Category Archives: Character study

A study of the events of a person’s life from the record that we are given in Scripture. The aim of this study is to try and understand the people of the Bible, and how Yahweh was working in their lives. Do we need to learn the lessons that they did?… Most probably!

Jeremiah 37

This talk was given last October to a group of Christadelphians as part of a series on Jeremiah. Jeremiah may have been sent to the children of Israel 2000 years ago to warn them of the impending invasion by the Babylonians, but it is just as relevant to us now. The world is becoming more and more anti-religion, men standing up in their own strength to reject the creator of the universe. Nations who were founded on the law of Moses and drifting further away from their foundations and creating their own justice and legal systems that exclude religion. We are in a world that rejects God and his ways, therefore the words of Jeremiah are exhortation for us in our day.
(You can also download this talk as a pdf)

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Mark the Servant

This talk was given to a group of Christadelphians last October (PDF). The aim of the talk was to see how Christ is portrayed in the gospel of Mark and what we could learn from him. As an opening reading we read Mark 12:1-12.

Introduction

The gospel of Mark was written before the Roman invasion of Jerusalem, and deals specifically, in the first instance, with the events to happen in that day and age… before the Romans would come to remove the mosaic heavens and earth (as alluded to in the letter to the Hebrews).

Amongst the four Gospels Mark’s stands out as the shortest. As with all Scripture, the scope and purpose is very precise and accurate with no contradictions, and can be summarised in the parable of the Vineyard.

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Melchi-Zedek: King of Rightiousnes

Again, another bible class. It was written and given as a public talk but posted here in case anyone else would care to read it. This subject was a delight to study, especially in such exciting times where prophecy is speedily becoming a reality as we know with all certainty that it will.

Introduction

Melchizedek is explicitly mentioned in three sections of scripture. The historical record of Melchizedek is found in Genesis 14, Then the sweet psalmist of Israel picks up the theme and links it to Christ in the millenium – Psalm 110. And finally, Paul in Hebrews 5 to 7, ties the theme together expounding many parts of these two earlier passages, showing that indeed Jesus was the Christ – the anointed king – foretold by the prophets.

Paul tells us that Melchizedek was:

Heb 7:3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.

Melchizedek was a man and therefore undoubtedly had parents, probably even children. Paul’s point is that Melchizedek has been made to look like Christ… he is a type of Christ! Hence all the details, or in this case, lack of them, are recorded for that purpose… nothing is left to chance in scripture. I’d like to look at both the prophecy and the exhortation. Continue reading

Virtuous Woman – אשת חיל

Introduction

“A virtuous Woman is a crown crown to her husband” (Prov 12:4)

In summary, the “virtuous” woman represents the multitudinous people taken by the Messiah in marriage as his queen. Those who will with Yashua as he reigns from Zion, from the throne of his father David.

Our subject is taken from proverbs 31. We do not have enough time to look at every verse in detail, that would require many evenings as we shall see. So we will have to suffice with a more thematic approach, just brushing the surface. My aim is to wet your appetite for further personal study. Continue reading

Bet-Lechem: House of bread

This has been adapted from a bible-class talk and posted here that all may benefit from the study. Please contact me with any thoughts…

Introduction

Our subject is Bet-Lechem בת-לחם – the house of bread – which in summary symbolises the Ecclesial household of faith throughout every age. Together, we will trace this symbol throughout scripture: from it’s roots to the prophetic climax yet to be fully realised. From the calling of a people for his name, to the exalting of David, the beloved over his brethren and sisters to stand before Yahweh. His multitudinous loaf body, broken and spread abroad, that all nations may cause themselves to be blessed in the eating of it, and the Glory of Yahweh fills the earth in those who manifest his character. This is an overwhelmingly beautiful subject, far more extensive than we could possibly do justice in this short study. Continue reading

Isaiah 6 – the Seraphim: burning ones (Mel’chizedek)

Mel’chizedek – King or Righteousness

In the last post, we saw Uzziah lift himself up beyond what Yahweh had given him, as he took upon himself the name and role of Azariah–the hight priest at the time. In the opening verse of Isaiah 6 the spirit contrasts this self appointed Azariah (help of Yah) with the true Mel’chizedek, the true king priest, ordained by the father and sitting on his throne – “Jesus” (Yashua in the Hebrew). We are told this in John 12.

John 12:40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. 41 These things said Isaiah, when he saw his glory, and spake of him (Christ).

Now why would visions given to Isaiah about the impending Assyrio-Babylonian invasion be applied to Christ and his time? The spirit though John and Isaiah is clearly using the prophecy to refer to both times.

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Isaiah 6 – the Seraphim: burning ones (context)

Introducing the vision

In this short overview of Isaiah 6 and the vision of the Seraphim שרפים (the burning ones), we look at: the context the vision was given, the meaning for the people of the time, and the message for us today! Starting with the context then… so why was the book of Isaiah written?

Isa 1:1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amotz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for Yahweh hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.

Yahweh is pleading with his people, his “children”, as their Father; By this revelation given to Isaiah–just as John received the revelation about his generation, and beyond–open the eyes of the faithful of the inhabitance of Judah an Jerusalem, a message to his servants, to show them things which must shortly come to pass.

One of several phases of the locust

There were to be four successive invasions by the Assyrians, which Joel sees as waves of locusts; a wave in each of the reigns of the kings mentioned here. They came from the north, eating the goodness of the land as they came. By the end, all of the northern tribes of Israel were taken from the land, and only a small remnant of the tribe of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem remained.

Uzziah

Now when we come to Isaiah 6, we find our vision is given around the time of the death of Uzziah king in Judah. In verse one we read:

Isa 6:1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also Adonay(my lord) sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

How is this vision related to the death of Uzziah?

Uzziah עֻזִּיָּהוּ means “Yahweh is my strength”, and this describes the earlier part of his reign; he grew strong and powerful under the wings of the father. 2 Kings 15 seems to suggest that he changed his name towards the end of his reign. When coronated he was called Uzziah, but by the time of Menachem–the king of Israel and the first Assyrian invasion–he was referred to as Azariah עֲזַרְיָהוּ (which means “Yahweh has helped”). By adding another letter to his name, he now shared the same name as the high priest of the time!

Now why would he do this? Perhaps there is a clue in the first time the word “help”, ezer עזר is used in the psalms,

Ps 20:1 Yahweh hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the Elohim of Jacob defend thee;
2 Send thee help, ezer עזר, from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion

There are several prophecies of the saving of Jerusalem from there enemies by the “help” of Israel; Christ and the saints (Deut 33:7,26, Psa 121). At the time of the barbaric Assyrian invasion, the “day of trouble”, it would seem that Uzziah–now Azeriah–was associating himself with the prophetic Melchizedek, the king priest of Jerusalem, the seed of David. Through him he assumed that the people would be saved, and his “heart was lifted up to destruction” (2 chr 26:16). Taking upon himself the role of the high priest, he tried to offer incense in the temple to Yahweh! lifting himself up beyond that which was given to him, he was smitten with leprosy for the rest of his life, reminding him that all flesh is grass–Yahweh indeed was his strength!

This is a great lesson for us, where is our aim in life? do we strive to set ourselves up, is it our desire to be in the kingdom for Yahweh’s glory, or our own? The saints, symbolised in apocalypse by the 24 elders will “cast their crowns before the throne, saying… thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Apoc 4:10)

Nadab and Abihu: the cleansing work of the Seraphim

Uzziah represents the apostasy of the nation and it’s rulers at the time… flesh is no better now than it was then; our generation is also coming to a time of purging.

Alter of Incense (Timna Park tabernacle reconstruction: Israel)

Uzziah made the same mistake as Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10, when they offered strange fire; incense that Yahweh had not asked for. According to Luke 1:9,10, “the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense”. And “the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before” Yahweh (Apoc 8:4).

Both the prayers of Azeriah and the people were rejected, Isaiah 1 says, “bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me … I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. … And when ye spread forth your hands (in prayer), I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood” (Isa 1:13, 15).

Fire, coming forth from the faces of the Cherubim burnt up Nadab and Abihu. Yahweh forbade Aaron–their father–to morn … but “let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning, saraph שרף, which Yahweh hath kindled, saraph שרף” (Lev 10:6). Why did Yahweh do this? We are told in verse 3, “I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified”.

Whirlwind from the north, the vision of the Cherubim (Ezk 1)

Because of the wickedness of the people in turning their back on him and serving Baal, and offering their children to Molech burning them on the hands of the statue outside the gates of Jerusalem (city of peace), the people were to be purged with the burning fire of the Seraphim. In the words of Yahweh through Ezekiel when he, in prophecy, was to cut hairs from his head as a symbol of the people of Israel, “cast them into the midst of the fire, and burn saraph שרף them in the fire; for thereof shall a fire come forth into all the house of Israel” (Ezek 5:4). And it did, Ezekiel 1 is the vision of Babylonians consuming Jerusalem as a fiery whirlwind (Ezk 43:3).

Choosing to take upon ourselves the name of Yahweh in baptism, to be son’s and daughters of the most high, is a great responsibility. Bringing into disrepute the name of our Father is a very serious thing. Yahweh’s name must be seen as holy at all times!

Next we will look at the vision on the throne, the true king priest–Mel’chizedek