THEY THAT DWELL CARELESSLY IN THE ISLES
P. C. Johnson, U.K.
THE word Isle(s) and Island(s) occur forty-nine times in the King James Authorized Bible. Some refer to specific islands such as Malta, Patmos and Crete, etc.
Careful study of these references reveals that twenty seven of them are in the context of the Children of Israel. But no direct location of them is given. The above title comes from Ezekiel 39:6:
''And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the Isles: and they shall know that I am the Lord".
We are not concerned with Gog here, only Israel. The time frame of this prophecy is just before the second advent of out Lord Jesus the Christ, described elsewhere in the Bible as the LATTER DAYS and is probably the present times in which we now live in this early part of the 21 st century.
The word 'carelessly' in the title above has changed its original meaning since about the time the King James Bible was first published in 1611. Its older meaning was without fear, at peace and free from worry. It now has a more negative meaning - negligent, not caring.
In the context of Ezekiel 39:6 it means ignoring God and not bothering about His truth and commandments. Thus, as a result living in iniquity, unrighteousness and
How can anyone say that the King James Bible is out of date!
Here we have a word used by God, that would change its meaning by the 21st century, accurately describing our sad world today.
Who are 'them', and where are the 'Isles' in the title? The twenty seven references to 'isles' in the context of the children of Israel, must refer to 'them'. The Bible gives us clues as to the location of the Isles.
At the time of the second advent, the Bible tells us that the faithful remnant of true Israel will be returned to the Holy Land where our Lord Jesus will reign over them
as King. The Bible also gives us the directions from which they will come on their return as viewed from Jerusalem. Isaiah 49:12 tells us:
"Behold, these (Israel) shall come from far; and lo, these from the north and from the west..."
Isaiah also says in chapter 11 verse 11:
''And it shall come to pass in that day, (latter days) that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people, (the first time was from Egypt about 1500 BC) which shall be left, from Patmos (and several other places) and from the islands of the sea".
Note that 'sea' is singular, indicating only a certain group of islands.
Jeremiah chapter 3 verse 18 adds further information:
"In those days the House of Judah shall walk with the House of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I (God) have given for an inheritance unto your fathers."
Many other references in the Bible give similar information. Many Israelites will also return from all over the world. But we are here concerned with 'the isles' north and west of Jerusalem. The quoted directions indicate an area of Scandinavia, part of Europe and the British Isles, in which area many descendants of true Israel reside today.
The Bible records the scattering abroad of all Israel. In 722 BC the Assyrians exiled all the ten tribes of the House of Israel, taking them from Samaria. See II Kings chapter 17. In 586 BC the Babylonians exiled the two tribes of the House of Judah from Judea. See II Kings chapter 25. Thus, because of their sins and
abandonment of God, all the children of Israel, that is all the twelve tribes, were banished from the Holy Land and scattered abroad.
Nevertheless, in spite of these exiles, God tells us in Jeremiah 30:11:
"For I am with thee, (Israel) saith the Lord, to save thee: though I make a full end of the nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished."
Again in Jeremiah 31 verse 10 we read:
"Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock."
Ezekiel 11:16 repeats the same story:
"...Thus saith the Lord God: although I have cast them (Israel) far off among the heathen, .. .yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come."
The British Isles certainly have been a secure sanctuary for our Israel people as recorded in secular history.
God made the New Covenant with Israel (see Jeremiah 31:31-34) which is much the same as the salvation of Jesus the Christ, which applies to all of mankind. Paul tells us in Romans 11:32:
"...God hath concluded them all (Israel and the rest of mankind) in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all."
Through God's infinite mercy and with true belief in His Salvation, all mankind as well as Israel, have the opportunityto survive this world of sin and evil, and then
to proceed into the future new eternal life. But we are expected as a result (with God's help) to always try and live righteously in accordance with the Holy Bible.
Your writer believes that all mankind are born with an inherent sense of right and wrong. Maybe that sense is overwhelmed and forgotten by various life experiences. The ten commandments and many other parts ofthe Bible provide us with a most comprehensive guide to righteous behaviour. God did not make His
commandments and laws etc. for us as petty restrictions. They are pure and positive guidance on how to live mortal life in righteousness, peace and happiness. Thus
(1) The troublesome outcomes and experiences of sin, and
(2) the possible death of many of the wicked, at the time of the second advent of Jesus the Christ.
In respect of (2) in this last paragraph, we know from the Bible that such happenings will take place. Isaiah 13:9 tells us:
"Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it."
Revelation 19:15 is a prophecy at the time of the second advent:
''And out of his (Jesus's) mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He shall smite the nations:..."
In the same time frame Revelation 1:16 tells us:
".. .out of his mouth went a sharp two edged sword..."
The meaning of a 'sharp sword' is of course symbolic. lt undoubtedly means THE WORD OF GOD in his Bible.
Failure to observe the Word of God and obey the teachings of righteousness therein, results in the practice of sin. Paul tells us Romans 6:23 that the wages (result)
of sin is death. Thus we can see that the symbolic 'sharp two edged sword' means that our own acts of sin can cause our own death.
But in Ezekiel 33:11 God tells us:
"...As I live,saith the LORD God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"
To this last quotation we can also add, 'and all the nations of the world'. For goodness sake, in the light of all this, why will sin and evil continue to be the choice of mankind? Yes, I know it is Satan's persuasion. The Bible tells that if we resist Satan, he will flee from us!
In the New Testament, Jesus himself gives details of the future happenings at his second advent in Matthew 24; Mark 13; and Luke 21. Luke 21:25-28 tells us:
''And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars, and upon earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man (Jesus) coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."
Certainly the most momentous time for the inhabitants of the earth. This is also the glorious time of the promised redemption of all true believers and the resurrection of the dead in Christ.
Proverbs 3:25 reassures us together with verse 26:
"Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked when it cometh. For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken."
The Bible records many more wamings to mankind to avoid iniquity at all costs, in order to escape the inevitable, almost 'automatic death' consequence of our sin. As God says with regret in Ezekiel 33:11 above, 'for why will ye die O house of Israel?' Our God is most certainly NOT a vengeful God.
We come back now to Ezekiel 39:6 part repeated here:
"...I will send a fire... among them that dwell carelessly in the isles."
The apostasy, iniquity and ignorance about God in our land (and the world) is obvious to see and hear about in our experiences and in the news media. The Bible gives details of the vast variety of sin, so that we can avoid it. The salvation of Christ was preached by Jesus, the Apostles, Paul and many others.
It is essential for all of us, because without it all is lost. In Romans 4 Paul tells us that the result of true belief in Christ, is that God IMPUTES HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS IN EACH TRUE BELIEVER. Just as well, for we have little if any righteousness of our own. Revelation 14:12 tells us:
"Here is the patience of the saints (true believers): here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." (see the context)
It is inappropriate to detail sin in all of its varieties here.
But we will consider the subjects of 'presumptuous sins' of Psalm 19:13, and acts of disobeying the 'least commandments' referred to by Jesus in Matthew 5:19:
"Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven..."
Here Jesus was referring to the law and commandments of God during His sermon on the mount. From verse 20 in Matthew chapter 5, it appears that there are lesser and greater degrees of sin. All are nevertheless sin and no purpose is served in trying to classify sins. In Psalm 19:13 (part) we read:
"Keep back Thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me."
What are presumptuous sins? Surely they are sins which we may presume are not sins, either through ignorance, forgetfulness, accident, a sudden unthinking act, a sudden persuasion by Satan, or being caught out unaware or similar.
In the sermon on the mount, we are not told which are the lesser commandments. So your writer has selected sins from the Bible which may or may not be in
relation to lesser commandments, but which may be of interest and instruction. Jesus tells us in John 3:17:
"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved."
If Jesus would not condemn the world, should we? In Luke 6:37 Jesus tells us:
"Judge not, that ye be not judged; condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven."
Also in Luke 6:27 Jesus says (pt):
"...Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you."
In passing, remember, God is the only judge. Jesus did not condemn, judge or hate anyone, neither must we. He is prepared to forgive us all if we trust and truly believe in Him.We also must forgive others. The Bible, particularly the Gospels, are full of advice on what we should or should not do. We must earnestly follow
such advice, and personally renounce in word, deed or thought all our own wrongdoings. In denouncing a sin we must never, never link that sin with a person(s). We have to be very careful in this, otherwise identification of a person(s) easily creeps into our thoughts, and we are judging! If you feel the need to denounce a sin, stop there; do not dare to name the performer(s).
In Matthew 5:22 Jesus tells us:
"But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgement: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."
Also in Matthew 5:44 Jesus says:
"But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."
The question arises - Is it possible for any of us to avoid even the 'least' of sins, and lead a pure and holy life? The answer is no! We must do our best and try not
to commit sin. We have to depend upon the mercy of our blessed Redeemer Jesus the Christ. We have to change our mind from unrighteousness to righteousness, this is called repentance in the Bible, and has to be associated with true belief in Christ, Plus confession of our own sins!
Paul, with his vast knowledge of God's Word and the teaching he received from Jesus, was obviously overwhelmed by all of this and says in Romans 7:24-25:
"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin."
Paul continues in Romans 8:1:
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit."
We return again to 'them that dwell carelessly in the isles'. We saw above that the 'isles' relates to the British Isles, where many of the descendants of the children of Israel dwell today in these 'latter days'. Those of us who dwell in Britain, see careless living all about us.We must try to get a warning message over to our compatriots. Zephaniah's words about this in his Chapter 2 verses 1 to 3 are appropriate here:
"Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, a nation (Israel) not desired (without shame). Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the Lord come upon you, before the day of the LORD's anger come upon you. Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD's anger."
In Isaiah God says in part of verse 15 in chapter 49:
"...they (Israel) may forget (God), yet will I not forget thee (Israel)."
Israel Britain have largely forgotten their God. But as predicted in scripture, we still have the faithful Israel remnant among us. So we must pray for all our
compatriots who ignore God and His Son Jesus the Christ, before it is too late. God, speaking to David in Psalm 89:34 says:
"My covenant will Inot break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips."
Daniel records God's prophetic words about Israel's future deliverance in chapter 12 verse 1:
"And at that time (the great tribulation in the latter days) shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standethfor the children of thy people: (Israel) and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, everyone that shall be FOUND WRITTEN IN THE BOOK. (True believers in Jesus the Christ)"
Moses summed up God's rules of behaviour for Israel in Deuteronomy chapter 10 verses 12 and 13:
"And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the LORD, and His statutes, which I command thee this day FOR THY GOOD?"
Note -'fear the LORD thy God' does not mean to be afraid of the LORD. It means to have reverent trust in God and a fervent dislike of evil. However, at the moment of the second advent there is going to be a tremendous impact on all mankind. To some as detailed above! But to the faithful, in all time and space a feeling of enormous relief that our blessed LORD God has come at last to us as promised, to eliminate evil and bless the human race.
Paul's benediction at the end of Romans 16:24-27 is an appropriate part of God's Word to conclude with:
"The grace of our LORD Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. Now unto him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen."
Back To Archive Contents