Matthew 21

Matthew 21:

Cleaning the Temple

                  Jesus commands two of His Apostles to go to a village, where they would find an ass and a colt tied. He commanded them to loose both of them and bring them back to Him. Jesus tells that that if anyone tries to stop them from taking the ass and the colt, that they are to say that it is for the Lord. This would fulfill a prophecy that a “…King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.” (Matthew 21:5) Jesus then got on the ass and rode into Jerusalem and everyone on the way asked who this man was; “…This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.” (Matthew 21:11) Upon arriving at Jerusalem, Jesus went into the temple and “…overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer; but ye have made it into a den of thieves.” (Matthew 21:12-13) This shows that Jesus did not want moneychangers in the house of His father. This is important because it shows that churches should not be built for gain. If they are built for gain, then they become dens of thieves and are not houses of prayer. This is also interesting to see that Jesus does in fact have human characteristics and can be angered or upset.

While in the temple, after over turning tables, Jesus healed many people. After healing, Jesus left to Bethany, where he lodged. The next morning Jesus was hungered and went out to a fig tree, where the branches yielded no fruit, so Jesus essentially cursed the tree so it would never grow anything again, after it had withered the Apostles were shocked of His power. Jesus reminds them that with faith, they can move mountains. He also explains that “…all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22)

                  Jesus returns to the temple and while their, some of the chief priests ask Jesus by what Authority does He perform His miracles. Jesus asks them; “…I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John whence was it? From heaven or of men?” (Matthew 21:24-25) The chief priests are a little baffled, because if they say from heaven, then Jesus would ask them why they didn’t believe in His authority. But if they say by men, then they would fear the people, because the people believed that John was a prophet. So they answered Jesus by telling Him that they could not tell. So Jesus responds; “…Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.” (Matthew 21:27) This shows that Authority is important to have, Jesus had the proper authority from His Father, but He had nothing to prove and did not have to tell those questioning Him, by where He received His Authority.

Jesus then explains the Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen:

There was a man who planted a vineyard and dug a wine press around it, and built a tower. This man left his home and went into the far country. When the fruit became ready for harvest he sent some servants to the husbandmen (who were taking care of the house) so that they could harvest the fields. The husbandmen took the servants, beat one, killed another and stoned the last one. So the man of the field sent more servants and the husbandmen did likewise to these new servants.

Finally the man sent his son, whom he thought wouldn’t be killed by the husbandmen. When the son arrived the husbandmen said among themselves; “…This is the heir; come let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.” (Matthew 21:38) The man who owns the farm is represented of as God the Father, who sent servants (Prophets) to collect the harvest in the land (the earth), but the husbandmen (the people of the world) rejected the servants and killed them. So finally God the Father sent His Son, whom the people also rejected and killed

Jesus asks those gathered; when the man of the field (the Lord of the field) comes back, what do you think he will do to the husbandmen? “…He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits of the season.” (Matthew 21:41)

                  Jesus is the stone that the builders rejected, but He has become the head of the corner. Jesus tells them; “…The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” (Matthew 21:43-44)

                  Jesus was explaining that because of His own rejection, that one day the Gospel would be restored and given to a new people. The Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored in the early 1800’s in the newly formed United States of America. This church, the church Jesus Christ himself restored is the ‘Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’. This had to be done, because as Isaiah pointed out; “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” (Isaiah 24:5) The gospel of Jesus Christ over the years was changed and distorted, thus the need for a Restoration and Another Testament of Jesus Christ; The Book of Mormon (which was written in Ancient America at the same time the Bible was being written in the old world.)

Ecclesiastes 7-8

Ecclesiastes 7-8

Chapter 7: Wisdom Goeth Life

In short… enjoy what you have while you can, but realize that adversity and hard times can strike at any moment. Because of this, life is short. Death is inevitable. We shouldn’t ignore it because it makes sense to plan ahead to experience God’s mercy rather than his justice. People who are too righteous and too wise are blind to their own faults. There will always be things that we don’t understand. Thinking that you have attained enough wisdom is a sure sign that you haven’t.

“Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.” (Ecclesiastes 7:3)

                Sorrow can also bring some of the best knowledge, because by experience we learn.

                “For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.” (Ecclesiastes 7:12)

                You can have defence with money, but only with knowledge and wisdom can you have lasting defence from your enemies.

                “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20)

                We all sin. Simple as that, don’t think you are better than others. It is like the phrase; ‘everyone sins differently’ so don’t go judging people.

                “I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness.” (Ecclesiastes 7:25)

                We need to ACTIVELY search to know the truth, don’t think you know everything. Always be open to learn. A wise man of 70 years old can still learn from a toddler, if that man wants to learn.

Chapter 8: None Have Power over Death

True wisdom comes from knowing and trusting God, not merely the way to find him. Knowing God will lead to understanding and then to sharing that knowledge with others. Even in a man could have all of the world’s wisdom, he would still know very little. No one can fully comprehend God.

“There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death; and there is no discharge in that war…” (Ecclesiastes 8:8)

If you ever think you are invincible or special, realize that we are nothing to God. We have no power over death; if it is our time… we will die.

“When I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth: (for also there is that neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes:) Then I beheld the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea further; thou a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.” (Ecclesiastes 8:16-17)

                God is always working, day and night! Those who seek to know God’s work will never be able to fully understand His work, and those who claim to know His work are fools.

2 Kings 15-16

2 Kings 15-16

Chapter 15: Israel and Judah in Wickedness

In the twenty seventh year of the reign of Jeroboam, reined also Azariah the son of Amaziah in Judah. Azariah began to reign when he was only 16 years old and reigned for 52 years! Azariah did right in the eyes of the Lord, but became a leper until the end of his life 2 Chronicles 26 tells us more about that. Jotham was over the land and did the judging for Azariah until he died and was buried with his fathers.

The 5 Kings over the Kingdom of Israel:

Zechariah reigned over Israel in Samaria for 6 months, in which time he did evil in the sight of the Lord, making Israel to sin! Jabesh conspired against him, and Shallum the son of Jabesh killed him in front of the people and reigning in his stead. Shallum reigned for 1 full month, before Menahem the son of Gadi went up from Tirzah and struck Shallum dead. Mehahem was very wicked he went into Tirzah and killed everyone and ripped open all the pregnant women there. Menahem reigned for 10 years! During his reign he gave Pul a thousand talents of silver so that Israel could in tribute to the Assyrian Empire!

After his reign, Pekahiah, the son of Menahem became king over Israel in Samaria. He reigned for 2 years and he did evil in the sight of the Lord. In the 52nd year of Azariah, king of Judah the son of Remaliah (Pekah) became king over Israel in Samaria. Pekah’s reign lasted for twenty years! In the days of Pekah, Tiglath-Pileser the king of Assria came and took Ijon, Abel Beth Maachah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gildead, and Galilee, which is all the land of Naphtali and carried them captive into Assyria. Then Hoshea the son of Elah led a conspiracy against the king of Assyria and killed him, taking his place.

Jotham dies and his sons Ahaz reigns in his place.

Chapter 16: Ahaz Reigns in Wickedness

In the 17th year of Pekah the son of Remaliah, Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. Ahaz was only twenty years old when he became a king and he reigned for sixteen years in Jerusalem and he did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord, he did evil.

Ahaz walked in the way of the many kings that had gone before him. He did not worship God properly. Rezin king of Syria and Pekah the king of Israel went to war with Jerusalem and they attacked Ahaz, but could not overcome him. But Ahaz was not cocky he immediately sent messengers to Tiglath-Pileser to make a treaty with him.

Ahaz perverts the worship at the temple by designing an altar that he saw in Damascus. This was done to please the Assyrian Empire. Ahaz also directs the renovation of the temple court to give it preference to the new altar. Ahaz made the altar, ruled over the people and was a priest of his own design… not something that God would have.