1. NEW TESTAMENT CONVERSION SCRIPTURES HAVE AN EXACT MATCH IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

I ended the previous post by writing aboutJesus\’ quotation about conversion from Isaiah 6: 10.   Conversion is such an important doctrine that the Lord reminded the Jews about Isaiah’s prophecy, its fulfillment obvious even as He spoke to the disciples.   I then explored the meaning of conversion in the Old Testament scriptures by going to its exacat match in Isaiah 6: 10.

And concerning them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:

‘You will listen carefully yet will never understand,
you will look closely yet will never comprehend.

For the heart of this people has become dull;
they are hard of hearing,
and they have shut their eyes,
so that they would not see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their hearts
and turn, (
epistrepho/be converted) and I would heal them.’  (Matt 13: 14 – 15)

The match in Isaiah 6: 10 says:

Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and CONVERT, and be healed  (Isaiah 6: 10)

I found  that shuwb (shoob/H7725) is the Hebrew word used for CONVERT in the Isaiah 6: 10 text.  Shuwb has 952 matches,  showing  that conversion was referred to more in the Old than New Testament which has 38 matches:

2. CONVERSION IN  THE IN N THE OLD TESTAMENT ALSO MEANS TO RETURN TO GOD

I then explored the meaning of convert in the Old Testament by using Isaiah 6: 10 as the base text.  I found that  God constantly appealed to Israel through the Prophets and exhorted them to return to Him. This is still His call to modern nations:

Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up (Hos 6:1 [KJV])

O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity (Hos 14:1)


3. ENVIRONMENTAL CURSES THAT WARN NATIONS TO RETURN TO GOD

God used Israel as a prototype to speak to other nations. Their experiences have been given to us as an example and warning. Israel’s example and history reveals that God caused certain environmental situations to signal them nation to repent and to be converted. These situations emerge in the scriptures in which the Hebrew word shuwb is used to expose hidden revelation about conversion from national and personal sin.

Scripture reveals that God warns nations to be converted by sending famine, drought, agricultural pests, blight, plagues and sudden catastrophic events.

a. FAMINE AND DROUGHT

God revealed through the Prophet Amos that famine and drought were the results of rebellion.  In Amos 4: 9, the Prophet crossed reference Apostle Moses’ warning that God would send curses as judgment for rebellion.  Naitons should therefore analyze events taking place and consider the need to repent and to be converted:

“But surely I gave you no food to eat in any of your cities; you lacked food everywhere you live. Still you did not come back to me.” The LORD is speaking!

“I withheld rain from you three months before the harvest. I gave rain to one city, but not to another. One field would get rain, but the field that received no rain dried up.

People from two or three cities staggered into one city to get water, but remained thirsty. Still you did not come back to me.” The LORD is speaking!

“I destroyed your crops with blight and disease. Locusts kept devouring your orchards, vineyards, fig trees, and olive trees. Still you did not come back to me.” The LORD is speaking! (Amos 4: 6 – 9 [NET])

b. AGRICULTURAL PESTS

God lamented that the Jews remained obstinate even though He had sent blasting, mildew and the palmerworm or locusts to kill their crops:

I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD (Amos 4:9 [KJV])

Apostle Moses had also prophesied that this curses of blasting (shdephah/H7711/blight) and mildew would come on Israel if they refused to obey the Word of God.  This warning is found in Deuteronomy 28: 15 and 22:

“… if you ignore the LORD your God and are not careful to keep all his commandments and statutes I am giving you today, then all these curses will come upon you in full force

He will afflict you with weakness, fever, inflammation, infection, sword, blight, and mildew; these will attack you until you perish.”

Crops can be blasted by strong winds of  hurricane force strength.  On the other hand,  mildew (yeraqown) refers to paleness caused by fright. This is brought out rather amusingly in Jeremiah 30: 6 as the prophet compares the behavior of fearful males with that of a woman who becomes pale when she is in labor:

Ask yourselves this and consider it carefully: Have you ever seen a man give birth to a baby? Why then do I see all these strong men grabbing their stomachs in pain like a woman giving birth? And why do their faces turn so deathly pale/yeraqown?

While men may turn pale with fright, pale crops refer to the fading, parching and discoloration that occur in crops when there is a drought.

God also lamented that Israel refused to repent although they were plagued with palmerworm,  a kind of locust. The plague of locusts in Egypt was so terrible that the entire land was covered with darkness and every green plant was devouring. Coupled with the other plagues that destroyed its agriculture, Egypt was plunged into a period of  food shortage. Scriptures show that agricultural plagues and pests are environmental curses signaling the need for repentance and conversion.

d. PLAGUES DEATH SIMILAR TO THOSE OF EGYPT

I wrote in 2011 about the significance of the plagues of Egypt. Prophet Amos reveals that violent death of young people (young men in the text) is a sign of judgment.  Egypt lost the heir to the throne when Pharaoh’s firstborn was killed at midnight.  In the same manner, nations lose potential leaders, fathers, husbands, breadwinners when the young men are killed:

I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD (Amos 4:10 [KJV])

E. SUDDEN CATASTROPHIC EVENTS

God referred to Sodom and Gomorrah to remind nations of the earth that  He still judges homosexuality.  These  cities were suddenly destroyed and given NO opportunity to repent:

I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD (Amos 4:11 [KJV])

F. STRONG PROPHETIC ACTIVITY

God sends prophets to warn nations to obey His Word and to return to Him. Apostle Moses’ prophecy  in Deuteronomy 29 reveals that the curses of disobedience more than double the blessings of obedience.

Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts (Zech 1:3 [KJV]).

Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the LORD (Zech 1:4 [KJV])

The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity (Mal 2:6 [KJV])

More to come!

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