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COUNTDOWN I TO
DESTRUCTION BY DECEIT

Events and
Thoughts of
God's People of
Israel leading to
the downfall of
Judah and
Jerusalem
         Countdown One to Destruction by Deceit

Just when we think the United States is not exactly like Judah and
Jerusalem before their destruction by God and through their own deceit,
suddenly in the news we read of deceit in Bell California on the part of the
city government and of deceit in a mega church in Atlanta, Georgia on the
part of the Pastor. What the two events of unrighteousness have in
common is deceit, and what naturally leads to deceit is greed; and the
cover-ups for many years in the past have been to keep the public from
knowing the truth.
Since we know from the Bible that when the Holy Spirit is withdrawn from
earth (II Thessalonians 2:7) shortly before the Second Coming of Christ
and well into the Falling Away, that there has to be a peak in sin, evil, and
lawlessness as this withdrawal releases Satan from bondage; and since
we know that the outstanding characteristics of this Falling Away period of
church history is (1) sin and lawlessness will abound, and (2) the love of
many will wax cold, according to Jesus; then periodically when we read of
events like in Bell, California and Atlanta Georgia {in Atlanta sort of a
repeat of the Ted Haggard affair as the former head of the National
Evangelistic Association was exposed for similar sexual deceit}, we
naturally consider this a peak that signifies Satan has been released to do
without constraints his dirty, evil work. However we think of other peak
times in the not too distant past like the Ted Haggard affair.
In our continued efforts to understand what in the world God’s people of
Judah and Jeremiah were thinking which led to the destruction of
Jerusalem in 597 B.C. God’s people of this time and of the little nation of
Judah, like the northern kingdom of Israel before them, made so many
bad decisions, politically, religiously, internationally with Egypt and
Babylon in spite of warnings from God through the Prophet Jeremiah,
socially and with business dealings with the people in the land, that we
strain what an adequate answer to “what were they thinking?”
Of course, naturally we have been comparing God’s people of the United
States to God’s people of Judah for any lessons that we might learn on
how “Righteousness exalts a nation, and sin is a rep orach to any people”
(Proverbs 14:34). The very reason that God through thousands of years
has given the Bible to His people is in order that we might learn by
example, national example and individual example. {It is unfortunate how
with a recent and intense series of calamities from God since 9/11 we as
a total nation of God’s people have been forced to pay for the
unrighteousness of groups like the gay righters, the deceivers like in the
city of Bell California and the Pastor of a mega church in Atlanta,
Georgia, the greedy, and the cover ups in big business, government, and
churches.}
With the good job the national news is doing on spot notices of the
goodness of character of Americans, and gracious spirits, we are
surprised to learn that greed, deceit and cover up like the church at
Atalanta and in the city of Bell where city workers scalped fellow citizens,
may be more the norm in this nation than the exception. {Even here in
New Mexico a federal agency has declared the state of New Mexico as
among the most corrupt, and we are suddenly very disappointed to hear
the ads on TV becoming very viscous about corruption.} Maybe we are
not the good Americans and citizens we thought we were; and perhaps
like in Judah before the destruction of Jerusalem, we while carrying on in a
life style very acceptable to ourselves, have forgotten the righteous
standards that God long ago laid down for a nation that He is going to
bless. Have we come to the point in America where it can be said of us
like God in His own words given to Jeremiah, said of Judah:

“Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them,
everyone is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even to the
priest, everyone deals falsely {with deceit}. They have also healed
the hurt of My people slightly {they are there for funerals, births, and
forgiveness of sins}, saying, ‘Peace, peace and prosperity, at least in
2 years}!’ When there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 6:13,14)

NOTE: Perhaps also like God’s people in Jeremiah, we in the United
States have stuck our head in the sand, like them placing confidence in the
number and beauty of our churches, homes, government buildings and
fortifications {remember how in Temple worship at the NATIONAL “DEN
OF THIEVES”, God’s people of Judah would daily sing the praise song of
“The Temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the Temple of the
Lord are these” (Jeremiah 7:11), while ignoring both the prophetic
predictions of inevitable destruction without revival and repentance and
their own unrighteous ways}. We are right to be concerned about our
economy, health care, and unemployment; but should be not be far more
concerned about what God thinks of our nation, the Falling Away, and the
cure for this intense series of calamities since 9/11.

25-1: The Exile of God’s People was a Process.

Jerusalem was not just suddenly destroyed. In fact during the period that
Judah was a vassal to Babylon, after King Nebuchadnezzar replaced king
Jehoiakim with Zedekiah {also called Jehoichin}, they refused to listen to
God’s instructions through Jeremiah to serve Nebuchadnezzar faithfully.
(Jeremiah 27:12) {Never forget that Daniel was a satrap-ruler in Babylon
under Nebuchadnezzar, and that God calls that king of Babylon “His
servant”. (Jeremiah 27:6)}
1. From 734-722 B.C. the Assyrians made repeated attacks on the 10
tribe of the northern kingdom of Israel, taking several companies of
citizens back home; of course, among them were Ezekiel.
2. Samaria, the capital of Israel, fell to Assyria in 722, the citizens being
transported into the country of the Medes. {Ezekiel was no doubt among
these.}
3. The people of God of the divided kingdom, before the fall of Samaria,
that lived east of the Jordan River and in Galilee had already been taken
captive by Tiglath-pileser.
4. The Babylonians in 605 took Daniel and other of the most gifted
citizens of Judah captive to Babylon.
5. King Jehoichin and many other citizens of Jerusalem and Judah were
taken captive to Babylon in 598 B.C.
6. In 587 B.C. Jerusalem was captured and the temple destroyed by the
Chaldeans {you can read in Daniel of how the Babylonian kingdom
passed from the Babylonians to the Mede-Persians}, king Zedekiah
(Jehoichin) and most of the people remaining in Judah were carried
captive.
7. Even after the almost complete destruction of Jerusalem, some
scattered citizens {much like Iraqi today} remained in the surrounding
regions; and quite a group of princes and citizens went down to two cities
in Egypt, taking Jeremiah captive with them. {The kings of Babylon, no
doubt due to the influence of God on Nebuchadnezzar and because of the
rulership of Daniel, had assured the care of Jeremiah. Of course the
immigrants to Egypt even more made at Jeremiah, especially as he
predicted their own destruction by calamities if they did not discontinues
worship of the Queen of Heaven.}

25-2: The Drift Toward Deceit and Destruction.

Judah started the drift toward deterioration and destruction: (1) religiously
with the passing away of the spiritual leadership of the Prophets Isaiah
{also a historian at the king’s court writing much of Kings and Chronicles}
and Micah, and the king in government of Hezekiah; (2) the earlier
Assyrian invasion of the country-side {God did not allow them to take
Jerusalem} under King Sennacherib, which impoverished the country and
took away some of their best citizens.
1. The reign of King Hezekiah in Judah.
Hezekiah reigned 29 years in Jerusalem (II Chronicles 29:1),

“And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all
that his father {forefather} David had done.” (II Chronicles 29:2)

(1). Hezekiah cleansed the temple (II Chronicles 29:3-19), for the first time
in years reopening and repairing the doors of the Temple, gathered the
priests and Levites, admonish them to “sanctify the house of the LORD
God of your fathers”, telling them to also get the “rubbish” out of this holy
place.
(2). Hezekiah restores Temple Worship (II Chronicles 29:20-36).
2. In the opinion of Sampey it was the reign of Manasseh, the son of
Hezekiah with his wickedness that “really decided the fate of Judah”. After
him and his reign, even the good king Josiah and the Prophet Jeremiah
could not turn matters around. {Basically God’s people of Judah just
turned their back on God, and would not listen to Him anymore.} Can you
imagine the power and influence a President would have on this nation if
he lived and reigned 55 years as head of the government. (II Chronicles
33:1)
Yes, politics were involved and with Manasseh being only 12 years old
when he started his reign, the “heathen party” took control of the nation.
{There is no attempt now to say whether they were the equivalent of the
Republican party, the Democratic Party, or the Tea Party; however in the
next few years as there is a showdown between the American Democratic
Faith and Bible faith priority, surely in the gay rights issue you will see
which one is closer.}

“But he did evil in the sight of the LORD {perhaps this is our problem
in America than we have considered too many other criterion other
than “the sight of the LORD”}, according to the abominations of the
nations whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel
{obviously it was not just the detrimental influence of the Egyptians
that came out of bondage with them, and who lead them to worship
the golden calf, like in Egypt, in the wilderness at the very time Moses
was on Mount Sinai receiving the 10 commandments and the new
covenant}. For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father
had broken down; he raised up altars for the Baals, and made
wooden images; and he worshiped all the host of heaven and served
them.” (II Chronicles 33:2-3)

Further King Manasseh: (1) built altars to these same false gods in the
very temple, “house”, of the LORD God; (2) likewise altars to all the host
of heaven {recall the infamous Queen of Heaven as an example} in the 2
outer courts; (3) burned some of his many sons with fire in the Valley of
the Son of Hinnom; (4) also practiced soothsaying, witchcraft, sorcery,
and consulted mediums and spirits; (5) with a life style of much evil, he
provoked God to anger; and (6) set an idol carved image that he made in
the house of God.

“So Manasseh seduced Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do
more evil than the nations whom the LORD had destroyed before the
children of Israel.” (II Chronicles 33:9)

25-3: Ears are going to Tingle with evil from God.

55 years of this and deceit and destruction were almost inevitable.

“And Jehovah spake by His servants the prophets, saying, Because
Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations {recall how
prominent were the “abominations” of the people of temple worship
of Jeremiah’s Temple Sermon}, and hath done wickedly above all
that the Amorites did, that were before him, and hath made Judah
also to sin with his idols; therefore thus saith Jehovah, the God of
Israel, Behold, I bring such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that
whosoever heareth of it, both is ears shall tingle” (II Kings 21:10-15).

25-4: Josiah, last good King of Israel.

Now we get into the time of the ministry of the Prophet Jeremiah. You
might even label this historical period of Jeremiah as THE LAST DAYS
OF JUDAH AND JERUSALEM. It was during the reigns of Josiah,
Jehoiakim, and Zedekiah right up to “the carrying away of Jerusalem
captive in the fifth month”. (Jeremiah 1:1-3)
1. Taking over as a boy of 8 {Manasseh before him and King Amon did
not have to yield to the control of the heathen party, Josiah didn't}, and at
age 9 {generally what most consider as the age of spiritual accountability}
starting seeking after God.
2. Josiah broke down the image of Baal and Astarte {another name for
the Queen of Heaven, of course one of the “hosts of heaven”).
3. Josiah repaired the broken down temple in 623 B.C.
4. Josiah read the book of the law {the Pentateuch from Moses or the first
5 books of the Bible}, which the high priest had found tucked away in the
repaired temple; and you know times are bad in the land when there is a
55 year period in which the Word of God is hidden from the people. No
wonder they forgot the covenant, blesses with obedience and curses and
calamities with unrighteousness.

NOTE: cures or blessings, it has always worked this way in the
manner with which God deals with His own people since the original
giving of the Law. And it is exactly the way it will happen for Canada
and the United States today in spite of our intellectual sophistication
and education! And our beginnings like in the wilderness can not
save us if we continue to duplicate the follies of God’s original
people, as we become more wicked than the generations before us.
The sad part is that we go down together as a nation, righteous and
unrighteous!

(1). Josiah rent his garments in fear and grief that the curses of the law
{opposite of the blessings of keeping the covenant of God} might come
upon Judah and Jerusalem during his reign. (II Kings 22:1-13).
(2). Josiah assembled the people of the nation for a Revival with the
reading of the Law publicly and solicited a response from the people to
keep the covenant {blessings and curses based on obedience} of this Law.
(3). Josiah conducted a campaign to destroy in Jerusalem and all of
Judah, the idol images, the pillars, and the wooden images of Astarte.

NOTE: It was a revival and reformation externally; however God’s people
were not in it, sort of like the revival meetings of Billy Graham and Franklin
Graham; and they could not wait for a more wicked king like Jehoichin, the
second king during Jeremiah’s ministry.

25-5: Other Prophets were active Besides Jeremiah.

You know the saying “when it is dark, men see the stars”. Well in spite of
Josiah, it was dark in the people’s hearts and getting darker.
1. The Prophet Nahum.
God always according to the history of the Bible reciprocates on the
nation later that He used to chastise His own people; and the prime theme
of the book of Nahum {by the way this long historical period from Isaiah
through almost all of the 16 writing Prophets, major and minor, is often
called the “Golden Age of Prophesy; and you recall how God said often
as in Jeremiah that “I rose up early and stayed up late sending the
prophets to reprimand you”, deals with the destruction of Nineveh, the
capital of Assyria. Nahum reveals a side to God that is often denied in
America in favor of a “Santa Claus” like image of God that always blesses
and never curses.

“Jehovah is a jealous God {jealous in that no country is excuse for
not worshipping and honor the one God of this Universe even if they
change his name to Allah} and avengeth {the time of the Muslims is
coming when they bring a large army against Jerusalem and the
camp of the saints, God intervening and avenging then with fire from
heaven}; Jehovah avengeth and is full of wrath {God through the
Bible wants you to know this aspect of His character in the face of
persistent and continuous rebellions}; Jehovah taketh vengeance of
His adversaries {God is always at work among nations as with
individuals, and punishment for unrighteousness will come in a few
years, at death, or at the end of earth time when Christ comes again},
and He reserveth wrath for His enemies.” (Nahum 1:2)

NOTE: If this is not the God you know, or want to believe, you had better
get on the ball. This is the God of the Bible, the LORD God of the
Universe, and the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen, amen, and
Amen. The only Real God, the same God of the Bible, is ruling, reigning,
directing nations and affairs. He is very patient and long suffering with
unrighteousness, but His wrath is inevitable! God does not have the same
extreme of tolerance for all gods and all religions that we have developed
in this nation as part of the American Democratic Faith!

2. The Prophet Zephaniah.
While Nahum, no doubt prophesied during the reign of Josiah or sooner--
obviously the period before the fall of the Assyrian kingdom as the Medes
and Babylonians came against them in 606 {Nahum prophesied about 24
years earlier in 630 B.C.}--Zephaniah prophesied during the reign of the
good king Josiah. Historical speculation is that Zephaniah may have
assisted in the national reforms under King Josiah. In spite of what many
think, “Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God” did not start with Jonathan
Edwards, that is in the sense of “a day of Jehovah’s wrath”, nor with the
New Testament or with evangelists. The Day of Jehovah, most often
called the Day of the LORD and Lord in earlier books of the Bible and in
the New Testament, was something from Isaiah and Jeremiah that God
early wanted people to know about in the nature of “the Bible is a gradual
revelation of God and the thoughts of God coming to a historical climax in
Christ”. Like in Nahum, Zephaniah preached {prophesied} early for all the
“meek” and “righteous” might know of an inevitable single One Day of the
anger and just retribution of the anger of God.

“Seek ye Jehovah, all ye meek of the earth {please note that in this
early stages of the Bible, there is seeking and message for all of the
earth}, that have kept His ordinances; seek righteousness, seek
meekness; it may be that ye will be hid in the day of Jehovah's
anger”. (Zephaniah 2:3)

3. The Prophet Habakkuk during the Reign of Jehoiakim, the son of
Josiah.
(1). Habakkuk cries to Jehovah because in Judah the law of God is
ignored and injustice triumphs.
“For plundering and violence are before me; there is strife, and contention
arises. Therefore the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth. For
the wicked surround the righteous; therefore perverse judgment
proceeds.” (Habakkuk 1:3b-4)
(2). God replies that He has raised up the Chaldeans as a “scourge” to all
nations (Hab 1:5-11).
(3).  Why does God allow a nation as wicked as the Chaldeans to triumph
over His own people? Habakkuk has the thought that God will protect His
people from complete annihilation. (Hab 1:12-17)
NOTE: It is historical interesting that God was at work in Assyria with His
Prophet Ezekiel, in Babylon and the later Persian kingdom with His
Prophet Daniel, also a ruling satrap; and of course with the kings like
Nebuchadnezzar to humble them and work out His plan for His surviving
people. God needed His people to bring forth His own Son later in
Palestine, and to continue to be in the words of Romans “custodians of
the oracles of God”.
(4). Also God gives Habakkuk a revelation of many historical soon-to-
come curses on the proud, cruel Babylon, stressing with the famous quote
of Romans a separation between the righteous and the wicked, “The just
shall live by faith” (Hab 2:4).

25-6: Jeremiah in the Seventh Century BC like Isaiah in the Eighth
Century.

There are reasons besides Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel are
considered Major Prophets because of the size of their books, that they
are considered MAJORS while prophets like the 12 minor Prophets are
considered MINOR. One reason is because this was indeed the “Golden
Age of Prophesy”, that Prophets prophesy and predict during such dark
times, and there were no darker times in the history of the nation of Israel
than during the period of Jeremiah when the climax was reached on the
“Deceit and Destruction of Judah and Jerusalem”. {May we as a nation
heed and avoid a duplication of the lessons of Jeremiah and of this
countdown to the destruction of Jerusalem?}
1. Jeremiah was called to be a Prophet in the 13th year of the reign of
Josiah, or 628 B.C.

NOTE: Since Jeremiah prophesied under the three kings of Josiah
{revival and reformation in the land}, Jehoiakim {wickedness and
political and international turmoil}, and Zedekiah, we would expect as
we proceed through the study of the many chapters of Jeremiah that
both the conditions of the nation and the thoughts of the people
would be somewhat different. However, never forget that in the
opinions of scholars like Sampey, Judah and Jerusalem never
survived that wicked 55 years reign under Manasseh, the father of
Josiah.

2. The will and call by God of Jeremiah, unfortunately for him, was
primarily to destroy false hope. Jeremiah protested that he was too
young, at first declining the call of God. God encouraged him with the
status of the Prophet to build up and destroy nations through Him. In
Jeremiah 1:9,10 as a destroyer of false hopes there were: (1) two works
that are positive and constructive, to build nations and kingdoms and to
plant nations and kingdoms; and (2) four destructive or negative words, to
pluck up, break down, destroy, and overthrow.

NOTE: How many of our church people today, would consider as a
Prophet of God a Prophet that had 4 negative prophesies as compared
to 2 positives. Well, don’t be discouraged, the people of Judah and
Jerusalem did not listen to Jeremiah also, trying often to kill him, kicking
him out of the Temple, and more often putting him in prison. And God
warned Jeremiah that the people would not listen!

25-7: Early Words from Jeremiah on the condition of the nation of
Judah.

1. Religious Apostasy and Moral Degeneracy in Judah {No doubt
primarily under Jehoiakim.}
(1). While the heathen nations around them were sticking to their own
gods, Israel {Judah, Jerusalem, and the northern kingdom of Israel} were
exchanging the living God for idols that could not hold water. (Jeremiah 2:
11)
(2). God’s people will eventually come to see their own wickedness and
backsliding. {Remember that backsliding is not in the Bible, which should
be our source in churches, is not away from church attendance, but
backsliding what active in the church or temple from God, Christ, and the
Bible--obviously today’s characteristics of the Falling Away as churches
go through the five stages of II Timothy 4:4,5 of the falling Away: (a)
intolerance for sound doctrine, (b) purpose driven by “wants”; (c) heaping
up of Bible teachers and preachers of “itching ears”; (d) turning away from
the truth; and (e) turned by God into fables.

“Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backsliding shall
reprove thee.” (Jeremiah 2:19)

(3). Superficial reformation like in the reforms of Josiah and the revivals
of Billy Graham are not enough.
“For though thou wash thee with lye, and take thee soap, yet thine iniquity
is marked before me, saith the Lord Jehovah” (Jeremiah 2:22)
(4). During this early ministry of Jeremiah, in the first chapters, it was bad
in Judah that every single city or village had it’s own god. (Jeremiah 2:28)
Alias, there were very spiritual and religious while forsaking the fountain of
living waters. And yes, never forget that we are taking about God’s own
“called” people here, obviously not “chosen”.
NOTE: At least each city had a GROUP-God, less than the individualism
of today where each person has his own god in that it is a image of the
real god, an image created in his own mind, a “God that is too small” in
the words of J.B. Phillips, a God for example that never in time
administers justice and anger. A person recently replied to the monthly
newsletter that attempted to go right down the line against gay support as
recorded in Romans 1, that it was “mythology”. My, what a shock is to be
the fate of this man on the Day of Jehovah, the One Day of the LORD
and Lord, will He comes face to face with justice.
(5). God’s indictment of the reformation and revival under King Josiah
was that there “hearts were not in it”, in worship, service, and
righteousness they were faking it!

“And yet for all this her treacherous sister {comparing Judah to
Israel, and how God had allowed, even directed the destruction of
the first place of worship at Shiloh in Israel} Judah hath not returned
unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith Jehovah”.
(Jeremiah 3:10)

(6). Like in America today with the intense series of calamities since 911,
there were preliminary and milder forms of calamites and warnings before
the destruction of Jerusalem. Invaders would come from the north
(Jeremiah 4:19) God’s people of Judah flee to the thickets and crags, yet
they are overtaken by the invaders.
(7). This was before in chapter 7 and the temple sermon that God told
Jeremiah to no longer pray for this nation of God’s people: Jehovah,
reminded us of the earlier Bible story of Sodom and Gomorrah, offers a
pardon is a single “just and faithful resident” can be found in Jerusalem
(Jeremiah 5:1)

NOTE: We shudder to think that this could also be so in many of our
larger cities today where just one just and faithful to the God of the Bible
can not be found. However we are so overcome with the god of our mind,
and city, and our own American thoughts of what is right and wrong,
righteous and unrighteous, tolerant and intolerant, that we would never
allow these possibilities of history and the Bible to squeeze a ray of light
and truth through our dominant and group concepts of the American
Democratic Faith. “After all, we have our own opinions of what is right and
we are sticking with them to the end; and furthermore the majority agrees
with us”.

Okay, what is the thinking of the God of the Bible. We see it reflected here
in early recorded history as the original people of God slowly fell into
deceit and destruction! Do you wish to repeat history for this nation of
God’s people?
(8). God and Jeremiah in Jeremiah 5:30 marveled at the state of the
affairs in the nation of God’s people.

“A wonderful and horrible thing is come to pass in the land: the
prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means;
and my people love to have it so: and what will you do in the end
thereof.” (Jeremiah 5:30,31)