Monday, January 18, 2021

'Why Should You Die, O House of Israel?'

Greetings EVERYONE! Greetings, our friends in Canada, Ireland, South Africa, Malawi, and Finland – and, of course, all our friends in the United States of America! Welcome to the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries, I’m your host Leonard V. Johnson.

There are a number of YouTube channels that we have that are available. We here are excited about Minister Guy LaMar’s great commission up in Athens, Alabama. The Independent Christian Church of God YouTube channel looks wonderful! Be sure to Subscribe and ring the bell on the channel to get notified about their latest sermons. And you have the option to be notified for occasional sermons, or all of them. And on your phone, make sure to go into your settings and switch on notifications. There is also the Owensboro Church of Jesus Christ’s YouTube channel with literally hundreds of great sermons delivered by Minister Michael C. Garrett. Also, Trevor Koonce’s wonderful channel! And I am so truly proud and glad that we have this “open door” here in which all the before mentioned YouTube channels have God’s WORD, TRUTH, and PLAN! Each Sabbath I myself go on those YouTube channels and watch several sermons!

Good Morning America! We wake up this morning and discover that the Leftists and their agenda are pushing ever-stronger for their ultimate goal for America – revolution. Also, Iran escalates its threats and dire warnings to the United States of America! Continuing to call America the “Great Satan.” As Iranians bemoan the killing of one of their top generals – Soleimani – there in Iran. There has been a recent deployment of over 3500 U.S. military personnel to Iraq following the killing of this general. Let us dear friends think about the mothers and fathers of our soldiers who are being deployed into one of the most severe warzones of the world. We are continuing to see American and Israeli flags burned and stepped on in places like Iraq and Iran – chanting ‘death to America’ and ‘Death to Israel.’

What will be the response!?

Now, for the past few months, I have been posting dire warnings – not just for America, but also the little nation in the Middle East known as Israel. With such sermons as “Does God Have Your Attention?” and “God’s Master Plan – From the Beginning” and “’ Tell My People Their Sins’” – which received several negative comments.

We have been proclaiming that we think two factors are going to cause a reunification of Europe - a seventh resurrection of the “Holy” Roman Empire.
  1. The threat of Islamic militarism.
And quoted from Minister Michael C. Garrett:
“You can call it Islamofascism or you can call it Radical Islam or you can call it all just a bunch of crazy people. … Make no mistake my friends, the leaders of that Islamic strain of Islam, their greatest goal is to conquer you or to kill you! Don’t be confused about that! I have to say I’m embarrassed by some of our political leaders in this country that wanna make nice. “O’ these are nice people!” they say. “It’s a religion of love!” And every time I hear it I wanna say, “It twernt Lutherans that flew the planes into the Towers!” It was Islamic terrorists! And that movement is growing! We have Hamas in charge of Palestine! We have Iran threatening with nuclear weapons! We have Pakistan – one bullet away, one assassination away – from becoming just like Afghanistan! A homeland of fanatics! Throughout the world we have problems!”

2. A revitalized Roman Catholic Church and a pope of magnificent stature.
Again, Minister Garrett:
“These two factors will be the tipping point that causes Europe to say, “We must have strong leaders again! We must have a strong military again! We must protect our borders! We must protect ourselves! We must unite! Even though we have differences!” Remember the image in Daniel, ‘partly clay, partly iron’!? - doesn’t always get along. But in the threat of a common enemy, I believe, that Europe will coalesce together. It will be Islamic terrorism and it will be led by a revitalized Roman Catholic leader. And it’s going to set up that seventh revival.”

(Read More: Ibid).
Indeed, in the United States, there has been a grave influx of home-grown terrorism – as in the bombing of Nashville, to the threat of explosive devices within Washington, D.C., and there may be even foreign terrorist cells of a radical strain of the religion of Islam within the United States ready to strike!?

This is America! An America I have not been witness to before! Sadly, this is the America we are living in today. We also just witnessed, and as Michael Snyder of the Most Important News pointed out – a massive riot that dealt a severe blow to any political future that President Donald Trump hoped to have. With one stone, the terrorist organization Antifa neutered the debate over the legitimacy of the election and devastated the Trump movement as well. 1 All of this has revealed just how truly divided we are as a nation. Also uncovering the devious plots and schemes – and the true character – of many of our politicians and those within leadership positions.

Also in the news, we notice that the Methodist Church is splitting right down the middle in regards to an impasse between two factions within the church that have not been able to agree on homosexual “marriage” and clergy. Over half of their members believe and accept homosexuality and homosexual “marriage” as well as homosexual clergy. It is difficult for me to contemplate this. Truly, a society like ancient Rome – the LGBTQ movement – should have equal rights with god-fearing American citizens!? As I say quite a lot – there is coming a time soon when those who have the “lifestyle” of pedophilia will want those equal rights – too. I never imagined growing up and then one day waking up in an America such as this! Where abortion, and even post-birth abortion, is legal! Basically – LEGAL MURDER!

Indeed there is, soon, coming a time when our government will no longer be using our national motto “In God We Trust.” I believe that within my lifetime we will see this occur! Already there are governmental officials that upon their swearing-in leaves out “so help me God.” And as Yahoo News writes:
“America’s socialists reckon they’re on a roll. But now it’s spreading across the Rust Belt, Midwest and South. At least 60 branches of the Democratic Socialists of America, the most prominent among a bunch of reinvigorated leftist groups — have sprung up in the past year, mostly in conservative areas where President Donald Trump did well with voters.” 2
Of course, as our Lord Jesus Christ said (cf. John 15:18-25), true Christians are often attacked, because they of this world insist that we should just accept all of these degradations as “our way of life.” And I’m speaking of our brethren all around the world that are victims – people who fear God, accept Jesus Christ and obey His commandments, accept the principles of the New Covenant, properly understand the kingdom of God, the Word of God, the Truth of God, and the ultimate Plan of God! Our brethren who has been called of Father, repented, baptized, and has had hands laid upon them – receiving the glorious gift of the Holy Spirit. Those who indeed try – with the help of God’s Spirit – to live a life in accordance with God’s living Word – the Holy Bible. And this very concept is antiquated in America – today. This reminds me of a story –

One time my wife and I went out to eat at a Golden Corral restaurant, and while we were standing in line to pay I was still trailing the edge of a previous conversation I had been having with her earlier. And it just so happened that I mentioned the name of our Lord – Jesus Christ – in great reverence. And as we were getting a table to set down, a man behind us blurts out – as he turned to look our way – “Great, another Bible thumper!” And I remember thinking – he thought I was a fanatic!? And we’re talking about JESUS CHRIST! We’re supposed to be a Christian nation! An “In God We Trust” nation! And yet, I look like the oddball in the crowd! Our nation, friends, is in dire straits!!

Friends, while all these terrible tribulations are going on in the United States of America – and indeed I could mention the grave tribulation of COVID-19 – and could continue proclaiming, as many have accused me of, “You're Chicken Little - 'O', the sky is falling!'” and about how very bad things are in our nation –

Yet many Americans are truly UNAWARE of what is happening worldwide.

But friends, let us get to the main message today.

There was a prophet of God in which some called “sleeper.” His name was Jonah. I’m sure you remember the story.

Let’s turn there if you would. He was a prophet selected by the LORD God to go to the ancient city of Nineveh. Nineveh was a city outside of the kingdom of Israel. Gentiles. And, Nineveh was the capitol of the Assyrian Empire.

Ancient Nineveh

Sir Austen Henry Layard’s outstanding impression of the Assyrian palaces in ancient Nineveh is truly something to behold! And of course, most of us have seen photos of the restored massive Adad Gate prior to the gate’s destruction by ISIS in 2016! The city was near the modern-day city of Mosul, which is located approximately 250 miles north of Baghdad, Iraq – located on the east bank of the Tigris river, and indeed it was a mighty city with a mighty wall that surrounded it! Now Jonah would later state that the breadth of the city was a three-day journey – which gives you an idea of just how large this city was. Some of the archeologists who unearthed the ancient city of Nineveh believe that there may have been as many as 150,000 citizens within the city wall! There was a great palace within the city of Nineveh, and you can read about this city – I could go on and on speaking about this mighty powerful kingdom which subjugated their enemies. But I want to get to the main message today.

In the Book of Jonah chapter 1

Verse 1 – “Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2) ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.’”

Now, this indeed appears to be an easy command to do – doesn’t it!? But imagine – today – going to Baghdad and testifying against that city!? Or, going to Tehran, or Amman!? Foreign nations that literally hate you – if nothing more than for being an American. That’s where Jonah was. This puts this in perspective – especially in the light of the world news today. Indeed, it would be terrifying to think – ‘I’ve got to go to a city that literally hates me and would love nothing more than to string me up or chop off my head and I’ve got to preach against them because God commands me to do this!?’

This great and powerful city which ruled over an empire and that within the city cradled the worship of Ishtar – frequently depicted as a naked goddess; flaunting her beauty and sometimes even depicted raising her skirt to reveal the lower parts of her body. A pagan goddess of sex which has come down to us today as Easter. Have you ever questioned – why are there eggs being used at Easter, or lilies!?

What does this have to do with the resurrection of Jesus Christ!? Well, this is a very city that propagated this pagan observance of Ishtar/Easter.

Verse 3 – “But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.”

Joppa was a town – known today as Jaffa – which was the main port of the coast in Israel as early as King Solomon’s time before the Israelis constructed the ports of Haifa and Ashdod. There is some debate as to where Tarshish was. We know that the apostle Paul was from Tarshish, which was up in modern-day Turkey. However, this Tarshish, according to the Jamieson Fausset and Brown Commentary of the Whole Bible states is “in Spain; in the farthest west at the greatest distance from Nineveh in the east.” 3 Called Tartessus on the Iberian peninsula. Some biblical scholars have said that it’s Tunis, which is the capital and largest city of Tunisia – which is in northern Africa. Either way, Jonah got on a ship to go as far away as he thought he could get from God – from YHWH! In the opposite direction which the LORD God instructed him to go!

Verse 4 – “But the LORD sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up.”

Surely, there has to be nothing more that gets your attention than acts of nature! The mariners were certainly used to storms upon the sea – this must have been extreme.

Verse 5 – “Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, …” – they were all pagans who worshiped their own gods. Their gods were proving unable to help them. “ … and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep.”

So, conscious of his guilt he shrunk from the presence of his fellow men into concealment - he goes and curls up in a blanket and he goes fast asleep. Regardless of what was occurring around him!

Verse 6 – “So the captain came to him, and said to him, ‘What do you mean, sleeper? …” – so, here’s where he’s called the name ‘sleeper.’ “ … ‘Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.’”

Verse 7 – “And they said to one another, ‘Come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us.’ So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah.”

Verse 8 – “Then they said to him, ‘Please tell us! For whose cause is this trouble upon us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?’”

Verse 9 – “So he said to them, ‘I am a Hebrew; and I fear [YHWH], the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.’”

Notice what Jonah knows about the LORD God!

Verse 10 – “Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, ‘Why have you done this?’ For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.”

Jonah told them the story. ‘The LORD God told me to go to Nineveh, but I had decided to go down to Joppa and get on your ship and go with you to Tarshish.’ Even these pagan Gentiles realized – there’s something wrong with what Jonah had done.

Verse 11 – “Then they said to him, ‘What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?’ – for the sea was growing more tempestuous. 12) And he said to them, ‘Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.’”

Here, reality begins to strike Jonah. He realizes this is all because of his actions.

Verse 13 – “Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, …” – they were in the Mediterranean Sea. “ … but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them. 14) Therefore they cried out to the LORD and said, ‘We pray, O LORD, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O LORD, have done as it is pleased You.’”

They were awed by the great power of God – even these pagans realized that they had upset Almighty God and that He was mightily angry!

Verse 15 – “So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16) Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the LORD and took vows.” – they offered some sacrifice of thanksgiving at once, and vowed more when they reached land. They promised to make additional sacrifices later.

Verse 17 – “Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”

Now, a lot of people will say that this is an old folk tale passed down through history – but we know that this story was verified by our Savior Jesus Christ in Matthew 12:40 when He said, “’ For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish [the Greek word kētos, meaning “huge fish], so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.’” So our LORD God actually verified this story about Jonah. I can’t imagine a more horrifying experience – to be alive and know that is happening to you!

Surely it was at this point that Jonah knew he had forsaken Almighty God. This toying that he did back in his hometown and debating within himself I think brought about anger against God. ‘It’s not fair’ surely went through Jonah’s mind. ‘I just can’t understand how God would want to save our pagan enemy!’ All of this had turned into fear and stiff-necked rebel against God and an absolute rejection of God’s direct command! Remember, God had told him directly to go do this. That, ‘I’m gonna give it all up’ attitude. Sadly, friends, I’ve seen this within the churches of God! Now, there was a guest once on the Aaron Ra show, a man that Minister Michael C. had gone to college with in Pasadena, who had later become a minister for some 30-years! Who now claims he is struggling with his faith! Eventually turning his back on EVERYTHING! And some of them have a difficult time even acknowledging Jesus Christ and giving Him the credit that is due! It truly saddens me! The prophet Jonah had a bit of that attitude – here.

But God didn’t see it that way. And God didn’t forget. And God didn’t let it go. God’s living word and His command was going to be fulfilled with Jonah – or without. But God also wasn’t finished with Jonah. Now, He could have just allowed the great fish to continue digesting Jonah. God was definitely angry with Jonah. But He didn’t completely cast him away. And we should find this very inspiring that Almighty God does have that kind of mercy. God made him fulfill his obligation.

So, here in chapter 2, is a story about the prophet Jonah, and it is written sort of like in the third person, but it is also written from the standpoint of a man who had gone through all this experience and actually survived to tell about it! So, he first describes his impossible situation, but then immediately just how Almighty God rescues him.

Verse 1 – “Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish’s belly.”

I tell this story here of when I lost one of my brothers. He was my oldest brother. We lost him to what we believe to have been a severe heart attack. He had been addicted to Crack cocaine and alcohol. It truly destroyed his body – eventually, he slowed down on all of that, but it was too late. His body had already suffered from all of the afflictions that he had placed upon it for well over 36 years! And one of the things that he had said to me, in the end, was – that one time while he had been praying that he had been knocked to the ground by an unseen force, and while he was lying on the floor a warmth had enveloped him and that he had begun to cry profusely. He said that it had scared him to death! And here I was hearing this from someone who had rejected God for most of his life. Sadly the very last time I had seen him alive he had called me every name in the book and had thrown me off his property – because I had come over without calling first. And as I was leaving I had said to him, “Don’t worry, It’ll never happen again.” On my way home I had asked Father God and our Lord Jesus Christ to forgive him – but that I couldn’t continue to try to be his friend anymore. Six days later he had died.

You know when you sin against Almighty God you go to God right then and there! You don’t wait till tomorrow, you don’t wait till next week, you don’t wait six months – or six days. You go to Him immediately! And you talk to God and say, ‘I know that I made a mistake, but I ask that You forgive me so that I can go on and relinquish this guilt and burden which is upon me.’

Verse 2 – “And he said: ‘I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction, And He answered me. Out of the belly of Sheol [meaning, the grave], I cried, And You heard my voice. 3) For You cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the floods surrounded me; All You billows and Your waves passed over me.’”

There is a similar speech in Lamentations chapter 3 – “The waters flowed over my head; I said, ‘I am cut off!’” And, King David wrote, “Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck.”

Verse 4 – “Then I said, ‘I have been cast out of Your sight; Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’”

Now he has this vision of being able to see God’s holy temple once again. He knew that he was going to see God’s temple again.

Verse 5 – “’ The waters surrounded me, even to my soul; The deep closed around me; Weeds were wrapped around my head.’” – you could just imagine someone just being taken to the very depths of the sea inside a great fish! Truly terrifying! He was about to die!

Verse 6 – “’ I went down to the moorings of the mountains; The earth with its bars closed behind me forever; Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD, my God.’”

Verse 7 – “’ When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD; And my prayer went up to You, Into Your holy temple.’” – directly to God.

Verse 8 – “’ Those who regard worthless idols Forsake their own Mercy. 9) But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.’”

So, we close chapter 2 with prophet Jonah’s realization and his rescue from his prayer and his turning around from where he was heading.

Verse 10 – “So the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.”

Let us be reminded here of men like prophet Moses who went in over and over again before (very possibly) Pharaoh Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) for his people – the house of Israel. Moses didn’t want to go either! “’ O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow to speech and slow of tongue.’” – Exodus 4:10 NKJV. The prophet Isaiah had told the LORD God, “’ Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, …’” – Isaiah 6:5 NKJV. And God had one of His seraphim’s place a live coal upon his lips and said, “’ Go and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive. Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And [convert] and be healed.’” – V 9-10.

Later the prophet Isaiah warned the house of Israel and the house of Judah of their sins and of their evil wickedness. He said, “’ The look on their countenance witnesses against them.’” – Isaiah 3:9 NKJV. The show of their face – the way they look. “’ And they declare their sin as Sodom; They DO NOT HIDE IT. Woe to their soul! For they have brought evil upon themselves.’”

And indeed – today – the modern nations of Israel, as well as the modern nation of Judah declare their sin to everyone as Sodom and Gomorrah – i.e. migration headache commercials such as Aimovig which sneakily shows a gay couple getting cozy with each other on a couch.

It’s almost as if they have to have this homosexual factor in movies, television shows, and commercials. They cannot have anything without having some reference to that. And we read this passage here of the prophet Isaiah which states, “They DO NOT HIDE IT!” It’s out in the open, they are blatant and in God’s face! And, there was another time when the prophet Isaiah wrote – under inspiration – “’ As for My people, children are their oppressors, And women rule over them. …” – Isaiah 3:12 NKJV. The apostle Paul spoke of this very thing – of women’s rights and of women over-ruling men and of the proper order of a family. And we can think of what is happening in our society today – the president-elect Joe Biden surely won’t be in the office too long, before the United States of America will have her first female president – Kamala Harris. It is completely turned around – completely opposite of what Almighty God originally intended for the family structure to be. And I only say this because – it is part of the reason for what is happening to the modern-day nations of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah. The disintegration of the family! I weep for my wife’s cousin who is being subjected to parents of multiple marriages, divorces, and relationships, and now being subjected to her mother’s lesbian “lifestyle.” What is this teaching her at only seven-years-old!? Well, Almighty God never intended for the family to be that way. But, because of this, we have a breakdown of our family structure, along with a breakdown in our societies. And it leads to a lot of the problems our nations have.

The prophet Isaiah asks the LORD our God, “’ Lord, how long?’ And the LORD God answered, “’ Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, The houses are without a man, The land is utterly desolate, The LORD has removed men far away, And the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.’” – Isaiah 6:11-12 NKJV.

Recall, even the prophet Jeremiah had told the LORD God, “’ Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.’” And the LORD God said, “’ For you shall go to all to whom I send you, And whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, For I AM with you to deliver you.’” – Jeremiah 1:6, 7, 8 NKJV.

Brethren, I don’t know how we WARN the modern-nations of Israel and the modern-nation of Judah – to get to the point where we can take Almighty God’s message (the warning messages which God gave His prophets) to nations which won’t allow anything on its public social media sites!? I don’t know how we’re going to do that! But I know that that message is going to go out! And I know that when the prophet Jeremiah was told by the LORD God to “’ take a scroll of a book and write on it all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel, against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spoke to you, from the days of Josiah even to this day,’” and how eventually King Jehoiakim would take the scroll – which was a whole indictment of the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah – and cut it up with his scribe’s knife and cast the pieces into a fire that was on the hearth, until all the scroll was consumed, God told Jeremiah, “’ Take yet another scroll, and write on it all the former words that were in the first scroll that this king has thrown into the fire!’”

And of course, the prophet Ezekiel, God says, “’ Son of man, I AM sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; … ‘As for them, whether they hear or whether they refuse – for they are a rebellious house – yet they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them nor be afraid of their words, … though they are a rebellious house. You shall speak My words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse, for they are [most] rebellious.’” – Ezekiel 2:3, 5, 6, 7 NKJV.

The Lord GOD told Ezekiel to write, “’ An end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land. Now the end has come upon you, And I will judge you according to your ways, And I will repay you for all your abominations. … For the land is filled with crimes of blood, …’” – Ezekiel 7:2-3, 23 NKJV.

So, here we are back to the prophet Jonah again. Back to the prophet who was forced to turn around and forced to go to Nineveh – a pagan Gentile nation.

Jonah chapter 3

Verse 1 – “Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2) ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.’”

Verse 4 – “And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, ‘Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!’”

Verse 5 – “So the people of Nineveh believed God, …”

Unlike stubborn stiff-necked Israelites – My people of the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom and her Commonwealth Nations, Australia, and New Zealand – who are supposed to be Christian nations, but who have rejected God’s New Covenant, His Law, His statutes and judgments! Rejected His righteousness! His living word! His WARNING!

O’ what a most marvelous outcome in the Book of Jonah – I wish we could see this happen again TODAY! In Iran, Iraq, in Afghanistan, in places like India, in North Korea – that desperately need to hear Almighty God’s word! I’d love to see today’s Gentile nations repent and turn unto the LORD God! And I would just love it if the modern-day nations of Israel and the modern-day nation of Judah would repent. □


2) Dmitrieva, K., “Solidarity, Y’All: How Socialists Are Targeting Trump Country” Yahoo News, Bloomberg, 18 Oct. 2019. Retrieved 8 Jan. 2021.
3) Jamieson, R., Fausset, A.R., Brown, D., Jamieson Fausset and Brown Commentary of the Whole Bible, Zondervan Publishing House, 1982, pp. 806.

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