Moses' second speech, Part 2
Jul 16, 2012
Deut. 5:9 tells us that God is "a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me." This is repeated in Exodus 20:5, 34:7, and Numbers 14:18.
First of all, what does it mean to VISIT? In my book on The Biblical Meaning of Numbers, I noted that the number 9 is the number of visitation. I explained this word,
"This is a Hebraism that pictures God as an Investigator 'visiting' a person, city, or nation to expose the hearts, gather evidence, and 'see' firsthand, as it were, the truth of a matter. It is much like a divine court case where the evidence is uncovered and presented to the judge for judgment."
I then quoted Luke 19:43, 44, where Jesus lamented over Jerusalem, "because you did not recognize the time of your visitation."
Jerusalem's time of visitation spanned the one-year ministry John the Baptist and another three years of Jesus' ministry, in which they looked for "fruit" (Luke 3:9; 13:6-9). There are nine gifts and nine fruit of the Spirit. Judah's time of visitation was like a divine investigation to uncover the truth and see if the nation had brought forth fruit.
The investigation began with John the Baptist, who began to preach at the age of 30 in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar (Luke 3:1). Tiberius took the throne when his father Augustus died on August 19, 14 A.D. His 15th year, then, extended from August of 28 to August of 29, and John's ministry began in the Spring of 29.
A year later, at Passover of 30, John was executed by Herod, and Jesus continued the investigation, searching for fruit for the next three years, as Luke 13:7 tells us, until His crucifixion at Passover of 33 A.D. Hence, this was exactly a four-year investigation, or "visitation."
Of course, Judah bore no fruit, but were only a barren fig tree with a great hypocritical display of leaves (Matt. 21:19). Judgment came 40 years later, as Jesus prophesied.
The law of God's jealousy states that He will visit the iniquity of the children to the third and fourth generation of those who HATE Him. Jesus said in John 15:23, "He who hates Me hates My Father also." Verse 25 quotes Psalm 69:4, saying, "They hated Me without a cause."
These things are written in the Gospels to show that the law in Deut. 5:9 applied to Judah and Jerusalem, and that the judgment was just when God used the Romans to destroy the city and its temple (Matt. 22:7). The investigation took 4 years; the grace period for Jerusalem was 40 years (30-70). The grace period for Judah in general was also 40 years (33-73), from the crucifixion to the fall of Masada.
We have another example of how this law was applied in prophetic history. King Joram of Judah was a wicked king who reigned in Jerusalem. He married Athaliah, the daughter of King Ahab and Jezebel of Israel (the northern kingdom). Jezebel herself was the daughter of Ethbaal, the King-Priest of Tyre, and so Athaliah, the queen of Judah, was also the granddaughter of Ethbaal.
King Joram thus was influenced by his Baal-worshiping wife. The story of Joram is recorded in 2 Kings 8:16-24. Verses 17 and 18 says,
(17) He was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. (18) And he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, just as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab became his wife; and he did evil in the sight of the Lord.
We are then told the reason why God began an official investigation of Judah--that is, a "visitation" was begun that would last to the fourth generation.
(19) However, the Lord was not willing to destroy Judah, for the sake of David His servant, since He had promised him to give a lamp to him through his sons always.
God had promised David that he would always have a son to sit on the throne. This promise was unconditional. However, because of the wickedness of these generations in question, God embarked upon a different plan by which He could bring judgment without violating His promise to David.
Apparently, Joram and Athaliah attempted to turn the temple of Solomon into a Baal shrine. We read of this in 2 Chron. 24:7,
(7) For the sons of the wicked Athaliah had broken into the house of God and even used the holy things of the house of the Lord for the Baals.
Kings were of Judah; Priests were of Levi. The kings of Judah were forbidden to enter the house of God, except for the Melchizedek priesthood, which was a King-Priest order. David was a Melchizedek priest (Psalm 110:4). For this reason, it was lawful for him to eat from the table of showbread when he and his men were hungry (1 Sam. 21:6).
Apparently, Joram and Athaliah attempted to establish a counterfeit Melchizedek priesthood in Jerusalem, based upon the pattern of her grandfather, Ethbaal, the King-Priest of Tyre. He and his sons assumed the right to enter the temple, as if they were priests as well as kings. But the Melchizedek Order is not by genealogy, as Hebrews 7:3 tells us. Hence, even direct descendants of David are no more qualified than any other man or woman to be of that Order.
Legitimate King-Priests of the Melchizedek Order qualify only by spiritual descent from Jesus Christ, who is the High Priest of that Order (Heb. 7:26).
Joram and his sons obviously did not qualify as legitimate king-priests of the Melchizedek Order. Yet their attempt to usurp that position in the temple of Jerusalem called for a divine investigation, and ultimately a judgment against them unto the fourth generation, as the law prescribes.
Joram's son, Ahaziah (2 Kings 8:25-26) ruled just one year. When he was killed by Jehu (2 Kings 9:24), his mother decided to usurp the throne for herself, so she killed all of her other sons (2 Kings 11:1). However, Joash (or Jehoash), the youngest, who was yet a toddler, was hidden by the good priests in the temple and thus escaped the massacre.
Athaliah ruled six years and was then overthrown by the priests, who put Joash on the throne at the age of seven. Athaliah was then executed.
Joash, or Jehoash, reigned 40 years (2 Kings 12:1). Though he was a fairly good king, he did not remove the idolatrous altars of Baal that had been set up by his father and mother. When he died, his son Amaziah reigned another 29 years (2 Kings 14:2). Amaziah was the fourth generation from Joram whose actions started the divine "visitation."
Hence, we find in the genealogy of Matthew that God blotted out Joram's son, grandson, and great-grandson from the genealogy leading to Christ. Matthew 1:8 says, "Joram begat Ozias." In reality, Joram begat Ahaziah, who begat Jehoash, who began Amaziah, who began Uzziah (or Ozias).
These kings were stricken from the biblical record according to the verdict reached in the divine court after God had visited Judah to the third and fourth generation. It was a divine cleansing. The biblical number for cleansing is 76, as I showed in chapter 8 of my book, Secrets of Time. Hence, the total number of years that these three kings (plus Queen Athaliah) reigned was precisely 76 years.
Ahaziah reigned 1 year.
Athaliah reigned 6 years.
Jehoash reigned 40 years.
Amaziah reigned 29 years.
The total is 76 years.
Hence, when God revealed that He will "visit," or investigate the iniquity of the fathers to the third and fourth generation, we are given specific biblical case histories that show us what this means.
This is the second part of a series titled "Moses' Second Speech." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones