Monthly Archives: April 2017

Who or what are the “Chemarims?”

WHO OR WHAT ARE THE “CHEMARIMS?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Prophet Zephaniah, quoting the LORD God, wrote the following in chapter 1 of his little book: “[4] I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims with the priests; [5] And them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by the LORD, and that swear by Malcham; [6] And them that are turned back from the LORD; and those that have not sought the LORD, nor enquired for him.” Who or what are these “Chemarims” of verse 4?

Unfortunately, the term only appears this one time in the English Bible text. However, context clues provide us with a general definition. The word “Chemarims” sits in-between the terms “Baal” and “priests.” According to secular history, Baal was the name of chief god/idol of the Canaanites, Israel’s Gentile pagan neighbors. The Jews increasingly adopted this and other heathen religions once they entered the Promised Land (see Judges 2:11-13). We thus see that “Chemarims” is related to pagan religion.

We read some interesting bits in Strong’s Hebrew Bible Dictionary. The basic Hebrew word translated “Chemarim” is kamar, elsewhere rendered “priests” or “idolatrous priests” in our King James Bible. Dr. Strong defines it as: “properly, an ascetic (as if shrunk with self-maceration), i.e. an idolatrous priest (only in plural):—Chemarims (idolatrous) priests.” Notice the following:

  • 2 Kings 23:5: “And he put down the idolatrous priests [kamarim], whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven.”
  • Hosea 10:5: “The inhabitants of Samaria shall fear because of the calves of Bethaven: for the people thereof shall mourn over it, and the priests [kamarim], thereof that rejoiced on it, for the glory thereof, because it is departed from it.”
  • Zephaniah 1:4: “I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims with the priests;”

Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon adds that this word kamar in Syriac “is prop.[erly] blackness, sadness, and as a concrete, one who goes about in black attire, mourning; hence, an ascetic, a priest.”

Taking all of this into account, “Chemarims” (notice the plural ending “–ims”) were evidently pagan, idolatrous priests notable for wearing black robes. By the way, the word kamar is translated “black” (as in “scorched”) in Lamentations 5:10. Israel allowed this false religious system—led by Chemarims—to infiltrate them many hundreds of years prior to Zephaniah. Thus, the LORD God through Zephaniah preached that judgment was coming upon Israel (technically the Southern Kingdom, Judah) because of her rank, persistent idolatry. Zephaniah’s prophecy was fulfilled when the fifth course of judgment began. The Babylonians first came around 600 B.C., destroyed Jerusalem, her false religion, and her Temple, and the Babylonian armies took Judah captive (exile) to Babylon. As Zephaniah had warned, JEHOVAH God indeed “cut off [destroyed] the name [authority] of the Chemarims with the priests!”

My friend, one last thing—would you happen to know of any people in religion today who wear black robes? (Interesting, huh?!)

Also see:
» What does “Lord of Sabaoth” mean?
» Why does Acts 2:35 use “foes” but Psalm 110:1 use “enemies?”
» What are “phylacteries?”

“If God peradventure will give them repentance…?”

“IF GOD PERADVENTURE WILL GIVE THEM REPENTANCE…?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

What should we make of 2 Timothy 2:25? “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;That latter half—the conditional statement beginning with “if God peradventure”—puzzles some Bible readers. Should we conclude that God will reveal His truths to some but will hide it from others? Is He not unfair? Why does He not want all people to come to the knowledge of the truth? Or, does He? Then, what about this verse?

Friend, have you ever noticed how some people appeared to have/know and believe the truth, to be on the right track concerning sound Bible teaching, but then suddenly went off into apostasy? Sure. We all have. Maybe they went to a Bible-believing church for years, seemingly maturing in the Scriptures. They professed Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Perhaps they even taught Sunday School or sang in the choir. Then, one day, you found out that they returned to their old denomination, or perhaps threw out the Bible and God altogether and went back into “the world!” Not long ago, I dealt with Christians who were astounded that their friends and relatives who had attended their Bible churches and home Bible studies for years, suddenly went back to their cults (former denominations)! This should not shock or disappoint us because 2 Timothy 2:25 was God’s comment on these events thousands of years before they happened!

We start at 2 Timothy 2:24 and read to the end of the chapter: “[24] And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, [25] In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; [26] And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul said “the servant of the Lord must not strive,” or pick fights and argue (acting combative). God’s man or woman should “be gentle unto all men [people], apt [able] to teach, patient [longsuffering]” (verse 24). We should make every attempt possible to reach Christians and non-Christians alike with the truth of God’s word rightly divided. We should be presenting a clear Gospel message to the lost (1 Corinthians 15:3-4—“Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day”), and sound Bible teaching to the saved (all Scripture taught in light of Pauline doctrine). Opposition will arise, so we should be patient, trying to slowly turn them around and dealing with them as long as they are willing to hear. Some cases will take much longer than others. Whenever they start resisting, however, we need to back away and respect their free will. We need to leave them alone, letting them come back to us (hopefully, they will have a better attitude next time).

Verse 25 says, “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;….” Here is our “problem verse.” We should “in meekness”—or humility rather than pride—“instruct those that oppose themselves.” Those who oppose themselves are Christians who live contrary to the grace of God. They do not live out of the identity and resources God gave them in Christ. No, they are so works-oriented, so denominationally minded, that they refuse to be renewed by dispensational Bible truth day by day. They are corrupted by human wisdom, and are thus void of God’s wisdom. How it quenches/hinders the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19) and grieves Him (Ephesians 4:30) because He cannot work in their lives! Lost people “oppose themselves” in that they are living contrary to how God designed a human to live. They should be glorifying their Creator, not living for themselves. (Christians should be living as God designed Christians to live, and lost people should become Christians so they can live as God designed humans to live!)

We instruct those we reach in the ministry, attempting to reform their thinking first (and behavior will be corrected). However, it is not guaranteed that they will respond positively to that Word of God’s grace. Some will outright reject it (some will make that known most violently and loudly!). The “educated” philosophers in Athens laughed at Paul’s “gossip” preaching about Christ’s resurrection (Acts 17:32). Idolaters in Ephesus incited a massive riot that nearly killed Paul (Acts 19:23-41).

Some will keep it momentarily, and then toss it. The Galatians believed God’s Word through Paul at first, but then abandoned it. This was also true of the Corinthians. Others will believe it and stay with it for an extended time, actually maturing in it. You can see that in the Thessalonians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. Eventually, the “Asians” (citizens of Asia Minor, modern Turkey—cities of Ephesus, Colosse, Troas, et cetera) abandoned it. Paul, writing at the end of his ministry and life: “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (2 Timothy 1:15). This, you should recognize, is part of the epistle where we find 2 Timothy 2:25!

“In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;….That conditional part is explained as follows—those in our audience may change their mind to the point where they acknowledge the Bible truth we shared, or they may not change their mind and therefore retain their erroneous notions. God’s will for them is the first outcome—“…God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth(1 Timothy 2:4). It is God’s will that all individuals trust His only begotten Son as their personal Saviour. It is also His will that all come to the knowledge of the truth (especially Christians). However, He will not force His Word on either group.

Do not read 2 Timothy 2:25 as though God may choose to enlighten them or He may not choose to enlighten them. No. The condition depends on them, not Him! They may want the truth (and He will respect their free will by teaching them through us preaching His Word), or they may not want His Word (and He will leave them in their spiritual blindness). Remember, the words of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself: “If any man will do his [Father God’s] will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17). Jesus Christ declared you can know God’s will if you want to do His will! Friend, that applies to Christians and non-Christians alike! Father God wants lost people saved, and saved people edified. Do we? Do you?

Second Timothy 2:25 is a great encouragement in that it shows us that even when we do as much as we can to spread dispensational Bible truths, some will deny it and/or abandon it as though we never uttered a word to them. It is not that we did not share enough verses with them. (If the first verse did not convince them, the others would not have either!) It is not that we did not make the Word of God plain enough. (If they had questions, they would have asked them in sincerity!)

All people, saved and lost, are to some degree resistant to learning from God’s Word. Even as grace believers, we are not always 100% engaged while reading and studying it. Sometimes, we are reading verses through denominational eyeglasses, causing them to say something they do not say. There are traditional ideas from our past that are hard to break from and thus still cloud our thinking. We find ourselves in Satan’s snare, fulfilling his will of hiding God’s truth from others and ourselves. The good news is that, if we find ourselves in such a predicament, there is a solution! We had better find a servant of the Lord who will teach us and guide us into the doctrine of God’s grace!

Second Timothy 2:24-26: “[24] And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, [25] In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; [26] And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”

Also see:
» Why do some people get angry when we share right division?
» How long should I keep witnessing to the same person?
» What is dispensational Bible study?

How could Satan access heaven in the Books of Job and the Revelation?

HOW COULD SATAN ACCESS HEAVEN IN THE BOOKS OF JOB AND THE REVELATION?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Some Bible commentators have professed great difficulty in understanding and explaining how Satan could have access to heaven in Job chapters 1 and 2, as well as in Revelation chapter 12. (I just read an article written by a theologian who was struggling here.) After all, does Scripture not say in Luke 10:18 that Satan was cast out of heaven long ago? Then, how is he cast out of heaven in Revelation chapter 12 too? How could he go into heaven in Job? Was Satan thrown out of heaven, or is he still awaiting that eviction? Let us search the Scriptures!

Notice the so-called “contradictory” verses:

  • Job 1:6-7: “[6] Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. [7] And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.”
  • Job 2:1-2: “[1] Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. [2] And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.”
  • Luke 10:18: “And he [the Lord Jesus] said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.”
  • Revelation 12:7-9,12: “[7] And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, [8] And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. [9] And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him….. [12] Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”

Job chapters 1 and 2, part of the Bible’s oldest Book, say that Satan has access to heaven. Luke 10:18, spoken during Jesus’ earthly ministry, centuries after Job, says the Lord Himself personally saw Satan fall from heaven. Years later, in the Book of the Revelation, the Apostle John wrote about a future day when Satan will be kicked out of heaven. We can understand why somebody would get confused here when reading the Bible. It is easy to see why people have trouble reconciling these verses. Let me assure you, friend, there is nothing wrong with the Bible. All of these verses are correct. We just have to be sure we look at the Bible as a whole, and not just snippets. The Bible should be understood as a timeline, verses arranged neatly; Scripture is not a group of jumbled verses all applicable at the same time.

The Bible speaks of “the third heaven” in 2 Corinthians 12:2. Therefore, we know that three heavens exist:

  1. The first heaven is what we would call Earth’s atmosphere—where birds and manmade aircraft fly. Genesis 1:20 says: “And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.”
  2. The second heaven is above it—the location of the sun, moon, planets, stars, et cetera. We know this region of creation as “outer space.” Genesis 1:14-17 says: “[14] And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: [15] And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. [16] And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. [17] And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth….”
  3. The third heaven, where God’s throne is, is situated above outer space, or outside of our universe. As noted earlier, we find this “third heaven” referenced in 2 Corinthians 12:2: “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth; ) such an one caught up to the third heaven.”

SATAN’S PROGRESSIVE FALLING, FROM “TOP” TO “BOTTOM”

When the Bible says that Satan fell from heaven in Luke 10:18, that refers to his original fall in Isaiah 14:12-14 and Ezekiel 28:11-19. That was Lucifer’s eviction from the third heaven, the throne-room of God, because of his pride and failed attempt to usurp God’s authority (1 Timothy 3:6). Satan can never enter the third heaven again.

When Scripture says that Satan stood before God in Job chapters 1 and 2, this is not the third heaven as commonly assumed. It is not the throne-room of God as often taught. This would be the second heaven, or outer space. Isaiah 14:13 talks about this “mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north.” Those “congregating” are angelic beings, and, according to the Book of Job, they assemble frequently. It is somewhere in the northern part of the universe, perhaps on some planet or other faraway celestial body, that the angels give an account to and/or report to God concerning their activities. God meets these spiritual beings here. It is evidently where Satan answers to God regarding his mischief on Earth.

When the Bible speaks in Revelation chapter 12 about Michael and his angels fighting against the Devil and his angels, and the Devil and his angels being cast out of heaven, that would be the second heaven (outer space). You will recall that this was where Satan was when he appeared in Job chapters 1 and 2. By the time of the Revelation—technically, halfway through the seven-year Tribulation—Satan is cast to Earth. This fall of Satan, from outer space to Earth, is yet future.

By the way, in Revelation 20:10, at the end of the Millennial Reign of Christ, Satan is tossed into the Lake of Fire, which is at the bottom of the universe, the farthest point from God’s throne in the third heaven (the third heaven being Satan’s original abode, as per Luke 18:10).

CONCLUSION

Rather than making all of these verses depict one fall from one heaven, or two falls from one heaven, we need to see that two heavens are involved and two falls are involved. It really is ridiculously simple, provided we ignore the theological speculations!

Once the perfect cherub Lucifer became prideful, he (now Satan) was thrown out of the third heaven, God’s throne-room (Luke 18:10). Satan currently operates in the second heaven, giving rise to the reality of “spiritual wickedness in high [heavenly] places” (Ephesians 6:12). One day, according to Revelation 12:7-12, Satan and his fallen angelic cohorts will be evicted from outer space (second heaven) and confined to the Earth (to wreak havoc during the final half of the seven-year Tribulation). We as members of the Church the Body of Christ assume those positions of heavenly government for God’s glory (Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 1:9-10; Ephesians 2:6-7; Colossians 1:16-20; 2 Timothy 4:18)!

Lucifer’s fall from his original state to his eternal punishment is gradual, spanning thousands of years. That is, God did not immediately take Lucifer once he fell and cast him into the Lake of Fire. In fact, the Devil will not wind up in the Lake of Fire until Revelation chapter 20, which is still future even from today. Looking at the Bible timeline, from left to right—Satan falls from the third heaven (God’s throne-room) to the second heaven, from the second heaven (outer space) to the Earth, and ultimately, from Earth to the Lake of Fire.

The issue of Satan falling from heaven can be understood only from the dispensational perspective. Friend, if you attempt to make all these verses the same event, covering the same timeframe, you will reach an impasse you will ever be able to escape. However, if you see how they are different because they are in fact separate and distinct falls, thousands of years apart, and involving two different heavens, the Bible will become unbelievably clear concerning this topic!

Saints, (only if you can afford it!), please remember us in your monthly giving. You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! 🙂

Also see:
» Why does God let Satan exist?
» What are Satan’s current operations?
» Where in the Bible did God give Satan domain over the Earth?