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The Fullness of Sin- Part III

Updated: Jan 1

by Randy Nettles

Toward the end of Solomon’s life, God told the prophet Ahijah to seek out Solomon’s servant, a mighty man of valor named Jeroboam, and give him a message. Jeroboam was from the northern tribe of Ephraim (a descendant of Joseph). This was the word from the Lord to Jeroboam: “Behold, I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and will give ten tribes to you (but he shall have one tribe for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel), because they have forsaken Me, and worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the people of Ammon, and have not walked in My ways to do what is right in My eyes and keep My statutes and My judgments, as did his father David” (1 Kings 11:31-33).

Ahijah told Jeroboam that the Lord would not do this during Solomon’s life but would take the kingdom (ten tribes) out of Solomon’s son’s hand and then give it him. Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, would keep one tribe (actually two tribes – Judah and Benjamin were counted together) for David’s sake and the promise that God made to him. The Lord also gave Jeroboam the same conditional promise that he made to Solomon: “If you heed all that I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build for you an enduring house, as I built for David, and will give Israel to you”(1 Kings 11:38-39).

Israel’s second wave of fullness of sin began after Solomon died and Rehoboam became king. All of Israel met in Shechem for this event. Jeroboam and the whole assembly of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam, saying, “Your father made our yoke heavy; now therefore, lighten the burdensome service of your father, and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you” (1 Kings 11: 4).

Rehoboam did not listen to the sage advice of his father’s older counselors but instead listened to his young friends who now counseled him. Foolishly, Rehoboam told them he would make their yoke even heavier and that he would chastise them with not only whips but scourges! Naturally, the 10 tribes of the north rebelled at this and set up their own kingdom. They called it Israel, with Jeroboam as their king. Just as the Lord had spoken to him through His prophet Ahijah. The southern kingdom was called Judah.

Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim and dwelt there. He immediately ignored God’s word and started sinning against the Lord, as he made two molten calves of gold. Jeroboam sinned twice as much as the children of Israel did in the wilderness (during the exodus) as he made two calves of gold to worship. Jeroboam said to the people, “Do not go up to Jerusalem: behold your gods, O Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt” (1Kings 12:28). By this statement, Jeroboam claimed the golden calf was the god who delivered the children of Israel from Egypt instead of the one true God, Yahweh. You can’t get much more evil than that. I believe Satan, the father of lies, put him up to this, as this was indeed a whopper! Jeroboam set one god in Bethel and the other in Dan and offered sacrifices in these places (instead of the temple in Jerusalem}. He also made priests of the people who were not of the sons of Levi, another great sin against the Lord.

About that time Jeoboam’s son became sick. Jeroboam had his wife go to Shiloh and ask the prophet Ahijah what would become of their son. Ahijah told her to tell Jeroboam, “Thus says the Lord God Of Israel. Because I exalted you from among the people, and made you ruler over My people Israel, and tore the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it to you; and yet you have not been as My servant David, who kept My commandments and who followed Me with all his heart, to do only what was right in My eyes; but you have done more evil than all who were before you, for you have gone and made for yourself other gods and molded images to provoke Me to anger, and have cast Me behind your back – therefore behold! I will bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam every male in Israel, bond and free; I will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as one takes away refuse until it is all gone. The dogs shall eat whoever belongs to Jeroboam and dies in the city, and the birds of the air shall eat whoever dies in the field; for the Lord has spoken! Arise therefore, go to your own house. When your feet enter the city, the child shall die” (1 Kings 14: 7-12).

The author of Hebrews had this to say about God’s wrath: “For we know Him that has said, Vengeance belongs unto me, I will recompense, says the Lord, And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10 :30-31).

Of course, everything the Lord told Jeroboam’s wife came true. As soon as she came to the threshold of their house, the child died. Jeroboam ruled Israel for 22 years and then he died. His son Nadab became king over Israel and he reigned for two years. “And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin by which he had made Israel sin” (1 Kings 15:26). Then Baasha the son of Ahijah of the house of Issachar, conspired against him and killed him at Gibbethon. “When Baasha became king, he killed all the house of Jeroboam. He did not leave to Jeroboam anyone that breathed, until he had destroyed him, according to the word of the Lord which He had spoken by His servant Ahijah the Shilonite, because of the sins of Jeroboam” (1 Kings 27-30).

Throughout the 207 years of Israel’s (northern kingdom) existence, there were 20 kings across 10 different dynasties starting with Jeroboam and ending with Hoshea. All of them were evil and did not obey God’s statutes and commandments. God sent many prophets to these kings to warn them of judgment to come if they did not repent and follow the Lord. None of them listened. Many of these evil men became kings by killing the previous king.

Here is a brief history of the kings of Israel and the fullness of their sins as recorded in 1st and 2nd Kings: Jeroboam (1) rebelled against Rehoboam. After he died, his son Nadab (2) became king of Israel. Baasha killed Nadab and all of Rehoboam’s family and then became king. After Baasha (3) died, his son Elah (4) became king.  Zimri, a captain of the king’s chariots, killed Elah and all of his male kinsman and friends. Zimra (5)  lasted seven days as king before Omri, the captain of the host, came against him. Zimri committed suicide by burning down the house of the king around him and so he died. At this point, the people of Israel divided into two parts: half of the people followed Tibni (6), and made him king, and half of the people followed Omri (7) and made him their king. Tibni died two years later and Omri reigned over all of Israel. Omri built the city of Samaria in northern Israel. After Omri’s death, his son the wicked Ahab (8) became king.

“Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. And he reared up an altat for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.” (1 Kings 16:31-33). Just as the children of Israel did, in the time of the Judges, (and also King Solomon) Ahab did likewise by worshipping the false god/idol Baal.

Baal worship was rooted in sensuality and involved ritualistic prostitution in their temples of worship. At times, appeasing Baal required human sacrifice, usually the firstborn of the one making the sacrifice (as per Jeremiah 19:5). They would usually burn the babies with fire to their death.

The word of the Lord came unto the prophet Elijah the Tishbite, who was from Gilead, to confront Ahab and Jezebel. Elijah’s first appearance in 1 Kings 17 was to challenge the evil reign of King Ahab by declaring a three-year drought. He then tells Ahab to gather all Israel, including the priests of Baal and the groves, to Mount Carmel. “And Elijah came to all the people and said, How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, then follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.  But the people answered him not a word.: (1 kings 18:21). “He then challenges the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah (1 Kings 18:18-19) in the ‘mother of all showdowns’ to see which God could supernaturally send fire down from heaven to burn up their sacrifice.  

After thoroughly destroying their credibility as prophets and their false gods by God sending fire from heaven to consume his sacrifice, he then had all 850 of them put to death by the Jewish people who came to watch. Afterward, he declares an end to the drought, but a scorned Jezebel puts a bounty on his head, and Elijah flees for his life. God supernaturally protects and strengthens Elijah and sends him on several more important errands.” {1}

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, “Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who lives in Samaria. There he is, in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone down to take possession of it. You shall speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Have you murdered and also taken possession?” ’ And you shall speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: “In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, dogs shall lick your blood, even yours.” ’ ”

So Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?”

And he answered, “I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do evil in the sight of the Lord: ‘Behold, I will bring calamity on you. I will take away your posterity, and will cut off from Ahab every male in Israel, both bond and free. I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, because of the provocation with which you have provoked Me to anger, and made Israel sin.’ And concerning Jezebel the Lord also spoke, saying, ‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.’ The dogs shall eat whoever belongs to Ahab and dies in the city, and the birds of the air shall eat whoever dies in the field.” (1 Kings 21:17-24).  

“Not long after this, Elijah was ‘taken up’ by a chariot of fire and horses of fire and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. (2 Kings 2:11). This was the second rapture that is recorded in the Bible, although totally different from Enoch’s. Elijah’s disappearance was about 180 degrees opposite of Enoch’s. First, he and everyone with him knew when his rapture was coming (2 Kings 2:1-5). Second, aside from the timing, Elijah’s rapture (or manner of departure) was not a mystery. He knew he was going up to heaven, although he may not have known exactly what that would look like. Last, his deliverance upwards was not some instantaneous translation from mortal to immortal, in fact, there is no mention of Elijah’s physical transformation at all. Instead, he is taken up in an over-the-top chariot of fire, which becomes a whirlwind of fire that could be seen from a distance (2 Kings 2:11).” {2}

The rapture of Elijah (in front of credible witnesses) served as a warning to the idolatrous kingdom of Israel that God’s judgment would be forthcoming (when the fullness of their sins was complete) unless they changed their evil ways. It was also a reward for the righteousness of Elijah, that he should not see death.

Ahab reigned over Israel in Samaria for 22 years and died in battle while in his chariot. His body was brought back to Samaria for burial. “Then his chariot was washed in a pool in Samaria, and the dogs licked up his blood while the harlots bathed, according to the word of the Lord which He had spoken” (1 Kings 22:37-38). Ahab’s son, Ahaziah (9) then became king. Ahaziah died from complications of an injury due to a fall. Ahaziah’s brother Joram (Jehoram) (10) then became king of Israel as Ahaziah had no son.

During the reign of Joram (grandson of Ahab), Elisha the prophet called a fellow prophet and sent him on a mission. Elisha was an apprentice of Elijah and was now his successor as prophet extraordinaire to speak the word of the Lord to the evil kings of Israel. Elisha told the young prophet to go to Ramoth-Gilead and find a captain of the host named Jehu and pour anointing oil on his head and tell him, ”Thus says the Lord God of Israel, I have anointed you king over the people of the Lord, even over Israel. And you shall smite the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge the blood, of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord, at the hand of Jezebel. For the whole house of Ahab shall perish: and I will cut off from Ahab him that pisses against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel: and I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah: and the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the portion of Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her” (2 Kings 9:1-16). Elisha’s message fulfilled Elijah’s prophecy that he made 20 years earlier.

Jehu was the weapon that God used to make this prophecy come true. Jehu killed King Joram and all of Ahab’s male descendants in Jezreel; as well as all his great men, and his kinsfolks, and his priests, until he left none remaining. Jehu went on a killing spree at this point. He had all the priests of Baal put to death. Jehu also killed Ahaziah the king of Judah and all his brothers. He then had Jezebel thrown from a window of a tall house to her death. Some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he trampled her underfoot. He then told the people to bury her as she was a king’s daughter. “And they went to bury her: but they found no more of her than the skull, and the feet, and the palms of her hands, Wherefore they came again, and told him. And he said, This is the word of the Lord, which he spoke by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel: and the carcass of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; so that they shall not say, This is Jezebel” (2 Kings:33-37). Thus Elijah’s prophecy was completely fulfilled just as the Lord had spoken.

Jehu (11) became the next king of Israel after he killed Joram. Although he destroyed the idols and priests of Baal, Jehu continued the idolatrous ways of Jeroboam and worshiped the golden calves that were in Bethel and Dan. “And the Lord said unto Jehu, Because you have done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes, and have done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in mine hear, your children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel. But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin” (2 Kings 10:30-31). This is basically what the Lord said about all the evil kings of Israel. He said they sinned in the manner of Jeroboam. He did not mention Solomon, who sinned in like manner, because he did not make molded images or idols like Jeroboam did. Also, Solomon repented before his death and I believe God did not mention him out of respect for King David.

After the death of Jehu, his son Jehoahaz (12) reigned in his stead. Jehoahaz followed in the footsteps of Jehu and Jeroboam. During his reign, Israel was nearly wiped out by the Syrians, “and had made them like the dust by threshing.” Jehoahaz died and was succeeded by his son Joash (13) who was evil but a capable military man who recovered the cities of Israel from Syria. Jeroboam II (14), the son of Joash, was the next king after the death of his father. He also followed in the footsteps of his evil father. He was one of Israel’s most successful rulers and was able to almost completely restore Israel’s borders to where they had been under Solomon.

Jeroboam II died and his son Zachariah (15) became the next king of Israel. Zachariah was the great, great-grandson of Jehu. He also departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin. His reign lasted only six months. Shallum (16) the son of Jabesh conspired against Zachariah, and slew him, and reigned in his stead. “This was the word of the Lord which he spoke unto Jehu, saying, Your sons shall sit on the throne of Israel unto the fourth generation. And so it came to pass” (2 Kings 15:12).

Shallum ruled in Israel for a full month before Menahem (17) came to Samaria, and slew him, and reigned in his stead. Menahem reigned ten years in Samaria and was another evil king, as were all before him. He was king during Assyria’s assault on the land and had to pay tribute to their king to keep them at bay. Assyria was becoming a world power at this time (approximately 743 BC). This was the first of three Assyrian invasions into the land of Israel. Menahem died and his son, Pekahiah (18), became king of Israel. A captain of his, named Pekah (19), conspired against Pekahiah and smote him in Samaria, and killed him, and took over the kingdom. In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and took many cities and lands of Israel. He also carried many captives back to Assyria. This was the second invasion of Assyria into Israel. Hoshea (20) made a conspiracy against Pekah and slew him, and reigned in his stead.

Hoshea the son of Elah reigned in Samaria over Israel 9 years (9 is not a good number for Israel -see: https://www.raptureready.com/2019/07/14/dog-days-summer-randy-nettles/) . He was the last king of the northern kingdom of Israel. “And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, but not as the kings of Israel that were before him” (2 Kings 17:2). Can you imagine putting that on your tombstone: He wasn’t as evil as those who came before him? Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it. This was the third invasion of Assyria into Israel and the siege lasted for three years (725 BC to 722 BC). You know what they say: The third time is a charm! In the 9th year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and destroyed Israel completely, carrying away most of the people, and resettling the land with foreigners.

Interestingly enough, in the same year of the siege of 725 BC, Jonah the prophet went to Nineveh, the capitol city of Assyria, and reluctantly preached the message of repentance from wickedness that the Lord had commanded him. This was after the great fish incident as recorded in the book of Jonah. “Jonah cried out to the people of Neneveh and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. So the people of Neneveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them” (Jonah 3:4-5). Even the king believed and issued a decree saying, Let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yes, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not: And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not” (Jonah 3:8-10).

Of course, this repentance by the Assyrians only lasted for a few generations, as Nineveh and the might of the Assyrian Empire was overthrown by the Babylonians in 612 BC. However, it’s strange indeed that the enemy of the Jews which destroyed Israel would repent from their wickedness (even for a short time) while the supposed people of God would not. That is why God allowed the people of the ten kingdoms to be destroyed or removed from the land.

The Lord God spoke through one of his prophets (possibly Jeremiah) and he summed up the fullness of Israel’s sins as recorded in 2 Kings 2:17: “Yet the Lord testified against Israel (and Judah), by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn you from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets. Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the Lord their God.

And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed worthless idols, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about the, concerning whom the Lord had charged them, that they should not do like them. And they left all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven (demons), and served Baal. And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger. Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only” (2 Kings 17:13-18).

Next time: The fullness of sin of Judah will be examined.

Randy Nettles

nettlesr@suddenlink.net

Endnotes:

{1,2} https://www.rev310.com/2019/05/three-raptures-elijah

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