Jeremiah 16 – Punishment and Promise & The Monk on the Hill

I just can’t believe people like this or those that twist the Bible.  The atheists will do better in hell then the monks.

Tell Dan
An ancient water-powered flour mill is located in the center of the nature reserve. It was built 150 years ago and operated until 1948.

A nature reserve and the source of the Dan and Jordan rivers. An impressive archaeological site with unique remains of the Canaanite and Israelite cities and a Biblical High Place.

“And that servant which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

But he that knew not and did commit things worthy of stripes shall be beaten with few stripes.  For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” (Lk 12:47-48).

I know that I know way to much not to walk right.  The more I get to know You the more fantastic it is, but I also realize the less I understand You.  Does that make since to You?  

Let’s say I’m given a list of 50 words and told to memorize one a day.  Five weeks later I know 35 words, more than half.  Then I find out how many words truly exist so then I realize that even though I know more words then when I started, I now know less than there are.

About that monk, maybe You’ll send a horrible storm his way and knock him down to the ground.  I’m sorry, I shouldn’t really say that because that’s not my place, but I get real mad when people ridicule or try to use you.

 

Jeremiah 16
Punishment and Promise

1 The word of the LORD came also unto me, saying,

2 Thou shalt not take thee a wife, neither shalt thou have sons or daughters in this place.

Jeremiah’s ministry was such that he had to face life alone, without the comfort and support a family can provide.


Caananite City
The Canaanite city was heavily fortified in  the 18th C BC, and survived until the Iron (Israelite) Age in the 12th C BC.  

The ancient city – named Leshem or Laish – covers a large area: the mount size is 200Dunam (20 Hectares) and was one of the largest in the region. Its high walls were based on a huge raised  earth glacis that surround the  entire site. The style of these Glacis walls was Hiksos, an ancient Egyptian tribe based in the delta of the Nile, who dominated the region from 1720-1580BC, and ruled Canaanite cities. The Hiksos design of glacis walls was used in several cities in Canaan, including Leshem/Laish.

This mighty city was located on the crossroads of major ancient trade routes and dominated the north side of Israel. Like the other great city in the north – Hazor – the city of Laish is mentioned in the 18th C BC texts in Mari (Euphrates river, Mesopotamia). The city is one of the cities that were conquered by Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III, just before the famous battle near Megiddo (1468 BC). This battle resulted in the defeat of the Canaanite coalition and started the Egyptian conquest of Canaan (which lasted for 350 years).

The city’s main gate was located on the east side. Its triple-arch entrance, made of sun-baked bricks, was reconstructed by the archaeologists. Since the gate was standing at the time of Abraham (about 15th C BC), who came here according to the Bible (Genesis 14:14), the gate is called “Abraham’s gate”.

3 For thus saith the LORD concerning the sons and concerning the daughters that are born in this place, and concerning their mothers that bare them, and concerning their fathers that begat them in this land; 

4 They shall die of grievous deaths; they shall not be lamented; neither shall they be buried; but they shall be as dung upon the face of the earth: and they shall be consumed by the sword, and by famine; and their carcases shall be meat for the fowls of heaven, and for the beasts of the earth.

5 For thus saith the LORD, Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for I have taken away my peace from this people, saith the LORD, even loving-kindness and mercies.

6 Both the great and the small shall die in this land: they shall not be buried, neither shall men lament for them, nor cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them:

7 Neither shall men tear themselves for them in mourning, to comfort them for the dead; neither shall men give them the cup of consolation to drink for their father or for their mother.

8 Thou shalt not also go into the house of feasting, to sit with them to eat and to drink.

9 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will cause to cease out of this place in your eyes, and in your days, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride.

10 And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt shew this people all these words, and they shall say unto thee, Wherefore hath the LORD pronounced all this great evil against us? or what is our iniquity? or what is our sin that we have committed against the LORD our God?

11 Then shalt thou say unto them, Because your fathers have forsaken me, saith the LORD, and have walked after other gods, and have served them, and have worshipped them, and have forsaken me, and have not kept my law;

12 And ye have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto me:

“Done worse than your fathers” – the coming judgment cannot be blamed on the sins of previous generations.

13 Therefore will I cast you out of this land into a land that ye know not, neither ye nor your fathers; and there shall ye serve other gods day and night; where I will not shew you favour.

14 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;

15 But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.

Dan – High Place
On the north side of the mound, above the spring and overlooking the valley with beautiful views of Mt Hermon, is the area (45m x 60m) of Tell Dan’s ritual place. Here the excavation team unearthed and reconstructed the remains of a unique Israelite High Place.

It was in use since the times of King Jeroboam  son of Nebat (930 BC), rebuilt by Jeroboam son of Joash (8th Century BC), and reused during the Hellenistic period (3rd Century BC) until the end of the Roman period.

The above photo shows a view of the ritual place complex. It consists of a reconstruction of the altar on the left (the metal frame), the houses of the priests (structures behind the altar), and a large raised platform (“Bamah”, 18.2M x 18.7m) to the right of the great oak tree, with a wide (8m) staircase leading up from the altar.

The Bible described the acts of Jeroboam son of Nebat, erecting a golden calf and building an altar in Dan. The purpose of the ritual place was to serve as an alternative worship site for Jerusalem, after dividing the Kingdom.

As per 1 Kings 12 28-31: “Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi”.

16 Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the LORD, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.

17 For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes.

18 And first I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double; because they have defiled my land, they have filled mine inheritance with the carcases of their detestable and abominable things.

19 O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.

20 Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods?

21 Therefore, behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know mine hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is The LORD.

 

 

The Monk on the Hill

This is unbelievable, but what can you expect from a Catholic.

Maxime, a 99-year-old monk, lives on top of Katshki Pillar in the country Georgia.

He says by being up there he is closer to God.  And he climbs down that 131 foot pillar twice a week to pray with his followers who winch supplies up to him.

His only visitors are priests and a group of troubled young men who are seeking solace in the monastery at the foot of the pillar.

A photographer, called Amos Chapple, paid a visit to Stylite monk Maxime but was not at first allowed up onto the pillar.

Instead he had to spend four days taking part in seven hours of daily prayers including a four hour stint from 2 a.m. until sunrise.

When he was finally granted permission to scale the ladder to the top he was worried that it might be too dark to get back down.

After making it to the top, Maxime told Amos that he became a monk after a stretch in prison and decided he wanted to make a change.

The monk slept in a fridge when he first moved to the top of the pillar, but now has a bed inside a cottage.

The Katskhi Pillar was used by Stylites, who lived on top of pillars to avoid worldly temptation until the 15th century when the practice was stopped following the Ottoman invasion of Georgia.

For centuries a 130 foot high pillar lay abandoned and locals could only look up at the mysterious ruins at its summit.

Finally, in 1944 a group led by the mountaineer Alexander Japaridze made the first documented ascent of the pillar and discovered the remains of a chapel and the skeleton of a Stylite who had perished there.

Maxime, a monk who lives on top of Katshki Pillar in the country Georgia. Maxime Qavtaradze surveys the view from the top of the Katskhi Pillar. He says, “It is up here in the silence that you can feel God’s presence.”

Shortly after the collapse of communism, and the subsequent resurgence of religion in Georgia, Maxime decided to live atop the pillar in the way of the old stylites.

He said: When I was young I drank, sold drugs, everything. When I ended up in prison I knew it was time for a change.  I used to drink with friends in the hills around here and look up at this place, where land met sky.  We knew the monks had lived up there before and I felt great respect for them.

Men with trouble in their lives come to stay and ask for guidance from Maxime and the young priests who live at the site.

The men are fed and housed on the condition they join the priests in praying for around seven hours per day, including from 2 a.m. to sunrise, and help with chores.

Maxime usually climbs down from the pillar once or twice a week for night prayers and to speak with men who seek help and guidance.

Speaking about his isolation, Maxime comments: I need the silence. It is up here in the silence that you can feel god’s presence.

Shortly after the collapse of communism, and the subsequent resurgence of religion in Georgia, Maxime decided to live atop the pillar in the way of the old Stylites.

The Stylist Movement
and its Origin

The Stylites were a group of monks who spent long periods of time sitting or standing on top of narrow pillars. The word comes from the Greek stylos for a column.

The pillar stands around 40 meters high.

The best known of these pillar monks was the first, Saint Simeon Stylites, who sat for thirty years from 423 A.D. onwards on top of a column.

The record is thought to be held by the 6th Century Saint Alypius, who is believed to have remained on his pillar for 67 years without a break, for the last 14 of them lying down because his feet could no longer support him.

The Katskhi pillar is a limestone monolith located in the village of Katskhi in western Georgian region of Imereti, about 33 feet from the mining town of Chiatura.

In pagan times, before the advent of Christianity, the towering Katskhi Pillar was thought to represent a local god of fertility.

With the arrival of Christianity [?] in Georgia in the 4th century, the rock came to represent seclusion. The locals call it the Pillar of Life.

At the summit of the Katskhi pillar, are the remains of a small church built between the 6th and 8th centuries. The church was probably built by the Stylites, who were early monks who stood on top of pillars and preaching and praying.

Qavtaradze making the 20 minute climb to the top of the rock after praying with others in the monastery at the foot of the cliff. Once he is too frail to use the ladder, he intends to remain at the top until his death.

The only written record of the Katskhi pillar occur in the text of an 18th Century Georgian scholar, who noted the church for its inaccessibility.

The Church of Saint Simeon Stylites is a historical building located about 19 milesnorthwest of Aleppo, Syria.

 It is the oldest surviving Byzantine church, dating back to the 5th century.

Saint Simeon was born in 386 A.D. in a village in the Amanus Mountains.

Saint Simeon joined a monastery in this area, but soon decided to seek the religious life alone as a hermit monk.

He relocated to the top of a pillar eventually reaching 49 foot high to achieve greater seclusion.

Soon the monk attracted even greater crowds who came from far and near to hear him preach twice a day.

Within just a few decades (c. 475), a vast martyrium was built in Simeon’s honor on this site.

It consisted of four basilicas radiating from the sides of a central octagon, within which was enshrined the famous column.

Saint Simeon’s pillar can still be seen in the center of the courtyard, although it is now only a 6 feet, 7 inch high boulder due to centuries of relic-gathering by pilgrims.

Can you believe it?  This monk is doing the exact opposite of what Jesus told us to do:

And Jesus came and spake unto them saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Fatehr and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost:

Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen (Matt 28:18-20).

Jesus didn’t tell the monk to sit above the people like he was some king, He said for us to go out and spread the Good News of Him.

Sergo Mikhelidze and a friend delivering lunch via a winch, the mechanism which transports everything up to the pillar except for human beings.

Also, the monk said he chose to do this because he feared the temptations of the world.  Don’t we all?  There are temptations that Jesus didn’t have to face and you certainly didn’t see him hiding.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it (1 Cor 10:13).

Jesus also told us to feed the poor, but instead this monk is letting the people that he prays with feed him, plus if you want his prayers you have to do some chores for him.

He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse (Prov 28:27).

“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

Mountains surround the pillar, which has been considered a sacred place since pre-Christian times.

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Matt 25:31-46).

Does this guy really think he’s going to heaven?  So what if Maxime prays for the people in the name of Jesus, he’s doing it for his own purpose, and he’s going to be shocked when Jesus comes back when He says:

“Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt 7:21-23).

This monk, isn’t he kind of doing like Satan did with Jesus when he wanted Him to worship him? (Matt 4:9).  That’s idolatry, I wonder if the monk has pagan gods or goddesses that he worships, like Asherah.