Birds of the Bible – Mountain Bird’s Majestic Cedar IV

Cèdre de la Chaux (Cuisery) – Branches ©WikiC

Thus says the Lord GOD: “I will take also one of the highest branches of the high cedar and set it out. I will crop off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and will plant it on a high and prominent mountain. On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it; and it will bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a majestic cedar. Under it will dwell birds of every sort; in the shadow of its branches they will dwell. And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the LORD, have brought down the high tree and exalted the low tree, dried up the green tree and made the dry tree flourish; I, the LORD, have spoken and have done it.” (Ezekiel 17:22-24 NKJV)

That tree above is not on a mountain, but that is quite a majestic Cedar tree to me. How about the trunk of that same tree? WOW! Think the birds could find a home in a Cedar Tree?

Cèdre de la Chaux (Cuisery) – trunk ©WikiC 2

Flicker in Cedar Tree ©Flickr Todd Petit

Here is another Cedar Tree, this time planted back in 1886 AD. There is plenty of places for birds to dwell.

Cedar tree planted c.1886 by Edward VII when Prince of Wales, in the Gardens of Easton Lodge ©WikiC

Syrian Woodpecker (Dendrocopos syriacus) in Israel ©WikiC

What are these verses referring to? Here are some comments from several Commentaries:

“17:22, 23 one of the highest branches. This is messianic prophecy stating that God will provide the Messiah from the royal line of David (“the high cedar”) and establish Him in His kingdom (like a mountain, cf. Dan. 2:354445). He will be “a high branch” reigning in the height of success. “Branch” is a name for Messiah (cf. 34:232437:2425Is. 4:2Jer. 23:533:15Zech. 3:86:12). Messiah will be “a tender one” (v. 22) growing into a “majestic cedar” (v. 23). Under His kingdom rule, all nations will be blessed and Israel restored.” [NKJV MacArthur Study Bible 17:22,23]

Lacrimose Mountain Tanager (Anisognathus lacrymosus) ©FlickrScott Loarie

17:24 — “I bring down the high tree, exalt the low tree, dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will perform it.”

The Lord wants us to remember that He is absolutely sovereign. If a nation becomes powerful and prominent, it does so because He allowed it. If a nation falls, it does so because He permitted it to happen. God rules among the nations, and only He can truly give His children hope. [NASB Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible Notes]

Brown-necked Raven of Israel

Brown-necked Raven, Israel ©WikiC

17:22 I will take: The Hebrew is emphatic: “I Myself will take” In contrast to human kings, God declared that He personally would pick out, plant, and make prominent a tender one—that is, a twig or a sprig. Cedar branches are symbolic of rulers on the Davidic throne (see 17:341213), and elsewhere of a line of David’s descendants prophesied to produce the Messiah (see 2 Sam. 7:16Is. 11:1–5Jer. 22:24–3023:1–6Zech. 6:9–13Matt. 1:1–17). If not directly messianic in intention, vv. 22–24 at least have strong messianic implications. Thus, with reference to His humanity, we discover a new title for the Savior Jesus. He is the Tender One.”

“17:2324 What was accomplished in the restoration under Zerubbabel was a fulfillment of this promise. But as is often the case in biblical prophecy, the greater fulfillment is still to come in the reign of the Savior King. The establishment of the cedar twig, the Messiah, over Israel will make the nation a fruitful and majestic cedar where diverse people will live in unity and harmony. all the trees of the field: All nations will realize that the Lord is their sovereign God and that He has accomplished what He said He would do.”

Mountain Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus sindianus) by Nikhil Devasar

Mountain Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus sindianus) by Nikhil Devasar

“For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills Shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
(Isaiah 55:12 NKJV) Would that big cedar clap? Yes!

I like to just let God’s Work speak for itself.

“Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; Let the sea roar, and all its fullness; Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the LORD. For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, And the peoples with His truth.” (Psalms 96:11-13 NKJV)


Gideon

ROCK WREN: Living Life upon the Rock

ROCK WREN:  Living Life upon the Rock

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

rockwren.discoverlife

ROCK WREN (credit: DiscoverLife.org)

“And, I [Jesus] say also unto thee, that thou art Peter [petros = little stone/rock, a masculine noun in Greek], and upon this rock [petra = large rock formation, a feminine noun in Greek, such as is used as in Matthew 7:24-27, to denote a rock formation large enough to serve as a stable foundation for a building  —  see Matthew 7:24-27, where a form of the Greek noun petra is translated “rock”]  I will build My church; and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.  (Matthew 16:18)

matthew16.18-interlinear

Rocks are important.

Simon Peter himself was a little rock, yet his God-given faith in what God revealed about Jesus  –  namely, that Jesus is the divine Messiah-Savior (i.e., see Matthew 7:24 & 16:16)  — was comparable to a huge boulder-sized rock formation (see Matthew 7:24-27 & Luke 6:46-49), was the truth foundation of the Christianity (see also John 20:31).

In other words, to understand the Greek wordplay that Christ used (in Matthew chapter 16), it is necessary to see how Christ used the term “rock” (i.e., the feminine noun PETRA) in Matthew 7:24-27, in His parable about the wise man building his house upon the “rock” (PETRA).  Simon Peter came to believe in Jesus as the Scripture-defined Messiah, and Peter’s belief in that Messianic truth is the equivalent of Peter wisely building his core faith (and thus also life) upon the right “Rock”.

chapel-built-upon-rock-jross-video.com-allensparkcolorado

Chapel Built Upon Rock, Allenspark, Colorado ( jross-video.com photo )

In fact, even birds appreciate the value of rocks!

Albeit birds are known for habituating trees (Daniel 4:14; Matthew 13:19) and mountains (Psalm 11:1; Psalm 50:11; Psalm 104:12; Isaiah 18:6), some birds are famous for living in rocky habitats (Job 39:27-29; Jeremiah 49:16; Obadiah 1:4).

Consider the following birds: Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta), Rock Partridge (Alectoris graeca), Rock Bush Quail (Perdicula argoondah), Southern Rockhopper Penguin (Eudyptes chrysocome), Northern Rockhopper Penguin (Eudyptes moseleyi),  Rock Shag (Phalacrocorax magellanicus), Rock Kestrel (Falco rupicolus), Rock Sandpiper (Calidris/Erolia ptilocnemis), Rock Pratincole (Glareola nuchalis), Rock Dove (Columba livia —  a/k/a “common pigeon”), Chestnut-quilled Rock Pigeon (Petrophassa rufipennis), White-quilled Rock Pigeon (Petrophassa albipennis), New Zealand Rock Wren (Xenicus gilviventris), Andean Cock-of-the-Rock (Rupicola peruvianus —  a/k/a “tunki”), Cape Rockjumper (Chaetops frenatus — a/k/a Rufous Rockjumper), Rock Wren (Salpinctes obsoletus), Common Rock Thrush (Monticola saxatilis, — a/k/a rufous-tailed rock thrush), Rock Sparrow (Petronia petronia).

rock-wren-with-horse-hair-fbo-nest.hbw-alive

ROCK WREN, with nest-building material (photo credit: HBW Alive)

The ROCK WREN (Salpinctes obsoletus) is a small yet hearty passerine that often dwells in habitats devoid of thick forests, such as some of the rock-dominated deserts of America’s Great West, including canyonlands sprinkled with pinyon pine and mesquites.

It was Friday, March 3rd in AD2018, when I spied a Rock Wren inside Palo Duro Canyon, a huge canyonland featuring rocky wilderness within the Texas Panhandle.

paloduro-lighthousetrail-wikipedia

LIGHTHOUSE, Palo Duro Canyon   (Wikipedia photo)

The sighting occurred during a hike along Lighthouse Trail, in an area dominated by canyon rocks sprinkled by scrubby pines and mesquite trees. The Rock Wren was perched in the branches of a mesquite tree  —  a welcome sign of life in an otherwise fairly desolate and dry desert.  In the photograph (below) you can see that I had my binoculars, for sighting birds, although the woolly mammoth in the background was photo-shopped into the picture by my cousin Don Barber.

jjsj-palodurocanyon-mastodon

JJSJ  in  PALO DURO CANYON   (woolly mammoth inserted by Don Barber)

The hike and the Rock Wren sighting were the occasion for composing this limerick:

ROCK WRENS ARE TOUGH ENOUGH FOR PALO DURO CANYON

In the canyon, near Lighthouse Trail,

‘Twas a bird, with an upturned tail;

In weather-worn mesquite,

It sang out a trill-tweet —

Though petite, Rock Wrens aren’t frail!

In other words, Rock Wrens are tough enough to survive (and even thrive) in the hot wilderness canyonland of Palo Duro Canyon, where the wildlife must tolerate months without any precipitation  —  and (non-winter) temperatures well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

(At this point, based on personal experience, I have a practical tip, for hiking Lighthouse Trail in Palo Duro Canyon:  take extra bottles of drinkable water; don’t expect any cell-phone coverage inside the canyon; use sun-screen on your exposed skin, but don’t put sun-screen on your forehead  —  because the hot sun quickly causes sunscreen [on your forehead] to drip down into your eyes, and that can painfully burn your eyes for hours afterwards, especially when there is no available source of running water for flushing it out of your eyes.)

To sum it up, there are quite a few birds (including the Rock Wren) that thrive in rocky habitats, like Palo Duro Canyon  —  you might say those resilient birds really rock!

rockwren-with-grasshopper.wikipedia

ROCK WREN with grasshopper (Wikipedia photo)


 

The Suffering Messiah – Resurrection Week

“Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:1-6 KJV)

Christ beaten and mocked before Caiaphas. Etching by J. Call©WikiC

Christ beaten and mocked before Caiaphas. Etching by J. Call©WikiC

“Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.” (Matthew 27:26-31 KJV)

Two remarks, from The Suffering Messiah of Isaiah 53, Page 5: “The second strophe contains Israel’s confession for not recognizing the Servant in His person and calling. In verse 1, the arm of Jehovah (also in Is. 40:10; 51:5, 9; 52:10), is identified here as God the Son, not God the Father. Verse 2 brings out the humanity of the Servant. Nothing special about Him would attract men to Him. On the contrary, verse 3 points out that He would be actively rejected by the people.”

“In the third strophe, the people confess that at the time of His suffering, they mistakenly thought God was punishing Him for His own sins (v. 4). In verse 5, the people confess that the vicarious suffering of the Servant of Jehovah resulted in their own reconciliation and spiritual healing. In verse 6, the people confess that Jehovah had laid their own sins on the Servant.”

The Suffering Messiah of Isaiah 53, Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Page 5

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Riding on a Donkey – Resurrection Week

30 Pieces of Silver – Resurrection Week

Gospel Message

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30 Pieces of Silver – Resurrection Week

And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD. (Zechariah 11:12-13 KJV)

Judas sells Jesus for thirty pieces of silver ©WikiC

Judas sells Jesus for thirty pieces of silver ©WikiC

“Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.” (Matthew 26:14-16 KJV)

“Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day.” (Matthew 27:3-8 KJV)

Quotation of Zechariah 11:12-13 which prophesied that the Messiah will be sold out for thirty pieces of silver. Further reading of Messiah Factor, (especially point #3) has some more interesting facts about the 30 pieces of silver.

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Riding on a Donkey – Resurrection Week

The Suffering Messiah – Resurrection Week

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Riding On A Donkey – Resurrection Week

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9 NKJV)

Jesus Riding on a Donkey Colt

Jesus Riding on a Donkey Colt

Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “TELL THE DAUGHTER OF ZION, ‘BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU, LOWLY, AND SITTING ON A DONKEY, A COLT, THE FOAL OF A DONKEY.’ ” So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:1-9 NKJV)

“The fulfillment of this prophecy is found in the Gospels of the New Testament in the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem at the beginning of the last week of his life (Matthew 21:1-11). This marked His official presentation as the Messianic King. Jesus intructs His disciples to go to Bethphage and find a colt which had never been ridden before. The miraculous aspect of this should not be missed. By nature, the animal should have bucked Jesus off the moment He got on, but instead of throwing Him, it submitted to Him.” (Messianic Christology, by Arnold Fruchtenbaum, p.65)

During this week, I’ll be showing the Word of the Lord in both the Old Testament and how it was fulfilled in the New Testament. When the Messiah came to earth, many rejected Him as their Messiah, yet He fulfilled God’s Word in many verses. Satan loves to blind people to the truth, so they will continue in their unbelief.

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30 Pieces of Silver – Resurrection Week

The Suffering Messiah – Resurrection Week

Gospel Message

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