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Evidence of Satan’s Slanderous Rebellion

Satan’s Slanderous Revolt Chapter 4 of Corrupting the Image 2

Satan became enraged by the notion that he, the great Angel, must be a servant to Adam, made of dust. So the root of jealousy and bitterness began festering within him. We see this egotism in ancient Sumerian texts. One said of him: “Enlil’s commands are by far the loftiest … He is the one that decides the fate, etc. He alone is the prince of heaven, the dragon of the earth.” [1]

Adam and Eve were childlike in their understanding of the great cosmos, and their wisdom could not compare to his. Even so, he was charged with watching over the creatures made of dust, guiding and serving them in any way needed. This obviously brought out the worst in him. His snake-dragon qualities are again on display in ancient Mesopotamia via Ninurta, one of his syncretisms.

Lord Ninurta … has perfected heroship, Dragon with the “hands” of a lion, the clawsof an eagle … Lord Ninurta, when your heart was seized (by anger), You spat venom like a snake.[2]

Instead of presenting himself as a servant set-apart as a living sacrifice, so to speak, and becoming like his Creator—which was both acceptable to Adonai and was his reasonable service—he began to think more highly of himself than he ought. Incensed with jealousy toward Adam, he lifted up a powerful weapon to defame the name of his Creator. How ironic that the very gift of unparalleled beauty caused him to become self-centered and to relinquish true wisdom. Instead of embracing humility, which would have led to honor, he chose pride and arrogance, which ultimately led to his fall toward destruction.

His deadly, slanderous weapon was a simple question: “Has God indeed said? (Gen 3:1). This tiny question was an insidious, but subtle slander of God’s character. He was asking, can you really trust what God said? Next, he told a lie about the consequence of eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, “You will not surely die” (Gen 3:4), and then proceeded to truthfully tell the purpose of the tree: to be like God.[3] “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen 3:5).

We know that his last statement was true for God himself says as much: “And the LORD God said, behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good (tov טֹ֣וב) and evil (ra רָ֔ע) (Gen 3:22, KJV). God wants beings that are like Him and with whom He can interact lovingly—that requires freewill[4]—that everyone has the chance to choose for Him or against Him.[5] Adam and Eve could have 1) refused to eat, thereby exercising their freewill choice, and their eyes would be opened to the knowledge of good—what God delights in, and the knowledge of evil—what God does not delight in (See Appendix 2, Evil), but without death, and they would be permitted to stretch out their hands and take from the tree of life and live forever; or 2) they could (and did) eat from the tree, have their eyes opened to the knowledge of good and evil with the consequence of severing their connection with God (which is death, decay, and degeneration entering their bodies and souls) and thereby being banned from eating from the tree of life and being banished from the Garden of Eden.

The book of Ezekiel describes Satan’s actions: “You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity [avlata עַוְלָ֖תָה] was found in you.”(Ezek 28:15) This word means “to deviate from and hence to do what is opposite of the character of God.”[6] Satan originally did what was in accordance with the character of God until one day he deviated. TWOT makes it clear that it is not just a philosophical departure from an ideal—but it is an action or deed.

In Hebrew, the basic meaning of this root means to deviate from a right standard, to act contrary to what is right. The verb is a denominative from āwel/‘awlâ and occurs only twice in the Old Testament … In Isa 26:10 it describes the activity of the people of Judah who act unjustly (KJV; “perversely,” RSV) in contrast to upright behavior… an act or deed that is against what is right … behavior contrary to what is right.[7]

Satan was perfect until he misbehaved, acted out and committed a deed that was contrary to God’s righteous standard. The next verse in Ezekiel reveals his deviation was “by the abundance of [rekhulatkha רְכֻלָּתְךָ֗]” (Ezek 28:16).

The Slanderer

The big question, of course, is what exactly does rekhulatkha mean? It has been typically translated as “trading”, which is a possible translation.[8] But is it the best interpretation?

The word comes from the root [rakhal רכל] which according to BDB Hebrew-English Lexicon means: “to go about (meaning dubious) 1.a. trafficker, trader.” Rekhulatkha, based on the original root [rakhal רכל] (H7402) means “slander, slanderer, tale bearer, informer … someone who goes about as a talebearer spreading gossip or things that are in some way destructive … a scandal-monger (as travelling about).”[9]

Gesenius notes its phonetic relationship to the word ragal [רָגַל] “to go on foot” and how it carries the meaning of “to traffic.” The secondary meaning is “for the sake of slandering, whence [rakhil רָכִיל] slander.”[10]

We therefore have a definition for [rakhil רָכִיל] as someone who goes about as a slanderer, spreading gossip or things that are in some way destructive. In other words: spreading malicious information. This sounds exactly like what Satan did in the Garden. Revelation 12:9 reveals more about Satan’s various titles, calling him the dragon and the serpent of old—the latter a clear reference to Genesis 3—and then mentioning the term “devil.”

The Devil

The word devil comes from the Greek diabolos [διάβολος] “slanderous, backbiting”, derived from diaballo [διαβάλλω] “throw or carry across” (wrestling).[11] The Liddle Scott Jones Classical Greek Lexicon describes exactly the alternate meaning of rekhulatkha [רְכֻלָּתְךָ֗] that we have proposed.

διαβάλλω: — throw or carry over or across in wrestling, pass over, cross, put through, set at variance set against, bring into discredit, to be filled with suspicion and resentment against another, attack a man’s character, calumniate, accuse, complain of without implied malice or falsehood, reproach a man with, misrepresent, speak or state slanderously, give hostile information, without any insinuation of falsehood, lay the blame for a thing on, declare it spurious, deceive by false accounts, mislead, divert from a course of action. (Emphasis mine).[12]

Satan, filled with suspicion and resentment against God, was going about to the other angels subtly discrediting and misrepresenting God and attacking his character. In other words, his iniquity was slandering God. According to Ezekiel 28:16, it was not a one-off offense but in fact, an abundance of slander. The lesson we glean is God did not cast Satan to the ground for one aberrant thought, but for an abundance of misbehavior.

This alternate reading of Ezekiel 28:16, of “slandering” versus “trafficking”, fits much better with the anointed cherub who covers. He was not trafficking merchandise. He was giving hostile information about God and misrepresenting his character. Dr. Robert Luginbill, in his book, The Satanic Rebellion,also sees the problem with translating rekhulatkha as “your trading”.[13]

The only thing he could have traded was slander. The translation “slander” maintains the meaning of “going about” and includes the nuance of “misrepresenting, attacking character”, and it is confirmed by Satan’s Greek title diabolos (devil) which means slanderer. Based on the aforementioned, my translation is therefore: “By the abundance of your [rekhulatkha רְכֻלָּתְךָ֗] slandering you became filled with violence within, and you sinned” (Ezek 28:16).

This provides a different perspective; Satan was not hawking his merchandise: “Hey, guys you need to get the latest Angel-phone!” God did not come in with an anti-trust case against him. It was not like God said: “Satan! You are selling too much. I have to stop your monopoly.” That was not it. With whom would Satan trade, anyway? The other angels?

Figure Committing Suicide.

Satan subtly slandered God in the Garden of Eden because he did not want to serve anyone, but instead wanted all to serve him. He persuaded Adam and Eve to curse themselves, (See Appendix 5 Balaam), to put the gun to their own heads and dig their own grave, as in Figure 15. He used slander to incite Adam to eat the fruit God forbad, knowing Adam would “surely die” (Gen 2:17), and he would subsequently commit all his progeny to perpetual death (Rom 5:12; 1 Cor 15:21–22). Adam’s transgression caused an imbalance, a debt, a legal lien upon the Earth which must be balanced or paid (we will explore this in detail when Jesus takes the scroll in Revelation 5). Thus, Adam’s dominion, prerogative and hereditary right to the Earth were forfeited and consequently, Satan would occupy the Earth in place of its legal and rightful possessor. Satan usurped Adam’s rulership which is proved by Jesus calling Satan the “ruler of the world” (John 14:30).

Perhaps the most heinous part of Satan’s plot was that Adam and Eve did not suspect anything because they seemed to already know and trust Satan. He came to Adam and Eve as God’s chief steward, prime minister and high priest who oversaw everything and was charged with protecting the sacred place they occupied. They had no reason to question his motives. They had known him since the day of their creation. Satan was therefore able to come to them in his unfallen, glorious state and they listened.

It is important to understand that he came to them with evil intent in his heart. However, unlike the movie, “Minority Report”, in which people could be incarcerated for future crimes they had not yet committed, in God’s economy, a person must first commit the crime in reality before they do the time. Jesus’ statement: “Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt 5:28).Lust is a craving to have something or someone that is not yours. A decision to perpetuate and continue this line of thinking eventually leads a person to committing an action. However, it must be pointed out that there is no specific punishment for lust. (See Appendix 7 Leaven). The many consequences for lusting might include neurological pathways forming that affect the brain or harmful chemicals being released in the brain that lead to depression, addiction and dangerous behaviors. Left unchecked, lust will eventually lead to adultery. However, only real adultery is punishable in God’s economy.

Thus, Satan lusting about being like God was not enough to deserve judgment; he had to do the deed and slander was the key.

Satan Cast to the Ground

After speaking with Adam and Eve about what happened, God turned to his once trusted prime minister and proclaimed the consequence of his action: he would lose his blessed status among animals and would instead be cursed above all others, he would lose his beauty and splendor, and he would lose the fiery-nature he enjoyed as a cherub.

We have looked at three major passages: Genesis 3, Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, that deal with the fall of Satan. In all three, Satan is in the Garden of Eden, and God pronounced the immediate judgment of being cast to the ground and the future consequence of his slander. We note the several similarities by comparing them in the chart on the next page.

Table 4 Comparison of Passages of Satan Cast to the Ground

Gen 3:1, 14 the serpent was more cunning than any beast of…the LORD God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life.Isa 14:1215 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Heilel, son of the morning! you are cut down to the ground (Eretz) … For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol.Ezek 28:1318 You were in Eden, the garden of God… You were on the holy mountain of God…I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones…I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, That they might gaze at you…I brought fire from your midst, it devoured you
In EdenOn God’s mountainIn Eden & On God’s mountain
Has exalted positionHas exalted positionHas exalted position
Blessed above animalsGreat rank impliedCherub – over animals
Had great wisdomGreat wisdom impliedHad great wisdom
Cast to ground / bellyCast to groundCast to ground
Slandered GodSlandered GodSlandered God
Comparison of Passages of Satan Cast to the Ground

We may infer from God’s judgment that Satan did not expect to lose his legs and be cast to the ground. Until then, he possessed the most glorious body imaginable—he was the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (Ezek 28:12). As high priest, he was covered in dazzling stones, but all of that was lost when he fell. Paired with his fire also being taken away, losing his legs may imply the loss of mobility and specifically, the loss of the ability to come through the veil.

God then declared:

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed [zarakha זַרְעֲךָ] and her seed [zarah זַרְעָהּ]; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Gen 3:15).

“You, shall bruise his heel” means that Satan is going to injure the Messiah, the Seed of the woman. “He shall bruise your head” means the Messiah would inflict a mortal blow to Satan. This was essentially a declaration of war. God had just given hope to mankind and an ominous prophecy of doom to him. Satan did not underestimate his adversary; he has repeatedly done all he can to seal his control over the world forever. To maintain his control, Satan had to cause man to love him and slander his Creator to the point that they hate or ignore Him, and then get man to lust after himself and his fallen angels so his kingdom could openly manifest on the Earth.


[1] The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/section4/tr4051.htm)

[2] Amar Annus, The God Ninurta in the Mythology and Royal Ideology of Ancient Mesopotamia, State Archives of Assyria Studies, Volume XIV Helsinki 2002. Pg. 183

[3] Being like God is a good thing: we shall be in His likeness (Psalm 17:15), “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4) “we shall be like Him,” (1 John 3:2) You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy, (Lev 19:2, see also Lev 11:44-45; 20:7, 26; 1Pet 1:16). Disobeying God was bad.

[4] God created them with capacity to love but could not force them. Love must be freely chosen to be authentic. Likewise, He could create them with the ability to choose but could not force them. Choice, by definition, must be self-determined.

[5] In order to choose, there must be a real, authentic negative option, thus “evil.” God said they could freely eat from any tree in the garden. Yet Adam eating from merely choosing to eat from an apple tree versus a pear tree would not constitute a self-governing choice because those trees had God’s blessing. Adam needed a real negative option that he would choose to NOT take. Thus, to eat or NOT to eat from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil provided them the opportunity of self-determination, of self-governance; to choose – freely, without any compulsion on God’s part.

[6] TWOT Harris, Laird R.; Archer, Gleason L; Waltke, Bruce K.; Moody Publishers, Chicago: 1980. Entry 1580

[7] TWOT avlata

[8] This word rekhulatkha, (translated as “trading”) has caused confusion about Satan’s history. A popular theory, is the Gap theory which asserts Satan was in charge of an unrecorded, pre-Adamic empire eons ago found in the gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. Advocates suggest verse two be translated “And the earth became formless and void…” According to Hebrew Grammar, “ve’ha’aretz hayta” indicates a parenthetical statement due to the word “and” followed by the subject followed by the verb, which is not the standard biblical Hebrew order. Hebrew והארץ היתה vehaaretz hayta is known grammatically as a copulative clause. (See Kautszch and Cowley 1910:484) The vav (or waw) attached to the noun (the earth) acts as a type of parenthetical statement (See: Joüon, PG., & T. Muraoka 2005) thus: “… God created…the earth. (Now the earth was without form, and void.)” Earth in Gen 1:1 included all unorganized raw material God had created in no particular shape or form: “The earth was without form, and void (תהו ובהו tohu vavohu)” (Gen 1:2a) These words do not suggest that the earth was a wasteland waiting to be recreated. According to TWOT tohu vavohu, “Refers not to the result of a supposed catastrophe…but to the formlessness of the earth before God’s creative hand began the majestic acts.” (TWOT Tohu, See also: Fields 1978:58).

[9] [רכל] BDB 1. to go about (meaning dubious)

[10]Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures

[11] LSJ Classical Greek Lexicon, διάβολος.

[12] Ibid. See also Thayer’s: διαβάλλω: 1. to throw over or across, to send over; 2. to traduce, calumniate, slander, accuse, defame. BDAG διάβολος, to engagement in slander, slanderous, one who engages in slander

[13] Robert Luginbill, The Satanic Rebellion: Background to the Tribulation, Part 1: Satan’s Rebellion and Fall. http://ichthys.com offers the following translation: “In your extensive conspiring, you were filled with wickedness, and you sinned.” (Ezek 28:16)

Satan the Anointed Protective Cherub of Eden

Satan the Anointed Protective Cherub Chapter 3 of Corrupting the Image 2

Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, “Thus says the Lord GOD: You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (Ezek 28:12).

In chapter one, we discovered that the king of Tyre was not a reference to a human king, but to Melqart / Heracles, one of the many syncretisms of Satan. Because the passage is about Satan, what God has to say about the anointed cherub is all the more significant. In just six Hebrew words, Satan was revealed to be the “seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.”

Seal of Perfection [חוֹתֵ֣ם תָּכְנִ֔ית]: God described him as being the seal of measurement / proportion. A seal, chotem [חוֹתֵ֣ם], was the hot wax applied to the outside of a scroll to make sure that it stayed closed. It was the finishing touch applied to the completed work that was perfect and needed no changes.

This description, coupled with the word measurement / proportion [תכנית tochnit], means Satan was the absolute greatest of God’s creatures. His proportions were pristine, sublime and impeccable. His form was exquisite in every capacity. He was the meter stick against which others would be measured. He was the gold standard by which all others would be judged; the measure of the appearance of perfection, second only to God himself. It is hard to imagine what this truly means in real terms. But he was absolutely it: the seal of perfection.

Full of Wisdom [מָלֵ֥א חָכְמָ֖ה]: God also created Satan completely full of wisdom [maleh chochma מלא חכמה]. Satan was not lacking in any area of understanding. If he were a cup, God filled him to the very brim and could not fill him anymore. As a result, Satan perfectly understood the workings of God’s creation.  He understood the laws governing the Earth, the stars and life itself. He understood the process of photosynthesis, cellular biology, quantum physics and the science beyond our grasp. He had no need to learn, for he already possessed the knowledge of all the systems God had created.

Yet there is an infinite distinction between God and Satan. While God gave him perfect wisdom, Satan has always lacked a complete perspective because he does not know the future. Like a good chess player, he can make incredibly good predictions and can model the future with great accuracy just as humans can model the trajectory of rockets and get to the moon. Still, he can never know all variables which might come into play. God is the only one who knows the future, which means Satan must learn the future as it unfolds before him.

I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me,​declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose (Isa 46:9-10).

Perfect in Beauty [וּכְלִ֥יל יֹֽפִי]: Lastly, God created him “perfect in beauty” [kalil yofi כליל יפי]. The Hebrew kalal means “entire, full, all.”[i] Thus, Satan was lacking nothing in his appearance. He was 100% in the beauty department. We must not overlook the weight of this statement: Perfect in beauty. God’s beauty is overwhelming. “Your eyes will see the King in His beauty; They will see the land that is very far off” (Isa 33:17). King David pined, “One thing I have desired of the LORD … To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple” (Ps 27:4). Satan’s beauty was like the beauty of his Creator and exceeded the beauty of all other created beings.

In those mere six Hebrew words, we learned: Satan was the measure and the standard of perfect form; He was completely full of wisdom and lacked none; and he was absolutely complete and possessed the entirety of beauty. God withheld no aesthetic quality when He created him;[ii] He endowed Satan with phenomenal and outstanding beauty that equaled Him in splendor. These descriptions give us insight into why Satan thought he was on equal footing with his Maker. He was like God, or at least he thought so. These qualities would eventually spark his rebellion and will lead to the creation of the Beast.

“You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones” (Ezek 28:14).

Satan belonged to a special class of beings known as the cherubim. The Akkadian cognate verb of cherub means “to bless, praise, adore. As one of the characteristics of the cherubim was adoration of God, this derivation would appear suitable.”[iii] Thus, a significant role Satan played was to bless, praise, and adore God, and this is precisely what the cherubim do “day or night, saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!’” (Rev 4:8).

Judging from his vesture, Satan had the role of high priest. He was covered with an array of precious stones, inlaid in sockets of gold and silver. The King James translation tells us he was covered in [tupekha תפיך] and [nekbekha נקביך], meaning timbrels and pipes which gives us the misleading impression that Satan was the worship leader in heaven. I remember when I was a kid, I heard that in a sermon from a Baptist minister, who of course was using the King James Version. I like the King James, but there are better translations for these two words. Regardless of Satan’s musical abilities, these two words more accurately suggest mountings and sockets for the stones he wore—an idea more properly conveyed in the ESV, NET and other more modern translations.

According to Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew Lexicon (BDB), nekbecha [נקב] “1. groove, socket, hole, cavity, settings. a. technical term relating to jeweller’s work. – Origin: a bezel (for a gem).” It is a receptacle in which you would set something. Interestingly, the same word Nekeva, means “female,” which could relate to something like a female-fitting connector which holds something else.

The Septuagint Reading of the Stones

Though the Masoretic text is a reliable and foundational text, the variant reading of the Septuagint may supply us with crucial details regarding the stones covering Satan and the function they served. In the following Table 3, we compare the Septuagint of Ezekiel 28 with Exodus 28, and we have a match. We infer that Satan’s stones were in a breastplate like that of Israel’s high priest. It must also be noted that the stones are nearly the same as the stones of the foundations of the New Jerusalem; though, the meaning of some of the words is uncertain which causes the translations to drift a little.[iv] If the reading of the Septuagint is correct (twelve stones instead of nine), then we can be fairly confident that Satan’s covering stones were in fact a breastplate, and he served the function of priest in some capacity.

Table Comparison of the Stones in Ezek 28 Septuagint and Hebrew Text

 New Engl. Transl. (Exod 28:17–20) Priest’s EphodSeptuagint (Ezek 28:13 LXXE) Stones covering Satan Rev 21 twelve gates & stones
First RowRuby (sardius NKJV), a topaz, and a beryl (emerald NKJV)sardius1, and topaz2, and emerald3Matchjasper, the second sapphire, the third agate
Second Rowa turquoise, a sapphire, and an emerald;carbuncle4, and sapphire5, and jasper6, and silver, and gold [metals not stones – see 4th row]Matchthe fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian
Third Rowand the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst;and ligure (beryl?)7, and agate8, and amethyst9Matchthe seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz
Fourth Rowa chrysolite, an onyx, and a jasper. enclosed in goldand chrysolite10, and beryl11, and onyx12Matchthe tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst

The presence of twelve stones in his breastplate makes more sense when we consider that God, in his perfection and authority, established the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles. There are twelve months in a year, twelve stars in the ancient zodiac as recorded in the book of Job, twelve hours of the day, and twelve hours of the night from Egyptian and Sumerian history. The New Jerusalem, the mountain of God, has twelve gates and twelve foundations which may have been what the twelve stones on Satan’s breastplate represented. There is a clear indication of divine perfection in Satan’s twelve-stoned emblem of authority.

When we contemplate which priestly office Satan may have held, we remember that there was no sin and hence, no need for blood sacrifices. Certainly, officiating sacrifices was one of the major duties of an earthly priest, though it was by no means the only duty. Their other roles were to make pronouncements on behalf of God, to instruct people in his ways (2 Chr 17:3–9; Neh 8:2–3), and to sing praise to God (2 Chr 29:30). Our theory that Satan performed priestly duties is substantiated by the fact he was called “the anointed cherub [keruv mimshakh כְּר֔וּב מִמְשַׁ֖ח] who covers” (Ezek 28:14).

The word anointed is of course the same as mashiach (messiah), which refers to pouring oil on someone’s head, which in turn meant the person had been chosen for leadership.[v] When Samuel anointed (mashakh) Saul by pouring oil on his head, it signified how a formerly regular guy was given a special purpose. In the case of Saul, it meant: you are going to be God’s appointed leader, the visible leader for the people; you are going to now be the one to whom the people will look for leadership. The same was true for David.

Therefore, Satan’s role as priest was to serve as the leader to communicate God’s instructions, directives and will to others. Just as priests taught and interpreted God’s commands, Satan likely would have been tasked with those priestly responsibilities.

Satan – Guardian of Eden

Satan was “in Eden, the garden of God” (Ezek 28:13). [גן עדן Gan Eden], the Garden of Eden, means an enclosed, protected area (gan[vi]) of pleasure (Eden). It was necessarily a sacred space, for after Adam and Eve sinned, “the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden” (Gen 3:23).

Satan was charged with overseeing the sacred place: You defiled your sanctuaries” (Ezek 28:18). The word “your sanctuaries” [mikdesheikha מִקְדָּשֶׁ֑יךָ] is from the root: qoph, daleth, shin: the same as kadosh, which is what the seraphim (possibly cherubim) chant day and night before the throne of God. It is the same word that is used of the temple. TWOT explains:

Miqdāsh denotes that which has been devoted to the sphere of the sacred. When it refers to the sanctuary, it connotes the physical area devoted to the worship of God. This area was sacred because it was the place where God dwelled among the people (Ex 25:8) and its sanctity was not to be profaned (Lev 12:4; 19:30; 20:3; 21:12, 23). The word Miqdāsh may refer to the abode of God in Ps 68:35 [H 36], but some commentators see this as the temple in Jerusalem. Metaphorically the word is used to refer to a place of refuge (Isa 8:14).[vii]

It was in this enclosed, protected, sacred place which Satan was charged with protecting, that the conflict occurred. (See Appendix 2 Angel Freewill).

So far, we see that Satan’s job and official charge was to be an “anointed protective / guardian cherub” stationed in the Garden of Eden. What caused him to rebel?

Satan Corrupted His Wisdom

When a murder victim is found, one of the big questions is to determine motive. What drove the murderer to do what he did? What was Satan’s motive? Satan was endowed with the gift of unparalleled beauty and wisdom. To understand why Satan staged a coup and was willing to throw away his exalted position and rebel against his Maker, we need to go recreate the scene[viii] of the crime and see if we can spot the motive.

To set our stage, we need to consider a few parameters. Just before God created Adam, it says in Genesis: And God saw that it was good” (Gen 1:25). After the creation of Adam, we read: “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good” (Gen 1:31). Thus, on both sides of the creation of Adam, the coast was clear, nothing wicked was on the horizon. It was an “all systems go.”

We might do well to employ the principle of Occam’s razor which posits that if the simplest explanation works, we should use it rather than looking for a more complex one. Therefore, if the text says that God saw everything He had made, and if nothing is hidden from God(Prov 15:3; Jer 16:17; Luke 8:17), then it stands to reason that all things in all of creation which were “framed by the word of God … which are seen … not made of things which are visible,” (Heb 11:3) were also “very good”.

The “very good” stamp, then, was also affixed to the angelic host, including Satan. Therefore, the preflight checklist came back “very good”. With this in mind, let us recreate the scene of the crime.

God created Satan as the greatest of all his creatures—surpassing every other in beauty and wisdom. God held nothing back. God anointed him, that is, He called him to be a leader, God’s principle agent. He was second only to God, just as Joseph was given authority to be ruler of all Egypt and was second only to Pharaoh.

“You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you” (Gen 41:40).

Thus, God established Satan as his anointed, his special agent, his viceroy and prime minister, authorized to do his bidding, to speak on his behalf, and to “sign God’s checks.” Satan was steward of all God’s house. When Satan spoke, it was as if it was God Himself, just as Joseph spoke and acted on Pharaoh’s behalf with absolute authority.

Joseph’s eminence would not have threatened or lessened the power, authority and right of Pharaoh’s heir to the throne. Even if Joseph would have had an exceptionally lengthy career before Pharaoh’s heir took the throne, Joseph’s position would have remained the same. In the same manner, Satan could be Prime Minister and God’s son, Jesus, would still hold the special place as the true heir of God’s throne.

Satan was never given God’s throne; rather, he was authorized to act, speak and decree on God’s behalf, just as Joseph acted, spoke and decreed on Pharaoh’s behalf. Joseph was well pleased to occupy the position endowed him and never thought of overthrowing Pharaoh. He recognized that his great power, exalted position and absolute authority were granted to him by Pharaoh; he could never occupy the throne of Pharaoh for he was not Pharaoh, nor would he ever be the son of Pharaoh.

God’s modus operandi is to enable and empower his creatures. He could do everything by Himself if He desired. He does not need us. It is like when you put together a shelf from IKEA and your little ones say, “Daddy, can we help?” You do not really need their help and chances are, they might make the whole process longer, but it is more enjoyable with them. This seems to be why He created us.

In Daniel 4, King Nebuchadnezzar was informed through a dream that he would be judged for his arrogance. The message is not from God directly, but by “decree of the watchers” (Dan 4:17). God empowered the angels or watchers to make decisions on his behalf. They were not and are not merely loudspeakers relaying God’s dictations, though they may do so on occasion. Rather, they are intelligent, reasoning creatures whom God allows to act autonomously and independently of Him.

Satan was a member of an ancient guardian class; and being of highest rank, he was the highest of the highest, outranked only by God Himself. He had authority to act as God’s viceroy. With the wisdom to know that God was and is the most powerful, why did he throw it all away? He had been given everything, why spoil it?

His Heart was Proud

God gives us the answer: “Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom on account of your splendor” (Ezek 28:17 NET).

It was Satan who corrupted his own wisdom: he was the active agent. Nothing happened to him; he was not passive in the transformation. He was the one who caused the decay of his endowment of wisdom due to his arrogant confidence in his own beauty. This means that he made a conscious choice. He was not preprogrammed to be bad or to fall from God’s grace. He mindfully chose to stage a coup against his Creator and rightful King. Why?

The bottom line is that Satan did not want to serve others: He wanted everybody to serve him. He looked at himself in the mirror and said, “Whoa, good-looking. Where did you come from?” He looked at his SAT and GRE scores and was like, “Wow, 100%. What do you know? I really am all that.” He looked at his resume: “First in charge of God’s kingdom. Wow. I deserve of all this stuff. And you know what? Creation should bow down to me. Creation should serve me because look at all that I have. Look at all that I am.” It would be easy to come to that conclusion because of his splendor and beauty.

However, it was not an outside force acting upon him that corrupted him. We read: you corrupted your wisdom, because of your beauty. He chose to corrupt what he knew to be true because he was looking at himself. Being full of wisdom, he must have heard his own voice say, “Who gave you these things? Wasn’t it God, the Creator of heaven and Earth who made you, who spoke you into existence? Will He not forever be a million billion trillion times greater than you? Even infinitely greater than you? Even though He gave you all this amazing stuff, you are still nothing compared to God, compared to the Creator. How can you possibly boast?”

In reality, Satan had no reason to be proud. Sure, he possessed unimaginable beauty. On a scale of ten, he was a ten. We get the impression that he may have equaled God in beauty. He also possessed unparalleled wisdom. He was full, which meant that he lacked nothing. It seems impossible that he could be as wise as God, yet the text says that he was full (not lacking) in wisdom. Thus, when he compared himself with God in terms of beauty, he equaled God. When he compared himself with God in terms of wisdom, he apparently thought he equaled God, as well. When he noted his authority, he acted as if he were God. It is not hard to understand how he could reach the conclusion that he was not just an agent empowered by God, but was also worthy to be praised and revered as God and in place of God.

Ironically, he proved himself to be nothing like God; looking like God on the outside is no big deal … He created him as such. To truly be like God, he needed to choose to act like Him. We too must choose to lay down our lives, our self-interests and to be servants to one another. We must learn to act with love, which is sacrificial service toward one another. (See Appendix 7 Leaven).

“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:14–15).

The path to truly being like God required Satan and the other angels to sacrificially serve others, especially those lower than themselves; This feat is perfectly demonstrated by Jesus going to the cross. Satan was unwilling to do this. Satan boasted in the attributes he shared with God, but the one that he was required to demonstrate himself, which was to sacrificially love and serve; he refused. He set the example that rulers of the nations would later practice, as Jesus said: “The rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them” (Matt 20:25).

Satan Refused to Serve

Satan refused to be a servant to those lesser than himself. Serving the one up the chain of command and submitting to one stronger than yourself is expected, required and merits nothing special. In contrast, God requires us to lay down our lives and become the servant of all. Whom could Satan have served? For starters, certainly every other angel was lesser than him in rank, beauty and wisdom. If Satan had within his character the attribute of servant-leadership, he could have served them, and of course, Adam.

Let us imagine the Garden of Pleasure: the light of the sun pokes through the majestic canopy of trees, home to animals of every sort. The rich scent of oranges, passion fruit, peaches and fresh flowers permeate the untainted air. The garden is painted with vibrant colors. Hummingbirds flit from tree to tree drinking in the sweet nectar. A lovely glow emanates from every living thing.

God lovingly fashions a form from the adamáh (soil) with his powerful hands and tenderly bends over and breathes his Spirit into the nostrils of the dirt creature (Gen 2:7, John 20:22). “Adam!” God calls him. He has a reddish hue like the adamáh[ix] out of which he had been taken. After absorbing the light from God, Adam emitted a strong whitish glow. Not only does Adam share in God’s image and likeness, but God has actually breathed his own life-force into him!

Satan was the anointed protective / guardian cherub stationed in Eden to watch over Adam, the son of God (Luke 3:38) who also had God’s seed (DNA / information, 1 John 3:9). Satan was the exalted, standard of perfection chief steward, but Adam was the heir of God’s creation (not throne). God gave Adam “dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves on the earth,” (Gen 1:28). The Psalmist explains how man is the heir in a wonderful way:       

For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet (Ps 8:5–6).

Satan calculated that if he killed the heir, the world would be his, just as Jesus described in a parable about the evil vinedressers: “But those vinedressers said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours’” (Mark 12:7). If Adam, the heir, died then he as the chief steward would be the heir. Abram said that very thing to God when he had no genetic heir:

But Abram said, “Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” (Gen 15:2) Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!” (Gen 15:3)

If Pharaoh had a son, it did not affect Joseph the prime minister. The throne always belonged to Pharaoh and his son, completely apart from the role of the prime minister. When God gave dominion of his creation to Adam, it did not reduce Satan’s role, responsibilities or prestige in the least. Yet, Satan could not bring himself to serve someone lesser in rank and lesser in nature.

He likely understood the Earth and all its fullness will forever technically belong to God,”[x] but legally, he would be Lord of the Earth since Adam could not regain dominion due to death. Hence, Satan would adversely take possession of the Earth and would remain the ruler of the world indefinitely.[xi] He would rule through the “the power of death” (Heb 2:14).

Satan Chose Not to Be Like God

Ironically, the one who held the greatest position, who was a seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty, was not willing to truly be like God. He thought he was like God, because he had the externals, but these externals were gifts from God. He chose not to be like God when he refused to humble himself and love.

What does love really look like? Is love just giving a bouquet of flowers? Is love taking that special romantic interest out to dinner? Maybe. But really not. Those romantic gestures are easy; Anybody can do that. Love, real love, is sacrificial service to one another. This kind of servanthood is not in the sense that you are taken as a slave and now you serve your master; rather, it is where you voluntarily lay down your rights, priorities, options and prerogatives to sacrificially serve another person.

Satan deviated from God’s characteristic of being a servant, which is the expression of love. For the sake of his beauty, Satan corrupted his wisdom despite knowing that “whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 18:4). He rejected what he knew to be true about God so that he could put forth his own agenda: that all would serve him. We can translate all these actions into one word: Self. Satan’s kingdom is about self, about pride.

As the greatest, most sublime of God’s creatures, full of wisdom, he knew that to be great required him to serve. Adam and Eve were the test God put in Satan’s path to grant him the opportunity to be a servant so he could keep his office of prime minister.

Satan, as God’s chief steward, was tested for faithfulness as Paul wrote: “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful” (1 Cor 4:2).His test for greatness was simple, as Jesus eloquently put it, “whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave” (Matt 20:27).

Joseph was tested for thirteen years before he was raised up as the second most powerful man in Egypt. Unlike Joseph the faithful steward, Satan refused to serve and lusted for the throne, as well:

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Heilel [Hêlēl הֵילֵ֣ל], son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!  For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north;  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High’” (Isa 14:12–14).

By seeking God’s throne, Satan by necessity, shifted his focus from serving God and serving others (lesser than himself), to serving himself. He claimed to be equal with God, something no creature can ever claim against his Creator. And unlike Abram’s faithful steward, Eliezer of Damascus, who was going to inherit all things until Isaac came along, Satan calculated he could arrange for Adam, the heir, to have a little “accident” and die before fully taking possession of his inheritance.

Satan’s scheme would leave Adam and humanity without an inheritance until Jesus later came in the form of a servant (Phil 2:7) as the last Adam (I Cor 15:45), and would reconcile the sons of Adam with God (Col 1:22). He would demonstrate how he was committed[xii] to serve ones lesser than himself to regain the inheritance Adam had lost (John 3:16; 15:13).

Hence, we have a motive to our crime scene: Satan would destroy mankind before he would bow in service to a man made of dust; he refused to be a servant to others. His post as the chief ministering spirit was to serve those who needed to inherit salvation. When God created Adam and Eve, they were innocent and were not dying, but neither did they have complete immortality yet as they were not immune to sin. In other words, they could have lived a long time in their innocent state, but at some point, they presumably would have had the opportunity and need to eat from the tree of life in order to seal them as immortals. Satan understood their situation very well and saw an opportunity to stage the ultimate coup and overturn God’s kingdom of sacrificial love, and thereby ensure that his own greatness could be recognized and adored. Once he crossed this threshold, he could never go back. Ever. There is no room for the exaltation of self in God’s kingdom. With raging malice in his heart, he set out to defile the sanctuary with his deadly weapon: slander.


[i] TWOT 985 כָלַל (kālal) I, perfect, make perfect. (ASV, RSV similar.)

[ii] Ezek 28:12-13; Isa 14:11

[iii] TWOT: Cherub. See also http://www.assyrianlanguages.org/akkadian/ to bless; to praise; to dedicate (an offering), to thank, to congratulate; cherub.

[iv] ISBE “Precious Stones” That the Hebrew texts used for the Septuagint, Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) and English Versions of the Bible were not identical in all the verses in which there is mention of precious stones is especially clear from an analysis of the respective descriptions of the ornaments of the king of Tyre (Eze 28:13). In the Septuagint, 12 stones are mentioned; as already stated, they have precisely the same names and are mentioned in precisely the same order as the stones of the breastplate described in that version, the only difference being that gold and silver are inserted in the middle of the list. On the other hand, in Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) and English Versions of the Bible descriptions of the ornaments, only 9 of the 12 stones of the breastplate are mentioned; they are not in the same order as the corresponding stones in the breastplate as described in those VSS, silver is not mentioned at all, while gold is placed, not in the middle, but at the end of the list.

[v] “To anoint an individual or an object indicated an authorized separation for God’s service. Moses anointed Aaron “to sanctify him” (lĕqaddĕshô, Lev 8:12; cf. Ex 29:36 for the altar). Note the expression “anointed to the Lord” (I ). māshaḥ, while representing a position of honor, also represents increased responsibility… though the agent might be the priest or prophet, writers speak of anointed ones as those whom the Lord anointed (e.g. I Sam 10:1; II Sam 12:7). Such language underscores that it is God who is the authorizing agent; that the anointed is inviolable (I Sam 24:8ff.); and that the anointed one is to be held in special regard (cf. I Sam 26:9ff.)…one may infer that divine enablement was understood as accompanying māshaḥ. TWOT

[vi] [גָּנַן] (gānan) defend. (ASV and RSV also render “put a shield about,” and “protect.” גַּן  (gan) enclosure, garden. גַּנָּה (gannâ) garden.מָגֵן (māgēn) shield. TWOT Harris, Laird R.; Archer, Gleason L.; Waltke, Bruce K.; Moody Publishers, Chicago: 1980. Entry 1580

[vii] TWOT, Miqdāsh

[viii] When Satan fell is a question often influenced by a person’s view of the creation event itself. This chapter is intended to provide a simple explanation based on all of the biblical and relevant creation science available not to advocate for the Gap Theory, Old Earth Creation or Young Earth Creation view.

[ix] TWOT ădāmâ: describes the connection between soil and Adam: “ădāmâ. Ground, land, planet. Originally this word signified the red arable soil”.

[x] Exod 19:5; Deut 10:14; Ps 24:1, 50:12, 89:11

[xi] John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11; Heb 2:15

[xii] The word “agape” means fully committed to something, wholly devoted and dedicated.

How Romans 14 is Misused to Justify Eating Unclean Animals


A frequent argument in favor of eating unclean animals such as pork, shellfish, etc is the notion that Paul said it was OK to do so. This is an unfortunate characterization of the apostle Paul who frequently stated he kept the same faith as his fathers:

“But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. (Acts 24:14)
Paul also said that we are not abolishing the law (Torah) but upholding it.
Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law. (Rom 3:31)
Paul even went so far as to say that what really matters is keeping the law (Torah).
Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters. (1Cor 7:19)
Despite these and many other verses in which Paul defends keeping the Torah, many people assert that Paul is suggesting a person can eat unclean animals which is a clear violation of what God said in Lev 11.

‘to distinguish between the unclean [ακαθαρτων] and the clean [καθαρων הַטָּהֹ֑ר] , and between the animal that may be eaten [food] and the animal that may not be eaten [not food].’ ” (Lev 11:47)

Clean and unclean animals was not a new idea given only to the Israelites. Noah knew about clean and unclean animals centuries earlier.

“You shall take with you seven each of every clean [καθαρων הַטְּהוֹרָ֗ה] animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean [μη καθαρων לֹ֣א טְהֹרָ֥ה]… (Gen 7:2)

Seven of each clean were taken for food – only one pair of unclean which were not fit to eat. Had he eaten the pig back then, there would not be any today.

Romans 14 is a discussion about the weak person who thinks that he ought not eat meat and should only eat vegetables. It is NOT about whether a person can eat unclean animals.
Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. (Rom 14:1)
There is no doubt about which animals God said were food. 
‘Nevertheless these you shall not eat among those that chew the cud or those that have cloven hooves: the camel, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you; ‘and the swine, though it divides the hoof, having cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. (Lev 11:4, 7)
There is no doubt, for example, that camels, pigs, and  dogs and rats were deemed as non-edible, that is they were NOT defined as food.
For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. (Rom 14:2) 
Notice his dichotomy – it isn’t between various meats e.g. pig vs beef – but between meat (already considered food) and vegetables.
Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. (Rom 14:3) 
Thus, Paul instructs the Romans to let him who eats both meat AND vegetables not despise the person who eats only vegetables. The discussion has nothing to do with clean vs unclean animal flesh for that was something already settled in Paul’s mind and he had no intention of contradicting God’s established Word.
Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. (Rom 14:4) One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. (Rom 14:5) He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. (Rom 14:6) 
In the section above, Paul is discussing days related to food (fasting days) and not about whether or not to keep the seventh-day-Sabbath. We see days proclaimed as a fast on occasion: 
And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. (2Chr 20:3)
God even challenges the days that were set aside in later times. The people were presumably abstaining from food for God, but He challenges whether they truly did it for him.
“Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests: ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me–for Me? (Zech 7:5)
Thus, Paul is NOT saying a person could willy-nilly decide whether or not to keep the Sabbath. God himself established the Sabbath and Paul in no way intimated it was done away with. If he had, it would have made him a false prophet. 
For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. (Rom 14:7) For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. (Rom 14:8) For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. (Rom 14:9) But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (Rom 14:10) For it is written: “As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.”  (Rom 14:11) So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. (Rom 14:12)
Thus Paul is saying we ought not to judge people who decide to eat only vegetables and not meat. Furthermore, we ought to let people decide whether or not they want to abstain from food on certain days – days not mandated by God.
Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way. (Rom 14:13)
Paul is saying we ought not let man’s traditions become a stumbling block to others. He is not making the case that God’s laws and commandments were suddenly optional. He then goes on to summarize his conclusion of the food discussion. We would do well to remember that food has already been defined in the book of Leviticus. God has told us which animals are considered food and which are not.
I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean [COMMON= κοινον] of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean [COMMON= κοινον], to him it is unclean [COMMON= κοινον]. (Rom 14:14)
The translation “unclean” is not the optimal choice – the word is κοινον, “common.” We find these two terms used in relation to Peter’s dream in Acts 10 in which a sheet full of all kinds of animals is lowered and he is told to kill and eat. His reply is important. 
But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean [κοινον η ακαθαρτον].” (Acts 10:14)
Peter says he has never eaten anything unclean. That makes sense in light of Leviticus concerning the animals which God specifically states are unclean [akatharton ακαθαρτον]. But where does God say “common” food can’t be eaten? The answer is simple. God doesn’t say such a thing. Nowhere in the Pentateuch does God say a person can’t eat “common” food. Even when God tells Ezekiel to cook his food with human dung, he retorts,
So I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Indeed I have never defiled [memiantai en akatharsia μεμιανται εν ακαθαρσια] myself from my youth till now; I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by beasts, nor has abominable flesh ever come into my mouth.” (Ezek 4:14)
Ezekiel talks about defiling himself which in the Greek Septuagint is literally “defiled in uncleanness.” There is no discussion of “common.”
And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant…. (Acts 10:15, 17)
When Peter later gives the interpretation of his dream we see the lesson God wanted him to learn. His dream was not about being able to eat unclean animals (e.g. pig) but it was about being able to fellowship with gentiles who some Jews considered untouchables, that is, common (profane) and unclean. Notice what Peter to Cornelius.
Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. (Acts 10:28)
Where in God’s Word did God ever suggest that an Israelite could not keep company with a non-Israelite? Nowhere. They were to avoid people who practiced unrighteousness, but there was no general prohibition against keeping company with non-Israelites. However, by Peter’s day, the racism had become a problem and God had to give Peter a radical vision to shock him out of it. Peter gives the interpretation of his dream that is is about people, and not what a person can eat.
But God has shown me that I should not call any man common [κοινον] or unclean [ακαθαρτον]. (Acts 10:28)
Peter was guilty of not associating with a guy like Cornelius because he was not Jewish. Even though Cornelius was a godly man, Peter’s racist tendencies would not allow him to fellowship with him. Peter seems to have had trouble getting over this racist view for on a later occasion Paul had to call him on the carpet.
Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; (Gal 2:11) for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. (Gal 2:12) And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. (Gal 2:13)
Peter was once again not associating with the gentiles presumably for the very thing God had to show him before going to Cornelius’ house – that he shouldn’t call any man common or unclean. Thus, when Paul states that nothing is common of itself, he is not referring to whether animals are clean or unclean. In fact, he is stating that there is no such thing as a food that is common; it is not something God ever defined. Paul does, however, speak of things that are unclean (akatharsia), using the same Greek word Ezekiel used when speaking of human dung.

Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. Col 3:5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness [akatharsian ακαθαρσιαν], passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Col 3:6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, Col 3:7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. (Col 3:2 )

But fornication and all uncleanness [akatharsia ακαθαρσια] or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints [set apart ones – God called Israel holy] (Eph 5:3)

Finally Paul urges us to not let our food cause division.
Yet if your brother is grieved because of your FOOD [=ANIMALS THAT MAY BE EATEN & vegetables] you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your FOOD [=ANIMALS THAT MAY BE EATEN & vegetables] the one for whom Christ died. (Rom 14:15)  
The word “food” is βρωμα [broma] – BDAG defines it as simply: “that which is eaten, food.” We have no doubt that Paul knew well Leviticus 11 where God defined what may be eaten and what not.
‘to distinguish between the unclean and the clean, and between the animal that may be eaten and the animal that may not be eaten.’ ” (Lev 11:47)
The animals God said not to eat, e.g. pig, camel, rock hyrax, owls, shellfish, etc do not qualify as food (βρωμα)
In conclusion, in Romans 14, Paul is in no way suggesting unclean animals are now for dinner. He is actually cutting to the heart of the hypocrisy of calling people common or unclean. If a weak brother, considers eating (clean) meat a profane act – then let him be. Paul is saying to not grieve a brother on account of that which may be eaten, that is, food. If he chooses not to eat meat, so be it. The gospel is not about food (that which is sanctioned by God) but about Jesus.

Sabbath: Are You with the Heretic Marcion or Orthodoxy?

Partner with Douglas Hamp Ministries: https://www.douglashamp.com/partnership-2/

The second word intimated that men ought not to take and confer the august power of God …and transfer His title to things created and vain, which human artificers have made…
And the fourth word is that which intimates that the world was created by God, and that He gave us the seventh day as a rest, on account of the trouble that there is in life. For God is incapable of weariness, and suffering, and want. But we who bear flesh need rest. The seventh day, therefore, is proclaimed a rest…

Clement of Alexandria

Reclaiming the Rapture (There are Dozens of Verses for the Gathering of Israel)

According to pretrib rapture teachers, there isn’t even a single verse that supports the rapture. They claim that it is all over the Bible in the form of types and shadows. However, the Bible clearly and “unmysteriously” speaks of the gathering of God’s people after the time of tribulation. Teacher Doug Hamp, a former pretrib teacher, takes you on a jouney through the entire Bible showing verse after clear verse detailing the timing of rapture.

Old Covenant, New Covenant Explained (Gods Divorce and Remarriage)

Would you be surprised to discover the Old and New Covenants are actually about God’s divorce and remarriage to his wife? In this study we explore the how God married Israel under the first covenant and then divorced the House of Israel and how the New Covenant is the solution to fix the divorce. This study will connect a lot of dots for you. This is the complete video.


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God’s Divorce and Remarriage And The Restoration of Israel Through the New Covenant

 

God’s Divorce and Remarriage  And The Restoration of Israel  Through the New Covenant

A Study of God’s Marriage to Israel under the First Covenant, at Sinai,

 Their Divorce Due to Israel’s Adultery,   

And their Restoration Under the New Covenant Established by Yeshua/Jesus

 

By Douglas Hamp

Aug 2015

 

As Christians, we live and breathe the New Testament. There are some Christians who claim to be “New Testament Christians” only – referring to teaching exclusively from the corpus of the New Testament books. But what is the New Testament, that is, what is this new contract (not the Gospels, epistles, etc.)? To understand what the New Testament (contract) is, we must first understand that the Old Covenant/Testament (contract) was.

The First Marriage Contract

Simply put, it was a marriage contract between Yahweh/YHWH and Israel, who got married at Sinai. How do we know that “Old Covenant” was a marriage covenant? We know because of their subsequent divorce where Yahweh stated that Northern Israel “is not My wife, nor am I her Husband!” ​ (Hos 2:2a) Yahweh could only divorce Israel if He had once been wed to her. In Jeremiah, Yahweh specifically stated that He gave the northern Kingdom of Israel a certificate of divorce and put her away.

 

Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also. (Jer 3:8)

 

Later in Jeremiah, Yahweh stated that the covenant that He made with Israel was one where He became her husband:

 

…the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says Yahweh. (Jer 31:32) 

The Wedding Vows

At their wedding on Mt Sinai, the groom and bride exchanged vows. Yahweh, the husband, expressed His love for His bride, Israel, when He vowed:

 

If you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. (Exod 19:5)

 

This vow of deep love was reiterated to Israel when they were about to enter the Promised Land:

 

Yahweh your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. Yahweh did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because Yahweh loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, Yahweh has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. (Deut 7:6-8)  

The Recording of the Vows

Their marriage was recorded in the “book of the covenant” (a mere four chapters), similar to a Ketubah (Jewish “marriage contract” of today).

 

Then he [Moses] took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. (Exod 24:7a)

 

It was a marriage contract, complete with prenuptial agreements – that is, terms and conditions of what was expected, and what would happen in case of infidelity. The terms and conditions were Yahweh’s ten words (commandments) which He gave for her good!

 

“And now, Israel, what does Yahweh your God require of you, but to fear YAHWEH your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of YAHWEH and His statutes which I command you today for your good? (Deut 10:12-13)

 

Israel then exuberantly responded with her marriage vow saying:  ‘All that YAHWEH has said we will do, and be obedient.’” (Exod 24:7b) All she needed to do was to love Him by remaining faithful to Him. Yahweh also promised that if they would be faithful then Israel would “be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.” (Exod 19:5)

 

Their marriage contract was cut and the vows (contract) were ratified with blood:

 

And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, “This is the blood of the covenant which YAHWEH has made with you according to all these words.”  (Exod 24:8)

God’s Divorce

Unfortunately, Israel was unfaithful to her husband from the beginning, and then after some time, His wife (United Israel) was divided into two kingdoms: the Kingdom of Judah in the south which included the tribe of Benjamin (and part of Levi since they were landless); and the Kingdom of Israel in the north which included the remaining ten tribes. Yahweh, in His patient love and sovereignty, waited while Israel (the northern kingdom) committed her adulteries time and again. Yahweh explained this in the book of Ezekiel, speaking of the two daughters of one mother who both practiced harlotry and defiled themselves.

 

“Son of man, there were two women, ​The daughters of one mother. They committed harlotry in Egypt, ​They committed harlotry in their youth…Their names: Oholah the elder and Oholibah her sister; ​They were Mine, ​And they bore sons and daughters. ​As for their names, ​Samaria is Oholah, and Jerusalem is Oholibah. Oholah played the harlot even though she was Mine; ​And she lusted for her lovers, the neighboring Assyrians…Thus she committed her harlotry with them, ​All of them choice men of Assyria; ​And with all for whom she lusted, ​With all their idols, she defiled herself.” (Ezek 23:2- 4, 7, 9)

 

Ultimately, after 700 years of Northern Israel’s backsliding and adultery, Yahweh “put her away and gave her a certificate of divorce.” (Jer 3:8) This truth is also stated in 2Kings:

 

“Therefore YAHWEH was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah alone. (2Kgs 17:18)

 

Their divorce created a seemingly unsolvable dilemma because, according to His own Instructions in Deut 24:1-4, a husband cannot take back his wife who has been with another husband (who has also sent her away or died).

 

If the latter husband detests her and writes her a certificate of divorce [kritut כְּרִיתֻת֙], puts it in her hand, and sends her out [shlichah] וְשִׁלְּחָ֖הּ] of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her as his wife, then her former husband [in this case Yahweh] who divorced her must not take her back to be his wife after she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before Yahweh… (Deut 24:3-4)

 

Consequently, there was no conceivable hope for northern Israel to return to a marriage covenant with Yahweh or for Judah and Israel to ever reunite. Reconciliation with her groom would, according to Yahweh’s own commandments, result in abomination and the land becoming defiled. Nevertheless, Yahweh passionately calls His wayward wife to return (repent) to him and presumably, He would have to find a way to work things out.

 

“They say, “If a man divorces his wife, ​And she goes from him ​And becomes another man’s, ​May he return to her again?’ ​Would not that land be greatly polluted? ​But you have played the harlot with many lovers; ​Yet return (repent) to Me,” says Yahweh. (Jer 3:1) Yahweh said also to me in the days of Josiah the king: “Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlot. (Jer 3:6) And I said, after she had done all these things, “Return to Me.’ But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. (Jer 3:7) Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also. (Jer 3:8) And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense,” says Yahweh. (Jer 3:10) Then YAHWEH said to me, “Backsliding Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. (Jer 3:11) Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say: ​”Return, backsliding Israel,’ says Yahweh; ​”I will not cause My anger to fall on you. ​For I am merciful,’ says Yahweh; ​”I will not remain angry forever. (Jer 3:12) Only acknowledge your iniquity, ​That you have transgressed against Yahweh your God, ​And have scattered your charms ​To alien deities under every green tree, ​And you have not obeyed My voice,’ says Yahweh. (Jer 3:13) “Return, O backsliding children,” says Yahweh; “for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. (Jer 3:14)

The Divine Dilemma

How could Israel be brought back into a marriage covenant without Yahweh violating His own law?

 

“Then her former husband [Yahweh] who divorced her [Israel] must not take her [Israel] back to be his wife after she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before Yahweh.” (Deut 24:4a)

 

The only way the wife (Northern Kingdom Israel) could be released of her fate of having been put away [shlichah] וְשִׁלְּחָ֖הּ] [Hebrew word] and divorced [kritut כְּרִיתֻת֙]  [Hebrew word] by Yahweh was for Yahweh (her husband) to die which would annul and dissolve original marriage contract. Paul understood that when, using the law to explain, he reminded the Jews (who knew the law) that the law only has jurisdiction over a person until their death. When the person dies, any judgments, contracts, or obligations are then dissolved:

 

Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? (Rom 7:1)

 

Paul then explains how a woman is covenanted to her husband only as long as he lives. When he dies, she is free to remarry at will.

 

For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. (Rom 7:2)

 

Continuing with Deuteronomy 24:1-4 in mind, Paul explains how the wife is freed from the “law of the husband” (the marriage contract), which had kept her out of the covenant relationship with her former husband. It should be noted, that Paul is only speaking of the cancelling of the divorce status; he is not suggesting that the entire “Torah” (Laws given at Sinai) are repealed. (“Yahweh” and “Israel” have been inserted below in brackets to make the relationships clearer).

 

So then if, while her husband [Yahweh] lives, she [Israel] marries another man [Ba’al etc.] , she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. (Rom 7:3)

 

Following that, Paul reaches crescendo with his exciting conclusion that through Yeshua/Jesus (the incarnate Word of Yahweh), the wife, Israel, can be married to a different man – which is none other than the Risen Yeshua – Wow!

 

Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law [of her husband c.f. Rom 7:2] through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another–to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. (Rom 7:4)

 

In other writings Paul explains how the curses of the broken marriage covenant died with Yeshua, being nailed to the cross.

 

having wiped out the handwriting of requirements [death because of adultery] that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. (Col 2:14)

A New Marriage Contract

At the first covenant, cut at Sinai, the book of the covenant (marriage contract) was proclaimed and then the blood of bulls was sprinkled in order to “seal the deal” in the same way how today we sign a contract and then have it notarized and filed with the city clerk. The blood made the contract effective, operable, and binding.

 

Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that Yahweh has said we will do, and be obedient.” And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, “This is the blood of the covenant which Yahweh has made with you according to all these words.” (Exod 24:7-8)

 

After the people had heard all of the conditions of the contract, they said “I do” and gladly accepted the marriage contract with Yahweh/YHWH. They agreed to be faithful to Him and to do all that He had asked them to do (which is what we always do when we enter into an agreement/contract).

 

With the New Covenant (new marriage contract), blood was offered to “seal the deal” just like the first covenant.

 

For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matt 26:28)

 

However, the nature of the blood sacrifice was of immeasurably greater quality than that of the first covenant. Additionally, the one who would officiate the sacrifice would not be a Levite, but one of the order of Melchizedek. In this, the husband died to dissolve the old marriage but at the same time, his blood became the blood of the new covenant, and he also was the one who offered the blood on the heavenly altar.

 

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. (Heb 9:11-12)

 

And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight (Col 1:21-22)

 

Now free from the curse of her broken marriage covenant, Israel could actually remarry without being called an adulteress. However, how could she be rejoined to her groom if he was in the grave? If Yeshua remained dead, then no remarriage between him and Israel could take place, despite her new freedom. Therefore, Yeshua had to not only die to free Israel, but had to also rise from the dead so that she could remarry her former husband, who was in reality a New Husband.

A New Husband for a New Wife

Yeshua’s resurrection, therefore, is the crux of the matter! Without the resurrection, Israel would have been free to marry another, but not to the very one who promised himself to her FOREVER. Now having risen from the dead, the Old Husband was actually a NEW Husband. All of the lawlessness (her adultery) of the first marriage was literally buried with Yeshua (the Husband, Yahweh in the flesh). Now he was free to remarry his former wife without breaking his own instructions. His new marriage would be a NEW COVENANT/TESTAMENT with Israel!

 

With this in mind, we can better understand Paul’s excitement as he proclaims in Ephesians 2:11-13 how the House of Israel (the Gentiles/Nations) has been brought back into the covenant relationship.

 

Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles [scattered Israel, out of covenant] in the flesh…that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world But now in Christ Yeshua you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  (Eph 2:11-13) [“For you are not My people, and I will not be your God. ​(Hos 1:9)]

 

Therefore, the New Covenant is not a new dispensation where Yahweh suddenly starts operating on the basis of grace with all of humanity. Yahweh has always been gracious and that quality of grace and mercy is the very thing that Yahweh declared about himself on Mt. Sinai:

 

Yahweh passed by before him and proclaimed: “Yahweh, Yahweh, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abounding in loyal love and faithfulness, (Exod 34:6)

 

The New Covenant, rather, is not a new basis of grace, but is rather a gracious, renewed marriage covenant between Yahweh and His divorced wife who had been scattered to the nations, just as Yahweh had promised would happen:

 

Yahweh will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods of wood and stone. (Deut 28:64; see also Lev 26:33 Jer 9:16, 13:24, 30:11, Ezek 5:10, 6:8, 20:23, 22:15, 36:19)

The Sisters Reunited Under the New Contract

While Yeshua’ death and resurrection resolved the divorce of Yahweh and Israel, what about Judah’s (the Southern Kingdom) relationship with Yahweh? Does she get a new marriage covenant? She certainly needed it based on how shedefiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees.” (Jer 3:9) In fact,  her adulterous conduct, according to Yahweh, was actually worse than Israel’s (the Northern Kingdom).

 

And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned [repented] to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense,” says Yahweh. Then Yahweh said to me, “Backsliding Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. (Jer 3:10-11)

 

Let there be no doubt, Judah most certainly deserved to be divorced because of her adulterous heart and wandering eyes which deeply hurt Yahweh (Ezek 6:9), but Yahweh never did divorce Judah because of the promise that he made to King David:

 

If his sons reject my law ​​​​​​and disobey my regulations, ​​​​​​​if they break my rules ​​​​​​and do not keep my commandments, ​​​​​​​I will punish their rebellion by beating them with a club, ​​​​​​their sin by inflicting them with bruises. ​​​​​​​But I will not remove my loyal love from him, ​​​​​​nor be unfaithful to my promise. (Ps 89:29-33)

 

Nevertheless, Yahweh stated that both “the House of Israel and the House of Judah ​have dealt very treacherously with Me,” (Jer 5:11) – they were both guilty of adultery and of breaking the covenant.

 

They have turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers who refused to hear My words, and they have gone after other gods to serve them; the House of Israel and the House of Judah have broken My covenant which I made with their fathers.” (Jer 11:10)

 

Furthermore, the two sister nations needed to be reunited into one nation: one wife. Yahweh declared that He would in fact make a new marriage contract with both houses:

 

“Behold, the days are coming, says Yahweh, when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah– (Jer 31:31)

 

Yahweh also promised that he would join the two houses back together as depicted in the imagery of a stick, broken in two, which becomes one again:

 

“Thus says the Lord YAHWEH: “Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.”‘ (Ezek 37:19)

 

Therefore, Yeshua’s death on the cross annulled Judah’s marriage contract with Yahweh and thereby allowed for the House of Judah to have a new covenant with Yahweh (because their first marriage was marked by gross adultery) even though she was never divorced. Judah could have a new relationship with Yahweh and so too Israel could come back into fellowship with her husband.

 

​For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,  having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, [and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.”‘ (Ezek 37:19)] thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. [Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together…” (Hos 1:11)] And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, (Eph 2:14-19)

 

As a result their joint status as adulterers was wiped away. Israel’s utter hopeless situation as a divorcée was also annulled and Judah’s status as adulterous wife was cancelled. Furthermore, the House of Judah and the House of Israel have become one again and the wall of separation between them has been removed.

The Fullness of the Gentiles

The situation has now been rectified, though not in full. The House of Israel (Ephraim / Gentiles) can now return to her husband. They are no longer “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” (Eph 2:12)  Yeshua is now Israel’s and Judah’s “peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation (Eph 2:14). When Yeshua died on the cross, he “abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, (Eph 2:15) and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.” (Eph 2:16)

 

Hence, Yeshua gave Good News to both the House of Israel and to the House of Judah when he “came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.” (Eph 2:17) Through the work of Yeshua on the cross, the two houses now  “both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” (Eph 2:18) And truly, those of the House of Israel are “no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,” (Eph 2:19)

 

Thus, while the barrier to restoration has been removed, the reunification is not complete and will not be complete until the fullness of the nations/Israel comes in, as Paul explained to his Jewish brethren:

 

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. (Rom 11:25)

 

The phrase that Paul employed comes directly out of Genesis 48:19 where Jacob prophesied over Ephraim, stating that his descendants will be THE fullness of the nations/gentiles.

 

But his (Joseph’s) father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother [Ephraim] shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations [M’lo HaGoyim מְלֹֽא־הַגּוֹיִֽם literally the fullness of the nations].” (Gen 48:19)

The New Covenant is Yahweh’s Renewed Marriage with Israel

So what is the New Covenant? It is the renewed marriage contract between Yahweh and His wife KetubahIsrael, (reunited House of Israel and House of Judah). Yeshua’s statement “this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins,” (Matt 26:28) was the blood necessary to establish the new marriage covenant. His death released his unfaithful wife (both Judah and Israel) from the curses of the broken marriage contract, and allowed northern Israel to remarry him, and for Israel and Judah to become one nation again. Yahweh’s first marriage was with his special treasure (united) Israel, and His new marriage is with His special treasure Israel and Judah (reunited). Yeshua did all that was necessary to restore his bride, Israel, just as he promised in Hosea to Israel, whom he divorced:

 

“I will betroth you to Me forever; ​Yes, I will betroth you to Me ​In righteousness and justice, ​In lovingkindness and mercy;  I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, ​and you shall know Yahweh. (Hos 2:19-20)

 

However, what is even more amazing is that through the dispersion of the House of Israel to the nations, the entire world is being blessed because the House of Israel was assimilated into the nations and became one with them. Thus their return is nothing other than the ingathering of the gentiles into the kingdom and fulfills Yahweh’s original promise to Abraham that his seed would be like the stars of heavens.

 

Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” (Gen 15:5)

 

Yahweh’s regathering of House of Israel, which was divorced, scattered, and assimilated into the nations (through intermarriage), is nothing less than the House of Israel (gentiles, non-Jews) receiving by faith the fact that Yeshua graciously died to annul the first marriage covenant which they were in bondage to and resurrected to lovingly take her back under a new marriage covenant. The point is that any non-Jew who trusts in Yeshua, is part of “the fullness of the Gentiles” – they are part of the “mixed multitude” (Exod 12:38) which was added to children of Israel when they came out of Egypt. Indeed, Yahweh said that it was not enough for Yeshua to just restore the tribes of Jacob, but he would be salvation for the nations all over the planet:

 

Indeed He says, ​”It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant ​to raise up the tribes of Jacob, ​and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; ​I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, ​that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.”‘ (Isa 49:6)

 

Yahweh reiterates this promise by saying that He would bring in the outcasts of Israel and also others:

 

Lord Yahweh, who gathers the outcasts of [the house of] Israel, says, ​”Yet I will gather to him ​others besides those who are gathered to him.” ​ (Isa 56:8) [other regathering prophetic scriptures: Eze 11:17, 20:34, 20:41, 28:25]

But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matt 15:24)

Yeshua alluded to the others that would come in and the “one flock” when He said:

 

And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. (John 10:16)

 

Yeshua confirmed the restoration when he said concerning his death: “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” (John 12:32) With this in mind, we now understand clearly how Paul could state so emphatically that “there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Yahweh over all is rich to all who call upon Him (Rom 10:12) because the House of Israel and the House of Judah have been restored into one nation and one wife! Paul could say that with enthusiasm because, as an expert of the Scriptures, he knew that he was seeing the fulfillment of prophecy before his very eyes – the two houses were reunited as Yahweh said in Ezekiel:

 

Thus says Lord Yahweh: “Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.”‘ And the sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes. “Then say to them, “Thus says Lord Yahweh: “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. (Ezek 37:19-22)

 

The New Testament is Yahweh restoring the House of Judah and Israel into one nation which was made possible by the death of Yeshua.

 

Truly, Yahweh is a faithful and loving husband and king worthy of our praise and gratitude.

 

 

 

The Last Years of Time: How Should We Interpret the 1000 Years of Revelation 20?

In Revelation 20:2-7, six times we are told that Satan will be bound and that Christ will reign for a thousand years. The question regarding the last years of earth’s history is, in a sense, very similar to that regarding earth’s first days: what do numbers and units of time in the Bible actually mean?  Are they merely figurative or are they to be taken literally?

Understanding this to be a literal period of thousand years or an allegory of an indefinite period of time has been an issue which has, generally speaking, created two camps of believers. There are those who call themselves premillenialists, believing that the Great Tribulation will occur before Jesus returns to set up His kingdom for a literal period of a thousand years in which He will reign physically from Jerusalem.  The amillenialists purport that the thousand years in Revelation should be taken figuratively, and that there will not be an actual, literal, physical reign of Christ nor a binding of Satan for a literal thousand years.  Again, we are faced with the question of whose view is right.  Is it really a matter of theological preference as to which view one holds or is there some key to unlock this enigma?

There are in essence two words that we need to study in order to determine the duration of time in Revelation 20.  We will first of all look at “years” to appreciate how the word is used in the Bible.  Once we have recognized what is the normal meaning we will explore what writers meant when stating “one thousand”, to see if the number has just a simple meaning of thousand or if as the amillenialists state, it should be understood as an indefinite period of time.

Years in the Bible

The word “year” (ἔτη ete) appears a total of 29 times in the New Testament.  In every occurrence the meaning of “year” (or “years”) is simply that of a real, literal period of a year, whenever a number precedes it.  For example we read in Mark 5:25, “Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years.” The text treats this as a real number of real years and why shouldn’t it?  What else could “years” mean?  In Luke 2:37, we read of the prophetess Anna: “and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years…”  In John 2:20, the Jewish leaders reply to Jesus’ claim, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?”  Furthermore, in Acts 13:20, we read “After that He gave them judges for about four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.”  In all of the examples, the word “years” (ἔτη ete) is referring to a real (specific) amount of time and is used in its literal sense.  The 450 years of the time of the judges is considered to be a real amount of time.  The fact is that “year”, when preceded by a cardinal number, is never used in any other way.  “Year” always refers to what we understand to be a year – that is, the completion of twelve months (with the exception of an occasional 13th month added every several years to balance out the calendar), once around the sun.  Similarly to “day” in the Old Testament, which when preceded by a number means only a real day, so too when the words “year” and “years” are preceded by a number, they always and only signify a definite period of time.

The Number “Thousand”

Since “year” (ἔτη ete) (and “years”) has only a literal and absolute meaning when preceded by a number, our next undertaking is to try to correctly understand “thousand”.  Is there something in the word which would lead us to conclude that “thousand” could mean something other than its literal and plain meaning?

 

“Thousand” (χίλια chilia) occurs in the New Testament eleven times, six of those being in the twentieth chapter of Revelation.  Twice it occurs in 2 Peter 3:8 “…that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”  The other three occasions are in the book of Revelation as well.  The number of verses with which we can compare the word “thousand” in the New Testament in order to correctly determine the meaning is somewhat limited since six of the eleven examples occur in Revelation 20.  Thus, we need to turn to the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament translated from the Hebrew in approximately 270 BC.

 

The word “thousand” appears 504 times in the Septuagint where it is translated from the Hebrew word אלף elef, which simply means thousand.  It never refers to any kind of imaginary number nor does it signify an indefinite quantity.  The Septuagint merely translates that word literally and it carries the same meaning.  There are cases where a text will say “thousands” in the plural and, of course, that by definition is indefinite.  But whenever a text refers to “one thousand” it is speaking in a literal sense.

 

So, you might ask, why doesn’t the word “one” appear before the word thousand?  Quite simply, Greek does not require the word “one” to appear before thousand for it to be understood that it means “one thousand”.  Many languages are parallel to Greek in this respect.  For example, in Hebrew, there is no need to say “one” echad before “thousand” elef.  In fact, it is impossible to say that and to do so would sound very foreign.  So too in Greek, when it is only one thousand then no other word is necessary to qualify the number.  Only when it is two thousand plus, does a number come in front of it.

The Definite Article

The phrase “thousand years” appears six times in the passage of Revelation 20:2-7.

He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.   Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison.  (Rev 20:2-7 emphasis mine)

Three times in the passage the author, John, states “…bound him [Satan] for a thousand years,” (20:2) “…And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” (20:4) “…and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” (20:6).  In all three of these passages the literal rendering of the text is that Satan is bound and the saints reign one thousand years (one is included in the word “thousand” in Greek).  The other three passages “…till the thousand years were finished.” (20:3) “again until the thousand years were finished.” (20:5) “…when the thousand years have expired…” (20:7) all refer to a specific time indicated by the use of the definite article “the”.  The word “the” is a limiter or a definer.  It tells us that something specific is indicated.  So too, the time frame is not something undefined but in fact it is very defined.  “The thousand years…” reinforces the fact that a literal amount of time is indicated.

 

A Final Objection

In Peter’s second letter, he writes to fellow believers who were suffering all kinds of trials and persecutions on account of their belief in Jesus.  His words are to comfort them and remind them that God’s perspective is different from ours.  He writes, “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8).  This verse has been used to supposedly prove that time and numbers in the Bible do not have concrete value and therefore the “days” in Genesis 1 could have lasted one thousand years or perhaps even one million, and likewise the “thousand years” in Revelation is not an actual period of one thousand years.  But is Peter really saying that one day is equal to one thousand years?  Looking at the verse again carefully we note that there are two important keys to a correct understanding.

 

The first key is “with the Lord”.  Peter here is describing God’s perspective to time and not man’s.  This cannot be overlooked.  Peter is not saying that one thousand years is equal to one day.  He is saying that, in God’s economy, time is radically different – when we think that the Lord is “slack” we should think again. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9).   Peter wants to make clear that God’s timetable is different than ours.

 

The other important key is the little word “as” (ὡς hos).  Though small, it plays an important function in that it tells us that two things are similar but not exact in nature.  It is no different than when we make such statements as “Johnny is like his father” or “In Johnny’s eyes, his father is as Hercules”.  Both statements are merely stating that one is like or similar to another but not the same as the other.  So too, Peter is saying that in the eyes of God, a day is similar to one thousand years and vice versa, one thousand years is like a day.  Since God is outside of time, this simply confirms that time is irrelevant to God, though it is not irrelevant to us.  Peter gives us another example of the use of this little word in his first epistle (1 Peter 1:24) where he says, “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.”  Clearly, he is not saying we are actually grass growing on the field.  He merely says that we are in many ways similar to grass.  Just as it has a short life, so too are our lives short when compared with the eternal God, and our glory will fade away faster than we think.  Thus to God, a day or a thousand years is the same and our lives will pass by quickly.

 

This truth was first stated in the Old Testament, which Peter more than likely drew from.  Psalm 90:4 “For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night.”  Here too, the writer is simply stating things from God’s point of view – that is, time has no bearing on God.  He is outside of time and hence whether it is a day or one thousand years, it is the same to Him.  We are not to conclude however, that time is irrelevant for us.  Again and again, we see that people live real lives for a specific amount of time.  The Bible treats the lifespan of the lives of Adam (930 years), Noah (950 years), Abraham (175 years), Sarah (127 years), Jacob (147 years), and Moses (120 years) as all real and definite (See Genesis 5:5; 9:29; 25:7; 23:1; 47:28; and Deuteronomy 34:7, respectively).  Notice that Adam and Noah lived close to one thousand years. Their lifetime was like a single day in the eyes of the Lord, but nevertheless, they lived a specific number of years, and at least according to Jacob, those years didn’t pass by as if they were just a day:

And Jacob said to Pharaoh, ‘The days of the years of my pilgrimage are one hundred and thirty years; few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.’ (Genesis 47:9)

Conclusions about the Thousand Years in Revelation 20

In conclusion, we have seen that years and numbers in both the Old and New Testaments are taken as literal.  “Years” always refers to a literal amount of time.  “Year”, when used with a number, is never used to refer to anything more than once around the sun.  When the writer wished to indicate a longer period, then the exact number of years was mentioned.  We also saw that the number “thousand” is treated just like the other numbers in both Testaments.  The references to years in the New Testament are numerous and all of them are treated as real years including the one of 450 years.  Furthermore, the Greek word χίλια chilia meaning “one thousand”, is used hundreds of times in the Greek Septuagint and every time has a simple meaning of a literal number, that is “one thousand”!  And finally, we noted that the grammar in Revelation, by the use of the definite article, limits the use of what one thousand can mean.  It is not an indefinite period of time, but rather is very definite.

 

Thus we are left with the conclusion that the thousand years of Revelation should be understood to mean precisely that – one thousand literal years.  Having used Scripture to interpret Scripture, we see that any other interpretation is both grammatically unsound and inconsistent with the teaching of the Bible.