Source: Memorial | Ernie’s Musings
I posted this last year (2019). It still applies.
For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made. (Isaiah 57:16)
Of all of God’s attributes, one is that of patience or longsuffering. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). God’s patience is infinite, as He is infinite. However, God sets a limit on His patience as our starting verse makes clear; He will not “contend” with us forever. The Hebrew word translated “contend” is rı̂yb and it means “to toss, that is, grapple; to wrangle, that is, hold a controversy; to debate.
The earliest example we find in the Bible appears in the account of the Global Flood. For almost 1600 years following Creation, men grew progressively perverse even though God’s witnesses existed in abundance. Their original father, Adam, lived for more than half of that time. The letter to the Hebrews records that “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Hebrews 11:5, emphasis mine). Jesus’ half-brother, Jude, noted, “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him” (Jude 1:14-15). Yet, with all these witnesses over the many years, the wickedness of humans only increased. “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart” (Genesis 6:5-6). God’s patience reached its limit, and He sent the Flood.
However, God’s plan for the redemption of man never deviated. God’s salvation would come through Abraham and through his “seed.” Abraham’s seed went through his son, Isaac, and his grandson, Jacob/Israel. Israel, that is the descendants of Jacob, soon put God’s patience to the test shortly after He rescued them from Egyptian bondage.
Not long after their exit from Egypt, they fell into idolatry by worshipping the golden calf even though God earlier gave them His Ten Commandments. Then, one generation after entering the Promised Land, they fell right back into their old idolatrous ways. God would punish them, they would repent, God forgave and they would do it over again. This remained true throughout their history.
After King Solomon died, his son, Rehoboam failed to keep the nation united and the northern ten tribes seceded and formed their own nation, Israel. The southern kingdom survived with two tribes, Benjamin and Judah and went by the name of the larger tribe, Judah.
Israel immediately fell into idolatry and all her kings “did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.” God’s patience with Israel reached its limit after 200 years, and the Assyrians under the King Shalmaneser invaded and expatriated the entire population of Israel and deported them to “Halah and in Harbor by the river of Gozan, and the cities of the Medes” (2 Kings 17:6), which is somewhere in present-day northeastern Iraq.
Judah fared somewhat better. Most of her kings “did that which was right in the sight of the LORD;” however, they tolerated idolatry in the land even though they themselves may not have practiced idolatry. It all began with Solomon who actually built temples to the gods of his many wives and even joined them in the practice while maintaining the worship of God. After Solomon, the kingdom of Judah survived for 333 years, about 100 years longer than Israel. Judah had many “good” kings, but the ones that were bad were very bad.
Manasseh probably ranked as the worst of Judah’s bad kings. Not only did he follow “after the abominations of the heathen” but “he reared up altars for Baal,” “worshipped the host of heaven, and served them,” “built altars in the house of the LORD … in the two courts of the house of the LORD,” “he made his son pass through the fire,” and “he set a graven image … that he had made in the house, of which the LORD said to David … I will put my name forever” Manasseh “seduced [Judah] to do more evil than did the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the children of Israel” (2 Kings 21:9).
Judah encountered the limit of God’s patience with Manasseh. “Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations … Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle. … I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down. And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies; Because they have done that which was evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day” (2 Kings 21:11-15, emphasis mine).
Manasseh’s son, Amon, followed in his father’s footsteps, but his reign lasted only two years. However, his grandson, Josiah, was arguably Judah’s best king ever. He was only eight years old when he took the throne, but he did what his predecessors failed to do. He destroyed all the places of idol worship throughout the land and executed the pagan priests. He renovated and rededicated Solomon’s Temple that had fallen into disrepair and had been desecrated by Manasseh, Ahaz, and others. In the process of cleaning up the Temple, Hilkiah, the high priest, discovered “the book of the law in the house of the LORD.” “And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes” (2 Kings 22:11). Of Josiah, Scripture records, “And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him” (2 Kings 23:25).
Judah made a great turn-around because of good King Josiah. It was almost too good, but it was too late. “Notwithstanding the LORD turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal. And the LORD said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there” (2 Kings 23:26-27, emphasis mine). About eleven years later, Nebuchadnezzar came and subdued Judah and took her children off to Babylonian captivity. Josiah was too good, too late. God’s plan would not change.
When I read the history of Israel in the Bible I cannot help but draw a parallel between that nation and the United States of America. There are many comparisons that can be drawn. However, there is one major difference that we often overlook. Israel was chosen by God for a specific purpose that is yet to be fulfilled. The United States was not. As we see the “end of days” on the horizon, Israel is very much in the picture; the U.S. is not.
However, there are some similarities, especially in the spiritual sense. Both nations had a strong foundation on the Word of God, and both nations lost their moorings from that foundation. The founding of the U.S. started long before 1776 or the signing of the Constitution in 1787. It began with the arrival of the Pilgrims on Plymouth Rock in November 1620 “for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith.” If the U.S. is chosen by God, it is chosen only because of His people who maintain and uphold the Christian Faith, but those numbers are diminishing. Israel was chosen by God with a non-conditional promise made to Abraham, and regardless of Israel’s lack of loyalty or devotion to God, God will not renege on His promise. The U.S. does not enjoy that kind of commitment from God. We are nothing special.
Truly God has blessed this nation because of His people that inhabit this land and because our nation has, for the most part, obeyed God’s word and maintained that “In God We Trust.” However, over the years, that loyalty to God has waned, and we have allowed pagan gods to influence and even to dominate our government and our society.
After World War II the moral state of our nation took a downward turn. We banned prayer and the Bible from public schools. Then we sanctioned abortions on demand. At first, abortions were limited to the first trimester, but now many states accept infanticide as “a woman’s right.” Homosexuality was once a shameful practice kept “in the closet,” but now every kind of sexual perversion is not only tolerated but encouraged.
The Obama Administration saw the morality of the nation cascade like going over Niagara Falls. The sins of the nation brought with it a sharp decline in the prosperity of the nation. Things looked grim. Then came Donald Trump. Perhaps not the perfect picture of a Christian, but he has done more to promote the Christian Faith than any president before him. He declared Jerusalem the rightful capital of Israel and moved our embassy there. He blessed Israel and God says, “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee” (Genesis 12:3). President Trump has done more to turn this country around than any previous president.
Then the Wuhan Bug hit. Many economists believe that our country may never recover. This downturn in the economy affects the whole world, not just the U.S. Many of our leaders and leaders of other nations are calling for a one-world government to fix the mess in which we find ourselves. The Bible warned that such would be the end of days. So, for all the good President Trump has done, it may be too good, too late.
Christians everywhere claim 2 Chronicles 7:14 hoping for a turn-around. However, that verse was specifically for Israel. The U.S. is NOT Israel, and we, the Church, are not Israel. When God’s patience reached its limit and Nebuchadnezzar surrounded Jerusalem, Jeremiah prayed fervently for deliverance. God answered, “Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for their good. When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence” (Jeremiah 14:11-12, emphasis mine). If that was God’s attitude toward His “chosen people,” why should we expect better? Instead, “I the LORD have spoken it: it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent; according to thy ways, and according to thy doings, shall they judge thee, saith the Lord GOD” (Ezekiel 24:14).
Since the “lockdown” went into effect, I hear that many are “seeking the Lord.” Online Bibles are being downloaded and read. Churches are seeing a rise in “virtual” attendees. I have seen this before – Y2K, 9-11. As soon as the crisis subsides, things go back to “normal” and society continues on its moral decline. I doubt this will be any different. Don’t get me wrong. I rejoice that some are truly turning to the Lord, but Jesus’ Word will not fail. “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14, emphasis mine). For all the good President Trump, like Josiah, has done, it may be too good, too late.
Reader, Jesus is coming very soon. Everything that is going on in the world today tells us that His coming is very near. Are you prepared to meet Him? If not, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life” and settle it once and for all.
 “Trading Old For New” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2020/05/10/trading-old-for-new/
 Mayflower Compact, November 21, 1620
For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 4:7-8)
Things get old and lose the attraction we once held for them. Certainly, this is obvious with material things like cars, houses, stuff that goes in houses, jewelry, gadgets, etc. There are few things more exciting than getting a new car – the new-car smell, the sparkling paint, the way that it handles on the road. After a few years, though, the interior smells of stale hamburgers, wet dog or baby vomit. The shine fades and obscures the dings, dents, and scratches from parking too close to the entrance at Walmart. Driving then becomes just a thing you do to get from here to there. That car we fell in love with is just a thing now, and we take it pretty much for granted.
We do the same with traditions and relationships. It is bad enough when we take human traditions and relationships for granted, but it is worse when we treat God and the things of God the same way. We find a good example of this in the account of Ahaz, king of Judah.
No doubt Ahaz was brought up in the traditions and ways of God. He came from good stock, beginning with King David. His father Jotham, his grandfather, Azariah (a.k.a. Uzziah), great-grandfather Amaziah, and great-great-grandfather Jehoash (a.k.a. Joash) were all “good” kings and “did that which was right in the sight of the LORD.” However, even though these kings faithfully obeyed God for themselves, they failed to lead the nation in that regard by not removing “the high places” where the people followed pagan practices. By allowing idolatry to continue, rather than stoning idolaters to death, God’s commandments were largely ignored or followed only by rote. The recommended capital punishment for idolatry may seem extreme to our liberal ears, but God’s reasoning is impeccable. “And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you” (Deuteronomy 13:11).
So, even though Ahaz had good, Godly fathers, what he observed around him caused him to regard the things of God of little value. Perhaps the pagan practices he observed looked like a lot more fun. He could enjoy all the sex he wanted, and if his promiscuous acts produced offspring, he could sacrifice those to Molech – all the fun and none of the responsibility! (Sound familiar?)
During his short reign of 16 years, the Assyrian Empire was rising up. At that time, Pekah, king of Israel, and Rezin, king of Syria joined forces to come against Jerusalem, but they could not overcome the fortified city. Ahaz needed help, so rather than turning to God, he sought help from Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria. In order to buy the help, Ahaz robbed the treasures of the Temple of God (which had been robbed in the past beginning with Rehoboam.). When one reads the spare-no-expense details of the building of Solomon’s Temple, it is sad to think of what had become of the once “wonder of the world.” Now, it was just a rundown building useful only for buying alliances. It was of little value to Ahaz, and the LORD God was not better than any other god in Ahaz’s eyes.
After Tiglath-pileser defeated Rezin, king of Syria, and carried off all the Syrians, Ahaz paid a visit to Damascus, the capital of Syria. There he saw the temple of Baalshamin (Baal), and he was deeply impressed by the altar to Baal. Not having a cell phone with a camera, he sketched a drawing of the altar along with the exact dimensions and sent them to the Urijah the high priest with orders to build a replica in the Temple in Jerusalem.
When Ahaz returned from Damascus, he instructed Urijal to move the original brazen altar built by Solomon to the north side of the Temple. In its place on the east side before the entrance to the Temple, Ahaz erected the Baal altar and offered sacrifices to God on a pagan altar. The brazen “sea” (it was a mikvah for the priests) that rested on the backs of twelve brass oxen was removed. Ahaz was trading the old for the new. More than that, Ahaz erected other altars to pagan gods around the Temple. In his estimation, this new way of worship exceeded the way that had been around for hundreds of years.
Many churches these days follow Ahaz’s example. Oh, they don’t build altars to pagan gods. However, perhaps in some ways they do. Some “worship services” seem more like rock concerts. The house lights are dimmed while the “altar” is ablaze with stage lighting, spotlights, and strobe lights. As the “worship team” rocks out their worship tunes, the congregation stands with arms waving in the air swaying as if in a trance. This is new! The old way of singing hymns out hymn books accompanied by piano and organ is too old-school. We need something new and “vibrant” so that young people can “experience” worship. Too many sermons from such pulpits are designed to make the congregants “feel” encouraged. No need to talk about sin and hell, much less warn about Christ’s soon return. Talk like that might turn people off, and they might not come back, or worse, they may stop contributing to the church. Such churches sacrifice the Gospel (old) for the audience (new). The Laodicean Church flourishes in our day.
Ahaz’s reign only lasted 16 years. His son Hezekiah, a “good” king, restored the Temple and the Temple sacrifice. However, the Scripture does not record whether the altar Ahaz built was dismantled or not. We can assume that it was. We can be sure that sacrifices offered on a pagan altar would be unacceptable to God. Scripture notes that following the first Passover celebration in the restored Temple that “Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed the people: and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to [God’s] holy dwelling place, even unto heaven” (2 Chronicles 30:27). That tells me the sacrifices were done properly and on the proper altar, the old fashioned way. Hezekiah did the opposite of his father; he traded the new for the old, and that pleased God.
I can only hope that we could learn that lesson before God “smites” our nation. Perhaps the smiting has begun. When governors boast that “we” have beaten this pandemic and chide that God had nothing to do with it, we may be beyond help. I hope not, but either way, my hope is in Christ. How about you?
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. (Proverbs 3:5-7)
Atheists ridicule Christians for being weak and needing God as a “crutch” to lean on in life. I say, “Guilty!” If the atheists were honest, they would confess that they too need a crutch on which to lean that supports their worldview. That crutch could be “science,” or perhaps they are so vain as to rely on themselves. Sadly, in times of crisis, those props will prove woefully inadequate.
I read an account of a king of Judah who did “that which was right in the sight of the Lord all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him.” (2 Kings 12:2, emphasis mine). His name was Jehoash, a.k.a. Joash, King of Judah.
Jehoash’s father, Ahaziah, reigned as king of Judah only one year “and he did evil in the sight of the LORD” (2 Kings 8:27). His mother, Athaliah, was the daughter of Omri, king of Israel (the northern kingdom) and sister of Ahab, Omri’s successor. Needless to say, she was not a nice lady.
The twenty-three-year-old King Ahaziah got caught up in a coup against the king of Israel and was killed after one year on the throne. When his mother, Athaliah, heard of his death, she quickly killed all possible successors to the throne and set herself up as Judah’s first and only queen, and she ruled in Judah for six years. That Judah ever had a queen is seldom discussed, however, one indeed existed.
Athaliah’s plot to extinguish all of Ahaziah’s “seed” failed because Ahaziah’s sister, Jehosheba, whose name means “Jehovah has sworn,” took Ahaziah’s baby son, Joash (Jehoash), to the Temple to be hid there by the high priest, Jehoiada, whose name means “Jehovah knows.”
Joash was about one year old when he came to Jehoiada who raised him and continued to advise him after he became king. After six years, when Joash was seven years old, Jehoiada, anointed Joash king of Judah, and Athaliah was put to death (2 Kings 11:16).
So Joash/Jehoash reigned as king of Judah for forty years (2 Kings 12:1). As previously mentioned, his actions pleased the LORD. He tore down the “high places” of idol worship and restored the Temple that had fallen into disrepair. But then Jehoiada “waxed old, and was full of days when he died. An hundred and thirty years old was he when he died” (2 Chronicles 24:15).
After that, it was all downhill for Joash. He lost his prop, his “crutch.” Without the priest that instructed him, Joash was lost. “Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them. And they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass. Yet [God] sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the LORD; and they testified against them: but they would not give ear” (2 Chronicles 24:17-19, emphasis mine).
Joash lost his prop so he found another in the perverted “princes of Judah.” Joash’s problem was that he looked to men for guidance. When he had a godly man to follow, he did well, but when Jehoiada was gone, he listened to ungodly men. So radical was his turn that when Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, came to call him to account, that Joash ordered him killed.
Another boy king would later come along that would stand strong because he had a different prop. His name was Josiah (2 Chronicles 34:1). Josiah likewise repaired the Temple and took down the high places of idol worship. In the process of repairing the Temple, the “book of the law” (the “Bible”) was found. Josiah read it and repented for failing to follow the law of God. From then on, Josiah ruled “by the Book” and in that was his strength.
What do you lean on? Men, even great preachers and pastors will let you down. Other Christians will hurt you and disappoint you. The Christian denomination you followed all your life will drift from its moorings and soon you will find yourself without a church. Friends, all these things are of “men” and men are fallen. You cannot rest your life on them; they will fail. Instead, learn a lesson from Joash and Josiah. Trust God and His Word and there you will find a support that will never let you down.
And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. (Revelation 6:6)
The Wuhan bug continues to impact the world economy. Without a doubt, the virus presents an undeniable threat to human health, especially to those who are immunocompromised. However, contrary information from independent sources not linked to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO) claim that the threat, however real, does not rise to the level of severity warranting the draconian measures that have been implemented around the world. Those measures threaten to plummet our nation and the world into the worst depression since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Currently, our national unemployment rate is around 17% and rising. Economists point out that the unemployment rate during the Great Depression rose to around 25%, and they fear that ours may go beyond that.
Due to the menacing outlook, many are turning to the Bible for answers, and some believe we are entering the Tribulation spoken of in the Book of Revelation. I would remind Christians that we are not there yet, but it is coming. Christians will not be around to experience the Tribulation, but we can see the stage being set if we pay attention.
The Covid-19 pandemic qualifies as a “pestilence” of which Jesus spoke. “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places” (Matthew 24:7). The Greek word translated “nations” is ethnos from where we get our English word, “ethnicity” and “ethnic.” These are people groups regardless of national boundaries. We frequently hear accusations of “racism” against one ethnic group or another simply because of disagreement on points of view. Famines increase around the globe and the heightened threat to the global economy will only exacerbate the problem. Pestilences, like the Wuhan virus, will only get worse. Earthquakes are occurring more frequently and with greater intensity regardless of what the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reports. (Keep in mind that government agencies often withhold information from the public to prevent undue panic.)
The sixth chapter of Revelation outlines the beginning of the Tribulation when the Lamb breaks open the seven seals of the scroll – the title deed to the earth. The first seal presents a rider on a white horse sent forth to conquer. He is given a bow, but no arrows and a crown indicating that his conquest is through diplomacy rather than through war. In the past, some saw this rider as Christ because of the crown and white horse as seen in Revelation 19. However, that makes little sense since it is Christ who is opening the seals. More recent students of end-times prophecy see this rider as the Antichrist making his appearance on the earth. This seems a better option to me.
The second seal reveals a rider on a red horse who is given power to take peace from the earth. We can see this develop as world economies collapse and nations become desperate to maintain their sovereignty.
The third seal brings the black horse rider carrying a balance scale in his hand. This rider represents the economic crash. When John saw this rider, he said, “And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine” (Revelation 6:6, emphasis mine). The Greek word translated “penny” is dēnarion or a “denarius” – the equivalence of a day’s wages. Wheat and barley were grains for the making of bread. Imagine inflation at a rate that a loaf of bread costs an average day’s wages today. If one earns $15 per hour in an 8-hour day that means a loaf of bread would cost $120! But what strikes me about this verse is the prohibition against harming the oil and the wine.
One of the problems created by the world-wide draconian shelter-in-place regulations is that fewer people are driving, airplanes are grounded, and the demand for oil has virtually disappeared. The glut of oil on the market has driven the price of oil in the negative direction. Oil producers need to keep pumping oil if only to keep their equipment working, but they have no place to sell it or to store it. The oil market is hurting.
The heavy-handed measures by many local leaders have closed down many businesses where people tend to congregate – restaurants, gyms, entertainment venues, etc. – by classifying them as “non-essential.” Sadly, churches have come under this classification. However, liquor stores do not fall into this category. Do not hurt the wine.
No, we are not in the Tribulation. Bill Gates wants to vaccinate everyone in the world against this pandemic with a vaccine that will include some kind of biometric device that will track everyone being vaccinated. Some see this as the “mark of the beast.” However, there can be no “mark of the beast” without a “beast.” That said, the technology for such a “mark” is here.
What do these things tell us? The time of the Tribulation looms just around the corner. If that is true, the Rapture of the Church is even closer. Look up, Christian, for your redemption draweth nigh.
Reader, are you prepared for what lies ahead? Get ready; read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”