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Friday, June 6, 2014

Let Us Not Do The Things That JEHOVAH-JESUS Hate





Jeremiah 44:1-30 NIV






Disaster Because of Idolatry




1This WORD Came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews living in Lower Egypt—in Migdol, Tahpanhes and Memphis—and in Upper Egypt: 

 2“This Is What The Lord ALMIGHTY, The GOD of Israel, Says:  


You saw the great disaster I Brought on Jerusalem and on all the towns of Judah. Today they lie deserted and in ruins 3because of the evil they have done. They aroused My Anger by burning incense to and worshiping other gods that neither they nor you nor your ancestors ever knew. 4Again and again I Sent My servants the prophets, who said, ‘Do not do this detestable thing that I Hate!’ 5But they did not listen or pay attention; they did not turn from their wickedness or stop burning incense to other gods. 6Therefore, My Fierce Anger Was Poured Out; it raged against the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem and made them the desolate ruins they are today.

7“Now “This Is What The Lord ALMIGHTY, The GOD of Israel, Says:  


Why bring such great disaster on yourselves by cutting off from Judah the men and women, the children and infants, and so leave yourselves without a remnant? 8Why arouse My Anger with what your hands have made, burning incense to other gods in Egypt, where you have come to live? You will destroy yourselves and make yourselves a cursea and an object of reproach among all the nations on earth. 9Have you forgotten the wickedness committed by your ancestors and by the kings and queens of Judah and the wickedness committed by you and your wives in the land of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem? 10To this day they have not humbled themselves or shown reverence, nor have they followed My Law and the Decrees I Set Before you and your ancestors.

11“Therefore “This Is What The Lord ALMIGHTY, The GOD of Israel, Says: 


I AM Determined To Bring disaster on you and to Destroy all Judah.12I Will Take Away the remnant of Judah who were determined to go to Egypt to settle there. They will all perish in Egypt; they will fall by the sword or die from famine. From the least to the greatest, they will die by sword or famine. They will become a curse and an object of horror, a curse and an object of reproach. 13I Will Punish those who live in Egypt with the sword, famine and plague, As I Punished Jerusalem. 14None of the remnant of Judah who have gone to live in Egypt will escape or survive to return to the land of Judah, to which they long to return and live; none will return except a few fugitives.”

15Then all the men who knew that their wives were burning incense to other gods, along with all the women who were present—a large assembly—and all the people living in Lower and Upper Egypt, said to Jeremiah, 

16“We will not listen to the message you have spoken to us in The Name of The Lord! 17We will certainly do everything we said we would: We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and will pour out drink offerings to her just as we and our ancestors, our kings and our officials did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. At that time we had plenty of food and were well off and suffered no harm. 18But ever since we stopped burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have had nothing and have been perishing by sword and famine.”
19The women added, “When we burned incense to the Queen of Heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, did not our husbands know that we were making cakes impressed with her image and pouring out drink offerings to her?”




20Then Jeremiah said to all the people, both men and women, who were answering him, 21“Did Not The Lord Remember and Call to mind the incense burned in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem by you and your ancestors, your kings and your officials and the people of the land? 22When The Lord Could No Longer Endure your wicked actions and the detestable things you did, your land became a curse and a desolate waste without inhabitants, as it is today. 23Because you have burned incense and have sinned against The Lord and have not obeyed Him or followed His Law or His Decrees or His Stipulations, this disaster has come upon you, as you now see.”

24Then Jeremiah said to all the people, including the women, “Hear The WORD of The Lord, all you people of Judah in Egypt. 25“This Is What The Lord ALMIGHTY, The GOD of Israel, Says: 



You and your wives have done what you said you would do when you promised, ‘We will certainly carry out the vows we made to burn incense and pour out drink offerings to the Queen of Heaven.’




“Go ahead then, do what you promised! Keep your vows! 26But Hear The WORD of The Lord, all you Jews living in Egypt: ‘I swear by My Great Name,’ Says The Lord, ‘that no one from Judah living anywhere in Egypt will ever again invoke My Name or swear, “As Surely As The Sovereign Lord Lives.” 27For I AM Watching Over them for harm, not for good; the Jews in Egypt will perish by sword and famine until they are all destroyed. 28Those who escape the sword and return to the land of Judah from Egypt will be very few. Then the whole remnant of Judah who came to live in Egypt will know Whose WORD Will Stand—MINE or theirs.

29“ ‘This will be the sign to you that I Will Punish you in this place,’ Declares The Lord, ‘so that you will know that My Threats of Harm against you Will Surely Stand.’ 30This Is What The Lord Says: ‘I AM Going To Deliver Pharaoh Hophra king of Egypt into the hands of his enemies who want to kill him, Just As I Gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the enemy who wanted to kill him.’ ”










This chapter contains a sermon of Jeremiah's to the Jews in Egypt, reproving them for their idolatry there; their answer to it, expressing their resolution to continue in their idolatrous practices; and a denunciation of judgments upon them, of which a sign is given.


The sermon begins with observing to them the destruction of Jerusalem, and the causes of it, idolatry and contempt of the prophets, Jeremiah 44:1; then follows an expostulation with the present Jews for doing the same things, and exposing themselves and their posterity to the same punishment, Jeremiah 44:7; upon which they are threatened with the sore Judgments of GOD that should come upon them, and cut them off in general, Jeremiah 44:11.


Yet such were the impudence and obstinacy of this people, that they declared they would not listen to the prophet, but persist in their idolatry; it having been better with them when they practiced it than when they left it, Jeremiah 44:15; to which the prophet replies by observing, that for the idolatry of their fathers their land was become a desolation and a curse, as at this day, Jeremiah 44:20; and assures them that destruction would come from The Lord upon them, which HE Had Swore to, Jeremiah 44:24; and a sign of it is given; the delivery of the king of Egypt into the hand of the king of Babylon, Jeremiah 44:29.





Who is the Queen of Heaven?


The phrase “the queen of heaven” appears in the Bible twice, both times in the book of Jeremiah. The first incident is in connection with the things the Israelites were doing that provoked The Lord to Anger. Entire families were involved in idolatry. The children gathered wood, and the men used it to build altars to worship false gods. The women were engaged in kneading dough and baking cakes of bread for the “Queen of Heaven” (Jeremiah 7:18). This title referred to Ishtar, an Assyrian and Babylonian goddess also called Ashtoreth and Astarte by various other groups. She was thought to be the wife of the false god Baal, also known as Molech. The motivation of women to worship Ashtoreth stemmed from her reputation as a fertility goddess, and, as the bearing of children was greatly desired among women of that era, worship of this “queen of heaven” was rampant among pagan civilizations. Sadly, it became popular among the Israelites as well.


The second reference to the queen of heaven is found in Jeremiah 44:17-25, where Jeremiah is giving the people The Word of The Lord which God has spoken to him. He reminds the people that their disobedience and idolatry has caused The Lord to be very angry with them and to punish them with calamity. Jeremiah warns them that greater punishments await them if they do not repent. They reply that they have no intentions of giving up their worship of idols, promising to continue pouring out drink offerings to the queen of heaven, Ashtoreth, and even going so far as to credit her with the peace and prosperity they once enjoyed because of God’s Grace and Mercy.


It is unclear where the idea that Ashtoreth was a “consort” of JEHOVAH originated, but it’s easy to see how the blending of paganism that exalts a goddess with the worship of the True KING of Heaven, JEHOVAH, can lead to the combining of GOD and Ashtoreth. And since Ashtoreth worship involved sexuality (fertility, procreation, temple prostitution), the resulting relationship, to the depraved mind, would naturally be one of a sexual nature. Clearly, the idea of the “queen of heaven” as the consort or paramour of the KING of Heaven is idolatrous and unbiblical.


There is no queen of heaven. There has never been a queen of heaven. There is most certainly a King of Heaven, The Lord of hosts, JEHOVAH. HE Alone Rules in heaven. HE Does Not Share His Rule or His Throne or His Authority with anyone. The idea that Mary, the mother of JESUS, is the queen of heaven has no scriptural basis whatsoever, stemming instead from proclamations of priests and popes of the Roman Catholic Church. While Mary was certainly a godly young woman greatly blessed in that she was chosen to bear The SAVIOR of the world, she was not in any way Divine, nor was she sinless, nor is she to be worshiped, revered, venerated, or prayed to.


All followers of The Lord God refuse worship. Peter and the apostles refused to be worshipped (Acts 10:25-26; 14:13-14). The holy angels refuse to be worshipped (Revelation 19:10; 22:9). The response is always the same, "Worship God!" To offer worship, reverence, or veneration to anyone but God is nothing short of idolatry. Mary’s own words in her “Magnificat” (Luke 1:46-55) reveal that she never thought of herself as “immaculate” and deserving of veneration, but was instead relying on the grace of God for salvation: “And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Only sinners need a savior, and Mary recognized that need in herself.


Furthermore, JESUS HIMSELF Issued a mild rebuke to a woman who cried out to Him, "Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you" (Luke 11:27), replying to her, "Blessed rather are those who hear The WORD of GOD and obey it." By doing so, HE Curtailed any tendency to elevate Mary as an object of worship. HE Could certainly have said, “Yes, blessed be the Queen of Heaven!” But HE Did Not. HE Was Affirming the same truth that the Bible affirms—there is no queen of heaven, and the only biblical references to the “queen of heaven” refer to the goddess of an idolatrous, false religion.





Amen.





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