PTB30: “Last Days” Started on the first day of Pentecost after the Ascension (Acts 2:17 and Joel 2:28-32).

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Start of Last Days, democratic outpouring of the Holy Spirit, long period of signs in heavens above and the earth beneath before the Great and Notable Day of the LORD and Lord with the Resurrection and Second Coming of Christ.

INTRODUCTION:  Cast your Mental tents on Some Bible Memorable Things.

You would recognize that there is a lot of housekeeping as we preach thru the Bible in one year, not only because a year is a long time and a lot happens in one year; but because there are still scoffers as well as sincere doubters who doubt the feasibility of preaching thru the Bible in one year.  In most cases they refuse to recognize the simplicity and hard work of first outlining the Bible according to the OT quotes in the NT. So alongside the present Top Topic #8 theme of “Listen and obey is better than Sacrifice”, we would combine some of the words of Dr. Lee, that is “cast your mental tents on the subjects” with those words of the Apostle Paul to put you in remembrance of several things.

1.  You also can outline the whole Bible by utilizing the way the Holy Spirit Himself out a backbone of structure in the Bible making it not only possible to understand but also impossible to misunderstand.  Like Dr. Wolber of the Ouachita Bible department use to say in very practical hermeneutics, “Just let the Bible say what It wants to say.”

First, if you do not have a Bible like the Nelson Slimline, get one that lists all the OT quotes at the bottom of the page.  This is far better than by a mile than Scofield notes.  Then make a list of those quotes on your computer for sorting.  Second, list the quotes in the most probably order of the history of writing of the OT; it is not a perfect method but better than not trying at all; and for example it is obvious that Genesis and Job are first and Malachi is last; and it would be recommended to follow along with the organizing of the major and minor prophets as B. H. Carroll does in the 17 volumes of “An Interpretation of the English Bible”.

Third, as is done in the SunGrist Bible Commentary of “Apostles and Prophets, the OT according to the NT”, make a long list to the extent of a book on your computer, perhaps in Word or some other word processor like FrameMaker, of the quotes word for work in both the OT and NT.  Remember for proper one interpretation of the Bible, the NT not only quotes the OT but explains the proper understanding and implementation of the truth and knowledge of God.  In short, the more you copy in quotes from the Bible to form your complete from the Bible exegetical outline of books, chapters, and verses, the more accuracy you will begin to achieve as the same outline is converted from exegetical to topical.

Fourth, hopefully your education has provided training in outlining as the key here along with many good rules of Bible hermeneutics, recorded in the Bible Itself and summarized very well by Bernard Ramm in his book on hermeneutics; for you must read each of the quotes from the OT and NT and for each verse or combination of verses make a topical statement.

Fifth, looking at these topics for verses, combine a books and Bible outline of the total Bible.  As a guideline for you, SunGrist offers two free downloads to help you in the process:  (1) first of all the 11 tables of a complete outline of the OT quotes in the NT at

       http://sungrist.org/MasterTables.pdf

and (2) a free copy of the original 27 page of the ASPI (Authorized Semi-Public Interpretations, II Peter 1:21) of the Bible at

http://sungrist.org/ASPIBibleOutline.pdf                             .

2.  The “strongholds” of Christian fables that must be cast down through the Word and prayer having started in local churches like at Corinth (II Corinthians 10:4-6) have since the Scofield theology was placed in the Bible in 1909, grown to be SBC wide and bigger strongholds, requiring more Word with contending for the faith and casting down strongholds.

3.  Let real literal Bible like above straighten your theology and eschatology, and your theology on eschatology, OUT by seeing from the beginning, like in Isaiah and Amos the dominant theme of last things has been the Day of the LORD of the OT and the Day of the Lord Jesus Christ of the NT.  Get this straight and the Bible can straighten you out of the last days beginning with the first day of Pentecost after the Ascension, that spoken by Peter on that day and quoted from Joel as this is the beginning of the last days.

4.  Even as President Mohler of Southern Seminary reminds us that preachers do not understanding the OT, so in the method of Bible study and preaching above, the OT and NT are considered simultaneously.

I.  We now come to the description of Nineveh in the book of Jonah.  B.H. Carroll gives us a summary of the description of Nineveh in Jonah.

“The record here in Jonah says that Nineveh was a ‘great city.’ It was located on the Tigris River and in the shape of a parallelogram, sixty miles around and three days’ journey on a straight line through it. Its walls were sixty feet high, with 1,500 towers, 200 feet high. The walls were broad enough on top to receive three chariots driving side by side.  It is almost certain that this city was larger than Babylon, especially if we include in the estimate of its suburbs.  Jonah calls it ‘an exceeding great city of three days’ journey’ and with 120,000 infants, all of which indicate that Nineveh was no ordinary city.”

8-6:  “What Is Most Important to God?”

We do not have the details about how Jonah preached in the city; but we do know that Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah and that God spared the city. I think that Carroll is right that the story of Jonah and the whale, or large fish, got back to the city of Nineveh before Jonah, the king and the people deciding that the God that could do that could also destroy them.  I think you begin to see what is most important to God in the dialogue between Jonah and God as he built his hut on the hill and waited for the destruction of the city! “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.”   (Jonah 3:10 NJKV)   It displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. (Jonah 4:1) Jonah started pouting, and he prayed.

                “A, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? There- fore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.  Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!”

1. What Was So Important to Jonah?

Before we come to some of the details about what was so important to God, let us figure out as a background what was so important to Job that he first got angry; then he protested to God that he had told Him so back his home country; then excused himself  for running off to Spain because he knew this would hap- pen; and then the anger turned to despair of returning home where this news of the salvation of Nineveh would go ahead of him, asking God to take his life.

(1).  Jonah like all of the Jews had a hatred for the idolatrous Gentiles of Nineveh.

(2). “Ah, didn’t I tell you so, God,” Jonah prayed. He had the fear that God would show mercy and the Great Preaching with the Prediction of Destruction that God told him would be discredited. His life was over as a prophet and priest. He had lost face!

(3). Nineveh would grow in strength and if spared would become a terror to Israel.  Therein Jonah was also a prophet.  Nineveh with Babylon and the whole nation Assyria did become a powerful nation and did take captives of Israel and Judah.

2. What Was Important to God?

(1).  God is concerned about rightness of our attitudes, emotions, and conscience. First of all it was important to God what was the attitude of Jonah on the matter of preaching, repentance, and as to God changing His mind about destructions.

“Then the LORD said, ‘Is it right for you to be angry?’” (Jonah 4:4 NJKV) God was saying in effect,  “I know your conscience tells us that these people should be destroyed but is your conscience right!  Check the value system of your conscience. Is it right for you to be angry?

(2). God has a sense of humor, and that is important to Him.

“So Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of the city.” (He was still looking for and hopeful of destruction.) There he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade, till he might see what would become of the city. And the LORD God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was very grateful for the plant. But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered. And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah’s head, so that he grew faint.  Then he wished death for himself, and said, ‘It is better for me to die than to live.’” (Jonah 4:5-8 NJKV)

Don’t you see a sense of humor there.  Jonah’s emotions as he waited for something to happen to the city were up and down.  He was satisfied that he had made a shelter from the sun; and then as it was enhanced by the blessing from God of additional shade from the hot desert sun as God make a large plant like a tree to provide additional relief from the desert.  And since God knew that the tired prophet was tired, and that he was make a decision while he was tired, never a good thing, thus provided a good night’s rest.  However, since it was time for the Prophet to move on back to Israel, and take up the work of God there, God sent a worm to fester the plant of shade and wither it up. Not only did Jonah’s plant shade disappear, but then a violent wind came from the east that blew his shelter across the desert.  Jonah grew faint in the desert heat, and I know you can appreciate that.  Then again Jonah wished that it was better for him to die than to live.

(3). God is concerned about our value system. Jonah became just as angry about the loss of the plant that had provided shade as he did over God relenting over the destruction of Nineveh. Jonah, is it right for you to be angry? Child of God today, is it right for you to be angry.  Is it right for you to be angry with a brother that has wronged you?  Is it right for you to be angry with that fellow member of the church, or that preacher?   Or you holding a grudge because things did not work out for you the way they were planned?

(4). God like many of His servants are concerned about the plants like the lilies of the field and the sparrow, but God is more concerned about those who are lost.

Then God said to Jonah, ‘Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?’ (Jonah 4:9a NJKV)

“And Jonah said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!” (Jonah 4:9b NJKV)

God is patiently working to change the value system and conscience of Jonah. To change the concept of what is right and what is wrong.  Is it right for you to be angry?  Often our concepts of what is right is self-centered.  It is more a matter of what is right and wrong for us than what is right and wrong for a whole city, or even what is right and wrong to God!  But Jonah is still determined, and says, “Yes, it is right for me to be angry even unto death.”

(5).  It is important to God to be consistently what He is, gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.

a. God is gracious and wants us to be gracious. b. God is merciful and wants us to be merciful

c. God is slow to anger and wants us to be the same way. He was trying to get that message over to Jonah as He said, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

d. God is abundant in lovingkindness and expects the same from us. (5).  God spells out what is important to Him now that He hopefully has the attention of Jonah.

“But the LORD said, ‘You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night.  And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left, and also much livestock?’” (Jonah 4:10-11 NJKV)

a. Your conscience has allowed you to have more concern about a plant that for 120,000 children that do not know the difference between right and wrong.

b.  Your concerns are too short ranged rather than eternal.  You are more concerned for a plant that grew up in one night and perished in one night.

c.  You are more concerned about the things for which you have not labored than those things for which you have labored.

d. Think of the livestock if you cannot think of the children.

The History of Nations in the Writing Prophets

You have noticed how that many of the Prophet mention the say nations so that you could almost write a history of the early world from the writings of the Prophets.  You noticed, for example, at the beginning of this book how that Edom and their destruction was not only mentioned in Obadiah but echoed and told in differing stages in other Prophets.  There is one thing that this allows us to clearly see and that is that God is interested in the people of all nations, and the nations of all peoples.  Also, that God never performs a judgment on any peoples without first giving those same people the message of judgment and the opportunity to repent. This is especially true of the Final Judgment at the end of time, and this is one of the prime subjects of all 16 of the Writing Prophets.

8-7: AMOS and What Is Happening in the Home Country?

Okay, Jonah is off touring the city of Nineveh in Assyria, so who is minding the store back in Judah and Israel.  Recall that Jonah was a prophet of the northern kingdom of Israel. We see this in II Kings 14:25. “He (Jeroboam II) restored the border of Israel from the entrance of Hamath unto the sea of the Arabah, according to the word of Jehovah, the God of Israel, which he spoke by his servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was of Gathhepher.”  (II Kings 14:25)  Jonah identifies himself as the son of Amittai (Jonah 1:1), and Joshua 19:3 describes Gathhepher as a town three miles northeast of Nazareth which places him in the northern kingdom.  Then obviously, Jeroboam II was a king of Israel, and his reign is called the “Indian Summer” of Israel’s history (II Kings 14:23-29).  While Jonah was off pouting in Assyria, Amos was preaching to the northern kingdom.  However he was from the southern kingdom, so he too was a missionary in a more limited sense of distance. Tekoa, the hometown of Amos, was 12 miles south of Jerusalem. Actually while Jonah’s Judah ministry was at the beginning of Jeroboam’s ministry, approximately 800 B.C., Amos’ ministry was approximately 760 B.C. after Israel had started to prosper from the reign of Jeroboam and as always began to lapse into moral indulgences.  There was a big difference between the Prophetic work of Amos as compared to Jonah. While Jonah was a priest and prophet, Amos was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamore trees.

Amos on National Accountability

The subject of Amos prophetic book is judgment, or national accountability. First he denounces in the name of God and with the word of God that other nations surrounding Israel:   Syria (1:3-5), Philistia (1:6-8), Phoenicia (1:9-10), Edom (1:11-12), Ammon (1:13-15), Moab (2:1-3), Judah (2:4-5), his home country, and then lastly Israel (2:6-16). I’m sure as Amos started preaching at Bethel, no doubt on a feast day, about the overthrow of Israel’s neighbors, it attracted the attention of Israel.  These heathen nations, according to the preaching of Amos, knew what was wrong in their practices of cruelty or inhumanity; and the God of the Universe was holding them accountable. Judah and Israel since they possessed the law of Moses and the teachings of the Prophets were held to a higher standard of national accountability.  Amos denounces Israel for:  covet- ousness, injustice, lasciviousness, sacrilege, for forgetting Jehovah’s kindness, and for rejecting Jehovah’s messengers.  B.H. Carroll writes of the history of the times in Israel and Judah.  “It was when Israel and Judah both enjoyed great prosperity and there was much indulgence in the luxuries of wealth by the upper classes while the poor were suffering from their extreme poverty.  The moral condition of the people were terrible.  Crime was perverted, and almost every form of iniquity abounded in the land.  The nations roundabout were also corrupt, and Judah had turned away from the law of Jehovah.”

What is Happening in Israel?

“Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” (Amos 3:1,2 KJV)

1.  Judgment is on the way, and God first identified to Israel that He never has and never will do anything without first revealing it to His Prophets.

“Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7 KJV)

We are going to find more and more as we progress through the Prophets that increasing temporal and isolated judgments on single nations turned to a great predicted judgment on the heavens and the earth at the end of time.  Always, however, in the case of limited judgments and the final judgment, there were and are ample warnings from the Prophets and later the Apostles as well as from Jesus Himself. Much of these end-time judgments center around the key words “the day of the LORD” or the “One Day of the LORD and Lord.”

(1). The Day of the LORD in Amos.

Amos as one of the early writing Prophets introduces this “day of the LORD”, although you have to read it carefully in Amos 5:16-20 to know that it is talking about more than just the immediate and temporal judgment on Israel. You see that in the passage with the emphasis on darkness instead of light; and when you take the messages from all the Writing Prophets, Jesus, and the Apostles you know that at the end of the last days the sun, moon, and stars will be turned into darkness.

(2). The Day of the LORD in Isaiah.

You see also this One Day of the LORD judgment in Isaiah; and once again there is the more immediate threat to Israel and Babylon, but here is clearer that the larger meaning is an end-time judgment.

“Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.  Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt, and they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames.”  (Isaiah 12:6-8)

a.  It doesn’t say that it is a destruction from the Almighty God, but it says that it will come “as a destruction from the Almighty”.

b. Seems like we have navy terminology here as it states that first in Babylon, and then later in the world “all hands” shall be faint.                    

c.  The figurative language continues as it states as these events of judgment begin to unfold, that men’s hearts shall melt. It seems that this can be both figurative and literal; for we know from the teachings of the Apostle Peter later that the earth shall be melted with a fervent heat.

d.  Every man living on the earth during these end times will be afraid. Recall how Jesus said that men would cry for the rocks of the mountains to fall on them in order that they might be covered up.

e. Although there may be a time of prosperity and luxury now, it will be a time of pain and sorrow then!

f.  Men and women will look at each other in amazement, like what are we going to do, what can we do.

g.  Their faces will look like flames.  I’m sure the blood pressure goes up with what men will see and hear and feel, and from the fervent heat the faces will literally break into flames.

“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.  For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.  And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.”  (Isaiah 13:9-11 KJV)

a. We read a lot in the Bible about the love and mercy of God; and part of that love and mercy is a warning through His Prophets and Apostles that there is an inevitable Judgment on sinners, evil doers, the iniquities of the wicked, the arrogancy of the proud, and the haughtiness of those in power and wealth.  We read in Jonah about the patience and longsuffering of God toward the city of Nineveh; but here not only is coming judgement pronounced on the whole nation of Babylon, but also later at the end of time on the whole world.

b.  Notice clearly this time that the sun, the moon, and the stars will cease to give their light.   We should look at the same thing re-echoed from Jesus Himself many years later.

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her lights, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken…” (Matthew 24:29 KJV)

c. Notice that God looks ahead past the people of Babylon to the people far in the future near the end of time, telling what they will be like, and what it is about them that displeases him. Can this apply to the people of our nation?

[1]. God will punish the world for its evil. I am sure that Israel during prosperity and Babylon during prosperity and world domination thought they were getting away with evil, but mark these words, GOD IS GOING TO PUNISH THE WORLD OF EVIL.  Wicked nations and wicked people will be held account- able for their iniquities.

[2]. The arrogancy of the proud will cease. I am sure that in Israel with prosperity and power, and more so in Babylon as a world ruler, the arrogancy of pride was increasing.  I am also sure that the increase we are now witnessing in pride and arrogancy will continue to increase right up to the time that God says, “No more”; and it will cease!

[3].   God will lay low the haughtiness of the powerful.  Those of status and wealth and position and power, especially those that take advantage of the poor, will be brought down from their high position to a low position.

2.  God says through Amos for the leaders who live in the palaces of Israel and Egypt to look at the great mass of the oppressed poor people, and then to look in their own palaces where violence and robbery is stored up (Amos 3:9,10).

8-8: Contemporary City versus the Ultimate City.

The Prophet Isaiah in the city and the Prophet Micah in the country were delivering God’s message to Judah and the city of Jerusalem.  There is a contrast in the message of both Prophets, as they compare the characteristics of the ultimate city, the New Jerusalem of the New Age, with the Jerusalem that they see before them.  Isaiah and Micah, like the other Writing Prophets, are interesting in that they deal with the politics of the city and country.  Also they deal with social problems, government, and personal relations as well as religion.  The Prophets are very interdenominational.  You see, the God of the Universe that is speaking through these Prophets is aware that He is the only God, that He is the Creator of the whole world and all the people; and there- fore He does not hesitate to speak to all peoples.  It amazes me the similarity of the book contents of the Writings of the Prophets to the writings of the authors on American Studies.  Both deal with politics, government, social relations, and international affairs.  The only difference is that while American studies authors deal with literature, the Prophets do not in the literal sense of the word, although as you noticed in the figurative language of Amos that they also create national literature.  Of course, in another sense the Prophets do deal with other literature in that they quote from each other.  Once again, we should realize that there is a world of difference between the inspiration of other literature like the books in American Thought and the inspiration from God of the writings of the Prophets.

II.  Introduction for next time in PTB 31.

The Prosperity That Brought the Degradation

The reign of King Uzziah in Judah is considered to be the most prosperous era in the nation since that of King Solomon. The year that Uzziah died is the year that the young Isaiah was called to be a Prophet. Sampey describes the condition of the country and the city.  

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