Preparing to meet our God should not be taken lightly and is why it is so important to test the spirits. It is crucial to make sure of our salvation as our destination, heaven or hell, is eternal. Jesus did not come to die for our sins and then for us to keep sinning. 1 John 3:6 “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.” Jesus came that we might have life everlasting, but we must obey His words. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” I can guarantee that instantly most who go to church will say they are safe and secure and have no fear of not spending eternity with God. The problem is that is what most have been taught to believe across the broad spectrum of beliefs in churches. It really doesn’t matter what particular distinctive you believe in; you will be told that your confession enables you to have eternal life, but is that really the truth? Yes, Romans does say Romans 10:9 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” But Jesus also says Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” It comes down to whether you actually obey and believe. Many in churches say they believe but follow other gospels.
Last week we looked at God’s anger towards His people because of their rebellion against His word. You can’t do the will of God if you rebel against His word. Scripture makes it clear that God has given His people the command to obey Him and if His people do not obey Him, they will feel His wrath, even though many churches will tell you that you won’t. I believe that is why many do not like the Old Testament, or they think it is irrelevant for today or that God acts differently today. But in it you see a picture of a people who refused to obey their God, starting in Genesis. They disobeyed and Genesis 3:23 “So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.” Then even after all the signs and wonders God performed in Egypt, they still rebelled against Him, and God declared they would never enter the Promised Land. After those in the first census died in the desert, those in the second census went across and took the land of milk and honey but even after defeating enemies stronger than they were, they refused to obey and rebelled against God. After they decided that having a king would be better, prophets spoke to the people. Hosea 13:10 “Where is your king, that he may save you? Where are your rulers in all your towns, of whom you said, ‘Give me a king and princes’? 11 So in my anger I gave you a king, and in my wrath I took him away.” Then there is a whole list of prophets, named and unnamed, who spoke during the times of each of a whole list of kings, who warned not only the king, but the people that they must obey. They told them exactly what would happen if they did not obey. Those warnings were not just for those times, but for ours also. Hosea 9:7 “The days of punishment are coming, the days of reckoning are at hand. Let Israel know this. Because your sins are so many and your hostility so great, the prophet is considered a fool, the inspired person a maniac. 8 The prophet, along with my God, is the watchman over Ephraim, yet snares await him on all his paths, and hostility in the house of his God.”
The people and their kings were almost all destroyed, a few were taken into captivity, and some remained in the land all because of their rebellion against God. The Promised Land was then overrun with the enemy even though they were warned that it would happen. Amos 3:7 “Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. 11 Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: An enemy will overrun your land, pull down your strongholds and plunder your fortresses.” The first to go was Israel who was destroyed by Assyria. 2 Kings 17:5 “The king of Assyria invaded the entire land, marched against Samaria and laid siege to it for three years. 6 In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria.” They were told, 13 “Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your ancestors to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets. 14 But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the Lord their God. 18 So the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left, 19 and even Judah did not keep the commands of the Lord their God. They followed the practices Israel had introduced. 20 Therefore the Lord rejected all the people of Israel; he afflicted them and gave them into the hands of plunderers, until he thrust them from his presence.”
There was even a crossover from the wickedness of Israel to Judah when Athaliah tried to wipe out the royal line of kings in Jerusalem. After Jehoshaphat his son Jehoram became king. 2 Chronicles 21:6 “He followed the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for he married a daughter (Athaliah) of Ahab. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord. 7 Nevertheless, because of the covenant the Lord had made with David, the Lord was not willing to destroy the house of David. He had promised to maintain a lamp for him and his descendants forever.” She was wicked and 2 Kings 8:26 “a granddaughter of Omri (wicked) king of Israel (King Ahab (wicked) was his son who had married Jezebel (wicked)). Ahaziah, Jehoram’s son would be the next king. 2 Chronicles 22:3 “He too followed the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother encouraged him to act wickedly. 10 When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family of the house of Judah.” She then made herself queen. The wickedness of Israel almost also wiped-out Judah, but God was faithful to the remnant. But Judah was also wicked and then the same would happen to Judah. 2 Chronicles 36:15 “The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. 16 But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. 17 He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and did not spare young men or young women, the elderly or the infirm. God gave them all into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar.” So even the remnant went into captivity.
In Leviticus you have the account of rewards and punishments. Obviously if they were taken captive by their enemies, they had decided to be punished for their disobedience instead of being blessed for their obedience, but God had said Leviticus 26:44 “Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely, breaking my covenant with them. I am the Lord their God. 45 But for their sake I will remember the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God. I am the Lord.’” In Deuteronomy we see the curses and blessings. We are told Deuteronomy 28:1 “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2 All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God. 15 However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you: 63 Just as it pleased the Lord to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please him to ruin and destroy you.” The church is foolish to think this does not also apply to us today.
But there is good news for those who humble themselves in captivity before God. Those curses and punishments can be overturned. Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; 20 but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Jeremiah 31:34 “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Deuteronomy 30:1 “When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come on you and you take them to heart wherever the Lord your God disperses you among the nations, 2 and when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, 3 then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. 4 Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back. 5 He will bring you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors. 6 The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. 7 The Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you. 8 You will again obey the Lord and follow all his commands I am giving you today. 9 Then the Lord your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your ancestors, 10 if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”
We have accounts that took place in captivity such as the book of Esther and Daniel and they cried out to God. These two accounts are about the people taken from Jerusalem. Esther 2:5 “Now there was in the citadel of Susa a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, named Mordecai son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, 6 who had been carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, among those taken captive with Jehoiachin king of Judah. 7 Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This young woman, who was also known as Esther, had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.” Daniel 1:1 “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god. 3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. 5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service. 6 Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.” Throughout both of these accounts we see that what God said would take place and we also see that God protected His remnant.
Today, we are going to begin to talk about the grace and compassion of God even though the people rebelled against Him. We see that if those curses and punishments came upon them, if they turned from their wicked ways, God would restore them. They paid a heavy price for their sin and lost the promised land, but God had made a promise to David and Abraham, so the remnant would survive. 2 Kings 13:23 “The Lord was gracious to them and had compassion and showed concern for them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To this day he has been unwilling to destroy them or banish them from his presence.” King Hezekiah said, 2 Chronicles 30:6 “People of Israel, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to you who are left, who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7 Do not be like your parents and your fellow Israelites, who were unfaithful to the Lord, the God of their ancestors, so that he made them an object of horror, as you see. 8 Do not be stiff-necked, as your ancestors were; submit to the Lord. Come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever. Serve the Lord your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. 9 If you return to the Lord, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land, for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.” Ezra 9:8 “But now, for a brief moment, the Lord our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage.” Not only is God compassionate, but He is also, as we see from scripture, a jealous God and consuming fire who does not change. Deuteronomy 4:24 “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” Malachi 3:6 “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” All throughout scripture we see a rebellious people and a jealous and compassionate God. We see a rebellious people turn away from God and then feel God’s wrath. Don’t believe for a moment that you can go your own way and still expect God to bless you. Deuteronomy 29:19 “When such a person hears the words of this oath and they invoke a blessing on themselves, thinking, “I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way,” they will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry.” But we saw that when they called to God, He would have compassion on them once again. Proverbs 8:17 “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” Psalm 18:6 “In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.”
When Israel were salves in Egypt, Exodus 3:7 “The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.” Then after being freed from Egypt, they rebelled in the desert against God. Numbers 14:29 “In this wilderness your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. 30 Not one of you (first census - 603,550) will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. 31 As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected. 32 But as for you, your bodies will fall in this wilderness. 33 Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the wilderness. 34 For forty years—one year for each of the forty days you explored the land—you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.’ 35 I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will surely do these things to this whole wicked community, which has banded together against me. They will meet their end in this wilderness; here they will die.” When they took the promised land, they rebelled again and they were removed from the land. Jeremiah 52:3 “It was because of the Lord’s anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence.”
Last week we talked about the presence of God. We cannot rebel against Him and expect His blessings. Isaiah when talking about fasting (I am applying it to attending church) said, Isaiah 58:1 “Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins. 2 For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. 3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.” Jeremiah 8:6 “I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues their own course like a horse charging into battle.” Malachi 3:13 “You have spoken arrogantly against me,” says the Lord. “Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’14 “You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What do we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the Lord Almighty? 15 But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly evildoers prosper, and even when they put God to the test, they get away with it.’”
Throughout scripture we see accounts of God’s people sinning and God’s anger against them. They would then remember and return to God, and God would be merciful. But there was always great cost for their rebellion. Psalm 78:32 “In spite of all this, they kept on sinning; in spite of his wonders, they did not believe. 33 So he ended their days in futility and their years in terror. 34 Whenever God slew them, they would seek him; they eagerly turned to him again. 35 They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer. 36 But then they would flatter him with their mouths, lying to him with their tongues; 37 their hearts were not loyal to him, they were not faithful to his covenant. 38 Yet he was merciful; he forgave their iniquities and did not destroy them. Time after time he restrained his anger and did not stir up his full wrath. 39 He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return.” As Jesus said Mark 7:6 “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules. 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” At Pentecost some people were convicted and said, Acts 2:37 “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do? 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
Over and over we see rebellion summarized, even though God had blessed them over and over again. Nehemiah 9:22 “You gave them kingdoms and nations, allotting to them even the remotest frontiers. They took over the country of Sihon king of Heshbon and the country of Og king of Bashan. 23 You made their children as numerous as the stars in the sky, and you brought them into the land that you told their parents to enter and possess. 24 Their children went in and took possession of the land. You subdued before them the Canaanites, who lived in the land; you gave the Canaanites into their hands, along with their kings and the peoples of the land, to deal with them as they pleased. 25 They captured fortified cities and fertile land; they took possession of houses filled with all kinds of good things, wells already dug, vineyards, olive groves and fruit trees in abundance. They ate to the full and were well-nourished; they reveled in your great goodness. 26 “But they were disobedient and rebelled against you; they turned their backs on your law. They killed your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to you; they committed awful blasphemies. 27 So you delivered them into the hands of their enemies, who oppressed them. But when they were oppressed they cried out to you. From heaven you heard them, and in your great compassion you gave them deliverers, who rescued them from the hand of their enemies.”
It is amazing that after all that God did through Joshua, Judges 2:10 “After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. 12 They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the Lord’s anger 13 because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. 14 In his anger against Israel the Lord gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. 15 Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the Lord was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress. 16 Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. 17 Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors, who had been obedient to the Lord’s commands. 18 Whenever the Lord raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the Lord relented because of their groaning under those who oppressed and afflicted them. 19 But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.”
The same happened in the New Testament. Even with all the power and authority the people saw with Jesus, they still refused to believe and even some turned away. John 6:60 “On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it? 66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” Paul said, Galatians 1:6 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!”
They talk about the silent years before Jesus, but they had the temple and the law, but they were so corrupt, that they ended up murdering their Messiah. Just as God said in 2 Chronicles 36:16 “But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy.” The second temple would be destroyed just as the first one was because of their rebellion. Jesus has said to them John 8:44 “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” Just as satan is a murderer, they too were murderers. Matthew 11:20 “Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.” Matthew 23:15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” Luke 13:34 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 35 Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Sadly, the same applies to the church today. Most in today’s church do not believe the church can do as Jesus did. They do not believe the answer Jesus gave when he was asked if He was the Messiah. Matthew 11:2 “When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else? 4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
Adam and Eve were given the garden and rebelled against God and death entered the world. Genesis 1:31 “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Genesis 3:1 “satan said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” Romans 12:12 “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned. 7 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” Israel was given the Promised Land and rebelled and were vomited out of the land. Leviticus 18:26 “But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the foreigners residing among you must not do any of these detestable things, 27 for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. 28 And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.” Today the church has also rebelled against the word of God and is corrupt to its core as it has rejected God’s word and replaced God’s words with their own. The word of God has been set aside and the church has gone their own way. If the church does not learn from the Old Testament, then the church will not see a need to repent which has proven very costly as many will not inherit eternal life. If the church does not repent, the church will continue to be defeated by their enemies. Most people that go to church will tell you they are safe and secure and do not worry that they will not see eternal life because they are risking where they spend eternity on the words of men and women who teach other gospels and refuse to accept God’s word and in the end will hear Matthew 25:41 “depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Prepare to meet your God. The church is not ready.
It really is amazing that the bible is made up of account after account of rebellion by God’s people and no, it is not God’s fault. People ask why a loving God would allow evil to happen, but what they should be asking is why would God allow them to live. Deuteronomy 32:4 “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” 2 Peter 3:8 “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” God’s people refused and continue to refuse to obey the Lord God Almighty, our Sovereign Lord. As Malachi said, Malachi 1:14 “I am a great king,” says the Lord Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.” Yet there is no fear of God in the land. Throughout scripture we see that along with that rebellion, God’s compassion and grace follows. As we read earlier, 2 Kings 13:23 “the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion and showed concern for them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To this day he has been unwilling to destroy them or banish them from his presence.” As we will see this week, even in captivity God took care of His people and then brought them back to the land. When Israel and Judah were removed from the promised land, that would be the beginning of the end of how things were. The last king of Israel was Hoshea and the last king of Judah was Zedekiah and both were evil in the eyes of the Lord. The people just as they were warned were removed from the land and the few that survived were exiled with just a few remaining behind. The people wanted a king just like the nations around them, so God gave them kings but those kings acted like the kings they destroyed before them. The problem was the people also followed what those around them did. For example, Manasseh 2 Chronicles 33:2 “did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. 9 But Manasseh led Judah and the people of Jerusalem astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites.” Even though they were exiled because of their rebellion, God had promised to bring them home, albeit just a remnant would survive of which we will talk about this week.
Jeremiah had prophesised that their exile would be seventy years. Jeremiah 25:8 “Therefore the Lord Almighty says this: “Because you have not listened to my words, 9 I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon,” declares the Lord, “and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy them and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin. 10 I will banish from them the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, the sound of millstones and the light of the lamp. 11 This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 12 “But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt,” declares the Lord, “and will make it desolate forever. 13 I will bring on that land all the things I have spoken against it, all that are written in this book and prophesied by Jeremiah against all the nations.” God did just as Jeremiah prophesied and brought His people home but their would be no more kings.
The amazing part was the rebuilding was largely because of King Cyrus, not a king from Israel or Judah. They did not return to the land under the banner of their king, it was the king of Persia who got the credit. 2 Chronicles 36:22 “In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing: 23 “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: “‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up, and may the Lord their God be with them.’” The first temple was built by King Solomon with the plans already given to His father David. 1 Chronicles 22:7 “David said to Solomon: “My son, I had it in my heart to build a house for the Name of the Lord my God.” But God said David was not the one to build it, his son was. 10 “He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.” Obviously, this meant Jesus because King Solomon rebelled against God and lost His father’s kingdom and it was never the same. When God told David he was not the one who would build the temple, God said, 2 Samuel 7:13 “He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. 15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’” Many think that they are protected / eternally secure no matter what, but just look at the devastation that came due to their rebellion. The remnant will survive but not everyone.
The second temple was built after the exile, but it was beginning to diminish and on its way to being no more, as the new temple was the body of Christ. When they were building the second temple, they said, Ezra 5:11 “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago, one that a great king of Israel built and finished.” Yet, it was destroyed. This one wasn’t being built by a king from Israel or Judah and it wasn’t similar to the splendour of the first. Ezra 3:10 “When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, as prescribed by David king of Israel. 11 With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. 12 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. 13 No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.” The ones who saw the first temple wept because this one wasn’t the same, but in Haggai God says something amazing. Haggai 2:6 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. 8 ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 9 ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”
The temple was shrinking but God said the glory would be greater than the first. There would not be another king until Jesus came and He would also be the last, as Jesus is the King of kings. Even though God had allowed them to return and rebuild, the Jews were so corrupt they refused to believe Jesus was actually the king they were waiting for. They had been told the Messiah was coming and they were waiting but some knew. Jesus is all through the Old Testament, but some knew. Luke 2:25 “Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” Isaiah had told them Isaiah 7:14 “The Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 9:6 “6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” Mary was told Luke 1:30 “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” Zechariah said Luke 1:68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. 69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David 70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), 71 salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us— 72 to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, 73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham: 74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.”
The king was here, as was His kingdom. Mark 1:14 “proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he (Jesus) said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Jesus said Luke 11:20 “But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” But it wasn’t the king or the kingdom the Jews wanted. They wanted an actual king to sit on a throne and rule just like they had before. Even the disciples didn’t fully understand. As Jesus was telling His disciples about the power of His kingdom that they would receive, they interrupted and said Acts 1:6 “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” The Jews to this day refuse to believe that Jesus is their king. Sadly, the church also does not believe, as many have been deceived by the so-called coming millennial kingdom where Jesus comes back to earth and reigns on the actual throne of David. Sadly, many in the church have followed the teaching of the Jews who murdered their own Messiah. Jesus is already our king, and His kingdom would come near once again if the church would turn from its wicked ways.
It is really interesting to look at the genealogy of Jesus found in Matthew. Matthew 1:1 is like Genesis 1:1. If you don’t believe in the beginning God created…, you are not going to believe “this is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham.” The genealogy then shows that Joseph was the son of David, therefore Jesus the rightful heir to the throne of David. We know this because the angel addresses Joseph as the son of David. I will be the first to say I don’t fully understand genealogy, but it is interesting especially when this is written by God Himself, so there are no contradictions even though many like to believe there are. I love how Rahab is in the family tree of Jesus. Then in the second part where the kings are listed a few are missing and a few I think I would have left out. I also liked how Uriah is specifically mentioned, but Bathsheba was not. Then you follow the line of kings, father son, father son but then a few are missed. After Jehoram, three kings are missing. Jehoram was not the father of Uzziah but the family tree is there, just missing a few evil kings and Athaliah. You see in the kings that when a king died it was said that he was buried in the city of his father David. David wasn’t his father but was in the family David. It just shows the connection to the lineage of David.
Then we get down to the last kings and they are not even listed except for one and he was evil, a grandson of Josiah named Jehoiachin (Jeconiah), Jehoiakim’s son. Josiah’s heirs to the throne were Jehoahaz and he only lasted three months. He was taken to Egypt and there he died. Then Josiah’s other son Eliakim’s became king, but Pharoah changed his name to Jehoiakim. Jehoiakim did detestable things and was taken to Babylon. As we saw, Daniel was taken prisoner during Jehoiakim’s reign. 2 Kings 24:1 “During Jehoiakim’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon invaded the land.” Then Jehoiakim’s son Jehoiachin who was also evil, wisely surrendered just after three months and was taken to Babylon. Then the kingdom went back to Josiah’s son Zedekiah, also evil, who refused to listen to Jeremiah. Jeremiah 34:2 “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Go to Zedekiah king of Judah and tell him, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am about to give this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down. 3 You will not escape from his grasp but will surely be captured and given into his hands. You will see the king of Babylon with your own eyes, and he will speak with you face to face. And you will go to Babylon. He too was taken to Babylon but first he watched his sons die and then lost his eyes.
After Josiah, all four of the kings of Judah were taken captive. In Jeremiah’s message to these wicked kings, he said Jeremiah 22:24 “As surely as I live,” declares the Lord, “even if you, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off. 25 I will deliver you into the hands of those who want to kill you, those you fear—Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the Babylonians. 26 I will hurl you and the mother who gave you birth into another country, where neither of you was born, and there you both will die. 27 You will never come back to the land you long to return to.” 28 Is this man Jehoiachin a despised, broken pot, an object no one wants? Why will he and his children be hurled out, cast into a land they do not know? 29 O land, land, land, hear the word of the Lord! 30 This is what the Lord says: “Record this man as if childless, a man who will not prosper in his lifetime, for none of his offspring will prosper, none will sit on the throne of David or rule anymore in Judah.” Even though King Jehoiachin was evil, he shows up in the genealogy of Jesus and it is fascinating especially when talking about curses being broken.
The first part took place and he was taken to Babylon and never would return. This then is the part that people think is a contradiction and why they say Jesus is not their King. What they miss is the compassion and grace of God just as we read earlier. We see that after 37 years in prison he was released. Jeremiah 52:31 “In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the year Awel-Marduk became king of Babylon, on the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month, he released Jehoiachin king of Judah and freed him from prison. 32 He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honor higher than those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon. 33 So Jehoiachin put aside his prison clothes and for the rest of his life ate regularly at the king’s table. 34 Day by day the king of Babylon gave Jehoiachin a regular allowance as long as he lived, till the day of his death.” Then the genealogy gets even more amazing. 1 Chronicles 3:17 “The descendants of Jehoiachin the captive: Shealtiel his son, 18 Malkiram, Pedaiah, Shenazzar, Jekamiah, Hoshama and Nedabiah. 19 The sons of Pedaiah:Zerubbabel and Shimei.” Matthew 1:2 “After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel.”
We then look at Zerubbabel and we see him return to the land. Ezra 3:1 “When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns, the people assembled together as one in Jerusalem. 2 Then Joshua son of Jozadak and his fellow priests and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his associates began to build the altar of the God of Israel to sacrifice burnt offerings on it, in accordance with what is written in the Law of Moses the man of God.” Then we see him building the temple. Ezra 5:1 “Now Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the prophet, a descendant of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. 2 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Joshua son of Jozadak set to work to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem. And the prophets of God were with them, supporting them.” Nehemiah 12:1 “Now Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the prophet, a descendant of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. 2 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Joshua son of Jozadak set to work to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem. And the prophets of God were with them, supporting them.” Haggai 1:14 “So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God.”
Then it gets even more amazing. Jeremiah had said, “even if you, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off.” Now like so many other times in scripture, such as King Manasseh, we see God’s grace. Haggai 2:21 “Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah that I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. 22 I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his brother. 23 “‘On that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” They were already told Haggai 2:9 ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” Zechariah 4:6 “So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.7 “What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!’” 8 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 9 “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. 10 “Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel?”
In this genealogy we see the grace of God with Jesus taking the throne of David, but all through the Old Testament we see Jesus. As we know Jerusalem would fall and the second temple would be destroyed and they definitely were not a city of truth, but Jesus is. Ezekiel also talks about Jesus when he said, Ezekiel 37:21 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. 22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms. 23 They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God. 24 “‘My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. 25 They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your ancestors lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 Then the nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.’” As Peter said Acts 2:9 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’ 36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” Jesus is the only King now and forever more.
Matthew said Matthew 1:1 “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham.” If you can’t believe that, then you will have joined the rebellion of the Jews, and many have as they continue to wait for their king to come back to earth and reign on David’s throne. Jesus already does as scripture tells us. The amazing gift God gave us when Jesus came to save us is beyond comprehension and so is the compassion and grace of God as none of us deserve it. Zechariah 1:2 “The Lord was very angry with your ancestors. 3 Therefore tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty. 4 Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the earlier prophets proclaimed: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Turn from your evil ways and your evil practices.’ But they would not listen or pay attention to me, declares the Lord. 5 Where are your ancestors now? And the prophets, do they live forever? 6 But did not my words and my decrees, which I commanded my servants the prophets, overtake your ancestors? “Then they repented and said, ‘The Lord Almighty has done to us what our ways and practices deserve, just as he determined to do.’” As Jesus said Matthew 24:22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” The church needs to repent. If it were not for God’s grace, none of us would have survived but as we saw with the genealogy of Jesus, God is a merciful God and He will keep His promise to David. Nehemiah 9:29 “You warned them in order to turn them back to your law, but they became arrogant and disobeyed your commands. They sinned against your ordinances, of which you said, ‘The person who obeys them will live by them.’ Stubbornly they turned their backs on you, became stiff-necked and refused to listen. 30 For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you warned them through your prophets. Yet they paid no attention, so you gave them into the hands of the neighboring peoples. 31 But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God. 36 “But see, we are slaves today, slaves in the land you gave our ancestors so they could eat its fruit and the other good things it produces. 37 Because of our sins, its abundant harvest goes to the kings you have placed over us. They rule over our bodies and our cattle as they please. We are in great distress.” It was only when Jesus was born that they would finally have a king who would reign on David’s throne, with all power and authority.
The book of Kings ends with Jehoiachin being released from prison and Chronicles ends with King Cyrus saying, “The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. any of his people among you may go up, and may the Lord their God be with them.’” There would never be another king, other than Jesus, we have the same hope as those who listened to Jesus when He said, Mark 1:15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” We have the same hope as those who listened to Peter when he said save yourself from this corrupt generation. Acts 2:41 “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” We have the same hope that those who listened to Paul and repented. 1 Corinthians 6:9 “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” Matthew 12:41 “The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here.” Hosea 14:1 “Return, Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall! 2 Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him: “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips. 3 Assyria cannot save us; we will not mount warhorses. We will never again say ‘Our gods’ to what our own hands have made, for in you the fatherless find compassion.” 4 “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.” Ezekiel 18:30 “Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!”
God is a God of mercy, but He is also a jealous God and consuming fire. We cannot rebel and expect to be blessed. We were told what would happen, but the church did not listen and has been decimated by the abomination that causes desolation. Our only hope is to turn away from our wicked ways and return to God’s word so that the curses and punishments can be overturned. Deuteronomy 4:25 “After you have had children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time—if you then become corrupt and make any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes of the Lord your God and arousing his anger, 26 I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you this day that you will quickly perish from the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. You will not live there long but will certainly be destroyed. 27 The Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which the Lord will drive you. 28 There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell. 29 But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey him. 31 For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.” When God turns His face back to the church, Isaiah 12:1 “In that day you will say: “I will praise you, Lord. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. 2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. 3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. 4 In that day you will say: “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. 5 Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. 6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.” Zechariah 8:1 “The word of the Lord Almighty came to me. 2 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “I am very jealous for Zion; I am burning with jealousy for her.” 3 This is what the Lord says: “I will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City, and the mountain of the Lord Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain.” 4 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each of them with cane in hand because of their age. 5 The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there.” 6 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “It may seem marvelous to the remnant of this people at that time, but will it seem marvelous to me?” declares the Lord Almighty. 7 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “I will save my people from the countries of the east and the west. 8 I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem; they will be my people, and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God.”