2361.) Ezekiel 30

May 21, 2018

Ezekiel 30   (ESV)

A Lament for Egypt

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus says the Lord God:

“Wail, ‘Alas for the day!’
    For the day is near,
    the day of the Lord is near;
it will be a day of clouds,
    a time of doom for the nations.
A sword shall come upon Egypt,
    and anguish shall be in Cush,
when the slain fall in Egypt,
    and her wealth is carried away,
    and her foundations are torn down.

In context, this was an audacious statement. “Imagine an exile from Judah, a third-rate Palestinian state whose future was very much in doubt, asserting that Judah’s national deity is about to bring an end to Egypt! When Ezekiel spoke these words, Egypt had existed for two and a half millennia. The pyramids, the symbol of the achievements of that great civilization, had stood already for two thousand years. What Egypt did is without parallel in human history, ancient or modern. In the face of this, Ezekiel had the temerity to declare that Egypt, its cities, its rulers, and its people were vulnerable to the judgment of Judah’s God. It was either outrageous delusion or great faith that led the prophet to utter this oracle of judgment against Egypt.”

–Vawter and Hoppe

“Thy justice like mountains high soaring above!”

Cush, and Put, and Lud, and all Arabia, and Libya, and the people of the land that is in league, shall fall with them by the sword.

“Thus says the Lord:
Those who support Egypt shall fall,
    and her proud might shall come down;
from Migdol to Syene
    they shall fall within her by the sword,
declares the Lord God.
And they shall be desolated in the midst of desolated countries,
    and their cities shall be in the midst of cities that are laid waste.
Then they will know that I am the Lord,
    when I have set fire to Egypt,
    and all her helpers are broken.

“On that day messengers shall go out from me in ships to terrify the unsuspecting people of Cush, and anguish shall come upon them on the day of Egypt’s doom; for, behold, it comes!

10 “Thus says the Lord God:

“I will put an end to the wealth of Egypt,
    by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.
11 He and his people with him, the most ruthless of nations,
    shall be brought in to destroy the land,
and they shall draw their swords against Egypt
    and fill the land with the slain.

And Nebuchadnezzar will be God’s instrument of punishment. “Nebuchadnezzar will not come alone. He will be accompanied by his troops and a host of alien forces described as ‘the most barbarous of nations,’ an expression that struck terror in the heart of anyone.”

–Daniel I. Block

12 And I will dry up the Nile
    and will sell the land into the hand of evildoers;
I will bring desolation upon the land and everything in it,
    by the hand of foreigners;
I am the Lord; I have spoken.

13 “Thus says the Lord God:

“I will destroy the idols

Some of the Egyptian gods and goddesses . . .

When God long before sent the plagues against Egypt (Exodus 7-11), each plague was directed against one of their idols. Now, many hundreds of years later, God promised to once again destroy the idols of Egypt, by bringing judgment to the land and exalting Himself over them.

“The Greek historian Herodotus related how Cambyses of Persia, son of Cyrus the Great, took Pelusium by setting before his army cats and dogs, sacred to Egypt, which the Egyptians would not attack.”

–Charles L. Feinberg

    and put an end to the images in Memphis;
there shall no longer be a prince from the land of Egypt;
    so I will put fear in the land of Egypt.

City by city, the prophet ticks off the list:

14 I will make Pathros a desolation
    and will set fire to Zoan
    and will execute judgments on Thebes.
15 And I will pour out my wrath on Pelusium,
    the stronghold of Egypt,
    and cut off the multitude of Thebes.
16 And I will set fire to Egypt;
    Pelusium shall be in great agony;
Thebes shall be breached,
    and Memphis shall face enemies by day.
17 The young men of On and of Pi-beseth shall fall by the sword,
    and the women shall go into captivity.
18 At Tehaphnehes the day shall be dark,
    when I break there the yoke bars of Egypt,
and her proud might shall come to an end in her;
    she shall be covered by a cloud,
    and her daughters shall go into captivity.
19 Thus I will execute judgments on Egypt.
    Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

“During Israel’s sojourn in Egypt, Pharaoh wouldn’t recognize the Lord; but now the nation would learn that the Lord God of the Hebrews was indeed the only true and living God.”

–Warren W. Wiersbe

Egypt Shall Fall to Babylon

20 In the eleventh year, in the first month, on the seventh day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me: 21 “Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and behold, it has not been bound up, to heal it by binding it with a bandage, so that it may become strong to wield the sword. 22 Therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against Pharaoh king of Egypt and will break his arms, both the strong arm and the one that was broken, and I will make the sword fall from his hand. 23 I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them through the countries. 24 And I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon and put my sword in his hand, but I will break the arms of Pharaoh, and he will groan before him like a man mortally wounded. 25 I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, but the arms of Pharaoh shall fall. 

“These apparently mighty monarchs of Egypt and Babylon were both in the hands of Jehovah. Their apparent successes and failures resulted from His action. They were completely in His power.”

–G. Campbell Morgan

Then they shall know that I am the Lord, when I put my sword into the hand of the king of Babylon and he stretches it out against the land of Egypt. 26 And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them throughout the countries. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

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Music:

What a powerful God! He strengthens some and weakens others, according to His will!  HERE  is a song that worships a strong God:  “Immortal, Invisible.”

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2360.) Ezekiel 29

May 18, 2018

Ezekiel 29   (ESV)

Prophecy Against Egypt

This prophecy regarding Egypt came to Jeremiah before the fall of Jerusalem. At this time there were still some in Judah and Jerusalem who hoped that Egypt would rescue them from the powerful Babylonians.

Ezekiel 29 begins a four-chapter series of prophecies against Egypt. This was necessary because even though Egypt held Israel in slavery for 400 years, Israel also had an impulse to look to Egypt in times of crisis that predated their years of slavery, going all the way back to Abraham’s earliest days in Canaan (Genesis 12:10-20). Isaiah warned God’s people, Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help (Isaiah 31:1). Even in Jeremiah’s and Ezekiel’s days, they still looked to Egypt for help instead of trusting God and His plan.

–David Guzik

In the tenth year, in the tenth month, on the twelfth day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, set your face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him and against all Egypt; speak, and say, Thus says the Lord God:

“Behold, I am against you,
    Pharaoh king of Egypt,
the great dragon that lies
    in the midst of his streams,
that says, ‘My Nile is my own;
    I made it for myself.’

God likens Egypt to a great crocodile that lives in the Nile river.  “Egyptian prayers encouraged the pharaoh to be a crocodile to his enemies.”

–Vawter and Hoppe

A proud boast of the pharaoh! “Actually, instead of his making the river, the river made him, for without it the land would have been a desert.”

–Charles L. Feinberg

“It is a graphic method of again drawing attention to the fact that all forgetfulness of God amounts at last to self-deification. That is the sin of every king and of every people who fail to recognize God and to deal with Him.”

–G. Campbell Morgan

I will put hooks in your jaws,
    and make the fish of your streams stick to your scales;
and I will draw you up out of the midst of your streams,
    with all the fish of your streams
    that stick to your scales.
And I will cast you out into the wilderness,
    you and all the fish of your streams;
you shall fall on the open field,
    and not be brought together or gathered.
To the beasts of the earth and to the birds of the heavens
    I give you as food.

Speaking like a great hunter of crocodiles, Yahweh announced that He would stop, capture, and displace Egypt. They would be terribly disrupted, as a crocodile pulled out of the Nile with a hook.

The crocodile normally was caught with hooks in the jaws and then pulled on dry land where it would be slaughtered. “For all his arrogant pretensions, the glorious lord of the Nile is no match for Yahweh, who toys with him as a fisherman plays with his catch, then throws him away as carrion, unfit for human consumption.”

–Daniel I. Block

I cannot speak for crocodile, but I do love alligator jerky and recommend it to you highly!

Then all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the Lord.

“Because you have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel, when they grasped you with the hand, you broke and tore all their shoulders; and when they leaned on you, you broke and made all their loins to shake. Therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will bring a sword upon you, and will cut off from you man and beast, and the land of Egypt shall be a desolation and a waste. Then they will know that I am the Lord.

The Jews looked to Egypt to help them, but Egypt was a weak reed. It was a sin of Israel to look there for help, instead of to the Lord. Now Egypt will be punished for making promises and not keeping them.

“Because you said, ‘The Nile is mine, and I made it,’ 10 therefore, behold, I am against you and against your streams, and I will make the land of Egypt an utter waste and desolation, from Migdol to Syene, as far as the border of Cush. 11 No foot of man shall pass through it, and no foot of beast shall pass through it; it shall be uninhabited forty years.12 And I will make the land of Egypt a desolation in the midst of desolated countries, and her cities shall be a desolation forty years among cities that are laid waste. I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and disperse them through the countries.

13 “For thus says the Lord God: At the end of forty years I will gather the Egyptians from the peoples among whom they were scattered, 14 and I will restore the fortunes of Egypt and bring them back to the land of Pathros, the land of their origin, and there they shall be a lowly kingdom. 15 It shall be the most lowly of the kingdoms, and never again exalt itself above the nations. And I will make them so small that they will never again rule over the nations. 16 And it shall never again be the reliance of the house of Israel, recalling their iniquity, when they turn to them for aid. Then they will know that I am the Lord God.”

God promises mercy and restoration to Egypt. But it will never regain its former glory.  

“The restoration of Egypt came under Greek rule, and Alexandria especially became an important centre of Judaism and Christianity, thus probably fulfilling Isaiah 19:19-25.”

–Christopher J. H. Wright

“Egypt did suffer from Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion, and its rule over the nations was broken and never regained. They declined under the Persians, the Ptolemies and Rome. Egypt has been a weak country in the centuries since except for a momentary revival of power during the Middle Ages.”

–Charles L. Feinberg

17 In the twenty-seventh year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me: 18 “Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made his army labor hard against Tyre. Every head was made bald, and every shoulder was rubbed bare, yet neither he nor his army got anything from Tyre to pay for the labor that he had performed against her.

 Nebuchadnezzar conducted a long siege against Tyre, one that in the end was not worth all he had invested in the siege. “The 1st-cent. a.d. Jewish historian and apologist Flavius Josephus stated that the Babylonian siege of Tyre lasted for thirteen years (Antiquities x. 11.1). Tyre consumed its treasures in its own defense or otherwise made them unavailable to the Babylonians.”

–Vawter and Hoppe

“The Tyrians, finding it at last impossible to defend their city, put all their wealth aboard their vessels, sailed out of the port, and escaped for Carthage; and thus Nebuchadnezzar lost all the spoil of one of the richest cities in the world.”

–Adam Clarke

19 Therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and he shall carry off its wealth and despoil it and plunder it; and it shall be the wages for his army. 20 I have given him the land of Egypt as his payment for which he labored, because they worked for me, declares the Lord God.

So God gives the wealth of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar! As wages for doing the Lord’s work as an instrument of judgment!

21 “On that day I will cause a horn to spring up for the house of Israel, and I will open your lips among them. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

Well, if God is rewarding a heathen king for obeying him, how much more will he take care of those believers who cheerfully do his will! No need to fear! All will be well.

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Music:

In Egypt:

“Protestant churches claim a membership of about 300,000 Egyptians, and the Coptic Catholic Church is estimated to have a similar membership among Egyptians. Based on these estimates, the total number of Christians in Egypt is between 5% and 20% of a total population of 80 million Egyptians.” — Wikipedia

And from The Guardian (see January 10, 2018 article  HERE ), “Christians in Egypt are facing unprecedented levels of persecution, with attacks on churches and the kidnap of girls by Islamist extremists intent on forcing them to marry Muslims, a report says.”

In honor of these Egyptian Christians,  HERE  is a “My Life Is Yours,” sung by the Better Life Team from Egypt.

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English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Against Egypt.   http://www.elimbcc.ie/prophecy-against-egypt-ezekiel-291-21/
Green-eyed monster.   http://www.alittleperspective.com/ezekiel-29-and-30/
alligator jerky.   https://houseofjerky.net/shop/alligator-jerky/
ruins of ancient Egypt.   https://freemethodistpreacher.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/ancient-egypt.jpg

2359.) Ezekiel 28

May 17, 2018

“You were the signet of perfection,
    full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.”

Ezekiel 28   (ESV)

Prophecy Against the Prince of Tyre

This continues a series of prophecies Ezekiel made against Tyre, the great commercial harbor city of the Phoenicians, north of Israel. The prophecies of Ezekiel 26 and Ezekiel 27 focused on Tyre as a city. Now Ezekiel will speak against the leader of the city, both in the sense of one man (the prince of Tyre) and a representation of the leadership of the city.

–David Guzik

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus says the Lord God:

“Because your heart is proud,
    and you have said, ‘I am a god,
I sit in the seat of the gods,
    in the heart of the seas,’

“Tyre regarded herself as all-powerful, superhuman and virtually eternal; she was possessed of wealth and wisdom above all other cities, and this led on to the incredible arrogance for which Tyre was notorious.”

–John B. Taylor

yet you are but a man, and no god,
    though you make your heart like the heart of a god—
you are indeed wiser than Daniel;
    no secret is hidden from you;
by your wisdom and your understanding
    you have made wealth for yourself,
and have gathered gold and silver
    into your treasuries;
by your great wisdom in your trade
    you have increased your wealth,
    and your heart has become proud in your wealth—

Significantly, God did not condemn the prince of Tyre for the possession of riches, but for how those riches corrupted him. “Significantly, the prophet castigates him neither for his shrewdness nor for his amassed wealth. Neither brilliance nor riches is reprehensible; the problem arises in his response. The wisdom that had brought him his wealth led to hubris. It was this inordinate pride that provoked Yahweh’s ire.”

–Daniel I. Block

therefore thus says the Lord God:
Because you make your heart
    like the heart of a god,
therefore, behold, I will bring foreigners upon you,
    the most ruthless of the nations;
and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom
    and defile your splendor.
They shall thrust you down into the pit,
    and you shall die the death of the slain
    in the heart of the seas.
Will you still say, ‘I am a god,’
    in the presence of those who kill you,
though you are but a man, and no god,
    in the hands of those who slay you?
10 You shall die the death of the uncircumcised
    by the hand of foreigners;
    for I have spoken, declares the Lord God.”

“When you read Scripture, you find occasions when God judged arrogant rulers, such as Pharaoh, whom the Egyptians treated as a god (Exodus 5:2), Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4), and Herod Agrippa (Acts 12). World leaders who ignore the Lord and act as if they are gods will all be exposed and judged.”

–Warren W. Wiersbe

A Lament over the King of Tyre

Ezekiel 28:1-10 spoke to the prince of Tyre, and here Ezekiel spoke to the king of Tyre. His clear and curious description of the king of Tyre shows that this was indeed a ruler over the prince of Tyre, ruling over him in a spiritual sense. In the context of a lament for an arrogant human king, God spoke of the sin and the fall of the spiritual power behind that king.

The idea of a prophet speaking to the spiritual ruler or authority behind an earthly ruler is also present in Isaiah 14, where the description of the King of Babylon seems to go beyond any earthly king and describes Satan himself (Isaiah 14:12-14). We also see this idea in Daniel 10:10-20, where the angel Michael described his battle with a spiritual opponent he called the prince of Persia.

“This chapter and Isaiah 14 throw light on the fall of Satan, and indicate that he was a created being who fell through pride.” (Wright)

“As he viewed the thoughts and ways of that monarch, he clearly discerned behind him the motivating force and personality who was impelling him in his opposition to God. In short, he saw the work and activity of Satan, whom the king of Tyre was emulating in so many ways.” (Feinberg)

–David Guzik

11 Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me: 12 “Son of man, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord God:

“You were the signet of perfection,
    full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 You were in Eden, the garden of God;

We immediately recognize this as describing a being higher than any earthly, human king. “Here we have the most graphic and illuminating portrayal of Satan to be found in the whole Bible. His original power and greatness, wisdom and beauty, and exalted position are all set forth.”

–G. Campbell Morgan

    every precious stone was your covering,
sardius, topaz, and diamond,
    beryl, onyx, and jasper,
sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle;
    and crafted in gold were your settings
    and your engravings.
On the day that you were created
    they were prepared.

Before his fall, Satan was adorned with great glory and splendor. God Himself gave him such a covering, honoring the pre-fall Satan greatly.

The collection of gemstones not only speaks of prestige and honor, but also suggests priesthood, because many of these stones were also found in the high priest’s breastplate (Exodus 28:17-20).

14 You were an anointed guardian cherub.
    I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God;
    in the midst of the stones of fire you walked.
15 You were blameless in your ways
    from the day you were created,
    till unrighteousness was found in you.

 Satan enjoyed this place of great status and honor until something happened, until iniquity was found in him. The following verses will describe something of the nature of that iniquity.

–David Guzik

16 In the abundance of your trade
    you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned;
so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God,
    and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub,
    from the midst of the stones of fire.

The dishonest business practices of the leaders of Tyre were a reflection of the dishonest, deceptive dealings of the spiritual power behind them. Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44) and comes only to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).

“The reference to trade in verse 16 shows that there is a blend of the king of Tyre and his master. The king traded for his own power. Satan sold his glory for violent rebellion, and was cast out from the mountain of God.”

–Christopher Wright

17 Your heart was proud because of your beauty;
    you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.

I cast you to the ground;
    I exposed you before kings,
    to feast their eyes on you.
18 By the multitude of your iniquities,
    in the unrighteousness of your trade
    you profaned your sanctuaries;
so I brought fire out from your midst;
    it consumed you,
and I turned you to ashes on the earth
    in the sight of all who saw you.
19 All who know you among the peoples
    are appalled at you;
you have come to a dreadful end
    and shall be no more forever.”

Prophecy Against Sidon

The city of Sidon was another Phoenician harbor city near Tyre. God had a word of judgment to speak against them.

20 The word of the Lord came to me: 21 “Son of man, set your face toward Sidon, and prophesy against her 22 and say, Thus says the Lord God:

“Behold, I am against you, O Sidon,
    and I will manifest my glory in your midst.
And they shall know that I am the Lord
    when I execute judgments in her
    and manifest my holiness in her;
23 for I will send pestilence into her,
    and blood into her streets;
and the slain shall fall in her midst,
    by the sword that is against her on every side.
Then they will know that I am the Lord.

24 “And for the house of Israel there shall be no more a brier to prick or a thorn to hurt them among all their neighbors who have treated them with contempt. Then they will know that I am the Lord God.

When God brings His judgment upon Israel’s neighbors (as described in Ezekiel chapters 25-32), it will be a relief to Israel. They would no longer be under threat from those who despise them.

–David Guzik

Israel Gathered in Security

25 “Thus says the Lord God: When I gather the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and manifest my holiness in them in the sight of the nations, then they shall dwell in their own land that I gave to my servant Jacob. 26 And they shall dwell securely in it, and they shall build houses and plant vineyards. They shall dwell securely, when I execute judgments upon all their neighbors who have treated them with contempt. Then they will know that I am the Lord their God.”

Ezekiel looked forward to an aspect of the new covenant, one feature of which is the gathering of Israel once again as a people and into the land (Deuteronomy 30:3; Jeremiah 23:3 and 32:37; Ezekiel 11:17). 

In God’s design the Babylonian exile would not last forever. After 70 years of forced captivity, the Jewish people were allowed to go back to the promised land. Only about 50,000 of them did in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, and when they did they did not return to a safe and secure land. This means that the promises of gathering back to the land were only partially fulfilled in the return from Babylonian exile. As part of the new covenant promises, there was a greater and perfect fulfillment to come, which can rightly be said to have a significant milestone in 1948.

–David Guzik

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Music:

What kind of hymn speaks to the power of Satan while not glorifying him?  Thanks to Martin Luther,  HERE  is “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” — a slightly different translation, by Koine.

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English Standard Version (ESV)


2358.) Ezekiel 27

May 16, 2018

Ruins of ancient Tyre.  “As I walked through the ruins of Tyre I heard no music nor laughter. I could not see the buildings or the gold and silver. All I saw were broken pieces of pottery and the wreck and ruin of what had once been a great city.”  — J. Vernon McGee

Ezekiel 27   (ESV)

A Lament for Tyre

“Ezekiel’s description is considered a classic on the nature, scope and variety of the commerce of the ancient world, together with an invaluable geographic list of the chief cities concerned.”
–Charles Feinberg

The word of the Lord came to me: “Now you, son of man, raise a lamentation over Tyre, and say to Tyre, who dwells at the entrances to the sea, 

“Tyre is portrayed as the ruler of the seas, occupying the entrances of the seas. In this context the verb yasab, which normally means ‘to sit, dwell,’ speaks of occupying with authority, that is, ruling.”

–Daniel I. Block

merchant of the peoples to many coastlands,

“The words ‘merchant’ and ‘merchandise’ are used twenty-one times in this chapter, because Tyre was a mercantile city.”

–Warren W. Wiersbe

thus says the Lord God:

“O Tyre, you have said,
    ‘I am perfect in beauty.’

“Three dimensions of her magnificence are now highlighted: her superior construction (vv. 4b-6), her impressive decoration (v. 7), and her first-class personnel (vv. 8-11). Each facet of the description reflects a remarkable geographical and nautical awareness on the part of the prophet.”

–Daniel I. Block

Your borders are in the heart of the seas;
    your builders made perfect your beauty.
They made all your planks
    of fir trees from Senir;
they took a cedar from Lebanon
    to make a mast for you.
Of oaks of Bashan
    they made your oars;
they made your deck of pines
    from the coasts of Cyprus,
    inlaid with ivory.
Of fine embroidered linen from Egypt
    was your sail,
    serving as your banner;
blue and purple from the coasts of Elishah
    was your awning.

Tyre was pictured as a beautiful ship, made of the finest and most expensive woods from all around the world and with a sail made of fine embroidered linen from Egypt.

The inhabitants of Sidon and Arvad
    were your rowers;

“A large Phoenician ship would have as many as 50 oarsmen in a crew of 200.”

–Warren W. Wiersbe

your skilled men, O Tyre, were in you;
    they were your pilots.
The elders of Gebal and her skilled men were in you,
    caulking your seams;
all the ships of the sea with their mariners were in you
    to barter for your wares.

10 “Persia and Lud and Put were in your army as your men of war. They hung the shield and helmet in you; they gave you splendor. 11 Men of Arvad and Helech were on your walls all around, and men of Gamad were in your towers. They hung their shields on your walls all around; they made perfect your beauty.

 The combination of it all was overwhelming. The city-kingdom of Tyre was like a mighty, beautiful, well-run ship.

12 “Tarshish did business with you because of your great wealth of every kind; silver, iron, tin, and lead they exchanged for your wares. 13 Javan, Tubal, and Meshech traded with you; they exchanged human beings (that is, slaves) and vessels of bronze for your merchandise. 14 From Beth-togarmah they exchanged horses, war horses, and mules for your wares. 15 The men of Dedan traded with you. Many coastlands were your own special markets; they brought you in payment ivory tusks and ebony. 16 Syria did business with you because of your abundant goods; they exchanged for your wares emeralds, purple, embroidered work, fine linen, coral, and ruby. 17 Judah and the land of Israel traded with you; they exchanged for your merchandise wheat of Minnith, meal, honey, oil, and balm. 18 Damascus did business with you for your abundant goods, because of your great wealth of every kind; wine of Helbon and wool of Sahar 19 and casks of wine from Uzal they exchanged for your wares; wrought iron, cassia, and calamus were bartered for your merchandise.20 Dedan traded with you in saddlecloths for riding. 21 Arabia and all the princes of Kedar were your favored dealers in lambs, rams, and goats; in these they did business with you. 22 The traders of Sheba and Raamah traded with you; they exchanged for your wares the best of all kinds of spices and all precious stones and gold. 23 Haran, Canneh, Eden, traders of Sheba, Asshur, and Chilmad traded with you. 24 In your market these traded with you in choice garments, in clothes of blue and embroidered work, and in carpets of colored material, bound with cords and made secure. 25 The ships of Tarshish traveled for you with your merchandise. So you were filled and heavily laden in the heart of the seas.

The long list of goods traded and transported by sea on the ships of Tyre is a remarkable insight into the trade and commerce of the ancient world. A few of note are:

·Judah and the land of Israel: “The Jews traded with the Tyrians in wheat, stacte, balsam, honey, oil, and resin.” (Clarke)
·The choicest of spices: “All aromatic wares. Pliny reports of cinnamon that in his time a pound of it was worth a thousand denarii, that is, 150 crowns of our money. Galen writeth that it was hard to be found, except in the storehouses of great princes.” (Trapp)
·“That Damascus traded in qidda, a costly perfume native to east Asia, reflects how well established the trade routes between the Levant and the Far East were in ancient times.” (Block)
·Adam Clarke rightly noted, “The places and the imports are as regularly entered here as they could have been in a European custom-house.”

–David Guzik

26 “Your rowers have brought you out
    into the high seas.
The east wind has wrecked you
    in the heart of the seas.
27 Your riches, your wares, your merchandise,
    your mariners and your pilots,
your caulkers, your dealers in merchandise,
    and all your men of war who are in you,
with all your crew
    that is in your midst,
sink into the heart of the seas
    on the day of your fall.
28 At the sound of the cry of your pilots
    the countryside shakes,
29 and down from their ships
    come all who handle the oar.
The mariners and all the pilots of the sea
    stand on the land
30 and shout aloud over you
    and cry out bitterly.
They cast dust on their heads
    and wallow in ashes;
31 they make themselves bald for you
    and put sackcloth on their waist,
and they weep over you in bitterness of soul,
    with bitter mourning.
32 In their wailing they raise a lamentation for you
    and lament over you:
‘Who is like Tyre,
    like one destroyed in the midst of the sea?

Chapter 27 is a funeral lament for a great city that will fall, a wonderful ship that will be wrecked at sea.

33 When your wares came from the seas,
    you satisfied many peoples;
with your abundant wealth and merchandise
    you enriched the kings of the earth.
34 Now you are wrecked by the seas,
    in the depths of the waters;
your merchandise and all your crew in your midst
    have sunk with you.

They were so caught up in their pursuit of riches, that they forgot all about God. Let us learn from this lesson to put God first in our lives!

35 All the inhabitants of the coastlands
    are appalled at you,
and the hair of their kings bristles with horror;
    their faces are convulsed.
36 The merchants among the peoples hiss at you;
    you have come to a dreadful end
    and shall be no more forever.’”

“There is no gloating over Tyre’s fall here. The fall of Tyre was a forceful reminder to Judah of its own precarious position before God. It is similar to the loss of any ship at sea as a reminder to all sailors of what can happen to them. In the face of this, there is no room for gloating but only for grieving.”

–Vawter and Hoppe

_________________________

Music:

Hmmm, a song for a shipwreck . . . I doubt if you want “My Heart Will Go On” from the movie Titanic! How about Gordon Lightfoot’s “Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald”? Much better!  HERE.

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy.

With a load of iron ore – 26,000 tons more
Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty
That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
When the gales of November came early

The ship was the pride of the American side
Coming back from some mill in Wisconsin
As the big freighters go it was bigger than most
With a crew and the Captain well seasoned.

Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
When they left fully loaded for Cleveland
And later that night when the ships bell rang
Could it be the North Wind they’d been feeling.

The wind in the wires made a tattletale sound
And a wave broke over the railing
And every man knew, as the Captain did, too,
T’was the witch of November come stealing.

The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
When the gales of November came slashing
When afternoon came it was freezing rain
In the face of a hurricane West Wind

When supper time came the old cook came on deck
Saying fellows it’s too rough to feed ya
At 7PM a main hatchway caved in
He said fellas it’s been good to know ya.

The Captain wired in he had water coming in
And the good ship and crew was in peril
And later that night when his lights went out of sight
Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours
The searchers all say they’d have made Whitefish Bay
If they’d put fifteen more miles behind her.

They might have split up or they might have capsized
They may have broke deep and took water
And all that remains is the faces and the names
Of the wives and the sons and the daughters.

Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
In the ruins of her ice water mansion
Old Michigan steams like a young man’s dreams,
The islands and bays are for sportsmen.

And farther below Lake Ontario
Takes in what Lake Erie can send her
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
With the gales of November remembered.

In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed
In the Maritime Sailors’ Cathedral
The church bell chimed, ’til it rang 29 times
For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
Superior, they say, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Ruins of ancient Tyre.   https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/55/Tyr2.png
Ship.   http://www.tolos.de/fenicios20.jpg
shipwreck.   http://thewarehouse.blog/ezekiel-27/
John 3:30.   https://www.pinterest.com/pin/119275090104297417/

2357.) Ezekiel 26

May 15, 2018

Aerial photograph of Tyre taken by French military about 1934.

Ezekiel 26   (ESV)

Prophecy Against Tyre

This was the great and ancient city of the Phoenicians on the Mediterranean coast north of Israel (in modern-day Lebanon). Tyre and her sister city Sidon (about 20 miles north of Tyre) were important seaports for the whole region.

“Tyre was an ancient city of the Phoenicians, appearing for the first time in the Bible in Joshua 19:29…. The city was actually composed of two parts, one on the mainland and the other on a rocky island about a half mile from the coast.”

–Charles L. Feinberg

“As a commercial centre, Tyre was famous for her glassware and for her dyed materials, using the purple dye made from the local murex shell-fish.”

–John B. Taylor

In the eleventh year, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, because Tyre said concerning Jerusalem, ‘Aha, the gate of the peoples is broken; it has swung open to me. I shall be replenished, now that she is laid waste,’

This enmity was not always the policy of Tyre towards Jerusalem. Hiram, the King of Tyre, was a true friend of King David (2 Samuel 5:11) and helped David and later Solomon with supplies and expertise in building the temple.

But times change. Now Tyre was happy at the fall of Jerusalem because it was good for her trading business. 

Proverbs 17:5  (ESV)

He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.

therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Tyre,

When God is against you, none can help. “Neither can thine Apollo help or deliver thee out of my hands; no, though thou chain that idol and nail him to a post, that thou mayest be sure of him; for so these Tyrians did when Alexander besieged their city and took it.”

–John Trapp

and will bring up many nations against you, as the sea brings up its waves. They shall destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers, and I will scrape her soil from her and make her a bare rock.

Main road through the ruins of ancient Tyre, Lebanon.

 God was faithful to bring many nations against Tyre in successive waves of conquest and destruction:

·Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Tyre for 13 years and eventually conquered them (about 586-573 BC).
·The Persians conquered and brought Tyre to submission around 525 BC.
·Alexander the Great destroyed the city in 332 BC.
·Antiochus III conquered and subjugated Tyre.
·Rome conquered and subjugated Tyre.
·The Saracens in the 14th century AD finally obliterated the city of Tyre.

–David Guzik

She shall be in the midst of the sea a place for the spreading of nets, for I have spoken, declares the Lord God. And she shall become plunder for the nations, and her daughters on the mainland shall be killed by the sword. Then they will know that I am the Lord.

The many villages and small cities allied with Tyre would also be destroyed. Her colony cities scattered around the broader world would be crippled. Judgment would be complete.

“The colonies of Phoenicia were in Cyprus, Rhodes, Malta, Spain, Sicily, Sardinia, the Balearic Islands and Africa, with all looking to Tyre as their headquarters, and sending annual gifts to the Tyrian Heracles.”

–Charles L. Feinberg

“For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will bring against Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses and chariots, and with horsemen and a host of many soldiers. He will kill with the sword your daughters on the mainland. He will set up a siege wall against you and throw up a mound against you, and raise a roof of shields against you. He will direct the shock of his battering rams against your walls, and with his axes he will break down your towers.10 His horses will be so many that their dust will cover you. Your walls will shake at the noise of the horsemen and wagons and chariots, when he enters your gates as men enter a city that has been breached. 11 With the hoofs of his horses he will trample all your streets. He will kill your people with the sword, and your mighty pillars will fall to the ground.

Nebuchadnezzar laid siege against the mainland portion of Tyre for 13 years and conquered that part of the city, subjugating all of Tyre under his rule.

“Nebuchadnezzar now turned his attention to Tyre, which held out on its island for thirteen years. It is now known from inscriptions that Nebuchadnezzar eventually forced its submission and put a puppet king on the throne. Ezekiel 29:18 records that he did not obtain enough spoil from the city to pay for all the efforts he had made.”

— Christopher Wright

12 They will plunder your riches and loot your merchandise. They will break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses. 

“Commentators have long noticed the change of pronoun from the ‘he’ of the previous verses to the ‘they’ of verse 12. It is rightly understood that Ezekiel was carrying the picture beyond Nebuchadnezzar to other invaders as well who would complete what he began.”

–Charles L. Feinberg

Your stones and timber and soil they will cast into the midst of the waters. 

When Alexander the Great came against Tyre, most of the people retreated to the island portion of the city which even Nebuchadnezzar could not conquer. In a remarkable feat of engineering and vision, Alexander’s armies took the rubble of the mainland city and built a causeway, a solid road built up through the water out to the island part of the city and conquered it – just as Ezekiel prophesied.

–David Guzik

13 And I will stop the music of your songs, and the sound of your lyres shall be heard no more. 14 I will make you a bare rock. You shall be a place for the spreading of nets. You shall never be rebuilt, for I am the Lord; I have spoken, declares the Lord God.

There is a modern city of Tyre, but it isn’t really built on the same spot as the ancient city – and has never come close to reaching the grandeur and importance of ancient Tyre.

15 “Thus says the Lord God to Tyre: Will not the coastlands shake at the sound of your fall, when the wounded groan, when slaughter is made in your midst? 16 Then all the princes of the sea will step down from their thrones and remove their robes and strip off their embroidered garments. They will clothe themselves with trembling; they will sit on the ground and tremble every moment and be appalled at you. 17 And they will raise a lamentation over you and say to you,

“‘How you have perished,
    you who were inhabited from the seas,
O city renowned,
    who was mighty on the sea;
she and her inhabitants imposed their terror
    on all her inhabitants!
18 Now the coastlands tremble
    on the day of your fall,
and the coastlands that are on the sea
    are dismayed at your passing.’

Oh, how the mighty have fallen!

19 “For thus says the Lord God: When I make you a city laid waste, like the cities that are not inhabited, when I bring up the deep over you, and the great waters cover you, 20 then I will make you go down with those who go down to the pit, to the people of old, and I will make you to dwell in the world below, among ruins from of old, with those who go down to the pit, so that you will not be inhabited; but I will set beauty in the land of the living. 21 I will bring you to a dreadful end, and you shall be no more. Though you be sought for, you will never be found again, declares the Lord God.”

The history of Tyre is fascinating, and if you want to learn more about how these prophecies were fulfilled, I suggest you investigate!  HERE  and  HERE  are simple places to start!

_________________________

Music:

Verse 3 contains a chilling comment from God — “I am against you.” What hope is there then? But such is not the case for those who have put their trust in the Lord Jesus. Romans 8:31 assures us, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”  HERE  is Chris Tomlin singing that truth in “Our God.”

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
aerial photo of Tyre.   https://biblereadingarcheology.com/2017/09/13/what-happened-to-tyre/
ancient Tyre.   https://www.britannica.com/place/Tyre
siege of Tyre.    http://biblefreeway.blogspot.com/2012/09/day-61-62-tyre-prophecy-failed-or.html

2356.) Ezekiel 25

May 14, 2018

Ezekiel 25   (ESV)

Prophecy Against Ammon

This begins a new section of the book of Ezekiel, from chapters 25 through 32. This section is concerned with the judgment of the nations surrounding Judah. God’s general message is that though He had a first and proper focus on the sins of His people, He had not forgotten and would not neglect the judgment of the pagan nations surrounding Judah and Jerusalem.

–David Guzik

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, set your face toward the Ammonites and prophesy against them.

The Ammonites lived in the area on the east side of the Jordan River, north of the Moabites. Their lands are included in what is today Jordan, and the capital of Jordan is named Ammon because of this connection.

Say to the Ammonites, Hear the word of the Lord God: Thus says the Lord God, Because you said, ‘Aha!’ over my sanctuary when it was profaned, and over the land of Israel when it was made desolate, and over the house of Judah when they went into exile,

The Ammonites felt no pity or sorry for the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple. This may be understandable in terms of political or national rivalry, but they should have mourned the desecration of the sanctuary of the true God, the creator of heaven and earth. They did not, and it made them liable for judgment.

therefore behold, I am handing you over to the people of the East for a possession, and they shall set their encampments among you and make their dwellings in your midst. They shall eat your fruit, and they shall drink your milk. I will make Rabbah a pasture for camels and Ammon a fold for flocks. Then you will know that I am the Lord. For thus says the Lord God: Because you have clapped your hands and stamped your feet and rejoiced with all the malice within your soul against the land of Israel, therefore, behold, I have stretched out my hand against you, and will hand you over as plunder to the nations. And I will cut you off from the peoples and will make you perish out of the countries; I will destroy you. Then you will know that I am the Lord.

“The pronouncement of the Lord was that Ammon and Moab were not to be remembered among the nations. Both were absorbed by the Arabs.”

–Charles L. Feinberg

Prophecy Against Moab and Seir

By ancestry, the people of Moab and Seir were cousins to Israel. The ancestor of Moab came from the incestuous pairing of Lot and his daughter (Genesis 19:37). Seir was a notable city of the Edomites, who were also cousins to Israel, being the descendants of Jacob’s twin brother Esau.

“Thus says the Lord God: Because Moab and Seir said, ‘Behold, the house of Judah is like all the other nations,’ therefore I will lay open the flank of Moab from the cities, from its cities on its frontier, the glory of the country, Beth-jeshimoth, Baal-meon, and Kiriathaim. 10 I will give it along with the Ammonites to the people of the East as a possession, that the Ammonites may be remembered no more among the nations, 11 and I will execute judgments upon Moab. Then they will know that I am the Lord.

The Mesha Stone is a stele (inscribed stone) set up around 840 BCE by King Mesha of Moab (a kingdom located in modern Jordan). Mesha tells how Chemosh, the god of Moab, had been angry with his people and had allowed them to be subjugated to Israel, but at length Chemosh returned and assisted Mesha to throw off the yoke of Israel and restore the lands of Moab. The stele is currently on display in France at the Louvre. 

–Wikipedia

“The Mesha Stone recounts the king of Moab’s boast that his god Chemosh had vanquished Israel.”

–Ralph H. Alexander

Prophecy Against Edom

12 “Thus says the Lord God: Because Edom acted revengefully against the house of Judah and has grievously offended in taking vengeance on them,

“The phrase ‘taking vengeance’ is literally ‘revenging with revenge’; it was to be an unrelieved, unabated revenge.”

–Charles L. Feinberg

13 therefore thus says the Lord God, I will stretch out my hand against Edom and cut off from it man and beast. And I will make it desolate; from Teman even to Dedan they shall fall by the sword. 14 And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel, and they shall do in Edom according to my anger and according to my wrath, and they shall know my vengeance, declares the Lord God.

“The basis of Edom’s economy was its control of that portion of the King’s Highway that passed through its territory. Once the Babylonians ended this control in the 6th century, the Edomites were in serious economic trouble. By the 4th century the Nabateans replaced the Edomites, and the latter moved into southern Judah.”

–Vawter and Hoppe

Prophecy Against Philistia

15 “Thus says the Lord God: Because the Philistines acted revengefully and took vengeance with malice of soul to destroy in never-ending enmity,

The Philistines were ancient enemies of Israel, populating many of the seacoast cities in the land of Canaan. There was old hatred between them and Israel, and when the Babylonians invaded they set as much misery on Judah as they could.

16 therefore thus says the Lord God, Behold, I will stretch out my hand against the Philistines, and I will cut off the Cherethites and destroy the rest of the seacoast. 17 I will execute great vengeance on them with wrathful rebukes. Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I lay my vengeance upon them.”

So God reveals Himself to these pagan, disobedient nations through His judgment. But God’s purpose was always greater than just judgment or vengeance; there was and always is a strong purpose of His self-revelation.

–David Guzik

_________________________

Music:

Oh! “Be careful, little mouth, what you say!” God is enslaving Ammon for rejoicing with an “Aha!” and Moab for commenting, “Look”. God is taking vengeance on Edom and Philistia for their vengeance against Israel. This chapter serves as a reminder for us that there mustn’t be any vengeance in our hearts; we must not rejoice at other’s destruction. Instead, as it says in Ephesians 4:32 — “Be kind to one another, be tender-hearted, and forgive one another, just as God forgive you for Christ’s sake.”

HERE  is an oldie — “Try a Little Kindness,” by Glen Campbell.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
map.   https://trumpet-call.org/2016/10/27/bible-study-ezekiel-25-to-ammon-moab-edom-philistines/
Aha!   https://twitter.com/aha_io
Mesha Stone.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesha_Stele#/media/File:P1120870_Louvre_st%C3%A8le_de_M%C3%A9sha_AO5066_rwk.JPG
I am the Lord.   https://sermonquotes.com/sermonquotes/5855-i-am-the-lord.html

2355.) Galatians 6

May 11, 2018

Galatians 6 (ESV)

Bear One Another’s Burdens

1Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.

“Let the ministers of the Gospel learn from Paul how to deal with those who have sinned. ‘Brethren,’ he says, ‘if any man be overtaken with a fault, do not aggravate his grief, do not scold him, do not condemn him, but lift him up and gently restore his faith.'”

–Martin Luther

Philippians 4:5 (CEV)

Always be gentle with others. The Lord will soon be here.

Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

“If we can overlook our own shortcomings and wrong-doings, we ought to overlook the shortcomings of others in accordance with the words, ‘Bear ye one another’s burdens.'”

–Martin Luther

(Thank you, David, for helping carry my burdens.)

3For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5For each will have to bear his own load.

There is no contradiction between bear one another’s burdens (in verse 2) and each one shall bear his own load (verse 5). In the latter, Paul speaks of our final accountability before God. In the former, he speaks of our need to care for others in the body of Christ.

There is also a difference in the wording Paul uses.  The word for load in verse 5 is a common term for a man’s backpack.  The word for burdens in verse 2 is a different word meaning “heavy burdens” — those that are more than a man should carry.  In the end, we will are all responsible for our own work, but we can help bear the burdens of others.

–David Guzik

6 One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches.

This is a basic, though sometimes neglected, spiritual principle. Those who feed and bless you spiritually should be supported by you financially. Paul repeated this principle in several other places. If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? (1 Corinthians 9:11). Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:14). Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine (1 Timothy 5:17). If you trust them with your spiritual health, you should also trust them to steward the gifts of God’s people (Luke 16:11).

7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

(Thank you, David, for not growing weary of doing good.)

Final Warning and Benediction

11See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. 12 It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. 14But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand,
The shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land;
A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat, and the burden of the day.

Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One Who suffered there for me;
And from my stricken heart with tears, two wonders I confess:
The wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.

I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face;
Content to let the world go by, to know no gain or loss,
My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “Take me to the cross again”  by Dave Lubben.

(And Happy Birthday, David!)

_________________________

15For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. 17From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.

(Thank you, David, for living with me in peace and mercy.)

18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.

“After the storm and stress and intensity of the letter comes the peace of the benediction. Paul has argued and rebuked and cajoled but his last word is GRACE, for him the only word that really mattered.”

–William Barclay

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)    The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Galatians 6:14.  http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3479/3207429015_a8d53db244.jpg
Help to carry . . .     http://www.have-faith-in-god-uk.org/4_step13.gif
the cross.   https://bulldogcatholic.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Blog-Photo-1.jpg