MEN OF THE BIBLE:

 

Paul the apostle in prison, writing his epistles to the Ephesians........                                                                                                        Paul lived A.D. 1-67. Paul led the first-century expansion of the church and was its greatest theologian and minister. To some, the apostle Paul seems the corrupter of Christianity, a man who took the "simple" religion of Jesus and made it something entirely different. To the student of Scripture, however, the apostle Paul is history's premier theologian and missionary, He knew God well. The man God chose to reveal the deepest significance of the new Covenant instituted in Christ's death, and the nature of the life to be lived "in Christ"....Acts 9:12. Paul was a Jew from the city of Tarsus. Paul, known then as Saul, was totally committed to the law as interpreted and understood by the rabbis, and was a member of the sect of the Pharisees. He was a persecutor of the followers of Christ. To this young persecutor, the followers of Christ were heretics, and their faith an affront to the God he served, an aberration that must be purged from Judaism.....Saul's conversion Acts 9:3-30. Saul was on his way to Damascus with a commission from the high priest charging him to return Christian Jews to Jerusalem when his conversion took place.                                                                                                                              Amos:        Hebrew prophet of the eight century BC. Nothing is known about Amos apart from the book that bears his image. He was a shepherd living in Tekoa, a village about ten miles [16 Kilometers] south of Jerusalem, when God spoke to him in a vision [Am 1:1-2]. The kingdom was then divided, with Uzziah king of Judah in the South and Jeroboam 11 king of Israel in the North. In Amos's vision, the Lord was like a lion roaring out judgment on injustice and idolatry, especially among God's own people. Amos prophesied that Israel would be overrun and it's king killed. The priest of Bethel, Amariah, called Amos a traitor and told him to go back to Judah and do his prophesying there.  Amos replied, "I'm not a professional prophet, and I was never trained to be one,  I'm just a shepherd,  and I take care of sycamore fig trees". But the Lord told him, "Go and prophesy to my people in Israel"  [Amos 7:10-15]. Amos was evidently a God-fearing man who deeply felt the mistreatment of the poor by the privileged classes. He did not want to be identified with an elite group of professional prophets, who may have lost  their original fervor.                                                        Jeremiah                                           Jeremiah lamenting                                                                                 Jeremiah was born during the forty-four year reign of Manasseh, Judah's most wicked king. God called Jeremiah to his prophetic ministry during the reign of Josiah, who led the last great religious revival in Judah. For forty years, until the Babylonians swept into Judah to destroy both Jerusalem and Solomon's beautiful temple, Jeremiah waged a lonely and futile crusade to turn God's people back to the Lord. ...During his life, Jeremiah was persecuted as a traitor, and his life was frequently threatened. NOTE: God's people were the real traitors.......God's personal message to Jeremiah "Attack you they will, overcome you they can't". Jeremiah was attacked by his own brothers, beaten and put into the stocks by a priest and false prophet, imprisoned by the king, threatened with death, thrown into a cistern by Judah's officials, and opposed by a false prophet......Jeremiah is rightly known as the "weeping prophet". He was called to live among God's people but to isolate himself from them. Jeremiah is told not to marry and have children.  Children born in his day Will only die unburied in the streets. Also, the prophet is not to  mourn the death of friends, for God has no compassion left for Judah. Nor is he to take part in any feasting. Instead, Jeremiah is told to speak words that condemn, and hold up the sin and faithlessness of God's people. A distant generation will know God's blessing once again. But for this people there is only death: disaster is assured [Jere 16:1-18]. It is hardly surprising that the people to whom he ministered shunned Jeremiah or that he felt isolated and alone. Without human companionship, Jeremiah constantly turned to God as friend and confidant. Jeremiah often expressed his pain and anguish to the Lord and looked to Him for strength to continue his "unpopular mission". Jeremiah grew up in Anathoth. The Lord revealed to Jeremiah that his neighbors were plotting to kill him because of his preaching against idolatry. Deeply shaken, Jeremiah called on God to judge them even as they threatened to kill him. God said,"Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them; for I will not listen when they call to Me because they are too violent" [Jer. 11:14].                 Cistern: Translation of a Hebrew term that means "hole", "pit", or more often "well". The prophet were imprisoned in the cistern of Malchijah, King Zedekiah's son [Jer. 38:6]. Cisterns also served as convenient dumping places for corpses [Jer. 41:7,9].                Prophet Isaiah:         Isaiah: a personal name meaning "Yahweh Saves",  and was the  greatest prophet who ever lived......Isaiah  ministered primarily to the Southern Kingdom of Judah, although he was interested in the affairs of the Northern Kingdom of Israel during its time of demise and ultimate fall in 722/21 b.c. The close of Isaiah's ministry cannot be dated with certainty. Relatively little is known about the prophet in spite of the large book associated with him. Isaiah was married to the "prophetess" [8:3] .                Prophet Isaiah         and had at least two sons, Shear-Jashub, "a remnant will return" [7:3] and Maher-Shalah-hash baz, "Speed th spoil, hasten the prey" [8:3]. The sons' names were symbolic and served as warnings to Isaiah's generation of God's coming judgment against Judah's rebellion.          Ezekiel was a priest and a prophet of ancient Israel. Ezekiel ministered to the Judean  exiles in Babylon. Ezekiel lived in his own house near the river Chebar, an irrigation canal that channeled the Euphrates River into surrounding arid areas. He was married and ministered from his own home [3:24; 8:1; 33:30-33]. His wife died suddenly [24:18], but he was not allowed to mourn the loss. In exile the call came dramatically and directly from God. Like his contemporary, Jeremiah, Ezekiel initially resisted God's call. Once he accepted the call, he proclaimed God's messages fearlessly. Because he displayed many bizarre actions, some have characterized Ezekiel as neurotic, paranoid, psychotic, or schizophrenic. However, his unusual behavior derives from his utter obedience to God. Ezekiel offers little evidence of any positive fruits for his labors. On the contrary, the Lord tells him otherwise [3:4-11].   

MOSES:

But Moses spoke before the Lord, saying, "Behold, the sons of Israel have not listened to me; how then will Pharaoh listen to me, for I am unskilled in speech"?

Moses personal name meaning "drawn out of the water".                 

Moses was the leader of the Israelites in their exodus from Egyptian slavery and oppression, their

journey through the wilderness with its threats in the form of hunger, thirst, and unpredictable enemies,

and finally in their audience with God at Mount Sinai/Horeb where the distinctive Covenant, bonding Israel and God in a special treaty, became a reality.           

"And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the nether part of the Mount. And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire".

And the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole Mount quaked greatly"

Exodus 19: 17-18.

Numbers 12: 1-16 shows Moses to be humble, a leader of integrity who fulfilled the duties of his office despite opposition from members of his own family.

The death of Moses is marked by tragic loneliness yet graced with God's presence. Because of Moses' sin [Num. 20] God denied Moses the privilege of entering the promised land.

Deuteronomy 34 reports the death scene:

Central to the report is the presence of God with Moses at the time of his death. Moses left his people to climb another mountain. atop that mountain, away from the people whom he had served so long, Moses died.

God attended this servant at his death. Indeed, God buried him, and only God knows where the burial place is.

"THE LORD SHALL FIGHT FOR YOU, AND YE SHALL HOLD YOUR PEACE" EXODUS 14:14.

 

  

 





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