One World Government?

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Will There Really Be a One-World Government?

Contrary to what has been a recurring theme for several decades promoted even by the best of Biblical scholars and teachers, I firmly believe there will be no such thing as a One-World Government, until Jesus Christ returns and establishes the majestic Kingdom of God on this earth. THEN there will be a divinely unified system of truth, justice, and peace never before experienced on this earth … the Millennial Reign of Messiah Jesus.

If you recognized this introductory paragraph, then thank you for reading the Eye of Prophecy article published just two weeks ago (2-14-15) entitled, A Sleeping Giant. This statement can be found in the last part of the article under the heading of, Things to Ponder. With some concluding remarks in that article which centered primarily on China and the Kings of the East taking on Antichrist during the Tribulation, the following questions were also posed:

How can there be a One-World Government (economically and militarily) unless ALL nations (at least the powerful ones) are part of that Government? Bible prophecy unequivocally tells us that the Antichrist and his ten-nation kingdom will have enemies, i.e. the king of the south and even more dangerous foes—the Eastern kings (and their kingdoms) who are giants awakened from international neutrality by a man who wants to conquer the Middle East and then the whole world.

If you have one multi-national force opposing another multi-national force, does that sound like a global world government or military to you? To me it sounds exactly like what happened before and during World War I and World War II; one bloc of nations conspiring and warring against another bloc of nations. Prior to the last day when Christ utterly vanquishes ALL the forces and armies of evil, Armageddon—by Biblical prophecy and historical precedence—will become World War III. With West pitted against East.

One more quote from that article: Notice the plural significance of the following passage when it comes to kings and nations contrasted to the typically taught premise of a one-world single unity type of government. Also take note that the only reference to a world-wide kingdom is none other than the Kingdom of God:

“During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered. It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever” (Daniel 2:44).

To reinforce the clear-cut Biblical evidence that many nations will still wield great power and prestige (as opposed to one giant conglomeration of countries belonging to a central government) upon the magnificent return of Christ to rescue Israel from annihilation and the world itself from total destruction, let’s look at another passage in Daniel.

Referring first to Antichrist at the end of the Great Tribulation, then the true Christ who will crush his antithesis, we read: “But then the court will pass judgment, and all his power will be taken away and completely destroyed. Then the sovereignty, power, and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be given to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will last forever, and all rulers will serve and obey him” (Daniel 7:26-27).

I’m not sure how much clearer this passage, and others like it, could be. Once again notice that all kingdoms (plural … many … all) will still be (individually) powerful and sovereign right up to the time that the rulers (plural) of those nations yield their self-governing empires to Jesus Christ who establishes the Kingdom of the Most High God. With the clear connotation that the vast majority of nations will not merely be absorbed into a global governmental melting pot, in which they lose their identity and influence. However, individuals from races all over the world will (as we shall soon see) submit with blind loyalty to and worship of the one whose, “power will be taken away and completely destroyed.”

Christ will conquer all of the kingdoms (nations) of the earth that would dare do battle against the King of all kings. At the time of the final battle of Armageddon, these nations will consist of two main world alliances which will initially war against each other: the kings of the east versus the ten-nation confederation directed by Antichrist. Then these huge coalitions will join forces to do, “…battle against the Lord on that great judgment day of God the Almighty” (Revelation 16:14). But they are alliances, no different from the Allies of World War II (including the USA) doing battle against the Axis nations, headed by Hitler’s Germany. Even the three most prominent Allied leaders, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin, had major differences during execution of various battle campaigns against the Axis powers; as well as disposition of Germany after the defeat of the Third Reich.

According to Daniel 7 and Revelation 17, during the Great Tribulation ten kings will yield their kingdoms to the little horn (Daniel) and the king-beast (Revelation), respective titles for the one called Antichrist. Naturally, this ten-nation league will be a formidable military and political union, but it will NOT be a global, world-wide kingdom as such. Once again, for emphasis: How could it be a one-world government when the King of the south and the Kings of the East will oppose it and set out to destroy Antichrist and his ten-nation coalition?

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Future World Dictatorship/Dictator … Theory or Realty?

Question: Other than promoting a sensational conspiracy theory that so many people love to contemplate and investigate; from where, then, does the notion of an end time’s prophetic one-world political and/or religious system originate? Why has this idea been so predominate among even the best of prophecy scholars for several decades? To include the assumption that this global organization will be a Revived Roman Empire; or the fairly recent presumption of a Muslim (Imam) Antichrist and Islamic Caliphate ruling the world.

Answer: Almost exclusively from an inference based on the wording found in Revelation Chapter 13. But when we closely examine some critical verses in this chapter, we’ll see that the language describing those who give their allegiance to the beast (Antichrist) to the point of worship is actually, in form and substance, a counterfeit replica of the current Kingdom of Heaven—the true church comprised of people all over the world who have believed and received Messiah Jesus. That, in reality, the perceived global authority of the beast (Antichrist) is politically, militarily and economically limited to a ten-nation coalition, not a centralized universal government. In actuality, the beast largely exerts his influence on and through his followers from all races and ethnic groups who are sealed with the visible mark of the Beast much like the Holy Spirit invisibly seals all those in the family of God … born again believers.

When we grasp the significance of what is being said in these verses, we will better understand that the “kingdom” of Antichrist will be a federation of ten countries, NOT a duplication of the once mighty Roman Empire. Although (as documented with an abundance of Scriptural and historical evidence in my book, Out of the Abyss and several Eye of Prophecy articles) it will be headed by a Revived Roman Emperor!

The post-Rapture return of a first century Roman Emperor will give this ten-nation union that he leads an ancient Roman flavor and appearance, but only because of the Emperor himself; not because there will be a replication of the ancient Roman Empire. And certainly not a One-World Government. As powerful as the Roman Empire was for several hundred years, it never fully controlled the entire world, civilized or uncivilized.

What the Roman Emperor, Nero, will find upon his reappearance (return to the earth) from the Abyss will be a whole bunch of nations and people in shock from the removal of hundreds of millions from the earth (Rapture). He will not find anything whatsoever resembling the mighty Roman Empire in which he ruled as Emperor for fourteen years (54-68 AD). Nor does Scripture indicate that he will instantly or even gradually “revive” or reassemble or resurrect or reproduce the Roman Empire that he once knew. He simply won’t have time to do that, as he is essentially given only 3 ½ years to try to achieve his Satanic agenda. Instead, he will be given ten kings (Presidents or Prime Ministers in today’s terminology) and their nations over which to rule.

People from all nations will give their total allegiance to the beast, but not to the extent of all countries on earth yielding their national political and military administrations to the beast … with exception of the ten kings and the nations they lead.

A Misapplied or Misunderstood Passage That Led to the Premise of a One-World Government

“And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation. And all the people who belong to the world worshiped the beast…” (Revelation 13:7-8).

Semantics, syntax, and symmetry (comparing, balancing all passages of Scripture pertaining to a specific subject) are always significant in correctly understanding Scripture. It’s vitally important that we read this verse the way it is written (intended) without immediately jumping to the conclusion that the Antichrist beast will rule the entire world. If he did, then Scripture is essentially contradicting itself, which it never does.

Scripture unequivocally states that Antichrist (little horn in Daniel, beast-king in Revelation) rules over ten kings/kingdoms … not the whole world. The very existence of enemies from the kings/nations of the east is, by itself, enough to refute the idea of world-wide domination by the Antichrist. In fact, as alluded to in the recent article, A Sleeping Giant: by sheer population numbers, the eastern nations will far exceed the people that comprise the Antichrist’s ten-nation alliance.

Or, in the form of a question: If Scripture tells us four different times that Antichrist’s domain will consist of ten nations (Daniel Chapters 2 & 7; Revelation Chapters 13 & 17), then why would we expand that to include worldwide supremacy?

Revelation 13:7 tells us that the beast, “…was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation.” The preceding and clarifying phrase that is of paramount importance to this ruler ship is that of, “given authority” (to rule); meaning supreme authority if, in fact, he could/would successfully gain control of what we often refer to in modern terms as, the whole world … politically, militarily, and economically. There is a substantial distinction between the beast possessing (potential) authority to rule and actually accomplishing total domination over the entire world. Thus, we should not construe this verse to automatically mean that Antichrist will actually rule the earth through a universal government.

Read the verse again: It doesn’t say, “he will rule over every tribe…” Instead, he was given authority to rule over… Daniel Chapter 11 combined with Revelation 16 & 19 clearly indicate that Antichrist will be stopped cold in his tracks by Messiah Jesus before he (Nero) accomplishes his goal of world conquest.

But there’s even more compelling evidence to support my premise. It is found in the phrase itself, “over every tribe and people and language…” which is identical language ascribed to the true Messiah, Jesus Christ; but, of course, for a different purpose … for salvation of peoples the world over. Whereas, with Antichrist, it will be destruction for those (many but not all) who follow him because they believe in the lie that he is the Messiah and/or God.

Read these magnificent words with me: “You (Christ) are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9, italics for emphasis). Does this verse mean that every person on earth will be saved by the blood of Christ? No, it is fundamentally telling us that the sacrificial blood of Christ has ransomed people from all races (tribes, languages, nations) in the world, but certainly not all people from all nations.

By actual results for the last 2000 years and continued throughout the Tribulation, only some (a minority) will experience his salvation; as confirmed by the very words of Jesus: “Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14, NKJV).

In that same context and with the same parallel meaning and application, there will be those from all over the world who will follow and even worship the beast, but certainly not everyone. There will be many who won’t take the mark of the Beast; who will instead choose (on pain of torture and death) Jesus Christ, the true Messiah.

In other words, there will be a host of Antichrist dissidents from every language and nation… individuals, communities, and entire national governments such as China who will reject Nero’s authority. If virtually all peoples and nations voluntarily surrendered their loyalty and lives to Antichrist, there would be no need for him to order everyone to take his mark for the purpose of separating and distinguishing them from those who oppose him. The mark is his name (Nero) or the number of his name (the Hebrew gematria number 666, which spells Nero). And there would, indeed, then be a One-World Antichrist dynasty.

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Why So Many Will Be Amazed at The Beast … The Real Source of His Influence?

What is it exactly that causes people from all languages, tribes, and nations to worship Antichrist and willingly take his mark?

“I saw that one of the heads of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal would was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast. They worshiped the dragon (Satan) for giving the beast such power, and they also worshipped the beast. ‘Who is as great as the beast?’ they exclaimed. ‘Who is able to fight against him?’” (Revelation 13:3-4, italics for emphasis).

You think! Who could possibly kill or even fight against someone who had already died, and came back from the dead after 2000 years in the grave? What is it that the whole world will marvel at? Why will they give their total allegiance to the point of worshiping this man? The text is crystal clear: Because of the miracle recovery from a fatal wound (death). The entire sequence of events from the beginning of Nero’s reign, to his death at the orders of Jesus, himself, (II Thessalonians 2:8), to his revival from the dead and banishment to the abyss, to his reappearance from the Abyss … all this and more is covered in Out of the Abysscan the number of the beast be solved, 666? Beginning with another astounding revelation of the Beast to John as contained in the following verse:

“The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon come up out of the bottomless pit … And the people who belong to this world … will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died” (Revelation 17:8).

Here is an excerpt from Out of the Abyss that provides a stark contrast to the contemporary notion of a modern-day Antichrist (as opposed to a man—Antichrist—who had already died when John saw the vision of the beast in the 1st century, but who would return from the Abyss) who is often portrayed as some brilliant mastermind, whose charismatic characteristics charm or compel billions to follow him:

“The Antichrist is not afforded blind worship because he is a superman in terms of being an accomplished statesman, orator, or leader. The False Prophet does that for him. The superhuman qualities accorded him will literally lie in his mystical return from death. Neither in Revelation Chapter 13 nor in Chapter 17 is there a direct description of the beast with regard to personality traits normally ascribed to anyone who can sway a lot of people to follow him.” (Page 182).

After referencing Daniel Chapter 7, I go on to say in my book: “We have additional language similar to Revelation, in that the beast arrives on the scene with arrogant boasting against God himself. Like Revelation 13 and 17, this passage in Daniel is also conspicuous for what it lacks, i.e. no hard evidence (statesmanship qualities) that the beast is other than an arrogant boastful tyrant who opposes God right out of the starting blocks. That is, right after he negotiates a treaty with Israel.” (Page 183).

Thus, the striking and predominant feature of Antichrist’s influence over the world will be exactly the same as the persuasive reason that millions down through the ages (and also during the tribulation) have accepted Jesus Christ … resurrection from the dead.

Restating the premise based on correlation of all Biblical passages relating to the subject: The Antichrist will not rule and reign over every person, or city, or state, or nation of the earth. There will not be a one-world government. Not even close. He will command a ten-nation coalition; albeit, one that will vainly seek control of the entire world. He will, however, exercise god-like influence over billions of people on the earth, who will willingly (some unwillingly due to threat of death) follow him; in the same vein (a false, counterfeit anti-Christ parallel) that millions love and follow Jesus Christ.

Just as the Kingdom of Heaven currently exists in the hearts and minds of those who have believed and received Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, so will the kingdom of Antichrist Nero be primarily in the minds, hearts, and skin (literally from the mark of the beast) of all those who are utterly amazed at his return from the grave. (Actually the abyss, but the world will think only in terms of resurrection from the dead that they believe Nero, himself, accomplished—when in reality it is Christ who releases him from the Abyss to join Satan in this great end-times rebellion against God).

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More Evidence from Similar Bible Passages

Let’s look at another verse that uses this same descriptive phrase: “And I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to proclaim to the people who belong to this world—to every nation, tribe, language, and people. ‘Fear God,’ he shouted. ‘Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as judge. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of water” (Revelation 14:6-7, italics for emphasis).

This is incredible. The time is so short and the need so great, that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is now (after the seal and trumpet judgments and just prior to the final devastating seven bowl judgments) proclaimed by an angel flying throughout the entire earth. In addition to salvation, the angel is imploring the same people whom the Antichrist will seek to rule to acknowledge the one true living God. It would seem that the angel is especially targeting evolutionists and agnostics, when he reminds the world who actually made the heavens, the earth and everything in/on the earth!

But we reach the same logical result with the same reasonable conclusion: The unmistakable meaning in this passage and others that reference all or every people, language, tribe, or nation is that Scripture is referring to a cross-section of people from virtually every nation on earth. This is true of Jesus’s ransom price of his very blood in which some, but certainly not all, will be redeemed. It’s also true of Antichrist Nero’s granted authority to rule. Whereas, he will have a substantial following of individuals all over the globe because of his miraculous reappearance from the Abyss (Revelation 17:8) and will be given power to rule over ten nations and their leaders, it certainly doesn’t mean global dominance.

The One-World Government will be reserved for The Alpha and Omega, The Lion from the Tribe of Judah, the King of all kings, and Lord of all lords … Christ Jesus the Son of God, Son of David, and Son of Man! And what a glorious government it will be!

The true church of Messiah Jesus is composed of people from all races on earth, but it does not consist of a localized or regionalized or nationalized seat of government found in a specific location on the planet. The Roman Catholic Church headquartered in the Vatican, in Rome, is NOT the true Christian church, the body of Christ. Although the ten-nation confederation headed by the beast will undoubtedly have a strategic headquarters (most likely in Rome), there will still be in existence many national capitals, as well as international headquarters for the United Nations (New York) and the European Union (Brussels) plus other powerful groups such as the World Trade Organization, OPEC, and NATO.

One other passage with identical language: “And for three and a half days, all peoples, tribes, languages, and nations will stare at their bodies…” (Revelation 11:9, italics for emphasis). This is referring to the two witnesses (Elijah and Moses) who will be killed by Antichrist at the end of 3 ½ years of testifying for the true Messiah. Many people will still not have access to television or the internet and will not actually look at the dead bodies, though they probably will be told what has happened. However, if just one person on earth didn’t view the bodies of the two witnesses, then the word, all, is erroneous. But not if we correctly comprehend the intended meaning of passages that refer to all or every in the context of many end-times Day of the Lord prophecies up to and including the Millennium. Not until after the Millennial Reign of Messiah will ALL always mean ALL.

For example, “All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous deeds have been revealed” (Revelation 15:4). But in Zechariah we find that some nations won’t always obey God and Messiah’s commands to, for example, travel to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles during the Millennium. There really is no conflict between these passages, not if we understand the pattern throughout Scripture wherein the context of the passage plus comparing the passage with others like it, clarifies whether ALL means ALL or whether it means a representative cross-section (some or many) of ALL or EVERYONE.

In fact, we use the same kind of expressive language in our modern age. For example, you might relay to a friend that you had just seen on television the best basketball game ever played in the Olympics finals by beginning with, “It was great. The whole world was watching!” When, in fact, the reason you’re telling your friend about this sensational game is because he didn’t see it; nor did maybe ½ of the world’s population.

Conversely, when we read a verse like John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”), we clearly understand that it is, in fact, the whole world—every man, woman, and child that God loves—because the passage then says that whosoever … meaning just those who believe and receive Jesus Christ as Savior … will not perish but live forever.

Summary

If some are going to assert that Antichrist will establish a One-World government with total control over all the nations and people on earth, then they will need to draw on another portion of Scripture other than Revelation Chapter 13 … every tribe and people and language and nation. But, in fact, there are no other Scripture passages to support the supposition of a Global government during the Tribulation, headed by the Antichrist or any other world ruler. Yet there are Biblical references to world leaders and nations (Kings of the East and King of the South) that will oppose Antichrist and his ten-nation confederation.

In this same Chapter 13 of Revelation, another passage is used to support the idea of the Antichrist as a World Dictator, with total control over ALL people and ALL nations.

“He (the False Prophet) required everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name” (Revelation 13:16-17).

Notice that Antichrist through the False Prophet “requires” everyone to take his mark. That certainly doesn’t mean all people on earth will (voluntarily) let themselves be branded. Requirement is one thing; successful enforcement is quite another thing. Two groups of people will reject this decree and refuse to comply: (1) the national leaders of the eastern nations (oriental) and millions upon millions of people living in those nations; (2) millions more from all races, languages, and ethnic groups who choose the true Messiah, Jesus Christ, over Antichrist.

Likewise, some will find ways and means to buy and sell (black market) that will circumvent the False Prophet’s “requirement” of buying and selling only through the mark. For sure, it won’t be business as usual; meaning that without the embedded name or number of the Beast, many won’t be able to buy or sell food and all sorts of other products in a normal transaction that we are accustomed to in today’s high-tech world. And that will have a profound impact on their daily lives to the point of extreme deprivation, possibly even starvation or death from lack of urgent medical care. However, though it will be difficult; some will figure out a way to live and conduct life-sustaining deals without the handy implant in their right hand or (laser) inserted mark on their forehead.

Things to Ponder

Several times Revelation also refers to, “All the people who belong to this world.” Each time that means all those who have privately and publicly sworn their loyalty to the beast … by taking his mark, worshiping him, or worshiping the statue of the beast. Once they actually take the mark of the beast, it is absolutely too late for them to recant or repent. They have literally sealed themselves for destruction.

Returning to a verse quoted early in this article: “His kingdom will last forever, and all rulers will serve and obey him” (Daniel 7:27). Now that kingdom (the Kingdom of God on earth) will be a magnificent universal Government to end all governments. Moreover, the all rulers that will serve and obey him (here in this passage as it pertains to the Post-millennial reign of Christ in an eternal kingdom) means just that—ALL RULERS.

God Is in Control

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The Incomparable Sovereignty of God

Just a few days ago, I filled my truck up for $1.73 a gallon. Gasoline for less than two dollars a gallon! Can you believe it? For those of you who have a thirteen year old teenager, the price of gas hasn’t been that low since your child was born. For baby boomers who can barely remember cheap gas, it’s something we never expected to see again … along with a gallon of milk for less than a dollar (we’re still waiting for that one).

This free fall of fuel prices is pretty amazing. Although the cost is creeping back up, economic experts do not expect gas to rise above three dollars a gallon for quite some time. The bottom line is a savings of hundreds of dollars a year for many motorists. Let’s hear it for so many hard-working moms and dads!

So what does the price of gas have to do with God’s sovereignty? In my opinion, absolutely everything. Through God’s gift of free will to the human race, the Bible is clear that he allows individuals and nations to make choices that affect their lives and destiny. But throughout history, Scripture is equally clear that God sometimes intervenes in human affairs, both naturally and supernaturally to accomplish his short-term and long-term purposes for the human race. Many passages in Scripture speak of his divine sovereignty, such as: “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all” (Psalms 103:19, NASB). And, “God reigns above the nations, sitting on his holy throne” (Psalms 47:8).

Permit me to quote an excerpt from my book, Out of the Abyss:

We don’t know what’s going to happen next hour, let alone next month or year. Yet, by our decisions and actions, by our good choices, bad choices or indifferent choices, we can change things that otherwise would or would not have occurred. We can also be changed by the decisions and behavior of others, by events beyond our control.

How then, does God still achieve his plan? How does he circumvent the innumerable bad decisions that we all have made, not to mention the evil in the world to accomplish his purpose? Okay, I’ll give you a hint: Because he is God! This isn’t just the humble opinion of one man, nor is it a cop-out, nor is it an oversimplified answer to an otherwise unfathomable question or concept.

To be sure, however, the “hint” does beg the question: he can do anything because he is God. But that still doesn’t explain how he does it. So we are left begging the question because it is simply beyond our natural, finite comprehension; which is why God doesn’t demand or even ask that we completely grasp his providential sovereignty. If we could wrap our finite minds around his infinite omnipotence and omniscience, I suppose that we would be God.

Ironically, that’s exactly what most of mankind, including natural scientists, human secularists, occult spiritualists, God-less governments and agnostic academia in general try to do. They inevitably ascribe to themselves the controlled capacity, the distinctive domain, and the potent position of determining their destiny. And, if you will but afford them the privilege and opportunity; if you will “give them an ear,” they will gladly assist you in discovering your origin and purpose for life. Ultimately, if you yield complete attention and allegiance, they will be delighted to direct your future (page 22).

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In the global arena of fuel supplies, for decades we have been at the mercy of the OPEC nations, chief among them, Saudi Arabia. But those days may be coming to an end. In a recent interview with an OPEC representative, the stated reason for OPEC’s continued production of an abundant supply of oil is because they want to maintain a market share to compete with increased output of non-OPEC oil and gas reserves. If this means tolerating losses due to competitive declining prices, then so be it. Actually, what it really means is that they are willing to be less greedy and settle for less than the enormous profits of the past! For an indefinite period of time, Saudi Arabia—including some smaller OPEC countries—can and will absorb the revenue loss from lower fuel prices.

Along with (especially) Israel, the United States, and the European Union, Saudi Arabia is also deeply disturbed with Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Saudi Arabia’s enormous distrust of a nuclear-armed Iran trumps their need for vast wealth. Although they (tacitly) support the idea of an American (or even Israeli) preemptive military strike against Iran’s nuclear plants, they also appreciate the debilitating effect of economic sanctions against Iran, imposed by the US and/or the EU. However, should America and the EU relax its sanctions in a completely misguided and misunderstood effort to “negotiate” with Iran, OPEC nations aligned against Iran can rely heavily on Iran’s huge loss of revenue from this unparalleled drop in the price of oil.

Most experts agree: It will be extremely difficult for Iran to invest more billions in its nuclear program if, in fact, most of those billions are no longer available. It’s no secret that Iran’s military budget depends desperately on revenue from high oil prices. The tremendous impact of a 50% decrease in the price of a barrel of oil in just the last six months could severely cripple the best laid plans of Iran’s military objectives; indeed, of its entire economy. It would also drastically reduce this Islamic Shi’ite regime’s funding of terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others.

As Daniel Yergin, an expert in oil finances wrote, “The OPEC members in big trouble are the ‘have-nots’—those with small financial reserves and high government budgets.” These have-nots include Russia, Venezuela, and Iran.

Something Positive for a Change

What we have here is an incredible Win-Win situation, when most of the time recent world events have resulted in a Lose-Lose … or at the very best, a Win-Lose scenario. I’m referring to the one-step forward, two steps backward progress against things like a weak global economy, or dealing a blow to one terrorist group like Al-Qaida (death of Osama Bin-Laden); only for another more vicious, more blood-thirsty gang of terrorists to take their place … ISIS.

I’m sure that many Christians in the United States and believers all over the world have prayed that US President Obama and other government leaders will not capitulate to Iran’s distorted and diabolical desire to produce nuclear weapons. Many have voiced their strong disapproval of negotiating with a radical regime whose avowed objective is the destruction of Israel, but also of the country that their Islamic clerics and leaders have often called the Great Satan, none other than the USA.

I firmly believe that God, in his mercy and sovereignty, has heard these prayers. Which can explain the inexplicable, give insight to the inconceivable, provide meaning to the otherwise unfathomable, completely unexpected and (in terms of historically high fuel cost) unprecedented plunge in gas prices. While, at the same time, throwing a giant wrench into the Iran’s nuclear machinery by severely limiting the monies needed to build or buy that machinery.

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Make no mistake: Among the myriad of ominous global developments including the ugly resurgence of Anti-Semitism mostly in Europe (of all places … the site of the Holocaust just one generation ago), the most dangerous of all (especially to Israel) is that of a nuclear Iran. So much so that our Republican dominated Senate and House has called upon Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address the United States Congress on March 3rd. Many kudos to our legislative leaders for inviting Prime Minister Netanyahu, who knows better than anyone the grave peril to Israel, the Middle East including Arab countries, and virtually the entire world should Iran become nuclear.

And shame on our Presidential staff to scorn the Congressional invitation and refuse to attend this historical event just to snub Israel and her Prime Minister. Under, sadly, the hypocritical pretense of not allowing foreign leaders (politicians) to meet with US executive leaders a few weeks before that foreign country’s election. While at the same time sending Democrat lobbyists to assist Israeli liberal opponents of Netanyahu’s Likud party. I’m not normally one to bash any sitting President, mostly due to my great respect for the most important position in our country, but also in (at least some) deference to the one occupying that position.

But wrong is wrong; right is right. And, no, I’m not equating right or wrong to beauty (for example), which is in the eye of the beholder … a subjective evaluation of the one deciding what is right or wrong. Rather, I’m referring to the truth of Scripture; applicable, in this context, to God’s unmistakable sovereign plans for the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. And, in turn, how nations of the world treat Israel.

To Bless or Curse Israel … The Stakes Are High

We all should be seriously concerned about the growing hostility of our executive branch against Israel, as expressed by this latest friction between our President and Israel’s Prime Minister. I’m not talking about personality differences or variances in political strategy and the like. Instead, I’m getting straight to the heart of the matter, to the heart of God. Which among other things includes a Biblical prophetic warning and (down through the ages) a historically documented fact: Any and all nations who treat Israel with contempt (harassment, oppression, suppression, mockery, denial of Jewish rights to the land, economic sanctions or boycotts, siding with her enemies, and certainly hatred and murder to the vicious extreme of genocide) have paid and will pay a great price. A price exacted by God, himself, as demonstrated against nations listed in Scripture and those in existence during the last days of the end times, which is today’s world.

History is littered with the corpses of nations that attacked or subjugated Israel, only to be utterly defeated and destroyed themselves. Where is mighty Babylon? Have you seen an Assyrian lately? Show me where the Roman Empire is today. Though the contemporary nation of Iran arrogantly boasts of her military might and her capability (now by conventional means, later by nuclear means) to annihilate Israel, what happened to the mighty Persian kings of her gloried past? That Persian Empire is long gone, one of several national victims of God’s sovereign promise to judge nations and peoples that attempted to wipe Israel from the face of the earth.

God’s omnipotent sovereignty will be vividly displayed in Iran’s humiliating defeat during her vain alliance with Russia in the Gog/Magog attack on Israel. However, that doesn’t mean that the United States or any other nation should ignore the profound consequences of endangering or abandoning Israel through reckless negotiations and agreements with countries bent on Israel’s destruction. If we persist in putting Israel in peril, you can bet the farm that this nation will suffer the same fate as ancient Babylon or Persia. That is if you have a house left to bet with even before the great end-times battles begin.

A collapsed economy far worse than the Great Depression of the 1930s or the Great Recession of 2008 may reclaim millions of homes across this once great nation that we love and in which we have the freedom to express that love and to worship the true and living God. But for how long? We need to wake up from our spiritually drunken stupor! We need to pray for God’s mercy. We need to speak up for the truth of God’s salvation. We need to expose the new morality for what it is; where bad is good and good is bad—which is nothing more than age-old immorality wrapped in a contemporary cloak of lies about tolerance and diversity.

Despite the totally unique and diverse feature of Christianity (God through his Son dying for our sins … doing for us what we could not do for ourselves), if you are a Christian you are not diverse. So say those who despise God, Christ, and anyone who claims to have been born-again by the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus. If you believe and repeat the very words of Messiah Jesus, who said that He is the only Way, Truth, and Life; no person can come to God except through Him, then you are not tolerant. Don’t bother those who say otherwise, with the facts. Don’t try to reason with them, because they only know how to argue in a circle.

The fact is: If someone claims that someone else is not diverse (espousing diversity) or not tolerant because of what they believe, then the one making that indictment (by logical definition and by default) is also intolerant. If they accuse someone else of being intolerant, then what does that make them? Tolerant? If so, then one plus one must equal three.

God’s Sovereignty, Expressed through Israel

Even milder mistreatment such as disrespect, denigration, or constant disapproval of Israel will have ramifications. But if we deliberately snub Israel to the point of scorn or humiliation and certainly hatred, then it is a Biblical certainty: God will snub the United States of America, primarily by withdrawing his protection from this country that God blessed from its birth. And that won’t be a pretty sight. To the potential extreme that if we allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, then pray to God that one of those nuclear-tipped missiles doesn’t explode on American soil.

At least for the moment, I believe that God has sovereignly circumvented the folly of this nation and other nation’s ignorance and dismissal of God’s supreme counsel found in Scripture concerning the nation of Israel. Specifically, how abuse of Israel will rebound like the recoil of a powerful weapon against those who despise God’s chosen people/land.

The Lord has extended his grace to believers and unbelievers alike through divine intervention; with regard to the beneficial result of drastically reduced gas prices to help jump start our nation’s still sluggish economy; and at the same time making it much more difficult, if not impossible, for Iran to finish their (not-so-secret) malevolent plan of manufacturing nuclear weapons. At the minimum, it provides more time for Israel to convince the United States and the EU to wake up, to come to their senses and realize that the Iranians mean business. They are absolutely serious about destroying Israel and setting up an Islamic Global Caliphate in which Muslim Sharia law will rule the world. First Israel, then the World is their malicious objective, as is the goal of ISIS and other terrorist groups and even entire nations.

God is so patient. He gives individuals and nations an extraordinary amount of time to change their mind and their ways, to turn to him (unbelievers) and return to him (believers). But only up to a point; eventually even the patience of God will be tested. If we cross red lines established by God or allow other nations to cross those red lines, or erase legitimate red lines that we, ourselves, create; then enough will be enough. One red line already drawn is found in Genesis and in other passages throughout Scripture concerning Israel and Gentile nations. In no uncertain terms, God declares to Abraham and his descendants (Israel): “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3).

An example of a red-line that the United States created, then retreated from was Syria’s use of chemical weapons against its own people. All threats of retaliation by our President were simply withdrawn. Same thing with the ongoing sanctions against Iran … they are being reduced, not increased in size and severity. Said Florida’s Governor, Jeb Bush (probable Presidential candidate in 2016) about the current Administration: “They draw red lines … then erase them.”

(I have said the same thing in a few Eye of Prophecy articles such as, Let’s Make a Deal, published December 14, 2013, which presents similar challenges found in this article. Also, For Such a Time as This, published March 15, 2014. I would encourage you to click on those articles in the archives of our blog site).

When the Lord shows great favor to us by supernaturally intervening in personal and world events, shouldn’t we acknowledge him in the matter of individual, state, and national affairs; instead of ignoring or even snubbing him in virtually every area of our individual and corporate lives. To say as our Savior, God’s Son, said to his Father just hours before he died a cruel death on a cross, “Yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42, NASB). In fact, God’s sovereign will was done. By raising Christ from the dead, God accomplished his mighty plan of salvation for you and for me. He providentially turned the cruel torture and unjust death of his Son into the greatest episode of human history and the utmost blessing known to mankind.

“For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (II Corinthians 5:21).

“For God so loved the world (you and me) that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, KJV).

Our Sovereign Lord is just a whisper away. Or if you prefer to shout, then yell!

After God sovereignly shook the Philippian jail, “…to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailor woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, ‘Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!’ The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas … ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved…’” (Acts 16:26-31).

So, why don’t you join me in a heartfelt prayer of gratitude to the Most High God and to the Son of God? Whether you doubt there is such a God, or whether you question that Jesus Christ died for your sins and freely gives you redemption through simple faith in him, it will do us all good to acknowledge God’s grace, mercy, and sovereignty. In spite of your doubt, if you are sincerely seeking divine answers and truth, then reach out to God and he will reach back to you. Draw near to him and he will draw near to you. These are God’s promises in Scripture.

Thank you, Lord, for who you are and what you do. You are so great and so very good. Thank you, Jesus, for dying on the cross for me and rising from the dead so that I can be saved from my sins and have eternal life. Thank you for your providence in the little and big things of my life. I am thankful for lower gas prices. And equally grateful that you have made it more difficult for Israel’s enemies to carry out their threats against your chosen people, but also against nations and the people of those nations who agree with your Word and say with the Psalmist: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.” (Psalm 33:12, NASB).

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Things to Ponder

More verses in Psalm 33 that was just quoted:

“The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race. From his throne he observes all who live on the earth. He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do. The best-equipped army cannot save a king, nor is great strength enough to save a warrior … But the Lord watches over those who fear (respect, acknowledge, in awe of) him, those who rely on his unfailing love… We put our hope in the Lord, He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone” (Psalms 33:13-22).

Can you … will you say with King David:

“No pagan god (man-made) is like you, O Lord. None can do what you do! All the nations you made will come and bow before you, Lord; they will praise your holy name. For you are great and perform wonderful deeds. You alone are God” (Psalms 86:8-10).

Come on brothers and sisters in Christ. Let’s agree with God when he says: “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land” (II Chronicles 7:14).

Great is our God, and greatly to be praised!

May God bless America! May God bless Brazil! May God bless … all peoples and nations whose God is the Lord.

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A Sleeping Giant

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A Sleeping Giant

Where were you heard the stunning news of 9/11? What were you doing? My guess is that only a handful of United States citizens over the age of eighteen would not remember the four planes commandeered by ruthless terrorists that brought down the twin towers, plunged into the Pentagon, and plummeted from the sky into a Pennsylvania field killing all passengers. Nearly three thousand American lost their lives in this brutal, evil attack on American soil.

Or what baby boomer couldn’t recall exactly where they were when told of United States President John F. Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963. At age 17, I was a senior in high school just beginning my 1:00 PM class in government/social studies … of all subjects. When the teacher broke the horrific news, she wept as did nearly every student in the class.

Or farther back in American history to the deadliest attack on our country by a foreign nation. In a massive unprovoked airstrike against the United States Naval Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Japanese pilots killed 2,335 American servicemen and 68 civilians; and destroyed or disabled eight battleships and other smaller vessels. This barbaric act rushed the United States into World War II, a war greater even than “The Great War”, the War to end all wars, which then received the title of World War I, as it was no longer the only world war.

To some extent or another, virtually the entire Empire of Japan—civilian and military alike—celebrated, admired, or gave tacit approval to this malicious attack that took place while two Japanese emissaries were in Washington under the guise of establishing peaceful relations with the United States of America. All that is, except one man: Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, none other than the Japanese officer who conceived and help develop the attack plan; then directed the military force that intended to annihilate the American Naval force and (theoretically) render America incapable of fighting a foreign war.

Many remember the famous quote attributed to Admiral Yamamoto soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor as articulated by the actor portraying Yamamoto in the movie, Tora! Tora! Tora! … Released in 1970: “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with terrible resolve.” I believe this same line was repeated in a subsequent (probably more well-known) film entitled, Pearl Harbor, aired in 2001.

Although no written (records) confirmation has been found to prove that Admiral Yamamoto spoke or wrote these words, the producer of Tora, Tora, Tora, Elmo Williams claimed to have found or have seen the famous quote in Yamamoto’s diary. Whether Yamamoto ever wrote or said these words, one thing is historically clear: The day after the attack on Pearl Harbor while his military staff and airmen were celebrating such a great victory, Yamamoto dubiously spent the entire day in a deep depression. Obviously (at least apparently) he fully realized the enormous repercussions of awakening this sleeping giant, known as the United States of America; whose relatively small armed force and sluggish economy (at the time) would transform into a colossal military and economic giant not seen since the mighty Roman Empire. A giant that would turn the tide of World War II, and destroy the country that would dare disturb America’s peaceful rest from the First World War, but would also accelerate its painfully slow emergence from the Great Depression.

Another Emerging Giant

From Pearl Harbor, let’s fast forward nearly 75 years and behold another economic and military goliath. Although not directly rebounding from a cruel surprise attack, this behemoth has risen from the ashes of World War II, from suppressive domination by its own (communist) leaders, from relative economic obscurity and deprivation. A nation that many financial and military experts believe will one day (not that far off) overtake the United States as the greatest, if not only, superpower on the earth: CHINA.

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Although the People’s Republic of China is still communistic in both theory and practice, it is not completely socialistic. There is a fair amount of free enterprise allowed, but with a shrewdly concocted economic trade imbalance (favoring, of course, China) with other countries through import taxes and export tax rebates. However, without the amazing rapid technological advancements experienced in the recent past, China’s administrative schemes and strategies would not work nearly as well.

Much could be and has been written about China’s unparalleled modernization and off-the-chart economic and military expansion in just the last three decades or so. But for sake of space in this article, statistical phenomena will be limited to the following:

Population: Nearly 1.4 billion, the most populated country on earth, comprising a little over 20% of the world’s population. One of every five human beings on this planet is Chinese! This, despite China’s deplorable one-child per family policy that began in 1979 in which millions upon millions of babies (mostly girls) have been aborted to comply with this government mandated restriction of the (once) soaring population growth. This program is no longer enforced the way it once was; however, the result was still a ratio of 118 boys to 100 girls born in 2010 … a serious gender imbalance. The average for Western nations is 105 boys to 100 girls, which is a more natural proportion. Currently there are almost 50 million more males than females in China. In stark contrast, women outnumber men in the USA by about seven million.

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It can get a bit crowded in China!

Economy: By far, the fastest growing major economy in the world. China is the 2nd largest importer of goods, and the largest exporter and trading nation. In 2010 (figures have undoubtedly risen since then), China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was the only Asian nation over $10 trillion, with only two other nations above that same $10 trillion benchmark: The United States and the European Union. Although I indicated “nations” to sort of mislead you, the fact is: China’s GDP is not that far behind the entire European Union (all 28 nations) GDP—some $18 trillion in US Dollars at the end of 2014. One of my sisters just recently gave me the gift of a new lawn chair that she purchased at Wal-Mart. I checked the manufacturing tag. What do you think it said? Easy Answer! What millions of products imported to America say: MADE IN CHINA.

Military: Were you aware that China is one of the nuclear powers on earth? You probably knew that, but did you also know that this nuclear armament includes well over 100 ICBMs that have the range to strike the USA? China’s armed forces budget of $148 billion is 2nd only to the United States. Moreover, there is reliable evidence that in the not so distant future, China may earmark nearly one trillion dollars a year for military expenditure. She currently maintains an active military force of 2,285,000 and has the capacity to field (if needed or wanted) a combined military—army, navy, air force—of an astounding 386 million men. AND an almost equal number of women! The potential number of service (men) alone exceeds the entire population of the USA.

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The Recent Formation of Some Remarkable Economic Alliances

The country’s name (China) is not actually found in Scripture, but there is an unmistakable allusion to this sleeping giant in the Bible. Both of these references are found in the context of the last part of the Great Tribulation, specifically in the series of battles that will be part of the greatest military conflict the world has ever seen or ever will see again: Armageddon.

Before we examine the two Biblical passages that point to the oriental power(s) that will participate in this epic war (to literally end all wars), let’s take a look at what’s happening between the two most unlikely countries to achieve any kind of cooperation between its people, including economic agreements: ISRAEL & CHINA.

Unlikely because—alongside of Arab and Muslim countries—communistic and socialistic nations have traditionally despised and denigrated Israel. But also likely, because this end-times association between China and Israel is part and parcel of the apocalyptic prophecies found in Daniel and Revelation. It is a startling contemporary development which identifies and confirms another piece of the prophetic puzzle.

In a recent article from a Tokyo-based online global news source called, The Diplomat, we read: “A convergence of commercial interests have led the People’s Republic of China and the State of Israel to develop an increasingly integrated bilateral economic partnership that is poised to flourish over the next decade. Bilateral trade has experienced a 200-fold increase since diplomatic ties were formally established in 1992, surging from $50 million to $10 billion in 2013, with plans to double that figure in the next few years.”

The article goes on to say that China is looking to Israel to supply technology necessary for maximum agricultural yield, as well as more competent water purification techniques that can enhance China’s urban and economic growth throughout the 21st century. This technology is crucial to a nation boasting 22 percent of the world’s population but only seven percent of the world’s arable land. To that end, Israel and China reached an agreement worth another $300 million for Israel to export water technology that will improve Chinese agricultural productivity.

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Opening Ceremonies, Beijing Olympics

Israel is also building strong economic ties with Japan and with India such as the Israeli Ports Company establishing a partnership with India’s Cargo Motors to construct a deep-water port in Gujarat; and Israel’s Towerjazz teaming up with India’s Jaiprakash Associates and IBM to build a $5.6 billion chip plant near Delhi.

Are these diplomatic and economic developments simply business as usual? Not hardly … not when it comes to tiny Israel with a population of some eight million (six million Jews) striking deals with the two largest (population) nations on earth, China and India. Or with Japan, which not that long ago boasted one of the most successful economies in the world (remember when Japanese businesses were buying up rich land in California and other states).

Although the EU is still Israel’s largest trading partner, that will gradually subside then come to a screeching halt during the Great Tribulation when the European based coalition headed by the beast of Revelation (Antichrist) will turn on Israel, attack her, and set out to conquer the entire world. As an example, recent reports from Middle East sources that I draw from indicate that the European Union is poised to sanction and further boycott Israel immediately after Israel’s elections on March 17th.

These sanctions are mostly geared to so-called Israeli settlements in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, but are also generated by the increasing anti-Semitism mindset that is pervasively prevalent in many European counties. I say so-called settlements because, in fact, ALL of Jerusalem belongs to Israel. These settlements blocs and those in Judea-Samaria (the correct name for the so-called West Bank) were legally zoned and paid for by Israeli towns and citizens.

How/Where Does China Fit into The Bible’s Last Days Prophecies?

Let’s begin with the oldest end-times prophecy that announces the ruler to whom ten kings and their kingdoms (modern-day nations) will yield allegiance and join forces. This despotic king is none other than the man of lawlessness depicted by the Apostle Paul, the beast of Revelation, and the Antichrist labeled by the Apostle John. Much has been written about this evil tyrant, including his very identity as found in my book, Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved, 666? And through several Eye of Prophecy articles that can be located in the category of Antichrist.

He is first introduced by the prophet Daniel in Chapter 7, then again in Chapter 9, and once more in Chapter 11. It is the latter chapter we want to focus on: “Then at the time of the end, the king of the south will attack the king of the north. The king of the north will storm out with chariots, charioteers, and a vast navy. He will invade various lands and sweep through them like a flood. He will enter the glorious land of Israel, and many nations will fall … He will conquer many countries, and even Egypt will not escape … But then news from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in great anger to destroy and obliterate many. He will stop between the glorious holy mountain and the sea and will pitch his royal tents. But while he is there, his time will suddenly run out, and no one will help him” (Daniel 11:40-45, italics for emphasis).

The king of the south is most likely the ruler(s) of Egypt or Syria and possibly Gulf-state Arab allies. From preceding verses in this chapter it is abundantly clear that the king of the north is Antichrist. During his assault against the king of the south, he extends this massive campaign by attacking other countries including his ultimate target, Israel. But suddenly alarming developments (news) from both the north and the east will infuriate him. Consequently, Antichrist and his ten-kingdom federation will turn their attention to these (military) threats. (How dare they oppose him?) With an equally obvious conclusion that the passage is referring to a nation or nations from the east because the king of the north, “sets out in great anger to destroy and obliterate many,” i.e. war on a huge scale. Wars on this implied scale are only waged between nations, not merely ethnic groups.

We also know this will take place toward the very end of the seven-year Tribulation period, as the Antichrist King of the north establishes his headquarters between the holy mountain of Israel which is Jerusalem and the Mediterranean Sea, which is the hill and surrounding valley of Megiddo, from which we get the term, Armageddon. Then, “his time will suddenly run out…” because Christ will intervene and stop Antichrist cold in his tracks.

For purpose of this article, the focal point of this passage is the discernible conclusion that eastern countries mobilize their armies against Antichrist. There would be no reason for the king of the North to get so bent out of shape and redirect his military might in response to this alarming news from the east, unless these (eastern) nations and armies were threatening his specific operation against the king of the south and other nearby countries (especially Israel) and his more general megalomania goal of world domination. To further confirm this scenario, let’s look at the second prophetic passage that literally directs our attention to the East … this time found in the Book of Revelation.

Kings of the East

In the next to last bowl judgment, which is also the next to last of twenty-one total judgments (seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls), we read this amazing prophecy: “Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great Euphrates River, and it dried up so that the kings from the east could march their armies toward the west without hindrance. And I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs leap from the mouths of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. They are demonic spirits who work miracles and go out to all the rulers of the world to gather them for battle against the Lord on that great judgment day of God the Almighty. And the demonic spirits gathered all the rulers and their armies to a place with the Hebrew name Armageddon” (Revelation 16:12-14 & 16, italics for emphasis).

There are some astounding things taking place in these few verses … indeed throughout the entire book of Revelation (and Daniel). Imagine if you can, a river as huge as the Euphrates simply drying up?! We know this mighty river turned dry-path is supernatural as God’s angel is the direct source of this wonder. There’s a divine logistical reason for this incredible event—so that, the kings from the east could march their armies toward the west without hindrance. This is all part of God’s providential plan for two massive coalitions and the national armies comprising these alliances to fight against each other, only to then turn against Messiah himself in a totally futile attempt to wage war against the King of kings.

Who are these kings from the east? Geographically they must be east of Israel, as Israel is the center point of nearly all end-times prophecies, both Old and New Testament, both spiritually and literally. All Biblical directional references to Gentile nations originate from Israel’s location in the Middle East. One possibility is that the kings of the east could refer to modern-day Iran or Iraq (Middle East); however, that is not a logical or valid choice. For the reason that Iraq or Babylon is no longer a threat to any other nation. Iraq fell into disarray when Saddam Hussein was ousted by American led coalition forces. Iran, plus any forces left in Iraq, will be supernaturally defeated along with Russia in the Gog-Magog attack against Israel (Ezekiel 38 & 39).

The only viable kings and kingdoms that the prophets Daniel and John (Revelation) are referencing would be the contemporary nations of Japan, Korea, and most prominent of all—China. However, I believe India will also be part of this enormous military assault against Antichrist and his ten-kingdom confederation.

When Antichrist breaks his seven-year treaty with Israel and subsequently invades the Holy Land, these Far-East Nations will mobilize their armies and march west through the Middle East over the dried-up Euphrates River, straight toward the Valley of Megiddo.

China, by itself, is capable today of taking on any national unity in the world, including the United States, Russia, or the European Union. But when you throw in Japan and Korea (North or South or a unified Korea) and especially India, even the Antichrist led coalition of nations (which I believe will include the United States, albeit an America with a much weaker economy and military due to loss of so many people at the Rapture) will not be able to withstand such an onslaught.

The dragon (Satan), the beast (Nero), and the false prophet will realize that they have rudely awakened a sleeping giant and, after a series of bloody battles, will fully comprehend that they have no choice but to joins forces with their eastern enemies to fight against the Lion from the Tribe of Judah… Messiah Yeshua. In fact that suits Antichrist’s ultimate goal, which is to crush Israel, eradicate the Tribulation saints, and establish his own messianic kingdom on earth. What better way to accomplish that objective than aligning with the formidable kings of the east. If you can’t beat them, join them!

Will the Far East giants China and India and other oriental nations assemble against Antichrist because they want to come to Israel’s aid? Yes and No. Ostensibly that will most likely be their stated purpose for this cataclysmic confrontation with Antichrist; however, their true motivation will undoubtedly be the same reason that Russia and her allies (Gog/Magog) attack Israel in the early part of the Tribulation, and the same incentive that motivates Antichrist to overrun Israel. Actually, there are two reasons: (1) to gain control of the vast oil/gas wealth in the Middle East including newly found reserves of natural gas off the shores of Israel. (2) To fulfill Satan’s age-old diabolical plan of erasing Israel from the face of the earth and, in doing so, complete Hitler’s horrendous agenda of genocide of the Jewish race … this time through the Antichrist.

But this (last of the last days) unholy alliance—when west for one brief apocalyptic moment meets east—will be crushed by the rider on the white horse whose name was, “…Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war” (Revelation 19:11). “… and his title was the Word of God” (Verse 13). And, “…the beast and the kings of the world and their armies gathered together to fight against the one sitting on the horse and his army” (Verse 19).

Noteworthy in this final epic battle of Armageddon is that “the kings (plural) of the world and their armies” were now aligned against Messiah. In other words, the scene in Revelation Chapter 16 and Daniel Chapter 11 shifts from two massive military empires facing each other to a (spur of the moment) unified global military alliance against Christ. Such arrogance, such folly, such stupidity!

Would you want to take on someone who had descended from the clouds (from heaven) with a vast host (army) descending with him?! How do you fight against someone like that? Such, I suppose, is the vanity of evil and the mystery of iniquity.

Things to Ponder

Not until the very end, the last few days of the Tribulation do all (except of course Israel) nations attempt to do battle with God, himself (Messiah). Although this would be an article topic for another week in Eye of Prophecy (which I may very well do in the near future) please consider the following: Contrary to what has been a recurring theme for several decades promoted even by the best of Biblical scholars and teachers, I firmly believe there will be no such thing as a One-World Government, until Jesus Christ returns and establishes the majestic Kingdom of God on this earth. THEN there will be a divinely unified system of truth, justice, and peace never before experienced on this earth … the Millennial Reign of Messiah Jesus.

First, according to Daniel 7 and Revelation 17, there will be ten kings (kingdoms or nations) that will comprise this formidable military coalition headed by the little horn of Daniel and the king-beast of Revelation—both of whom are the Antichrist. Secondly, this king of the north who is also the Antichrist will do battle with the kings of the East, as already explained.

Question: How can there be a One-World Government (economically and militarily) unless ALL nations (at least the powerful ones) are part of that Government? Bible prophecy clearly and unambiguously tells us that the Antichrist and his ten-nation kingdom will have enemies, i.e. the king of the south and even more dangerous foes—the Eastern kings (and their kingdoms) who are giants awakened from international neutrality by a man who wants to conquer the Middle East and then the whole world?

If you have one multi-national force opposing another multi-national force, does that sound like a global world government or military to you? To me it sounds exactly like what happened before and during World War I and World War II; one bloc of nations conspiring and warring against another bloc of nations. Prior to the last day when Christ utterly vanquishes ALL the forces and armies of evil, Armageddon—by Biblical prophecy and historical precedence—will become World War III. With West pitted against East.

Notice the plural significance of the following passage when it comes to kings and nations contrasted to the typically taught premise of a one-world single unity type of government. Also take note that the only reference to a world-wide kingdom is none other than the Kingdom of God:

“During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered. It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever” (Daniel 2:44).

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders … His government and its peace will never end…” (Isaiah 9:6-7)

Age of Grace (Part III)

Grace Is Far Greater than the Law

Is there anything more alarming, more distressing than to be told that you or someone you love has cancer?

Fortunately, through modern technology, treatment has added a few months or years to the life of those diagnosed with this dreaded disease. Yet, sooner or later, many will succumb to this fearful mysterious ailment in which the body actually fights against itself by altering healthy cells; thereby tricking the immune system to ignore these transmuted cells as though they were a natural part of the body.

Spiritually, our heart and mind often operate the same way when we react to sin in our lives. Though the symptoms of the wrong we do are clearly manifested by the grievous consequences in our life and in the lives of those we’ve wronged through lying, stealing, gossiping, adultery, dishonesty and any number of transgressions; we often do our best (or worst) to deny what we’ve done or try to minimize the harm it has caused. Or, if we to some degree or another acknowledge that we were wrong, did wrong; we latch onto a moral set of principles or a religious set of rules that sometimes can soothe our conscience and give us a false sense of security. Only to time and time again do exactly what we didn’t want to do, or not do precisely what we knew was right to do.

Confusing? Inexplicable? Exasperating? Distressing? Sadly, yes and more.

Despite the valiant human struggle against incurable diseases, all too often the disease wins the battle. Just check the obituaries for a few days and see how many times you read something to the effect: “She passed away in the presence of her loving family after a courageous two-year battle with cancer.”

Likewise, despite the best defense we can muster against greed, selfishness, pride, and a host of other devastating and demoralizing spiritual ailments, the outcome is virtually inevitable: Sin wins, we lose.

For decades, the very best of our scientists, biologists, and doctors have fought a brave and competent war against terminal diseases. Billions of dollars have been spent on research, technology, drugs, and various medical cures; yet cancer and a host of other illnesses continue to ravage the human race.

But, what if you signed on to the Internet one morning or picked up your local newspaper. On the Front page of both news sources you read the incredible headlines: “WE HAVE IT! A PROVEN VACCINE TO PREVENT & CURE ALL CANCERS!

Upon further reading you discover that this vaccine is totally free and abundantly available to the whole world. That one dose is all-sufficient to eradicate cancer.

What would you do? Would you:

(A) Insist on paying for the vaccine? If so, how much? To answer that question, wouldn’t you need to come up with a dollar value for your life or the life of a loved one?

(B) Tell yourself and others that, “it’s too good to be true. I don’t believe it.” And keep saying this five, then ten years later (if you live that long) in spite of overwhelming evidence that thousands and thousands of people have been set free from cancer.

(C) Out of hand, reject this free global gift given by three wealthy and gracious benefactors whose enduring compassion for the suffering of mankind was equally matched with their ability to sacrificially pay for such an incredible cure. With your given reason that you preferred to “do your part” by continuing the chemo-therapy, radiation, or immunology treatments with a proud emphasis on, “no pain, no gain.”

(D) Or would you, with heartfelt gratitude that someone else could and would do all this for you, gladly accept this gracious gift? With an open mind receive the vaccine dose and immediately realize that you had been cured and would be protected against the inevitable death sentence imposed by this awful disease?

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To Work for or to Rest in God’s Grace?

Our analogy is easy to grasp: Sin is cancer of the heart, soul, and mind. And, the only cure is God’s Grace given through His matchless Son’s death on the Cross and resurrection from the dead; administered by the Holy Spirit by believing and receiving this free pardon from the deserved penalty of sin, by substituting eternal separation from God with everlasting life in heaven. A COMPLETE CURE, with no booster shots needed! From three gracious and enormously wealthy benefactors: God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Listen to these life-giving words of God through the Apostle Paul: “But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) … So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God” (Ephesians 2:4-5, 7-8).

If you chose options A, B, or C, what do you think your family and friends might say? Something like, “How can you be so foolish,” Or even stronger language; “You fool.” Or if you made the obviously right choice (D), but then decided that (despite all evidence to the contrary) the vaccination alone wasn’t enough to keep you cured. So you begin to take all sorts of daily supplements—many of which produced debilitating side effects—just in case….

Which, as alluded to in last week’s article, is exactly why the Apostle Paul told the Galatian Christians, “How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort” (Galatians 3:3).

Then for those (unbelievers) who couldn’t and wouldn’t accept the awesome remedy—God’s free gift of Grace exhibited in and given through His Son, Jesus—for the horrible malady and consequences of sin, Paul says: “But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.’ So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, ‘It is through faith that a righteous person has life.’ This way of faith is very different from the way of the law, which says, ‘It is through obeying the law that a person has life.’” (Galatians 3:10-12).

Paul also explains, “…The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian” (Galatians 3:24-25). Guardian here incorporates the idea of complete acknowledgement of and unwavering obedience to everything the guardian says that the one guarded must do. Going back to what Jesus said concerning the law: “I have come to accomplish their purpose.” He’s emphasizing that he came to fulfill the purpose of the law. That purpose is explained in the verses just quoted … guardianship through instruction. Plus, the law was given to show us what sin really is, in all its ugliness, as stated earlier in this chapter. (Verse 19).

Absolutely, Jesus fulfilled the law. He did so because God demanded a perfect sacrifice. According to the Levitical sacrificial requirements, only an unblemished healthy animal (the best of the flock) could qualify as an innocent atonement for the people’s sins. Likewise, only the perfect Son of God would qualify as a substitutionary propitiation (a satisfactory appeasement to God) for the wrong things we’ve done, by virtue of his total absence from the disease and effects of sin. Messiah Jesus is the Just for the unjust, the Righteous for the unrighteous, and the Perfect for the imperfect.

Make no mistake: Sin is a disease that produces both spiritual and physical symptoms and consequences. Physical death is a certainty and spiritual death (eternal separation from God and heaven) is a given, unless God’s spiritual remedy through Christ is accepted at face value and received as it was meant to be given—freely by the Grace of God. Without adding any man-made supplements (rules and regulations) to this divine prescription!

Christ fulfilled the law so we wouldn’t have to, because we couldn’t; either to get saved, or to stay saved, or to earn his favor, or anything else that we try to obtain or attain through our merit, self-worth, good works, or whatever. God knew that we could never, ever in a thousand lifetimes completely keep the law. That’s why the Levitical sacrificial system was given—a preliminary instructional example of the ultimate atonement for sins through Messiah, himself.

“So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Is our obedience better than our sacrifices, as Scripture says? Yes, but only when we understand what obedience truly is. It is understanding that we obey not because we have to, not only because the Law requires it; but because we want to obey. We obey because we love the Lord, and we love him because he first loved us. But we also understand that we disobey … all too often. And then we even better understand why Jesus kept the entire law: to qualify as the absolute, perfect sacrifice for those who could never even come close to keeping (fulfilling) the law. That God’s pardon for sin cannot be earned or merited; instead, it is graciously given as a gift.

There is absolutely no condemnation whatsoever for those who are (born-again) in Christ Jesus, including condemnation for failure to keep/obey the law. (Romans 8:1). There’s no judgment, because God judged his Son, Jesus, in our place. Technically, it’s not our sins that will send us to hell; rather it’s rejecting the perfect sacrifice for those sins. That’s crystal clear in Scripture. The legalistic Galatians were giving people the impression that the law (and fulfilling it) was actually more important than God’s grace. In doing so, they were preaching a false gospel.

That doesn’t mean the law is invalid. It only means that when you add keeping of the law to salvation through faith in God’s grace, then you have a destructive hybrid that will send someone straight to hell. Millions of people down through the ages have tragically died in their sins because they wouldn’t let go of their system of good works as the means of obtaining a right relationship with God and/or maintaining that relationship until the day they died. The Law served its purpose as a temporary instructor for the Jews, because they were called out by God to be a special people to show God to the nations. When Christ came, he WAS the complete fulfillment of the Law. Today he is alive and well! He IS the living WORD of God (John 1:1). He IS the living LAW of God.

God doesn’t measure us by our performance. If he did, no one could possibly “measure up.” He relates to us exclusively through the life, death, and resurrection of his Son; then our faith to believe and receive that free gift which is exactly what the Grace of God and the Age of Grace is all about.

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Falling Away from Grace

Paul also told the Galatians that he, feared for them (Galatians 4:11). Meaning those who were trying to put the fear of God into others for not complying with legalistic rules and conduct, best be afraid for themselves of … as Paul said later, “falling away from God’s grace” (Galatians 5:4).

For sure, abusing and misusing God’s grace is wrong, i.e. deliberate, planned, willful sinning just because we know God will forgive when confessed, is totally wrong. But the falling away from God’s grace is a danger that Paul warned about to the legalistic Galatians. Falling from grace does not mean loss of salvation; rather, it means removing (departure from or abandoning) the Grace of God as the (only) source of salvation and Christian living, in favor of legalistic rules and behavior. The bad thing about legalistic believers and churches is that they mislead so many others who are on the bubble of whether to rely exclusively on the grace/mercy of God, or to take matters into their own hands and devise ways to “help God show his favor to them.”

The best thing any of us can possibly do is to say, “Lord, I can’t do this (meaning keep His law); please, you do it through me.” And, yes, that is possible only when we yield to Him, but that yielding is not a matter of keeping rules, whether imposed by the law or by ourselves or by others. By the very fact that we say that we can’t do this on our own, we are yielding to the grace of God that says he will do it through us. That’s the difference between Works and Grace. Works (trying through human effort to keep the law and striving to do well) says, “Thanks anyway, but I’ll do this myself, because it’s up to me to see that it’s done.” Grace says, “I’ve tried, but I can’t do it. Thank you, Lord, for doing it for me, all the way to the Cross. Your grace is sufficient to get me through this day, no matter what happens.” (And that also means if I mess up … disobey).

Once more, read what the Holy Spirit through Paul says, “You are trying to earn favor with God by observing certain days or months or seasons or years. I fear for you … I plead with you to live as I do in freedom from these things, for I have become like you Gentiles—free from those laws” (Galatians 4:10-12).

What an astounding statement! Paul is telling the legalistic Jews that the law no longer has any hold on him, that he was free from the law just like the Gentiles who made no effort whatsoever to keep the Jewish law in the first place. Thus, the only thing that would/could save the Gentiles and also condemn them if they refused, was believing in and accepting the Grace of God, which is the free gift of salvation. Paul implored the Jews to fully fathom the same thing—redemption was by grace through faith plus absolutely nothing else, as the exclusive way to right standing with God; and, by far, the very best means of living the Christian life.

The ceremonial observation of certain (holy) days was just one example of many that Paul could have used. In fact, he also talked about Galatian Jews who had demanded circumcision for the Gentiles in order to be saved or stay saved. In other letters he wrote (such as Romans), Paul talks about eating certain foods and drinking (wine). In other words, he includes all those things that moralizing people impose on themselves and others including the Law of Moses. Paul rebuts that by saying (referring to circumcision as just one example), that if the Galatians are going to insist on circumcision or anything else that they demand obedience to, then they better keep the entire law ALL THE TIME.

Listen to these strong words from Paul: “I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses” (Galatians 5:3). And if they couldn’t (which is obvious), then they should cease and desist from teaching others that they must continue keeping (fulfilling) the law in order to be righteous and stay righteous through their own effort or self-worth. We are not only saved by GRACE, we live by it every day.

Faith in Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice (just like Abraham had faith in God’s promise of Isaac, a precursor of the coming Messiah) is the NEW WAY, the new law if you will. In fact, Paul terms it, “the law of Christ.” The Law wasn’t given to the Jews through Moses until hundreds of years after Abraham died. Yet Abraham had been declared righteous (right standing with God) solely because of Abraham’s faith—not rote, ritualistic observance of any system of laws, rules, ordinances or any other man-made ideas of what it takes to please God. That even included the subsequent Law of Moses which clearly showed right from wrong. But which could not—because of everyone’s inability to consistently keep the law—save anyone from the power and penalty of sin.

That’s why the Bible frequently tells us that trust in the Lord is the one, essential way of pleasing God. Trusting the Lord IS obedience. Because it comes from the heart, not from an external, superficial sense of obligation to keep the law as a means to obtain God’s favor.

Of course, obedience is important; but because we, in fact, disobey, then how much obedience is necessary (in light of our frequent disobedience) in order to please God? Do you know how much, does anyone? But even a little faith (trusting the Lord) as small as a mustard seed can move mountains … obviously meaning that God will honor that faith and do great things for/through us.

Those who doubted or even disbelieved that Christ was the Son of God, but also some who were sincerely seeking to know if Jesus was the Messiah asked this question of Jesus: “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?” (John 6:28). Jesus’s reply was both simple and profound: “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent” (Verse 29, italics for emphasis). Years later, the Apostle John restated Jesus’s words: “And this is his (God’s) commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us” (I John 4:23).

Later, during one of the many times when the religious Pharisees tried to trap Jesus into saying or doing something that would violate the (their interpretation thereof) Law of Moses, Jesus was asked what was the most important commandment in the Law of Moses. “Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40, italics for emphasis).

Do you see what’s going on here with these phenomenal replies from Jesus as recorded by John and Matthew? He is explaining the very essence of what is required of every person who has ever lived: Belief in Messiah Yeshua that will produce a heart of love and gratitude for God and for our fellow human beings. (And in that order!)

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Things to Ponder

“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest’” (Matthew 11:28).

Jesus wants us to stop working so hard for something that has already been freely offered to us … God’s grace poured out through Messiah’s redemptive ransom on the Cross.

We’ve already earned more than we ever bargained for. We’ve earned death itself.

“For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23a).

Do your good deed for today (and every day). “And what might that be,” you ask? Answer: Simply take God at his word and understand that: Good deeds are a Result of salvation, not a Requirement for salvation.

“…But the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23b).

As the beautiful old Christian song goes:

Grace, grace, God’s grace,

Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;

Grace, grace, God’s grace,

Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Said John Newton, the former slave-trader, who wrote the famous song, Amazing Grace: “I am a great sinner, but Christ is a great Savior.”

Age of Grace (Part II)

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Grace versus Law

For parents out there who love their children, who would do just about anything to secure their child’s safety and freedom, what would you do if your twenty-one year old son ended up in a foreign prison of a totalitarian state for a first-time offense that he committed in a moment of youthful indiscretion? And even more heart-rending: a twelve-year prison sentence that should, by all rights, have been only a two-year penalty to fit the crime. Fill in the blanks with your answer(s) to such a tough question … such a difficult dilemma. Whatever your reaction, it’s likely that such emotions as embarrassment, sadness, disbelief, anxiety, and probably anguish would flood your mind and heart.

But what if, by what many might call a stroke of luck, government bureaucrats of that dictatorial country relented and reduced the sentence to five years? Then … what if, by what others would consider to be the grace of God, court officials in an act of unprecedented mercy commuted your son’s sentence by deporting him back to the United States, back to family and friends … back to you?!

Of course you would be thrilled and grateful for such an astonishing turn of events. But after all the preparations had been made for your son’s return home, what would be your response if you received a call from your son telling you that he preferred to remain in prison for the full twelve years? Because he didn’t think that his punishment (or the punishment for any crime) should be pardoned or forgiven. That he didn’t believe in mercy of any kind, particularly a gracious amnesty that would give him a second chance for a brand new start to life.

Now, take this illustration to another (lower) level: What if your son told you that after serving his full sentence, he intended to remain in this autocratic state that demanded complete capitulation, absolute adherence, and submissive surrender to its laws and leaders for the rest of his life? He wanted no part of the democratic freedom so cherished in the United States of America. That he preferred the idea of rule by force, of might makes right, of survival of the fittest and strongest. In short, rejection of the precept that every person has the God-given inalienable privilege to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. Moreover, if he ever felt like reclaiming his freedom in America, he would first need to earn that right of return by serving under this system of despotically overbearing regulations; heavy-handed even to those who managed to obey most of these suppressive laws in an oppressive country full of mindless, robot-like submission to domineering leaders who demanded perfect performance (obedience) from their subjects.

Perplexing? Incomprehensible? Shocking!

That’s exactly the Apostle Paul’s reaction to what had happened in some of the churches in Galatia. Especially the Jewish believers who, for all practical purpose, wanted to give back their heavenly citizenship rights, to give up their incredible freedom purchased with the life-blood of Jesus. Some had returned to the Law of Moses as a means to salvation; thereby, becoming imprisoned once again to the enslaving notion that human effort (good works) was the only way to merit a right relationship with God.

Paul’s greeting to the churches in Galatia begins with a solemn but joyful reminder of what Jesus had done for them: “Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen” (Galatians 1:4-5).

Then immediately Paul gets to the point of his grave concern over what had happened in the Church: “I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News, but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ” (Galatians 1:6-7). Who and what was twisting the truth of the Gospel? Why was Paul so upset that they were so soon turning away from God? The answer is found in the rest of the book of Galatians with a highlight summary found in the following verse:

“Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law” (Galatians 2:16).

Should anyone think that (if the good things they do outweigh the bad) they might be an exception to this universal Divine truth, read again the last sentence of this verse: For NO ONE will ever be made right with God by obeying the law! (Upper case letters, italics, and exclamation point for added emphasis).

A few years later, Paul conveyed to the church at Ephesus this same crucial truth—God’s grace through the sacrificial atonement of God’s Son was the exclusive source of redemption, not the unattainable requirements of the Law of Moses. This time the context was both Jew and Gentile being united as one new person in Christ, but the emphasis was the same:

“For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations….” (Ephesians 2:14-15, italics for emphasis).

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Fulfilling and (then) Ending the Law

Today, just as in Paul’s time, we see legalistic efforts to bend, shape, and contort the Grace of God into a massive maze of rulings and regulations and rituals that (1) cleverly contradict and deviously distort the very means of salvation; or (2) change the Holy Spirit led dynamics of living the Christian life with an inordinate impossible demand of keeping the Old Covenant as a means of staying saved or meriting God’s favor (Grace) for daily life and (hopeful) entrance to heaven at the time of death.

Religious requirements come in packages of all shapes and sizes. Including, but not limited to, organizational church-imposed and/or church-expected meritorious works through self-effort such as: Infant and adult baptism, church membership, mandatory tithes, completion of non-Biblical catechism curriculum, periodic sacrament observance, compulsory recital of prayers or excerpts from religious books, obligatory giving to the poor, forced observance of special holy days, requisite penance for transgressions, necessary hostility to those who believe differently (infidels), rote performance of required rituals, prescribed practice of non-Biblical church traditions, involuntary abstinence from certain foods and drinks, confirmed celibacy, and perfunctory performance of “righteous” deeds—most of which are dutifully defined by the ecclesiastical hierarchy of that religion that end up being nothing more than self-righteous exploits.

Over and over the apostle Paul tells us that the Grace of God not only saves us, but keeps us saved. That trying to keep the law to get saved or stay saved is not only impossible, but an affront to God. Oftentimes well-meaning Christians as well as not so well-meaning cults that are Christian in name only will twist and turn the words of Jesus to try to persuade their listeners that the Law of Moses, including the clerical priesthood, was never removed. Therefore, they contend that it is incumbent upon all who want to obtain and maintain a right standing with God and with their church to comply with the Law and regulatory church traditions in order to enter and remain in a “state of Grace.” Which means among other things that any unconfessed violations of the Law prior to one’s death could very well prevent that person from going to heaven. For example, that’s why Catholic priests administer last rites.

What exactly did Jesus mean when he said: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17, NASB). The Greek word for fulfill is pleroo (pronounced play-ro’-o) which means: to complete, to consummate, to carry into effect, to accomplish the purpose of (the Law). How does this profound statement of truth from Christ match up with the above quoted passage from Ephesians Chapter 2, in which Paul, in no uncertain terms declares that Christ ended the system of law with its commandments and regulations?

Who’s right; Jesus or Paul? Of course that’s a senseless question because they’re both right, even though they’re saying what appears to be (at face value) opposite things. There are many verses in Scripture that are completely stand-alone verses, such as John 3:16. However, there are other passages that must be compared, Scripture with Scripture (the whole counsel of God), and not quoted independently as a means to defend a viewpoint or position that is wrong to begin with because of the very fact that the verse is used out of context or because it (if not adequately clarified and understood) might seemingly contradict another passage. The Bible never negates itself; so if there are two or more passages which seem to do just that, then they must be carefully analyzed, compared, and explained together as a whole. All cults are based on a handful of verses that, when not correlated to other Scripture, will distort the main tenets of the Bible (especially salvation) and create a whole new religion, which Paul calls a false gospel.

Without a properly balanced examination of the seemingly paradoxical fact that Jesus fulfilled the Law of Moses only to end the Law, three theological/spiritual errors will (many times have) result.

  • The misguided notion that God’s Grace—without an equal emphasis on and keeping of the Mosaic Law—is not enough to be born again (saved, redeemed).
  • The idea that we must continually keep the law to gain God’s favor after salvation.
  • That continuous good works (fulfilling the law) is necessary to keep God’s grace intact right up to the time of death, in order that one not lose or forfeit their salvation.

When Jesus said, “I came to fulfill the law,” the emphasis is on “I,” meaning Christ, himself. That it was He, and only He who could have fulfilled the law; which totally qualifies him as the only one who could make the once and for all sacrifice for our sins. He didn’t say or mean that he accomplished all points of the law in order that we, too, must strive to fulfill it. Just the opposite: He fulfilled it because we couldn’t. Christ said this to reinforce the fact that no human being could ever successfully keep the law either as a means of salvation or as a means to preserve that salvation. Once he achieved perfection with the law, there is no need for any of us to try or to keep trying to fulfill it ourselves, because we can’t … never could and never will. “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23).

Paul further reinforces what Jesus said and did: “For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God” (Romans 4:4). A commentary on that verse would be: Christ did all the work … now all we have to do is believe in him and what he did (before, during, and after the Cross).

In other words, Scripture tells us to stop focusing on (impossible or at least inconsistent) obedience to the law and focus on Jesus alone. Obedience will then come more naturally (actually supernaturally). For further clarification, notice that I, based on Scripture, didn’t say that we have no obligation to obey God’s moral and spiritual laws; rather the emphasis is how and why we obey the law. And it’s certainly not to earn salvation or merit God’s grace. Keep reading for more amplification.

What Christ is saying is that the law itself will never be abolished. “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” and the other commandments will always be God’s principled standard of conduct, but which no one can or ever will keep. (Break one law and you break them all is what Scripture clearly teaches). Of course the Ten Commandments are still a moral compass that is every bit as applicable today as it was when the law was given. But what about the hundreds of years before the law was given, going at least back to the time of Abraham? How were those folks made right with God, when there was no law? (See Romans Chapter 4 for the answer to that question).

According to Jesus and Paul, one of the most grievous most damaging sins were those of the Pharisees, whom Jesus called sons of the devil, sons of hell, hypocrites; and certain Jews (both believers and unbelievers) who Paul accused of combining Law with Grace, Why? Because not only did they consider themselves righteous by virtue of keeping the law, but they were making others “sons of hell” by telling them that the only way to gain God’s favor and forgiveness was by keeping the law of Moses. That’s why they crucified Christ, because he said he was the Messiah; because he told them that He was the only Way, Truth, and Life and that no one could come to the Father except through him. That’s why they rejected him; because to them the Mosaic Law was the only way to God. How dare someone say differently!

Jesus warned the Jewish leaders, “Moses, himself, will condemn you” (John 5:45). That statement is utterly astonishing! How or why would Moses condemn anyone for keeping the law? Answer: Because they placed the law above the only way of true righteousness—faith in Christ (and before Jesus came, faith in the promise of his coming). That is why the only people that Jesus ever truly censured were the (self) righteous religious teachers of the law.

On the contrary, those who acknowledged their inherent sin nature and the iniquities this sin nature innately (naturally) produced, those who reached out to Jesus for physical and spiritual healing; experienced salvation through and from a Savior who loved them and who longed to save them from their sins … from eternal judgment apart from God.

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What Actually Is Abolished? The Actual Purpose of the Law

What IS abolished is the keeping of the law or fulfillment of the law in order to be saved and to stay saved. In fact, that never existed in the first place … meaning salvation through the law. But neither is trying to live the Christian life ever successful or even recognized by the Lord through the self-effort of “fulfilling the law.” That’s why Paul told the believers in Galatia that they were “foolish.” (Galatians 3:1). He went on to challenge them, “Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the Law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? …why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?” (Verses 2-3).    Paul continues: “Why, then was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised….” (Galatians 3:19). The progenitor promised child was Abraham’s son, Isaac (not Ishmael); with Jesus Christ as the ultimate Child of Promise (to the whole world).

Therefore, Scripture is crystal clear that the law was temporary. It’s only purpose was to show just what sinners we are, so that we would stop trying to keep the law as a means of salvation or even as a means of trying to please God and keep in good standing with him after we’re saved.

Our good works are a RESULT of the free gift of salvation (God’s Grace). Not a requirement or the means of salvation. Our right standing with God is based on a RELATIONSHIP with him through his Son, Messiah Jesus. Not through any religion.

We can try all we want to satisfy the law or any rules and regulations that we impose on ourselves and others, and it will do us absolutely no good, whatsoever. In fact it only leads to total frustration and failure. Both secular humanism and clergy and laity alike in religious systems such as Mormonism, Catholicism, Jehovah Witnesses, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, but even some born-again Christians are constantly and in futility trying to: Work their way into or back into God’s favor.

Frankly, that’s an insult to God because it contradicts and replaces the only means of a right relationship with God … Jesus Christ. In fact, Paul tells us that when we make the law our main focus and falsely believe that keeping it will keep us in good standing with God, we are “crucifying Christ” all over again.

There’s more. Paul perceptively states: “But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law (Paul is referring to anyone who would say we were “guilty” if we discard the law). Would that mean that Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not! Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down. For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die” (Galatians 2:17-21, italics for emphasis).

Those who have a legalistic mindset, including some Christians, are those who live by a list of do(s) and don’t(s), including the law and other things they think must be followed. They (erroneously) believe that God’s favor is earned by good behavior. Conversely, true Christianity is expressed by those who love the Lord and live in gratitude for his free gift of grace and eternal life. By relying on the Holy Spirit who enables us, “…to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

To constantly tell or remind others that Christ came to fulfill the law but not to abolish it, without clarifying what that means or without explaining that both salvation and the Christian life, itself, is through grace and grace alone, is to confuse and mislead them. Cults do that all the time. They add to or subtract from the Bible. Or they take one or two verses and make an entire doctrine out of them, without comparing the passage with the whole counsel of Scripture.

It’s a deadly spiritual recipe … a mixture of Law and Grace.

Things to Ponder

If anyone was told that they would be granted a full pardon for their crimes (sins) against God, why would they want to stay in or return to the prison (of their sins)? Why would they throw away the key of Grace that opened the prison door of sin to set them free? How could they step back into a prison cell of a legalistic penal system that requires flawless performance and picture-perfect behavior in order to be released from a jail with four walls and a ceiling covered with do(s) and don’t(s) that no one could ever keep no matter how hard they try?

Stay tuned next week as we look at the third and final article on the Age of Grace.

Age of Grace (Part I)

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The New Covenant … A Much Better Way

The Golden Age of Israel and its kings was nearing an end. Soon after Solomon’s reign ended in 930 BC, the Jewish nation had split into two kingdoms, with the northern kingdom falling first to the mighty Assyrian Empire in 722 BC. Despite ominous warnings of destruction from the mouth of the weeping prophet, Jeremiah, the southern kingdom would also succumb to an even greater empire, Babylon.

Jeremiah’s prophecies foretold the disaster that would befall Judah if she continued on her evil path of disobedience; of decadence that often exceeded the wickedness of the Gentile nations for whom Israel was to bear the torch of God’s light and share the eternal word of the Sovereign God of the Universe. Time and time again, Jeremiah (and other prophets) uttered words of warning such as: “Your wickedness will bring its own punishment. Your turning from me will shame you. You will see what an evil, bitter thing it is to abandon the Lord your God and not to fear him. I, the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!” (Jeremiah 2:19).

Yet like Isaiah, whose prophecies often spoke of the coming Messiah who would redeem, rescue, and then reestablish Israel as a beacon light to the nations; so, too, did Jeremiah offer hope and encouragement to God’s special possession, the Jews. But it came in the form of a most remarkable and unexpected prophecy; a promise that would forever change and ultimately replace the very foundation of their faith, of their individual and national relationship to Almighty God. This astounding prediction came just a few years before the 10-year series of Babylonian crusades against Judah, culminating in the ruthless defeat of Israel including the devastating destruction of Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple in 586 BC.

It was a promise that would be fulfilled in and accomplished by Messiah, himself. A promise that would divide time itself. One that would separate the Old from the New. One that would do what no one else could do but God himself: change stone into flesh … write God’s instructions of life, love, hope, and peace not just on stone tablets, but on the human heart. A promise that would produce so great a salvation unlike anything ever contemplated or even imagined. An unconditional gift that required nothing from those to whom the gift was given, except merely to believe it was true and receive the Gift-bearer, himself … none other than Messiah Jesus.

It would usher in a whole new epoch of mankind’s relationship to the Creator; an era that would see Divine righteousness imputed to Jew and Gentile alike, through God’s unconditional, unmerited, and unearned favor and mercy to the human race. It would be a new exciting incomparable: AGE OF GRACE.

Jeremiah vividly described how and through whom this New Covenant would be accomplished: “In those days and at that time I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. In that day Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this will be its name: ‘The Lord is Our Righteousness’” (Jeremiah 33:15-16).

Such a phenomenal plan! Such an astonishing agreement! How could such a thing be done—to eliminate the Old Covenant which required every person’s obedience to every one of God’s laws in order to achieve a right standing before God? Something which no one has ever been able to attain (on their own) or ever will achieve through self-effort. Jeremiah tells us that such a thing will be possible through, “a righteous descendant from King David.” Another prophet also explained how this would happen: “…my righteous servant (Messiah) will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins … because he exposed himself to death … He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels” (Isaiah 53:11-12).

A New Way … A New Covenant!

Less than a generation before Israel suffered (at that time) the greatest calamity ever experienced by a nation—indescribable personal torment and national distress, massive loss of life, and deportation of the survivors—here is what the prophet Jeremiah said God would do for Israel sometime after their return from Babylonian captivity:

“The day is coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife, says the Lord. But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord. I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people … And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins” (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

Undoubtedly, many who heard or read these words from Jeremiah recalled the written words of Moses who reminded his people just a short time before Joshua led the Hebrews into the Promised Land: “The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Mount Sinai” (Deuteronomy 5:2). Then in verses six through twenty-one of that same chapter, Moses repeated the Ten Commandments to the congregation of Israel.

Equally certain is that some Jews at that time, particularly those who still followed the Lord to some extent or another, must have been stunned at this prophecy. It was amazing enough for Jeremiah to predict complete Babylonian conquest of Israel, demolition of the Temple, then exiled captivity in Babylon for exactly seventy years (all of which came to pass). That alone was beyond belief, even though Judah’s kings, priests, and common people knew all too well what had befallen the northern kingdom of Israel over one hundred years earlier. In near or complete denial, they simply couldn’t or wouldn’t accept the reality of God allowing a foreign pagan nation to destroy the Temple in which God’s very presence dwelled. However, by this time, they were too far gone in their own worship of pagan gods to realize that God had left the Temple (see the Book of Ezekiel).

But even those who yielded to the reality of it all—beginning with King Nebuchadnezzar’s first campaign against Israel in 605 BC (at which time the prophet Daniel was taken prisoner and deported to Babylon)—couldn’t remotely fathom a completely NEW COVENANT initiated by God to replace the Covenant of the Law given to them through Moses. Using today’s vernacular, it must have blown them away.

Most Jews to this very day still haven’t conceptualized the mind-boggling reality that God, himself, would replace the Mosaic Law with another Covenant that would fundamentally dissolve the twofold requirements of the old way: (1) self-merited keeping of God’s regulations, commands, and decrees; (2) the ongoing sacrificial offerings of animals to cover their ongoing sins.

Those who have half-way acknowledged the truth of Jeremiah’s astounding prophecy, believe that this New Covenant is still a future event—one that will take place only when Messiah comes. With this misunderstanding a direct result of not knowing or accepting both the clearly stated and implied Old Testament predictions that Messiah would first arrive as a servant (God’s once and for all sacrificial Lamb of Salvation); then return as the Lion from the Tribe of Judah to set up the eternal Kingdom of God on the earth.

Out with the Old, In with the New

In previous and subsequent chapters, Jeremiah frequently and explicitly explains exactly why God’s patience had finally run out. For example, in Jeremiah’s prayer to God he states: “Our ancestors came and conquered it (the Promised Land) and lived in it, but they refused to obey you or follow your word. They have not done anything you commanded. That is why you have sent this terrible disaster upon them” (Jeremiah 32:23).

A New Covenant would be made with Israel, one that would last forever. Why would God do something so drastic as to replace the Mosaic Covenant of Law which was the very foundation of Judaism? The answer is both sad and simple: Because the Jews deliberately chose not to obey and follow God. Although the Lord patiently waited for Israel to return to him over a period of several hundred years, they wouldn’t listen to the Lord their God.

Not only wouldn’t they obey, by this time in Israel’s history it was all too evident that they couldn’t keep the Law of Moses, not the way that really mattered to God. Literally, their heart was not in it.

Even those who somewhat consistently kept the Sabbath and observed the High Holy Days and Festivals and performed the necessary sacrificial offerings did so more out of ritual obligation that a deep heartfelt desire to please and honor the God of Israel. Consequently, their hearts became hard as stone. The prophet Isaiah appropriately accused the Israelites of paying lip service to God but refusing to honor him in/with their hearts. The Jews never came to terms with the real spirit of trusting and obeying God from a heart of gratitude instead of their superficial selfish (what’s in it for me) attitude.

Later, after the New Covenant was established, the Apostle Paul would reinforce what was already crystal clear through some 1500 hundred years of trying to keep the law. It simply couldn’t be done. The reason: “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23). The standard referred to by Paul was none other than the Mosaic Law in its’ entirety.

However, immediately following this profound universal exposure of man’s inherent sin nature and propensity to sin, Paul presents an incredible contrast, a wonderful God-initiated solution to what would otherwise be an unsolvable predicament: “Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins” (Verse 24).

The Law of Moses was a perfect representation of God’s expectations of the human race, but it could not save those who tried to keep the laws because of man’s gross imperfections. Because human beings possess an innate desire to merit (God’s) favor by good works and ritual, almost robot-like observance of God’s or man-made requirements, God gave them plenty of time to prove whether they would or wouldn’t, could or couldn’t do just that. Finally, God would step in and intervene with a New Covenant, a New Way that would solve the problem of sin and the separation from God caused by sin.

And so, a New Covenant between God and man would be introduced by Messiah. A relationship between God and man which would enable each and every person who personally believes in and accepts the Messiah of this New Covenant to become his/her own priest with direct access at any time, any place to God’s very presence. A new changed heart of flesh to replace a heart of stone.

As the prophet Ezekiel wrote during the Babylonian captivity of his people to amplify Jeremiah’s words that God would write his instructions on the hearts of his people: “And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart, so they will obey my decrees and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God” (Ezekiel 11:19-20, italics for emphasis).

For you see, God desires love and respect from a grateful, willing heart; not unlike parents who want their child to respond and relate to them because the child longs to, not because the child has to. Only with this kind of response would the Jews (and now Gentiles, too) truly be God’s people.

Exactly What Is Grace?

Several passages in Scripture offer a specified or implied definition of Grace, which is: God’s unmerited favor. Even a secular source such as Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary recognizes the Biblical standard when it defines grace as: “unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification.”

This New Covenant of Grace took effect when Messiah Jesus was crucified on the cross and arose from the dead. Jesus announced that he was the mediator of the New Covenant when shortly before his crucifixion he told his disciples: “…This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you” (Luke 22:20). Then the Apostle Paul further attested to the advent of this tremendous New Covenant with these words to Timothy, “For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time” (I Timothy 2:5-6).

That “right time” was the first appearance of Messiah to his people and the whole world. “And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

As indicated, the majority of today’s Jews, indeed, for most Jews down through the past sixteen or seventeen centuries, do not yet believe this New Covenant is in place. Because they refuse to accept Jesus Christ as Messiah. But not all! Both amazing and ironic is the fact that for many years after Messiah Jesus’s mission was accomplished and he returned to heaven in preparation for his glorious return, nearly all Christians were Jews. Thousands upon thousands recognized that Jeremiah’s prophecy of this New Covenant was fulfilled in Christ Jesus … that he, in fact, was the long-awaited Messiah. They staked their very lives on him, because of the indisputable evidence that he has arisen from the grave.

Slowly, but inevitably, those who placed their trust in Christ were mostly Gentiles, as many Jewish believers were exiled from Israel and/or gradually reverted back to Orthodox Judaism, mixing the Law of Moses with the Grace of God; thereby, leading new generations of Jews back to the old system of keeping the law as a basis for salvation. Yet this was done without the Levitical sacrificial system, which was abolished when the Roman Legions destroyed the Temple in 70 AD. They ended up in complete denial that the Levitical sacrificial system had been replaced once and for all by the prophesied redemptive death of the Son of God, the Son of David, and the Son of Man—all titles and positions held by Jesus Christ.

Even more disastrous was the formation of the Roman Catholic Church and Roman Catholicism, the Holy Roman Empire that replaced the secular Roman Empire of the first four centuries. This was not, I repeat not, the true church. (Please see Eye of Prophecy articles on the Woman and the Beast, Part I through VI under the category of Antichrist). Beginning in the 4th century and carried out periodically to and beyond the Crusades, the Inquisitions, the Pogroms, the Holocaust, and other lesser known episodes during these Dark years, the Catholic Church persecuted and killed many Jews directly and by complicity. It’s no wonder that most Jews today want nothing to do with Jesus Christ, as they equate him with the horrors perpetrated on them by this organization that, itself, denies salvation exclusively through faith in God’s unmerited favor. Substituting Grace with a system of Church membership, baptism, and sacramental good works to achieve right standing with God.

God’s unique love for Israel (for salvation comes through the Jews) and his love for all peoples was unconditional. But this love turned out to be unrequited. The Jewish people broke the very covenant (time and again) that God gave them as the reasonable means of maintaining a right relationship with a holy God. God was willing to forgive their sins and trespasses if they followed the equally significant and mandatory need to offer animal sacrifices for those sins. All that was necessary was a genuine repentance (I’m sorry, Lord, for the wrong I’ve done) when those sacrifices were offered. But the people couldn’t and wouldn’t even do that. Their individual and collective heart was rock-hard, not a soft heart full of gratitude … willing to obey out of love and respect.

So, the Lord would replace the Mosaic Covenant of Law with a brand new Covenant of Grace which made it so much easier to gain and maintain a permanent pardon from and right standing with God. Keeping the Law of Moses could never be the means to salvation, for that was impossible to do in the first place. God would do for them (for us) what they could not do for themselves. He (not his unfaithful people) would provide and execute the ultimate, final sacrifice—God himself, through his Son, Messiah Jesus. This is the magnificent New Covenant of Grace … God’s free gift to the human race.

Modern-Day Rebirth of Israel and Resurgence of Grace

Listen to one of the most unlikely of Jews ever to yield to the New Covenant Gospel of Grace, the once diehard Jewish Pharisee, steeped in the Law of Moses, with a heart as hard as granite miraculously transformed into a heart of love and compassion for all unbelievers, especially for his own people.

“Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God” (Romans 10:1-4).

*Note: If someone else was able to, without sin, keep every commandment of God, able to fulfill every requirement necessary to achieve a right standing with God; furthermore, to die in the place of those sentenced to death because of terrible sins against God and people (all of us), wouldn’t you accept God’s pardon and receive Jesus as your substitute Savior if that’s all God wanted from you!?

Paul continues: “For Moses writes that the law’s way of making a person right with God requires obedience to all of its commands. But faith’s way of getting right with God says …’The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.’ And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved” (Romans 10:5-10).

In the last 50 years or so, we have witnessed a phenomenal renaissance of the true Gospel of Christ reaching Jews all over the world; thousands of Jews responding to their Scriptures and recognizing that Jesus is truly their (the) Messiah. Though the greater numbers are still spiritually blind to the truth of God’s New Covenant of Grace, one day (very soon) all of Israel will believe in Christ. But only when they are on the brink of annihilation at the hands of a deadly coalition led by the Antichrist. Then, their partial blindness will give way to eyes fully opened to see, ears spiritually unplugged to hear, and hearts divinely softened to absorb the mighty love and power of Messiah Jesus.

It’s no mere coincidence that the miraculous rebirth of the nation of Israel, preceded by and followed even more substantially by return of millions of Jews to the Promised Land has given rise to an increasing number of spiritually reborn Jews throughout the world. Though the spiritual revival has not kept pace with the physical restitution, it will one day very soon catch up to the incredible rebirth of Israel. The spiritual restoration will match and exceed the physical rejuvenation of the land.

At that time the Age of Grace which is currently manifested as the Kingdom of Heaven in the hearts and minds of Jews and Gentiles alike will become the magnificent Kingdom of God on this earth. (See last week’s Eye of Prophecy article, Kingdom of God).

The following passage summarizes the now and then of it all: “Many of the people of Israel are now enemies of the Good News, and this benefits you Gentiles. Yet they are still the people he loves because he chose their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn. Once, you Gentiles were rebels against God, but when the people of Israel rebelled against him, God was merciful to you instead. Now they are the rebels, and God’s mercy has come to you so that they, too, will share in God’s mercy. For God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone” (Romans 11:28-31).

What Paul means by God imprisoning everyone in disobedience is that God will allow anyone to remain in their prison of disobedience if that’s want they want. He will not forcefully overturn a person’s deliberate decision to remain under sin’s lock and key by refusing to accept God’s provision and pardon to escape this imprisonment. Moreover, the only means of escaping the death sentence that sin imposes is recognition of God’s Mercy and acceptance of God’s Grace by believing in their heart and confessing with their mouth that Jesus is both Savior and Lord.

On that great and glorious Day of the Lord, the day when Christ Jesus will rescue Israel from certain extinction at the hands of insurmountable forces (the end of the Great Tribulation), all of Israel will see and believe and shout as their ancestors shouted when they hailed Messiah riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. “Baruch haba, beshem Adonai.” Blessed is he (Jesus) who comes in the name of the Lord (Father God).

Summary

No observant Jew in today’s world, nor even many secular Jews will dispute their Scriptures, what we call the Old Testament (Covenant). This includes prophecies of the Messiah and the advent of a New Covenant as predicted by Jeremiah. In fact, even many non-observant Jews passionately anticipate and embrace the coming of Messiah, to bring them hope for a prosperous future and protection from their enemies.

But the New Covenant is here! It arrived over two thousand years ago! How could anyone with an open mind, with any objectivity at all deny the historical fact that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah. That he backed up this claim with incredible miracles, unmatched wisdom and teaching, unrivaled love and compassion by giving his very life for Israel and for the entire human race. Most of all … his astonishing resurrection from the dead.

All of these and more are a matter of historical record, based on eye-witness accounts. It’s as historically accurate and valid as any record of anyone who has ever lived or anything that has ever occurred. If one doesn’t believe the historicity of the Bible which has thousands more original manuscripts than any secular work in history, then no historical record is true—none whatsoever. Everything we’ve been told is a fable or a lie. Why should anyone believe that George Washington was our first United States President? Or any other documented historical event?

Furthermore, Jesus fulfilled all of the dozens of prophecies attributed to the Messiah of the Hebrew Scriptures. I repeat for emphasis: ALL OF THEM.

Yes, my friend: Jesus (the New Covenant) is alive and well! And Jesus is the cornerstone of that Covenant. Listen to the words of the Apostle Peter who was asked by whose authority he made a crippled man walk. Said Peter to the religious leaders: “Let me clearly state to all of you and to all people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:10-12).

Jesus gave us a New Way, a New Covenant, a New Hope. In fact, he IS the Way, the Covenant, and the Hope (of salvation and everlasting life). He is the express image of God. Through him God’s matchless Grace is freely given.

Things to Ponder

“You know what I was like when I followed the Jewish religion—how I violently persecuted God’s church. I did my best to destroy it. I was far ahead of my fellow Jews in my zeal for the traditions of my ancestors. But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles….” (Written by the Jewish Apostle Paul, formerly called Saul … Galatians 1:13-16).

Hopefully you’ll have the time to read the Book of Galatians in preparation for next week’s Eye of Prophecy article. But if not, read the article anyway!

Kingdom of God

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Kingdom of God

From the dawn of human existence virtually every kind of government has been in place at one time or another. A country’s government is often a reflection of its people … their race, beliefs (religious or secular), moral values, ethnic upbringing and tribal territory. But sometimes government can be an ill-conceived and unwanted bureaucracy with leaders vying for power and supremacy. All too often, innocent people are victimized by such power struggles, both citizens of the country and residents of neighboring nations that take exception to such Machiavelli type systems.

The common people, representatives of those people, wealthy entrepreneurs, ambitious leaders (good and bad), or all of the above can determine whether a country will become a parliamentary or a democratic representative republic; an absolute (king/queen) or constitutional monarch; an autocratic ruler or state controlled (communism or fascism) dictatorship; an aristocratic or military oligarchy; a cleric-run theocracy or even a true Theocracy. The idea of a theocentric government is, “having God as the central interest and ultimate concern.” (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary).

Geopolitical experts can argue until the proverbial cows come home over the best form of human government, but there’s nothing like the proof of the pudding … hard evidence to historically demonstrate the success of great nations of the earth, past and present. We could also debate the definition of greatness, but invariably the most notable historians (those who are as objective as they can be) have identified such empires as (ancient) Israel, Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, Mongol (Genghis Khan), China, France, England, Ottoman Turks, Germany, and the United States as constituting greatness, without necessarily imposing the standard of morality as a required criteria for success. Meaning that some “great” empires have been primarily evil or amoral. Mostly because their leaders were corrupt or even depraved. By and large, however, the most fundamental condition for historical prominence has been some measure of longevity.

Moreover, the destiny of nations (both good and bad) has often been determined by the benevolence or malevolence of rulers … the laws they make and enforce, the decrees they issue, decisions they make, benefits they provide, and goals they aspire to. As the leaders go, so go the people. A ruler with integrity, compassion, and wisdom can be, and often is, a moral compass to the entire nation. Conversely, a selfish, deceitful, evil ruler can bring an entire nation down. Even the United States of America, which many contemplate to be the greatest nation of all time (at least the greatest Republic), relies heavily on its President—considered by some as the most powerful position in the world—to lead … economically, socially, militarily, legally, and morally.

The rise and fall of great leaders, noble and ignoble; of great nations, moral and immoral, is the stuff that legends are made of. And many of these individual and national epitaphs can be found in the Bible as well as secular history. For example, the glorious rise and inglorious fall of Babylon.

The Fate of Nations

Ultimately, the success of any nation will hinge directly on whether the people and especially the leaders acknowledge the sovereignty of the true and living God, the God of the Bible. The truth and accuracy of the following Biblical passages can be tested and measured by examining the successful emergence and enduring accomplishments of nations down through history. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalms 33:12). Also, as God said to Abraham and as applied to the nation of Israel: “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3).

When people and nations at least acknowledge the Sovereign God of Scripture; periodically thank him for his provisions and goodness; treat the Jews and Israel with some measure of respect, invariably they prosper and remain safe from their enemies. For it is God who eventually determines the fate of all nations. Of course, most secular historians loathe inclusion of these behind-the-scene national stories of prominent leaders and common folks whose purpose in life was to serve God first, then their fellow human beings … but either way, to serve.

Although the God of the Bible is ultimately in control, Scripture is clear that he has allowed Satan to adversely influence those who want nothing to do with God. Those who pursue only pleasure and prestige in a world system predicated on and propelled by greed, selfishness, and the lust for money, power, land, and domination of their fellow-man, particularly those of another race or religion.

Satan’s supreme goal is to create a universal system of belief that will: (1) internally and covertly destabilize and replace the Kingdom of Heaven currently in the hearts of men, woman, and children who have been redeemed by Christ through his great sacrifice for our sins. (2) To establish an international religious and political system that will overtly crush nations whose fundamental existence and intrinsic value is centered on freedom of worship and enterprise … a government of, by, and for the people, such as Israel and the United States.

These two satanic strategies are underway primarily through the cults of Christianity (internal subversion) such as Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, and Jehovah’s Witness; and externally through non-Christian religions such as Islam, Hinduism, Communism, and Fascism. Any “ism” is a religion if you define religion as a belief system, which is what it really is. All of these systems are predicated on a works based program of appeasing God to somehow (maybe) merit salvation. Likewise, Fascism and Communism—with the only difference that of the State rewarding meritorious conduct and service with … whatever rewards they deem necessary.

There are many factors that separate the Bible from other religious texts, one of which is God’s plan of salvation accomplished through his Son’s death and resurrection from the dead. No other religion or philosophy has a Savior, as such. They all have requirements of what a man or woman must do to gain their god’s favor; not what God has done for us that we simply couldn’t do for ourselves, i.e. saving ourselves by declaring ourselves not guilty of breaking God’s laws. Or by reaching a completely unfounded conclusion that God will pardon us if we do a little more good than bad, all the while comparing our own definition of what is good with others. What court of law on this planet would allow a convicted criminal to pardon himself?!

Secondly, the amazing predictions recorded in Scripture, hundreds of which have already come to pass. One of the most spectacular end-times prophecies found in Scripture comes from Jesus, himself. When asked by his disciples what signs would usher in the last days which would immediately precede the end of the age, one of the first things Jesus said was, “And you will hear of wars and threats of wars … nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains; with more to come” (Matthew 24:6-8).

Nation against Nation, Kingdom against Kingdom

Some doubters contend that there have been perpetual wars and rumors of wars since Jesus uttered these words. Thus, there’s no reason to suggest that the past couple of generations (a hundred years or so) have been any different or should be any reason to assert that the end of the age is approaching. But they forget one important feature of this passage: that of comparing the signs to a pregnant woman whose birth pains have begun. That one of, if not the most important sign, is nation going to war against nation, kingdom against kingdom. The obvious implication is that these wars will intensify in numbers and severity just like birth pangs steadily increase during childbirth.

The number of new nations birthed into existence since the founding of the United States, especially during the 20th & 21st centuries is staggering. Many of these nations were established by and through military engagement, mostly on the African Continent, but also in Europe and Asia and the Middle East. Some wars are justified—freedom from totalitarian tyranny or abolition of slavery, such as the American Revolutionary War and then the Civil War. Most are not, i.e. pursuit of power, lust for land, or simply a love of war and violence. (Glory of war and to the victor goes the spoils mentality).

These same two centuries have produced wars and conflicts never before experienced, precisely as predicted by Jesus. Two world wars pitting one coalition of nations against another coalition, one similar form of government against another, one way of life over another. And the number of ethnic rivalries and conflicts have multiplied greatly in the past one hundred years or so. As have the frequency and magnitude of earthquakes and famines. We have seen a polarization of governments like never before, beginning with World War I and continuing even more dramatically and ostensibly with Word War II, then regional conflicts all over the world as typified by the Korean War.

What is this basic dichotomy between people, between ethnic groups, between religions, between governments and nations that often erupts in violence? It’s not really that difficult to understand, because the fundamental difference is a modern-day end-of-the-age manifestation of the ongoing universal conflict between God and Satan, as found in the hearts of men and women all over the world; and, therefore, in the forms of government that nations and ethnic groups have devised to express the desires, demands, and destiny of its people.

What it comes down to is this: On one end of the political pendulum, we have dictatorship control of the people in a nation through one tyrant or a select few leaders who impose a state controlled government based on agnostic or atheistic beliefs (man, not God is the final authority). However, the dictatorial head of these systems is often afforded god-like status by many in the elite circle of supporters and by most of the common people. Such as Fascism as found in Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy or Communism as found in Stalin’s Russia and Mao tse-tung’s China. Tragically, however, the millions of citizens killed by their leaders and millions of others who perished in the World Wars and regional insurrections are a stark reminder of the carnage caused by leaders and armies that vehemently oppose anything and everything to do with God, Jesus, and Judaic-Christian beliefs and way of life.

But there are also some fifty countries in today’s world whose government is based on some measure (moderate to extreme) of state controlled enforcement of religious laws. Of course, I’m referring to Muslim nations, many of which are or are becoming radicalized to the extent of imposing Islam’s Sharia law on its own people; and, by force, on surrounding ethnic groups as we’ve horribly seen with ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and other terrorists groups. To the ultra-extreme extent that these multi-national terrorist groups are seeking to be the first to establish a world-wide government (Caliphate) of absolute authoritarian domination of the free world. Ultimately, the Islamic path of power intends to go straight to and through Jerusalem, the heart of Israel.

At the other political extreme, we have governments which (at least try) are of, by, and for the people, such as the greatest experiment of democratic representation of its kind found in the United States of America. We see this in many European nations to some extent or another, a reminder of which has been vividly stamped on the global conscience after the murderous assaults on Charlie Hebdo and the kosher store in Paris by Muslim terrorists. Incredibly, an estimated three million people plus some 50 national leaders including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu marched to express their solidarity for freedom of the press (and freedom in general) as succinctly summarized in the famous French motto, “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite.”

This kind of civilization values the right of the individual to believe what they will, to realize their dreams as long as it doesn’t infringe on or violate the rights of others. To embrace principles such as the separation of powers, free speech, free elections, and some form of democracy.

One writer, Jewish Professor Nissim Dana, expressed the obvious conclusion reached by those who know the history of Islam: “The fact is that Islam and the rest of the world have been in a state of war since the time of Muhammad.” Is Professor Dana correct in this analysis? Yes, because the Koran, itself, demands total submission of its followers but also of the infidels … Jews and Christians. Without submission or possibly the humiliating payment of unjust and immoral taxes (essentially a tax on one’s belief), death is demanded of the infidel.

The Jewish Connection

There are two remarkable but also insidious common denominators among oppressive state governments, whether agnostic Communism and Fascism or a state sponsored religion such as Islam: (1) an intense hatred, persecution, and even genocide of the Jews. (2) To accomplish those anti-Semitic objectives and to feed the totalitarian lust for power and conquest of nations that stand in their way, Hitler’s Third Reich (and others) have launched attacks against freedom loving nations such as Great Brittain and France and the United States (Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor). Whether by means of the Nazi Final Solution or by incessant pogroms in Russia and its satellite countries or by the avowed diabolical goal of Muslims in Iran, Turkey, Africa, and the Middle-East Arab nations to wipe Israel from the face of the earth, the past century has witnessed intensified savage cruelty against the Jews.

Yet, as if to underscore the quandary (sometimes duplicity) of those who espouse diversity at all costs, including human lives, Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas was also invited to attend the Paris freedom march. This is the very same leader who recently signed a pact with Hamas to carry out the sinister goal of killing Jews and eliminating Israel from all maps of the world. Ah … if we could only distinguish militant from moderate Muslims! The fact is: the vast majority of Muslims are militant when it comes to Jews, whether actively killing Jews or non-Jews who make fun of Muhammad; or passively condoning those killings. The brutal reality of it all: It’s okay to kill freedom-loving Jews but not freedom-loving Gentiles.

But this has all been predicted and recorded in the Bible … Satan’s ruthless plot through governmental regimes and organized religion (I am not including evangelical Christianity as anything approaching an organized hierarchy such as Roman Catholicism) to eliminate the Jews, to obliterate Israel, and to destroy the Church—the body of Christ, comprised of Jews and Gentiles alike.

When God chose Abraham to be the father of the Jews and gave him the Promised Land of Israel, he said that the Gentile nations would be blessed through Abraham and his descendants. And the greatest blessing of all was the birth, death, and resurrection (for salvation) of Messiah Yeshua … through the lineage of King David, from the tribe of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham.

The coming of Messiah and his soon return will, indeed, fulfill the very purpose for the existence of Israel—to be a light to the Gentile nations. To bring righteousness, justice, and peace to a world that is rapidly sinking into an abyss of terror, anarchy, and evil.

God’s design from the beginning was to reveal himself through nature (Romans 1), then through the people and nation of Israel (Romans 9-11); and even more specifically his mighty plan of salvation through one man, who is God’s very Son. Many prophets spoke of the coming Messiah, with Isaiah’s description my favorite: “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

Jesus Christ accomplished in great detail ALL of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah. First to come as a Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53) to introduce an amazing new Age of Grace.

As the Apostle Paul confirmed: “So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins” (Ephesians 1:6-7).

True freedom must first begin in and with the human heart; a heart freed from the enslaving power and penalty of sin for all the wrong things every one of us has done. Then we can truly appreciate and pursue all of the freedoms that we cherish in America and as found in some countries whose government is, at least in theory, established for the welfare of the people. Even then we still have strife, because, as we know all too well, this is still not a perfect world. Only Christ is perfect. Not until he transforms (Raptures) our weak, still prone-to-sin earthly bodies into a glorious everlasting undefiled body, soul, and spirit like His, will we experience real peace, cooperation, understanding, love (unconditional), and justice on this earth.

The Final Kingdom of God on Earth

Paul proceeds to tell us more about God’s splendid plan for the human race. In fact he calls it a mystery, because at the time that God gave it to him even the new Christians didn’t completely understand the eternal implications of what Christ would achieve at his first coming and would continue at his second coming. Listen to these extraordinary words:

“God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth” (Ephesians 1:9-10, italics for emphasis).

That plan is none other than: THE KINGDOM OF GOD (on earth). Revealed by Messiah Jesus himself as recorded in the Gospels; and consolidated into the everlasting tenets of the Christian faith by the authors of the epistles and Revelation.

Jesus spoke often of the Kingdom of God; for example, comparing it to a mustard seed … the smallest of seeds that when planted grows into an enormous tree. Which is exactly what has happened to the body of Christ; an exponential growth down through the ages, to now consist of believers from virtually every nation and language on earth. It is the Kingdom of Heaven in the hearts and minds of those who have been redeemed by the shed blood of Christ. Next, will come the final physical Kingdom of God on this earth; at which time all people, all governments, all nations will be brought under the authority of God’s magnificent Son. He will rule the nations with firmness, but fairness.

Isn’t that what most people want? They want: law, order, equality, safety, peace. And they want someone who has the kind of authority to realize those dreams, but also someone who is kind and considerate with that authority. One who truly cares about people and what’s best for them; who can rule and judge with impartiality and kindness. A truly wise and benevolent King whose attributes perfectly reflect who and what he is: Love, Truth, Justice, Mercy.

At the right time (and that time is soon, very soon), Jesus will return in great power and glory to rescue Israel from annihilation, and defeat the very source of evil, Satan, as well as the Satanic kingdom that will be led primarily by the Antichrist.

Then, and only then, will we see an end to the horrific bloodshed that is becoming a daily reality all over the world. Death and destruction by the hands of bloodthirsty terrorists, power-hungry dictators, land-grabbing tyrants, and from entire nations and races who have created false gods and who kill and maim innocent people because their god requires it in their “sacred” writings.

Along with others who are connecting strategic pieces of the prophetic puzzle, I am here to tell you: SOON THERE WILL BE A DAY OF RECKONING!

A day when God, through his matchless Son, Jesus, will do battle with other man-made gods such as Allah and with religious and political systems that have deceived their followers by distorting and discarding the very salvation that God has freely given to all who will believe and receive his Son.

Then we’ll see who is the one and only true God. The battle, however, is actually with Satan, the force behind these man-made gods. Although other gods do not actually exist, Satan and his demons do exist. Thus, it is he and his temporary kingdom to which religious and non-religious people the world over give their allegiance … some deliberately, others unwittingly.

Speaking of gods and kingdoms and kings, listen to this powerful prophecy of Daniel who refers to the four mighty empires of the past (Daniel’s future) and the coalition empire of nations currently being assembled for the Day of the Lord: “During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered. It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever” (Daniel 2:44).

Certainly another subject for another day, but in the briefest closing summary possible for this article, we can confidently agree beyond any doubt: There is a monumental distinction between Allah, the god of Islam, and the true and living God of the Bible. There is NO comparison. Anyone who has read just some of the Bible and the Koran with any objectivity at all, can easily see the disparity. The differences are legion, but one will suffice: Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, is still in his grave. God’s Messiah, Jesus is not. “…Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!” (Luke 24:5-6).

One day, “The whole earth will acknowledge the Lord and return to him. All the families of the nations will bow down before him. For royal power belongs to the Lord. He rules all the nations” (Psalms 22:27-28).

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Things to Ponder

Kings and queens rise and they fall. Kingdoms come, kingdoms go. Nations wax and wane. Soon, very soon we will witness the rise of a Royal Kingdom and a Righteous King who will rule and reign supreme on the earth: The Kingdom of God.

If you have placed your trust in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, then you will triumphantly join the host of heaven when the right time comes. Here’s what you and I and millions of others will shout when the seventh angel blows his trumpet:

“The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).

With the twenty-four elders sitting on their thrones before God, we will echo: “We give thanks to you, Lord God, the Almighty, the one who is and who always was, for now you have assumed your great power and have begun to reign” (Revelation 11:17).

Do you long to live and serve in a kingdom full of truth and justice? Then choose and follow the One who will give us both and who is both.

If you know Christ as your personal Savior, then you will be among the, “…vast crowd in heaven shouting, ‘Praise the Lord! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God. His judgments are true and just…’” Revelation 19:1-2).

Gateway to the World

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Gateway to a World of Peace

Have you ever opened a gate and passed through to the other side? Or entered an already open gateway or archway to get to your destination, to see the sights beyond? Of course you have. Gates come in all shapes and sizes; and I would dare say that anyone over the age of five has been through one kind of gate or another. There are ordinary gates that will allow access to someone’s front yard, or parking lots, or airplanes, or animal grazing pastures. There are famous gates that can yield admission to historical monuments, to beautiful estates of the rich and famous, to splendid castles of kings and queens, and to fascinating worlds of enchantment.

Some folks—like thieves, trespassers, and those up-to-no-good—don’t like the idea of locked gates and doors. Even some of our Old West (and modern-West) heroes such as the Cattle Ranchers had an aversion to fences and gates, except the archway that led to their home.

For most of us: gates, gateways, doorways, arches, portals … provide both literal and symbolic entrance to exotic places, interesting people, and special things (to see, hear, do, touch, and experience). We often brim with excitement when we pass through a gateway, because we’ve gone from being an outsider to being on the inside of wherever and whatever the gate brings us.

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Brandenburg Gate, Germany

Disneyland? Paramount Studios? Downton Abbey? Golden Gate Bridge? Brandenburg Gate? India Gate in New Delhi? Graceland Estate (Elvis Presley)? Have you been through one or more of these famous gateways or others? How about the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri? Soaring 630 feet in the air, it is the tallest monument in the United States.

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Entrance to Graceland Estate

Born in Lawrence, Kansas, and living many years in the Kansas City, Missouri area, I sometimes traveled across the state to take in the sights, including a trip or two to the top of the Gateway Arch. It is an awesome view from up there! In America’s days of progressive expansion, St. Louis, Missouri was considered: The Gateway to the West. And the nearby Mississippi River separated the east from the west, literally and figuratively. Technically, when someone in my current state of Arizona tells me they’re from “back east,” I take that to mean east of St. Louis.

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Gateway Arch in St Louis, Missouri

Or the historical Jaffa Gate, one of the gates leading to/from today’s Old City of Jerusalem? Including several other memorial sites during my 2006 trip to Israel, I rode in a car through the Jaffa Gate, then walked back out of Old Jerusalem through the same gate. I’ll never forget the experience … for many reasons but mostly because of the ancient and modern significance of Jerusalem.

Built in 1538 by the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, Jaffa Gate is one of, if not the most used entrance to Old Jerusalem, with six of the other seven gates dating back to Biblical times. However, in Biblical days (for example during the time when Nehemiah wrote his Old Testament book in the 5th Century B.C.), there were twelve gates in Jerusalem. There are eight gates in today’s modern Jerusalem, but only seven are open. What about the gate that is not opened? Why is it closed? What is the mysterious significance of this gate? Will it ever be opened again?

The other seven gates: The Zion Gate, Dung Gate, New Gate, Damascus Gate, Herod’s Gate, Lion’s Gate, and (the focal point of today’s article), The Eastern Gate.

The Enigmatic Eastern Gate

Don’t think of a gate on hinges that is shut and locked. Or a gate that rolls back and forth in place when you press a remote control pad. This incredible gate is not only closed, it’s sealed … actually imbedded into thick stone walls on either side. In my estimation this unused, inactive, seemingly irrelevant gate was the most significant gate ever built; the most prestigious ever to be closed; and, one day soon, will be the greatest gate to ever be reopened.

Yes, I’m referring to the Eastern Gate, also called the Golden Gate, the Mercy Gate, and often referred to in ancient times as The Beautiful Gate. It is the oldest of the current existing gates in Jerusalem’s Old City Walls, having been built around 520 AD by Justinian I or perhaps (no later than) the 7th Century by Byzantine artisans. However, the current Eastern gate was built on ground level (obviously) over the remains of the much older gate, dating to the times of the second Temple (Herod’s Temple) which, of course, was built over the original Solomon’s Temple.

Eastern Gate because it’s located on the eastern side of the Old City of Jerusalem. And what is the significance of the eastern side? Just keep reading and you’ll find out!

Golden Gate because of the sometimes golden glow and hue cast by the rising sun on the eastern wall and gate. Beautiful Gate in very ancient times because it was just that, both literally and figuratively considered the most sacred or holiest of the ancient gates of Jerusalem. Mercy Gate because Jews used to pray for mercy at this gate, in fervent anticipation of the coming of Messiah through the gate, which would lead to the restoration of the Shekinah Glory of God in the rebuilt Temple. For it was from the Eastern Gate that the glory of God left the Temple and through which God’s glory will return.

The Jews are absolutely correct that Messiah will triumphantly enter Old Jerusalem (which is really the historical heart of even modern-day Jerusalem) through the Eastern Gate. But other than Messianic Jews, they haven’t yet grasped or accepted the reality that Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) is the Incarnate Glory of God himself, because he is God … The Son of God and God the Son! “…While we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed” (Titus 2:13).

I vividly remember standing on the Mount of Olives gazing across the Kidron Valley at the eastern wall and the Eastern Gate; trying to envision our Savior, the King of kings and Lord of lords commanding the gate to open and majestically striding into the Holy City of the Holy Land given by the very promise of God to his chosen people.

Let’s take a look at the remarkable historical and future significance of this unique gate, built near the very center of the eastern wall of Jerusalem … the only gate that led directly to the Temple on Mount Moriah. The double-arched edifice that protrudes from the main wall contains two gates, side by side. The southern arch is the actual Gate of Mercy. The northern arch (to the right when facing the gate complex) was called the Gate of Repentance, the closest entrance to the Temple of Solomon.

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Eastern (Golden) Gate of Jerusalem

As a reminder, God’s glory dwelt in Solomon’s Temple until a short time before the Temple was destroyed. When Scripture speaks about the glory of God, it refers to God’s very essence, his attributes, who he is and what he’s like … as much as we can comprehend. The Shekinah glory represented and contained God’s very presence over the Ark of the Covenant in the inner sanctuary of the Temple, the Holy of Holies. In fact, as soon as the Levitical priests had carried the Ark of the Covenant into the inner sanctuary of Solomon’s newly built Temple and placed it beneath the wings of the Cherubim, they, “…could not continue their service because of the cloud, for the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple” (I Kings 8:11).

Tragically, after Solomon’s reign ended (actually a few years before he died), Israel slowly then more rapidly began to abandon their Sovereign Lord and worship false, man-made, non-existent gods. To the point where God’s warning through Moses hundreds of years earlier—that God would abandon them and withdraw his protection—finally came to pass in 722 BC when Assyria conquered the ten northern tribes of Israel, then Babylon defeated the southern tribes of Benjamin and Judah in 586 BC, including the sack of Jerusalem and complete destruction of Solomon’s Temple. Ezekiel was given a phenomenal real-life vision of God’s glory (God himself) actually leaving the Temple. Based on Ezekiel’s description, this was a literal, physical departure that even included how and where God left the Temple. Let’s read what happened.

God’s Departure From and Return to the Temple & Jerusalem

“Then the glory of the Lord moved out from the door of the Temple and hovered above the cherubim. And as I watched, the cherubim flew with their wheels to the east gate of the Lord’s Temple. And the glory of the God of Israel hovered above them” (Ezekiel 10:18-19). Then a few verses later: “Then the glory of the Lord went up from the city and stopped above the mountain to the east (Mount of Olives)” (Verse 23).

Although Ezekiel’s vision took place after the Jews were conquered and exiled to Babylon, we know that God withdrew his presence from the Temple before it was destroyed, because the Temple was still intact when Ezekiel observed this extraordinary event. Moreover, it’s decidedly significant that God left the Temple through the Eastern gate built into the mighty stone walls that surrounded the Temple. Because just as Messiah Jesus ascended back to heaven from the Mount of Olives (visible from the Eastern gate) after his spectacular resurrection, he will first set foot on the Mount of Olives when he returns to planet Earth (Zechariah 14:4), from where it is certain he will enter Old Jerusalem through the Golden (Eastern) Gate.

When Christ Jesus enters Temple Mount through the Eastern Gate, he will dramatically fulfill Ezekiel’s subsequent prophecy that the Shekinah Glory of God (God himself in the forever Incarnate Son of God) will return to Jerusalem. On April 28th, 573 BC, some twenty years after Ezekiel witnessed God’s withdrawal from Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, Ezekiel was given an equally astonishing vision of the third Temple, even before the second Temple (called Herod’s Temple) was rebuilt and then destroyed. For many more details on the 3rd Temple, please refer to Eye of Prophecy articles entitled, A Third Jewish Temple, Part I & II, published 4-26-14 and 5-3-14, respectively.

Read with me from Ezekiel: “After this, the man brought me back around to the east gateway. Suddenly, the glory of the God of Israel appeared from the east. The sound of his coming was like the roar of rushing waters, and the whole landscape shone with his glory. This vision was just like the others I had seen, first by the Kebar River, and then when he came to destroy Jerusalem. I fell face down on the ground. And the glory of the Lord came into the Temple through the east gateway (the Eastern Gate). Then the Spirit took me up and brought me into the inner courtyard, and the glory of the Lord filled the Temple” (Ezekiel 43:1-5, italics for emphasis).

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Just Inside the Eastern Gate

Let’s match this incredible last day’s prophecy with the magnificent return of Messiah, as described by Messiah Jesus himself: “For as the lightning flashes in the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Man comes” (Matthew 24:27).

Here, Jesus is not referring to the Rapture of the Church, which is a totally different event (see my series on The Rapture … What, Why, When, Who & How, published 7-26-13 through 8-24-13, respectively). Rather, he is describing his majestic return at the end of the Great Tribulation, which will usher in the magnificent Millennium. Later in this same chapter, Christ declares: “And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth (including the Jews … Zechariah 12). And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30). There will be global grieving and remorse; for most people alive at that time, it will be too late. They will have already chosen their eternal destiny by following the one who would dare to be Antichrist, taking his mark, and joining him in the futile battle against the true Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Revisiting John in Revelation, we read the triumphant conclusion: “Then I saw the beast and the kings of the world and their armies gathered together to fight against the one sitting on the horse and his army. And the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who did mighty miracles on behalf of the beast—miracles that deceived all who had accepted the mark of the beast and who worshipped his statue. Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. Their entire army was killed by the sharp sword that came from the mouth of the one riding the white horse. And the vultures all gorged themselves on the dead bodies” (Revelation 19:19-21).

All these things are the Tribulation’s last day’s beginning of the end of this age … with the beginning of the beginning of the end taking place at the Rapture of the Church—followed by seven years of global cataclysmic and catastrophic calamity never before experienced (nor ever again) by mankind. And the last of the last days begins when Jesus steps foot on the Mount of Olives, then enters Old Jerusalem and Temple Mount through the Eastern Gate. Jesus is the Son of God, but also Son of Man (God incarnate); thereby, is the express image of God and his glory. (See Colossians 1:15-20). It is he who fulfills God’s prophecy through Ezekiel: the return of God’s glory (his very presence) to the earth, specifically in Jerusalem.

But Ezekiel also gave us another astounding prophecy, one that we’ve already touched on. After Ezekiel had the awesome privilege of receiving all the meticulous plans of the distant future rebuilt Millennium Temple; then watched the (future) glorious entrance of God (Messiah) through the Eastern Gate, this is what he was told: “Then the man brought me back to the east gateway in the outer wall of the Temple area, but it was closed. And the Lord said to me: ‘this gate must remain closed; it will never again be opened. No one will ever open it and pass through, for the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered here. Therefore, it must always remain shut’” (Ezekiel 44:1-2).

AND SHUT IT IS!

The Kingdom of God through the Eastern Gate … Not Once, but Twice!

In Israel, as I stood and stared from the Mount of Olives, I saw the Eastern Gate. Look again at the photos of the Eastern Gate. What do you see? You see two side-by-side gates that are as sealed as any gateway could be.

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Eastern Gate of Jerusalem

Of course the Eastern Gate was opened in the time of Christ Jesus, because it was through the Eastern Gate that the first part of Ezekiel’s prophecy would be fulfilled … the triumphant Palm Sunday entrance of Jesus through the Eastern Gate into Jerusalem. Do you remember what happened? Read with me: “Many in the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others spread leafy branches they had cut in the fields. Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting, ‘Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessings on the coming Kingdom of our ancestor David! Praise God in highest heaven!’” (Mark 11:8-10). Ever so sadly, many in this same crowd who hailed Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah, would shout again within the week … this time to crucify him!

Yes, the Glory of God had returned to the Temple through the Eastern gate; only to be snuffed out by cruel, hard-hearted religious leaders, a mob who saw him only as a deliverer from Roman oppression, and Roman soldiers who took pleasure in their crucifixion death squads. He arrived not as the mighty Messiah Lion from the Tribe of Judah (that will come later); rather as the Suffering Servant Messiah (Isaiah 53) who first came to deliver them/us from sin.

But we know what happened next, the rest of the story! In three days, Messiah Jesus arose from the dead, which ushered in the Kingdom of God in the hearts of men and woman and children the world over—to all who believe and receive him as personal Savior. To one day (soon) bring the Kingdom of Heaven physically to this earth, with the Messiah King of all kings ruling from Jerusalem.

For hundreds of years, I’m certain some Christians and Jews wondered about Ezekiel’s closed Eastern Gate prophecy. ALL of God’s prophecies as found in Scripture have or will come to pass. Some immediately … others a few days, weeks, months, or years afterward. And still others, hundreds of years later.

After the year 1541, they need wonder no more. The same Ottoman Sultan who built the Jaffa Gate and rebuilt some of Jerusalem’s walls and other gates, Suleiman the Magnificent, also sealed off the Golden Gate. And so it remains to this very day.

Why did this Ottoman Turk Monarch, endorsed by Arabs and Muslims the world over then and now, seal the Eastern Gate and then build a cemetery for Muslim graves in front of the gate? Answer: To prevent Elijah, the anticipated forerunner to the Messiah, from passing through the Eastern Gate, thus precluding the Messiah from coming and entering this same gate. Of course, Suleiman didn’t know or understand the Bible much at all. He had not a clue that John the Baptist was the foretold prophet who would literally fulfill the role attributed to Elijah—paving the way for one much greater … Messiah (Jesus). Even the Jews of the time and today, expected Elijah himself to return. And so, he will, but as one of the two witnesses during the Great Tribulation as found in Revelation Chapter 11. (See Eye of Prophecy articles for some amazing details about the two witnesses, the other being Moses, entitled The Two Witnesses, Part I, II, & III, published 6-7-14, 6-14-14 & 6-21-14, respectively).

Do you think Jesus Christ will be deterred from entering the Eastern Gate by a few graves or by the sealed gate itself? Hardly. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life as he boldly, but lovingly confirmed to Martha while she grieved over the death of her brother, Lazarus—just before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead to prove to the whole world that Jesus had power over life and death. (See John Chapter 11). Later affirmed even more amazingly, by his own resurrection from the dead.

Since the Eastern Gate was sealed tight in the 16th century, the nearest it came to possibly being reopened by force was during the British campaign against the Ottoman Turk Empire (ally of Germany) during World War I. After a series of campaigns, British General Edmund Allenby (under whom T.E. Lawrence—Lawrence of Arabia—served by unifying Arab tribes to victory over the Turks in other battles) reached the walls of Jerusalem. He had been given orders to capture Jerusalem; thus, he was ready to do whatever necessary to take the city from the Turks, even if it meant heavy bombardment.

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General Edmund Allenby

By the providence of God (Allenby was a Christian who knew both Biblical and secular history of Israel and the Middle East), the British didn’t need to fire a single shot to finally capture Jerusalem. Instead, the Ottoman commander surrendered the city, with one reason given that he didn’t want to see religious holy sites destroyed by a British attack on and Ottoman defense of the Holy City. In the process, the Eastern Gate was protected from damage through potential breach of the walls and gate to access the eastern side of the city.

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General Allenby Entering Jerusalem through the Jaffa Gate

But such is the sovereignty of our great God. What he says will happen, happens. What he declares will not happen (opening of the Eastern Gate until Messiah does so himself) will not happen. What he says he will do, he does. There is no one like the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. None but he can declare the end from the beginning.

Things to Ponder

Jesus will again enter Jerusalem through the Eastern Gate as a great Warrior King; but also as the Prince of Peace, the only one who can bring true and lasting peace to a hopeless, helpless world of evil and strife.

He not only enters through the Golden Gate; Christ Jesus IS the gate.

“But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out” (John 10:2-3).

Then the Apostle John records: “Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, so he explained it to them: ‘I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved … I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep’” (John 10:6-11).

How good it would be for each one of us who know Christ, who are the sheep of his pasture, to be a gatekeeper to those around us. When the opportunity presents itself, to open the gate and show them the way to Christ. Or to be watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem and give our support to Israel and the Jews who have returned to the land given to them by the true and living God.

The next time you open a gate or walk through an archway or pass through a portal, remember that Jesus is The Gate. He is the only Gateway to peace on this earth and everlasting life with him and the host of heaven.

Hallelujah to the Lamb of God!

To the Lion from the Tribe of Judah!

To the Great Shepherd who is the Gate of Salvation!

Gog, Magog and Leviathan

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Gog, Magog, and Leviathan

Given the exceptionally small size of Israel—roughly equivalent to the land mass of America’s State of New Jersey—the heretofore scarcity of natural resources that supply power and fuel for Israelis (and Palestinians) and the dependence upon foreign countries for these resources, who would ever imagine an Antitrust action against an Israeli company in a nation of some 8 million citizens (roughly six million Jewish Israelis, two million Arab Israelis).

What gave rise to this Anti Cartel type of challenge is yet another amazing piece of the Biblical prophetic puzzle that has recently fallen into place—the impending Gog/Magog invasion of Israel as vividly portrayed by the prophet Ezekiel. Of which many books, articles, and commentaries have been written by Bible scholars including me in a few Eye of Prophecy articles. Ezekiel identified the end-times nations of Russia and allied countries such as Iran and Turkey. Let’s examine part of this remarkable prophecy again:

“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: At that time evil thoughts will come to your mind, and you will devise a wicked scheme. You will say, ‘Israel is an unprotected land filled with unwalled villages! I will march against her and destroy these people who live in such confidence! I will go to those formerly desolate cities that are now filled with people who have returned from exile in many nations. I will capture vast amounts of plunder, for the people are rich with livestock and other possessions now. They think the whole world revolves around them!” (Ezekiel 38:10-12).

Let’s first look at what this antitrust action in Israel is all about, which also includes a large United States company; then place it in the context of the Gog-Magog assault against Israel, which is shaping up to be all the more imminent … things are falling into place on almost a daily basis.

From an article in Israel Hayom dated December 23, 2014, we read: “Antitrust Commissioner Professor David Gilo on Tuesday informed Israel’s Delek Group and Texas based Noble Energy of his decision to revoke the licensing agreement pertaining to their holdings in the Leviathan offshore gas field. The companies, which also control the Tamar, Tanin and Karish gas fields, have effectively formed a cartel (allegedly), which the Antitrust Authority said it seeks to dissolve.”

Noble Energy, headquartered in Houston, also discovered Israel’s first offshore crude oil reserve, called Mari-B.

The article goes on to say that David Gilo met with attorneys for the two companies to inform them that both the Delek Group and Noble Energy would have to sell the majority of their holdings in Leviathan.

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Leviathan Natural Gas Reserve

Note: It’s curious that an industrial enterprise in Israel and a foreign (to Israel) companion company in Texas, would be taken to task over offshore (natural) gas drilling when they are merely trying to compete with world monopolies, like the Arab Cartel—to find and give Israel, surrounding countries such as Jordan and Egypt, and even the United States another source of fuel. But I suppose that is the positive nature (as long as it’s within reason) of a democracy, i.e. to publicly oversee and regulate industries that might otherwise become a monopoly. And Israel is the only democratic (a parliamentary representative union of at least ten political parties) nation in the Middle East.

Not so with the Arab Cartel that is the single largest monopoly in the world. They come and go as they please; they supply much of the world’s crude oil/gas and charge what they will. It is through recent increases in America’s production of gas and oil like the shale oil reserves in North Dakota; and what could be Israel’s contribution to the global fuel supply that self-regulates energy prices, through free market enterprise and competition. (I’m convinced that the Israeli company and its Texas affiliate will be able to overcome this temporary setback).

What is (a) Leviathan?

In ancient literature and oral tradition, and as occasionally referenced in Scripture, Leviathan was a large mythical sea creature or even a real-life behemoth that was virtually indestructible by man or nature or anything except God himself. Not unlike the modern-day Loch Ness Monster legend.

The prophet Isaiah refers to this monstrosity by its name, and what will happen to it in the last days, telling us that, “In that day the Lord will take his terrible, swift sword and punish Leviathan … He will kill the dragon of the sea” (Isaiah 27:1). Whether this creature actually existed is not the issue; rather the emphasis is on its symbolical representation (depicted in ancient Aramaic literature as a seven-headed monster) of all that opposes God.

From Ezekiel and other prophets we learn that this opposition will be a Satanic led coalition of nations as presented in the Gog/Magog invasion and subsequently in the ten-nation confederation that gives itself wholly to the Antichrist. The emphasis in the symbolism of Leviathan is that of: ENORMOUS. I’m certain the name of this natural gas field was chosen with the idea of sheer size; however, in light of the Bible’s negative allusion and connotation to this ancient creature that will represent modern-day alliances against Israel, I question the owner’s choice of Leviathan! On the other hand, it is an extraordinary correlation to Biblical prophecy.

Although there will be any number of nations aligned with Russia (the passage also states “many others”), there are seven specific names of nations or regions specified in the Gog/Magog prophecy of Ezekiel: Meshech, Tubal, Persia, Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer, and Beth-togarmah. There is an eighth, but that is essentially the head of this coalition, which is Gog or the Prince of Rosh (Russia). Or if a scholar insists on eight nations identified, the imagery still fits with Leviathan which has seven heads but is also an eighth, which is the composite beast itself.

Though a totally different beast for a different event, the imagery is remarkably identical to the seven-headed beast of Revelation 17, which represents seven kings and also an eighth king which comes out of and is one of the seven heads (kings). The eighth king is none other than the beast of Revelation, the Antichrist. Thus, the (seven-headed) Leviathan mentioned by Isaiah and other passages of Scripture embodies the two massive coalitions against Israel that will take place after the Rapture … Gog/Magog fairly soon afterward and the Antichrist beast near the end of the Great Tribulation.

The mammoth natural gas field dubbed Leviathan is one of four main offshore finds by the Delek Group and Noble Energy after several years spent and some six billion dollars invested. Leviathan was discovered in 2010 some 80 miles west of Haifa, Israel and contains an estimated 22 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

The other discoveries named Tamar (about 50 miles west of Haifa), and Tanin and Kadesh—often referred together due to their close proximity to each other, some 74 miles from Haifa— hold an estimated 8.4 trillion cubic feet and 1.3 trillion cubic feet, respectively. Thus, the Leviathan reservoir holds nearly three times the natural gas of the other three offshore sites combined. The Delek Group and subsidiaries control fifty-three per cent of the offshore ventures, with Noble Energy comprising the remaining forty-seven per cent.

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This article is not about debating the pros and cons of whether these two companies have created a monopoly; although no other companies have invested anywhere near the six billion exploration dollars to find these huge natural gas fields. Moreover, they are separate entities with each company independently owned, one from the other. They are not subsidiaries, one of the other. From my limited understanding of monopolies; that, in itself, creates a healthy check and balance system.

The discovery of these gas fields off the coast of Israel is nothing short of amazing. For several reasons, two of which are: (1) Proceeds from the sale and distribution of these natural gas fields could increase Israel’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) substantially. In the eyes of global economic powers including the Arab Cartel, it could level the playing field to the extent that Israel would become self-sufficient in natural gas consumption while cutting into the proceeds of surrounding Arab countries. It could change the financial dynamics of the entire Middle East, by making Israel a major player in the competitive field of energy production.

(2) It provides and confirms the Biblically predicted incentive for Russia and select Russian allies to launch a colossal campaign against Israel as found in Ezekiel’s prophecy. Before discovering and developing these natural gas holdings, Israel offered a variety of exports to maintain a favorable trade surplus, but nothing like what these natural gas fields could accomplish. And, thereby, attract the attention of other nations, both friend and foe.

Currently, Israel’s main export products include: Cut diamonds (already mined elsewhere), pearls, and other precious metals (31% of Israel’s exports); electrical machinery/equipment, appliances, sound & TV recorders, computer equipment (18%); pharmaceutical & fertilizer products (13%). Much of Israel’s non-tangible goods income is derived from tourism, but that is not an export, as such.

Yet none of these products and certainly not tourism would generate nearly enough appeal for Russia to risk an invasion of Israel. But, now, with these gas fields, Russia has an ultra-strong motive to take over Israel … more natural gas!

Despite the fact that six of the twelve largest natural gas holdings in the entire world are found in Russia which boasts 17% of the world’s natural gas reserves (under, incidentally a conglomerate called GasProm which is a real-life monopoly … producing 83% of Russia’s natural gas), Russia lost some of her oil/gas reserves to the now sovereign nation of Turkmenistan and other former Soviet Union satellite countries. Plus, western coalition sanctions against Russia for her illegal activities in Ukraine have begun to exact a heavy toll on the Russian economy. But even before those sanctions, Russia was not faring well with its relatively new capitalism slash socialism regime. The Russian Bear needs and wants all the energy reserves it can get … whatever it has is not enough to satisfy its ravenous appetite for domestic and export fuel.

Leviathan was the world’s largest offshore discovery (2010) since around the year 2000. Combined with the other three fields in the same general vicinity of the Mediterranean Sea, what nation wouldn’t covet such a splendid fountain of wealth? Putting this into perspective, however, Russia produced approximately 18 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in 2011 alone. Theoretically, the Israeli gas fields would (if Russia were in control of them) provide only 1-3 years supply, but that’s only if Russia had the capacity to extract the gas to the same extent it has in its own country. Which it undoubtedly wouldn’t; because men and equipment are limited on an offshore rig. Thus, Leviathan would be a supplementary source of natural gas for years to come, even for Russia.

Which leads to a secondary but equally significant motive for Russia to overrun Israel with Muslim countries in tow: First, take Israel. Second, take over your Arab or Persian allies and their oil and gas fields! It’s a classic historical paradigm in which a strong country sometimes will turn on its confederates, after the ally helped the host country defeat its enemies and/or after a treaty was signed. In fact, that’s exactly what will happen between Russia and her allies (read all of Ezekiel 38 & 39); only they will turn on each other BEFORE they accomplish their diabolical objective. They won’t know until it’s too late, but the Gog/Magog campaign will be: Mission Impossible! But not until they utterly terrify Israel with one of the most massive invasions ever attempted. A Leviathan attack!

The Real Enticement for Russia’s Invasion of Israel

Let’s read again what exactly it is that appeals to Russia enough to actually strike Israel. Listen to the boast of Prince Gog from the land of Magog to his cronies and against the true and living God: “I will go to those formerly desolate cities that are now filled with people who have returned from exile in many nations. I will capture vast amounts of plunder, for the people are rich with livestock and other possessions now….” (Ezekiel 38:12, italics for emphasis).

First: As most know, the Jews have returned to Israel from exile in great numbers. This has been emphasized in several Eye of Prophecy articles as well as a myriad of other articles by both Biblical and secular scholars and journalists. Indeed, it is a matter of common knowledge to anyone who knows just a little about what’s happening in Israel and the Middle East.

Second, what does Scripture say that Gog/Magog will covet in Israel? Livestock … perhaps literally but more so figuratively representing the prosperity of a nation. But even more so, Russia, Iran, and other nations in this evil, greedy confederation will crave a vast amount of gas and oil and other tangible goods that are by-products of hydrocarbon fuel … vast amounts of plunder, other possessions, including silver and gold purchased with the currency of such wealth.

Until recently, Russia wouldn’t have thought twice about Israel’s possessions. In the past, Russian officials rarely said anything about Israel and certainly didn’t go out of their way to court Israel as an economic or political neighbor. However, they could always be counted on to vote in favor of whatever sanction of the day against Israel had been proposed by countries of the United Nations hostile toward Israel … of which there are many (most). By and large, however, Russia’s animosity toward Israel remained relatively silent and unobtrusive. Until now.

In just the past few weeks, Russian President Vladmir Putin has begun to openly criticize Israel, siding with the Palestinians on such issues as the building of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem. The existence of so-called Jewish settlements (which is simply building of houses and apartments on land previously purchased and zoned for residential construction) is a long-standing issue which would require several articles to address. The focal point of this article is that of Russia’s President jumping on the international bandwagon of vilifying Israel under the pretense of championing the so-called unjust treatment of the Palestinians. For example, Putin said: “The humiliation and the oppression that the Palestinian are going through are a source of danger and destabilization, and every step must be taken to eliminate the humiliation and oppression.”

In fact, the real humiliation is repeated defeat of Hamas and Hezbollah when they constantly force Israel to respond to hundreds of missile attacks, kidnappings of Israeli soldiers and civilians, and savage murders of Israelis—all of which are a matter of record. What oppression is Putin referring to? The Israelis evicted their own people from Gaza in 2005 and relocated them throughout Israel; furthermore, Israel has allowed both the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza Strip, respectively, to operate independently of Israeli administration. The only Israeli intervention or intrusion comes when its people are attacked, or sometimes in the form of a preemptive strike when Israel has well documented evidence of a looming assault on Jewish civilians and soldiers.

Yet the height of irony, if not hypocrisy, is that Russian political and economic officials have been subtlety and secretly (as much as some things can be secretly suppressed) reaching out to Israel with proposals of mutual benefit to both countries, particularly economic benefits. Why is that? The consensus answer from political and economic experts seems to focus on only one factor: Russia’s keen growing interest in the vast gas and oil reserves recently discovered by Israel, especially the offshore findings!

Behind the scenes overtures from Russia have apparently been significant enough for Israel to at least listen to these proposals (whatever they are), to the extent that Israel even refrained from condemning Russia (to the consternation of the United States and other Western allies) for its intervention in the Crimean crisis … which was and still is part of the Ukraine problem. In my opinion, whether Russia had approached Israel or not, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his staff would have remained neutral on the Crimean conflict. However, the very idea that Russia has in a clandestine manner (while openly criticizing Israel with regard to the Palestinians) made certain gestures to gain Israel’s favor is, at the very least, intriguing. Yet Israel’s leaders are shrewd, in the sense of astute, discerning … but also crafty when necessary. I’m sure they have a purpose for listening to whatever propositions might help them continue with a strong and vibrant economy.

A Phenomenal Link to Ezekiel’s Prophecies

Which brings us back to Ezekiel’s extraordinary prophecy of what exactly it is that will entice Russia and her Gog/Magog allies such as Iran (which only became bedfellows with Russia some two decades ago) to, as Putin said, “every step must be taken to eliminate the humiliation (of the Palestinians)…” followed by his equally brazen statement that Israeli settlements are, “a cause increasing tension in the Middle East.” Putin’s words of every step must be taken is the kind of language that prominent national leaders use and understand to include military options.

Folks, this is another modern-day development that is unprecedented even for the 20th & 21st centuries, which have seen dozens of surprising developments, not the least of which is the return of Jews to their land, the land of Israel. Which is the first condition identified by Ezekiel; that not unless the Jews are back in the land will the last days or end-times Gog-Magog campaign begin.

Most likely this alliance and invasion could be, probably will be, under the guise of protecting the Palestinian cause. With the ultimate purpose fully disclosed as they march to Israel, i.e. usurping control over Israel’s recently discovered natural fuel and mineral reserves, but also assuming authority over Arab oil fields by establishing a strategic military and economic foothold in the Middle East.

I believe the evidence is compellingly clear: The plunder and acquisition of Israel’s “other possessions” as described by Ezekiel is none other than the coveted fields of fuel previously unknown to Israel or the world, discovered seemingly out of nowhere (in the Mediterranean Sea tens of miles from the coast of Israel) in a relatively short period of time (as oil and gas explorations go). Why else would Russia suddenly adopt a two-faced strategy with Israel? (1) Verbal sanctions against Israel relative to the Palestinian issue, by siding with world opinion. (2) A Machiavelli style solicitation of Israel’s favor in order to…. To what? I believe the answer is all too evident: To someday (soon) take what they really want from Israel—its natural gas deposits and its strategic geographical location in the Middle East.

To further support the premise that Russia will launch a multi-national military campaign against Israel under the initial pretense of liberating the Palestinians, let’s read again Ezekiel’s words, this time concentrating on another phrase: “…I will capture vast amounts of plunder, for the people are rich with livestock and other possessions now. They think the whole world revolves around them!” (Ezekiel 38:12, italics for heavy emphasis).

Did you catch the meaning and impact of the italicized words? Essentially what Gog—the leader of the land of Magog (Russia) and their allies such as modern-day Iran, Turkey, and Libya—will use as a reason (excuse) is the blatant but believable (to all peoples who hate Israel and the Jews) lie that the Jews are an arrogant people and Israel is a conceited, egotistical nation that seeks to “humiliate and oppress” the poor Palestinian people. That the Jews are so superior and overconfident that, “they think the whole world revolves around them!”

These type of accusations and this kind of irrational, unwarranted, inexplicable animosity toward the Jews is the underlying reason for and expression of Anti-Semitism especially in today’s world … stemming primarily from envy of what the Jews have accomplished down through the ages.

All one need do is to read and listen to the continuous stream of condescending, haughty, self-centered, conceited, smug, vain, and threatening verbiage from Arab and Muslim nations, and even European leaders whose entire goal in life seems to be that of lashing, bashing, and thrashing Israel. None of these nations would do anything whatsoever to prevent (in fact some will join) the Magog alliance (and later the Antichrist and his coalition) from not just bashing Israel, but smashing her to pieces with the tail of Leviathan.

So, once again, we see the breath-taking succession of events that have propelled us into the last of the last days as depicted by Scripture.

If you like, please refer to many more details of the Gog-Magog invasion in prior Eye of Prophecy articles entitled, The Omega Generation (published 2-15-14); Beware of the Bear (3-22-14); Alliances Against Israel (9-20-14); and Russia Iran Versus Israel (10-4-14).

I like how Myles Weiss, the host of the Zola Levitt television program and contributing editor of the Levitt Letter, puts it: Instead of the usual (but still applicable) phrase, Signs of the Times, Myles refers to the astonishing convergence of current events connecting to Biblical prophecy as: Times of the Signs!

Things to Ponder

At the time that I clicked publish, and sent this blog article through cyberspace, the Rapture had not yet occurred. But that could change any day, any minute.

When Jesus answered his disciple’s question, “…What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3); he gave a captivating list of indicators. During the course of this lengthy message, he said, “But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come” (Matthew 24:8). Much of the more to come is already here, as elaborated by other passages of Scripture, and as confirmed by current events.

The birth pangs are much closer together; the pain much sharper.

The birth of the Day of the Lord (which begins with the Rapture) is at hand.

Heed the words of Christ: “So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!” (Luke 21:28).

Are you ready?

Jerusalem … City of Peace?

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All Eyes Are on Jerusalem

Who has not heard of Jerusalem? Who, but the most callous and violent among us does not long for peace? How perpetually ironic that the very name of this great city means peace? How very sad that peace has been as elusive as this city is old. Since Israel’s King David made Jerusalem the Capital of Israel during its glory years, it has been torn by civil strife among the twelve tribes of Israel, conquered and divided by the Babylonians, Ptolemaic Egyptians, Seleucid Greek Syrians, Romans, Arabs, Crusaders, Ottoman Turks, and British.

In today’s Israel, Jerusalem remains divided between east and west (Jerusalem). Temple Mount, the most holy Jewish site in the most holy city of the Promised Holy Land, remains under administrative control of a foreign nation, Jordan. The recent lone wolf attacks against innocent Jewish civilians by Palestinian Arabs living in East Jerusalem were ostensibly carried out to “prevent Jewish contamination” of the Temple Mount, incited by malicious rhetoric from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

According to the prophetic words of Scripture, the problematic position of Jerusalem among the great cities of the world would only become more precarious during the last days that lead to the end of this present age. Listen to the fateful words of the Prophet: “This message concerning the fate of Israel came from the Lord: ‘This message is from the Lord, who stretched out the heavens, laid the foundation of the earth, and formed the human spirit. I will make Jerusalem like an intoxicating drink that makes the nearby nations stagger when they send their armies to besiege Jerusalem and Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock. All the nations will gather against it to try to move it, but they will only hurt themselves’” (Zechariah 12:1-3).

Seemingly, all it takes is for the Jews to once again return to their ancient homeland and dare to be a sovereign nation. For Jerusalem to be considered, let alone restored, as Israel’s eternal Capital makes many heads of governments and their constituents frustrated, even furious. Nations hostile to Israel and even elements (such as the Presbyterian Church) within neutral or friendly countries constantly harangue Israel with belligerent boycotts, sanctimonious sanctions, callous criticism for alleged disproportionate defense of its people against acts of terror, and threats of extermination that sound ominously familiar to Hitler’s Third Reich?

This, too, was predicted long ago: “O God, do not be silent! Do not be deaf. Do not be quiet, O God. Don’t you hear the uproar of your enemies? Don’t you see that your arrogant enemies are rising up? They devise crafty schemes against your people; they conspire against your precious ones. ‘Come,’ they say, ‘let us wipe out Israel as a nation. We will destroy the very memory of its existence’” (Psalms 83:1-4).

Hardly a day goes by without Israel and Jerusalem riveting the focus of global media attention. A constant stream of oratory, some for, but mostly against Israel flows from heads of state in the United States, Russia, Iran, Great Britain, France, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Spain, China, all Muslim countries, and other less involved nations; and from International Organizations like the United Nations and the European Union. Not only from executive and legislative divisions of national governments, but also judicial bodies such as the World Court and, just this past November, from the United States Supreme Court!

The entire population of Israel is less than many of the world’s major cities; yet, this tiny country and its capital, Jerusalem, has been thrust under the magnifying glass of world scrutiny like no other place on earth. The inordinate and disproportionate attention afforded to Israel and Jerusalem, relative to the size, population, and otherwise insignificant position of this country and city among the nations and cities of the world is indeed incredible.

How Can Just One Jewish Boy Create Such Controversy!

It is a remarkable story that led to the Supreme Court’s review of a case that ordinarily wouldn’t merit even a State or Federal District court’s attention. Let alone a dispute over citizenship, a passport, and diplomatic recognition over someone’s place of birth; when, in fact, there are hundreds of citizenship passport problems handled globally in any given year without any court action at all.

An article published on November 4, 2014 in USA Today begins with: “The Supreme Court was as divided over a 12-year old Jerusalem native’s passport Monday as Israelis and Palestinians are on the broader issues dividing the Middle East. Roughly half of the justices defended Congress’ declaration in 2002 that Americans born in Jerusalem should be able to have ‘Israel’ listed as the place of birth on their passports. The other half vehemently defended the State Department’s right to ignore that law and set foreign policy, including which countries to recognize. To label Jerusalem part of Israel when the matter is in dispute, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said, would be ‘asking the government to lie.’”

With such pressing domestic issues as abortion, the gay agenda, state’s rights, immigration, and other milestone judicial reviews and decisions, why on earth would the Supreme Court take time from their busy docket to review a quarrel over an Israeli passport? The passport in question belongs to a 12-year old Jewish boy named, Menachem Binjamin Zivotofsky born in Jerusalem. His parents, Ari and Naomi, want their son’s passport to show Israel, not Jerusalem, as his place of birth. To me, that seems like a most reasonable request. Passports show the nation of one’s birth or citizenship; for US passports also the state of one’s birth, but not city. Passports are needed to cross national borders, not city boundaries.

It’s clearly understood that this Jewish family has nothing against Jerusalem. I’m sure they love what they consider to be the Holy City of the Holy Land, and its Capital from ancient times. The problem is that with a Jerusalem passport instead of an Israel passport, young Menachem is not technically considered an Israeli Jew or a citizen of Israel. Rather, he is a citizen of Jerusalem. What precisely is it that causes division in all three branches of the United States Government over a birth certificate and passport?

To answer that, I’ll repeat the essence of the conflict as summarized in USA Today’s article: “To label Jerusalem part of Israel when the matter is in dispute….”

Say what? Why is Jerusalem disputed as part of Israel … as Israel’s Capital? More specifically, who or what entitles the United States State Department or the Supreme Court or any other country or even global institutions like the United Nations to determine whether any city of any country qualifies as its Capital? Isn’t that the inherent sovereign right of a nation … to choose its capital?

Jerusalem … A Capital City without a Country?

In my trip to Israel in 2006, I drove and walked the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, including a visit to the United States Embassy … even spoke briefly with one of the American embassy guards. Do you know which city I was in when I set foot on Embassy grounds? Hint … A country’s embassy is located in the host nation’s Capital. Is this a trick question? Regrettably, it is. Yes, the United States Embassy is in Tel Aviv. I say, regrettably, because Jerusalem was the headquarters (Capital) of the ancient kings of Israel, and the self-governing land (State) of Israel was given to the Jews by God, himself. That is reason enough.

But there’s also a modern-day affirmation when the United Nations voted in November, 1947 to grant statehood rights to Israel; then later recognized the sovereign State of Israel after her declaration of statehood on May 14, 1948. Even though east Jerusalem and the so-called West Bank was under Jordanian jurisdiction in 1948, all of Jerusalem was captured in the remarkable Six-Day War victory of Israel over the same nations that tried to annihilate Israel and the Jews in the brutal attack on Israel on May 15, 1948—the day after Israel became a nation.

Yet, virtually every nation on earth, including the United States, does not officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Rather, they have chosen Tel Aviv as the governmental command center. What if all the nations on earth (or just one of those countries) refused to recognize Washington D.C. as America’s Capital? Choosing, for example, New York City because the United Nations is headquartered there. What do you think our President and the State Department would do about that? Or Congress, or the Supreme Court?

But that’s exactly what our Executive Branch through the State Department has done with Jerusalem. They have refused to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital; choosing instead by official state policy to consider Jerusalem as a city unto itself. A city that, for all practical purposes, belongs to the world; or at least to the world’s three main religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. A city that is still up for grabs (literally), with its destiny to be determined by … by who knows what. By another failed peace plan, by another war, by unilateral declaration from the Palestinians that Jerusalem belongs to them, by Israel’s (rightful) annexation of the Temple Mount and all of East Jerusalem?

Thus the State Department’s official policy as stated in the Foreign Affairs Manual is: “For a person born in Jerusalem, write JERUSALEM as the place of birth in the passport.”

Again, I must ask: Since when does the world family of nations (most practically represented by the United Nations) dictate to individual countries which city will be its Capital? Isn’t that the exclusive right of the nation itself? What if the United States decided that it would no longer recognize London as Great Britain’s Capital, but chooses Manchester instead? Or Marseille instead of Paris? St Petersburg instead of Moscow? Barcelona over Madrid? Most likely, those nations would immediately sever diplomatic relations with America.

Liberal Justice Elena Kagan belittled the 2002 Congressional declaration by calling it, “a very selective vanity-plate law,” suggesting that Congress would not have passed such a law if, for example, Palestinians born in Jerusalem wanted their passports to say, Palestine.

Why would a Supreme Court Justice, who paradoxically is Jewish, say such a thing? Because many, including some Jews (an US Supreme Court Justice at that) truly don’t understand the real issues in or the authentic history of Israel and the Middle East. Their politically correct world view and corresponding decisions apparently hinge on one urgency: Whatever it takes, don’t increase the tensions in the Middle East that already exists.

If anyone carefully examines the wars that Israel has fought since her national birth, the incidents of intifada terror that has killed and maimed thousands of Israelis, or just the daily stream of hate-filled verbiage from the mouths of Muslim leaders and much of the Palestinian people, they would realize that the level of tension really can’t get any higher. Meaning that when Muslim armies, terror groups, and lone wolf assassins decide it’s time to strike, that’s exactly what they do. They may cite a particular incident or problem, but it’s always just an excuse to do what they were going to do anyway. The balloon is always full of enough air to burst. The string is always tight enough to break.

Palestinian … What’s in a Name?

Technically, legally, and historically there is no such thing as a Palestinian … not really. Because there is no such thing as Palestine … nor the State of Palestine. The very name of the nation of Israel was changed to Palestine by an ancient Roman emperor who hated the Jews, and so named the land to mock the Jews with a name that sounded like and reminded them of an ancient enemy, the Philistines. From that time until 1948, Palestine has been nothing more than a region or territory all the time inhabited by at least a remnant of Jews, who subsequently outnumbered the Arabs in population. In fact, before 1964, if anyone used the label Palestinian, they were referring to the Jews (of Palestine)! Nor has there ever been a Palestinian language. Only Hebrew and Arabic.

Not until the 1960s did Arabs living in (occupying … as the Arabs are the real occupiers by virtue of Israel being a state) the West Bank or Gaza Strip begin calling themselves Palestinians. We can thank Yasser Arafat for that. Why? Although hundreds of thousands of Arabs applied for and were granted Israeli citizenship, even more Arabs refused under any circumstances to be a citizen of Israel in the ensuing years after Israel preserved her statehood freedom in the War of 1948. In order to differentiate themselves from their Arab brothers who became citizens, they decided to identify themselves as Palestinians. This was also a form of protest over the solemn fact that much of the regional territory called Palestine formerly divided and controlled by Jordan, Egypt, and Syria was now the sovereign state of Israel.

In fact Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who along with Chief Justice John Roberts and other conservatives on the bench appeared to side with Congress by scolding the State Department accusing them of trying to, “make nice with the Palestinians.”

But for the foreseeable future, Jerusalem remains a city unto itself, or a city-state in the eyes of the entire world. Much like Vatican City in Rome. Which begs another question: Other than the desire to appease Palestinians (those Arabs who live in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and parts of East Jerusalem and who are not Israeli citizens), is there another reason not to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s (eternal) Capital? The answer is found in my analogy to the Vatican.

The fundamental reason why the United States and nations of the world refuse to consider Jerusalem as part of Israel proper (its geographical borders) let alone its Capital, is because of the ancient and modern phenomenon of all three of the World’s major religions essentially laying claim to the City of David. That reason (excuse) is absolutely the height of irony and even hypocrisy. Why would I say such a thing? Because other than Muslim dictatorship countries, virtually every nation in the world operates on the fundamental premise of church and state separation. Many to ridiculous extremes … like what is happening in America today. A complete distortion of that concept, which isn’t even found in our constitution. But that’s another subject for another day.

The point is, as represented by the rift in our own country over the status of Jerusalem: Our very government which goes to sometimes absurd extremes to (normally by bowing to the definition of church-state separation that comes from our far left) maintain separation of church and state, has recognized Jerusalem as a city unto itself for RELIGIOUS reasons. This despite Israel’s seat of government in the Knesset and its Military in the Israeli Defense Force headquarters (much like our Pentagon in Washington D.C.), both located in JERUSALEM.

What the Supreme Court Justices and others who support the State Department’s view of Jerusalem don’t comprehend is that the Palestinian Arabs in Israel (for sake of argument and because that is how the world now perceives them, we can concede the appellation of Palestinian) do want peace, but not the kind of peace the world wants. They want a piece of Israel here, a piece there, until they have all of Israel; until are the Jews are gone—preferably in a permanent eternal sense (dead).

The Real Issues

Thus, the real dispute and tensions caused by that clash isn’t over who has how much land, or whether there should be a Palestinian State. In fact, the majority of Arabs who are Israeli citizens and even a good number of Palestinian Arabs in Judea/Samaria (West Bank) and Gaza prefer all the benefits of Israeli administration. It’s just that they don’t want the Jews! Go figure! Actually, it’s not that hard to figure out. Because it’s historically ingrained, genetically computed into the Arab psyche that one Jew on this earth is one too many. How sadly tragic. But that, too, is part of the Biblical record of animosity between Abraham’s Promised Son, Isaac, and his step-brother Ishmael, who God said would not be the promised heir to Abraham and, accordingly, whose descendants were not to inherit the land of Israel.

Getting back to Justice Elena Kagan, the US Today article went on to quote her: ‘Right now, Jerusalem is a tinderbox,’ Kagan said, referring to daily strife between Palestinians and Israelis over the Temple Mount. ‘History suggests that everything is a big deal with respect to the status of Jerusalem.’

That part, she got right … mostly. Jerusalem is a big deal, unlike any other city in the world. But when in our time was Jerusalem not a tinderbox? I can tell you with a great deal of historically factual evidence to back me up: NEVER has Jerusalem since Israel’s rebirth in 1948 not been a powder keg ready to explode. Regional wars and strife in areas like Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Sudan, and other hot spots garner world headlines periodically, but not like Israel. ISIS is the new terror bully on the block and is a formidable threat to Christians, so-called moderate Muslims, but especially to Jews. Because the sworn objective (as quoted in a previous Eye of Prophecy article) of this self-proclaimed Islamic Caliphate is the utter destruction of Israel as they march through Iraq and Syria on their way to Jerusalem.

Where is all this leading? Fairly easy answer: To Armageddon. And Armageddon is only a short-time missile launch away from the Rapture of the Church, which can happen at any moment. The daily intensified efforts of the world’s nations to do something about Israel is an exact fulfillment of prophecy like never before. Jerusalem is, indeed, a heavy (stone) burden that even powerful nations like America have no real clue what to do about. If our leaders knew their Scripture, they would understand that God is the Creator of all things, of the entire earth. That he has the divine right to declare boundaries for the nations, to give a tiny portion of the earth to Israel as their everlasting possession—which is exactly what he had said and done.

World leaders need to fully grasp the fact that Arabs in nations surrounding Israel, nations that have thousands of times the land space of Israel—that these Arab countries have refused to accept Palestinians into their country, have refused to grant them citizenship, and, for the most part, have declined to help their fellow Arabs economically. That after the start of the 1948 War of Independence in which five Arab countries attacked Israel the day after it was reborn as a sovereign state, tens of thousands of Arabs living in Israel fled the country or moved into ghettos at the request, then demand of Arab leaders—not the Israelis. Israel begged Arabs to stay in Israel and work together as co-citizens of Israel.

Globally, most people including many Americans are under the totally mistaken impression that Israel is occupying (in the bad sense of the word) Palestinian territory instead of the other way around. They are erroneously told and believe the only solution is a Palestinian State in which Israel must return to pre-1967 Six Day War boundaries, which were established through an international truce (not a treaty as the Arabs didn’t want an agreement that would make anything permanent) in order for Israel to defend herself. Without those natural boundaries, Israel would be indefensible against a Palestinian and Muslim enemy who has sworn to drive them into the sea and eliminate Israel from the face of the earth.

Summary

There are formidable obstacles to a so-called two state solution proposed by the United States and other prominent nations at one time or another. Issues such as return of the so-called Palestinian refugees to a Palestinian State; Israel’s return to and relinquishing of vital strategic pre 1967 Six-Day War territorial lines that will make Israel vulnerable, even indefensible, such as the Golan Heights and Jordan Valley; release of more Palestinian prisoners; access to Temple Mount; and others.

But removal of one or more of these barriers will not solve the dilemma of a divided Jerusalem—which is the ULTIMATE PROBLEM.

Whose capital will it be? Will it remain as the non-capital Capital of Israel? Can one city be the capital of two nations? Can there be two Jerusalem’s? The Palestinians want all of what is currently considered East Jerusalem that includes Temple Mount. Understandably, the Jews cannot and will not allow their beloved Jerusalem to be forever divided; a Capital in what essentially could become a foreign nation. Or Temple Mount without a temple (which someday will be rebuilt). That would be unthinkable No, it’s more than that. It’s impossible!

Just three days ago I read an article from the online newspaper, Israel Hayom, which quoted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. I’m inserting his quote at this point in my article so you can match his words to the above paragraph in which I commented on Jerusalem’s future in the eyes of Israelis.

Said Netanyahu: “I heard there are some people willing to give Arabs a capital in Jerusalem. I heard some guy and some woman say that the Western Wall will remain in our hands. How will it remain in our hands? As an enclave in Arab territory? And how will we get there? In convoys of armored personnel carriers? By helicopter? We did not return to the Western Wall after 2000 years to get there on armored personnel carriers. The Western Wall will remain in our hands, and all of Jerusalem will remain in our hands always—united forever under Israeli sovereignty.”

THAT, says it all! Amen!

Along with the Prophet Isaiah, I and many others who believe in the true and living God; who have been or will be (hopefully many) redeemed by the sacrifice of God’s Messiah, boldly and passionately declare:

“Because I love Zion, I will not keep still. Because my heart yearns for Jerusalem, I cannot remain silent. I will not stop praying for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn, and her salvation blazes like a burning torch. The nations will see your righteousness. World leaders will be blinded by your glory….” (Isaiah 62: 1-2).

Will you, with me, be on guard and repeat with Isaiah: “O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray day and night, continually. Take no rest, all you who pray to the Lord. Give the Lord no rest until he completes his work, until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth” (Isaiah 62:6-7).

Do we fully grasp what God has supernaturally begun to do with and for the miraculously restored nation of Israel and her eternal Capital, Jerusalem? What you are about to read next is happening and will continue to happen right before our contemporary, modern-day eyes:

“Go out through the gates! Prepare the highway for my people to return! Smooth out the road; pull out the boulders; raise a flag for all the nations to see. The Lord has sent this message to every land; ‘Tell the people of Israel, Look, your Savior is coming. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.’ They will be called ‘The Holy People’ and ‘The People Redeemed by the Lord.’ And Jerusalem will be known as ‘The Desirable Place’ and ‘The City No Longer Forsaken’” (Isaiah 62:10-12).

I have driven the modern highways of Israel. There are no boulders to avoid, the roads are smooth and fast. I have seen the flag of Israel all over the land; it flies in many embassies throughout the earth. Before the 20th century, there was no flag of Israel. I have read numerous Bible passages that promise that our Savior is coming (again). That all of Israel will be redeemed (Romans 9, 10, & 11) by that Savior. That Messiah will fight for Jerusalem and all of Judah.

“On that day the Lord will defend the people of Jerusalem; the weakest among them will be as mighty as King David! And the royal descendants will be like God, like the angel of the Lord who goes before them! For on that day I will begin to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem” (Zechariah 12:8-9).

Things to Ponder

This seemingly minor problem of a Jewish boy’s passport, which progressed all the way to the United States Supreme Court, demonstrates once again how current events are—one after the other—fulfilling Biblical prophecy in methodical detail. It is nothing short of astonishing. Bewildering, yes; but all part of God’s marvelous providential plan for the nations, especially for Israel and Jerusalem.

No matter what the official policy of our State Department has been, or the posture of any government in the world: Jerusalem IS the Capital of Israel. So resolved by God, so ratified by the leaders and people of the Sovereign State of Israel, so recognized by all those who trust the Bible as the inspired, inerrant, everlasting Word of God.

One day (soon) the Prince of Peace will rule and reign from that city. Because Jerusalem is and always will be the City of God.

What say you about Jerusalem?

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