Sanctuaries of the Dead
History is replete with stories of invading armies or hoodlums robbing graves of the gold and jewelry contained within these “sanctuaries of the dead.” However, these stories are but literal truths of the exploits of profane men. There is yet another context in which these unlawful acts are demonstrated and recorded, in part, in Jeremiah chapters 8 and 9.
Pillaging of Graves
“In that day," says Yahweh, "the enemy will break open the graves of the kings and officials of Judah, and the graves of the priests, prophets, and common people,” Jeremiah 8:1 NLT.
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary states, “The victorious Babylonians were about to violate the sanctuaries of the dead in search of plunder; [because] ornaments, treasures, and insignia of royalty were usually buried with kings. [But] rather, their purpose was to do the greatest dishonor to the dead.”
The commentary uses the phrase, “sanctuaries of the dead,” literally, to mean graves. However, from a figurative point of view, just “who are the dead?” I propose for your consideration that the dead are those who profess to know, but do not know Yahweh; who do not abide in the Law of Yahweh nor does the Law abide in their hearts and minds; and to those who worship falsely, bowing down to idols and creating false days and seasons of worship. The dead are those who obey false teachers who say they know the Law but teach it as dead, and the dead are those who out-right deny the Law given to Moses by Yahweh. These are the dead.
Sanctuary of the Dead
And, where do these dead take refuge? Where is their sanctuary? Their sanctuary is in the church of comfort. Their sanctuary is in the church of peace. Their sanctuary is in the teachings of man. Their sanctuary is in the ecclesia of Satan, where false laws are created, promulgated and kept alive by preaching false doctrine and breathing false truths into the ears of those who cannot see their treacherous devices. This is where the dead go for sanctification. And, this is where the dead are exploited by profane men, preaching lies for the specific purpose of monetary gain. They are televangelist grave-robbers from Babylon.
Back to Jeremiah 8:1-2a NLT.
“In that day," says Yahweh, "the enemy will break open the graves of the kings and officials of Judah, and the graves of the priests, prophets, and common people. They will dig out their bones and spread them out on the ground before the sun, moon, and stars --the [idols] My people have loved, served, and wor-hiped.”
What Is Your Sign?
SUNday worship, SUNrise services, astrology [which is “preached” on the front pages of newspapers, on the home pages of most, if not all the major internet companies] and fortune telling. One might be asked, “What’s your sign?” – MY sign? My sign is the Sabbath of Yahweh!
The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a SIGN between Me and the Israelites forever, for in six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He abstained from work and rested, Exodus 31:16-17 NIV.
Another SIGN is the “Sign of Jonah”: representing the three days and three nights that Yahshua was in the grave, being lifted up by the right hand of Yahweh on the Day of which He is The Sovereign, on the end of the Sabbath of Yahweh, the 7th Day which Yahweh sanctified forever – THAT’s my sign.
Listen To Yahweh
Their bones will not be gathered up again or buried but will be scattered on the ground like dung. And the people of this evil nation who survive will wish to die rather than live where I will send them. I, Yahweh Sabaoth [Yahweh of Hosts], have spoken! "Jeremiah, say to the people, 'This is what Yahweh says: When people fall down, don't [or, shouldn’t] they get up again? When they start down the wrong road and discover their mistake, don't [or, shouldn’t] they turn back? Then why do these people keep going along their self-destructive path, refusing to turn back, even though I have warned them? I listen to their conversations, and what do I hear? Is anyone sorry for sin? Does anyone say, "What a terrible thing I have done?" No! All are running down the path of sin as swiftly as a horse rushing into battle! The stork knows the time of her migration, as do the turtledove, the swallow, and the crane. They all return at the proper time [or, ‘appointed times’ in the KJV] each year. But not My people! They do not know what Yahweh requires of them,’” Jer. 8:2b-7 NLT.
Do we know what Yahweh requires of us? Will we return to Yahweh – and at the appointed times each year?
Consequences For Rejecting Yahweh
“How can you say, ‘We are wise because we have the law of Yahweh,’ when your teachers have twisted it so badly? These wise teachers will be shamed by exile for their sin, for they have rejected the word of Yahweh. Are they so wise after all? I will give their wives and their farms to others. From the least to the greatest, they trick others to get what does not belong to them. Yes, even My prophets
[those who interpret Scripture] and priests [those responsible to teach truth] are like that. They offer superficial treatments for My people's mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when all is war. Are they ashamed when they do these disgusting things? No, not at all - - they don't even blush! Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered. They will be humbled when they are punished,” says Yahweh. “I will take away their rich harvests of figs and grapes. Their fruit trees will all die. All the good things I prepared for them will soon be gone. I, Yahweh, have spoken! Then the people will say, ‘Why should we wait here to die? Come, let's go to the fortified cities to die there. For Yahweh our Elohim has decreed our destruction and has given us a cup of poison to drink because we sinned against Yahweh. We hoped for peace, but no peace came. We hoped for a time of healing, but found only terror. The snorting of the enemies' warhorses can be heard all the way from the land of Dan in the north! The whole land trembles at the approach of the terrible army, for it is coming to devour the land and everything in it -cities and people alike. I will send these enemy troops among you like poisonous snakes you cannot charm,’” says Yahweh. "No matter what you do, they will bite you, and you will die," Jer. 8:8-17 NLT.
Who are these enemy troops? The word “troop” in Hebrew is spelled, gimel dalet, and is pronounced, in Hebrew, “god.” “Troops” refers to false gods, false worship, false deities and false prosperity: the god of luck – you know, “good luck,” is lawless. The word is translated by the New Living Bible as “enemy troops,” but in most other versions as “serpents,” from the Hebrew word nachash, which means to hiss or whisper a magic spell. It is a word, translated by the writers of the KJV as “divine,” “enchanter” or the use of“enchantment.” I remember a time when my wife and I were speaking to the wife of an Hasidic Jew, a man who was authorized to certify kosher foods. We told her that we were disgruntled with the teachings of the church we belonged to. She interrupted and asked, “Do you mean that you became ‘disenchanted’?” We laughed in response to her insight into the spiritual nature of our experience.
False Actions Disturb Yahweh
“My grief is beyond healing; My heart is broken. Listen to the weeping of My people; it can be heard all across the land. ‘Has Yahweh abandoned Jerusalem?’ The people ask, ‘Is her King no longer there?’ Oh, why have they angered Me with their carved idols and worthless gods?" asks Yahweh. “The harvest is finished, and the summer is gone,’ the people cry, ‘yet we are not saved!’ I weep for the hurt of My people. I am stunned and silent, mute with grief. Is there no medicine in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why is there no healing for the wounds of My people?” (Jer. 8:18-22 NLT.)
What is this “balm” medicine, in Gilead? Who is this physician? Is He not the One Who came to reveal the Light of Truth? The One Who healed the physical wounds of the people as evidence of His Sovereignty over this world? The One Who spoke the Truth and put the lies of the false leaders to shame? Is it not He Who, as a Perfect Offering for our sins, gave His life that we might live eternally? Is He not the Suffering Servant Who one day, “Today,” will come as our Conquering King? Is He not the One Who loves us and wants us to know Him through obedience to His Word? Is He not Yahshua, the Son of Yahweh the Father, the Anointed of Yahweh, Set-apart for the healing of our wounds; for the healing of our unrighteousness and our willfulness? Is He not the One Who said, “Come follow Me, for My yoke is easy and My burden is light”?
Oh, that my eyes were a fountain of tears; I would weep forever! I would sob day and night for all my people who have been slaughtered. Oh, that I could go away and forget them and live in a shack in the desert, for they are all adulterous and treacherous. [Now, Yahweh joins in on this dialogue] "My people bend their tongues like bows to shoot lies. They refuse to stand up for the truth. And they only go from bad to worse! They care nothing for Me," says Yahweh. "Beware of your neighbor! Beware of your brother! They all take advantage of one another and spread their slanderous lies. They all fool and defraud each other; no one tells the truth. With practiced tongues they tell lies; they wear themselves out with all their sinning. They pile lie upon lie and utterly refuse to come to Me," says Yahweh. Therefore, Yahweh Sabaoth says, "See, I will melt them in a crucible and test them like metal. What else can I do with them? For their tongues aim lies like poisoned arrows. They promise peace to their neighbors while planning to kill them. Should I not punish them for this?" asks Yahweh. "Should I not avenge Myself against a nation such as this? I will weep for the mountains and wail for the desert pastures. For they are desolate and empty of life; the lowing of cattle is heard no more; the birds and wild animals all have fled. I will make Jerusalem into a heap of ruins," says Yahweh. "It will be a place haunted by jackals. The towns of Judah will be ghost towns, with no one living in them.” Who is wise enough to understand all this? Who has been instructed by Yahweh and can explain it to others? Why has the land been ruined so completely that no one even dares to travel through it? Yahweh replies, "This has happened because My people have abandoned the instructions I gave them; they have refused to obey My Law. Instead, they have stubbornly followed their own desires and worshiped the images of Baal [or, if you can hear it, “the statues of the lord”], as their ancestors taught them. So now, listen to what Yahweh Sabaoth, the Elohim of Israel, says: Look! I will feed them with bitterness and give them poison to drink. I will scatter them around the world, and they will be strangers in distant lands. Their enemies will chase them with the sword until I have destroyed them completely." Jer. 9:1-16.
Whom Is Being Spoken Of?
Are we not Israel? Do we not, as a nation, carry around the Scriptures of the Israelites; of the Jews; of the Hebrews? Do we not worship the Elohim of Israel; of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Do we not adore the Savior of the Tribe of Judah? And, do we not have enemies? Do they not want to destroy us? Then, LISTEN to what the Creator of the Universe is telling us! For, He says He will chase us with the sword until He has destroyed us completely! ... Why?
This is what Yahweh Sabaoth says: "Think about what is going on! Call for the mourners to come. Quick! Begin your weeping! Let the tears flow from your eyes. Hear the people of Jerusalem ... [and who are the “people of Jerusalem,” except the ones awaiting the New Jerusalem?] (Hear the people of Jerusalem) crying in despair, 'We are ruined! Disaster has come upon us! We must leave our land, because our homes have been torn down.' Listen, you women, to the words of Yahweh; open your ears to what He has to say. Teach your daughters to wail; teach one another how to lament. For death has crept in through our windows and has entered our mansions,” Jer. 9:17-21a.
Who is Death, if not Satan himself, whose mission is to lead us away from Yahweh?
This is what Yahweh says: "Let not the wise man gloat in his wisdom, or the mighty man in his might, or the rich man in his riches. Let them boast in this alone: that they truly know Me and understand that I am Yahweh Who is just and righteous, Whose love is unfailing, and that I delight in these things. I, Yahweh, have spoken! A time is coming," says Yahweh, "when I will punish all those who are circumcised in body but not in spirit -- the Egyptians, Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites, the people who live in distant places, and yes, even the people of Judah. Like all these pagan nations, the people [or, the “House”] of Israel also have uncircumcised hearts," Jer. 9:23-26 NLT.
The King James Version translates these last two verses as:
Behold, the days come, saith Yahweh, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised; Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.
Let The Scriptures Speak!
Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness, Luke 11:35 KJV.
There is a way that seems right to man, but the end thereof are the ways of death, Proverbs 16:25 KJV.
Before every man there lies a wide and pleasant road he thinks is right, but it ends in death, Proverbs 16:25 TLB.
Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him, Proverbs 26:12 NASU.
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! (Isaiah 5:20-21 KJV.)
And Yahshua said, "For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind." Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, "Are we blind also?" Yahshua said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, 'We see.' Therefore your sin remains,” John 9:39-41 NKJV.
In other words, Yahshua came to “comfort the afflicted – and afflict the comfortable.” If you claim to know the truth, but live outside of the Law, then you cannot see the truth.
Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, "Why didn't you bring Him in?" "No one ever spoke the way this man does," the guards declared. "You mean He has deceived you also?" the Pharisees retorted. "Has any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in Him? No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law [What law is he referring to, unknowingly? Their law!] - there is a curse on them.” Nicodemus, who had gone to Yahshua earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, "Does our law condemn anyone without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?" They replied, "Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee," John 7:45-52 NIV.
But if you bear the name "Jew" [#3064, from #3034 to revere or worship, and, of course, to worship Yahweh] and rely upon the Law and boast in Elohim, and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, you, therefore, who teach another, [why] do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, [why] do you steal? You who say that one should not commit adultery, [why] do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, [why] do you rob temples? You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, [why] do you dishonor Yahweh? For "THE NAME OF YAHWEH IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU," just as it is written. For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law?For he is not a Jew [a worshipper of Yahweh] who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a “worshipper of Yahweh” who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from Elohim, Romans 2:17-29 NASU.
What Are The Sanctuaries Of The Dead?
Now, I ask you, is Paul abandoning the Law of Yahweh with his words, in verse 29, “But he is a ‘worshipper of Yahweh’ who is one ... by the Spirit [and] not by the letter?” May Yahweh forbid that notion! Paul is pointing out that, unless the Law is in one’s heart, they will not be able to carry out the words of the Law. He is pointing out that the people of the world laugh and scorn those who profess to be believers but who are as wicked in their lies as those of the world. Paul is essentially calling these professed believers hypocrites. I was reading the words of an atheist the other day ... it’s kind of funny, because atheists are able to critcize the contradictions of contemporary religions by comparing what the Bible actually says to what is taught in these houses of worship; in these sanctuaries of the dead. However, what atheists lack in their criticism is the motivation to seek the true meanings contained within Scripture. They are so caught up in proving how wrong the church is, that they do not consider that, with a correct reading of Scripture, there ARE no contradictions. And, they are probably not familiar with groups such as ours who understand those hypocrisies and believe in BOTH the Messiah AND the Law.
Also I scattered them among the nations and they were dispersed throughout the lands. According to their ways and their deeds I judged them. When they came to the nations where they went, they profaned My holy name, because it was said of them, “These are the people of Yahweh; yet they have come out of His land.” But I had concern [“chamal” to commiserate or to have pity] for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations where they went, Ezekiel 36:19-21 NASU.
Then what's the advantage of being a Jew? Is there any value in the Jewish ceremony of circumcision? Yes, being a Jew has many advantages. First of all, the Jews were entrusted with the whole reelation of Yahweh. True, some of them were unfaithful; but just because they broke their promises, does that mean Yahweh will break His promises? Of course not! Though everyone else in the world is a liar, Yahweh is true. As the Scriptures say, "He will be proved right in what He says, and [this is the part I like] He will win His case in court," Romans 3:1-4 NLT.
May Yahweh not allow the Tempter to deceive us into being right in the sight of men in order to obtain comfort – but to, at all times, be right in the eyes of Yahweh. HalleluYah!
-Elder John Fisher
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