eventual salvation through the coming Messiah. In other words, the prophets were trying to recruit God’s children for citizenship in the city of God…

Let’s finish with the final prophets:

“…on Mount Zion [in Jerusalem] there shall be [deliverance for] those who escape, and it shall be holy [no pagan will defile it]; and the house of Jacob shall possess their [former] possessions.

The deliverers shall go up to Mount Zion to rule and judge the mountain of Esau, and the kingdom and the kingship shall be the LORD’s.’ Ob. 1;17 & 21. AMP

Thus, the prophet Obadiah brings the hope (God’s guarantee) that the holy city of Jerusalem shall be restored, along with God’s children that return to Him; and all their enemies (Esau), shall be brought under the rule of God.

The prophet Habakkuk was a contemporary of Obadiah:

Then the LORD said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. The vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.” Hab. 2:2, 3. ESV

Keeping the flame of hope burning bright.

The prophet Jeremiah was also a contemporary of Habakkuk, bringing hope first to those in Judah that were being carried off to a Babylonian exile, and simultaneously carrying a message of hope for all of us:

“Behold (listen closely), the days are coming,” says the LORD, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as King and act wisely and will do [those things that accomplish] justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called; ‘The LORD Our Righteousness.’ Jer. 23:5, 6. AMP

“Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel (the Northern Kingdom) and with the house of Judah (the Southern Kingdom)…” Jer. 31:31 AMP

The new covenant is God’s salvation through Jesus Christ, the King, the very image and character of God Himself – reigning in the city of God.

Finally, let us consider the prophets God sent at the end of the Israelites’ captivity – beginning with Daniel:

“I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, on the clouds of heaven One like the Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him (the Messiah) was given dominion (supreme authority), glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and speakers of every language should serve and worship Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.” Dan. 7:13, 14. AMP

Here we see the ruling scepter given from the Father to the Son, bequeathing upon Jesus an eternal kingdom – the promise of love, joy and peace forever.

Ezekiel was a contemporary of Daniel, in the Babylonian captivity as well, also set forth by God to keep the torch of hope alive:

“Then I will appoint over them one shepherd and he will feed them, [a ruler like] My servant David; he will feed them and be their shepherd.” Ezek. 34:23 AMP

I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel, and one king will rule over all of them. They will no longer be two nations and will no longer be divided into two kingdoms…I will save them from all their apostasies by which they sinned, and I will cleanse them. Then they will be my people, and I will be their God. Ezek. 37:22, 23. CSB

Unification, sins removed, with God and His shepherd among us…

During the resettling of the surviving Judean exiles, the prophet Zechariah describes the coming of Christ as King in His celebratory entrance into Jerusalem (500 years before it happened), as well as the ultimate state of His global kingship:

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey…He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.” Zech. 9:9, 10. NKJV

The final prophet we hear from is Malachi, (the last Holy Spirit-inspired writer of the Old Testament), who prophesied in approximately 450 B.C., in Judah – again to the re-settlers:

“For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles…for My name shall be great among the nations…” Mal. 1:11 NKJV

“Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will prepare and clear the way before Me. And the Lord [the Messiah], whom you seek, will suddenly come into His temple; the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts. Mal. 3:1 AMP

God will unite all the nations in the city of God, reigning with His Son.

…a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who fear the LORD [with an attitude of reverence and respect] and who esteem His name. “They will be Mine,” say the LORD of hosts, “on that day when I publicly recognize them and openly declare them to be My own possession [that is, My very special treasure]. And I will have compassion on them and spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” Mal. 3:16, 17. AMP

God has set aside for Himself, the book of Life. All those written in there, (those who love God and obey Him to the best of their ability), will step into eternity, living with the Father and the Son in the city of God…

You see then, for over a thousand years, God has been bringing a slew of godly shoulders for you to stand upon, to gather strength, faith and hope.

The world had to wait for another 400 years, but God made good on every promise. Jesus Christ lived among us. He delivered the gospel; and He empowered (through the Holy Spirit) all of His apostles to expound upon it those things which He did not have time to explain in His three short years of ministry. And the earth was changed forever, as was all of our destinies – dependent upon where our faith lies.

And let us not forget all those in ministry who have borne the light of the gospel throughout the centuries after Christ ascended to heaven. They too shouldered us, left us a legacy of hope. Now it is time for us to lend our shoulders to everyone we meet, that they might be lifted up into the city of God as well.

Up until Jesus returns, the city of the earth and the city of God’s destinies have been intertwined:

…the mortal course of the two cities, the heavenly and the earthly, which are mingled from the beginning down to the end. Of these, the earthly one has made herself of whom she would, either from any other quarter or even from among men, false gods whom she might serve by sacrifice; but she which is heavenly and is a pilgrim on the earth does not make false gods, but is herself made by the true God of whom she herself must be the true sacrifice.

Yet both alike either enjoy temporal good things, or are afflicted with temporal evils, but with diverse faith, diverse hope, and diverse love, until they must be separated by the last judgment, and each must receive her own end, of which there is no end. – St. Augustine

Then, they will differ in a big way – next time…

Goodnight and God bless.

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Standing Upon Godly Shoulders – part 6

King David’s allotted time on the city of the earthborn was passed. He now lives in the city of God. Before his death, he handed his kingdom over to his son, Solomon.

There are only 2 psalms attributed to Solomon in the book of the same name. One is messianic:

In His days the righteous shall flourish, and the abundance of peace, until the moon is no more. He shall have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth…all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him…His name shall endure forever; His name shall continue as long as the sun. And men shall be blessed in Him… Ps. 72:7 & 11. NKJV

Always, our champions from the city of God are laying out Jehovah’s hope for salvation, so as to attract as many as possible to the kingdom of heaven.

Unfortunately, like his father, King Solomon also fell into sin, whereby his many wives led him away from God. In addition, Solomon also let his extreme wealth corrupt him. (1 Kin. 11:1 – 13).

God told him that his punishment would be levied against his son, upon Solomon’s death, whereby the country of Israel would become bitterly divided.

Yet before Solomon died, he again realized that God was indeed the source of all joy, happiness, peace and sustenance; and he returned to be in right-standing with Him. (See book of Ecclesiastes).

After Solomon’s demise, Israel split into ‘Israel’ in the north, and ‘Judah’ in the south. Eventually, both countries would fall into a sin-infected morass. All of Israel’s kings were wicked, as was most of Judah’s. As a result of these rebellions against God, Israel was given up to total conquest and slavery to the Assyrians; and not long after, Judah was given up to the Babylonians.

Yet God, in His limitless love, sent sixteen prophets to them, to try to turn them back to His ways. Indeed, St. Augustine adroitly describes the common message – both for HIs children with regards to the application for their present time, and its relevance for what’s at stake for their future:

…by going forward in the living God, by the steps of faith, which works by love, we must flee out of the city of this world, which is altogether a society of ungodly angels and men. Yes, the greater we see the power of the demons to be in these depths, so much the more tenaciously must we cleave to the Mediator through whom we ascend from these lowest to the highest places.

…demons can accomplish nothing by their natural power…except what He may permit, whose judgments are often hidden, but never unrighteous. …demons…do not create real substances, but only change the appearances of things created by the true God so as to make them seem to be what they are not. 

That is, we must live in God’s ways, by faith, claiming the city of God from His grace, and cleave unto Christ as He brings us out of the illusions of the puppet master behind the city of the earth.

God loves us so much, that He never leaves anything to chance. As was mentioned above, God sent prophets, both while Israel and Judah were wallowing in sinful rebellion and while they were in captivity – a period of over 400 years, to try to save His children. We can see God’s love and care in His words to them as He continues to proffer His message of hope:

“Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And it shall come to pass where it was said to them, You are not My people,’ there it shall be said to them, ‘You are sons of the living God.’ Hos. 1:10 NKJV

Here then, the prophet Hosea is recalling / reminding / validating the Abrahamic covenant to the people of Israel about the global propagation of the seed of Abraham, their trials due to their rebellion, and then their ultimate restoration – when God gathers all His children from around the globe to be one people in the city of God.

Afterward the sons of Israel will return [in deep repentance] and seek the LORD their God and seek [from the line of] David their king [the King of kings – the Messiah]; and they will come trembling to the LORD and to His goodness and blessing in the last days. Hos. 3:5 AMP

Ultimately, everyone will come to Jesus.

“Come and let us return [in repentance] to the LORD, for He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up that we may live before Him.” Hos. 6:1, 2. AMP

God must let us suffer some the consequences of our free-will actions / thoughts of sin. Yet, all He wants for us, is to come before Him and get in right relationship again. See too the parallel between the third day and the resurrection of our Savior.

“In that day I shall raise up and restore the fallen tabernacle (booth) of David, and wall up its breaches [in the city walls]; I will also raise up and restore its ruins and rebuild it as it was in the days of old, that they may possess the remnant of Edom (ancient enemies) and all the nations that are called by My name.” Amos 9:11, 12. AMP

Amos was a contemporary prophet in Israel to Hosea. We see here the promised restoration of the city of God, which includes the children of God throughout the world – gathered to HIs throne.

Jonah too, was a contemporary of Hosea. In his case, it was not so much what he said, as it was his story of being captured 3 days ‘under the earth’ in the belly of the great fish and being delivered, that is another parallel to Christ’s death and resurrection.

Unfortunately, the people of Israel turned a deaf ear to all of these prophets, and were summarily punished by the Assyrian conquest and exile…

Before those 3 prophets began their prophecies, the prophet Joel preached to the country of Judah:

“It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” Joel 2:28 NASB

This began at Pentecost, at the gathering of the first church – ushering in the modern church age, equipping the children of God to go forth and gather souls for the kingdom.

Just after Jonah’s time, the prophet Micah began prophesying in Judah:

In the last days, the mountain of the LORD’s house will be the highest of all – the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship.

People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways and we will walk in his paths”…They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore. Mic. 4:1 – 3. NLT

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity”…And He will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD His God. And they will remain, because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth. Mic. 5:2 & 4. NASB

700 years before Christ is incarnated, we are given these blessing of hope – of a unified heaven on earth with our blessed Savior at the helm, as well as telling us of Jesus’ very birthplace for His coming!

The prophet Isaiah was a contemporary of Micah. His Holy Spirit-inspired prophetic revelations are uncannily accurate:

Indeed, My Servant (the Messiah) will act wisely and prosper; He will be raised and lifted up and greatly exalted…So He will sprinkle many nations [with His blood, providing salvation], Kings will shut their mouths because of Him; for what they had not been told they will see, and what they had not heard they will understand. Is. 52:13 & 15. AMP

For He [the servant of God] grew up before Him like a tender shoot (plant), and like a root out of dry ground; He has no stately form or majestic splendor that we would look at Him…He was despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and pain and acquainted with grief…But [in fact] He has borne our griefs, and He has carried our sorrows and pains…wounded for our transgressions, He was crushed for our wickedness [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing]…and by His stripes (wounds) we are healed. Is. 53:2 – 5. AMP

All of us like sheep have god astray, we have turned, each one, to his own way; but the LORD has caused the wickedness of us all [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing] to fall on Him [instead of us].

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth [to complain or defend Himself]; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter…He was cut off from the land of the living [by His death] for the transgression of My people…He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth. Yet the LORD was willing to crush Him, causing Him to suffer; if He would give Himself as a guilt offering [an atonement for sin]…As a result of the anguish of His soul, He shall see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge [of what He has accomplished] the Righteous One, My Servant, shall justify the many [making them righteous – upright before God, in right standing with Him], for He shall her [the responsibility for] their sins. Is. 53:7 – 11. AMP

I have to stop now before this post becomes a novella. It’s just that God’s plan is so awe-inspiring, the depths of the love of He and His Son so unfathomable, and the hope so grand, it makes you want to get on your knees and thank and bless Jehovah God and Jesus Christ for what they have laid before us – this remarkable, incredible sacrifice of love, so that we might take residence in the city of God…

Goodnight and God bless.