A question that came to mind as I sat contemplating – Is the world living on borrowed time?  The influx of Muslims into the West and Europe in particular has drawn out a variety of comments and suggestions.  Some see this move as a potential Islamic invasion seeking world domination.  Some suggest it will lead to the collapse of Islam as Muslims convert to Christianity.  Others shuffle about in the middle and suggest it could go either way.  There appears to be no clear consensus of opinion.  Most certainly the movement of Muslims has changed the world, even if we are not quite sure how.

Deception is the name of the game and nothing is what it appears to be.  If a man dresses up as a woman, we are told that this is normal behaviour.  If two men or two women enter into a sexual relationship, we are told this is normal behaviour, and we can be imprisoned for suggesting otherwise.  We are told that evolution is a scientific fact, and we are told that global warming/climate change is scientifically proven to be, not only accurate, but is man’s fault.  But, we can save the planet, that is, according to President Obama.  The reporting on climate change has similarities to the media’s dealings with the State of Israel, and the propaganda is spread as though it were fact.  Scientists that disagree with these conclusions can lose their funding and perhaps their jobs too.  This is deception on a world-wide scale.  Climate change is a world-wide problem requiring the world to unite to defeat it.  Implementing the proposals will eventually bring poverty to millions.  It will devour and erase the middle classes so that there are the elite, super-rich, and the poor.  Taxes that will be introduced to battle this grave threat will increase poverty and will hit each, and everyone.  I imagine the oppression we will face will be like the Israelites in Egypt, gathering your own straw to make your own quota of bricks for the ruler.

Terrorism is another world-wide problem requiring the world to unite to defeat it.  We have entered an era in world history where there are certain religious adherents that believe they are serving God, but fail to respect human life created in the image of God.  In Christ’s parable of the “Wheat and the Tares,” He prohibits any kind of “religious jihad” (Matt. 13: 30), yet that is what is happening as ISIS murders its way around the nations.

We have already noted that a religious multi-faith movement has been around for some years, and guess what?  Religious syncretism demands world-wide loyalty if we are to have peace in our time.  Now we are moving into really dangerous territory, because God said “You shall have no other gods before Me.”  He said, “I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images.” (Isaiah 42:8)

It appears we can no longer trust our political leaders to tell us the truth about anything.  They tell us that there are no Muslim strongholds in Britain and Europe; they deny the existence of no-go areas; districts that even our police cannot enter without Muslim permission.  Yet even the casual observer can see that Islam is on the ascendency and the motive appears to be Muslim expansionism; that is, to take over the structures of a nation until they gain full control and rule the nation/nations with Islamic law, sharia law.  If we cannot rely upon our political leaders to speak the truth, what hope is there?  We have a problem that Houston cannot solve for us.  Leaders in the West are hand-tied by Human Rights and Political Correctness; even those that want to speak out (if there are any) are afraid to do so for fear of being labelled with suffering from one phobia or another.  We may not like conspiracy theories, but when we read in Scripture that the kings of the earth conspire against God and His anointed, I think it is safe to believe that they would and do conspire against the Lord’s people also (Psalm 2:1-2; Psalm 37:12).  This is already taking place by slowly and steadily introducing new laws that legalise behaviour that was once taboo.  Psychological warfare is another weapon in the armoury as people are slowly being brain-washed into a new way of thinking and perceiving reality, the reality of deception affecting behaviours and loyalties.  They will use their weapon of evolution to rid the world of those that oppose them; those that are “less than human,” just as the megalomaniacs of the 20th century did – they thought nothing of exterminating the Jews in Germany, or the Slavs in the Soviet Union, or the Armenians at the hands of the Turks.

Our hope is in the Lord

The only hope this nation has is God, and it is for the Church to show them the way.  How will that happen when much of the Church itself is caught up in these deceptions?  As the Church stands, we are not standing in the gap.  We are hardly in any condition to give a lead to the nation let alone the world.

Although Britain has not been invaded by a foreign army with guns and bombs, I would suggest that we have suffered an invasion and incursion of a religious and ideological kind.  This does not mean that violence will not follow; indeed, we have already experienced a taste of what is probably to come.  The Church has also opened the doors to this incursion and we have our own foreign gods and ideologies. Some folk will remember the multi-faith worship and gatherings in the Cathedrals around Britain in the 80’s and 90’s.  The Church has never cleaned out the idols, and the contamination has led to more error in doctrine and in living.  In some instances, Scripture has taken second place to PC and human rights, and we translate the Word of God by those influences rather than by the Spirit of God.  We have rejected God’s revelation and have substituted it with man’s wisdom.  If the Church is blind and seeks to lead a blind nation, both will fall into a pit (Matthew 15:14).  The urgent call of today is to return to the Lord while He may be found (Isaiah 55:7).

Let’s take a peek into the past to see if there are lessons for the future.

“Even while these people were worshipping the Lord they were serving their idols.  To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their fathers did” (2 Kings 17:41).  Their problem was that time and again they simply would not listen, and they would not turn from their evil ways.

King Ahaz reigned in Jerusalem for sixteen years.  Politely put, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord (2 Kings 16:2).  It is terrible to read, but he even consigned his son to the fire, in the abhorrent fashion of the nations (v3).  The footnote says, “Or, even made his son pass through…,” because the regular words for sacrifice are not used here.  It could mean that he had his son undergo a fire ritual of some kind; perhaps a ritual singeing.  And Pekah, king of Israel, in 2 Kings 15:27ff did evil in the eyes of the Lord.  “He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit.”  So it didn’t matter which church you went to, Judah or Israel; they were both doing evil in the eyes of the Lord, and would not turn from their wicked ways.  They were all up to no good.  We can’t go into it all here, but please follow up by reading the accounts in Scripture and getting the full picture.  The kingdom was divided into Israel and Judah.  The people were separated from one another, and from the Lord.  Today, the Church, though not the whole Church, are divided from Israel; Christians are divided from one another over Israel and other matters too; and some are separated from God because they worship Him from their own understanding, and not according to the revelation He has given in His Word and by His Spirit.  They worshipped God but they worshipped idols too; setting up Asherah poles and idols.  It is grotesque reading, but it is what is happening in some areas of Christendom today; and it is leading to disaster.

We are only touching on the situation and I encourage readers to go to the Scriptures, particularly those in 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles and Isaiah for a full understanding.  God sent His prophets to try to turn the people back to Himself and avert disaster.  He sent in the lions; and finally came exile.  If we fast-forward ahead to the 21st Century AD and consider the disasters, atrocities and murders that have occurred in the US, Africa, Europe, the UK and so on that have happened over these past few years, they have not affected a major turning to the Lord.  In the UK there was the London bombing and there was the demonic murder of Lee Rigby.  What happens?  We legalise homosexuality.  We demonise Christians.  We are in the process of criminalising Biblical Christianity.  We continue to murder the unborn.  We deny the Creator God.  We promote interfaith religion.  The coronation of Charles is likely to be an interfaith event.  Will Charles become like the evil kings we have been considering that worshipped God and worshipped idols?  We (Britain) are in the process of capitulating to the god of Islam.  We (Britain) continue in our rebellion against the Lord God, and as a result we are being handed over to a merciless enemy.  God’s protection is being withdrawn.

King Hezekiah

Scriptural accounts of Hezekiah’s reign are found in 2 Kings 18:1-20; 21; 2 Chronicles 29:1-32:33; Isaiah 36-39.

Hez-ǝ-kaī´ǝ. In Hebrew, ḥizqîyâ, ḥizqîyāhȗ – ‘Yahweh strengthens’.  In Greek: Hezekias.   The form Jehezekiah, Hebrew “Yeḥizkiyahu,” (“the Lord is strong”) is the standard form in Chronicles, while Kings prefers the shorter form Hezekiah, Hebrew “Ḥizkiyahu” (“the Lord is my strength”)

There are differences between Kings’ treatment of Hezekiah and that of Chronicles.  The major differences are that Kings concentrates on Hezekiah’s military and geopolitical engagements, particularly with Assyria.  Chronicles concentrates on Hezekiah’s religious achievements, providing a viewpoint that Chronicles sought to portray Hezekiah as a second Solomon, or possibly, a combination of David and Solomon.  Most fundamentally, Hezekiah symbolises the reunification of all Israel around the Jerusalem Temple, as in the days of David and Solomon.  The high esteem in which Hezekiah was held is reflected in the rabbinic statement that, despite some failings, he had been worthy to be Israel’s messiah.

Hezekiah’s clean-up action

Hezekiah was by no means perfect, but he was the opposite of his father, Ahaz.  There wasn’t a king of Judah, among either his predecessors or his successors that could be compared to him (2 Kings 18:5).  In his religious reforms, Hezekiah asserted Judah’s inherited Hebrew traditions and practices against imported cults of the Assyrian gods.  He worked to achieve both political and religious independence for Judah.

Hezekiah’s first act was to repair the Temple, which had been closed during the reign of Ahaz.  He reorganized the services of the priests and Levites.  He purged the Temple and its vessels, and opened it with imposing sacrifices (2 Chronicles 29:3-36).  He went to the high places and removed the temples which had been tolerated even by the pious kings among his predecessors.  He re-established the Temple as the sole place for the cult of YHWH.  Hezekiah’s destruction of the religious relic, the brazen serpent which Moses had made in the wilderness, and which had since been worshiped, was an even more conspicuous act (2 Kings 18:4).  One can imagine the astonishment, and perhaps horror on the faces of some as Hezekiah made this bold move to cleanse and destroy all that had been used in idolatry, even the brazen serpent.

Hezekiah reigned at a time when the Assyrian empire was consolidating its control of Palestine and Syria. His father had placed Judah under Assyrian suzerainty in 735 BC. Hezekiah may have taken part in a rebellion against King Sargon II of Assyria (reigned 721–705 BC), which was something of a catastrophe, as the Assyrians apparently crushed this uprising in the year 710.  At the accession of Sennacherib (705–681 BC), further rebellions broke out all over the Assyrian empire.  Once again, Hezekiah may have been the leader of the rebellion in Palestine, which included the city-states of Ascalon and Ekron and gained the support of Egypt.  In preparing for what appeared to be the inevitable Assyrian campaign to retake Palestine, Hezekiah strengthened the defences of his capital, Jerusalem.  Hezekiah was responsible for the famous Siloam tunnel (2 Kings 20:20) which was dug out in his time (2 Chronicles 32:30).  When it was completed it brought the water of the Gihon springs to a reservoir inside the city wall.

We in Britain and Europe have an enemy within that means to destroy all those that do not capitulate to their god.  It is a different situation to that of Hezekiah, but if we reform our ways and put our trust in God, perhaps He will move and destroy the enemy, rather than they destroy us.  It is already obvious that we will not be able to rely on government or outside help for protection when persecution increases in the unpredictable times.

The account from the arrival of Sennacherib’s army before Jerusalem under Rabshakeh till its destruction is identical in 2 Kings, Isaiah, and 2 Chronicles. Rabshakeh summoned Hezekiah to surrender.  He poured scorn on his hope of help from Egypt, and he endeavoured to inspire the people with distrust of Hezekiah's reliance on providential aid. But Sennacherib, having heard that Tirhakah, King of Ethiopia, had marched against him, took to his heels and withdrew his army from Jerusalem, but sent an “I shall return!” message.  He was still his will and plan to take Jerusalem, and sent messages to Hezekiah informing him that his departure was only temporary and that he was sure of ultimately conquering Jerusalem.  Hezekiah took the letters he had received from Sennacherib and he spread them open before God, and prayed for the deliverance of Jerusalem.

God heard and answered Hezekiah’s prayer for healing and for deliverance

“Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. … I will add fifteen years to your life.  And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria.  I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.”’  (2 Kings 20:5–6)

Isaiah prophesied that Sennacherib would not come against Jerusalem again; and it came to pass that the whole army of the Assyrians was destroyed in one night by “the angel of the Lord” (2 Kings 18:17-19; Isaiah 36-37; 2 Chronicles 32:9-22).  God prevented the Assyrian from taking Jerusalem.  Will he, as some teach, allow an Assyrian to take Jerusalem in the future?  Those same teachers suggest that the Anti-Christ will be an Assyrian.  Are they right in their interpretation?

King Hezekiah’s seal found

What perfect timing it was of the archaeologists that discovered the seal of King Hezekiah this month just as the Jews were celebrating Hanukkah, known also as the Festival of Lights, with the emphasis on the Hasmonean or Maccabees’ restoration of the Temple.  The first Hanukkah on the 25th of Kislev in 164 BC heralded freedom from Greek rule, the purification of Jerusalem from pagan influence, and the restoration of God's House — the Temple in Jerusalem.  Hezekiah was involved in restoring the people back to true worship of their God.  He removed all the idols from the land and restored Temple worship.  It was a true restoration.  This fabulous find is the first time that a seal impression of an Israelite or Judean king has ever been uncovered in a scientific archaeological excavation.  It is perhaps an exceptional challenge to both Jews and Christians today to be like Hezekiah in getting rid of the idols in our lives; for each individual to not bow down to idols; but to do only that which is pleasing to the Lord.

At the centre of the discovered artefact is a sun which bears two wings that point downward and are bracketed by two ankhs — an ancient symbol of a cross with a handle that represents life.  This special addition of the symbol of life may support the assumption that the change on the king’s personal seal was made after Hezekiah had recovered from the life-threatening illness of leprosy, when the life symbol became especially significant for him.  Perhaps in the timing of this find the Lord is giving a message to us.  Is He giving us fifteen more years?  That would take us to 2030.  If He is, what is He asking us to do in that time?  Perhaps that is the time we have left before the enemy takes control, if we refuse to turn to the Lord.

Our symbol of life out of death is the cross.  We do not worship the cross, but we worship Him that offered Himself up as a sacrifice for us all.  Messiah Yeshua is our Light and our Life.  In Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).  Without Him we are nothing; and apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5).

“Seek the Lord while He can be found.  Call upon Him while He is near.  Let the wicked give up his ways, the sinful man his plans; let him turn back to the Lord, and He will forgive him” (Isaiah 55:7).

Blessings and shalom,

Malcolm

(16.12.2015)

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