Wednesday, July 29 2020
THE TIME HAS COME...God Almighty literally holds the future of the world in His hands. In His perfect timing, every event on this Earth is destined to reveal His Son, Jesus Christ, The Word Incarnate, to the entire planet. Make no mistake, we WILL need to know Him in the coming days.
A 3-week period of fasting, known biblically as the Fasts of the 4th and 5th Months, and historically as “Three Weeks of Sorrow”, began on the 17th day of God’s 4th month, July 9 on our 2020 Gregorian calendar and continued through the 9th day of the 5th month of Av, Tishah B’Av, July 30 on our calendar.
On the day of worship immediately preceding the 9th day of Av, this timeless scripture has been read for thousands of years: “Hear, O heavens and give ear, O earth, For the Lord has spoken; Though I brought up and raised My children, they have rebelled against me.” Isaiah 1:2.
To this day, Israel mourns tragedies that happened during this period because of their national idolatry. The anniversary date of the beginning of Israel’s sorrow began around 3500 years ago on Tammuz 17 when the Ten Commandments were destroyed by Moses. Millions of Israelites had grown tired of waiting on God’s timing and took matters into their own hands. In a vain attempt to control their national destiny, they added their own Golden Calf into the worship of God Almighty. https://www.facebook.com/394745103939018/posts/3112749932138508/
Two years later on the 9th day of Av, twelve Israelite spies returned after 40 days of checking out the Promised Land. Most of them doubted the Lord could or would deliver what He promised. God’s response to their lack of faith was to make them wander an additional year for every day they spent doubting Him. At that time, that amounted to another 38 years wandering in the Wilderness. An entire generation would not enter the Promised Land. (Numbers 13-14, Deuteronomy 2)
The 9th day of Av also marks the anniversary of the destruction of Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple 2600 years ago. The great and mighty physical place of God’s presence on this earth, where He had chosen to “put His Name”, went up in smoke. More than 100,000 people were killed and millions of His chosen people were led away into Babylonian exile. (2 Kings 25:8-9; Jeremiah 52:12-13)
After the exiles were allowed to return to Jerusalem, the Temple was rebuilt. Incredibly, in 70 AD, the Romans laid siege to Jerusalem for a second time on exactly the same day as the walls were originally breached 3000 years before.
Jews are taught to this day that Jerusalem fell because of “sinat hinam”, or “baseless hatred”, which caused the once united people to attack each other, making them weak and vulnerable to their enemy. On the 17th day of Tammuz, the assault began and continued for 3 weeks to the 9th day of Av.
Two million Jews died, and another million were exiled. IsraelAM made this impassioned statement in 2018 as the 9th day of Av approached: “The Talmud attributes the reason for the destruction of the Second Temple to baseless hatred. The political and social situation in Israel at the time of the destruction was rife was infighting and strife. Instead of focusing on fighting the Romans, the various Jewish factions fought and killed each other before finally uniting to face the Romans, when it was already much too late. Had the Jews been united, perhaps the destruction, even the war itself, could have been avoided. The destruction of the Second Temple marked the start of a close to 2,000 year period of statelessness and exile, filled with persecution and massacres, and culminating in the ultimate horror of the Holocaust. Now we have returned to our homeland, reestablished our sovereignty over it (more or less, despite the efforts of most of the world to keep us vulnerable) and made it thrive. We have a second chance to correct the mistakes we made the first time around. If we can unite and exist in (relative) harmony, we can remain invincible in our land forever. That is the message, and challenge, of Tisha B’av, and why we continue to commemorate the day of our greatest defeat (what other nation commemorates defeat?)."
What was the cost to a nation called forth under God’s name who mired itself knee-deep in the pit of “baseless hatred”? The next year on the 9th of Av anniversary, the Roman army literally plowed Jerusalem with salt to make the ground sterile and fallow, in order to eventually build a pagan Roman city. This act directly fulfilled the prophecy in Micah 3:12. “Therefore because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field; Jerusalem will become a heap of rub, and the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.”
In the centuries since the Israelite pilgrimage to the Promised Land, Israel has recorded many other national disasters on the same anniversary date. On the 9th day of Av In 135 AD, over 500,000 Jews civilians were killed by the Romans in the Bar Kochba Jewish revolt. The Temple area was plowed under again and Jerusalem was then rebuilt as a pagan city, and Jews were denied entrance.
Almost a thousand years later, The First "Christian" Crusade killed 1.2 million Jews. It began on the 9th day of Av. As a result of the Crusade, King Edward I ordered that all Jews be expelled from England on July 18, 1290, the 9th day of Av. No Jewish people lived there again until 1657.
During the Spanish Inquisition, all Jews were ordered out of Spain by the end of July, 1492. July 31 of that year would have been the 9th day of Av. 800,000 Jews left. Spain’s fortunes began to decrease, even though Christopher Columbus discovered America that year. This definitely fulfills God’s statement in Genesis 12:3. “I will bless them that bless you, and curse those who curse you.”
World War I was declared on 9th day of Av, 1914, when Germany declared war on Russia. The war set the stage for the coming Holocaust of the nation of Israel and the global struggle involving all major nations in the entire world. Incredibly, Adolph Hitler’s 1938 “Final Solution” to rid the world of the Jews by gassing and burning them, was also approved on the 9th day of Av. Six million Jews were exterminated. As part of that killing, on the 10th of July 1942, the Germans began a systematic liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto, deporting Jews to extermination camps at the rate of six to ten thousand per day. Deportation started on the 9th day of Av.
We have just reviewed 12 national calamities that have fallen on the nation of Israel on the 9th day of Av. Remember, there are 365 days in a year, so the chance that just a second tragedy would strike on the same anniversary day are 1 in 365. The chances for a third event would rise to 1 times 365 times 365 which is 1 in 133,225. The odds on these twelve events happening to the same people, on the same day is 1 chance in 15.318 billion times a billion times or 1 chance in 15 with 27 zeroes after it which is called an octillion, 1 in 15,318,685,820,000,000,000,000,000,000 (15 Octillion, 318 septillion, 685 sextillion, 820 quintillion).
It is no accident that God continues to teach mankind through the lamentations of His ancient Chosen People. Israel takes this time period so seriously that, by law, restaurants and places of entertainment are closed on the eve of Tisha B'Av and the following day. They realize that God’s Word is “the same, yesterday, today, and forever”. At this very moment, Israeli intelligence estimates thousands are organizing and carrying out military strikes against Israel.
The United States has been brought into this 9th Day of Av arena with the beginning of World War I on that same date. Add the fact that the historic date chosen for the very beginning of America, July 4, 1776, was the 17th of Tammuz on God’s calendar, and it’s impossible not to recognize the USA’s interweaving in Tishah B’Av.
How does God react to any nation that relies on their own might for survival, while claiming to call on His name? Perhaps we should carefully consider this Parable written for the 9th of Av: Once a great artist desired to paint his greatest masterpiece, and journeyed with his companion to the top of a high mountain to find the perfect view. After several days, the painting was complete, though the artist began to view his work at different angles to see what improvements might be made. He started walking backward, admiring his work. He continued to pace backward, focusing only on his painting, when he approached the edge of a cliff. When his friend realized the danger, he called out for him to stop, but the artist took no heed to his words. At the last moment, when he (the artist) was about to plunge to his certain death, however, his friend picked up a knife, ran to the picture, and began slashing it to pieces, destroying the masterpiece before the artist’s eyes. “What are you doing!” the artist cried out, having finally come to his senses. “Look behind you and you’ll see why I did it” replied the friend.
We Christians in the USA are a lot like the painter in this parable. Unknowingly, could we be inching backwards toward the abyss of spiritual pride and arrogance? Will our own national “baseless hatred” be the bottomless pit our nation will not survive?
Consider this convicting word from God Almighty in Zechariah 7:4-6. “I received this message from the Lord All-Powerful. ‘Tell all the priests and the other people in this country this: ‘For seventy years you fasted and showed your sadness in the fifth month and the seventh month. But was that fasting really for me? And when you ate and drank, was that for me? No, it was for your own good.’”
Tishah B’Av has a powerful, timely message for deeply divided, troubled Christians here in America. "The time has come," Jesus said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news.."
Wednesday, July 08 2020
WHOEVER IS FOR THE LORD, COME TO ME...“It’s a golden calf from the Bible, a false idol, the Bull of Wall Street...The piece hints at the Capital system as an idol that we have worshiped for decades and is, unfortunately, proving to be false," said the artist Errazuriz at the unveiling of his Golden Calf piñata in New York City in 2014. Filled with $1000 in single bills, the glittering, 15ft high, 24ft long beast was whacked with "Communist red" sticks until dollar bills rained down on participants.
Not far away is the 700-pound Charging Bull of Wall Street, the chosen symbol of the “power of the American people". Standing 11 feet high, 18 feet long, with his head down and nostrils flared, he does indeed look in control of the very street that doles out the fortunes of the entire world.
Whether it's the Golden Calf piñata or the Wall Street Bull, human history does have a way of repeating its fallen, prideful nature, challenging the omniscience of the Almighty through mankind's manipulation and design. For Christians, a huge red flag should be clearly visible, but we should be able to discern that it’s not the matador who’s waving it.
Prophetically, the red flag of God's Word is calling our attention to the anniversary of ancient Israel's creation of the very first Golden Calf. July 8 on our 2020 Gregorian calendar, the 16th day of the 4th month on God's timeline for mankind, marks the date of ancient Israel's feeble attempt to control their national destiny through the inspiration of an image made entirely from the symbol of wealth.
Exodus 32 relates the sad account. "Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, 'Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.' Aaron said to them, 'Tear off the gold rings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.' Then all the people tore off the gold rings which were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, 'This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.' Now when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation and said, 'Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.' So the next day they rose early and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings, and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play."
"Then the Lord spoke to Moses, 'Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and have sacrificed to it and said, 'This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!’ The Lord said to Moses, 'I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people. Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation.'”
At this point, it was painfully obvious that someone had to intervene. While he was on the Holy Mountain with the Lord, Moses entreated the Lord, saying, "“Why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth?' Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’ Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened."
So, Moses came down the mountain with the Ten Commandments that God had given Israel. But what he saw stopped him dead in his tracks. "When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. And he took the calf the people had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it."
Sadly, this week marks not only the Israelite sin of worshipping the Golden Calf but the next day, July 9 on our 2020 calendar, also commemorates the destruction of the Ten Commandments tablet by Moses.
"Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies. So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, 'Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.’ And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves to him. "
Yes, when it comes to turning away from the Golden Calf, it IS that simple. We can’t serve two Gods. We will always love one more than the other. Whether we are placing our confidence in the Bull of Wall Street futures or whacking frantically on the Golden piñata of government and politics, we are definitely not moving toward the Lord.
There is always a price for waving another God in the face of the Almighty. Moses told the Levites, who chose to stand with him, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.’ The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. Then Moses said, 'You have been set apart to the Lord today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day.'”
“...So Moses went back to the Lord and said, 'Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.'”
We are called to make tough decisions as Christians, which will set us apart from any others. Right this very moment, God’s Word resonates with the same authority and power as it did when Moses uttered those succinct, commanding words that separated the living from those who were destined to die in their sins...
"WHOEVER IS FOR THE LORD, COME TO ME."
Wednesday, July 01 2020
BLESSED IS THE ONE WHO TRUSTS IN THE LORD… God’s Word continues to teach us invaluable lessons and reveal His character. In the 4th month of Tammuz, June 23-July 21 on our 2020 calendar, His judgment fell upon a nation that began under His authority. This should also be a somber month for our nation, who takes pride in the phrase "One nation under God."
The watching eye illustrating this post and its timing is no coincidence. The name for the month came from a Babylonian idol made from iron with empty eye sockets filled with lead. The lead was ignited, resembling fireworks like tears falling. The nation celebrated these fabricated tears during this month just inside the gate of God's Holy Temple, essentially flaunting their national god in the Almighty's face.
It is no coincidence that the nation God once called the apple of His eye, now had their eye on another God. How quickly they had forgotten His very first commandment: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." It probably began innocently enough, in a situation where they were exposed daily to a mindset that did not put God first and keep His commandments. Slowly, they began to revere the ways of the world around them, drawing strength through the character of the world and its mechanisms for power and unity, while professing that they were still in a covenant relationship with God Almighty.
“This is what the LORD says: 'Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the LORD. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:5-8.
Jeremiah steadfastly prophesied the Word of God through the reign of five different kings. Even though they had witnessed their nation split into a northern and southern kingdom over the choice of a king, the people chose to listen to the political rhetoric of their national leader. Instead of repenting of their sins and complicity in disobeying the Almighty as a nation, they pointed fingers at everyone else, including Jeremiah. He was attacked by his own brothers, put into stocks by a so-called fellow prophet, sent to prison by the King, and thrown into a well by the religious leaders of Judah.
But God’s statement of blessing upon Jeremiah was all it took. “Attack you they will, overcome you they can’t, for I am with you and will save you,” says the Lord in Jeremiah 1:19.
Later this was made abundantly clear to all of Judah when King Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem and ordered Jeremiah freed from prison and treated with the respect of the Babylonian nation.
“So in the ninth year of Zedekiah’s rule, on the tenth day of the tenth month, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. The army of Babylon set up their camp outside of Jerusalem. Then they built ramps all around the city walls so that they could get over the walls. The city of Jerusalem was surrounded by the army of Babylon until the eleventh year that Zedekiah was king. By the ninth day of the fourth month of that year, the hunger in the city was very bad. There was no food left for the people in the city to eat. On that day the army of Babylon broke into Jerusalem. The soldiers of Jerusalem ran away. They left the city at night…ran away toward the desert.” Jeremiah 52:4-9.
By Tammuz 9, July 1 on our 2020 calendar, Jerusalem had been under siege for two years. The people were starving, and their protectors had abandoned them. King Zedekiah of Judah was captured and forced to watch his young sons executed right in front of him. Then his eyes were torn from their sockets. He lived the rest of his life in chains in a Babylon prison. All the other royal officials of Judah were also executed. 4600 people were taken captive in Judah and Jerusalem.
Six times in the book of Jeremiah the same question is asked: "Why has the Lord our God done all these things to us?" (5:19; 9:12; 13:22; 14:19; 16:10; 22:8) “And the answer will always be the same: “Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God and have worshiped and served other gods." Jeremiah 22:9
God’s judgment was swift and sure. He simply withdrew His hand of protection and let their enemies overtake them.
“1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you. 3 The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their ancestors to possess,’ says the LORD.”…11 I am with you and will save you,’ declares the LORD. ‘Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only in due measure; I will not let you go entirely unpunished...24 The fierce anger of the LORD will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand this.” Jeremiah 30
God’s plans are made crystal clear in the New Testament in Hebrews 10:15-17, which repeats Jeremiah 31:33-34 “The Holy Spirit also tells us about this. First he says, ‘This is the agreement I will make with my people in the future, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts. I will write my laws in their minds.’ Then he says, ‘I will forget their sins and never again remember the evil they have done.’”
Building on Jeremiah’s prophesy, Hebrew 10 continues in verse 18-39 “And after everything is forgiven, there is no more need for a sacrifice to pay for sins. And so, brothers and sisters, we are completely free to enter the Most Holy Place. We can do this without fear because of the blood sacrifice of Jesus. We enter through a new way that Jesus opened for us. It is a living way that leads through the curtain—Christ’s body. And we have a great priest who rules the house of God. Sprinkled with the blood of Christ, our hearts have been made free from a guilty conscience, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. So come near to God with a sincere heart, full of confidence because of our faith in Christ. We must hold on to the hope we have, never hesitating to tell people about it. We can trust God to do what he promised. ”
“…If we decide to continue sinning after we have learned the truth, then there is no other sacrifice that will take away sins. If we continue sinning, all that is left for us is a fearful time of waiting for the judgment and the angry fire that will destroy those who live against God. Whoever refused to obey the Law of Moses was found guilty from the testimony given by two or three witnesses. Such people were not forgiven. They were killed. So think how much more punishment people deserve who show their hate for the Son of God—people who show they have no respect for the blood sacrifice that began the new agreement and once made them holy or who insult the Spirit of God’s grace. We know that God said, “I will punish people for the wrongs they do; I will repay them.” And he also said, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a terrible thing to face punishment from the living God.”
“…So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. For in just a very little while, He is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if He shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him. But we are not those who turn back and are lost. No, we are the people who have faith and are saved.”
BLESSED IS THE ONE WHO TRUSTS IN THE LORD, WHOSE CONFIDENCE IS IN HIM...
Saturday, June 27 2020
BE ASHAMED AND CONFOUNDED…2600 years ago, God's people petitioned Him to intervene in their national woes. They reasoned they deserved His benevolence because He had chosen them and blessed them in the past.
God did not agree. "Not for your sake do I do this,” says the Lord God, “let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel!” Ezekiel 36:32
The prophet Ezekiel had been appointed by God to speak to Israel about their national sins of pride and self-sufficiency, which effectively brought in other allegiances and idolatrous worship, leading to their exile in Babylon. "In my thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.” Ezekiel 1:1
Yes, this lesson is right on target to shame and confound us today. June 27 on our 2020 Gregorian calendar is the fifth day of God's appointed fourth month. Add to that the fact that the Kebar River is located in today's Iraq, and is identified as the ancient Pishon River, a headwater of the river watering the Garden of Eden, and mouths should be hanging open about now...
We are hopefully on our way to being thoroughly confounded and ashamed by our own national pride and aggrandizement as we are confronted by the ancient biblical list of folks who lived in the country we know as Iraq. It reads like a Who's Who of the Bible. In fact, without the physical foundation of Iraq, there would have been no Ezekiel, no Abraham, no Isaac, no Rebekah, no Rachel, no Jonah, no Daniel, Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego, and no Esther and Mordecai...and more.
The mighty warrior, Nimrod, ruled Babylon from there and probably helped build the Tower of Babel nearby. It is there that Genesis 11:9 records the first biblical usage of "confound". "Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth."
It's really confounding to realize that without God's Omniscient Confounding in the first place, there would have been no need for the Pentecost Holy Spirit tongues of fire, uniting and equipping all language to manifest God's Glory and omnipotence to the whole world.
Don't close your mouth yet, because Iraq was also one of the countries gathered at Pentecost and equipped specifically for that task. Acts 2 identifies" those dwelling in Mesopotamia... declaring the wonders of God” in one tongue Mesopotamia is a Greek word referring to the region lying between the rivers Euphrates and Tigris. It points biblically to Babylon and the descendants of the Jews who stayed there after they were freed from captivity. Known today as Iraq, the disciple Thomas ministered there in the 1st century following the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Today, Christians in Iraq are considered one of the oldest continuous Christian communities in the entire world.
The biblical city of Nineveh, also built by Nimrod, was the destination of Jonah's whale adventure and God's appointed revival, also recounted in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Its nearly eight miles of ancient city walls enclosed an area of 1,700 acres and took Jonah three days just to cross it. Today, the ancient ruins are in Mosul, Iraq.
Abraham's home was originally in Ur, which is also in modern-day Iraq. In neighboring Nahor, Abraham's servant found a wife, Rebekah, for his son, Isaac. Later, Isaac and Rebekah's twin son Jacob, renamed Israel by God, spent 20 years working for his chosen wife, Rachel, in Paddan, Aram, located in today's Iraq. And then he ended up with two wives. And they were sisters! Confounding, isn't it?
Daniel and his famous friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were exiled in current-day Iraq, known then as Babylon. Esther and Mordecai, along with Ezekiel, lived in exile in the area.
"Confound" is also repeated by the prophet Jeremiah 19 times in connection with God's coming judgment. One of the most thought-provoking verses, Jeremiah 51:17 says "Every man is brutish by his knowledge; every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them."
"Every founder is confounded by the graven image..." Even though God’s chosen people of Israel had followed His “Shekinah” glory cloud for 40 years and had seen the Lord’s Glory hover over the Ark of the Covenant, His presence in the temple or in the cloud became less important than the graven image of the temple or the cloud itself and their worship practices and rituals that went along with it. They began to think of the temple building and its adornments and priests as sources of holiness and glory. Since they obviously had been "confounded by the graven image", God allowed their enemies to breach the walls of Jerusalem and send them into exile.
Today, it should confound and shame us all that God's people called by His Son's Name are still looking for His glory in their country's idolatrous images like flags, government proclamations and laws, national leaders, church buildings, religious effigies, and Christian leaders and programs. Is it possible we are looking for our own glory and not the Almighty's, and in the country of our choosing?
It really should come as no surprise that the words "confound" and "confounded" are repeated 55 times to God's people in translations of His Word. "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty." 1 Corinthians 1:27
We see the word in action, too. When we compare Ezekiel 1:26-27 “...high above on a throne was a figure like that of a man… glowing… as if full of fire… and brilliant light surrounded him” with Revelation 1:13-17, as John writes, "…I turned and saw… someone like a son of man… his eyes were like blazing fire… his face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.”
In Ezekiel 1:28, the prophet describes the brilliant light surrounding the man "like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him." In Revelation 4: 2, 4 we are confounded again with these words. “…There before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it… A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne."
In the very first chapter of Ezekiel, he sees four living creatures below the throne of one who had "a figure like that of a man" with “the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord." In Revelation 4, John describes the figures of four living creatures around the throne, who never stop saying, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." The twenty-four elders join the living creatures, singing "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things and by your will they were created and have their being."
Combine all this with the startling illumination of John 1:1-3, 14: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made, without him nothing was made that has been made...The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
Can there be any doubt that this figure of a man Ezekiel saw, and the one on the throne in Revelation are one and the same? Yes, Ezekiel was literally standing downstream of Eden on the Kebar River, exiled by the world, but right where he needed to be to see the glory of Jesus Himself and hear Him speak.
Listen as He speaks to us, too, right this very minute in Ezekiel 2: "He said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.” As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me to this very day. The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious people—they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people. You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious people; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”
"Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll, which he unrolled before me. On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe." Yes, we must experience lament and mourning and woe to be ashamed and confounded by God's Word. But that's only the beginning...
"You also, as living stones, are built up into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Therefore also it is contained in the scripture, 'Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious: and he that believes on him shall not be confounded." 1 Peter 2:6 repeating Isaiah 28:16.
BE ASHAMED AND CONFOUNDED to be able to SEE Jesus in all His glory.
BE ASHAMED AND CONFOUNDED NO LONGER when you STAND in His glory and bear His witness, as Ezekiel did...