A vivid illumination and tying together of numerous, generally misunderstood passages:
[Words in italics in the KJV are not in the Biblical text, but are added by the translators for clarity, but sometimes they get it wrong.]
“14Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken?
15Because My people hath forgotten Me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up.”
Scotsman Robert Young gets v.14 closer to the intended meaning, and his literal rendering of prose is a bit vague and bland as unseasoned oatmeal.
Young’s Literal Translation
“14 Doth snow of Lebanon
Cease from the rock of the field?
Failed are the cold strange waters that flow?
15 But My people have forgotten Me,
to a vain thing they make perfume,
And they cause them to stumble in their ways—paths of old,
To walk in paths—a way not raised up,”
This is the intended meaning, which is also quite close literally as well:
“14Will the snow of Lebanon, depart from the rocky terrain...? or shall the cold flowing waters that cascade rebel?
15Because My people hath forgotten Me, they have burned incense [bowed before, worshipped, submitted themselves to, sacrificed to] to vanity [that is, to false gods, idols, which are dead, do not exist, meaninglessness], and they have caused them to stumble in their [own deviating] ways [away from] the ancient [Eternal, timeless; by inference, established] [flowing] paths, to walk in [newly trampled] paths, in a way not uprightly established.”
The interjection of the phrase “a man” by the KJV is out of place. Yes, the entire parable is intended to parallel how God’s people have acted in reference to God Himself; but the thing itself does not appear in an analogy, but that which symbolizes that thing. “Man” is in other verses; but it is out of place here.
The chapter starts out comparing God and His people to a Potter with his stone wheel and the clay upon it, and the resultant vessel made.
The discussion then turns to Israel’s sins and defection from God and His Ways (His Law, the only Standard of Morality, which never changes).
Then the analogies are here presented of the mountain, snow, river and its course.
The intention is one of things that are not natural / abandonment / rebellion / violating established law.
The tall rocky mountain peaks are covered with snow. Lebanon’s mountain, Mount Hermon (which is most probably what is alluded to), represents God, exalted above all. That is natural law (established by God). It is what is natural, normal, right. It is how things have always been during the post-deluvuian era. It is how things are supposed to be under the current climatic conditions. If all the snow on the mountain peaks, which has been there for millennia, were to disappear, it certainly would herald a bad omen. It is the natural order of things. Tall, rocky mountain peaks are covered in snow / ice.
[Actually the word Lebanon (lehb-aw-non; long o), which is related the name Laban (Rachel’s father), means, “white”. Hermon (which word is not used in this text, but which is inferred; the mountains of Lebanon being often synonymous with Mount Hermon), I believe Strong has mis-rendered as meaning, “abrupt”. Its root word khaw-rahm means, “to seclude, devote”. Clearly, this word is related to the Hebrew root and words from it, Abram, Abraham, Aram, Amram, etc., all words which refer to “exaltedness, height, eminence”. If the meaning of “abruptness” has any validity, it is only within the context of that which abruptly shoots up in exaltedness and height, and the intended meaning would be “steep”: for the intention is not a matter of “time” element, but that of space and height shooting up massively above all that surrounds it.]
It is the natural order of things for waters that flow off mountains to follow the creek beds that have been cut their way through the land over millennia. Were the creek beds to be entirely dry and were the water to be flowing on the land above them, would be quite unusual; it would be in violation of natural law. It would be just as odd as if the water flowed uphill back to the mountain peaks. It would not be right. It would be a violation of boundaries and a violation of laws of physics (fluid, motion, inertia, gravity, homeostatis, entropy).
THIS is the intention. To form in the mind's eye a stark picture of anarchic revolution, chaos, fear, tragedy, disintegration of the established order.
This can be compared to God’s woeful and indicting declaration through
2Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me.
3The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, My people doth not consider.
4Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.
EVEN A DUMB OX knows who butters its bread! Even an ox knows where there is safety from the wolf, bear, and lion. Even an ox knows where there is shelter from the cold, heat, wind, and rain. Even an ox knows where there is always food, water, and even medical intervention. Even a dumb ox remembers the master that pulled its stupid butt out of a ravine; or rescuted it from being stuck in a morass.
But God’s people act stupider than a dumb ox.
This is why Christendom is being destroyed. “Christians” follow the corrupt notions of their own minds, and the lusts of their own fallen hearts, and even adopt the blasphemies and pagan practices of the savages... violating all that is natural, all that is sound, all that is established... in favor of uncertainty and chaos and judgment.
“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
The KJV of the passage above in Jeremiah 18 ends v.15 with “a way cast not up”. Young’s “way not raised up” is little different; and both are sound, but need illumination.
Both of them are indeed literal and are indeed the true meaning—but that meaning is lost if one does not understand the right environment or frame of mind of understanding the word.
Imagine travelling through virgin territory, with rocks and potholes, through marshy land, bogs, without a clear trail, in which one could get lost in the forest.
The intention is a causeway or highway.
“3The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
5And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the Mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.”
The word translated wilderness refers more to an open area, flowing free and wide unfenced pastures or meadows (and interestingly, the words meadows and mede / mead [fermented drink made from honey] are related). The word translated desert does not refer to what one might imagine as a land of burning sun and seemingly nonending dunes of sand. It refers more to a barren wilderness; that is, a harsher one, less verdant; where one may find wild goats and camels, who can exist on far-less lush and succulent vegetation; even dry and prickly twigs and coarser drier brown grasses; a rocky land, with steeper ups and downs, jutting protrusions, rock shelfs, ravines.
The word “straight” here is not the intended meaning. The intended meaning is LEVEL. When travelling, as people did in mass migrations, walking on foot, the old and young, with ox wagons and donkey carts, the feeble and infirmed... it mattered not if the path was as straight as an arrow, without any deviation or slight changes of angles in the road off from being perfectly straight, or even a path with curves; what mattered was that the ground was level, smooth, flat so that no one could easily trip, twist or break an ankle, fall down, be injured tripping over or falling on rocks, stepping into potholes, or being injured by other debris and obstacles in the way.
Thus, a high way, “thrown / cast / raised up” is understood best in the setting of a marshy area, or a very rocky valley... or as when a massive building project was undertaken, as the Romans used to do, with their legions and slaves, or modernly, the army corps of civil engineers, even as the highways that go through the everglades or other marshy areas, or areas prone to flooding in the wet season — all the rock and dirt and soil an debris is cast up high to form a land bridge over all of the troubles of the lowlands, hills and crevices, jutting rocks, and valleys, and the road is exalted (which the Hebrew word can also mean, figuratively) as it is built and lifted up and becomes and is seen to be the only good and prudent, and safe, and easiest—the best way.
Thus, departing from that road, abandoning all common sense, to expose oneself to all the dangers, pitfalls, bogs, rocks and boulders, sharp broken branches of fallen trees that can jut out like spears, as well as serpents and hornets and wolves and other dangers, indeed, violates prudence, even morality. You see, the passage is not talking about “exploration” and “adventure”. It is talking about the migration of a people, ones own family, the aged, little ones, women, infirmed. Only a fool would drag his whole family, and the all the other families of his kinsmen in the caravan with him, through an uncertain, dangerous off-roading, cross-country detour of unknown quality, in an obscure direction—when there is already a perfect way erected and established.
THAT is the intention of the passage; and that is what is depicted as the course that the history of God’s people, unfortunately, has taken—the defective, unnecessary, inferior, dangerous, and wrong path; instead of following the only safe way to go through life: the way that God established and commanded.
The scenario is also depicted in this other passage:
“1Now will I sing to my Wellbeloved [God] a song of my Beloved touching His vineyard. My Wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:
2And He fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.
[Digging out the stones refers to God’s driving out of a large amount of His eternally sworn enemies—who are, therefore, also the eternal sworn enemies of His people (Psalm 139:21,22)—the Canaanites; which God did even before His people began the Conquest of the Promised Land. God did so through various means, such as great hails of large stones, massive swarms of hornets, and even causing a massive flood upstream when God stopped the flow of the Jordan River so they could pass over on dry land.
God refers to His people as sheep, olive trees, grape vineyards. Wild grapes (or as expressed in other passages, wild olive trees) refers to lawlessness, violating what God commanded, rebelliousness.]
3And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt Me and My vineyard.
4What could have been done more to My vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild [lawless, rebellious] grapes?
5And now go to [consider, follow along]; I will tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:
[Even as God’s people of old, we their heirs, the peoples of Christendom are coming under the very same Judgment, because of unrepentant, wilful, revelling in sin, even having the brazen perverseness to call sin and abominations “wonderful” (or passively ignoring and turning a blind eye to those who do); ignoring those who claim that sin and abominations are not sin or abominations and openly parade their filthy abominations as Sodom and Gomorrah—having the blasphemous perversity to claim that such abominations please God, and that God made them that way and loves them in their perverse abominations...! This is utter reprobation. Woe unto them that call evil “good” and good “evil”; who put darkness for light and light for darkness; who are wise in their own eyes. (Isaiah 5:20,21) Such know not God and God does not hear their prayers—which prayers themselves are an abomination to Him.
Even as when the Ark of the Covenant was captured in battle, and the permissive father, the prophet and high priest Eli, obese from a life of wanton luxury himself, fell backward in his chair and broke his neck and died, one of Eli’s daughter-in-laws then gave birth (dying in the process) to a son, who was then named Ichabod — “the Glory [of God] has departed”. The conquering enemies, invaded victoriously, claiming the most-prized possession symbolizing the Power of Israel’s God (though the Philistines were soon chagrined and wishing that they had not taken the Ark; realizing that they had bit off more than they could chew and it was choking them to death).
God commanded His people to HATE evil; not make friends with it, adopt it, or marry it; not to give it citizenship or any rights, let alone equal (or special and greater) rights—as if the God of Christendom is merely one god on a totem pole, equal to and in association and fellowship with pagan gods.
“What fellowship hath light with darkness, or savages with Christ?”
“Come out from among them and be ye separate and join not the unclean people.”
So, since God commanded us to hate evil and be separate, and His people rebelled and continue to rebel (even thinking that it pleases Jesus, and the Master will be so pleased when He returns and finds His children breeding on the top of the table with the dogs)—God then will send more and more evil until His people learn to hate it or it destroys them.
Through Ezekiel, God said, “I will sent the WORST of the heathen, and they shall possess your lands and houses and defile thy holy places” (churches being turned into synagogues, mosques, monuments to our ancestors and graves being defiled and defaced and torn down).
Through Hosea God revealed, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge [elsewhere, a famine and drought for the hearing of the Word of God (Amos 8:11) — the false prophets teaching false doctrine, having departed from and turned God’s people from sound doctrine and truth], because you have forgotten the Law of thy God, I will forget thy children”.
Our children are the next generation of us. No more children, no more us. That is why only a remnant (a very tiny portion) shall survive... the rest will be killed or absorbed / amalgamated into the vile Babylonian (“confusion by mixing”, that is, polluting, contaminating that which is pure) melting pot (even thinking it is “wonderful”—because God chooses man’s delusions and God has sent strong delusion for them to believe a lie).
This is why God cries once again to the Remnant who have ears to hear, Come out of her [Babylon] My people that ye share not in her Judgments (Revelation 18:4) — for God shall once again shake heaven and earth, even as He cast out the plagues upon Egypt; but the plagues fell not on those obedient of His people, who had separated themselves in obedience in the Land of Goshen.
I have written for over a decade: Why should God deliver us from what we are willing to tolerate...? —that which some have adopted, married, celebrate with; instead of hate, as He commanded.
Goodness, Holiness, Righteousness is not passive and is not neutral. Those who think so follow a false christ and worship a false god.
“Ye that love the Lord HATE evil.”
“If ye love Me keep My Commandments... .... Why call ye Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not the things that I say?”
The inverse inference and answer to the rhetorical question being: “—because I am not your Lord”; the further inference being, “ye are not Mine”.
“My sheep know My Voice and follow (obey) Me .... the voice of a stranger they will not follow.”
Yet the mainstream “Christian” church (the Harlot / Apostate church, that has committed fornication with all nations of the Earth) follows the voice of strangers—believing the very opposite of what Christ Himself said.
Those who do not hate evil do not love the Lord.
Those who do not know Christ’s Voice and follow the voice of strangers are not His sheep.
The Law of God is the only and never-changing Standard of Morality. Morality never changes. Morality is the difference between right and wrong in every single area of life. Morality was forever established every time that God declared, “Thou shalt not!” and “This shalt thou do”. That which God declared to be sin and abominations 4,000 years ago still are and ever will be! God will not compromise. Cancer shall be cut out; not declared “equal” with the body. Dead and diseased / polluted branches shall be cut off and cast into the fire. Christ will not adopt wolves, dogs, and swine into the sheepfold; He will not graft poison ivy into His grapevine. Those who think that He will have had their minds polluted by the world and know not God; they follow the “god of this world”, Antichrist, Satan, whom they lead in their perverse parade down mainstream celebrating everything that God forbade; and cursing and polluting, demonizing and attacking everything that God declared to be good, pure, holy, and right.]
6And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
[Briars and thorns are aliens, similar to tares, that choke the life from the good seed—God’s seed. No clouds / rain... means no Holy Spirit (see also Jude 1:12); and such evil the Holy Spirit drives away (Psalm 1:4); even as Christ purposely spoke hard sayings so that many, who were not of the elect, would stop following Him (John 6:60-66). Again, the removal of God’s Holy Spirit parallels, “The Glory has departed”. Is it a mere coincidence that Ichabod Crane was the name of the school teacher who was the protagonist (portrayed as a tall, lanky person with a scarecrow effect) in the story of the Headless Horseman, in Washington Irving’s short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. Ichabod flees in fear for his life when chased and assaulted by a Headless Horseman, who strikes him with a pumpkin, and Ichabod disappears forever. Christendom is now being chased by that Headless Horseman, and is about to disappear from the land of the living forever; and would certainly do so, did not Christ return to avenge His elect.]
7For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and He looked for Judgment [Justice], but [instead] behold [there was] oppression; [He looked] for [the display of] righteousness [in the streets], but [instead] behold [there was] a [oppressive] cry [more properly, a shriek].
Poignantly, to perfectly parallel this sad indictment / illustration, when I worked with American missionaries in Argentina back in the summer of 1979 and 1980, the missionaries / Bible institute had a hog that had given birth, and I thought that the piglets were cute (which impression was short lived); so I went out of my way to carry to them (at a distance of maybe 150 yards, a pie pan of freshly drawn cow’s milk. To my horror, the piglets turned their noses up to the fresh clean milk, and instead, went and nuzzled their muzzles through the freshly dropped, still-steaming, gooey “cow pies” and grunted in delight at their discovery of the “delicacy” of partially undigested pieces of corn. That is a perfect depiction of God’s people (who are supposed to be holy), in every manner of life, including their doctrine, associations, “lifestyles”, and dietary habits.
Finally, snow represents God’s Grace. A snow flake cannot form without some bit of pollution or dust in the atmosphere. That snow falling covers all the filth and dirtiness that life produces (until cars start driving on the filthy, greasy and dirty roads—in a sense, trampling on the Lord of Glory). “...though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow...” (Isaiah 1:18) Departing from the path that God commanded, the narrow way, is a departure from His Grace:
“13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto Life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7)
This is strait, not straight. Even as wide and broad are complementary thoughts; so also are strait and narrow. Strait means constricted. In older English is the noun defile, which the majority today are ignorant concerning, thinking only of the verbal to defile, that is, “to pollute, corrupt”; which comes from the Old French defouler, which clearly shows its meaning, “to befoul”. However, the noun of which I speak, defile, has a different etymology, from the French verb, défiler, “to move in a column (that is, march in a single file as a military troop would have to do through a narrow passage)”.
The difference of the two paths and gates is as that between a huge, open-gated corral, into which all animals move in a massive herd at their own will, or driven on, and other animals also being carried on with them as a mighty river does all that is in its path (the cowpunchers later having to cut out [that is, using cutting horses to cut off or intercept and forcefully redirect the movement of) and remove all other beasts that do not belong therein, goats, jackasses, llamas, dogs, etc.); and that of a single, narrow cattle chute, through which one bovine passes at the will, direction, and speed of the cattleman.
“Christians” cease obeying God when they no longer fear Him. The pied pipers of Babylon, the false prophets have transformed Jesus into (at least, the common notion that the average person has of) Gandhi, a smiling pacifist (though in reality Gandhi, like Mandela was a terrorist who realized that he could not defeat the enemy by force, but only deceitful pacifism that was also demonstrated by terrorist attacks, when it was certain that they could not be caught, and when no one could trace it back to the “peaceful pacifists”); and they have transformed the Mighty Lion of Judah into a declawed meek and lazy housecat; and reduced the Holy, Omnipotent, Potentate Who shall avenge His people and punish the wicked, into an addlepated old doting grandfather who smiles fondly at anything his wicked grandchildren do, with the permissive philosophy, “boys will be boys”.
Every woe under which Christendom is now suffering is the result of violating what God commanded; which results from having no fear of God—which results from not understanding God or His Nature; a mythical, world-friendly, humanistic god of the liberal Harlot / Apostate “Christian” church. The true God is foreign to the majority of “Christians”; and they would crucify Christ again if He returned once more as one of us, once they heard Him preach truth. Rather than rend their own garments in torment of soul once they realized how far that we had departed from the True Word of God and all that He commanded—they would turn on Christ Himself, and gnash at Him with their teeth, and believing Him to be “evil”, they would offer Him up again to be scourged to a mass of bloodied flesh again to have His Body literally plowed open (and would die of blood loss were He not crucified as soon as possible) and brutally nailed with spikes to a rough piece of wood to hang in shame and slowly suffocate and bleed out; a fitting punishment for the very worst of criminals; as they would then look on and mock and blaspheme Him.
The Fear of the Lord, Evil, and Suffering—an important topic overlooked by most Christians [Is God In Complete Control...? Did 99% of His Creation Just “Go Bad”...? Can Anything “Take God By Surprise”...?]
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See also: What is Man...? (Personally Speaking) & Some Thoughts on The Trinity and on The Deity of Christ — Deeper Implications Than Most May Think, 84pp., 7.00 + P&H.