SERVANTS' MINISTRY, Inc.
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A Judgment From God
Ezra 5:12 But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven unto wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon. (KJV)
Israel was and still IS God’s chosen people (Ex.19:5; Deut.7:6; 14:2; Ps.17:8; 33:12; 105:6,43; 135:4; Isa.41:8; 44:1; Zec.2:8). As long as they kept close to God, all was well with them - - - but when she revolted and turned away from Him, God was provoked to wrath. We in today’s world should heed this warning! His special care and protection is always upon His TRUE children for good. This should keep us close to Him, and encourage us even when difficulties discourage us. One thing I have learned through all the health problems we have endured - - - He was there all the time! He promises never to leave or forsake us (Heb.13:5), and He never has! NO! We do NOT believe that all physical ailments will be healed (2 Cor.12:9), as some leaders today say. They claim this based on Isaiah 53:4-5 and 1 Peter 2:24, which is certainly NOT speaking of physical healing - - - but SPIRITUAL healing. Read it!
Ezra 9:7 Since the days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass unto this day; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as it is this day. (KJV)
- (1) that sin is serious (Ezra 9:6);
- (2) that no one sins without affecting others (Ezra 9:7);
- (3) that he was not sinless, although he didn’t have a pagan wife (Ezra 9:10);
- (4) that God’s love and mercy had spared the nation when they did nothing to deserve it (Ezra 9:8-9, 15).
It is so easy to look at sin from our pouint of view; but we must see sin as God sees it! SIN IS BAD!! SIN IS WRONG!! Sin will always bring devastating results UNLESS we repent and see things God's way!
Isaiah 5:13 Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst. (KJV)
In Isaiah 5:8-25, God condemns six sins:
- (1) exploiting others (Isaiah 5:8-10);
- (2) drunkenness (Isaiah 5:11-12);
- (3) taking sarcastic pride in sin (Isaiah 5:18-19);
- (4) confusing moral standards (Isaiah 5:20);
- (5) being conceited (Isaiah 5:21);
- (6) perverting justice (Isaiah 5:22-24).
Because of these sins, God punished Israel with destruction by Assyria (Isaiah 5:25-30). A similar fate was awaiting Judah if they didn’t turn from these sins. What about people today? Are our sins actually any better than Israel’s sin? Has times really changed? Is compromising with the world now OK with God? I don’t think so! God does NOT change (Mal.3:6; Rom.11:28). His wrath shall come down on us as well if we don’t repent.
Jeremiah 29:17-19 Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Behold, I will send upon them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, and will make them like vile figs, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil.  And I will persecute them with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence, and will deliver them to be removed to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, and an astonishment, and an hissing, and a reproach, among all the nations whither I have driven them:  Because they have not hearkened to my words, saith the Lord, which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; but ye would not hear, saith the Lord. (KJV)
God said that He would send war, famine, and disease upon Israel and make them like rotting figs, too bad to eat (Jer. 24:8, 10). He would persecute them with war, famine, and disease, and scatter them throughout the world. In every nation where God would send them, He would make them an object of disapproval, dread, scorn, and ridicule. WHY?? Because they refused to obey God even though He spoke to them repeatedly through His prophets. Stubborn, stiff-necked people you say! Yes, they were/are. But what about people today? We do not have the Old Testament prophets - - - but we do have the Bible. Are people obeying God? Judgment is looming my friend. God’s wrath is near to the point of boiling, as sins keep stacking up.
Lament. 1:3-5 Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude: she dwelleth among the heathen, she findeth no rest: all her persecutors overtook her between the straits.  The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts: all her gates are desolate: her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted, and she is in bitterness.  Her adversaries are the chief, her enemies prosper; for the Lord hath afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions: her children are gone into captivity before the enemy. (KJV)
This shows the miseries of the Jewish nation. Jerusalem became a captive, a slave, because of the greatness of her sins. She had no rest from suffering. If we allow sin to rule over us, ungodliness becomes a part of us. When God leaves, He turns His Face away, He turns His Back to us when we sin, and Satan has control. The people endured the horrors of famine and distress. Only when people acknowledge their sin, and beg the Lord to help, will He then hear your prayer. Because of man’s sins and transgressions, God fills the Earth with sorrows, anguish, sickness, and death. Is He right in doing so? Absolutely! We either live a good, righteous life as He desires - - - or else!
Ezekiel 39:23-29 And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword.  According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them.  Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name;  After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid.  When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations;  Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.  Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God. (KJV)
Israel was sent away to exile - - - as punishment for sin, for they revolted against their God. Because of that, God turned His back on them and let their enemies destroy them. He turned His Face away and punished them in balance to the sordidness of their sins. But, one day the captivity of His people shall end. He shall have mercy on Israel, for they will accept responsibility for their past sin, shame and disloyalty to Him. They will then come home to live in peace and safety in their own land. And no one will bother them or make them afraid - - - ever again! Then Israel will know that He is the Lord their God - - - and it was He that sent them away to exile and it will be He that will bring them home. He will leave none of His people behind, nor will He ever turn my back on them again for He will pour out His Spirit upon them. God shall pour out His Spirit upon Israel for they shall one day be converted to Christ (Joel 2:28). The pouring out of His Spirit is a pledge that He will NOT hide His Face any more (2 Cor. 1:22; Ephes. 1:14; Phil. 1:6).
Zech. 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. (KJV)
Future conversion of the Jews shall flow from an extraordinary outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Jer.31:9, 31-34; Eze.39:29, above). Spirit of grace and of supplications is the Holy Spirit producing a gracious disposition, and earnest desire for supplications (prayer, pleas, petitions). The spirit of grace is actually the grace of God as He pours out His love and mercy. In Hebrew, "grace" and "supplications" are related terms. It implies suppliant prayers "without ceasing." So it is not merely external help against the enemy, but internal grace that is promised afterward. Look upon me - - - with extremely earnest regard - - - as the Messiah whom they so long denied.
Pierced is refering to Messiah's humanity - - - as I will pour . . . spirit refer to His divinity. Look . . . mourn - - - true repentance proceeds from the sight by faith, of the crucified Saviour. Tears most certainly will drop from the eye of faith looking upon His awesome Presence! Terror produces only remorse, but a true repentant heart weeps over his sins because of love to Christ the Messiah, who in love has suffered for them. Shall look upon me - - - notice the change of person - - - this is because Messiah speaking in His own Person first, then the prophet speaking of Him. Psalm 22:16 also refers to His being "pierced," so too John 19:37; Rev. 1:7. That actual piercing of His side was the extreme point of all their insulting treatment of Him. The act of the Roman soldier who pierced Him was their act (Mat. 27:25), and is so recorded here in Zechariah.
Israel’s Captivity Foretold
Leviticus 26:33 And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. (KJV)
In 2 Kings 17 and 2 Kings 25 this predicted warning came true. The people persistently disobeyed, and eventually they were conquered and carried off to the lands of Assyria and Babylonia. The nation was held in captivity for 70 years, making up for all of the years that the Israelites did not observe the law of the sabbath year (2 Chron. 36:21).
Deut. 28:36 The Lord shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone. (KJV)
This prophecy took place when Assyria and Babylonia took the Israelites captive to their lands (2 Kings 17:23; 2 Kings 25:11). It was God’s judgment upon Israel because of their disonedience to Him.
Deut. 29:28 And the Lord rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day. (KJV)
Idolatry would be the ruin of Israel. God brought devastating judgments on a people whom He loved - - - because of their utter rejection to Him. God never brings down His wrath upon anyone without a good reason. It should be our concern as to WHY - - - WHAT is the reason, that we may give glory to God, and be warned of judgment to come upon the wicked. The law of Moses leaves all sinners (Jews and Gentiles) under the curse. Israel was rooted out of their land; but one day they shall return (Deut.30:3; 1 K.8:34; Neh.1:9; Ps.107:3; Isa.35:10; Jer.16:15; 23:3,8,etc). One day they shall no more be pulled up, being kept by the power of God.
Jeremiah 20:5 Moreover I will deliver all the strength of this city, and all the labours thereof, and all the precious things thereof, and all the treasures of the kings of Judah will I give into the hand of their enemies, which shall spoil them, and take them, and carry them to Babylon. (KJV)
This prophecy of destruction came true in three waves of Babylonian invasion. The first wave happened within the year (605 B.C.). Pashhur was probably exiled to Babylon during the second wave in 597 B.C. when Jehoiachin was taken captive. The third invasion occurred in 586 B.C.
Jeremiah 25:11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. (KJV) It happened! Because of their disobedience. BEWARE!!
Other verses: Deut.28:41; 28:68; 1 Kings 14:15; 2 Kings 20:18; 2 Chron.6:36; Isaiah 6:12; 7:16; 39:7;Jer.5:19; 7:15; 13:19; 15:2; 15:14; 22:12; 22:22; 22:26; 24:1; 25:9; Eze. 4:13; 11:9; 12:11; 23:46; Daniel 9:2; Hosea 1:4; 11:5; Amos 5:5; 5:27; 6:7; 7:11 7:17; Micah 1:16; 4:10;Zech. 14:2; Luke 21:24; Acts 7:43.
Captivity Fulfillment Of Prophecies.
2 Kings 15:29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abel-beth-maachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria. (KJV)
Although Judah was not without problems, they were happy, compared with the state of Israel. The imperfections of true believers (all people are sinners 1 K.8:46; Rom.3:10,23), are very different from the persistent wickedness of ungodly men. Human nature, such are our hearts, if left to themselves, are deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (Jer.17:9). We should really be thankful for any and all restraints from the Holy Spirit, that keep us out of temptation. Let us never quench the Spirit (1 Thes.5:19).
2 Kings 25:21 And the king of Babylon smote them, and slew them at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was carried away out of their land. (KJV)
Judah, like Israel, was unfaithful to God. So God, as He had warned, allowed Judah to be destroyed and taken away (Deut. 28). The book of Lamentations records the prophet Jeremiah’s sorrow at seeing Jerusalem destroyed. The city and temple were burnt, and, it is probable, the ark in it. By allowing this, God showed just how little He cares for outward rites and rituals in so-called worship of Him. God desires sincere, spiritual, deep, heart-felt worship - - - from Jews and Gentiles (John 4:24). The walls of Jerusalem were thrown down, and the people carried captive to Babylon. The vessels of the temple were carried away. It was right that God deprive the people of the benefit of worship of Him, for they had much preferred false worship. Just as the Lord spared not the angels that sinned (2 Pet.2:4), just as He doomed the whole race of fallen men to the grave (Gen.2:17; Ps. 55:19); and all unbelievers to Hell (Mat.25:32,41,46; John 3:18;36; 8:24) and as He spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all (Rom.8:32). We should not question any miseries He may bring upon guilty nations, churches, or persons. God NEVER does any wrong!
1 Chronicles 6:15 And Jehozadak went into captivity, when the LORD carried away Judah and Jerusalem by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar. (KJV)
The priests and Levites were more concerned than any other Israelites, to preserve their descent clear, and to be able to prove it; because all the honors and privileges of their office depended upon their lineage.Today, the Spirit of God calls ministers to their work, without any limit as to the families they came from; and then, as now, though believers and ministers may be very useful to the church, none but our great High Priest can make atonement for sin, nor can any be accepted but through His atonement.
1 Chron. 9:1 So all Israel were reckoned by genealogies; and, behold, they were written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah, who were carried away to Babylon for their transgression. (KJV)
Even though not every person in Judah was unfaithful, the entire nation was carried away into captivity. Everyone was affected by sin. It is always this way. Even if we don’t participate in widespread wrongdoing - - - IF you do not speak up against it, you too are guilty. We are affected by those who do sin. You can say, “I didn’t do it,” but you must speak out against the sins of our society.
2 Chron. 28:5-7 Wherefore the Lord his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria; and they smote him, and carried away a great multitude of them captives, and brought them to Damascus. And he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who smote him with a great slaughter.  For Pekah the son of Remaliah slew in Judah an hundred and twenty thousand in one day, which were all valiant men; because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers.  And Zichri, a mighty man of Ephraim, slew Maaseiah the king's son, and Azrikam the governor of the house, and Elkanah that was next to the king. (KJV)
The Lord . . . delivered him (Judah) into the hand of the king of Syria . . . he (Judah) was also delivered into the hand of the King of Israel. This does not imply a formation of a confederacy between the Syrian and Israelite kings to invade the kingdom of Judah, nor does it relate to the start of the war in the close of Jotham's reign (2 Kings 15:37). It gives the effect only of some battles that were fought in the early part of the campaign. Delivered him . . . smote him . . . he was also delivered - - - that is, his army, for Ahaz was not personally included in the number either of the slain or the captives. The slaughter of 120,000 in one day was a terrible calamity, which, it is specifically stated, was inflicted as a judgment upon Judah, "because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers." Sin and forsaking God will always bring judgment! Among the slain were some persons of distinction: Maaseiah the king's son - - - the sons of Ahaz were too young to be in a battle, this person must have been a younger son of the late King Jotham; Azrikam the governor of the house - - - meaning the palace; and Elkanah that was next to the king - - - probably the prime minister (Gen.41:40). All these higher-ups were killed by Zichri, an Israelite warrior, or possibly put to death after the battle. A large number of captives also fell into the power of the conquerors; and an equal division of war prisoners being made between the allies, they were sent off under a military escort to the respective capitals of Syria and Israel (2 Chron. 28:8). Israel gained this victory because God was furious with Judah, and made them the rod of His wrath. He reminds them of their own sins. Sinners should never be cruel, for they know not when they might beg for the mercy of God. If they neither showed mercy nor justice to their brethren, do you think God will show mercy and justice to them? If we do anything to harm our brother, or hold him in bondage in any way, we break the royal law the golden rule (Mat.7:12; Rom.13:9-10; Gal.5:14; Jam.2:8). When sinners continue in their heart’s lusts, they grow more desperate in wickedness. The Lord brought Judah low. Those who will not humble themselves under the Word of God, will justly be humbled by His judgments, perhaps in this life - - - but for certain in the next! Wicked men have no love of mercy to those around them, nor are they ever kind. This was like king Ahaz.
Those who are wicked and vicious, are always made worse by their afflictions, instead of being made better by them. In their distress, they sin even more, and their hearts are more fully set to do evil. The producer of their trouble is their self - - - and they reject and rebel against the only Help available to them! The progress of wickedness and misery is like the fury of white water! One wrong move with the paddle and you crash into a huge rock! Consider this my friend - - - a sinner is on a one way course in his wickedness into the eternal world of Hell. Judgment is sure. Believe it!
Psalm 137:1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. (KJV)
This Psalm records the mourning of the Israelite captives and a prayer and prediction respecting the destruction of their enemies. Rivers of Babylon - - - is the name of the city used for the whole country. They remembered Zion (Jerusalem). Sin always has devastating results. Sin always hurts someone!
Jeremiah 34:1-7 The word which came unto Jeremiah from the Lord, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and all his army, and all the kingdoms of the earth of his dominion, and all the people, fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities thereof, saying,  Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel; Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah, and tell him, Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire:  And thou shalt not escape out of his hand, but shalt surely be taken, and delivered into his hand; and thine eyes shall behold the eyes of the king of Babylon, and he shall speak with thee mouth to mouth, and thou shalt go to Babylon.  Yet hear the word of the Lord, O Zedekiah king of Judah; Thus saith the Lord of thee, Thou shalt not die by the sword:  But thou shalt die in peace: and with the burnings of thy fathers, the former kings which were before thee, so shall they burn odours for thee; and they will lament thee, saying, Ah lord! for I have pronounced the word, saith the Lord.  Then Jeremiah the prophet spake all these words unto Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem,  When the king of Babylon's army fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish, and against Azekah: for these defenced cities remained of the cities of Judah. (KJV)
Zedekiah is told that the city shall be taken, and that he shall die a captive, but he shall die a natural death. It is better to live and die penitent in a prison, than to live and die obstinate and unremorseful in a palace.
Amos 9:2-4 Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down:  And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them:  And though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them: and I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good. (KJV)
Hell (Hades) was the place of the dead, and Carmel is a mountain. Both were symbols of inaccessibility. NO one can escape God’s judgment, no matter how rich or powerful you are. This was good news for the faithful but bad news for the unfaithful. Whether we go to the mountaintops or the bottom of the sea, God will find us and judge us for our deeds. Amos pictured the judgment of the wicked as a sea monster, ruthlessly pursuing the condemned. For God’s faithful followers, however, the judgment brings a new earth of peace and prosperity. Is God’s judgment good news? or bad news to you? No matter which one, it shall come!
Israel Carried Into Bondage
Genesis 15:13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; (KJV)
The book of Exodus tells the story of the Egyptian enslavement and miraculous deliverance of Abram’s descendants.
Exodus 1:11 Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. (KJV)
Some slaves worked long hours in mud pits making bricks, while others were skilled carpenters, jewelers, and craftsmen. No matter their skill, all slaves were watched closely by ruthless slave masters, whose job it was to keep the slaves working as fast as possible. They made a slave’s life miserable.
Exodus 2:11-15 And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren.  And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.  And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow?  And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.  Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well. (KJV)
Moses fled to the land of Midian. God did this for wise and holy ends.
Numbers 20:15 How our fathers went down into Egypt, and we have dwelt in Egypt a long time; and the Egyptians vexed us, and our fathers: (KJV)
The Israelites’ ancestors went down to Egypt where they lived a long time and suffered as slaves to the Egyptians.
Deut. 16:12 And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt: and thou shalt observe and do these statutes. (KJV)
The Jews were warned to remember that they were slaves in Egypt, so they should be careful to obey all God’s Laws.
Deut. 26:6 And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage: (KJV)
The Egyptians mistreated and humiliated the Jews by making them their slaves.
Judges 3:14 So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years. (KJV)
Israel sins again, so God raises up a new oppressor. Israel is weakened, and Moab strengthened against them.
Psalm 106:42 Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand. (KJV)
The nations first seduced and then oppressed them (Judges 1:34; 2:14; 3:30). Israel’s apostasies ungratefully repaid God's many mercies till He finally abandoned them to punishment (Lev.26:39). God allowed trouble to come to the Israelites in order to help them.
Troubles can be helpful because they:
- (1) humbles us
- (2) disunite us from the allurements of the world and drive us back to God,
- (3) energize our prayers,
- (4) allow us to know more of God’s faithfulness,
- (5) make depend more on God, 6) encourage us to submit to God’s will for our lives, and 7) make us more compassionate toward others in trouble.
Israel Carried Into Bondage: Ex. 2:23; 5:4; 6:5; 13:3; 13:14;14:12; 20:2; Deut. 5:15; 6:12; 6:21; 8:14; 13:10; 15:15; 24:18; 24:22; 28:48; 28:68; Joshua 24:17; Judges 6:8; 2 Chron. 29:9; Ezra 9:8; Neh.9:36; Psalm 81:6; 105:25; Eze. 23:21; Joel 3:6; Acts 7:6.
More Passages on Captivity Fulfillment Of Prophecies: Judges 18:30; 1 Kings 8:46; 2 Kings 17:6;17:18; 17:23; 18:11; 23:27; 24:14; 25:11; 1 Chronicles 5:22; 5:26; 2 Chronicles 21:17; 29:9; 36:4; 36:10; 36:20; Ezra 2:1; 5:12; Neh. 7:6; Esther 2:6; Psalm 78:61; Isaiah 49:21; 52:5; Jer. 1:3; 27:20; 29:1; 29:14; 34:21; 39:9; 52:15; 52:27; Lam. 1:3; 1:18; Eze.1:1; 3:11; 11:24; 17:12; 25:3; 33:21 ; 36:22; 39:23; 39:28; 40:1; Daniel 1:2; 5:13; Zech.2:7; 6:10.
Israel, Abraham is Father
Israel, Beginning of
Israel, Bones Shall Live
Israel, A Byword Among the Nations
Israel, Defeated in Battle
?Israel, Did She Kill Jesus?
Israel, Dispersion of
Israel, Divine Cures
Israel, God's Chosen People
Israel, God Faithful to
Israel, God hides His face From
Israel, Their Promised Land
?Israel, Their Sabbath or Ours?
Israel, Their Ten Failures