Spiritual Training

Spiritual Training X2

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August 20 - Evening

"Then I heard him call out in a loud voice, ‘Bring near those who are appointed to execute judgment on the city, each with a weapon in his hand.’

And I saw six men coming from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with a deadly weapon in his hand. With them was a man clothed in linen who had a writing kit at his side. They came in and stood beside the bronze altar.

Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple.

Then the Lord called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side and said to him,
‘Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.’

As I listened, he said to the others,
‘Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. Slaughter the old men, the young men and women, the mothers and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary.’

So they began with the old men who were in front of the temple."

- Ezekiel 9:1-6

Angels Mark the Citizens for Protection or Destruction

Ezekiel has this vision on September 17, 592 BC (Ezekiel 8:1):
  1. Ezekiel 9:1 God says, "Bring the guards of the city here, each with a weapon in his hand." Then six angels that had been guarding the city come in to receive orders to destroy the people.
  2. Also, a man with a writing kit (a case to carry reed pens with an inkhorn attached) is told to put a mark (The Hebrew letter "taw", an "x") on the people who mourn for the wicked things done in the city.
  3. The Lord leaves the Ark of the Covenant and moves to the door way (threshold) of the temple to give instructions to the angels. (9:3)
  4. The angel with the writing kit goes out into the city first to begin marking the faithful. These will be spared.
  5. The angels with the "deadly weapons" (Hebrew "slaughter weapon" like a crushing device such as a battle ax, but not a sword) begin by slaughtering the 25 priest (Ezekiel 8:16) by the altar in front of the temple.
  6. In 9:5 the destroying angels leave the temple for the city. They leave behind a temple court defiled with dead bodies of the priest.
  7. Ezekiel pleads with God for mercy. But, the purpose of this vision is to convince Ezekiel that the people must be destroyed.
  8. In 9:11 the angel with the writing kit returns and says, "I have done as you commanded."
  9. This same scribe angel is told by God, who is at the door of the temple, to go to the cherubim under the throne/expanse on the south side of the temple and get burning coals. (Ezekiel 10:1-8)
  10. This fire is the judgment that will be scattered over the city.
  11. Ezekiel stresses that this vision of the glory of God in Jerusalem is the same image that he had seen with the captive exiles in Babylon by the Kebar River.
  12. God is leaving Jerusalem, but is going with the exiles into Babylon.
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Kausteriazo (Gr) – branded (Eng) – the Greek word kausteriazo means “to burn in with a branding iron.” Kausteriazo is used by Paul when he writes to Timothy:

“Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.1 Timothy 4:2
Do I believe the truth? Do I live in obedience to the truth?
I will make decisions and obey God to overcome the disastrous direction of the world.

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text

Ezra 4 (536 and 485 BC)




God's will be done
Unions and workers

The 63 BC Roman city of Beth Shean sets at the base of the hill (tel) of the Old Testament city of Beth Shean (Beth Shan) which was occupied by Canaanites, Egyptians, and eventually, Israelites. (Details)
Diagram detailing Herod the Great's family tree and the Herodian kings who followed him and are mentioned in the New Testament.

Someone to Quote

He answered,
‘Sir, I perceive, by the book in my hand, that I am condemned to die, and after that to come to judgment.’
Then said Evangelist,
‘Why not willing to die, since this life is attended with so many evils?’
The man answered,
‘Because, I fear that this burden that is upon my back will sink me lower than the grave, and I shall fall into Tophet (Isaiah 30:33).
Then said Evangelist,
‘If this be thy condition, why standest thou still?’”

– John Bunyan in
The Pilgrim’s Progress
(read it here)

Something to Ponder

Believers are referred to as “Christians” three times in the Bible:
Acts 11:26 - by people in Antioch
Acts 26:28 - by Agrippa
1 Peter 4:16 - by Peter

Here’s a Fact

A seal with a proto-ionic capital, which represents the royal family of Judah, along with the name “Pedaiah, son of the king” inscribed on it has been found.
(Details. Photo.)
First Chronicles 3:17-19 tells us that King Jehoiachin had a son named Pedaiah who was the father of Zerubbabel. Pedaiah’s son, Zerubbabel, was the man who returned to Jerusalem as the Persian governor “the descendants of Jehoiachin the captive…Pedaiah…The sons of Pedaiah: Zerubbabel and Shimei. The sons of Zerubbabel: Meshullam and Hananiah. Shelomith was their sister…” – 1 Chronicles 3:17-19
(NOTE: a seal of Shelomith has also been found - 1, 2.)


" ' It's no good, it's no good!' says the buyer; then off he goes and boasts about his purchase."
- Proverbs 20:14

Coach’s Corner

The greatest miracle is salvation. The godliest spiritual manifestation is the transformed soul.

Ezra 4 New International Version (NIV)
Opposition to the Rebuilding
When the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were building a temple for the Lord, the God of Israel, they came to Zerubbabel and to the heads of the families and said, “Let us help you build because, like you, we seek your God and have been sacrificing to him since the time of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us here.”
But Zerubbabel, Joshua and the rest of the heads of the families of Israel answered, “You have no part with us in building a temple to our God. We alone will build it for the Lord, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus, the king of Persia, commanded us.”
Then the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building. They bribed officials to work against them and frustrate their plans during the entire reign of Cyrus king of Persia and down to the reign of Darius king of Persia.
Later Opposition Under Xerxes and Artaxerxes
At the beginning of the reign of Xerxes, they lodged an accusation against the people of Judah and Jerusalem.
And in the days of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel and the rest of his associates wrote a letter to Artaxerxes. The letter was written in Aramaic script and in the Aramaic language.
Rehum the commanding officer and Shimshai the secretary wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king as follows:
Rehum the commanding officer and Shimshai the secretary, together with the rest of their associates—the judges, officials and administrators over the people from Persia, Uruk and Babylon, the Elamites of Susa, 10 and the other people whom the great and honorable Ashurbanipal deported and settled in the city of Samaria and elsewhere in Trans-Euphrates.
11 (This is a copy of the letter they sent him.)
To King Artaxerxes,
From your servants in Trans-Euphrates:
12 The king should know that the people who came up to us from you have gone to Jerusalem and are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city. They are restoring the walls and repairing the foundations.
13 Furthermore, the king should know that if this city is built and its walls are restored, no more taxes, tribute or duty will be paid, and eventually the royal revenues will suffer. 14 Now since we are under obligation to the palace and it is not proper for us to see the king dishonored, we are sending this message to inform the king, 15 so that a search may be made in the archives of your predecessors. In these records you will find that this city is a rebellious city, troublesome to kings and provinces, a place with a long history of sedition. That is why this city was destroyed. 16 We inform the king that if this city is built and its walls are restored, you will be left with nothing in Trans-Euphrates.
17 The king sent this reply:
To Rehum the commanding officer, Shimshai the secretary and the rest of their associates living in Samaria and elsewhere in Trans-Euphrates:
18 The letter you sent us has been read and translated in my presence. 19 I issued an order and a search was made, and it was found that this city has a long history of revolt against kings and has been a place of rebellion and sedition. 20 Jerusalem has had powerful kings ruling over the whole of Trans-Euphrates, and taxes, tribute and duty were paid to them. 21 Now issue an order to these men to stop work, so that this city will not be rebuilt until I so order. 22 Be careful not to neglect this matter. Why let this threat grow, to the detriment of the royal interests?
23 As soon as the copy of the letter of King Artaxerxes was read to Rehum and Shimshai the secretary and their associates, they went immediately to the Jews in Jerusalem and compelled them by force to stop.
24 Thus the work on the house of God in Jerusalem came to a standstill until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by
Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Habakkuk 3 New International Version (NIV)
Habakkuk’s Prayer
A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. On shigionoth.

Lord, I have heard of your fame;     I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day,     in our time make them known;     in wrath remember mercy.

God came from Teman,     the Holy One from Mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens     and his praise filled the earth.

His splendor was like the sunrise;     rays flashed from his hand,     where his power was hidden.

Plague went before him;     pestilence followed his steps.

He stood, and shook the earth;     he looked, and made the nations tremble. The ancient mountains crumbled     and the age-old hills collapsed—     but he marches on forever.

I saw the tents of Cushan in distress,     the dwellings of Midian in anguish.

Were you angry with the rivers, Lord?     Was your wrath against the streams? Did you rage against the sea     when you rode your horses     and your chariots to victory?

You uncovered your bow,     you called for many arrows. You split the earth with rivers;
    the mountains saw you and writhed. Torrents of water swept by;     the deep roared     and lifted its waves on high.
Sun and moon stood still in the heavens     at the glint of your flying arrows,     at the lightning of your flashing spear.
In wrath you strode through the earth     and in anger you threshed the nations.
You came out to deliver your people,     to save your anointed one. You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness,     you stripped him from head to foot.
With his own spear you pierced his head     when his warriors stormed out to scatter us, gloating as though about to devour     the wretched who were in hiding.
You trampled the sea with your horses,     churning the great waters.
I heard and my heart pounded,     my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones,     and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity     to come on the nation invading us.
Though the fig tree does not bud     and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails     and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen     and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,     I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;     he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,     he enables me to tread on the heights.
For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by
Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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