Divine Consequences of Iran’s Arrogance (Part I)

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Pride Goes Before a Fall

What did Israel ever do to Iran that would generate such hostility of virtually an entire nation, especially high-ranking government and religious officials, against Israel? You can search every historical archive on this planet and end up with the same answer to this question: Nothing, absolutely nothing. No military attacks on Iran, no anti-Islamic propaganda, no racial profiling, no border disputes (because there is no border between Israel and Iran) … nothing. Of course, Israel has taken military action against Iran’s terrorist proxies, such as Hezbollah and Hamas, but only in self-defense. And Israel may have no other choice but to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, but only because Israel’s very survival is at stake.

Persia became Iran in 1935, but it wasn’t until the Muslim Shi’ites took over the country from the Shah in 1979 that Iran decided to align with other Muslim countries in their collective scorn of Israel and the Jews. To be sure, Iran is at odds with several Arab nations; but when it comes to the Jews, they all share a common ground—hatred of Israel.

There was no war by or against the Jews when ancient Persia defeated Babylon and, thereby, assumed control of Jews wherever they had been exiled. Not long after Persia conquered Babylon, the Persian King Cyrus issued an edict which allowed many Jews to return to Israel, first to rebuild the Temple and later King Xerxes permitted them to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. One of the most amazing prophecies in Scripture is God identifying and naming Cyrus and what he would do against Babylon and for Israel, some 140 years before Cyrus was even born! (See Isaiah Chapter 45)

The Persians and the Jews have not interacted for nearly 2,500 hundred years. Thus, Iran’s irrational and illogical animosity toward the Jews and Israel is nothing more than another expression of anti-Semitism, which is straight from the gates of hell. Meaning that the source of this malevolent hatred is Satan, himself. How ironic that Iran calls the United States the Great Satan and Israel, the little Satan; when Iran is the very expression and embodiment of Satan’s kingdom.

More senseless is the fact that Iran is not even an Arabic country. Thus, it is not the age-old rivalry between Arabs and Jews. Iranians are Persians who speak Farsi; but the majority are also radical Shi’ite Muslims. Therein, lies the root of the problem. It is the god and religion of Islam against the God of Israel. Allah, the man-made god of Islam, has mandated the destruction of both Jews and Christians, whom the Koran calls infidels. Iran considers the United States a Christian nation and Israel a Jewish nation; so, both must be conquered. Regarding Israel, it’s more than just subjugation; it’s elimination from the face of the earth.

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In a Stand for Israel article this past March, a total of seventeen quotes from high-ranking Iranian officials calling for Israel’s destruction was published. And those quotes are only from the year 2000 to the present. Obviously, there are more than seventeen. In this article I will quote just six, as a lead-in to another Iranian boast that was uttered a few days ago:

“If we abide by real legal laws, we should mobilize the whole Islamic world for a sharp confrontation with the Zionist regime … if we abide by the Koran, all of us should mobilize to kill.” (Mohammad Khatami, former president of Iran, 2000).

“With God’s (Allah) help the time has come for the Zionist regime’s death sentence.” (Yahya Rahim Safavi, former Revolutionary Guard commander, 2008).

“The Zionist regime is a cancerous tumor and it will be removed.” (Ayatollah Khamenei, current supreme Ruler of Iran, 2012).

“This barbaric, wolflike & infanticidal regime of Israel which spares no crime has no cure but to be annihilated.” (Khamenei, 2014).

“Today we are aware of how the Zionist regime is slowly being erased from the world, and indeed, soon, there will be no such thing as the Zionist regime on Planet Earth.” (Hossein Salami, deputy head of the Revolutionary Guard, 2014).

“The Revolutionary Guards will fight to the end of the Zionist regime … We will not rest easy until this epitome of vice is totally deleted from the region’s geopolitics.” (Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Guard, 2015).

Two of the seventeen quotes included reference to the Koran or to Allah (god’s help), both of which are listed above. In no uncertain terms, it’s the god of the Koran (Allah) pitted against the God of the Bible. There’s simply no other way to get around this issue of which god is God.

United States President Barack Obama and Islam

As alluded to in recent Eye of Prophecy articles, United States President, Barack Obama, refuses to acknowledge the obvious: That radical Islamic regimes such as Iran and militant Muslim terrorists organizations such as Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda, and ISIS are not merely an aberrant deviation or distortion of Islam. On the contrary: They are simply putting into practice what the Koran orders its adherents to do. They are reclaiming and activating the Jihad rights of Islamic conquest, which is to rid the world of any people or religion that would dare oppose Islam. Foremost of these infidels are Jews and Christians. It’s vitally important to recognize that the so-called militant Muslims of today’s world (including entire nations like Iran and Syria) are really mainstream Muslims because they are doing what is commanded in the Koran.

It has become equally clear that President Obama’s affinity for Islam—that trumps any ostensible empathy to the Christian faith—has shaped his world-view of and foreign policy toward Islamic nations. Here are three of many quotes attributed to Barack Obama concerning Islam (with some following commentary):

“Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance.” (Yes, of course … it must have been some “sacred text” other than the Koran that requires Jewish and Christian infidels to be hunted down and killed)

“Islam has always been part of America.” (Really? Where, by whom, and when did it become part of America? That is, until 9/11)

“The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam.” (Such a tolerant thing to say! So, if based on the Bible, the Word of the true and living God, I maintain that Mohammed is neither a prophet of God, nor that the Koran is divinely inspired, it would appear that I have no future anywhere on this planet)

The god of the Koran, or the God of the Bible?

Multiple passages of the Bible irrefutably show that God protected and defended the Jews and Israel, until his people abandoned him and turned to pagan gods. Some of these gods were forerunners of gods worshipped by Arabs until their founding prophet, Muhammad, decided the only way to compete with the Jewish and Christian God (monotheism) was to choose one of these gods to rival and replace the God of Israel and the God of Messiah (Yeshua, who is, himself, God). And, so, Muhammad selected the moon-god, Allah.

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Flags of Libya (top) and Iran, showing crescent moon symbol and emblem representing the name Allah (Iran’s flag).

As indicated, Allah commands Muslims to persecute and kill Christians and Jews who refuse to submit to Islam and even fellow-Muslims who violate the strict edicts of the Koran, especially those who leave Islam to follow Jesus. The God of the Bible is clearly called the God of Israel … the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. More than that: He is the God and Father of all who place their faith in his one and only Son, Jesus Christ. (John 1:12).

The point is: the god of the Koran (Allah) is not and cannot be the same God of the Bible. There’s absolutely no way they are both God. There are far too many differences. Several past Eye of Prophecy articles have explained some of these distinctions, but that is not the main purpose of this article. Rather, we want to demonstrate what the God of the Bible has done in the past and will do in the future to entire nations that blatantly defy him. That claim the right to eliminate Israel and the Jews by whatever means possible, including genocide.

Biblical history backed up by secular records show us that some nations and rulers have crossed the Divine red line of proud boasting or arrogant actions against Israel or God or both. As a result, God directly intervened with a supernatural display of power that crushed those who would dare challenge their very Creator. “I warned the proud, ‘Stop your boasting!’ I told the wicked, ‘Don’t raise your fists! Don’t raise your fists in defiance at the heavens or speak with such arrogance’ … It is God alone who judges; he decides who will rise and who will fall” (Psalms 75:4-7).

Which brings us to the latest tirade by a top Iranian official who said: “The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has divine permission to destroy Israel … the Noble Koran permits … Iran to destroy Israel … Even if Iran gives up its nuclear program, it will not weaken this country’s determination to destroy Israel.” (Mojtaba Zolnour, a Khamenei representative in the Revolutionary Guards, italics for emphasis).

Divine permission? Ultimate divinity belongs only to God, and the God of the Bible declares unequivocally, “…I am the First and the Last; there is no other God. Who is like me? Let him step forward and prove to you his power. Let him do as I have done since ancient times when I established a people and explained its future” (Isaiah 44:6-7).

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This is just one of many passages in Scripture where God states emphatically that there are no other gods. If Islam claims Allah as the only God, then where are the fulfilled prophecies and the miracles in the Koran? Where is the love? Where is the salvation that comes only through the redemptive sacrifice of God’s Son? The god of the Koran demands submission, subjugation, through force if necessary. The God of the Bible allows all individuals to make a choice—everlasting life through His Son, or eternal separation from God in hell.

God declares through Isaiah, “Who but a fool would make his own god—an idol that cannot help him one bit?” (Isaiah 44:10).

For Iran to claim divine permission to destroy Israel is a conceited “in your face” threat against not only Israel, but the God of Israel. And I’m convinced that God will deal with it just as he dealt with Pharaoh and Egypt, with Belshazzar and Babylon, and with Sennacherib of Assyria, as well as other rulers and nations who have crossed the divine line of God’s tolerance. Just as he will deal with the Gog/Magog alliance that dares to attack Israel, a campaign that will take place not long after the Rapture, which could happen any day now. Iran is part of this ungodly arrogant coalition which will be led by Russia.

What is important to grasp here is that Iranians are using their god Allah and the anti-Biblical text of the Koran as a divine justification to destroy Israel (the Jews) and eventually the United States. In fact, just a few days ago, Revolutionary Guards Deputy Commander Brigadier General Hossein Salami (who has previously threatened Israel with annihilation) included the United States as a future victim of Iran’s superiority. He boasted: “We welcome war with the Americans … The Americans should compare their past military victories over feeble armies … with the outcome and consequence of confronting the great (ness) of Islamic Iran.”

The words, “Islamic Iran” make Iran’s diabolical scheme a “battle of the gods.” It’s Islam against Judaism (and Christianity). It’s Allah against Yahweh (I AM), the God of the Bible.

Let’s take a brief look at what can happen to nations and rulers who deliberately confront the true and living God, who would dare to destroy what The Lord calls his, “special possession,” Israel.

Pharaoh and Egypt

Most of us know the story of God’s sovereign deliverance of the Israelites from their cruel bondage in Egypt. But what we sometimes overlook is that, although the Egyptians worshiped many gods, they had one god that was supreme over all … Ra, the sun-god who was the creator of all things. Moreover, Pharaoh, himself, was considered to be a god, virtually equal (regarding affairs of the empire) to any other god in Egypt. Thus, when Pharaoh repeatedly refused to listen to Moses to let God’s people go, he was denying and defying God; by asserting his perceived god-like power, which was really stubborn pride that made his heart as hard as a rock.

Before even one miracle was performed, here is what God said to Moses and Aaron: “But I will make Pharaoh’s heart stubborn so I can multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. Even then Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you. So I will bring down my fist on Egypt. Then I will rescue my forces—my people, the Israelites—from the land of Egypt with great acts of judgment. When I raise my powerful hand and bring out the Israelites, the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord” (Exodus 7:3-5).

We have two significant things going on here: (1) A ruler and nation who would dare oppose the true and living God. (2) God’s decision to personally intervene by bringing his fist down on Egypt, with the ultimate purpose to show that, “I am the Lord.”

Ten horrific plagues later, with the final judgment more devastating than anyone could have imagined (death of all the firstborn males of all Egyptians), then final destruction of the Egyptian army at the Red Sea, we see the collapse of the greatest nation on earth at that time. By the time God was through with her, Egypt would never regain the supremacy it once flaunted under the Pharaohs.

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Babylon and King Belshazzar

“The handwriting on the wall,” is an expression that has traveled all the way down through the ages to our post-modern world. When something profound and often ominous has just happened, we still sometimes say, “I saw the writing on the wall.” As some know and some may not know, this expression came directly from a spectacular event in 539 B.C., the night before the mighty Babylonian Empire would be dramatically destroyed by the ancient Persian Empire.

You remember: Babylon’s King Belshazzar threw a huge party for his wives, concubines, and 1,000 of his nobles. Nothing different here, as palace feasts were commonplace in such empires. But this time Belshazzar decided to do something different: He ordered that gold and silver cups transported to Babylon by former King Nebuchadnezzar be brought to the feast so he and his guests could drink from them. So, was that a problem? Answer: Yes, a huge problem.

These cups had belonged to Solomon’s Temple and were used exclusively during Temple worship by the Levitical priests. They were ordained and consecrated (set apart) just for that purpose, as previously instructed by the Lord during construction of the Tabernacle, and later the Temple. Although Nebuchadnezzar had claimed these sacred cups as spoils of war, it’s evident that he had enough respect for the God of Israel not to irreverently use these cups. From the account in Daniel, the obvious inference is that these cups had not been used at all; instead they had just been part of the royal Babylonia artifact treasury.

Equally evident is Belshazzar’s motive for using these cups: An in your face defiance of God by exalting the gods of Babylon above the God of Israel. “While they drank from them they praised their idols made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone” (Daniel 5:4). The account continues:

“Suddenly, they saw the fingers of a human hand writing on the plaster wall of the king’s palace, near the lampstand. The king himself saw the hand as it wrote, and his face turned pale with fright. His knees knocked together in fear and his legs gave way beneath him” (Daniel 5:5-6).

Seriously, what would be your reaction? No Hollywood production with special effects. No sleight of hand (pun intended) practical joke by a member of the king’s court who may have had a death wish. We’re talking about an actual human hand, unattached to a human body.

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I’m sure many know the rest of the story. None of the king’s astrologers or fortune-tellers, “…could read the writing or tell him what it meant” (verse 8). Only Daniel, prophet of the Most High God, was able to read the inscription and impart the meaning … because God gave Daniel the interpretation.

We know that the handwriting on the wall was a brief, but powerful indictment against Belshazzar and a prophecy that Babylon would be vanquished. And so it happened. That very night Darius the Mede (ruler of the Medes and Persians) conquered the city and subsequently destroyed the Babylonian Empire.

Of paramount significance is the ultimate reason why God directly intervened in the destiny and demise of Babylon. First Daniel gave Belshazzar a little history lesson by reminding him that it was the Most High God who had given Belshazzar’s predecessor, Nebuchadnezzar, “sovereignty, majesty, glory, and honor” (Daniel 5:18). But when Nebuchadnezzar’s, “…heart and mind were puffed up with arrogance, he was brought down from his royal throne and stripped of his glory” (Verse 20).

Then Daniel proceeded to tell Belshazzar why God was about to administer the same divine punishment against him. Said Daniel to Belshazzar: “You are his successor, O Belshazzar, and you knew all this, yet you have not humbled yourself. For you have proudly defied the Lord of heaven and have had these cups from his Temple brought before you … But you have not honored the God who gives you the breath of life and controls your destiny!” (Daniel 5:22-23).

Wow! That says it all.

Don’t miss next week’s Part II article, when another amazing example from Scripture will demonstrate what happens to a nation that arrogantly takes on Israel and the God of Israel, no different than what Iran is doing right before our 21st century eyes.

Things to Ponder

So, Iran has divine permission to destroy Israel? Really?

It’s too bad that the Koran doesn’t include the histories of Egypt and Babylon. The Iranians (all Muslims) could use such an object lesson before they act on their devious plan to wipe Israel from the face of the earth.

What about the divine permission given through divine promises of the God of Israel to, for, and about his people? Such as the following passage, one of many that speak of Israel’s victories over nations aligned against them in the end times, made possible by Messiah’s return to fight for and with Israel.

“Judah is my bow, and Israel is my arrow. Jerusalem is my sword, and like a warrior, I will brandish it against the Greeks” (Zechariah 9:13, the Greeks are representative of all Gentile nations in this verse).

And, “Now many nations have gathered against you. ‘Let her be desecrated,’ they say. ‘Let us see the destruction of Jerusalem.’ But they do not know the Lord’s thoughts or understand his plan. These nations don’t know that he is gathering them together to be beaten and trampled like sheaves of grain on a threshing floor. ‘Rise up and crush the nations, O Jerusalem!’ says the Lord. ‘For I will give you iron horses and bronze hooves, so you can trample many nations to pieces…” (Micah 4:11-13).

And, “The people of Israel will stand up to their foes, and all their enemies will be wiped out.” (Micah 5:9).

One more: “The Lord will give victory to the rest of Judah first, before Jerusalem, so that the people of Jerusalem and the royal line of David will not have greater honor than the rest of Judah. On that day the Lord will defend the people of Jerusalem; the weakest among them will be as mighty as King David!… For on that day I will begin to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem” (Zechariah 12:7-9).

Now then: What is it that Iran will do to Israel? When the moment of truth arrives, we’ll see who has Divine permission and who does not. And which god is God.

Israeli Occupation … Fact or Myth?

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Israeli Occupation (of the West Bank)?

“Don’t bother them with the facts,” is a cynical but nevertheless accurate assessment of and accusation against those who pursue a seemingly worthy cause that is simply not based on history, reality, or the obvious evidence in front of them. For the most part, we can overlook and even excuse the average person’s opinion of this or that issue when they sidestep the truth of the matter, as long as they are willing to (eventually) listen objectively to the facts and consider the possibility that they could be wrong, in light of those facts.

But when the President of the United States persistently disregards the true story (history) of Israel, we can rightfully question his real agenda for Israel. Does President Obama truly believe what he said during an interview with a London-based Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat?

Listen to this statement from the President: “As I said when I visited Ramallah two years ago, Palestinians deserve an end to the occupation and the daily indignities that come with it; they deserve to live in an independent sovereign state, where they can give their children a life of dignity and opportunity.”

Apparently, that is exactly what he believes, as he hasn’t changed his viewpoint.

The implication of his words is all too clear: The occupation pertains to the Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and a small area of the rest of the West Bank; which is, in reality, Judea and Samaria—part of Israel proper. The daily indignities are clearly meant by the President to originate from and by the Israelis against the Palestinians. That they deserve to live in an independent state so their children can live in dignity and opportunity, supposes that the Jews have stripped the Palestinians of all dignity and denied them opportunities they otherwise would have.

Really? So, simply create another state within a state and, presto, you have instant peace between Jew and Arab. Palestinians will immediately possess dignity and seize opportunity that ceased to exist after Israel became a State in 1948?!

What about the dignity and opportunity for peace and security of millions of displaced Syrians and Iraqis not to mention hundreds of thousands of Arabs killed in civil war between Muslim Sunnis and Shi’ites? What about the slaughter of Christians throughout the Middle East and Africa by terrorist groups and governments alike? What is the United States and the European Union doing about that? I mean really doing?

This occupation mindset of the White House and of several European nations was once again (recently) vented against Israel when they denounced Israeli settlement construction plans in Jerusalem for 900 homes/apartments. Actually, this housing development was first announced in 2010 during Vice President Joe Biden’s trip to Israel, which created a diplomatic clash between Washington and Israel. According to US State Department spokesperson Jeff Rathke, this plan of additional housing was “damaging and inconsistent” … harmful to resolution of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

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Jewish “Settlement” in the West Bank (Judea/Samaria)

Never mind that both Israelis and Palestinians fully realize that a few more Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem will not bring a screeching halt to peace negotiations. Because, the fact of the matter is: there are no negotiations for peace or anything else. Moreover, all past negotiations have been broken off by the Palestinians through terrorist attacks, intifada uprisings, missile launchings, or outright rejection of Israeli land offers in exchange for peace.

For example: When the Israelis pulled out of Lebanon years ago, the terrorist organization Hezbollah grew stronger and instigated a war against Israel. When former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon closed down all Jewish settlements in Gaza and forcibly relocated all Israelis from Gaza, what did the Palestinians under the newly elected terrorist group Hamas do? They began to launch unprecedented missile and mortar attacks (thousands) against southern Israel. Not until Israel built a security fence through the West Bank did Palestinian suicide (homicide) attacks against innocent Israelis virtually cease overnight. Israel has been (time and time again) sanctioned and criticized for this wall, which is no different than the fence erected by the United States along the Mexican border, to stem the tide of illegal immigrants. At least these illegals didn’t cross the border to kill Americans, like the Palestinians did to the Israelis.

Back to Rathke who went on to say: “…Moving forward with construction of housing units in east Jerusalem is damaging. We continue to engage with the highest levels of the Israeli Government, and we continue to make our position clear that we view this as illegitimate.”

Followed by an official European Union statement on May 9th, “Israel’s determination to continue its settlement policy despite the urging of the international community not only threatens the viability of the two state solution but also seriously calls into question its commitment to a negotiated agreement with the Palestinians.”

With the EU’s clear connotation that the Palestinians ARE committed to negotiations.

Really? As is said: Give me a break!

It’s obvious that Rathke, along with the entire White House staff and the EU, has no clue what is legitimate and illegitimate when it comes to Israel and its borders. More on that shortly.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reaction to the US and EU chastisement over the settlements was realistic, rational, and reasonable. “I don’t understand this criticism, and I don’t accept this position. Arabs in Jerusalem freely buy apartments, and nobody says that is forbidden. I will also not say that Jews cannot buy property in Jerusalem. There cannot be discrimination between Jews and Arabs. This is a normal process, and I see no reason to discriminate.”

Insistence on a Two-State Solution … No Matter That It Won’t Work and is forbidden by God

Despite the fact that neither the majority of Palestinians nor Israelis believe a Palestinian state is a feasible solution to the problem, President Obama continued his relentless rhetoric with the following statement: “We look to the new Israeli government and the Palestinians to demonstrate—through policies and actions—a genuine commitment to a two-state solution.”

Although President Obama is certainly not the only head of state to push for a Palestinian State, it’s becoming all too evident that our President is adopting a far more aggressive approach. To the extent of doing something unthinkable: supporting, if not actually introducing, a unilateral resolution in the United Nations to form a Palestinian State. Which would circumvent and negate any input from Israel, or any viable dialogue between the Palestinians and the Israelis. In other words, if Israel doesn’t at least negotiate for a two-state solution, then the United States will, through the United Nations, create a Palestinian State of its own making, boundaries and all.

This is exactly what (lame duck … his 9th year in office having been elected for a four-year term!) Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told the United Nations in his September 26, 2014 speech; “The hour of independence of the state of Palestine has arrived.”

You may recall that the PA’s petition to the UN to be recognized as a sovereign state (even though there still is no such thing as a Palestinian State) fell short of approval in 2012. However, the United Nations granted, “nonmember observer status,” for the Palestinians, which is normally the final step before full membership is approved. In the past such nations as Japan, Austria, Switzerland, Monaco and Vietnam were granted full membership status in the United Nations. Currently and curiously, the only other entity that has observer status is the Holy See (Vatican).

Ostensibly, the justification for Abbas’ declaration that the time has arrived for an independent Palestinian State correlates with the unity agreement between the Palestinian Authority (which rules the West Bank in Israel) and the terrorist organization Hamas (which rules in the Gaza Strip) that was signed in June of 2014. However, as the entire world knows, this unity agreement is a sham, producing more disunity than existed even before such an agreement. Neither of these corrupt organizations will concede any degree of authority to the other, as to who should govern a future Palestinian State. Furthermore, if such a state was created, there would undoubtedly be civil between these two groups just as there is between rival Muslim factions in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya.

*Note: As this article was in progress, another amazing story crashed the headlines: The Vatican, directly through Pope Francis, has drawn up a document that would recognize The Palestinian State … a state that doesn’t even exist! The Vatican is evidently calling it a treaty that would affirm the UN General Assembly’s recognition of (a potential—the idea of) a Palestinian State. Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to meet with Pope Francis on Saturday (May 16th), the day that this Eye of Prophecy article will be published.

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Italian Prime Minister Renzi Greets Mahmoud Abbas in Rome (5-15-15) Just Before Abbas Meets with Pope Francis (Pope Francis calls Abbas, “An Angel of Peace”)

It’s one thing for the White House to pull out all the stops in this misguided and uniformed effort to create a Palestinian State. It’s quite another to base this objective on the absolutely groundless and erroneous (false) premise that Israelis are “occupying” the West Bank which includes East Jerusalem. I repeat for emphasis: Jewish settlements in the West Bank are not occupation of land that doesn’t belong to them. In fact, it’s just the opposite: the land does belong to them, thus, if anyone is (wrongfully) occupying the land, it’s the Palestinians.

The term “occupation” has been grammatically and politically reversed in its meaning, because that is the only way for those opposed to Israel’s historically rightful claim to the land to justify their assertion that the Palestinian Arabs have exclusive ownership rights.

The Israeli government continues to recognize the right of Palestinian Arabs to build houses and apartments in East Jerusalem which, in fact, have been legally purchased by and deeded to them. But the Palestinians do not acknowledge, whatsoever, the same right for Jews to build on land that they have purchased; simply because this land is within the parameters of the so-called West Bank. In fact, there is no such thing as a national or state boundary without a nation or state to set those boundaries and neighboring nations to agree on where those boundaries are set. The only TRUE and LEGAL boundaries of Israel are between Israel and surrounding nations (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt), not the West Bank or Gaza.

But as periodically mentioned in past Eye of Prophecy articles, it’s not just all of East Jerusalem (there is no legal distinction between West and East Jerusalem) that the Arabs want; it’s all of Jerusalem, all of Israel that they lay claim to. Which is why on two notable occasions in the past, the Palestinian Authority (when Yasser Arafat was in control) rejected generous offers from former Israeli Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert to relinquish East Jerusalem and over 93% of the West Bank to the Palestinians. In exchange for virtually nothing else than recognition of Israel as a sovereign state. That was too much to ask of Arafat and is still too much to ask of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas—neither of which has backed down from their sinister scheme to drive the Jews out of Israel.

The Real (rest of the) Story of Occupation

Here is a quote from Louis Rene Beres in an October, 2014 article posted in the on-line editorial news source of Gatestone Institute: “At its core, President Obama’s, Sweden’s and Britain’s policy toward Israel and ‘Palestine’ reveals dangerous and hard-to-correct bewitchments of language. However unique, the ritualistic canard (false rumor that becomes a myth) of an Israeli ‘occupation’ has now been repeated so often, and so authoritatively, that it is generally taken prima facie as irrefutable ‘fact.’”

He continues: “One Israeli prime minister after another has attempted to trade land for peace and each has received, in response, only endless terror attacks, rockets, and protracted war … Both the PA and Hamas leaderships, for example, demand that Israel continue to have 1.8 million Arabs as full citizens of the Jewish State, but simultaneously insist that not a single Jew be allowed to remain as a citizen of the impending Palestinian state. This expectation, that Palestine will be … free of Jews, is a total contradiction of the original U.S. support for the Palestine Mandate, and of all authoritative international law.”

The international law referenced by Beres was expressly validated by the United Nations vote to recognize Israel as a sovereign state in November, 1947; followed by the rebirth of Israel as a nation in May, 1948. But the Palestinian Mandate cited by Beres goes back much further. On June 30, 1922, the U.S. Congress in a joint resolution unanimously endorsed the “Mandate for Palestine” which affirmed the irrevocable right of Jews to resettle in the area of Palestineanywhere they chose, between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

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Beres is saying the same thing that I am saying and others who recognize Israel’s right of perpetuity possession and prerogative to occupy ALL of Israel’s boundaries, should they choose. But the Jews have both politely and pragmatically afforded Arabs in Israel the privilege to “occupy” two fairly large portions (relative to the total land space of Israel) of Israel … West Bank including east Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

You read that right: In essence, Israel has extended permission for non-citizens of Israel (Palestinians who have refused to apply for Israeli citizenship unlike hundreds of thousands of their Arab brothers who are called Israeli Arabs—citizens) to occupy the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. (Through United States tradition, we would call this homesteading). But that doesn’t mean that Israelis are, therefore, illegally occupying a “foreign land” when they build subdivisions in East Jerusalem. It is already their land! Do you understand the difference here?

But it’s more, much more, than international recognition of Israel’s rights to what was once called Palestine, which was long before that called Israel. Had not one country on earth, including the United States of America, acknowledged the right of Jews already living in Israel and the right of Jews all over the world to return to Israel, the fact remains that the true and living God promised the land of Israel (borders of which were much broader than currently exists) to the Jews—the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That is reason enough!

If someone doesn’t think so, they are free to take up the case with God, himself. If so, I would encourage them to do so with an open heart and mind that really seek to know the truth. I’m referring to the universal truth of salvation, and that salvation comes through the Jews. To include the divine covenant between God and Abraham; that he and his descendants through Isaac (the Jews) were given a very small section of this planet to pursue life, liberty, and the happiness of knowing and serving the God of the Universe. The adversarial alternative of ranting and raving against God and God’s chosen people … well, let’s see what God has to say about that.

“I warned the proud, ‘Stop your boasting!’ I told the wicked, ‘Don’t raise your fists! Don’t raise your fists in defiance at the heavens or speak with such arrogance.’ For no one on earth—from east or west, or even from the wilderness—should raise a defiant fist. It is God alone who judges; he decides who will rise and who will fall” (Psalms 75:4-7).

And, “The day is near when I, the Lord, will judge all godless nations! As you have done to Israel, so it will be done to you. All your evil deeds will fall back on you own heads. Just as you swallowed up my people on my holy mountain, so you and the surrounding nations will swallow the punishment I pour out on you … And the people of Israel will come back to reclaim their inheritance” (Obadiah 1:15-17). The rest of this passage describes how Israel will be restored to its original borders decreed by God, as originally found in Joshua Chapters 13 through 19.

God continues to speak through Obadiah: “Then my people … will occupy the mountains of Edom … will possess the Philistine plains … take over the fields of Ephraim and Samaria … occupy the land of Gilead … occupy the Phoenician coast … return home and resettle the towns of the Negev … And the Lord himself will be king!” (Verses 19-21, italics for emphasis).

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Think about it: The Sovereign God who created the earth, indeed, the entire universe, picked a tiny portion of this planet for a chosen people to live. He could have selected all of the earth (except the land given to Israel) for the Jews and given only this small portion to the rest of the world. Had he done that, then the vast majority of the world’s population would be “occupying” land that doesn’t belong to us!

What would you think (historically) if the colonies had subsequently given all of Washington D.C. (or even some of it, say the eastern half) back to England to govern and control? The analogy is all too clear: That would have been absurdly impractical and intolerable to Americans; it would have negated the entire reason for revolting against England’s unfair reign over the colonies in the first place. Later, we fought a civil war to deny southern secessionists from establishing a separate capital (confederate nation) in this country. If either one of these events had taken place, we could no longer call ourselves the United States of America.

Why, then the double standard with Israel and its sovereign capital of Jerusalem? Why the incessant rhetoric against Israel accusing her of increasing tensions with the Palestinians by doing this or not doing that? With little to no sanctions against the Palestinians who fire mortars and missiles into Israel killing Israelis. Instead, we heap criticism upon criticism against Israel for (legally and rightfully) building more homes for their people. But now the criticism has turned to threats: How dare the Jews increase Middle East tension and jeopardize a peace process invented by the United States to solve a problem we have totally misdiagnosed with a solution that will cause more problems than it will solve. Here is an excerpt from a previous Eye of Prophecy article entitled, Jerusalem City of Peace, published 12-27-14.

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.

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.

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Silwan, an Arab Community (Settlement) Near the Old City of Jerusalem

More Evidence to refute the “Occupation Theory” of Israel’s Critics

Another excerpt from Louis Beres article: “A sovereign state of Palestine, as identified by the Arabs—a Muslim land occupied by ‘Palestinian’ Arabs—has never existed—not before 1948 and not before 1967. Moreover, the UN Security Council Resolution 242 never promised a state of Palestine. Even as a non-state legal entity, ‘Palestine’ ceased to exist when Great Britain relinquished its League of Nations mandate.”

He goes on to say; “During the 1948-49 Israeli War of Independence, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza came under the illegal control of Jordan and Egypt respectively. Nothing in prior international law, including the 1947 U.N. General Assembly partition resolution, had ever said anything about any Jordanian or Egyptian title to these lands. The West Bank and Gaza were simply seized—those were the lands that were ‘occupied’—by these two Arab states after their 1948 aggressions against Israel…

“These Arab aggressions in 1948 did not put an end to any already-existing Arab State of ‘Palestine.’ Ironically, what these aggressions did manage to accomplish was the deliberate prevention of an Arab state of ‘Palestine.’ From the start, it was, and continues to be, the major Arab states—not Israel—that became the core impediment to Palestinian sovereignty. The current predicament of what to do with West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza is the direct result of Arab states’ non-compliance with the original UN partition plan of 1947, for which the Jewish side, however reluctantly, has given its full approval.”

I fully concur with Beres’s summary when he states: “President Obama’s still-proposed ‘Two-State Solution’ derives from a misunderstanding based on ignorance—legal, historical and conceptual—of Israel and ‘Palestine.’”

Throughout history, the right of victors in war (among other things) is to control land they have conquered; this is especially true of just wars, such as the American Revolutionary War and certainly the Six-Day War or Israel’s War of Independence in 1948 or the Yom Kippur War of 1973. However, when Israel defeated Egypt, Syria, and Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War, and recaptured the Golan Heights, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, they relinquished much of the West Bank and nearly all of East Jerusalem including Temple Mount back to the Palestinian Arabs and Jordan; and Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula back to the Egyptians. (Israel did this under extreme pressure from the United Nations and the United States). Moreover, neither Jordan nor Egypt (as indicated by Louis Beres) had any legal right to these territories in the first place.

Actually, the more I hear what our President has said and is saying and study closely his real agenda, I believe it’s more than just ignorance of the facts. Indeed, the United States (President) is treading on dangerous ground by claiming that the Jews are “occupying” land that doesn’t belong to them. To make such an allegation is a deliberate distortion of the facts. More than that; it is a blatant disregard of Scriptural truth and international law. The charting of such a course by seeking to divide Israel is tantamount to raising a defiant fist in God’s face.

This is not merely my opinion or the opinion of others who also keep their thumb on the pulse of Israel and the Middle East. It is the sovereign truth and opinion of God, himself.

For example: “At the time of those events, says the Lord, when I restore the prosperity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather the armies of the world into the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will judge them for harming my people, my special possession, for scattering my people among the nations, and for dividing up my land” (Joel 3:1-2, italics for emphasis).

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How can we know that the God of the Bible IS God? Conversely, that the god of the Koran or the gods of other so-called sacred texts is not God? I’ve written much on this subject in some prior Eye of Prophecy articles. For purpose of this article, I will simply summarize by pointing out two amazing proofs found in the historical record of the Bible. (1) God’s own statement that only he can predict the future with 100% accuracy. Hundreds of these prophecies have come to pass; dozens more are awaiting fulfillment. (2) The many miracles of Jesus to prove that he is who he said he is: The Son of God and God the Son. No other man has ever restored the sight of a man born blind, or turned water into wine, or walked on water, or fed thousands of people with five loaves of bread and two fish, or … on and on it goes. Culminating with resurrection from the dead! Will you be able to do that on your own when you pass from this earth?

For anyone to reject the indisputable historical proof of fulfilled prophecy and divine miracles is to say what was said to begin this article: “Don’t bother me with the facts.” In other words it is a matter of the heart, not of the head. It’s, “I refuse to believe, no matter what the evidence shows.” It’s what Paul said about much of mankind to the Romans: “They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them … Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks…” (Romans 1:19-21).

Then Verse 25: “They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.”

Things to Ponder

Not only powerful (fulfilled) prophecies and marvelous miracles attest to the fact that the God of the Bible is God; but also the miracle of changed hearts in people the world over. Former Muslim terrorists, Jewish rabbis, heads of state, religious and atheists alike, addicts, convicted criminals, and every-day people like you and me—transformed from the inside out when we place our trust in the atoning sacrifice of Yeshua haMashiach. (Jesus the Christ)

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ … For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them … 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 5:17-21).

Under the Radar

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(Flying) Under the Radar

Is there any other phrase read or heard more often in the 21st century than, “Flying under the radar?” Or the shortened version, “Under the Radar?” I can’t think of a single saying that is used as frequently or as universally by so many different people in so many different settings… sports, economics, politics, business, science, and everyday life.

It’s one of those unique colloquial expressions that (originally) literally meant an aircraft flying so low to the ground that it couldn’t be detected by even the most advanced radar systems. How often have we seen a movie where US fighter jets flew “under the radar,” and successfully accomplished their mission of taking out enemy fortifications?

But somewhere along the way, under the radar took on a life if its own; becoming a metaphorical idiom to explain how something or someone rose to prominence or achieved something extraordinary without being detected, until everyone realized what had happened. Moreover, the figurative use of the phrase has superseded the literal meaning in frequency and significance. As is the case with other idiomatic phrases such as, “fight fire with fire,” or a “cat and mouse” game.

If I’ve seen the term once, I’ve heard it a hundred times just in the arena of sports alone. Such as, “The Kansas City Royals have flown under the radar nearly all year.” For those of you who may have missed it (or don’t really care!), the Kansas City Royals baseball team of 2014 came one run (one win) away from winning the World Series. A feat that hadn’t been accomplished since the 1985 World Series win against the St. Louis Cardinals. Throughout the 2014 baseball season and even into the playoffs, they “flew under the radar” of baseball fans and sports columnists alike. I’m a Kansas and Missouri boy … why else would I use the Royals as an example?!

Which is why some shocking news that I discovered in an article just a couple of months ago ended up in my Under the Radar file. What I read seemed much too incredible to use in one of my articles or even to consider it as legitimate, especially since there were no other sources or articles on that particular subject. However, just a few days ago, the subject was mentioned again through another source, but in the same context: the ongoing friction between the United States and Israel. The whole world knows that there is a personality clash between US President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Of even more concern is the developing rift between the US and Israel over strategic policies (the how, why, and when of things) pursued by each country in dealing with two contentious problems: (1) creation of a Palestinian State, the so-called two-state solution; (2) Iran’s persistent pursuit of a nuclear bomb.

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President Obama & Prime Minister Netanyahu (What are they thinking?)

Two-State Solution & A Nuclear Iran

A brief recap shows that President Obama and his executive staff are on the verge of withdrawing traditional support of Israel in the United Nations. This not-so-veiled threat by the White House was ostensibly based on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement that resumption of negotiations with the Palestinians—broken off in April 2014 when the Palestinian Authority signed a unity pact with its rival group Hamas—would not be possible. Although Netanyahu clarified his position by explaining that negotiations with an organization that refuses to recognize the very existence of Israel and one that avows Israel’s extermination is virtually impossible … at the very least an exercise in futility.

For decades, the US has opposed (unwarranted and unreasonable) United Nations’ sanctions against Israel and/or unfavorable decisions against the only true democracy in the Middle East. To supposedly soften this somewhat harsh sentiment against Israel, the US Executive staff offered a (superficial) conciliatory response summarized by the following: “The President reaffirmed the United States’ long-standing commitment to a two-state solution that results in a secure Israel alongside a sovereign and viable Palestine.”

Contrasted, however, with President Obama’s statement that the United States,” needs to rethink our approach,” towards Israel. As indicated in last week’s Eye of Prophecy article entitled The Seven Year Treaty, the majority of Israelis and many Palestinians do not want a two-state solution, with reasons given for this remarkable reality. One that is contrary to the US and EU’s determined but misguided objective to create a Palestinian State within the sovereign borders of Israel.

Also, distinctly divided is the United States and Israel’s view on what it will take to deter Iran from developing enough uranium to manufacture nuclear warheads. It is a matter of record that Prime Minister Netanyahu is opposed to any deal with Iran that would continue to threaten Israel’s very existence. On the one hand the White House issued a statement that President Obama has, “…emphasized the importance of the United States places on our close military, intelligence and security cooperation with Israel, which reflects the deep and abiding partnership between both countries…”

And on the other hand refusing to attend the historical address to the United States Congress by Prime Minister Netanyahu this past March. Further refusing to accept the obvious danger of lifting or even relaxing sanctions against Iran and other negotiating points that would produce a much better deal than the tentative agreement reached recently with Iran. Just a few days ago, one of the high-ranking Iranian officers of the Republican Guard issued a challenging statement that Iran demands immediate withdrawal of all sanctions and would, under no circumstances, allow international inspection of their nuclear sites.

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So, is the United States for or against Israel? By concentrating on the consistent inconsistencies of President Obama and his staff you could, with a great deal of confused certainty, rightfully answer, “Yes!” It’s a: Definite maybe.

As I said in last week’s article: *Note: What part of the Muslim Palestinian (paraphrased) objective that, “We want all of Israel and will drive the Jews into the sea to get it,” doesn’t our United States President and the European Union understand!? Is the repeated menace from high-ranking Iranian officials including their Ayatollah of “Death to America, Death to Israel,” just an idle threat? Hello? I think not.

The Shocking Story

Back to the under the radar event that prompted me to retrieve the original story from my resource archives to be the main subject of this week’s article. What was it that I couldn’t believe with my own eyes, nor could I fathom that such a thing might possibly take place; something that apparently was kept under the radar by leading news agencies, both fixed and internet? (Don’t you love the word, apparently? It can be used when you’re not sure of anything but have an opinion on everything).

I first read about this astonishing story (dated 3-14-15) in the on-line Prophecy News Watch website, which was taken from a Bethlehem-based news agency, Ma’an; which, in turn, referred to a Kuwati newspaper report published on February 28th, 2015.

Here is direct quote from the first paragraph of the Prophecy News Watch article, which was the reporter’s introductory preview of what he had discovered:

“…US President Barack Obama thwarted an Israeli military attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities in 2014 by threatening to shoot down Israeli jets before they could reach their targets in Iran.”

Absolutely astonishing! If, that is, it’s true. As indicated, another report of this under the radar incident recently resurfaced. Absent any denial or disclaimer from the United States or from Israel, the strong implication is that this unthinkable confrontation (in some form or another) actually did take place. Which is why the incident didn’t explode into an international after-the-fact crisis. Because it is all too incredible to imagine that the President of the United States would issue such a warning against Israel or consider such an action against the most loyal ally the United States has in the Middle East, indeed, in the entire world.

Thus, the story was, for all practical purposes, dismissed out-of-hand; swept under the geopolitical rug. A global No Comment conspiracy if ever there was one. Well, it’s time to comment, hence this article.

This clash between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, between the United States and Israel is especially unimaginable in light of very recent and very open statements by US Vice President Joe Biden. Who said that the US military has already been directed to prepare for a possible attack on Iran; this in response to what the US might do if Iran doesn’t comply with any or all of the conditions imposed by the P5 + 1 nations (which includes the United States) in the tentative agreement with Iran, scheduled to be finalized by the end of June, 2015.

Let’s examine the rest of this remarkable story alleging that Obama forced Netanyahu to stand down from a preemptive strike against Iran over a year ago. Which makes it all the more ironically inconceivable … the fact that some of the Arab countries who are US allies would welcome an obliteration of Iranian nuclear sites (not the least of which are Saudi Arabia and Jordan).

Prophecy News Watch reporter, Mark Langfan writes: “Following Obama’s threat, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was reportedly forced to abort the planned Iran attack. According to Al-Jarida, the Netanyahu government took the decision to strike Iran some time in 2014 soon after Israel had discovered the United States and Iran had been involved in secret talks over Iran’s nuclear program and were about to sign an agreement in that regard behind Israel’s back.”

*Note: these behind-Israel’s-back secret talks with Iran is exactly what transpired last year, and has led to what has become a second phase or installment of these once-secret negotiations, which are now known world-wide.

The article continues: “The report claimed that an unnamed Israeli minister who has good ties with the US administration revealed the attack plan to Secretary of State John Kerry, and that Obama then threatened to shoot down the Israeli jets before they could reach their targets in Iran … According to the (Al-Jarida) report, ‘Netanyahu and his commanders agreed after four nights of deliberations to task the Israeli army’s chief of staff, Benny Gantz, to prepare a qualitative operation against Iran’s nuclear program. In addition, Netanyahu and his ministers decided to do whatever they could do to thwart a possible agreement between Iran and the White House because such an agreement is, allegedly, a threat to Israel’s security.’”

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Israeli Air Force

According to the report: “The sources added that Gantz and his commanders prepared the requested plan and that Israeli fighter jets trained for several weeks in order to make sure the plans would work successfully. Israeli fighter jets reportedly even carried out experimental flights in Iran’s airspace after they managed to break through radars.”

Another Note: Not so secret is Saudi Arabia’s “unspoken” resolve to grant Israel permission to use their airspace in route to a potential attack against Iran.

What’s even more implausible is that retired US diplomat Zbigniew Brzezinski (former national security advisor to former President Jimmy Carter and ardent supporter, campaigner for Obama’s 2008 candidacy) helped persuade Obama to challenge Israel. Said Brzezinski during his interview with the Daily Beast: “They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch? We have to be serious about denying them that right. If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not. No one wishes for this but it could be a Liberty in reverse.”

More Notes: Brzezinski’s reference to Liberty was an Israeli (mistaken, friendly fire casualty of war) attack on an American ship named Liberty during the 1967 Six-Day War. Obviously, Israel apologized profusely for that inadvertent unfortunate incident. However, Brzezinksi’s analogy is seriously unreasonable and illogical. Why? It was clear then and still is that Israel’s assault against an American ship (during wartime) was totally accidental. Whereas, his inappropriate comparison of the United States shooting down Israeli planes would have been a deliberate attack on America’s strongest ally in the Middle East.

More Commentary on This Mind boggling Scenario

If for no other reason than the names and sources identified in this near-miss episode between Israel and the United States (as well as lack of either country denying the reports), I’m inclined to accept the evidence as presented. But even if the dispute didn’t quite reach the near critical mass point of no return, it very well could happen … given the increasingly strained relations between the US and Israel over the past few years.

A quick knee-jerk response is that the United States would have entered totally uncharted waters (airspace if you will) had Israel not stood down from its plan to destroy or at least disable Iran’s nuclear facilities; and certainly if President Obama had followed through with his warning to shoot down Israeli fighter jets. Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to abort this preemptive strike was professionally and pragmatically appropriate. He clearly looked at the bigger long-term picture of Israel’s relations with the United States; although it must have been agonizing to him that the President of the United States would even think, let alone threaten, to shoot down Israeli jets on their way to a needed and justified mission. I’m sure Benjamin made the practical yet painful decision that this kind of preemptive strike could wait for another day. However, the literal fall-out of Israel’s abandoned mission is yet another year for Iran to accelerate their nuclear program.

Though I’ve referenced the famous Scriptural passage several times in previous Eye of Prophecy articles, it certainly bears repeating. This Biblical prophecy with a combined blessing and warning comes directly from God to Abraham, the father of the Jewish race: “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).

Indeed, all peoples on the earth have been richly blessed by God’s glorious plan of redemption, delivered by and consummated through the Jewish Messiah, Jesus. As seen throughout Scripture, the blessings extend individually and nationally, physically and spiritually to those who support Israel, to those who seek to do her no harm.

The warning is just as clear: Those nations (and individuals) who seek to harm Israel will pay a heavy price. When God curses someone or something, including entire nations, it gives a whole new meaning to the proverbial phrase: “It’s not a pretty sight.” Down through the ages, the forgotten ruins of once powerful empires are graphic reminders that what God says he will do, he does. What he says will happen, happens.

For example, one of dozens of Biblical passages that portray God’s heavy hand against anti-Semitic nations is as follows: “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sworn this oath: ‘It will all happen as I have planned. It will be as I have decided. I will break the Assyrians when they are in Israel; I will trample them on my mountains. My people (Israel) will no longer be their slaves nor bow down under their heavy loads’” (Isaiah 14:24-25).

Then to demonstrate that what would and did happen to Assyria (and earlier in this chapter to Babylon which hadn’t even come into power yet) would be a representative example of all nations who suppressed and oppressed Israel, the Lord continues: “I have a plan for the whole earth, a hand of judgment upon all the nations. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has spoken—who can change his plans? When his hand is raised, who can stop him?” (Verses 26-27).

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If you don’t agree, then please tell me where I can find the once mighty empires of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, or Rome? Although Germany has partially risen from the ashes of her defeat in World War II, she is nothing like the “invincible” Third Reich. All of these nations at one time or another, to some degree or another, trampled on Israel and the Jews. For that matter, where are the Philistines, Moabites, Edomites, Amalekites, Canaanites and all the other “ites” of the ancient Middle East. All of these dynasties, both small and large are gone. Only Israel remains!

God Did Not Even Spare Israel

Israel and the Jews from Moses time can attest to God’s decree of what would happen to them if and when they deliberately disobeyed even the simplest of commandments, “You shall have no other gods before me.” When they abandoned the Lord their God, he abandoned them by withdrawing his protection of Israel from their enemies. In fact, the Lord used Gentile nations to severely punish Israel for what God often called, “despicable sins.” Not the least of which was copying the pagan practice of sacrificing their very children to pagan gods, such as Baal. But mostly from their refusal to acknowledge Melech haOlam (King of the Universe) as the only true and living Sovereign God.

Covered in much detail in a three-part Eye of Prophecy series entitled Seven Times Seven (to the 4th power), published 1-25-14 through 2-8-14, and the final article in that series, The Omega Generation published 2-15-14 is a chronological history of God’s warnings against Israel coming to pass in series of catastrophic events in Israel’s history. Of paramount importance, however, is that when Israel recaptured the Holy City of the Holy Land in 1967, once again Jerusalem was restored as Israel’s (divinely appointed) Capital … center of both religious and political life. When that historical event took place, God’s discipline of Israel ended. The Times of the Gentiles was no more. No longer would Israel be at the mercy of any and all Gentile nations that sought her destruction. Why? Because God would once again be with Israel; once again Israel could and would be able to defend herself.

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Celebration of Israel’s Victory in the Six-Day War

Since Babylon conquered Judah in 586 BC, with the temporary exception of the Maccabees’ astounding (against all odds) victory over Antiochus IV around 164 BC, the Jews were unable to defend themselves, as they had no king or standing army powerful enough to resist her enemies. Thus, Israel eventually suffered the two greatest tragedies of all time: The Roman Conquest that led to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD, followed by the great Dispersion of Jews throughout the entire earth. Then the even more horrific event that isn’t even a full generation removed from when it took place during World War II … The Holocaust.

Yet from the floods of dispersion and the fires of Nazi death camps, a miraculous event took place—the remarkable rebirth of Israel as a Sovereign State in 1948, just three years removed from the Holocaust.

This, too, is part of the magnificent sweeping plan of God to restore Israel to preeminence among the nations of the earth. It is a precursor to the final spiritual restoration of Israel back to her God and, more specifically, to her Messiah whom they rejected (and many still reject) nearly 2000 years ago. But, the fact remains: God’s disciplinary action against Israel—as summarized in Leviticus Chapter 26—is finished; including God’s use of Gentile nations to accomplish his firm, but nevertheless (ultimately for their own good) loving discipline of his chosen people.

Although God will accomplish his purpose for Israel which means that Israel’s inevitable glorious destiny is in God’s hands, the warning to those who would seek to hurt Israel (and certainly those who wish for Israel’s utter destruction) will apply right up to Messiah’s dramatic victory over the forces of evil at Armageddon. Whether this involves the complete annihilation of the Gog/Magog coalition that dares to attack Israel as graphically portrayed in Ezekiel Chapters 38 & 39 (I believe soon after the Rapture); or a (God-forbid) disastrous United States turnaround in their overt support of Israel, let alone the audacity to take on Israel in actual warfare, these anti-Semitic actions will be dealt with harshly by God.

For that matter, what makes President Obama and our military leaders think they could win a skirmish with Israeli fighter pilots? As good as our Air Force and Navy pilots are, Israeli fighter pilots are every bit their equal, if not better. Let’s put it this way: I wouldn’t bet against Israel, even if you gave me odds. For one thing, Israel’s resounding victories in all of her 20th and 21st century wars has been against all odds. One only has to read the amazing stories of each of these wars to realize that there’s no way Israel could or should have won; meaning not without the sovereign supernatural help of Almighty God.

But an intriguing test as to who has the best fighter pilots is not even close to being the issue. Indeed, no such test should ever take place.

I’m talking about repercussions far beyond who would win an aerial battle between the US and Israel. The very fact that the United States would even think of shooting down Israeli jets is absurdly insane. At the very least it demonstrates that our national leaders know nothing or care to know nothing about warnings issued by the true and living God. Warnings that have been proven true time and time again throughout history … the demise or destruction of nations that have persecuted Israel. If the United States turns on Israel in that fashion or in any fashion that jeopardizes Israel’s security and survival, then we need no longer ask God to, “Bless the USA.” At that point we would need to humbly get down on our individual and national knees and plead for God’s mercy, all the while restoring our support, literally and figuratively to Israel.

Right now, this country is in more than enough trouble with our internal spiritual decay, not the least of which is the federally funded abortion mills and the impending Supreme Court decision on gay marriage. The very fact that such an issue is going all the way to the Supreme Court is a moral indictment of this once great nation. According to Scripture, in that regard we are guilty (before God) until proven innocent.

But when we throw in an increasing attitude of dislike and disdain for Israel, our fate will be sealed by God’s seal of approval on the nation of Israel. When we seek to divide the God-given land of Israel (to the Jews) by creating a Palestinian State, we are challenging and even defying God’s solemn instructions to both the Jews and Gentiles, not to partition the land of Israel.

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Depiction of the Fall of the Roman Empire

What am I saying? That Israel is perfect? Of course not. Any one of us in America or anywhere in the world can differ with religious, political, or cultural ideas and practices. Just like we disagree with others right here in the United States … why we, for example, have two main political parties, Democrats and Republicans. No, I’m not talking about day-to-day differences in such matters. Rather, I’m referring Biblically to the fundamental decisions that adversely affect Israel’s security, her very survival. That includes abandoning Israel in the United Nations, and most certainly applies to any thought, word, or deed that would directly lead to economic (BDS) and especially military actions against Israel, the pupil of God’s eye as Scripture describes her.

Things to Ponder

Neither you nor I, nor the United States of America, nor any person or nation on earth can fly under God’s radar. Yet, it’s very sad that so many try to do just that.

“But the Lord is in his holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth. The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked …” (Psalms 11:4-5a).

What is it the righteous can do to stem the mounting tide of ungodliness, evil, and violence throughout the world? First, we must clarify what the Bible means by righteousness … who is righteous and who is not. Righteousness is defined by Scripture as a right standing with God.

No one has any innate or merited righteousness of their own. “There is none righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10, NASB). Thus, those deemed righteous by God are those who have been given his righteousness through faith in the finished redemptive sacrifice of Jesus Christ when he took our sins upon himself. When we accept this at face value and place our trust in Jesus Christ, God will respond with amazing grace and matchless mercy.

“For everyone has sinned, we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with underserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus … People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood…” (Romans 3:23-25).

What can we do? Stand up and be counted. “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so… (Psalms 107:2).

What else can we do?

Intercede by praying for America. God listens to intercessory prayer. He did so with Abraham, who asked God six times, each time lowering the count of the number of righteous in Sodom and Gomorrah needed for God to spare those cities from utter destruction. If there had been even ten righteous (those who acknowledged and placed their trust in God), these ultra-wicked cities would have been spared.

To paraphrase the great evangelist, Billy Graham, when he agonized over the declining condition of the United States: If God didn’t deal with the spiritual demise and moral corruption of this great nation, he would then need, “To apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”

What more should we do? Although God’s instructions to the highest leader of Israel (King Solomon) was specifically intended for the Jews and Israel, the principle is every bit applicable to the United States of America, to Brazil, to Italy, to any nation on earth: “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).

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Pray with me that the Lord our God, for the sake of the righteous, will spare America from judgment until after the Rapture.

The Seven Year Treaty

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The Seven Year Treaty

Just a few days ago, United States Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, who along with Secretary of State John Kerry has participated in negotiations with Iran over nuclear issues, warned Israel that abandonment of the two-state solution in Israel would complicate America’s traditional support of Israel in the United Nations.

This was nothing more than a regurgitation of what President Obama and John Kerry said in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement shortly after he was reelected. A summary of the Prime Minister’s position on the possibility of a Palestinian State alongside (actually inside Israel’s sovereign borders) of Israel is that he couldn’t continue to pursue such a “solution” because neither the Palestinian Authority nor Hamas had budged an inch in their refusal to recognize Israel as a sovereign Jewish State.

Ms. Sherman qualified her comments by noting that the US Administration would withhold a final decision. She said: “We will be watching very closely to see what happens after a new government in Israel is formed on this issue of working towards two states living side by side in peace and security.”

According to Netanyahu, it simply isn’t feasible (at this point in time) to resume negotiations with the Palestinians, as they still maintain an avowed duty to reclaim a land that was never their land in the first place. They don’t really want peace in Israel, they want a piece of Israel … a piece here, a piece there; or, preferably, the entire State of Israel dismantled and the Jews destroyed or at least driven from the land. In some Eye of Prophecy articles, I have partially addressed this matter of a two-state solution and who the land actually belongs to. But in the article entitled, A Palestinian State? (No, say many Arabs), published 1-11-14, I dealt with it more extensively, particularly from the viewpoint of the Palestinians.

Here are a couple of excerpts from that article:

Why would so many Arabs NOT want a Palestinian State? Isn’t that what all Arabs long for in Israel? Isn’t that the reason for past terrorist attacks on Israeli Jews? Or, the incessant demands by the Palestinian Authority headed by Mahmoud Abbas and its rival counterpart Hamas in the Gaza Strip for Palestinian rights? Or the greater majority of world opinion to end so-called Israeli settlement occupation of certain territories within Israel?

There are several divisive issues and obstacles to a peace accord between Arabs and Jews in Israel, including an independent Palestinian State within Israeli borders. But none more so than the question of Israeli control of Golan Heights and the Jordan Valley for national security reasons. And then for religious and political reasons—exclusive control of East Jerusalem by the Arabs which would, for all practical purposes, mean that Jerusalem is not Israel’s capital.

And as Palestinian journalist, Khaled Abu Toameh writes in his article for Gatestone Institute, “It was hard this week to find even one Israeli Arab who publicly supported the proposal.” Khaled goes on to say, “Arab Knesset members … do not want to wake up in the morning and discover that they are citizens of a Palestinian state. It is much easier for them to accuse Israel of racism than to admit that they do not want to be part of a Palestinian state.”

At face value that seems and sounds incredible—that Palestinians wouldn’t want to be governed by their own people. But after further review, it’s all too practical and easy to grasp. Pretty much ever since Israel became a nation, and especially since 1967 when hundreds of thousands more Arabs suddenly became citizens of Israel, those Israeli Arabs have been far better off than their Palestinian brothers living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Although there’s still a lot of hostility emanating from Israeli Arabs toward Israel, they understand that Israeli citizenship affords them much more freedom, democracy, a higher standard of living, movement throughout Israel, more places to shop for and buy the things they want and need; in short, a better way of life. The last thing they want is an abruptly changed life in a Palestinian State, controlled by a Palestinian government that could just as quickly take away many of the privileges they currently enjoy as Israeli citizens.

Why a Palestinian State is Not the Solution

Not just many Israeli Arabs in Israel, but many citizens of Jordan (one of only two Muslim countries that have officially recognized Israel as a sovereign state … Egypt being the other) would pragmatically prefer Israel as the only state to its west. For you see, Jordan relies on Israel both politically and economically, as Jordan no longer trust its fellow-Arab countries. Recently a Jordanian columnist, Maher Abu Tair accused Arab countries of turning their backs on Jordan. Also, he and other Jordanians know all too well: virtually every other Arab nation has spurned the Palestinians within Israel. Actually, this has been going on for decades.

Said Tair, “This is the unfortunate reality, and those who follow events can see Jordan’s headlong rush towards Israel and the overlap of (their) political and economic interests. It is as if Jordan is saying one of two things: that all Arab doors are closed to it, or that Israel is its safest ally and the only refuge in the region. Alternatively, perhaps the former is pushing Jordan towards the latter. The naked truth is that Jordan no longer has any Arab allies, and today its only ally against the entire Arab east is Israel…”

This is absolutely astonishing! But it reinforces the undeniable practical reality of what is really taking place in Israel and the Muslim nations that surround her. Though not stated by Abu Tair, he and other knowledgeable Jordanians fully grasp the potential effect of thousands upon thousands more Palestinians who would seek refugee asylum in Jordan should a civil war break out between Muslims factions in a Palestinian State. In fact, Jordan has already absorbed thousands of Palestinians who (voluntarily … not by Jewish hands) fled to Jordan during the Independence War of 1948, the 1967 Six-Day War, or the Yom Kippur War of 1973, each of which was initiated by Arab coalitions, including Jordan itself in 1948.

For that matter, the so-called unity agreement of just a few months ago between the Palestinian Authority (Fatah) of the West Bank and Hamas (ruling authority in Gaza) has failed miserably. These two Palestinian organizations are at each other’s throat again in a heated dispute, both claiming the right to govern the Palestinians. Hamas is the more violent of the two, but both groups would use (misuse) a Palestinian State that suddenly would have sovereign boundaries to launch more terrorist’s strikes against Israelis. Moreover, the creation of a Palestinian State would require a route (highway) to connect the West Bank to the Gaza Strip right through the heart of Israel.

In actuality there would be no civil war (one that would last any length of time) between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas if there were no Palestinian State. Why? Because Israel would intervene to (1) protect its own citizens—both Jews and Arab Israelis in Israel proper; and (2) protect its settlements in the West Bank. However, if a Palestinian State was created, national borders would be drawn for such a State. Which, in turn, would exacerbate even more the hostility between Fatah and Hamas and more likely than not precipitate a civil war much like we have seen in other Muslim countries like Tunisia, Libya, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Anyone paying the slightest attention to Middle East events is aware of the bloody civil conflict between Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims in those nations.

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Aleppo, Syria … Bodies Found After Water Drained

Theoretically, Israel would not be able to intervene in the affairs of a sovereign (Palestinian) State, and would be criticized even more harshly and unjustly by Muslim nations, by the European Union, and even by the United States. Any preemptive Israeli incursion into the boundaries of a Palestinian State would undoubtedly be condemned by the United Nations as an (unlawful) Act of War, with who knows what kind of repercussions.

No, it’s not the Palestinians or majority of Israelis that support a two-state remedy to the problem. And the reason is because most Arabs and Jews fully understand what the problem really is: an ancient animosity of Arabs against Jews that goes all the way back to Abraham’s sons—Ishmael and Isaac. Instead, it’s the United States, the European Union, Russia, and most Mid-Eastern nations that are feverishly working toward a “peace plan” designed to resolve an otherwise irreconcilable dilemma without truly grasping the real source of the problem, let alone the solution to that problem.

What is the underlying motive for the world’s insistence that Israel be divided into two states? Though somewhat of an oversimplification, the two fundamental reasons originate from two divergent sources:

Western Nations (primarily the EU and US): Some sort of conceited super-power desire to create a legacy of the nation or nations that successfully orchestrated peace in the Middle East.

Russia and Mid-Eastern Muslim Nations Hostile toward Israel (principally Iran but all nations other than Jordan and Egypt … for now): Their true agenda would be to usurp control of this Palestinian State (as a proxy) through massive economic and military aid. But it wouldn’t matter which nation exercised this kind of control and influence; as either Hamas or Fatah would continue to compete for supremacy (civil war), for reasons no different from those that have produced the current Mid-East civil wars, including Muslim radical groups fighting against other Islamic terrorists.

In short: Could there, will there ever be an Israeli State and a Palestinian State “living side by side in peace and security?” In my opinion based on Scripture, NO. That is: not until a spectacular occurrence that will shake the inhabitants of this earth like never before … The Rapture of true believers in Messiah Jesus. Soon after this colossal event, the reappearance of the Antichrist beast from the Abyss will stun the world to the extent that he will (easily) manipulate Israel and Muslim nations into signing a treaty.

Right now, the adversarial conditions between Israel and Muslims (including Palestinians) preclude any such pact for several geographical, political, religious, and social reasons, which will be soon explained in this article. But even if all of those disputes were somehow resolved, there is one monumental obstacle to a two-state solution. It is such a barrier that neither the Israelis nor the Palestinian Arabs (indeed, Muslims the world-over) will even place it on the table as a possible point of negotiation.

Jerusalem, a City Divided

I’m referring to Jerusalem. More specifically, what is now classified as East & West Jerusalem. Even more precisely, Temple Mount. The Palestinians demand complete control of Temple Mount and have said time and time again that East Jerusalem would be the capital of a Palestinian State. For the majority of Israelis this is unthinkable, not the least of which is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and what will be his parliamentary coalition headed by the prevailing Likud party.

It was not always this way. It hasn’t been all that long since former Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert offered East Jerusalem to the Palestinians in exchange for recognition of Israel as a sovereign state (and other concessions from both sides). Each time the Palestinian Authority rejected this incredibly magnanimous offer; which, among other things, reveals their real (not so hidden) agenda of wanting all of Israel.

*Note: What part of the Muslim Palestinian (paraphrased) objective that, “We want all of Israel and will drive the Jews into the sea to get it,” doesn’t our United States President and the European Union understand!? Is the repeated menace from high-ranking Iranian officials including their Ayatollah of “Death to America, Death to Israel,” just an idle threat? Hello? I think not.

Both times, many Israelis breathed a sigh of relief that these offers were rejected by the Palestinians, as they now realize what a stupendous blunder it was to even make such an offer. In the past few years, polls in Israel have demonstrated that even liberal leaning Jews currently comprehend that Palestinian control of East Jerusalem would, in no way, guarantee peace between Arab and Jew. This is particularly true given the realization that stronger Muslim countries (like Iran and Turkey and even Egypt) would seek some measure of control (as alluded earlier in this article) over a Palestinian State, which would endanger exponentially an already volatile, even explosive situation between Jews and Palestinian Arabs.

What about the other issues separating the two sides? Well, why don’t we listen to the words of an Israeli Prime Minister named Ilan Rosen who disclosed the details of an amazingly unprecedented treaty between Israel and Palestinian Arabs (indeed, all Arab nations)!

“Ladies and gentlemen, citizens of Israel, we have a treaty with the Arab coalition. The Knesset and the IDF unanimously support this magnificent achievement. I must acknowledge the splendid efforts make by all parties, especially by the European Union, and specifically by its President, Juan Iago Castilla. Mr. Castilla mediated the more difficult articles of this covenant. He proposed the most radical compromise—one that your own government did not think to introduce. Now, then, are you ready for some details?”

Six million Jews replied in unison, “Yes!”

“Number one: the State of Israel will be unequivocally recognized and accepted by all Muslim nations and by all countries involved in this treaty. This will include parties with terrorist affiliations such as Hamas.

“Number two: Israel will be granted a seat on the security council of the United Nations. Number three: With the exception of two Muslim nations, an Israeli embassy will be placed in the capitals of Arab countries. Number four: All signatories to the treaty will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”

“Impossible!” The word reverberated throughout Israel. Muslims had sworn never to accept Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. But then most had sworn never to recognize Israel.

His extended hand had no effect on the deafening shouts, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem!”

“My friends, we must reciprocate. There are times when we must allow even our enemies to be right, so long as it doesn’t jeopardize our security.”

Many (in the crowd) nodded, but some frowned.

Ilan continued: “All Gaza and West Bank checkpoints will be turned over to the Palestinians. Those residents will have free passage in and through Israel, as long as they have a stated purpose. Those purposes will be worked out by the time the treaty is signed.

“An allotment of the so-called (Palestinian) refugees in various Arab nations will be allowed to return if they desire. The number will be limited to 150,000. We will leave this to the Palestinian Authority, but they will probably resettle in the vacated Israeli settlements of Gaza and the West Bank. Subject to the normal citizenship procedures, they can become citizens of Israel if they choose to do so.”

More frowns, but Ilan had expected this reaction.

“If there are no terrorists attacks, mortar launchings, or threats of military mobilization against Israel within one year of the treaty, Israel will accept and recognize a Palestinian State within our borders. And at all times, Arab citizens of Israel will have a minimum of sixteen electorates in the Knesset.

“With the exception of convicted murderers, all Palestinian, Arab, and international prisoners will be released. They must return to their homeland, be it Gaza, the West Bank, or a country outside of Israel.”

Low grumbles and loud groans permeated the crowd, “We give too much,” some shouted.

At this point, Prime Minister Rosen was about to end this remarkable speech to Israel, but he was reminded by the Israeli Defense Minister of the most astounding accomplishment of this treaty. Which was a ploy by Ilan to increase the suspense and heighten the excitement of the moment. He continued with his message:

“This treaty would not have been possible without one additional article. It is the one I referenced earlier in my speech. It would appear that we have another miracle. This one has been two thousand years in the making. Effective the day after the treaty is signed, we will begin construction of Jerusalem’s third temple. The location of our temple will be none other than the Temple Mount.”

Religious or secular, for or against a rebuilt temple, it did not matter. Israel gasped as such a tremendous accomplishment, both real and symbolic. The bewildered crowd exploded in jubilation. All of Israel joined them with shouting, laughing, weeping, and dancing. Loud cries of, “Praise God,” erupted from the chief rabbi, who had leaped from his chair only a few feet from Ilan. Soldiers began to sing, Politicians praised their prime minister with a symphony of continuous adulation. An orthodox rabbi jumped in the air. He pointed in the direction of Temple Mount, fell to his hands and knees, and kissed the ground. Children screamed in delight. A young liberal rabbi did a backflip, then another one.

Cars and buses screeched to a halt, doors flung open, and occupants pranced around their cars with outstretched arms. From every building in Israel, the celebration spilled into the streets. People held hands and danced in circles to the right. Circles within circles danced to the left. They struck beautiful chords of harmony as they sang “Hava Nagila.” Strangers hugged and kissed. The orchestra had become a concert ensemble, replete with singers and dancers. Like floodwaters from a breached dam, cascading chants filled the air.

“Eelan—Isra’el! Eelan—Isra’el! Eelan—Isra’el!”

Such rejoicing had not been heard since Israel achieved statehood. Some would say not since the Exodus.

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Temple Mount Model

Perhaps not, but by now you have probably figured out that the above scene has not actually occurred in Israel … not yet anyway. You would be right, as this unheard of treaty comes from a fictional Israeli Prime Minister Ilan Rosen as found in Chapter 19 of my novel, O Israel … The end is the beginning for those left behind. And, as stated by Ilan Rosen, credit is given to Juan Castilla (Antichrist in the novel) for initiating and moderating this treaty, particularly the most troublesome item of a rebuilt Jewish Temple.

Though O Israel was published in 2007, this fictional treaty produced resolution of the core elements of the current and virtually impassable areas of disagreement between Jew and Arab in Israel. And, I’m completely convinced that some, if not all, of these disputed matters will be zones of concession and agreement in the treaty orchestrated by the Antichrist shortly after the Rapture. As, however, I later realized through an amazing disclosure from the Lord (the main theme of my subsequent non-fiction book Out of the Abyss), the Antichrist beast of Revelation will not be a modern-day born man; rather he is none other than the Roman Emperor, Nero.

The Seven-Year Treaty

First, where in Scripture do we find the announcement that there will be a Seven-Year Tribulation? What passage or verse? Is it found in the Book of Revelation? No, it is not found in Revelation. Surprised? Then it must be in the book of Daniel, you say? No, not there either. In fact, nowhere in the Bible do we actually see the phrase Seven-year tribulation. Yet it is, by far, the most commonly used expression by prophecy students.

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Alright, to a certain extent these are trick questions, but only in part. The phrase is actually a hybrid of two passages in Scripture. (1) “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will” (Matthew 24:21, NASB). These are the very words of Jesus who, in response to his disciples request about the end times, warns about the cataclysmic events of the last days.

(2) The reason that this period of tribulation is given a seven-year duration is, of course, directly from Daniel’s astonishing prophecy of, “a ruler (who) will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple” (Daniel 9:26). For those who have read my book Out of the Abyss or some of the Eye of Prophecy articles on this subject, you have found ample documentation from this passage and several others than pertain to the little horn, king, ruler, man of lawlessness, beast (all designations of the most frequently used term, Antichrist); that Nero is the beast who returns from the Abyss (Revelation 17:8). These articles can be found in the category of Antichrist, most recently the three-part series entitled, A Beast by Any Other Name … Is Still a Beast.

More specifically, the seven-year tribulation finds its origin of time (seven years) in the following verse: “The ruler will make a treaty with the people (Israel) for a period of one set of seven, but after half this time, he will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings…” (Verse 27).

Thus, Bible scholars and teachers have, by logical deduction and correlation, linked the one set of seven (Hebrew expression for seven years) to Jesus’s prophecy of the coming great tribulation, with the two prophecies combined together in the catchphrase, Seven-Year Tribulation.

This is further reinforced by companion language in Revelation that tells us the Antichrist’s (full) authority will last three and a half years (42 months), which undoubtedly will begin when he breaks the treaty with Israel half way through it. “Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God. And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months” (Revelation 13:5).

Actually, the first descriptive reference to this horrendous period of turmoil and terror is, in fact, from the prophet Daniel. It follows Chapter 11 in which Daniel is given detailed prophecies of the Antichrist prototype, Antiochus IV, then the Antichrist, himself. The angel continues this revelation by telling Daniel, “At that time Michael, the archangel who stands guard over your nation (Israel), will arise. Then there will be a time of anguish (tribulation) greater than any since nations first came into existence” (Daniel 12:1).

Then later in this chapter, at Daniel’s request of, “how long will it be until these shocking events are over?” the angel’s response is: “It will go on for a time, times, and half a time…” (Verses 6-7).

As we know, neither Daniel nor anyone else could or would understand these phenomenal predictions until the Messiah was born, lived, died, and arose back to heaven. And even then, not until the (final), “revelation of Jesus Christ,” was given to John as recorded in the book of Revelation.

In returning to the main theme of this article (is peace or some form of peace through a covenant between Jews and Arabs possible), I believe Scripture is foundationally very clear that only a miraculous event or series of events can and will be the catalyst for an otherwise impossible treaty agreement between Israel (Jews) and Arab countries (Muslims). The first event is the divine supernatural resurrection from the dead of believers in Christ (hundreds of millions the world over) and transformation/transference of all living believers to heaven. Followed shortly by the reappearance of the beast from the abyss (Revelation 17:8) and his arrangement of a seven-year treaty. Culminating in the magnificent return of Jesus Christ to the earth to rescue Israel by soundly defeating the kings and nations of the earth aligned against him (Armageddon).

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You might ask: “How will Nero achieve what no one else has accomplished, i.e. a treaty between Jews and Muslims? First to preface the answer on the scriptural clear premise that God gives this authority to Satan and, indirectly to the Antichrist. Second: this treaty of peace is anything but real peace. Rather it will be a deliberate deception perpetrated by Nero to accomplish his malevolent agenda which is to establish the kingdom of Satan over the earth. In reality it will be a false peace that will plunge the world into the greatest war induced carnage of all time.

The answer to your question is found primarily in Revelation Chapter 13. For two reasons, Nero will have virtually no problem with or opposition to this treaty.

“I saw that one of the heads (Nero is one of the seven heads or kings of Revelation 13 and 17) 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 for giving the beast such power, and they also worshiped the beast. ‘Who is as great as the beast?’ they exclaimed. ‘Who is able to fight against him?’” (Revelation 13:3-4).

First, Antichrist Nero will dazzle the world with what they perceive to be the miracle of resurrection. Thus, many (including most Arabs and many Jews) will give him their immediate loyalty, even to the extreme of worship. Secondly, they will also fear him greatly. After all, who could possibly oppose or fight against someone who returned from the dead? How on earth can you even kill someone like that!? Their conclusion: you can’t, so the only choice is to do what he says. Thus, if he wants the Jews and Arabs to broker a treaty, neither side will have much of a problem with resolving all the irreconcilable issues listed earlier in this article, not the least of which is permission (accepted by the Arabs) for the Jews to rebuild the Temple.

Things to Ponder

Following the Seven-Years of Tribulation, Christ will return in great power and glory. At that time, “The Lord will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4).

It can’t be stressed enough: True, lasting peace will only be possible through the Prince of Peace, Messiah Jesus.

But before there can be national peace between peoples, there must first be individual peace with God. How can that happen? “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us” (Romans 5:1).

Whether individual or national peace, the Hebrew word, Shalom, is by far the best expression for peace. It is much more than the absence of war. Shalom conveys wholeness, wellbeing, harmony, contentment, security, rest, and tranquility.

During the Millennial Reign of Messiah on earth, he alone will mediate disputes between nations. Likewise, now (until then), “…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…” (I Timothy 2:5-6).

Then there will be no need for treaties, whatsoever. For there will be one Man (the God-man Christ Jesus) who will be the very embodiment of Righteousness, Justice, and Shalom throughout the earth.

Messianic Jews … Who Are They?

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Messianic Jews

IDF Soldiers Warned Against Contact With Messianic Jews.

This absorbing headline revealed the provocative subject of an article printed on the website of israeltoday.com in December, 2013. Earlier that month another article in the same on-line forum was published entitled, Yeshua Campaign Causes Buzz in Southern Israel. That article featured excerpts from a radio interview with a Messianic Jew and Ofer Karadi, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish member of the Shas party of the Knesset. The orthodox Jew screamed into the microphone at his Messianic co-guest: “May his name be cut off forever … Are you (the host interviewer) so degenerate as to allow this impious infidel to even speak on the radio … It is unacceptable to allow these degenerates to speak about these things in our city.”

The caustic condemnation of the Messianic Jewish guest only got worse as the talk-show progressed. Although the Messianic Jew was allowed to speak, it was all too evident that Ofer Karadi not only loathed the audacity of the Messianic Jew and the interviewer for allowing this impious infidel to be on the talk-show, but also despised the Messianic Jew himself. The program began by the radio host citing a recent incident in which an Israeli IDF general had called a special meeting with his battalion after the general had observed a few signs along a highway that referenced Yeshua (Jesus). During this meeting, the general proceeded to explain to the soldiers about, “Messianic Jews and what they believe about Yeshua.” Moreover, it was apparent that this particular IDF general was, at the very least, tolerant of Messianic Jews and perhaps actually sympathetic toward them.

Not necessarily so with Israel’s Ministry of Defense and high-ranking IDF authorities which, mostly for political reasons to appease the staunchly “anti-missionary” Orthodox Jews, have issued a formal warning that all soldiers staying in Jerusalem through the Sabbath are not allowed to have any contact with members of this (Messianic) “sect of Jews” who preach faith in Yeshua. But it was also a throw-back to an IDF policy that began years ago, in which Messianic Jews enlisted in the Israeli military were considered to be a (potential) security risk. Though not all Messianic Jews were dismissed from the IDF, those assigned to elite or sensitive units were required to make a decision … serve Messiah or serve in the IDF.

Many years ago, during the enforcement of this policy, a Jewish friend of mine … now a Christian pastor who currently lives in Israel experienced this same dilemma. He rose to the rank of Major in the IDF specializing in military grid communications and logistics. When his superiors learned that he was Messianic they told him that his service in the IDF was a, “conflict of interest.” He was given a choice to fulfil his duty to Israel OR to Yeshua, but not both at the same time.

To further analyze and illustrate this amazing ambivalence toward Messianic Jews in Israel (and the world at large), a Messianic Jewish Sabra (native-born Israeli), who is now an IDF Air Force sergeant, asked his commanding officer if he could use a New Testament along-side of the (required) Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) while pledging his personal and military induction allegiance to the State of Israel. Without hesitation, his commander replied, “Yes you may.” Consequently, this young soldier became part of the IDF, along with scores of Messianic Jews currently serving in the Israeli military.

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IDF Recruits After Oath of Allegiance

Generally speaking, Jews belonging to the IDF who profess faith in Messiah Jesus are no longer singled out like they once were. To the contrary, they seem to be highly respected by commanding officers, to the extent of becoming officers in every branch of the IDF … even in Israeli Military Intelligence units, which requires high security clearance.

Why then did the Israeli Defense Ministry publicly issue orders to soldiers stationed in Jerusalem not to interact with fellow soldiers who were known Messianic Jews? As indicated earlier, it has everything to do with being politically correct, specifically to placate the Orthodox Jews, most of whom ironically refuse to serve in the military.

*On a side note, there is an alarming increase in the United States military to identify and isolate men and women who profess faith in Christ. Even military chaplains have been severely restricted in what they can say or do with regard to anything relating to Jesus Christ, including the very mention of his name!

Such Statistical Diversity!

The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is a microcosm of all Jews in Israel. In a nation with roughly eight million citizens of whom some two millions are Arabs, we find an incredible mixture of Muslims, Christians, and mostly Jews who are either secular (including atheists) or religious. But the practice of Judaism encompasses a wide spectrum that includes Liberal, Reformed, Conservative, Orthodox, and ultra-Orthodox, in that order from (the) left to (the) right. It is a truly perplexing phenomenon, one that can and will someday be providentially resolved by God himself directly through his Son, Messiah Jesus. A divine solution that began two thousand years ago when Jesus Christ came as the chosen, “…Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). And this same Messiah Jesus, as the Lion from the Tribe of Judah and King of all kings “…will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” (Acts 1:11).

As much as I love Israel, the Jews, and my Christian heritage from the Old Covenant, I am profoundly saddened that God’s chosen people (selected to bring the light of God’s salvation to all nations through God’s Messiah) still don’t recognize that the New Covenant promised by God through his prophets has already arrived … when Messiah Jesus died and arose from the dead in the first century (See Jeremiah 31:31-34).

“After supper he took another cup of wine and said, ‘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 as the Jewish Apostle Paul said: “What does all this mean? Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God’s standards, they were made right with God. And it was by faith that this took place. But the people of Israel, who tried (are still trying) so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded. Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law instead of by trusting in him. They stumbled over the great rock (Messiah Jesus) in their path” (Romans 9:30-32).

But some Jews have discovered that Jesus is alive! That he is who he said he is: Messiah, the Son of God and God the Son. Though still relatively small in numbers, this most astonishing and intriguing group are the Jewish Christians or perhaps better described as Christian Jews … known today by the term Messianic Jews. Why is this so remarkable? Because in a country that is historically known for its spiritual or religious traditions, nearly two-thirds of Israelis (based on a poll) classified themselves as either non-religious or agnostic or even atheists (eight percent). Though polls are often an oversimplification of what is taking place on any given subject at any given time, they do represent a fairly accurate cross-section of the population.

Thus, these surprising statistics make Israel less “religious” than Japan (62%), Germany (59%) and South Korea (55%); and almost identical to the United Kingdom’s 66% non-religious population. However, according to Rabbi David Golinkin, Professor of Jewish Law at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, many Israeli Jews maintain some form of traditional Judaism (undoubtedly referring to periodic observance of Sabbath and certain festival days, such as Passover). Although not nearly as devoted to Judaism as the Orthodox or Conservative, they would not envision themselves to be non-religious.

If such a standard is used instead of a poll that merely asks whether a person is religious or non-religious, then the statistics would show that about 56% of Israelis considered themselves to be (at least technically) religious, slightly over half. Of this conscientious half, Orthodox Jews constitute 15%, ultra-Orthodox 7%, and 34% are traditional (those who observe Judaism to some degree or another).

Worldwide there are an estimated one million Messianic Jews, with 200,000 living in the United States. These one million Jews who embrace Yeshua (Jesus) as the Messiah, represent 7% of the world population of 14,218,800 Jews. However, the proportion is much less in Israel, with an estimated 15,000 Messianic Jews—according to the website, Maoz.Israel. This represents only .002% of the 6,300,000 Jews in Israel! Or one of every 420 Jews in the land, contrasted to one of every fourteen Jews worldwide.

But I’m not surprised at either figure, particularly the .002% in Israel, where it’s nothing short of amazing that there are even a hundred Messianic Jews. I say this in the context of the animosity held by the greater majority of Jews, both secular and religious, against Christianity, particularly those who survived World War II and moved to Israel. This originates primarily from the horrific massacre of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust, perpetrated by a Nazi fascist regime that many Jews associated with Christianity. In fact, one reason there are so many Jewish agnostics today is because of what happened to their parents and grandparents in the Holocaust. There are too many painfully unanswered questions for them, not the least of which is their (erroneous, but nevertheless overwhelming) belief that Nazi Germany was fundamentally a “Christian nation.”

True Christians versus False Christianity

As explained at length in the previous two-part Eye of Prophecy articles (principally on the subject of whether Islam is a religion of peace) the horror of the Crusades and Inquisitions hundreds of years earlier still have an enormous impact on the Jewish psyche. Here is an excerpt from last week’s article:

Time does not permit an in-depth analysis (indeed, books have been written on this subject), but the historical evidence is quite strong: First, the vast majority of these Crusaders were acting on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope, and French and English Kings who were, for the most part, subject to the Pope. These crusades in no way, shape, or form represented the essence of Jesus Christ or Scripture. Which is to spread the Good News of salvation to all mankind, with the crystal clear understanding that this is not done through violence or even by duress. Just the opposite: As any kind, caring parent wants their child to respond to their love with love and appreciation from the child (not out of threat or even obligation), so does our great God and Messiah Jesus give us the same choice. Thus, it’s a matter of the heart, not of the sword. An issue of gratitude, not attitude (brashness and arrogance that leads to compulsive compliance).

It’s so very sadly true that the Crusaders were hell-bent to retake Israel from the Muslims and restore what they perceived as the Kingdom of Heaven in Jerusalem. They did so under the mantle of a romantic, but more-so mushy misguided mission that this must be done by conquest (Crusade). In fact, Roman Catholicism is a doctrinal distortion of true Christianity, disguised in the form of an institutional hierarchy that attempted to replace and replicate the once mighty Roman Empire, with the Holy Roman Empire. An empire that encompasses the Holy City of Jerusalem, one that must dominate both the Islamic kingdom and the Jewish remnant left over from the Roman induced Diaspora of the Jews.

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Again, we can see the obvious dissimilarity between real Christianity (unforced believing and receiving Jesus as personal Savior … resulting in a change of the human heart) and compulsory adherence to a religious system that required physical baptism for membership, then maintenance of right-standing in the church by the keeping of sacraments and performance of good works. Which was and still is in complete contrast to Biblical redemption and the means of that salvation summarized succinctly by the following passage:

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The overriding and overwhelming theme of the entire Bible is the coming of Messiah to redeem the world. Jesus Christ expressly fulfilled hundreds of Messianic prophecies, and would indeed sacrifice his very life to give all who believe in him life everlasting.

“And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life” (I John 5:11-12). So our Creator gave us life, then he gave us life again.

And then to put this even more in the context of this week’s article, a quote from Part I of these articles entitled, A Religion of Peace?

Is Islam a religion? Of course it is: No less than Hinduism, Buddhism, Roman Catholicism, Shintoism, or cultic sects like Mormonism that claim some (corrupt) form of Christianity … which is NOT, I repeat NOT, a religion. Actually, I don’t even like to use the word Christianity but will do so for the sake of identifiable terminology, because it bears this name in an attempt to classify or include it as one of the world religions. Christian … yes, as that expression clearly conveys one’s identity in Christ … a Christ-one.

But that doesn’t make believers in Jesus Christ religious or Christianity, a religion. Those redeemed by Jesus Christ do not belong to an ism. Rather, we belong to a Person. Actually three Persons in One: God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Can I get an AMEN on that!

Christianity & the Jews

Whether diehard secular or avowed religious or simply traditional, Jews throughout Israel and the world will tell you that their strong aversion to the Christian faith and, therefore, Jesus as Messiah, relates directly to what they perceive as Christianity induced persecution against the Jews dating back to the Crusades. But even further for some: Going all the way back to the formation of the Roman Catholic Church, a direct outgrowth of the Roman Emperor Constantine declaring Christianity the State Religion of the Roman Empire. Then, subsequently, the persecution of Jews throughout the Roman Empire and later Europe that began with the insidious and perverted concept that the Roman Catholic Church had replaced Israel in all of the Biblical prophecies pertaining to restoration of the Jews to the Promised Land and to their Savior—both individually and nationally, literally and spiritually. This, as many of you know, is called Replacement Theology. And it is straight from the gates of hell.

The roughly 20% of Jews who are Orthodox observers of Judaism, many of whom are Rabbis, would reject Jesus as Messiah, no matter what happened to their ancestors at the hands of misguided members of Roman Catholicism and even some Protestants (such as the tragic way in which Martin Luther turned on the Jews late in his life). To them, the Christian faith is nothing more than a deviant sect of Judaism. Although the Jewish Temple was demolished in 70 AD and the Jewish sacrifices were terminated, Judaism has adapted by relying on the Mosaic Law to (hopefully) attain a right standing with God; but absent the God-ordained sacrificial shedding of blood for forgiveness of sins. Please, I would encourage you to read the three-part Eye of Prophecy series entitled: Where is the Temple? (Published 11-29, 12-6, & 12-13-14).

Whereas, the roughly 80% of all Jews who are not Orthodox will invariably cite the aforementioned world events (Romanized Christianity, Crusades, Inquisitions, Holocaust) as more than reason enough to reject the historical Jesus as the real Son of God Messiah. In fact, many non-observant and even some observant Jews don’t know that Jesus was a Jew. They perceive him as the founder of Christianity … a gentile religion.

How incredibly ironic!

Jonathan Bernis, a former Rabbi and now a Messianic Jew, head of Jewish Voice Ministries headquartered in my neck of the woods (Phoenix, AZ) tells the story of growing up in an Orthodox Jewish family. He, too, thought Jesus was a gentile, and that Christ was his last name! Not understanding whatsoever that Jesus is the Christ, (Jesus Christ) which is the same thing as saying (in Hebrew) that he is Yeshua haMashiach. Christ and Messiah mean the same thing … anointed or chosen one. They are titles, not surnames!

So Exactly What and Who is a Messianic Jew?

If you didn’t know before, you obviously know by now: A Messianic Jew is a Jew by physical birth who has believed and received Jesus as God’s prophesied Messiah … Savior of both Jew and Gentile. That is the first and foremost reason why they are called Messianic Jews.

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As quoted from the Maoz.Israel website home page, Messianic Jews in Israel:

Come from various backgrounds and walks of life. The majority are still immigrants—many from the former Soviet Union and North and South America, with a growing number of Sabra (native-born in Israel) Jews—individuals and entire families, young and old, Sephardic and Ashkenazi.

Because of faith in the Bible (meaning both Old and New Testaments) and the words of Yeshua, the Messianic Jews in Israel are outstanding citizens. Israel Messianic Jews pay taxes, serve in the IDF, are honest business owners and valuable employees.

We embrace the Feasts of the Lord and other Biblical appointed times and celebrate them together. We love to fellowship together, pray together and share our lives with one another as we follow the Lord with the same passion that our ancestors in the Bible did.

And despite the ongoing persecution of Messianic believers in Israel, the body of Messiah is growing as more and more Israelis are accepting Yeshua as their Messiah and Savior.

We all look for the day to see the promise of God fulfilled in His Holy Land—that all Israel shall be saved.

During my visit to Israel in 2006 (along with one of my sisters), I experienced what you just read, firsthand. On a Saturday Sabbath, we attended a congregation of believers in Yeshua, called Grace and Truth. Following the typical pattern of singing worship songs (a couple of them brought tears to my eyes), the message was delivered in Hebrew for the Jews in attendance who speak this ancient language all through Israel. That’s an astounding story by itself … the miraculous restoration of a virtually dead language. But with God nothing is impossible. Even in this fairly small congregation, the message was translated simultaneously on one side of the sanctuary in English, and the other side in Russian! And this is the way of it week after week. It was simply amazing.

For those out there who may have a problem with a Saturday service (Sabbath) versus Sunday, or who question whether any believer, Jew or Gentile, should observe certain Jewish festivals (Passover, Feast of Tabernacles), I can on the authority of Scripture tell you conclusively: There is no problem whatsoever with keeping these Jewish traditions. Jesus did! After Jesus returned to heaven, his apostles continued to attend (and teach) in the synagogues (on the Sabbath).

As long as we fully understand that salvation comes by faith in the finished work of Messiah Jesus, not by keeping the Mosaic Law or Jewish (or any) rituals; what does it matter how we celebrate the Lord’s Day or traditions like the Jewish New Year or the more Gentile custom of Christmas. Or if we get together in worship and fellowship on Saturday or Sunday? Or what we eat or don’t eat and drink? (See Romans 14).

How strange that the term Messianic Jew was even coined? Or that today’s Christian Jews or Jewish Christians would even be referred to by that label. Why! Because for the first few decades after Christ ascended to heaven, nearly all of the early Christians were Jews! They weren’t called Messianic Jews. If a person believed in Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah, it was pretty much understood that he or she was a Jew.

At first the group designation assigned to the early believers was, The Way. Most likely after Jesus astounding assertion that he alone was, “The Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). Not until years later were they called Christians at Antioch in Syria. Still, the vast majority were Jews. In that regard, we’re returning full circle to Jews all over the world coming (back) to Messiah, like many of their first century ancestors began their new faith in the Jewish Savior—whose sacrificial death on the cross and mighty resurrection saves Gentiles who believe in him as well as Jews. In that respect, nothing has changed. As it was in the 1st century beginning of the church, so is it today … Jews are once again turning to Messiah Jesus as they did 2000 years ago. Scripture makes it plainly clear: This is God’s plan for the Jewish race!

Opposition from the Religious, Especially the Orthodox

Something else hasn’t changed. Opposition to Jesus and to early Christians came almost exclusively from the most religious of the Jews—Pharisees, Rabbis, Priests. And this was the only group that Jesus indicted to the point of condemnation with such observations as: “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things. Blind guides!” (Matthew 23:23-24). In another setting, Jesus reprimanded the religious leaders as the “blind leading the blind.”

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And yet thousands upon thousands of common-folk Jews followed Jesus during his journeys through Israel. Within a few decades, however, the greater number of Christians in the Roman Empire were not found in Israel, much like Messianic Jews in contemporary times.

Which is why the ultra-Orthodox Jew referenced in the beginning of this article will vigorously condemn a Christian Jew; whereas an IDF general and the majority of less observant Jews have no problems with Messianic Jews in Israel or anywhere in the world. Which also explains why a Jew who wanted nothing whatsoever to do with Christians or their Jesus can and did find the incredible salvation and forgiveness offered by the true Messiah. Listen to the testimony of Mottel Baleson who is now a messianic preacher in New Jersey!

“Growing up, we always understood that we had our Bible and the Gentiles had their Bible—the New Testament—and that they were two completely separate books.”

As a college student he began to read all of the Scriptures but, as he points out, under the impression that the New Testament, “…was going to be a handbook on how to persecute the Jews. And yet, when I opened it, I read a story written by Jews about Jewish people.”

When he opened the New Testament to the genealogy of Jesus, who was written as being the son of David, the son of Abraham, he was astonished to realize that Jesus was every much a Jew as King David and the father of Jews, Abraham. He went on to say that, “This is the One (Jesus) who was promised in our Bible in the 53rd chapter of Isaiah. It is astonishing if you were to just read that chapter … you would say, ‘Oh, this is some Christian Bible. This is Jesus’ What you realize, though, is that it is in the middle of our Bible—our Jewish Bible.”

Despite the enormous evidence that Jesus was the Messiah (incredible teachings of and from God, spectacular miracles, and resurrection from the dead), the religious Jews persuaded their adherents and the Roman governor to crucify him. Little did they know that this was God’s magnificent purpose for the salvation of not only the Jews, but also the Gentiles?

And this plan conceived by our Creator from the beginning of time is still working today in mysteriously effective ways that can only be described as supernatural divine sovereignty. Beginning with the rebirth of Israel and rapid return of Jews to the Promised Land; the astounding Six-day war of 1967 that restored Jerusalem as the Holy Capital of the Holy Land; the simultaneous spiritual awakening within the hearts of Jews everywhere (even in Israel) that has led to thousands of Messianic congregations and dozens of Jewish Messianic Ministries the world over.

Read with me these extraordinary words from the former Jewish Pharisee Saul who had a phenomenal life-changing encounter with the risen Messiah. Jesus then changed Saul’s name to Paul and redirected his passion for the Mosaic Law to salvation and eternal life possible only through the Son of God:

“…The longing of my heart and my 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).

Things to Ponder

In the very same scene when Jesus blasted the Jewish religious leaders, he concluded by uttering one of the most heartbreaking announcements ever spoken to and for the people of Israel. Listen to these impassioned words: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets … How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me … For I tell you this, you will never see me again until you say, ‘Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’” (Matthew 23:37-39).

Whether secular or religious, whether traditional or non-traditional, the day will come when Jews in Israel and all over the earth will shout these same words. First to cry out to God and his Messiah to save them from complete destruction (Armageddon); then to acknowledge that Jesus, after all is said and done, is undeniably God’s chosen Messiah.

They will rejoice, but first they will, “…look on me (Yeshua) whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died” (Zechariah 12:10).

There is no question whatsoever: We all are complicit in the crucifixion of Messiah Jesus. It could be said that anyone of us and all of us held the hammer that drove the nails into his hands and feet.

Messianic Jewish Cross

But above all, it will be God’s chosen people who will anguish deeply over what their ancestors did centuries ago. Yet after the mourning, with open arms and hearts they will agree with King David when he wrote, “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet’” (Psalms 110:1).

They will recognize conclusively that The Lord (God the Father) is speaking to David’s Lord (God the Son, Messiah). They will then say exactly what Jesus said they would say: Baruch haba, beshem Adonai. “Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord.”

Until such time, let’s continue to: Sha’alu Shalom, Yerushalayim. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalms 122:6).

For to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, is to plead expectantly for the soon return of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

A Religion of Peace? (Part II)

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Is Islam a Religion of Peace?

Let’s begin this week’s post with excerpts from a recent article written by Uzay Bulut, a journalist based in Ankara, Turkey, who was born and raised a Muslim.

“The west seems to have lost the capacity and the will to criticize political Islam … So, their view seems to go, if you criticize Islamism, you are an intolerant, hard-hearted ‘racist’ or ‘bigot’ and your remarks are obviously ‘hate speech.’”

He goes on to say, “It seems painful for many intellectuals in the West to understand or accept that a religious ideology which permits enslaving girls, beating ‘disobedient’ wives or chopping off the heads of infidels can exist. They come up with supposed explanations for these acts, including poverty, ‘American imperialism,’ or mental illness … Poverty, anger, or alienation do not cause people to behead or crucify non-Muslims; cite relevant verses of their holy book as a justification, and brag about and film what they do. These leaders and intellectuals seem wrongfully to associate political Islam with ‘being oppressed.’ Political Islam, however, is not the ideology of the oppressed. It is an ideology that oppresses. It brings about the very sufferings to which these intellectuals object…”

In last week’s and this week’s Eye of Prophecy articles, we’re expanding what Uzay Bulut calls political Islam by examining and establishing the religious correlation between mainstream Islam—middle-of-the-road moderate Muslims—and the more radical among them. Then by guilt through association, the observable connection between political and religious Islam and Muslims. Indeed, it is virtually impossible to separate the two; because the Koran doesn’t distinguish between Islamic political and religious decrees or demands. Although the number of Islamic militants (including the actual terrorists among them) is relatively small, the prevailing belief of Muslims the world over is that the Koran not only encourages submission to Islam by force if necessary, but actually demands it.

The practical painful result of this religious government can vividly be seen in the Middle East through brutal enforcement of Islam by terrorist atrocities; and to a lesser (in terms of the level of violence) but nevertheless large-scale implementation of Sharia law by national governments, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria. And Turkey is becoming more and more Islamic in its daily administration of national affairs.

Only Messiah Jesus can and will one day establish an absolutely Divine Government on this earth, one that will bring universal peace and prosperity. Indeed, he will administer the Kingdom of God on the earth, and the entire world will be the better for it.

Read with me the inspiring prophecy from Isaiah: “The government will rest on his shoulders … 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).

This magnificent Kingdom will be in its purest form a Divine Monarchy, based on God’s truth and justice. But until that time, Jesus, himself, recognized the necessary distinction between governmental administration and personal belief and conduct; between man’s individual interaction with God and his collaboration with the lawmakers and law enforcers of the land, when he said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:14, NASB).

This was an amazing response (one of many) given by Christ. The implications include acknowledgment that God is ultimately in control, but that he allows and even ordains that men shall be governed by higher authorities. With the strong inference that (given the fallibility of man) governments and administrative authorities cannot successfully legislate morality or spirituality, nor should they try. Meaning the Ten Commandments, as an illustrative example, came directly from God, not from a king or human ruler or government official or even a constitution. A constitution can and should reflect divine values from the true and living God of the Bible and enforce the legislative laws of the land; but a constitutional government of any kind (monarchy, parliamentary, democratic or representative republic) should not dictate its own (dictatorial) scruples, whether religious or secular, whether godly or ungodly. That belongs to the individual, and that person’s relationship (or lack thereof) with Almighty God.

Scripture is fundamentally clear that it is impossible for man (without God’s direct and personal authority through Messiah Jesus) to establish and execute a governmental system built on and from a religion, which is exactly what the Roman Catholic Church and the Islamic Caliphates have attempted to do down through the ages, often with tragic results. Even the Mosaic and Levitical laws (decrees, regulations, commandments) handed down by God to the Israelites were designed for two purposes: (1) A God-like high standard of excellence for human interaction, but also (2) to demonstrate to the Jews and all of mankind that they could not effectively keep God’s laws, either individually or nationally. That only Jesus Christ perfectly fulfilled the law and, thus, qualified as God’s divine sacrificial offering for the sins of every man, woman, and child.

Likewise, with an irreligious, agnostic world view that produces autocratic state controlled governments such as Communism or Fascism that has generated exponentially more wide-spread death and destruction. A Republic is the best form of a man-made government, as it allows representation of the people to the government and government to the people. But even a republic will pale in comparison to a Divine Monarchy administered by a benevolent King. A King who is the King of all kings, Messiah Jesus.

*See Eye of Prophecy article, Kingdom of God, published 1-17-15 under the category of The Rapture.

Plainly Put: Islam Is Not Peaceful

To dismiss out-of-hand the reasonable conclusion that Islam is not a religion of peace or to rationalize that Islamic terrorism is only (simply) a twisting of the Koran, displays an obvious ignorance of what the Koran commands its followers to do. Which is to kill infidels who refuse to convert and/or severely discipline fellow Muslims who fail to practice Islam (as interpreted by whatever sect they belong to, Sunni or Shi’ite) as it should be practiced. Moreover, the latest effort to try to explain why Muslim militants are or become terrorists, is to hypothesize that (in addition to the reasons cited by Usay Bulut) they are no different from any other religious fanatics who have used violence to achieve their objectives. Granted, the degree of violence is virtually the same, but not the foundational and motivational conviction that generates this belligerence. That is where we must make the distinction.

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One of many incidents and photographs of Muslim atrocities

If anyone attempts to, for example, compare the Crusades with Muslim terrorism in order to establish a position of moral equivalency between the two, then it’s imperative that they first contrast the Crusaders with true Biblical Christianity. This was done at some length in last week’s Part I article in general terms, but with a specific historical example of the Israelites conquest of the land of Canaan … the Land of Promise given to them by the true and living God.

Then an equally insightful comparison between Muslim extremists and the doctrinal decrees of the Koran that unmistakably demonstrate a causal connection, i.e. Islamic creed carried out in gory detail by militants who view themselves as mainstream Muslims … enforcing the will of Allah on all who are not ready or don’t want to submit to the regulations and requirements of Islam and the Koran. And what can a so-called moderate Muslim say or do in response to such cruel enforcement? The gloomy conclusion is … not much. Fortunately, there are a handful of Muslims who have spoken out boldly against Islamic violence. Unfortunately, they are few and far between. Because to unduly criticize the implementation of Sharia law (by force or otherwise) is to confront the Koran itself, which is tantamount to challenging their god Allah.

The following is an excerpt from last week’s article to disprove the supposition of a moral equivalency between (for example) the Biblical conquest of Canaan and Islam’s Koranic instructions to summarily subjugate the world:

The contextual, historical comparison that needs to be made between God’s instructions to the Israelites to vanquish some of the original tribes of Canaan and the commands from the god of Islam found in the Koran is this: The Old Testament provides an account of a particular historical episode at a specific time in Israel’s (beginning) history, for a precise duration of time, for a special purpose. The Israelites were to be the instrument of God’s judgment on a very perverse people while taking over a relatively small portion of the earth (all of which belongs to God in the first place) to live and serve God. Whereas, the Koran’s instructions to all Muslims is a perpetual edict (to subjugate Christians and Jews and kill them if they don’t submit) that has no historical parameters, no national boundaries (world-wide), and is to continue indefinitely. It is, in effect, an unlimited Koranic license to suppress and kill infidels, i.e. all who refuse to become Muslims. There is a world of difference between these antithetical models.

As stated adeptly by Raymond Ibrahim in the March, 2015 edition of the (Zola) Levitt Letter: “The Old Testament is clearly describing historic episodes; whereas the Koran, while also developed within a historical context, uses generic, open-ended language that transcends time and incites believers to attack and slay unbelievers today no less than yesterday.”

Second Historical Event

The three Crusade campaigns in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries of so-called Christians against primarily Muslim controlled Jerusalem and the Holy Land that also included killing of Jews along the way, have caused great consternation with both Jews and Muslims even in modern times. Recently the Crusades have been cited by Muslim clerics, by Christian and Jewish liberals, and even by heads of state (including President Obama) as a morally equivalent example of extremist’s behavior in the name of religion.

Time does not permit an in-depth analysis (indeed, books have been written on this subject), but the historical evidence is quite strong: First, the vast majority of these Crusaders were acting on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope, and French and English Kings who were, for the most part, subject to the Pope. These crusades in no way, shape, or form represented the essence of Jesus Christ or Scripture. Which is to spread the Good News of salvation to all mankind, with the crystal clear understanding that this is not done through violence or even by duress. Just the opposite: As any kind, caring parent wants their child to respond to their love with love and appreciation from the child (not out of threat or even obligation), so does our great God and Messiah Jesus give us the same choice. Thus, it’s a matter of the heart, not of the sword. An issue of gratitude, not attitude (brashness and arrogance that leads to compulsive compliance).

It’s so very sadly true that the Crusaders were hell-bent to retake Israel from the Muslims and restore what they perceived as the Kingdom of Heaven in Jerusalem. They did so under the mantle of a romantic, but more-so mushy misguided mission that this must be done by conquest (Crusade). In fact, Roman Catholicism is a doctrinal distortion of true Christianity, disguised in the form of an institutional hierarchy that attempted to replace and replicate the once mighty Roman Empire, with the Holy Roman Empire. An empire that encompasses the Holy City of Jerusalem, one that must dominate both the Islamic kingdom and the Jewish remnant left over from the Roman induced Diaspora of the Jews.

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Depiction of Crusaders

For a more in-depth examination of the history of the Holy See, I would encourage you to read the six-part Eye of Prophecy series entitled, The Woman and the Beast, published 10-12-13 through 11-16-13, under the category of Antichrist. Then, Wiles of the Woman, published 4-5-14, under category of Current Events.

The Crusader’s might makes right mentality is not much different from modern-day Muslim militants or Islamic national governments such as Iran. In that respect, the proponents of religious moral equivalency are somewhat accurate. But also with a huge difference: Conversion by force and death for noncompliance is mandated by the Koran; thus, the greater number of Muslims the world over tacitly sanction the inhumane methods employed by Muslim terrorists, even though this “silent majority” would not actually participate in these killings and violence. Nevertheless, they are covertly complicit by their reticence and overtly guilty by association when, for example, thousands danced in the streets after the terrorists crashed hijacked planes into the twin towers and the Pentagon on 9/11.

Third Historical Event

The Inquisitions. Though not against Muslims, the torture and murder of Jews and later Christians who rejected the institutional authority of the Roman Catholic Church (whose erroneous doctrines of salvation through good works and sacraments are no different from Islam’s rituals of good deeds to please Allah) were every bit as malicious as today’s Islamic terrorists. Pure and simple: what the Roman Catholic hierarchy did to Jews and Christian dissenters through the horrors of the Inquisitions, decades before the Protestant reformation, was flat-out wrong … motivated by unquestioned obedience to the self-proclaimed universal authority of the Roman Catholic Church. Personal salvation by individual faith in the finished work of Christ was considered to be heretical substitution for sacraments and Catholic catechism, and a blasphemous insult against the institutional order of this church … sometimes even treason against the State.

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Depiction of Spanish Inquisition

Again, we can see the obvious dissimilarity between real Christianity (unforced believing and receiving Jesus as personal Savior … resulting in a change of the human heart) and compulsory adherence to a religious system that required physical baptism for membership, then maintenance of right-standing in the church by the keeping of sacraments and performance of good works. Which was and still is in complete contrast to Biblical redemption and the means of that salvation summarized succinctly by the following passage:

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The Triune God of the Bible has not deviated one iota from his original creative gift of free will to mankind … the liberty to choose God’s way or man’s way. As it was with our ancestors Adam and Eve in the garden, so it is to this day. Which is summarized by God’s instructions to the Israelites (and to all of humanity) through Moses: “Today, I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” (Deuteronomy 30:19).

The overriding and overwhelming theme of the entire Bible is the coming of Messiah to redeem the world. Jesus Christ expressly fulfilled hundreds of Messianic prophecies, and would indeed sacrifice his very life to give all who believe in him life everlasting.

“And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life” (I John 5:11-12). So our Creator gave us life, then he gave us life again.

When we choose Jesus, we choose everlasting life. But, it’s our choice. No one can or will choose for us. Not so with Islam … administered through the callous custom of forced submission on pain of physical death and dismemberment, as well as the harsh treatment of fellow-Muslims including wives and children within both Sunni and Shi’ite Islamic sects.

Summary

Nowhere does the Bible demand or suggest that Christ followers pursue a campaign of coercive conversion against unbelievers. Certainly not violence … not even verbal or written intimidation. In fact, it is just the opposite. We who have been given so great a salvation by our Redeemer are to reach out in consideration and compassion to those who have never personally experienced the love and forgiveness of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Certainly, we Christians are not perfect … not even close. Nor are we better than unbelievers … not at all. But we are better off! Only because of our sure destiny of everlasting life in heaven.

Thus, the Crusades and Inquisitions were disastrous distortions of Christian conduct and callous misrepresentations of God’s Word. And those who wish to cite these historical deviations as equivalent examples of militant Islam do not understand true Christianity and/or the historical facts of exactly who or what was responsible for these calamitous episodes of Christendom. Nor, conversely, do they comprehend that the fanaticism of Muslim radicals is not an aberration of Islam. Because the Muslim god, Allah, through the Koran, explicitly commands Muslims to maim and kill all infidels, which Mohammed specifically identified as Jews and Christians … also Muslims who beg to differ or dare to dispute the violent tactics of Muhammad and subsequent generations of his followers.

Anyone with any objectivity about these issues can see that the Koran and Hadith (collection and commentary on Muhammed’s sayings), provide the fuel that ignites the fires of every terrorist group and nation. As just one example of many: The so-called moderate Palestinian Authority of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) headed by their “tolerant” President, Mahmoud Abbas, celebrate and glorify the Palestinians who bomb, beat, stab, shoot, and run over innocent Israelis. If the killing of Jews results in death of the Palestinian “martyr” the families are given monthly stipends to compensate them for the “honorable and glorious death” of their son or daughter. Often their picture is posted throughout the West Bank or Gaza Strip as a Palestinian hero. After all, the death of a Jew or Christian is not only condoned, but actually directed by Islam’s “holy book,” the Koran.

Which begs the question: Is there really any such thing as a moderate Muslim? Some say, no, perhaps because of the reasons provided in this article and others like it. Personally, I still say, yes—there are moderate Muslims; which, however, is giving qualified benefit of the doubt because most Muslims do not actively take part in murder and mayhem. Thus, they are moderating their belief in Islamic world conquest to the extent that they are content with their extremist brethren to do the dirty work. There are those who might even refuse, if pressed into service on the pain of death, to take part in murder of a Jew or Christian or a fellow Muslim belonging to a different sect, simply because down deep they knew it would be wrong.

What then can or should we do about Muslim terrorism? Though a loaded question, the truly Christian answer is fairly simple: Individually, we are to love each and every Muslim and pray for their salvation, no more or less than Jews, Europeans, Russians, North & South Americans, Africans, and our next door neighbor. As a nation, however, we must use whatever means necessary to stop terrorists in their tracks. This includes terrorist cells like Hamas and ISIS, as well as entire nations that support and fund terrorism. Stopping Iran’s nuclear ambitions is paramount, but so is halting their export of terrorism in the Middle East, through proxies like Syria, Lebanon, and recently the Houthi in Yemen.

Scripture is profoundly lucid that an individual and a nation has the right to protect themselves reactively or even sometimes proactively against an enemy sworn to kill them. All the while turning the other cheek to those who insult us BECAUSE OF OUR FAITH IN AND TESTIMONY FOR JESUS CHRIST.

Do you see the difference?

We do not have God’s stated or implied permission to employ force in order to persuade unbelievers (no matter what their belief or lifestyle) to convert to Christianity or to otherwise give up their religion or agnosticism or decadent life. That’s between them and God … always has been, always will be. But we are commissioned to tell and show others the magnificent truth of the Gospel … salvation through believing and receiving God’s Son, Messiah Jesus. With understanding that only the Lord can radically change the human heart, not any religion and certainly not the radicals (or even moderates) of that religion.

Unless the heart is changed and freed from the chains and penalty of sin that imprisons us, there can be no (real and lasting) external transformation of a person’s behavior. Faith without works is ineffective and questionable at best. But works without faith (in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ) is a one-way ticket to hell and everlasting separation from God.

If God, himself, gives every person the inherent right to voluntarily choose Jesus Christ as their personal Savior; thereby, choosing eternal life over eternal death, how can anyone, especially true Christians, think or do otherwise? Compulsory Christianity is not Christian in form or substance whatsoever. We preach, we teach, we give, we pray, we love because Jesus first loved us … all this because we are grateful for our salvation. And, because we still live in these earthly bodies, we all too often make mistakes, sin, and fail our Lord. But he still cares deeply. He still loves unconditionally. So we love him back, pick ourselves up, and start helping others some more.

The Great Commission Matthew 28:16-20

The Great Commission

On the other hand, coerced, bullied, and forced submission to Islam is a basic tenet of the Muslim belief, and is practiced by Muslims, both moderate and militant the world over. In the recent brutal killings in Kenya, the Islamic terrorists asked their victims: Are you Muslim or Christian? What answer do you think led to their deaths?

Which is the way of war and which is the way of peace?

Things to Ponder

The recent P5 + 1 deal with Iran is not much different from a treaty, which God warned the Israelites not to make with certain surrounding nations, whose religious and cultural practices were an abomination to God. A treaty could lead to compromises that would destroy ancient Israel from within and without. No different than in today’s world; except it’s the United States and other notable nations striking perilous agreements with rogue nations that can mean potential annihilation of Israel through an Iranian nuclear strike. And doing so without regard for Israel’s concerns for a “much better deal,” or no deal at all, or the ultimate recourse … a preemptive military strike against Iran.

“But there is no peace for the wicked, says the Lord” (Isaiah 48:22).

According to the Prophet Zechariah, the day is soon coming when, “Many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord of Heaven’s Armies and to ask for his blessing” (Zechariah 8:22). When the President of the United States and many Democrats snubbed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the US Congress in early March, including his warnings of a nuclear-armed Iran, it was evident that they were not seeking God’s providential blessing by listening to and blessing (supporting) Israel.

But the day will come when, “men from different nations and languages will clutch at the sleeve of one Jew. And they will say, ‘Please let us walk with you, for we have heard that God is with you’” (Zechariah 8:23).

But the greatest of all hope, the most enduring peace is possible only when the Prince of Peace returns.

Listed to Jesus’s splendid promise to believers in him: “I am leaving with you a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again… (John 14:27-28).

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“Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).

A Religion of Peace? (Part I)

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Islam, A Religion of Peace?

War and Peace. Terrorism and tranquility. Who among us does not long for and would not choose the latter over the former? In the 20th and 21st centuries, our grandparent’s and parent’s generations, our generation and our children’s and grandchildren’s generation have experienced death or devastation in some form or another, to some degree or another. World War I, World War II, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam, the Gulf War, the 9/11 induced Afghanistan and Iraqi Wars. And the seemingly never-ending ethnic and national strife in countries the world over. No matter the reason or size of the conflict, America and peace-loving nations of the earth have lost and are still losing fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters to the horrors of war. Will the carnage ever end?

In the First World War the enemy was misguided perverted nationalism, but with an ominous international twist of one bloc of nations aligned against another bloc. We fought against fascism in the Second World War, pitted against a nation who hailed themselves as a superior race. We bled and died halting the advances of communism in Korea and Vietnam. The new foe is terror(ism), which is an ideology (any “ism” is a belief system) that uses, “violence … in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands” (Webster’s Dictionary).

But this enemy knows no national boundaries; it’s more than just a race of people in one country fighting against another. Those who commit these barbaric acts are rightfully called terrorists, because they randomly maim and murder innocent men, women, and children for a malevolent cause that callously and arrogantly disregards all that is humanly good and right; bent on suppressing and eventually eradicating anyone who would dare think or believe differently. Worse, there are national governments that fund these terrorist groups, e.g. Iran, Syria, Qatar, North Korea, or Turkey.

What is the source, the driving force of their diabolical agenda and demented tactics? Ultimately, diabolical identifies the original source … Satan. Yet, the “devil made them do it” concept goes only so far, because we know who actually carries out the torture and killing. In the devilish perpetration of this cause, we see the same underlying motivation from the pit of hell that energizes the adherents of Communism and Fascism who seek to, by force, impose a belief system on their own people and other nations based on the insidious presumption that they and their secularist philosophies are superior to any other people and ideology. However, modern-day terrorism brandishes a substantially different breed of extremists than Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, Mao-tse Tung’s China, Stalin and Putin’s Russia, or Jong-un’s North Korea. Instead of a cultural and political system that is fundamentally god-less and secular, we are now experiencing terroristic conquest in the name of Religion.

Specifically, the religion of Islam. More, however, than just in the name of religion. Islam itself is dogmatically (root word is dogma) terroristic in origin and methodology. If anyone disagrees with that premise, then all they need do is read the Koran, which is the foundational core of Muslim creed … the causative driving force within the heart and soul of Islam, not the least of which is Jihad … holy war.

Is Islam a religion? Of course it is: No less than Hinduism, Buddhism, Roman Catholicism, Shintoism, or cultic sects like Mormonism that claim some (corrupt) form of Christianity … which is NOT, I repeat NOT, a religion. Actually, I don’t even like to use the word Christianity but will do so for the sake of identifiable terminology, because it bears this name in an attempt to classify or include it as one of the world religions. Christian … yes, as that expression clearly conveys one’s identity in Christ … a Christ-one.

But that doesn’t make believers in Jesus Christ religious or Christianity, a religion. Those redeemed by Jesus Christ do not belong to an ism. Rather, we belong to a Person. Actually three Persons in One: God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Can I get an AMEN on that!

All world religions and cults have one common denominator: Rules, regulations, and a tediously elaborate but unattainable concoction of duties (works) required of its followers in order to gain favor with the god(s) of that religion. Essentially it is man’s attempt to please and appease God—their version or image of God. The Christian faith is just the opposite: It is God’s conceived plan of salvation to redeem fallen mankind, by offering his very own Son as the once for all sacrifice for our sins. Thus, to reconcile mankind back to God, which is why God created us in the first place and the way God intended it to be from the very beginning … a personal relationship with our Creator. As said in a couple of prior Eye of Prophecy articles: no other belief system provides a Savior for mankind; only the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ does.

“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).

Our right standing with God is possible only through God’s provision of salvation for us; not any “ism” we’ve manufactured to merit or earn favor with God. It is God doing for us what we cannot possibly do for ourselves. This is a huge soul-saving distinction from all religions.

Thus, “Christianity” is a unique relationship with God; not a pretentious performance check-list which we deceive ourselves into thinking that the Lord will accept; hoping that our good deeds (which we usually end up defining or comparing what is good and what isn’t) will somehow outweigh the bad things we do. God does not grade us on a curve. Sin is sin. And the wages of that sin is death (Romans 6:23).

Yes, according to God’s Word, we actually earn death, both physical death and eternal separation from God; which is one wage that I’m sure all of us would turn down if we could … but we can’t. Although we earn death on our own, no one can do enough or be enough to possibly pay the price to pardon that penalty. Even the courts of the world, including the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t permit a person to pardon himself or herself for a crime. Sin against God is much more than violating a city, state, or federal law; or may not even be a transgression of statutory law. You won’t be convicted or even arrested for coveting your neighbor’s possessions, but that is no less a desecration of God’s moral laws than murder.

“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness (grace), declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood…” (Romans 3:23-25).

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A Peaceful Religion?

Is Islam a religion of peace, as we’ve read or heard world leaders and religious figures proclaim dozens of times, particularly since Muslim terrorists and Islamic terrorism have exploded (pun intended) on the world stage in the past few decades? Not even close. Instead, the religion of Islam—as categorically contained in and confirmed by the Koran—compels (for example) all Muslims to: “Fight those among the People of the Book (Christians and Jews) who do not believe in Allah nor the Last Day, who do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger (Mohammed) have forbidden, and who do not embrace the religion of truth (Islam)…” (Koran 9:29).

And, “Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever you find them—seize them, besiege them, and make ready to ambush them” (Koran 9:5).

These are but two of several Koranic commands to subjugate and kill the infidels, which are primarily Jews and Christians, but ultimately anyone who doesn’t yield (submit) to Islam’s demand that the entire populace of earth be subjects of an Islamic Caliphate … a Muslim political and cultural structure of world-wide domination.

And yet there is an incredibly immature (false) premise widely held by global heads of state that Islam is inherently a religion of peace; that only a very small minority of its followers are militant extremists bent on annihilation of Israel, destruction of the United States, and domination of the entire world.

Did you know that the Arabic language doesn’t even have a word for peace? In fact, Islam means submission.

Our own United States President has often recapped this pervasive belief … that Islam is basically peaceful. That it does not promote conversion by force. That extremist groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Boko Harem, al-Qaeda, and ISIS, do not represent the real tenets of Islam.

Consequently, the United States along with the other P5 + 1 groups of nations (United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany) have seemingly ignored the obvious evidence of Iran’s increasingly long tentacles of terror that are gripping several regions of the Middle East. Iran is tightening this Islamic Shi’ite noose in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and among several ethnic groups. It can do this because the P5 is under the pathetically naïve notion that Iran (by virtue of its status as a nation) would be willing to negotiate its sinister ambition of Middle East dominance and eventual world supremacy. Oh, for certain, Iran will negotiate in order for economic sanctions to be lifted; but Iran will not relent (negotiate) its ultimate undeterred goal of manufacturing nuclear bombs that will assuredly be used against Israel and perhaps even the United States.

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But Iran is a “nation” not a terrorist organization, says the P5 + 1. You can negotiate with Iran because it has a President and a Foreign Minister, and the like. How blind can they be? It’s the Ayatollah who makes the final decisions in Iran, and who “makes foreign policy.” The same Ayatollah who is the supreme Imam of the Islamic State of Iran, which is exactly what Iran is and will continue to be as long as its own people and the rest of the world continue to believe that Islam is basically a religion of peace. Thus, Iran’s continued threats of “death to America” and “wiping Israel from the face of the earth,” are falling on deaf ears in the West.

It’s just a perverse form of saber-rattling they say. Really? How many more sabers must rattle and heads roll with conventional weapons of terror, before we realize that Iran and rogue nations like it will raise the stakes (all in) of terrorism to an unthinkable level if they go nuclear. With one nuclear warhead they can inflict mass casualties that would be the equivalent of thousands upon thousands of isolated terrorist cell attacks. Whether because of naïvetés or strategic risk calculations, who among our leaders is willing to take such a chance? That question should be rhetorical, but alarmingly, it’s not. That is exactly the dice-rolling going on within the game-playing mindset of the United States Executive staff and the P5 +1.

To prove his point and lessen what he and other prominent world figures believe to be an unfounded criticism of (peaceful?) Islam in general, President Obama recently made a comparison of the Crusaders to Muslim terrorists, by attempting to demonstrate that even Christianity has had its extremists. Our President and many others who share this view are partially right, but they are also very, very wrong.

Is There A Difference Between the Bible and Koran with Regard to Propagating Their Respective Messages?

Before answering that question, it’s significantly important that we understand the monumental difference between the Koran and the Bible in virtually every tenant and doctrine, not the least of which is the god of the Koran and the God of the Bible. The very fact that Islam does not recognize Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and certainly not God the Son who was crucified on a cross for man’s redemption and then rose from the dead to validate all of Christ’s claims of divinity, irreconcilably separates the Koran from the Bible.

In fact it’s blasphemy against Allah to suggest that God is three in one (Trinity) or that Christ is God’s Son (of course their god is Allah). “Infidels are they who say Allah is one of three” (Koran 5:73). And, “the Christians say the Christ is the son of God … may Allah’s curse be upon them!” (Koran 9:30).

But for sake of this week’s and next week’s Part II article, we want to focus on the goals of Islamic conquest by forced conversion (or death) versus the universal spread of the Christian Gospel (Good News) through individual voluntary heart-felt response of accepting Jesus as one’s personal Savior. In other words, the true and living God of Scripture does not force anyone to believe and receive the atoning sacrifice of his precious Son. True, Scripture emphatically explains the eternal destiny of all who reject so great a salvation that Jesus purchased with so great a sacrifice; but nowhere in the Bible does God demand (forced) conversion of the unsaved. Instead, he appeals to every person on earth out of love and concern for the personal destiny of all … heaven or hell.

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

What, then, about the three main episodes of history in which religious critics and even world leaders such as our own President have alluded to as examples of those within the Christian (or Jewish) faith that have employed tactics comparable to Muslim militants … in Mohammed’s time, throughout history such as the Ottoman Empire and Islamic conquest of Europe, and with today’s terrorists groups and entire nations (such as Iran).

First Historical Event: Often, when Muslims are confronted about their continued use of violence that is predicated on and fostered by forceful Koranic commands, Muslim clerics and virtually any Muslim who happens to know just enough Biblical Scripture to be dangerous will attempt to morally equivocate by citing the Old Testament instructions for the Jews to eliminate the inhabitants of Canaan—as preparation for the Jews to enter and occupy the Promised Land. Let’s take a look at what happened and why; to dispel the notion of moral equivalence between Jewish history and Muslim violence.

“So Joshua told the Israelites, ‘Come and listen to what the Lord your God says. Today you will know that the living God is among you. He will surely drive out the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites ahead of you’” (Joshua 3:9-10). Previously God had instructed his people, whom he had delivered from Egypt by magnificent miracles, to completely destroy certain indigenous tribes—for the express purpose of his people entering and possessing the land that God had given to them as an eternal inheritance … the land of Israel. Although the Israelites were required to fight for the land, this verse (and many others) also indicate that God would sovereignly assist his people in defeating the enemy. But there were also nations that God instructed Israel not to attack or harm in any way, for various reasons.

Said God to the people through Moses: “Be very careful never to make a treaty with the people who live in the land where you are going. If you do, you will follow their evil ways and be trapped. Instead, you must break down their pagan alters, smash their sacred pillars, and cut down their Asherah poles. You must worship no other gods, for the Lord … is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you … They lust after their gods, offering sacrifices to them…” (Exodus 34:12-15).

Why did God order his people to purge the inhabitants of Canaan or not to make a treaty with any nearby nation? Scripture is clear that the moral mindset and lifestyle of these people were abhorrently evil and detestable in God’s sight. They were essentially in the same wicked condition of Sodom and Gomorrah—when God obliterated those cities and people—including the horrific practice of offering their children as sacrifices to pagan man-made gods such as Baal.

In today’s world, people may not worship wooden or metal gods mounted on poles and pillars, but they still pursue gods of pleasure, power, popularity, and prestige. And, tragically, how many unborn babies have been sacrificed on the abortion altar of convenience?

God is very patient, but there are a few instances in which people, individually and as a nation, cross the divine red line of God’s tolerance. Enough is enough, and he will judge them accordingly, often when least expected.

As an example of God’s patience pertaining to the Amorites, Canaanites, and all the other “ites,” long before the Israelites entered and took possession of the Promised Land he told Abraham: “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years. But I will punish the nation (Egypt) that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth (the Exodus) … After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction” (Genesis 15:13-16, italics for emphasis).

This is one of hundreds of spectacular prophecies from God in the Old Testament. One that would materialize in the time and place specified. But we want to focus on the italicized portion of this passage … as confirmation that God would give the Amorites (and by implication and association all of the other nation tribes in Canaan) ample time to turn from their evil practices to the true and living God. In fact, the Lord was so patient with these pagans that he delayed the Israelite’s arrival to the Promised Land for hundreds of years. By that time, the Egyptians and their Pharaohs had gone from providing for and protecting Jacob’s descendants to hostility toward and enslavement of the Jews. Jacob’s son, Joseph, the second most powerful person of the Egyptian Empire had been long forgotten.

For you see, God is everlasting … he knows the end from the beginning. He knows the outcome; yet, he still gives us great opportunity to repent, seek him, and to by faith receive his redemptive pardon. Our choices, both good and bad, can determine our fate. In hindsight, when the Israelites were prepared to enter the Promised Land, it was clear that the Canaanites were more wicked than when God told Abraham his descendants would return to the Promised Land (where Abraham resided temporarily). Now it was time for divine judgement, which coincided with and paved the way for the Jews to enter Canaan, where they would be free to follow and worship the Lord their God. A place blessed by God, flowing with milk and honey.

Summary

The contextual, historical comparison that needs to be made between God’s instructions to the Israelites to vanquish some of the original tribes of Canaan and the commands from the god of Islam found in the Koran is this: The Old Testament provides an account of a particular historical episode at a specific time in Israel’s (beginning) history, for a precise duration of time, for a special purpose. The Israelites were to be the instrument of God’s judgment on a very perverse people while taking over a relatively small portion of the earth (all of which belongs to God in the first place) to live and serve God. Whereas, the Koran’s instructions to all Muslims is a perpetual edict (to subjugate Christians and Jews and kill them if they don’t submit) that has no historical parameters, no national boundaries (world-wide), and is to continue indefinitely. It is, in effect, an unlimited Koranic license to suppress and kill infidels, i.e. all who refuse to become Muslims. There is a world of difference between these antithetical models.

Stay tuned to next week’s article and we’ll examine two more historical events often cited as comparison of Christianity’s use of violence to Islam’s ongoing Jihad against infidels … which primarily consists of Jews and Christians.

Things to Ponder

The god of Islam never sent anyone to give his life FOR you. Instead, this god requires that, if you refuse to submit and convert, your life be taken FROM you. But Islam requires conversion with the mouth only, not with the heart. What kind of change is that?

Not so with the true and living God of the Bible. We alone have the choice. No one chooses for us or takes our lives from us, if we say no to Jesus. God doesn’t send anyone to hell or heaven. Our decision about Christ takes us to one or the other place of perpetual existence.

There can be no greater love than God’s amazing love for every man, woman, and child. Real love is demonstrated by action … showing, sharing, and sacrificing. Which is exactly what God’s Son, Messiah Jesus, did when he voluntarily gave his very life on the Cross. So that all who believe and receive him will pass from the penalty of eternal death to the pardon of everlasting life in heaven.

Everlasting life begins the moment 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 10:9-10).

But this decision must be made now, while there is yet time. Once a person dies or when Jesus returns to judge the living and the dead, it will be too late. At such time, there will be world-wide acknowledgment that one Man (not a religion or religious system) bears the right to claim the title of Prince of Peace … Jesus the Christ. For only he can and will bring REAL peace.

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Why does Messiah Jesus have this right? Many passages of the Bible tell us that Christ is God, Savior, and Judge. But none more so than the following:

“Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God has elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:6-11, italics for emphasis).

The Legendary Return of Nero

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The Legendary Return of Nero … Fact or Fiction?

Whether fictitious or factual, when we see, think, or read of a famous or even infamous person we sometimes classify that person as, A Legend. Thus, we rank the life and exploits of actual people or fictional characters as, legendary, which Webster’s Dictionary defines simply as: “of or relating to a legend.” Defining legend as: a story from the past, regarded as historical although not (necessarily) verifiable. A legendary person, place, or event can be a documented historical narrative, e.g. the conquests of Alexander the Great, or a folklore figure like Paul Bunyan. Or a combination of the two, such as: The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean.

In today’s culture saturated with movies and books and seemingly unlimited internet data, we generally think of a legend as fiction; or we exaggerate the feats of a real historical figure making them historic … creating a larger than life legacy. Many of us have seen movies or read books about legends. For example: Legends of the Fall (Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Julia Ormond); Legend of Zorro (Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones); Legend of Sleepy Hollow (original short story by Washington Irving); The Arthurian Legend (King Arthur); Legend of Zelda (famous Nintendo game series); the Legend of Hercules or Tarzan and many others. As a golfer, one of my personal favorites is: The Legend of Bagger Vance (Matt Damon, Will Smith, Charlize Theron).

The idea of a legend is even useful in naming aircraft, cars, motorcycles, and boats. Such as the Honda car model, Acura Legend.

Legendary fictitious figures certainly captivate our attention, but real-life people both past and present can actually compel us to compare our own aspirations and accomplishments with their achievements … with their enduring legacy. Haven’t we all at one time or another thought or said, “I want to be like him (or her) … when I grow up.” Sports legends come to mind like Michael Jordan or Larry Bird; or film legends such as John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. And political or military heroes who have shaped our world … George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Dwight D. Eisenhower. As a rule, we prefer that our champions be examples of integrity whose lives we can emulate and extol as (role-model) legends. Or someone with a standard of excellence that we admire and wish to mimic like the Apostles Paul or John. And certainly those who influence our lives on a daily basis, like a devoted hard-working father or a selfless, loving mother who sacrificed so much for us. Most of all, Jesus.

Consequently, there aren’t that many antagonists or villains who are afforded legendary status. But there are a few exceptions, such as Nero. Keep in mind that the original derivation and use of the term, legend, applied primarily to actual historical figures or events, whether their enduring legacy was good or bad. In fact, the earliest most often used meaning was a literal inscription on a coin; with the obvious implication that for someone’s image or name to be inscribed on a coin, that person had really lived and was considered to be a legend in their own time. Or, in the case of the notorious Nero Caesar, a legend in his own mind.

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Which brings us to one of the most astounding legends ever recorded, one that would last several centuries; but one that would eventually be lost to history or at the very least became irrelevant. In large part, this irrelevancy developed due to the notion that the Antichrist would be a man born in the generation that experienced the Rapture and subsequently the Great Tribulation. Which was also the understanding of the earliest generation of Christians, but ONLY because the final Biblical revelations (to Paul and John) about this man were given in the first century, no more than one generation after Christ arose from the dead.

Beginning, however, around the 6th century and continuing to the mid-20th century, the awareness that Antichrist (Nero) would return from the Abyss decreased in direct proportion to the waning anticipation that Messiah would (soon) return to the Earth, some seven years after he raptured the Church. Not until the rebirth of Israel in 1948, then more-so with the Six-Day War of 1967, have believers and unbelievers alike experienced a phenomenal resurgence in the interest of end-times prophecy.

When John wrote the book of Revelation, Nero had already died; nevertheless, the vast majority of first century Christians believed (knew) that this already infamous Roman Emperor was, in fact, the ruler-king foretold by Daniel, the man of lawlessness referred to in the present-tense by the Apostle Paul (just 2-3 years before Nero was crowned as Caesar), and the beast of Revelation that John said would return from the Abyss to continue his unholy reign on a global scale.

Please, if time permits, read the Eye of Prophecy articles under the category of Antichrist, as well as the book, Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved, 666? Combined, these sources will give you an abundance of documented detailed evidence and rationale that Nero is the Antichrist.

After Nero died in 68 AD his legend expanded, spreading throughout the civilized world. A great many believers and unbelievers throughout the Roman Empire were convinced that he would return. Obviously the non-Christians didn’t know or believe what Christians knew: that Nero wouldn’t reappear until the Rapture took place. But both groups held the common belief that Nero’s return would take place in the immediate or fairly near future. Some believed he hadn’t died; most knew for a fact that he had died, but would reappear at the appointed (by God) time. For nearly five centuries this astonishing, but very serious, belief was mainstream popular … so much so that several historians of the first five centuries recorded it.

It eventually became known as the:

NERO REDIVIVUS LEGEND

To this day, it bears the same name, retaining the specific ancient Latin term redivivus, alongside the more universal phrase of legend. There are no other traditions like this one in recorded history. Redivivus, is defined as: Living again, revived, or restored. As applied to Nero Caesar, it simply means: Nero will return.

*Note: Under no circumstances or conditions would I ever classify the resurrection of Jesus Christ and his promise to return to this earth as a mere legend; only because of the connotation that legend creates in our minds. To be sure, Messiah’s rising from the dead is a legendary supernatural reality; as will be the Rapture of his people any day now. Because Nero’s emergence from the Abyss will not be a true resurrection from the dead (rather, it will be a return in his original body that has been preserved by God in the Abyss, as explained at length in my book and articles), it should not be equated to the resurrected return of Christ. Nevertheless, the Nero Redivivus Legend does track with and confirm Biblical passages on the Antichrist.

But we need to emphasize that historians have attached the term legend to Nero Redivivus, apparently to establish a default disclaimer that the belief had any merit or truth to it. Not the known historical fact that many fully endorsed this premise in the first through fifth centuries; only that the legend, itself, was highly questionable to some … particularly the historians.

Early journalists tended to voice their opinion in addition to “reporting the facts.” Gradually interpretive journalism gave way to a division (the way it should be) between objective correspondent reporting and subjective editorial commentary. Even though today’s media is too often biased (based on their worldview, religious or irreligious affiliations, or their political persuasions), most field reporters are fairly impartial. “Just the facts, mam!” (Sgt. Joe Friday, Dragnet T.V. series). They leave the editorializing to the editorial specialists.

For example, in 422 AD the well-known 5th century Christian apologist and historian, St. Augustine wrote about Nero over 350 years after Nero died. This would be equivalent to a 21st century author writing about the Pilgrims arrival at Plymouth Rock (17th century). Equivalent in the time-lapse, and comparable to the established fact that the Pilgrims did find the new world they were looking for, despite conflicting accounts whether the northeastern or southeastern coast of America was their planned destination.

Here is what Augustine said: “Others, again suppose that he is not even dead, but that he was concealed that he might be supposed to have been killed, and that he now lives in concealment in the vigor of that same age which he had reached when he was believed to have perished, and will live until he is revealed in his own time and restored to his kingdom. But I wonder that men can be so audacious in their conjecture.”

Readily apparent in the last line of this quote is Augustine’s personal opinion that the Nero Redivivus Legend was just that: a (very questionable) supposition that Nero was not dead … he either didn’t die or had been revived after death. That he had been (bodily) concealed and preserved at the very age at which he died. With the most amazing feature of this pervasive, already centuries-old belief: he would return and be restored to his kingdom!

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Despite St. Augustine’s editorial comment about Nero’s legacy, the startling fact remains that he conveyed the broadly accepted belief of many Christians; that Nero was not only the (once alive but isn’t now, Revelation 17:8) Antichrist of the first century, but that he would return as that same Antichrist beast immediately following the Rapture. By the time Augustine penned his report, the passionate anticipation of the imminent return of Messiah (with his antithesis the Antichrist to ominously follow) had dissipated somewhat, but was still an undeniable expectation among believers.

Here was my immediate reaction to this astounding report by St. Augustine during my Scriptural and secular research of the first century in preparation for my second book, Out of the Abyss:

I was totally blown away when I read this, as I had already been shown how to refit the piece of the puzzle that didn’t fit (meaning that the Antichrist will not be a modern-day man, rather that he had died in the first century and would reappear as the beast of Revelation) … many Christians for centuries after Revelation was written believed Nero to be Antichrist.”

I went on to say: “…contemporary scholars have endorsed Augustine’s opinion as a reinforced reason to dismiss the early believer’s view of Nero as credible. Though the scholars extend deep respect for the Christians who held this belief (meaning in the first five centuries or so), they are deeply puzzled why anyone, especially a believer, would entertain such an idea.

Permit me to comment on Augustine’s opinion as to the validity of this belief … First, the conjecture of the early Church would be confined to Nero’s return as the Antichrist. I’m sure that Augustine didn’t mean to dispute the Biblically documented prophecy that Antichrist would return from the dead or possibly from some other state or place where he has been kept alive (Revelation 17:8, i.e. the Abyss). As we will later see, the bottomless pit is NOT the place of the dead.

Second, as suggested earlier in this book: Is it any more audacious to maintain that Nero could recover from a fatal wound, than a modern man doing the very same thing? A resurrection is a resurrection, as those left behind will see and classify it. No matter who performs this feat; it’s pretty impressive…

You may want to think of it this way: Instead of a revived Roman Empire, there will be a revived Roman Emperor!

Recently, a few prophecy scholars have partially abandoned the idea of a revived Roman Empire or blended it with and in favor of an Islamic tribulation kingdom, with a messiah type imam surfacing as the Antichrist. Again, I hold these prophecy students in high regard; however, this demonstrates the risk of a kingdom theory to replace kings as the seven heads (Referring, here to the seven heads of Revelation 17 revealed as seven kings to John … not kingdoms). Will the kingdom be the European Union, the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, a Romanized Europe and Middle East, or an Islamic Confederation? I vote for none of the above.

Whatever form that a modern ten-toed collated tainted version of the 4th world kingdom (Rome) assumes, the single most prominent factor that will make this end-time confederation Roman in appearance is the return of a Roman Emperor. (Pages 187-188).

My conclusion that Nero was and will reappear as the Antichrist is based upon what I firmly believe to be irrefutable connective and correlative evidence between all Scriptural passages on the Antichrist and 1st through 5th century church history, not the least of which was the overwhelmingly dominant view held by many Christians. Furthermore, it’s deductively evident that the Christian’s awareness of Nero Redivivus was much more than just a legend to them.

Thus, I made it clear in my book, Out of the Abyss: This discernment or disclosure given to me by the Lord is nothing new (original) and certainly not revelatory. Yet it is new to the contemporary study of prophecy in the sense that it is a restoration of the prevalent early Christian belief that the Antichrist (Nero) would return from the Abyss very soon after the Rapture resurrection and transformation of dead and living believers, respectively. In essence, a retroactive refit of Antichrist to the prophetic puzzle that had been inaccurately assembled.

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Depiction of Christ’s Second Coming

Secular Endorsement of Nero’s Legend

There’s more: Not only did Christians subscribe to this Biblically supported premise of Nero’s return; so did thousands upon thousands of non-Christians throughout the Roman Empire as well as in Parthia, a nation descended at the time from the ancient Persian Empire. They longed for and actually expected Nero to return as Emperor; that his reinstatement as Caesar would magnify and realize their ardent desire for a Pax Romana (world peace and utopia) beyond their wildest dreams.

Naturally, the secular populace didn’t tag Nero as a man of lawlessness or a beast; those labels would have been fighting words to them. However, I don’t think the appellation of anti-Christ would have bothered them in the least. Until the Roman Emperor Constantine turned Christianity into the state-religion in the 4th century—that morphed into the cultic Roman Catholic Church—they would have applauded the idea of Nero as the “Antichrist.” For the reason that most Romans and people from other nations had little toleration for Christians, to the extreme that many hated these Christ followers.

Before and after Nero, some Roman Caesars were proclaimed as deities, but only after their death. However, Nero demanded divine honors during his reign, including the minting of coins with the inscription (legend): “Almighty God” and “Savior.” Also as the Greek god Apollo playing the lyre. Rulers from past and succeeding empires were sometimes considered gods, but with a lower case “g” that afforded them divine status along with (many) other gods. Nero boasted (and will do so again upon his return) that he was both Savior and Almighty God … meaning the one and only.

The true and living God of the Bible declared that there should be no other (man-made) gods before or alongside him. But the vain creation of such gods (whether by the pagans or by religions such as Islam) is not technically blasphemous. Scripture is clear: It is dangerously stupid to create false gods, but actual blasphemy (as also defined by Webster’s) is claiming to be God or claiming to possess his attributes, such as omnipotence. That is exactly what Nero did during his reign as Caesar, and will do again during his Antichrist-beast rule during the Tribulation. “Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God…” (Revelation 13:5).

At least three Nero imposters stepped forward and proposed or pathetically led rebellions against Rome, not long after Nero died. At least one of these Nero pretenders was approved by the Parthians who adored Nero and who almost went to war with Rome … believing that one of these imposters was, in fact, Nero. This was solemn business to them—much more serious than a modern-day sighting of Elvis by one or more Elvis groupies!

Between Nero and Vespasian, three pseudo-emperors (who many historians do not accredit as bona-fide Caesars due to the civil-war upheaval in Italy) assumed the throne: Galba, Otho, and Vitellius. The latter two lauded Nero far beyond what any normal successor would do, to the extreme of divine eulogies of Nero, rebuilding his statues, and staging his Greek plays during their coronation and very brief reigns.

Historian Lactantius contended that the circumstances surrounding Nero’s death were such that Nero suddenly disappeared; that even the burial site was nowhere to be found. He suggested that with reasonable speculation it was conceivable that Nero might have been transported to a distant region, preserved and reserved for a future purpose.

In Out of the Abyss, I commented on Lactantius’ historical report on Nero: One can only wonder whether Lactantius was completely serious or partially facetious; however, little did he realize that he had tapped one of the most fascinating reservoirs in the Bible… Here I was referring to the Scriptural fact that the Antichrist beast would reappear from the Abyss, with the all too obvious conclusion that he had to have been placed in the Abyss (by Christ) before he could be released from such a distant region.

Another ancient historical quote, this time from the Greek philosopher and historian Dio Chrysostom: “Seeing that even now everybody wishes (Nero) were still alive. And the great majority do believe that he still is, although in a certain sense he has died not once but often along with those who had been firmly convinced that he was still alive.”

This account strongly reflects the general mentality of Roman citizens as having been quite pleased with Nero; that they would have permitted him to reign indefinitely. Moreover, did you catch his phrase, the great majority?

I facetiously compared the Nero Redivivus Legend to Elvis sightings, to demonstrate that people do long for their legendary icon to come back to them. But the difference between Nero and Elvis is monumentally huge. There really is no comparison with their respective legends. For one thing, none of Elvis’s followers have staged an uprising against the government, such as occurred in the early decades after Nero’s departure! For another, there really aren’t that many who (whether out of fun or folly or fact) really believe Elvis will someday revisit them. As opposed to the very serious belief of the greater majority of Romans (and Christians in the Roman Empire) that Nero would return in their lifetime.

As seen in this report from Dio Chrysostom, there were two basic views regarding the Nero Redivivus Legend: (1) He had not actually died, nor would he die. Many said he had escaped to Parthia and would return to Rome with a large army; thereby, victoriously reclaiming his rightful position as Caesar. (2) He had died, but had been revived and concealed in a special place, for an extraordinary return at the appropriate time. Obviously unbelievers would have known virtually nothing about the book of Revelation. Thus, unwittingly, the second view they held was correct; as it reflected the Scriptural account of the origin and destiny of the Antichrist king-beast of Revelation and Daniel.

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One of Many Nero Sculptures

Summary

In spite of Nero’s inhumane cruelty, especially against Christians, during the last few years of his regime, most of the Roman (secular) populace admired him and missed him after what they perceived as an untimely death (32 years of age). This was more than a brief nostalgic bout of grief. Remembrance of Nero incorporated a concoction of adulation, idolization, and veneration that encompassed a longing that he could and would arise from the dead! To such an extent that a legacy developed like no other before or since: his legendary return … it was just a matter of time.

As indicated, Christians were equally convinced of Nero’s reappearance, but their knowledge was based exclusively on Scripture beginning with the future ruler whose armies would destroy the Temple as foretold by Daniel. Then the man of lawlessness as revealed by Paul in his present tense description to the Thessalonians; then the past tense revelation to John that the beast had already lived and died (Revelation 17). Plus another future tense prediction that the beast would reappear from the Abyss.

Certainly the Christian longing was not for Nero’s reappearance; but for the awesome return of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Rather the emergence of Antichrist Nero from the Abyss would have confirmed that Yeshua had raptured his people from the earth, which was the precious and passionate hope of all believers. Thus, by far, the greatest expectation of the Christians was the imminent return of Christ, to complete their salvation through bodily transformation of both dead and living believers to their new and everlasting bodies in heaven.

Yet, it was also evident that it was important for the Christians to know and, therefore, warn their unbelieving family and friends that Nero would also return. That if their loved ones were among those left behind, they need not be so amazed at either the Rapture or the Post-Rapture return of a Roman Emperor. Certainly not to the point of worshiping the beast, his statue, or receiving his mark. Rather, to realize beyond any doubt whatsoever that Nero was, in fact, The Antichrist. With the equally obvious recognition that their only eternal hope was in the TRUE MESSIAH, JESUS CHRIST.

Now that we in today’s world have rekindled the blessed hope of Messiah’s imminent return, we, too, should correctly identify (as the early Christians did) the returning Antichrist. In doing so, we will have set the record straight to counter accusations by unbelievers after the Rapture such as: “What did they know, those Christians?” Or, “So much for their Bible prophecies. They were all so wrong … they had no idea that Nero would return from the grave.”

On the contrary, if they see that Scripture was right all along, that Christians before the Rapture did get it right after all; it’s likely that they will give second thought before blindly accepting the man of lawlessness as their superman.

Things to Ponder

“But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb … they found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes … Then the men asked, ‘Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead…!’” (Luke 24:1-6).

Often in the early Church, one Christian would say to another: “He is risen!” And the other Christian would respond, “He is risen, indeed!”

Said Peter to a vast crowd in the first and probably greatest sermon ever given: “God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. Now he is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand….” (Acts 2:32-33).

This is a wonderful time of the year. Jews celebrate the Passover—deliverance from Egyptian bondage, and entrance to the Promised Land. For millions of Jews, the Passover saying, “Next year in Jerusalem,” has become a reality, prophetically fulfilled as the Scriptures promised.

Christian Jews and Gentiles remember the resurrection of our Passover Lamb, Messiah Jesus; who delivers us from the bondage and penalty of our sins, passes us over from the coming judgment of God Almighty, and who promises everlasting life with him and the host of heaven.

The second coming of Christ is far beyond a legend, either fact or fiction. It is a magnificent reality … every bit as certain as when Jesus was born in Bethlehem; taught, healed, and performed incredible miracles in Israel; though completely sinless, was unjustly convicted, condemned, and crucified; buried in a tomb; then arose from the dead … the greatest miracle of all time. Thus, fulfilling hundreds of Old Testament prophecies of his first coming.

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Glorious Return of Jesus Christ

Messiah’s imposter, Antichrist Nero, will also return to the earth, but not in the glorious fashion of our risen Lord, nor the transfiguration of Christian saints at the Rapture. Still, those who belong to the world will perceive the beast’s reappearance as an even greater achievement. They will believe the lie that Nero is Savior and Almighty God; and sadly, ever so sadly, that belief will doom them for eternity.

For those alive now and for those left behind at the Rapture, who do you say that Jesus is? Is he the Messiah … Son of Man and Son of God? According to God’s Word, we all must make that choice, and the choice will determine our destiny.

When the beast returns, he, too, will give people a choice. Those who choose to take his mark and bow down to him, will seal their eternal fate in the Lake of Fire. If any refuse him, they most likely will be put to death. But at the moment of death, they will be raised to life in a brand new body, equipped to be with our magnificent Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, forever and ever and ever.

Hallelujah to the Lamb of God!

A Beast by Any Other Name … Part III

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A Beast by any Other Name … Is Still a Beast

We need to know, before we go! This curious but simple little challenge to believers in Jesus Christ concluded last week’s article; but it’s also meant for unbelievers … those who unfortunately will be left behind when the Lord takes his people from this earth. Since Israel’s amazing victory in the Six-Day War of 1967, the resurgence of end-times prophecy has motivated millions all over the world to passionately look up and long for the imminent return of Messiah. We’ve not seen such anticipation since the first century. The Kingdom of God on earth to include Israel’s complete restoration and redemption is near, very near.

Likewise, the apocalyptic intrigue concerning Messiah’s antithesis, the Antichrist, has intensified exponentially; so much so that several past (e.g. Adolph Hitler) and present world leaders have been targeted as the Antichrist, including an American President or two. With regard, however, to the actual identity of the Antichrist, the prevailing premise of nearly all Bible prophecy scholars is that no one can know for sure until he actually appears on the scene.

There is, however, really only one thing that the Bible tells us we cannot know and, thus, should refrain from any conjecture whatsoever: the date when Christ returns. Jesus, himself, asserted no less than three times, “For you do not know the day or hour of my return” (Matthew 24 & 25).

Although the Bible unequivocally declares that no one (including several misguided prophecy buffs who have tried and failed) can predict the exact time of the Rapture, Scripture is equally emphatic that we can “solve” the identity of the Antichrist. In fact, John of Revelation issues a challenge to believers to do just that. Read the verse with me, and ask yourself if the words mean anything other than what they say.

“Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666” (Revelation 13:18).

The language here is unambiguous; to the extent that the vast majority of prophecy students do agree that the number and name of the beast can (eventually) be known—but not until after the Rapture! But the fact remains that this stimulus to know was given not just to those alive at the Rapture, but first and foremost to the 1st century Christians who enthusiastically awaited the soon return of Messiah Jesus at any hour of any day. In fact, that first century group could very well have been the generation of the Rapture.

The book of Revelation was written to them, not to us! Of course Revelation is applicable to today’s generation, but only because we’re still waiting for the Rapture that triggers the awesome Day of the Lord. The first century Christians were meant to decode the identity of the beast right then and there, and so are we! Otherwise there would have been no reason at all for Scripture to include this last verse of Revelation Chapter 13; in which the angel exhorts John and all readers to unscramble the meaning of the beast’s number, which is tantamount to deciphering the identity of the beast, because the number is the number of a man.

The reason that contemporary scholars maintain that we can’t know who Antichrist is until after the Rapture, is because they subscribe to the logical, but inaccurate, supposition that the Antichrist will be a modern-day man born in the age that experiences the Rapture.

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A Depiction of the Rapture

Daniel’s Prophecies—Temporarily Sealed; John’s Revelations—Immediately Applicable

As intimated in my article, The Seal of Approval (published 11-15-14), prophecy students cannot use the parallel principle that the identity of the Antichrist has been sealed or hidden in the same fashion that Daniel’s prophecies could not effectively be understood until the last days had begun. The fact is: The beginning of the last days commenced with the birth of Jesus. From that point through the final revelation of Jesus Christ as recorded in the book of Revelation, ALL of Daniel’s prophecies were unsealed and ALL of John’s prophecies were, therefore, totally relevant to the first century Christians … including calculation of Antichrist’s identity.

Why else would the angel have instructed John: “…Do not seal up the prophetic words in this book, for the time is near” (Revelation 22:10). The time is near was another way of saying that Jesus’s return was imminent; therefore, the entire book of Revelation was uniquely pertinent to the believers (and unbelievers) of the first century.

We must think retroactive and grasp this obvious fact: Jesus could have returned in the first century … Christians expected that he would. For this immanency to have been a reality, the Man of Lawlessness would need to be a first century man to, immediately after the Rapture, begin his beastly reign of terror as depicted in Revelation. Which is exactly what John tells us in Revelation 17:8 … that the man had already lived, had died, but would reappear from the Abyss. Moreover, this man was one and the same as the ruler of Daniel 9:26-27, whose armies would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple … which historically is none other than Nero; who hand-picked two Roman Generals (Vespasian and Titus) to lead several Roman Legions against Israel, some fifteen years after Paul wrote about the man of lawlessness.

The angel’s command to John was in direct contrast to Daniel being told to seal up his book; because it couldn’t be fully comprehended until Messiah had come, and until more revelations had been given that would effectively unseal Daniel’s prophecies … meaning they could now be understood by the very first generation of Christians. If, indeed, the identity of the Antichrist couldn’t be confirmed until the Rapture occurred, John would have been told the same thing as Daniel, i.e. seal up the prophetic words. In other words: Don’t bother to try to figure out the number (identity) of the beast, because it isn’t possible until (much) later. Yet, John was told just the opposite, which paraphrasing means: The time (of Messiah’s return) is near, so these revelations are for you to know and understand right now.

For that matter, why would John urge the Christians of his time to (with wisdom and understanding) ascertain the meaning of the number of the beast, if the identity of Antichrist couldn’t be known until after the Rapture? What’s the point? After the Rapture took place, it would be entirely too late for the Christians to “solve the meaning of the number of the beast…” It would be irreversibly irrelevant by that time for two reasons: (1) the Christians would already be in heaven. (2) The beast would have already been recognized and followed by many left behind, without the need to determine his identity by interpreting his number. Remember: those who take the mark of the Beast will have a choice for his mark to be embedded in their forehead or right hand; but also the option of taking the number OR the name of the beast (Revelation 13:16-17).

Figuring out the name of the beast by astutely applying the number of the beast (through Hebrew gematria) was meant to be done as soon as a first century Christian read the book of Revelation. That’s why the number was given in the first place. Nero’s name contains four letters; the equivalent number of his name is three digits, 666. A diabolically convenient fit on one’s forehead or hand, don’t’ you think?

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And, why would the angel even bother to explain (reveal) the mystery in John’s second and final vision of the beast found in Revelation 17, unless the origin and identity of the beast should and could be known? Listen to the words of the angel to John: “I will tell you the mystery of this woman and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns on which she sits” (Revelation 17:7). Then, the angel proceeds to do just that.

When a mystery is revealed in Scripture (and there are several), it no longer is a mystery. It is meant to be fully grasped, even though the unveiling of the beast was (for the safety and welfare of first century Christians, as much as possible) realized without naming names—such as the seven kings being the first seven Roman Emperors, and with more strong clues such as, “the beast you saw was once alive and isn’t now” (Nero).

Let’s continue our examination of the last two names assigned to this Man of Lawlessness.

Fifth Title: The Beast

When the term man of lawlessness is used by Paul, it is with direct reference to this evil man’s revealing (II Thessalonians 2:3); meaning the initial disclosure of the man who was the ruler foretold by Daniel, whose armies would destroy the Temple. But also as the subsequent little horn king who would exercise authority over ten kings, whose kingdoms would be yielded to him during the seven-year tribulation. As covered in last week’s article, this revealing of the lawless one took place when Nero assumed the throne through a secret anarchistic plot to overthrow (successfully) his step-father, the Roman Emperor Claudius.

The Apostle Paul was executed during Nero’s reign before John wrote the book of Revelation, and the Lord had not disclosed to Paul that Nero would return as the beast of Revelation. The term used in Revelation is that the beast would reappear, and the world would be utterly amazed at this sudden, startling, supernatural-like return (Revelation 17:8). This is a counterfeit replica of the First and Second Advent of Messiah Jesus.

The Greek words for reveal and appear are quite different. The Greek word for reveal or revealing is apokalupto, transliterated into the English … apocalyptic. The word means to uncover, to unveil, and to make known what was concealed or unknown. The Greek word for appear or appearance is horao, a very common word most often translated: to see, or seeing, to look, to appear, or having appeared.

An analogy is utilized in my book Out of the Abyss to amplify the difference between these two concepts.

Every four years we elect a new United States President. When the votes are tallied, the media reveals to us the candidate with the most electoral votes. Thus, the identity of the new President is revealed. That night or perhaps the following day, we see the newly elected President when the President appears on television. Hence, the winning candidate makes his appearance as President-elect. (Page 195).

Thus, when examined closely in the contextual references to Christ and Antichrist, we find a clear indication that the Antichrist will first be revealed as the Man of Lawlessness (ruler-king of Daniel whose armies would destroy the Temple); then return (reappear) as the beast-king of the Tribulation period. There is, however, one astounding verse in the New Testament passages about Antichrist in which both Greek words are used. It is a verse that many scholars (including me at one time) have overlooked with regard to the significant impact of what is being said. It is found in the same passage covered in great detail last week concerning the man of lawlessness, the thrust of which is the secrecy of the lawlessness and what/who restrained this secrecy and the Man of Lawlessness, himself (Nero).

“Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming” (II Thessalonians 2:8).

Yes, you read that right! The verse means exactly what it says. There are two distinct events presented in this stunning verse: (1) Jesus, himself, will kill this man. Remember, the passage is not about the beast; rather about the man of lawlessness as revealed by Paul. (2) The Lord will (also) destroy the man when Jesus returns … by the splendor of his coming. The killing and the destroying are not the same occurrence; for one thing they are separated by the all-important connective word, and. Furthermore, two separate distinct words are used, kill and destroy. Although destroy can include death, it is much more than that. It is final conquest, domination, and destruction of one’s enemy, whether the adversary is actually killed or not.

When the time came for the man of lawlessness to be revealed—which happened when Nero became Caesar—Christ would subsequently kill him. Then at the second coming of Christ (the Greek word is epiphany which is a form of horao only used with a divine emphasis and connotation, i.e. Jesus the Son of God), Christ would ultimately destroy this man. Which is the fate of the beast when he and the false prophet are thrown bodily (alive) into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20).

There are examples in the Bible where God intervenes sovereignly in the lives of individuals or groups by “striking them down.” Because some cross a line that should not be crossed at a specific time for a particular reason, God will prematurely end their lives. In my book Out of the Abyss, I give five examples from Scripture, but there are many more than five.

Thus, we have the unmistakable evidence that the beast had already lived and died as the man of lawlessness before John prophetically witnessed his reappearance from the Abyss as described both in Revelation 13 and 17.

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The Historical Life and Death of the Man of Lawlessness … And His Subsequent Return

Again we ask: Why isn’t just the term Antichrist used throughout Scripture in allusion to this man? Why the other appellations? In further response to that question, please permit me to again quote from Out of the Abyss. But first to highlight the questions: Who does Jesus kill? Answer: the man of lawlessness. When is the lawless one killed and why? Let’s examine the evidence.

Paul’s description as the man of lawlessness points to the soul or persona of the man. Simply put: the man is unruly, anarchistic, uncontrolled, ungovernable … in short, outside the God-given laws of morality and nature. After Daniel’s … reference to this man as a king or ruler or little horn, and our Lord’s reference to false messiahs, Paul was the first to introduce this man.

The term antichrist refers directly to the spirit of this depraved man; in fact, the apostle John equates the Antichrist to the spirit of antichrist. Then John defines what this spirit represents or does: it denies God the Father, and God the Son as Messiah.

It is the spirit of a human being that is regenerated or made alive, when that person accepts Christ as Savior. Then the Holy Spirit bears witness with the redeemed spirit that we are children of God. The spirit of Antichrist remains forever spiritually dead; as does the spirit of every person who denies that Jesus is the Christ….

The bestial image of Revelation vividly depicts the physical nature (body) and corporeal deeds of this man, and all that entails. We still use a beast in modern language to expound the exploits of an individual. We might say, “He fought like a beast!” Or we might reduce the beast-like qualities to a specific animal and say, “She had the strength of a lion!” The soul and spirit of a person expresses all that is evil or good through the flesh or bodily presence of the individual. (Pages 204-205).

A reminder: When Jesus kills this man, the man is referred to (by Paul) as the man of lawlessness. “…The Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of his mouth…” is an expression demonstrating that Jesus would orchestrate (arrange) Nero’s death.

Then I go on to say in Out of the Abyss:

When Jesus, with his divine rightful authority, killed Nero, he eliminated the very soul of this wicked man from the face of the earth, at that specific point in time (68 AD), for a very explicit purpose, with a unique twist to a twisted man. Jesus would preserve Nero’s body for the precise plan of sealing the final destruction of Antichrist … bodily in the lake of fire. Yes, I did say, “preserve!” (Page 205).

Then an entire chapter of my book concentrates on the Abyss—what it is, where it’s located, and the fact that the beast of Revelation would reappear from this bottomless pit; witnessed by John as the beast arises from the sea (Revelation 13), and then seen by John a second time as a scarlet beast upon which a woman sits (Revelation 17).

To counter the notion that a modern-day Antichrist would be killed during the Tribulation, here’s another excerpt from Out of the Abyss:

Why would Christ kill the beast half way through the tribulation, when the man hadn’t yet demonstrated his dark side or hadn’t yet begun his reign of terror? Only for the man to come back from the dead a few days later; then for Jesus to clinch the man’s final destruction in the lake of fire? Yet this is the contemporary view, minus the part about Jesus killing the man of lawlessness. As indicated, this dramatic fact has often been overlooked in the composite evaluation of Biblical passages on Antichrist.

Please understand: Jesus kills the man of lawlessness! That’s exactly what the Bible says. This divine preemption is a substantial departure from the normal cycle of life and death in the human race, including the evil, ugly act of murder.

Only God gives or creates life and only God has the divine right to preemptively take life, if he chooses. Moreover, God extended this capital punishment privilege to society as a means of dispensing justice and as a deterrent to murder…. (Page 205).

More Evidence

Recall, the beast had already died when John first observed it in Revelation. And before that Paul tells us that Jesus would kill this man—the beast of Revelation. If Jesus directly intervened by killing the man of lawlessness, then this man (later called the beast) could not be assassinated during the tribulation as we understand and define the term murder. (Page 206).

To repeat: The mainstream present-day explanation is that a modern-day Antichrist will be killed (some say his death is faked, but Revelation 13 indisputably tells us that it’s a fatal wound, i.e. death) at the hands of a Jew, or perhaps by a member of his inner circle. There are several theoretical scenarios presented by various scholars, but not one that I know of factors in II Thessalonians 2:8—that Christ, himself, will kill the man of lawlessness.

Continuing in Out of the Abyss:

Expressing it another way: Jesus did not kill the beast; he killed the man of lawlessness. Although the man of lawlessness and the beast are one and the same (Nero), this is not a contradiction. Why … because the Holy Spirit, through Paul, is telling us when the beast would be killed. The beast would be killed by Christ while the beast was the man of lawlessness, before he reappeared as the beast! As the beast, Nero will be cast into the Lake of Fire, alive. (Page 206).

We are more accustomed to the final victory that Christ will have over Antichrist in the epic battles of Armageddon, as summarized in the second half of II Thessalonians 2:8, when Christ returns. Consequently, we often overlook the first half of this verse and/or try to make it the same event as the second half of the verse. The words are crystal clear: Jesus kills the man of lawlessness. THEN at his second coming, Christ (finally) destroys this man of lawlessness who is now the beast who reappears from the Abyss.

There is no redundancy whatsoever taking place in II Thessalonians 2:8. Paul is telling us that, in addition to killing the man of lawlessness, Jesus also destroys him when the man reappears as the beast of Revelation (tribulation period); although Paul was not privy to the return of this man from the Abyss as the beast. The Antichrist’s designation as the beast would come a few years later when John saw the extraordinary visions recorded in Revelation. But Paul knew when and how this man would eventually be shattered. His final destruction would be accomplished by the splendor of Messiah’s “glorious appearance!”

Neither Daniel nor John of Revelation tells us that the king-beast will be killed during his seven-year reign. When the beast initially appears to John in Revelation 13, the first thing John sees is that one of the seven heads of the beast (the same seven heads which are the same seven kings of Revelation 17, discussed in these articles) had already recovered from a fatal wound. Because John saw this beast in real (present-tense) time, it’s obvious that the beast had already been dead, which was later confirmed in spectacular fashion by John’s second vision of the beast … and the beast you saw was once alive, but isn’t now. (Revelation 17:8).

At his birth and especially at his resurrection from the dead, our Lord was revealed as the Son of David, Son of Man, and Son of God. In the very last days of the Tribulation, he will reappear as the King of all kings, the Lion from the Tribe of Judah to rescue Israel from annihilation and the world from complete chaos and catastrophe.

His evil antithesis, Nero, was initially revealed as the man of lawlessness. Messiah Jesus struck him down for heinous crimes/sins that crossed the divine line of God’s toleration. Yet, Christ will permit him to bodily reappear from the Abyss with the spirit of (the) Antichrist to deceive the world through this lie of what Nero will boast as a Satan-empowered, yet self-resurrection from the grave.

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A Sculpture of Nero

As summarized in Out of the Abyss:

Moreover, it would make all the sense in the world for the respective advents of the true Messiah and false messiah to occur within a very close proximity of time, but in a manner that God chose. Jesus, who is the way, truth, and life because he perfectly fulfilled the Law of Moses arrived on the scene first. Then came the man of lawlessness who would seek to pervert and destroy this way, truth, and life. Nero arrived on the scene of humanity only some three and a half years after Jesus ascended to heaven. Nero will be allowed to reappear some seven years before Messiah returns, but Nero’s ultimate authority during that time will be for three and a half years. Thus, Christ will have the final say in the matter. Yeshua is the First and the Last. (Page 208).

Sixth Title: Antichrist

Well, not much more needs to be said. The very word says it all. The purpose of these three articles is to show that each and every name of Antichrist serves a prophetic purpose. Only the Apostle John employs the term, Antichrist, in I John. Yet, the other five designations of Antichrist are not merely arbitrary terms (for the sake of variety) to characterize this contemptible man. Rather, they were given to Daniel, Paul, and John of Revelation at the appointed time in history to clarify how, when, why, and from where this man would originate. Thereby, with a healthy dose of wisdom and understanding, we can accurately determine the actual identity (who) of this little horn, king, ruler, man of lawlessness, and beast, known the world over as Antichrist.

Nero was born shortly after Jesus returned to heaven. He rose to power through a sequence of lawless events. With his earthly body preserved in the Abyss, he will be allowed to return; but not to actually duplicate the resurrection of Christ … not in the fashion of the true Messiah and Christians rising from the dead. Only God possesses the power of resurrection. Nevertheless, the reappearance of the Antichrist Beast will resemble and mock the very foundation of the Christian faith … the miraculous resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This return from the grave (Abyss) will be the lie that billions of people will believe during the Tribulation, to the extreme of actually worshipping this unholy beast of a man.

Though there will be no Roman Legions or a Revived Roman Empire as such; “Hail Caesar!” will reverberate throughout the post-Rapture world.

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

A final summary quote from Out of the Abyss:

There is no question; the meaning of the verse is as irrefutable as anything can be. The beast had already died before John received this revelation. How else can this passage be understood? … If some can’t let go of a contemporary Antichrist, then what will they do with this verse…?

John didn’t see the vision in the future; he saw it in the present—that hour of that day. The beast is past tense … no longer alive when John saw the vision. The beast isn’t born and doesn’t die in the future; he’s already dead. When will the beast become future tense? Correct: When he reappears from the Abyss. At the beginning of the Tribulation, the world will be amazed at the reappearance of the beast that had died. Will the beast die during the Tribulation? No, he died even before John saw him from Patmos.

Things to Ponder

I realize how unfathomably difficult it is to wrap our minds around the concept of a 2000 year old Roman Emperor reappearing on Planet Earth. But we also know that with God, all things are possible. Christ arose from the grave and so will millions upon millions of believers at the Rapture. Would it be any more difficult for God to revive Nero shortly after his death, place him in the Abyss, allow him to return from this prison of darkness, and then give him and Satan authority to resume his Antichrist agenda for a few short years on this earth?

Didn’t God transport Elijah alive directly to heaven in a flaming chariot?! Didn’t God split the Red Sea and stand the water up on two sides like walls?! Didn’t God provide the Hebrews food from heaven (manna) for forty years?! Didn’t God … go ahead, fill in more blanks!

After all is said and done, “…the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus (Revelation 19:10).

For those who have not placed their trust and destiny in the sacrificial death of Messiah Jesus, know now and after the Rapture that Christ is greater by far than Satan, Antichrist, and the False Prophet. Though it will cost you your life, please choose Jesus over Nero. Your reward will be everlasting life in heaven. If you choose the mark of the beast, your destiny will be sealed in the Lake of Fire, alongside of the false messiah.

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“He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon!’ Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).

A Beast by Any Other Name … Part II

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A Beast by Any Other Name … Is Still a Beast

Good and evil; war and peace; light and darkness; pride and humility; right and wrong; unjust and just; truth and lies. Words of reverse meaning (antonyms) often provide more insight and impact than do words with similar meanings (synonyms). There’s nothing like comparison through stark contrast to grab our attention and heighten our understanding and appreciation for concepts at the extreme ends of a physical, moral, or spiritual spectrum. Even oxymoronic phrases such as, “Until hell freezes over,” serve a purpose, I suppose. In this instance to amplify the idea that some things just don’t go together … never have and never will.

Unlike hot and cold, there are many words that don’t have an antonym; but that’s no problem. So if you’re against something like abortion (good for you), then how do you express your disagreement with just a one-word opposite?

Likewise, names of people in virtually every language carry with them a linguistic meaning (for example, my first and last name mean spear and flower, respectively); but ordinarily we don’t pair off names or groups of contrary names in order to compare or contrast the meaning of those names. With one universal exception:

Christ … Antichrist.

As we all know, anti means against and/or in place of. In the English language there are hundreds of words that allow the prefix, anti, in order to convey the exact opposite. Such as anti-abortion.

What better way for the Bible to accentuate the ultra-antithesis of the true Christ (Messiah) than to tag his evil counterpart—who was born in the first century a few years after Jesus ascended to heaven—with the name (that says it all) of Antichrist. For that is exactly what he was and will be again upon his return as the beast from the Abyss.

Yet, before the Apostle John coined the term Antichrist in the first century, both the Prophet Daniel and the Apostle Paul described this infamous man with other titles. When we understand the reason for Scripture’s different names of Antichrist and the context of those passages, then we will better comprehend that the future Antichrist is also the (past) historical ruler, king, and man of lawlessness.

In last week’s article, we examined Daniel’s appellations of little horn and king … then continuation of king as found in Revelation Chapters 13 & 17. This week we will scrutinize another descriptive term by Daniel in his prophecy of a coming Ruler, whose armies would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple; this same ruler would then orchestrate a seven-year treaty with Israel that is a catalyst to the Great Tribulation. Equally significant: To recognize that there is an extraordinary (what is now a lengthy) interlude announced by Daniel between the destruction of the Temple and the seven-year treaty. But it’s still the same ruler involved in these two events, already separated by nearly 2000 years! Then Paul’s phenomenal present tense exposure of this wicked ruler called by Paul, The Man of Lawlessness.

Third Title: Ruler

“After this period of sixty-two sets of seven, the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple. The end will come with a flood, and war and its miseries are decreed from that time to the very end. The ruler will make a treaty with the people for a period of one set of seven, but after half this time, he will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings. And as a climax to all his terrible deeds, he will set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration, until the fate decreed for this defiler is finally poured out on him” (Daniel 9:26-27).

Bible scholars have astutely and accurately identified the Anointed One as Jesus who, to the very day when he rode into Jerusalem and was hailed as Messiah, fulfilled precisely the 483 year prophetic time-clock of Messiah’s appearance as predicted in verses 24 and 25 of this chapter. Then Daniel tells us that after Messiah is killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, a ruler would arise….

The Hebrew word translated ruler in the New Living Translation just quoted, and rendered prince in, for example, the New American Standard Bible is: Nagiyd. (Pronounced, naw-gheed). The English translations of prince, overseer, or ruler (in various capacities) correctly reflect the original Hebrew word. Clearly conveyed, however, is that the term prince or ruler is a generic designation, in contrast to a more position-specific title such as King. Although several languages use the positional title Prince to identify a particular historical ruler, the term prince is more frequently employed to simply label someone in authority in any number of administrative or nobility positions. And, of course, ruler is an all-purpose term that can refer to just about any person of prestige or power.

Daniel’s first vision of the Antichrist was that of a Little Horn in Daniel Chapter Seven; also a general description as the primary emphasis was that of his proud boasting against God from a platform of authority recognized and accepted by the world at large (as subsequently confirmed by Revelation Chapter 13). But then switched to a king who would suddenly appear in a specific sphere of influence; that he would rule over ten already established kings/nations during the Tribulation.

Yet in Daniel’s portrayal of the Antichrist as recorded in Chapter 9, he wouldn’t have known, nor did the Angel Gabriel disclose to him the exact title of what would later be a Roman ruler or even more definitive, a Roman Caesar. Thus, the angel utilizes the term of ruler which is a title anyone in Daniel’s time (or any time of history) would easily grasp.

Sometimes a prophecy given by God to one of his prophets will be spectacularly specific, such as naming Cyrus some 150 years before he was even born to be the Persian King, who would allow the Jews to return to Israel. Most often, however, Scripture provides just enough information to get the attention of those alive when the prophecy is given, then dramatically captures the focus of those alive when the prophecy is fulfilled.

Between the former and the latter, anyone who possesses any degree of anticipation, expectation, or intrigue is soon full of enthusiasm when the prophesied person appears or the event unfolds. Its like: WOW, this is actually happening in our lifetime. Which is exactly the positive response of many when Messiah Jesus was born in Bethlehem of a Virgin, then thousands more when Christ miraculously arose from the dead; and the equally negative reaction of Christians during Nero’s reprehensible reign as Caesar.

I believe God does this on purpose for our benefit. He wants us to take the time and effort to carefully observe and match the historical event to a long-ago Biblical prophecy; to better appreciate the intricacies of both the prediction and its accomplishment. But also to validate Scripture’s claim that the God of the Bible is the ONLY true and living God … through the miracle of fulfilled prophecy.

The Ruler is Nero

That this ruler is none other than Nero is extensively documented in my book, Out of the Abyss, by, as alluded to in last week’s article, dissecting and then correlating first century history to all Biblical references of Antichrist, none more so than this passage in Daniel Chapter 9.

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In order to maintain the hypothesis of a revived Roman Empire proposed by many students of prophecy (which is based on the improper substitution of the English word kingdoms for the Greek word for kings in Revelation 17 and disregarding the personal pronouns used for these kings and the 8th king who is one of the seven kings … five who were already dead, one reigning, and the seventh to come, whose reign would be very brief), the Roman Legions (armies of Daniel 9) are linked to this ruler, who is perceived as a modern-day born man, even though doing so stretches this linkage to the breaking point. In other words, the ruler and his armies (Roman legions) are most assuredly coupled, but this connective association actually took place in the first century.

As we shall see, this prince would arise shortly after Messiah Jesus was crucified, as opposed to what would now be a totally impractical and illogical time-lapse of nearly 2000 years. It’s essential that we grasp the grammar and syntax of exactly what Daniel is relaying to us in Chapter 9.

Once again we read, “…The Anointed One (Messiah) will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple…” (Daniel 9:26a, italics for emphasis). Two things jump from the pages of this startling prediction:

(1) The possessive pronoun “whose” (armies) grammatically and prophetically bind the ruler to the actual armies that would destroy Jerusalem and the Second Temple. This fateful prophecy was agonizingly realized in 70 AD when the Roman Legions utterly demolished the Temple and destroyed much of Jerusalem, killing hundreds of thousands of Jews. The indisputable historical evidence clearly shows that this cruel campaign to crush the Jews had been ordered by Nero in 66-67 AD; moreover, he hand-picked the two Roman Generals who carried out his orders—Vespasian and Titus.

(2) The sequential syntax of the passage yields the unambiguous conclusion that the ruler would arise (shortly) after Christ (the Anointed One) was killed (on the Cross); as opposed to what is now a 2000-year gap between the Roman Legions that demolished the Temple and what is supposed to be a modern-day man (Antichrist) who would have absolutely no connection whatsoever to those legions. The text stipulates that the ruler would arise during the time when Messiah’s death appeared to have accomplished nothing. From my book, Out of the Abyss:

If the ruler is a modern-day man, then this verse doesn’t fit. Worse, the first part of the verse is simply inaccurate. What am I saying? I am saying that … we can look back some 2000 years and clearly see the monumentally astounding accomplishments of Christianity. Yet Daniel 9:26 effectively tells us that the ruler will sequentially rise to power during the time that Messiah’s death “appears” to have accomplished nothing. In other words, the ruler would arise fairly soon after Messiah is killed.

Nero was born just three to four years after Christ died, and he ruled as Emperor just two-three decades (later) … Christianity was still in its infancy. To the populace of Israel, the Roman Empire and world at large, the tragic death of Jesus of Nazareth seemed to have accomplished very little. To Jewish Zealots, Jesus’s death accomplished absolutely nothing … It took several centuries for Christians and the secular world to comprehend the increasing influence that the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ had exerted on the world. (Pages 256-257).

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Concerning the real-time 1st century correlation between the prince/ruler and the people or armies that destroyed the Temple, I explained in Out of the Abyss:

The Hebrew word for people … means people(s) people of a nation, members of one’s people, kinsman, or compatriots … invariably when relating people to a nation, king, ruler, or to God, the word is employed in the logical and sensible Scriptural context of possessive, immediate, or generational relationship….

I go on to say that the people of the prince or ruler that Daniel foretells, … includes all of the prince’s country-men; but more exactly it was the armies (Roman Legions) of this people that fulfilled the prophecy…. But whose armies are they? Whose people are they? If you study the text carefully, there is a clear possessive correlation between the ruler and the armies or the people…. Whose is possessive, meaning those armies or people specifically belonging to that particular ruler…. The people directly affiliated, associated, or united with the prince destroyed the Temple.

Then a few paragraphs later: Where have you ever read or seen or thought that a ruler of any era would be connected to armies or people hundreds or thousands of years earlier. All monarchs, both in Biblical and secular history, are linked directly with the armies of that particular time of the ruler’s life.

And, as indicated, whenever the Hebrew word “am” (meaning people) is used throughout the Old Testament in conjunction with a ruler and a people, it is used to specify an immediate, real-time connection between the leader/nation and the people belonging to that leader… Why, then, should Gabriel and Daniel mean a far-off, time-warped differential between the Roman Legions and a prince that wouldn’t arrive on the scene for what is now a nearly two-thousand year gap? (Pages 254-256).

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Roman Legion

Daniel goes on to explain that the same ruler whose armies would destroy the Temple would then make a treaty with Israel, which is the Biblical passage specifying that the Tribulation is for a period of seven years. But before Daniel announces this seven-year treaty and the ruler’s violation of the treaty half way through, we have one remarkable interval between the end of verse 26 and the beginning of verse 27 that many Bible scholars have overlooked, missed, or dismissed (in terms of its chronological impact). There’s no doubt in the syntax structure of verses 26 & 27, that the decisive events described are sequential. I repeat: no doubt whatsoever; if for no other reason that the connecting words and the logical progression of occurrences are given in a specific order.

Here’s what the text says: “…whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple. The end will come with a flood, and war and its miseries are decreed from that time to the very end. The ruler will make a treaty with the people…” (Daniel 9:26b, 27a, italics for emphasis). I’ve italicized the crucial interim period of time that clearly separates the (now) historical sacking of Jerusalem in 70 AD from the yet-to-come seven-year Tribulation treaty engineered by the SAME ruler whose armies destroyed the city and the Temple.

The end will come … war its miseries from that time to the very end is expressive apocalyptic language to describe the Great Tribulation.

This is absolutely astonishing, and can only be truly apprehended and appreciated by realizing that the ruler (Nero) whose armies destroyed the Temple will also be the same ruler who will mesmerize the entire world by his astounding return from the Abyss; which will enable him to strike a treaty with Israel at the outset of the Tribulation, then break this treaty in 3 ½ years followed by an all-out onslaught against Israel and the tribulation saints for another 3 ½ years.

Thus, even without Revelation 17 which clearly and emphatically tells us that the 8th king (the Antichrist scarlet beast) is from the seven and had lived and died before John even saw this beast-king; history itself validates Daniel’s incredible prophecy that the armies of, controlled by, and subsequently ordered to crush the Jewish rebellion belonged to none other than the Roman Emperor, Nero. Combining Revelation 17 with Daniel 9 (and also Daniel 7), we have not one, but two historical and irrefutable proofs that the future tense ruler of Daniel’s prophecies became the first century PAST TENSE king-beast ruler known as Nero.

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Depicts Destruction of Jerusalem & Temple in 70 AD

Fourth Title: Man of Lawlessness

But there’s more! Not just future tense and past tense, but a PRESENT TENSE (right then and there as it was happening) expose of the fifth Roman Emperor by the Apostle Paul, who labeled him the man of lawlessness. Once again for sake of time/space in these three articles on the names of Antichrist, we must summarize in crash course fashion another chapter from Out of the Abyss (Refer to Chapter 21 for many more facts and details). Beginning with the riveting passage:

“…For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction … He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God. Don’t you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you? And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out-of-the-way. Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming” (II Thessalonians 2:3-8).

In this abbreviated review of the man later called Antichrist and the beast (of Revelation), we need to concentrate on the present tense grammar and the obvious implications thereof; to both the man of lawlessness and the secrecy of the lawlessness (that he was part of) that was being restrained or held back at the very time that Paul wrote this letter to the Church at Thessalonica.

First, a brief historical context: Paul wrote II Thessalonians in 51-52 AD, and the Temple of Jerusalem was very much intact. Believers expected that the desecration that Daniel, Jesus, and Paul spoke of would take place in none other than Herod’s Temple, in their very near future. In fact, it’s abundantly clear throughout the entire New Testament, especially from the Apostle Paul, that the Christians at that time fully expected Jesus to return any hour of any day. The “imminent return of Christ” was more alive and real in the first century that it has been ever since, with the possible exception of today’s passionate hope that his return is very near.

It’s just that the Holy Spirit had not revealed to Paul that the desecration of the Temple would take place in a 3rd rebuilt Temple, to replace Herod’s Temple that would be destroyed less than twenty years after Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians.

But I’m convinced that the Holy Spirit had disclosed to Paul the identity of this man of lawlessness, even though Paul could not and would not refer to the man by name … upon penalty of death and intense persecution of Christians, which would have begun as soon as Nero unlawfully ascended the throne, if not before. In fact, later in Nero’s reign, tens of thousands of Christians were murdered and both Paul and Peter were executed. Nero was subsequently “revealed” as the man of lawlessness, but not yet as the Beast-king. Nero’s future (resumed) fulfillment of his anti-Christ agenda would not fully materialize until the Day of the Lord had begun … precipitated first by the Rapture, then shortly followed by his (the beast-king’s) return from the Abyss.

How can we know with absolute certainty that Paul was referring to this man of lawlessness (who we know is one and the same as the little horn, ruler, king, and would be (later) called Antichrist and the Beast) as one who was already alive on planet Earth; as opposed to some far-off unborn ruler who would initiate a great rebellion against God?

Before answering that question, let’s also be reminded that Nero did exactly that. Not before Nero instigated and personally supervised a savage vendetta against Christians at the hands of an entire empire or until Nero resumes the rebellion during the Great Tribulation, has there ever been such brutality on this scale. Against the Jews as a race and nation, yes; but not against people from all races, nations, and languages, so identified because of their belief in the substitutionary death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus as their Messiah. Ironically, Nero’s direct participation in this first century persecution of Christians lasted about 3 ½ years, the same period of time that his diabolical revolt against God, and torture and death of Christians and Jews will last during the Great Tribulation.

The following is how we can irrefutably conclude that Paul was telling us exactly who the man of lawlessness was and would be, without actually stating his name. Once again let’s read the words, this time from the New American Standard Bible: “And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed … only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way” (II Thessalonians 2:6-7, italics for emphasis).

Who or What Holds Back the Man of Lawlessness & the Secrecy of the Lawlessness?

These active present tense verbs and modifiers clearly convey and confirm the premise that all this was taking place before and when Paul wrote this letter to the Thessalonians. Here is another excerpt from Out of the Abyss to reinforce this premise:

According to Paul, the restrainer “is” (at that time) holding the lawless one back. This present tense application is augmented by the fact that what restrains is holding “him now.” Not later, not in some distant future, but right then and there while Paul informed the believers. Paul obviously is not referring to a man who hadn’t even been born yet. Nor does the text state or imply that the man of lawlessness is currently restrained from being born; in fact that would make no sense whatsoever.

Think about it. How could or why would the man be restrained if he wasn’t already alive? If Paul was referring to this man in the future tense (not what the man would do … that was still future), he would have said, “and you know what will hold him back.” The present tense grammar of the text yields a convincing conclusion; this man of lawlessness was already being held in check.

Newsflash: Nero became emperor in 54 AD, but Claudius Caesar and his wife, Agrippina (Nero’s mother), were already touting Nero as successor when Paul wrote I and II Thessalonians. Furthermore, all of Rome knew that Nero would not be a lawful successor to the crown. Romans had already prided themselves and their empire as the first and greatest law and order society in history. And, as we saw earlier: Paul wrote II Thessalonians in 51-52 AD. That’s a bit more than coincidental, don’t you think? (Page 191).

antichrist

Today’s contemporary application of these verses is that the Holy Spirit is the restrainer and that he restrains evil, but that is not what the passage is telling us. For one thing, the Greek word for lawlessness is different from the Greek words used for evil or wickedness in the New Testament. The Greek word for lawlessness is anomia, which means contempt for or violation of law—Biblical laws, moral laws, and civil laws. Found only fifteen times in the New Testament, the word conveys a more exclusive, or specific expression of evil, the very kind that Paul said was taking place. In fact, Paul said, “this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way.”

Before that, Paul referred to the restrainer as “what is holding him back.” The him of this verse is the man of lawlessness and the what (as clearly explained in Out of the Abyss) was the Roman government including the Senate that represented the people, and to a lesser extent the Roman legions. Moreover, the Holy Spirit is NEVER referred to by a neutral or impersonal pronoun anywhere in Scripture; rather, the Holy Spirit is always referred to by the personal pronoun, he or him. Why then would Paul even remotely imply that the pronoun what of this passage is the Holy Spirit? Yet, that is the (mistaken) association by many scholars, i.e. that this impersonal pronoun substitution (what) is the Holy Spirit, himself.

Furthermore, why would Paul be reluctant to identify or enunciate the name of the Holy Spirit in this context; when non-believing Romans or Greeks would have been oblivious to something or someone called the Holy Spirit? When, in fact, Paul often mentioned the Holy Spirit throughout his epistles, and even references the Holy Spirit in verse thirteen of this same chapter in II Thessalonians. It’s completely logical why Paul withheld the name of Nero, Claudius, or Agrippina, all of whom were part of the lawless scheme to make Nero the next Emperor. But no reason at all for Paul to evasively disguise the Holy Spirit as the impersonal (force) that was holding the man of lawlessness in check until the secrecy of this lawlessness was fully exposed (later in 54 AD).

The lawlessness Paul cited in this passage was the Machiavellian-style political intrigue and covert maneuvers underway through what would later become a (successful) conspiracy by Nero’s mother Agrippina to assassinate her husband, the Roman Emperor Claudius—which would pave the way for Nero to become Caesar.

Please, read the passage again: The lawlessness itself was not being held back; instead it was the secrecy of that lawlessness … known only by a select few including Paul, to whom it had been revealed. Thus it was the Roman system of law and government (what) that was holding Nero (temporarily) in check; which enabled Claudius Caesar (as long as he was on the throne) to hold back or (inadvertently) suppress the secrecy of what was unlawfully being planned by his wife and step-son Nero. But when the one who “now restrains” was taken out of the way, the clandestine, hush-hush, anarchistic plot would no longer be concealed. This lawlessness would and did rear its ugly head when Agrippina poisoned Claudius, and Nero succeeded him as Emperor.

As summarized in Out of the Abyss:

Obviously Claudius wanted Nero to succeed him, but certainly not as a result of Claudius being toppled from power by anyone, let alone his wife, Agrippina. Thus, Claudius was part of the scheme that would bypass his natural son’s right to the throne in favor of his step-son Nero. Little did Claudius realize that this plot would thicken with Agrippina’s lawless sub-plot to prematurely take him out of the picture, to remove him from power by revealing her true intention—that of Nero’s immediate unlawful ascension to the throne. (Page 201).

Things to Ponder

Next weeks’ article, the final part of this trilogy, will elaborate on the remaining two names: Antichrist and The Beast. To further expand on how these two designations (alongside the man of lawlessness) comprehensively represent the composite Antichrist, i.e. body, soul, and spirit of this depraved human being.

For all those who really want to accurately determine the identity of Antichrist, I am completely convinced that God wants us to know just as the early Christians knew, especially through the 5th century AD. That Nero was this man of lawlessness, the ruler, and the king (Roman Caesar) who had died; but would one day return from the Abyss as the (little horn) beast to continue his Antichrist reign of terror … but on a truly global scale.

We need to know these things before the Rapture takes place, so that many left behind will not be so amazed at a False Messiah … Nero’s returns from the underworld.

We need to know, before we go!

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