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Coup de Grâce
General James Green, May 20, 2011
“SPEAK TENDERLY to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD’S hand DOUBLE FOR ALL HER SINS”—Isaiah 40:2 (RSV).
THE BACKGROUND OF CHAPTER 40 is that of the end of the Babylonian nation and the beginning of the Persian period- a turning point in history; along with this come the release of God's people from captivity.
For those of you who are not familiar with all this read up on WHY God sent the people of Jerusalem into captivity, having their land, its people and their temple overrun by their enemies.
Jeremiah is a good book to research, for it contains an unusually full account of the prophecies and actions of the prophet during the time of the Babylonian invasion:
34:1-7 = Jeremiah warns king Zedekiah (their last king) that Yahweh will give Jerusalem into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar, 589 B.C., before the siege began.
37:1-10 = During an interval when the Babylonians lifted the siege of Jerusalem, upon the approach of an Egyptian army (588 B.C.?), Zedekiah sent a deputation to Jeremiah requesting prayer for the city. The Prophet sent word that the Babylonians would return to the city and capture it.
34:8-22 = After the siege of Jerusalem began, Zedekiah issued a royal proclamation that Hebrew slaves be set free, but later recalled it when the siege was lifted.
37:11-15 = Jeremiah arrested after he set out from Jerusalem to go to Benjamin, and was charged with deserting to the enemy, put in prison until the fall of that city.
37:16-21 = the King brings the Prophet to him secretly to inquire if there was a Word from the LORD.
32:1-15 = While in prison, after the return of the Babylonian Army, Jeremiah purchased a field in Anathoth from Hanameel, to redeem it for the family.
38:1-13 = Jeremiah continues to advise the people to surrender to the Babylonians, because God sent this pagan army as the PUNISHMENT for their sins.
38:14-28 = Zedekiah requests a second interview with Jeremiah, again the prophet pleads with the king to surrender, for this was God's will.
39:1 - 40:6 = Jerusalem falls, Jeremiah was taken from prison and entrusted to Gedaliah, the new Governor of the province of Judah.
Take Heed, America!
MANY COMPARES NEW AMERICA TO OLD ISRAEL. If so, then we might expect judgment like that of Jerusalem (and the land of Judah, plus the fall of the 10 northern tribes before Jerusalem fell).
THE FOLLOWING QUOTATIONS will give examples of Jeremiah’s thoughts on this matter: 4:14 = “O Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness, that you may be saved. How long shall your evil thoughts lodge within you?”
5:23 = “But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; they have turned aside and gone away”.
17:1 = “The sins of Judah is written with a pen of iron; with a point of diamond it is engraved on the tablet of their heart”.
17:9 = “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately weak (wicked); who can understand it?”
Jeremiah frequently uses a phrase to describe the source of sin: “The stubbornness of the (evil) heart” (Hebrew sheriruth hallebh [hara] mistakenly translated in this KJV as “imagination of the heart” (see 7:24; 13:10; 23:17, etc.).
In 2:10-11 Jeremiah contrasts Israel’s forsaking her God with the practice of pagan nations in remaining loyal to their deities, gods/ goddesses.
In 5:22-23; 8:7 and 18:13-16 he contrasts the sinfulness of Israel with the obedience of birds, animals, and forces of nature (law of nature).
The remedy for their SIN is REPENTANCE, resulting in a life of OBEDIENCE. The Hebrew word most often used by Jeremiah Is shubh, usually translated “return” or “turn” in English versions (see 3:12-14; 4:1-4; 18:11; 31:18-19). John the Baptist spoke to Israel “bear fruit that benefits repentance” - Matt. 3:8.
13:23 = “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also can you do good who are accustomed to do evil?”
This passage compares Israel’s chances of learning to “do good” with the possibility of an Ethoipian’s changing his (black) skin or of a leopard’s changing his spots, expresses Jeremiah’s pessimism.
Personally, as it stands now, I feel the same way concerning America- I don’t think she will or can change her sinful ways and I include most professors of faith!
Of course my pessimism is not based upon lack of faith in my God's ability to forgive; it is based rather on my knowledge of the force of sinful habit and custom (of rebelling)….it is America that is accustomed to do evil who find it nearly impossible for her to fully repent, learn to obey God's Word. In other words, Americans have rebelled so long and so hard they have become “skilled in doing evil” (4:22).
Notice how 4:22a words it: “For my people (not the pagans!) are foolish, they know me not….” Even after Jeremiah writes, “Destruction upon destruction is cried; the whole land is spoiled….” Hey, America, how long have the prophets of God cried unto you that destruction is coming? I know we have not failed to warn this nation of God's impending judgments, yet to no avail. Even this writing, which is another warning, will be despised, thrown in the garbage as “false”, yet all the while, America’s tents (v. 20b) are being spoiled.
Jeremiah asked, “How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet?” (V 21)….as the invading army calls its troops, Israel’s foes, in wave after wave upon the city. Jeremiah is in anguish (V. 19) as he foresees the oncoming disaster. The tents are the tents of the defenders stationed for battle as well as those in the temporary dwellings within the walls thru which the breaches are made.
Not only were Israel’s tents spoiled, but Jeremiah’s tabernacle (his heart) is spoiled (10:19, 20).
Haven’t You Noticed?
TWO GREAT EVIL FORCES have now entered America- haters of God, and His people: The Islamic and Homosexual invasion is now in progress as I write….with One World Order Socialists behind it all. These forces of evil are first that, EVIL! They all hate Christianity, just as the Babylonians hated Israel….yet it was God who raised up the king of Babylon for war, the LORD even calling Nebuchadrezzar His servant, why? Because Israel would not serve God out of obedience, so God called Nebuchadrezzar for the sole purpose of divine retribution upon Israel- Nebuchadrezzar obeyed the call of God, Israel received a 70- year punishment.
To the Heart of the Matter
“...for she (Judah) hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins”—Isa. 40:2
All this debt is now paid in full by Israel, but why? Double? “Double for all her sins” is characteristic Oriental exaggeration. God's punishment of His people Judah has been, or seems to have been, greater than she deserved.
The Covenant Code (Ex. 23:7-8) states where the thief is required to make two-fold restitution for what was stolen. Reuben Levy says, “The thought here would then be that Israel (speaking of the 2 tribes of the south, Benjamin and Judah) has paid in full the statutory penalty for her delinquency” (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1925, p. 114).
We can find this same principle in the Qu’ran (see 7:36; 33:68; 34:36).
This does not mean that God's people have overpaid for their iniquities.
PARDON IS ALWAYS AN ACT of God's grace. Both the discipline and the vicarious sufferings of the righteous are of His appointment. His loving heart goes out to sinners- this is why we make known His Word/ Way to the sinners, in order that they will “turn” unto Him and be saved.
Discipline, a most HATED word, both by the “Christian” and non-Christian. Try telling a sinning Churchite that God frowns upon his/ her activities—get ready for a rebuke!
The Lord’s/ LORD’S discipline serves to produce penitence. Did you know this is where the word penitentiary comes from, to “convert” the “convict”?
God's forgiveness is part of His righteousness. He is “a righteous God and a Savior” (Isaiah 45:21, cf. also with vv. 15b, 17 and 20.)
History Proves It
GOD'S REDEMPTIVE ADVENTS take place in history. Our Holy and Sacred Scriptures look on all events as under His providential control. Some consider God and Jesus of the Bible as just two of many gods. But He is much more than this. The Bible declares Him and His Son to be: Omniscient (Jn. 16:30), Omnipresent (Matt. 28:20), Omnipotent (Matt. 28:18), Eternal (Jn. 1:1), and Immutable (Heb. 13:8).
Not only all the above attributes but Alpha and Omega, LORD/Lord, Savior, King, Judge, Light, Rock, Redeemer, Shepherd, Creator, giver of life, forgiver of sin, and speaker(s) with divine authority. Tell me, what other god or goddess has such attributes and titles? NONE!!
Coup de Grâce
IN HIS ESSAY ON Montaigne, Sainte-Beuve complains that this semi-pagan “had no room in his system for the divine, which is the foundation of genuine Christianity” (see Causeries du Lundi (Paris: Garnier Freres, n.d.). But the God of Christianity, the God of the Holy Bible oversees all things; when judgment/ discipline is needed, He intervenes in the affairs of the world. So, dear Americans, look for His judgments to be stepped up. This is not to say that all Americans are equally guilty, but because of His love He brings judgment upon both sin and the sinner. No amount of politicking or phony repentance (in church rallies) will avert His correction/punishment. But even this is meant to correct the guilty.
HER SUFFERINGS (in Babylon for 70 years) were accounted for, “her iniquity is pardoned”. The END had come at last, followed by the announcement of expiation of the guilty. The verb “pardoned” may be rendered, literally., “is made acceptable” or “has been accepted”. It occurs in Lev. 26:41, 43 in the sense of paying off a debt incurred by the guilt: “accept the punishment of their iniquity” (ASV). The Jewish Targum reads: “her debts shall be forgiven her”. The Greek reflects the same idea of remission of sins.
Thus, the new age opens with forgiveness of sins- something America has yet to experience, (see Isa. 43:25; 44:22; 48:9).
Warfare Is Ended (v. 2)
A MUCH BETTER rendering would be “time of service.” The meaning of the verb is, literally, “filled” (see Mark 1:15; Gal. 4:4; Eph. 1:10 in the Gk.). Thus, the figure is military (see Job. 7:1; 14:14). The exile/ imprisonment was like a soldier’s time of military service. The decisive moment had come, The END of the Babylonian age has arrived, the Persian age is dawning.
Can this happen to America, I mean her END of power? Most assuredly! Not only did God use Babylon as a “weapon” against Israel, imprison her, but God now turns upon Babylon and punishes her and sets Israel free (this happened under the Persians).
MY ADVICE TO AMERICA IS REPENT! If you do not, your judgments will only increase. God is ready, willing and able to forgive, but you, dear Americans, YOU MUST BE SINCERE IN YOUR REPENTANCE.
Again, my personal conviction is that she will NOT REPENT, therefore this nation will fall into the hands of evil forces as a whip upon her back. History proves this out….America is overdue for discipline….and I’m afraid it will be severe, too.
[* Study materials have been adapted from their original sources.*]