God's Name Is 777

MALACHI -Eighth in a series

Malachi 1:13-14 Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the LORD of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the LORD. (vs 13)
But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the LORD of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen. (vs 14)

There is an emphasis in the first chapter of Malachi on the name of the Lord. God makes clear that by their disobedience in offering blemished animals for sacrifice, the people and the priests are profaning his name.

Through Malachi God proclaims He is a great king, not feared nor honored among his own people, nevertheless, the heathen do consider his name to be dreadful. Over the centuries there were many occasions for the heathen to see that the God of the Jews was more powerful than any other god.

In the parlance of today's universal language, that of the computer, our God's name is 777. Translated to human language, God alone is sovereign.

When programmers or computer users are "behind the scenes" in the terminal or console of the computer, they can define how any file may be used, if they are the SUDO, the super user. So in this analogy, God is the SUDO in a closed system. A computer buff could present a better scenario than I am about to. I learned these things in free seminars in my city.

The SUDO grants permissions to operate files.

Each file has three possible actions: Read, Write and Execute. As an example, if you are reading this page, you have Read permissions; if you could login and write more on this post or delete it, you would have Write permissions, Execution is only for programs, which are special types of files. Those who have Execute permissions can run programs and define who may execute them.

Each file has three levels of entities who are granted permissions, or not. Each has a User, the person who invented the file; a primary Group, whose name matches the User name; and Other--everyone else.

Separate levels of permissions can be set for the entities. The User can Read, Write and Execute (rwx), or only Read and Write (rw-) etc. The Group, likewise, can do all three or only one, etc. Same for the Other.

With three possible actions on three entities, there are nine permissions on each file— rwx on each of the three entities, u, g and o:

u      g      o
r w x      r w x      r w x

If the User had all 3, the Group had 2 and the Other had 1, the diagram could be, for example: (The dash indicates no permission.)

u      g      o
r w x      r w -      r - -

These permissions are associated with numbers, as part of the operation of the computer system. The associated numbers are Octal, not Decimal. In the Octal system, only 8 numerals are used, 1-7. In Decimal, after 9 comes 1 again, but with a 0, for ten (10)--one 10 and zero 1s. In Octal, after the number 7, we have 1 again with a 0, but this equates to eight (8), so 10 (in Octal) means there is ONE 8 and ZERO 1's.

This relates to the eight possible combinations of permissions that can be ON or OFF:

7 r w x         3 - w x
6 r w -         2 - w -
5 r - x         1 - - x
4 r - -         0 - - -

This logic runs our computers and our world, or so it seems. Since r is 4, w is 2 and x is 1, by summing all together we get 7; or no permissions is 0, only reading is 4, or read and write is 6, etc.

It would be unwise to give full permissions for any file.

And now we consider this paradigm in relation to God's name as 777, the title of this post.

I'm sure I'm not the first to reflect upon these underlying operators, to consider that the meaning of 666 (Rev 13:18) may be that the Antichrist who serves the Man of Sin who will be revealed in the last days (2 Thess 2:3-4), will not be all-powerful. He will seem to be, but beware the delusion. God alone is all-powerful.

The Antichrist will perform great signs and wonders (Rev 13:13), but this is only Reading and Writing, in computer terms. To Execute belongs only to the Lord.

Do not worry about 666: Worry instead about 777. He is the One who has the power to cast both body and soul into hell. (Mat 10:28). 666 is only a way of saying that the Evil One does not hold all the cards, no matter how things may seem. Do not take his mark; he is only 666.

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous runneth into it, and is safe. Prov 18:10

Be a good witness

MALACHI -Seventh in a series

Malachi 1:9-12 And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: will he regard your persons? saith the LORD of hosts. (vs 9)
Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand. (vs10)
For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts. (vs 11)
But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the LORD is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible. (vs 12)

In the previous posts we noted that the priests under Malachi's scrutiny offered impure sacrifices and oblations. The animals were blind, sick and lame and the meal offerings were substandard.

Why would men offer blemished creatures to atone for their sins? Why the disrespectful bread? In today's verses we gain more insight, namely, the priests were disappointing leaders.

Malachi points out to the priests that God will not hear their prayers on behalf of the people because he would not "regard your persons." (vs 9) These were leaders who would not even shut the door of the house of God unless they were paid to do so. (vs 10) Much less would they kindle a fire on God's altar without payment. They only did their assigned duties for a paycheck, not because it was in their hearts to serve God. Then, when they performed their priestly functions, it was with unacceptable offerings.

The people must have known what their priests were as men, so they did not honor them by bringing good animals, which were to atone for their sins as well as to provide food for the priests. One perfunctory deed deserves another—a vicious cycle.

The larger context casts some light on this situation. While the Jews were in captivity there was no temple worship. During that time,

the Jews consolidated around their sacred writings, and the Torah took the place of the temple as a sacred center… One of the Talmuds, a compendium of Jewish legal thought, was written in Babylon in the fifth century. (ref)
Elders supervised the Jewish communities… This was possibly also the period when synagogues were first established, for the Jews observed the Sabbath and religious holidays, practiced circumcision, and substituted prayers for former ritual sacrifices in the Temple. (ref)

But having returned to their land and rebuilt the temple, they were to worship in the old ways which may have seemed less interesting, more expensive, and a lot more trouble.

In either case, whether the priests and people had not adjusted to the old ways or whether they were simply sinners in their treatment of each other and their Temple worship, the result was that God's name was profaned.

Only pure offerings could please him in his Temple for my name shall be great among the heathen (vs 11) You may wonder, how could the Gentiles have known whether or not the Jews were fulfilling God's worship requirements? At this time, they were in control of Jerusalem, so they could see the Jews as they went to worship.

Though Cyrus, King of Persia, had promoted their return to their homeland and the reconstruction of their Temple (2Ch 36:23; Ezra 1:1-8; Isa 44:28), he did not go so far as to cede the land back to them. Thus, God wanted his own to be good witnesses to their overlords, and perhaps this did not occur to the Jews. Malachi forces their attention to these unbelievers to whom they are called to be faithful witnesses.

The bloody sacrifice

Why would healthy domestic animals brought as offerings to God's House be a good witness to the heathen? (vs 11)

These pointed to the lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8) and would cause the Gentiles to stop and wonder.

Once inside the temple, the ‘meat’ oblations (see fifth post) testified of the bread of life (Jhn 6:35, 48), for living bread would come down from heaven to bring salvation to his own.

In the 21st century AD, our practices are different yet we like the Jews of the fifth century BC must be wholehearted in worship, knowing and proclaiming that the blood atones for our sins— for us, the blood of Jesus. The celebration of communion that cannot be shared with outsiders will cause them to wonder about our God.

God IS here

MALACHI -Sixth in a series

Malachi 1:8 And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts.

In the previous post we asked whether the meal offerings (Mal 1:7) were unacceptable to God because the people could have prepared them more carefully or used better ingredients.

Their meal offerings betrayed a lackadaisical attitude toward the priest who was their mediator with the Lord. And when the priest shared a handful of the bread as a burnt offering on the altar, it was not a sweet savor to the Lord. It stunk.

In verse 8 we see a similar dilemma. The animals brought by the people for sacrifices, to substitute for their sinful acts, whether of omission or commission, whether done in ignorance or wittingly, did not meet God's standards. This was much worse than lackadaisical or passionless; it was an affront to God and an abuse of the priest's office.

As with the meal offerings, the sin or trespass offering was according to the person's circumstances. If he had a herd, a bull would be offered; if a flock, then a sheep (or other— (Lev 5:6)); if neither, then turtledoves or pigeons according to the type of offering. Yet they were to bring an animal without a blemish. (Num 29:13; Deut 15:21) These duties were performed by the Jews for centuries to preserve a faithful witness so that we could become members of God's family, and for their service, we should always show respect and gratefulness to them (except to those of whom Christ says, "which say they are Jews, and are not" (Rev 2:9; 3:9)).

"In each instance the animal was a domestic, a creature that was tame and fed on vegetation… Only the docile creature could represent the pure and holy One who gave his life a ransom for many. The animals had to be free from blemish as they prefigured the One who was free from sin." (ibid, p. 17--see previous post)

The blemished animal "spoiled the type," a phrase we often hear regarding Old Testament objects that represented Christ, such as the rock in the wilderness that gushed water when Moses struck it, but in the manner he did so, the type was spoiled, and Moses then was not permitted to enter the promised land (Num 20:11-12). It was a serious matter to spoil the type.

The offering of blind, lame and sick animals was somewhat on the level of a bribe, where a person seeks to gain pardon through a payoff far less than the crime merits, betraying an attitude of privilege and involving the mediator in the underhanded transaction. However, Malachi 1:14 makes clear that the people who brought these to sacrifice, did so to deceive the priests: But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing.

The priests, whether truly deceived or only glossing over the deception, were as much at fault as the perfidious people. They should have rejected these offerings. Anyone who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, sins. (James 4:17) Offering them made them complicit in the sin. They were leading the people astray from God's law in their acceptance of the blemished animals.

The visibility factor

Malachi argued that these priests would not offer sick animals to their governor (Mal 1:8), who would not take them off their hands anyway.

Governors are people we can see; people who might harm us. God is invisible. Perhaps we do not perceive any threat.

Though we see God in nature and we see his works in many ways, we cannot see him. We must have faith that he really is there-- here-- and that he reveals his character, plans, law and path to salvation in his Word.

Did the priests and people have faith? Do we?

God IS here… be not faithless, but believing (Jhn 20:27).

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

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