The Cross and the Torn Curtain (Part I)

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The Cross & The Curtain

Does anyone remember the Alfred Hitchcock movie, Torn Curtain? Or another movie, The Cross and the Switchblade, based on the book by the same name? It helps to be a Baby Boomer, but with today’s TV movie replays and DVD reproductions, you don’t have to be from the Boomer generation.

Torn Curtain was released in 1966, starring Paul Newman and Julie Andrews, two of my favorite actors. Basically, the plot was an American nuclear physicist pretending defection to East Germany, with the real objective of stealing a certain formula from East German scientists. It was set during the Cold War and the (then) existence of what was called the Iron Curtain, symbolically separating Western Democracy from Eastern Communism.

But also the actual Berlin Wall built by East Germany, whose politicians pretty much took their orders from the Easter Bloc leader, Communist Russia. Later this wall would be torn down through the effort of US President Ronald Reagan. The objective was to do whatever necessary to tear down the Curtain of separation between east and west, by undermining communism in both East Germany and Russia.

Eventually Communism collapsed in both East Germany and Russia … mission accomplished.

The Cross and the Switchblade film was released in 1970, starring Pat Boone as Pastor David Wilkerson (who wrote the book in 1962) and Erik Estrada. This riveting true story depicted the ministry of Pastor Wilkerson among New York City street gangs, to help them turn to Jesus Christ and give up their drugs and gang violence. It is an amazing example of the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So what do these movies and especially their titles have to do with today’s Eye of Prophecy article?

Answer: I’m adapting these movie titles (but also the idea behind them) to today’s article title to demonstrate the enormous juxtaposition impact the Cross of Christ had on the Jewish Mosaic Covenant (Old Testament or Old Covenant) in the first century; represented in large part by the inexplicable tearing of the Curtain (partition) that separated the Most Holy Place in the Jewish Temple from the rest of the Temple. As well as the 20th and 21st century continued significance of the New Covenant on the lives of people all over the world.

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Millions of true Christian believers down through the ages and in today’s world, most of whom are Gentile but tens of thousands who are (Messianic) Jews, would in unison agree that the very heart of our life-changing faith, the cornerstone of our eternal destiny in heaven is the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Messiah Jesus. We fully understand that the reason Jesus came to this earth in a human body was to willingly die for our sins in order that God would forgive those transgressions—past, present, and future—and make us right with God. Then to give us the awesome privilege of direct access to the Lord while on this earth … the Holy of Holies which is God’s very presence.

We fully realize that the New Covenant promised by God through the prophet Jeremiah began with the Passion of the Christ in the hours before, during, and after his agonizing beating and his excruciating pain while hanging on the Cross.

As the song goes, “I’ll never know how much it cost to see my sins upon that Cross.”

In equal measure to our eternal joy and gratitude for what Jesus has done for all who believe in Him, we are saddened by so many—including millions of Jews—who still cling to the Mosaic Law or some man-made religious duties patterned after the Law of Moses as their ill-fated means to gain right standing with God. But they do so without the all-important Levitical sacrificial system that was mandated by God for (on-going, repeated) forgiveness, by covering their sin with the blood of innocent animals.

In the first century, many thousands of Jews believed in Jesus as their Messiah and individually accepted him as Lord and Savior. Tragically, many more did not, especially their religious and political leaders. Consequently, as a nation, they suffered the consequences of rejecting their own Messiah when the Romans ruthlessly conquered the uprising in Israel, destroyed Jerusalem, demolished Herod’s Temple, and scattered the Jews to the four corners of the earth. Not until 1948 did this exile begin to end, and not until 1967 did the Jews regain control of all Israel, including Jerusalem.

I’ve written extensively about the historical significance of the Temple’s destruction in the first century, particularly in the context of the immensely traumatic effect on the very heart and soul of the Jewish religion. If you haven’t, please read Eye of Prophecy articles, Where is the Temple? Part I, II, III (posted 11-29-14, 12-6-14, 12-13-14).

Although the literal question of where is the temple rhetorically begs the all too obvious answer (it’s gone), the query is designed to provoke thought and challenge the notion that Judaism (or any religion) can even exist without the God-ordained requirement of redemptive sacrifices. The Covenant of Law consisted of two equally crucial obligations: (1) Obedience to the moral and civil laws; (2) Sacrifices of innocent (animal) blood to atone for individual and national disobedience, i.e. intentional and inadvertent transgressions. Because no one, including the priests or even the High Priest, could or did keep God’s laws and commandments without fail.

The following (in italics) are a few excerpt paragraphs from Part III of those articles:

The intriguing question posed in this article and the past two Eye of Prophecy articles relating to the fate of the Jewish Temples is designed as a challenge to explain what happened to them and why. To stimulate reflection about the repercussions of such a devastating time of Jewish history. To investigate the staggering impact on the entire Jewish faith WHEN Solomon’s Temple, then (hundreds of years later) Herod’s Temple, was destroyed. But also Gentile participation in this history pertaining mostly to religious systems that, to varying degrees, were patterned after and around the Mosaic Laws.

(1) Solomon’s Temple: God removed his very presence from this magnificent Temple; therefore, from among his people. Some six years before King Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem and tore down the Temple, Ezekiel witnessed God’s glory depart from the Temple. “Then the glory of the Lord moved out from the door of the Temple and hovered above the cherubim. And as I watched, the cherubim flew with their wheels to the east gate of the Lord’s Temple. And the glory of the God of Israel hovered above them” (Ezekiel 10:18-19). A short time later, “Then the glory of the Lord went up from the city and stopped above the mountain to the east” (Ezekiel 11:23).

(2) Herod’s (the 2nd) Temple: When this temple was razed to the ground by the Roman Legions, the Mosaic Covenant Sacrificial System ceased to function as the ongoing source of redemption.

The loss of God’s glorious presence among his people followed by removal of sacrificial shedding of blood for atonement of sin dealt devastating blows to the heart of Judaism and the soul of the Jewish people. By and large, they have never recovered from this dual discipline; administered as a result of their continuous disobedience to God and denial of their Messiah sent by God to reconcile and restore them back to God. But one day (soon) all that will change!

They will recover and rejoice, because all of Israel will be saved … individually and nationally, physically and spiritually.

Concerning the Jewish Temples, the historical evidence is undeniable: Since the destruction of Solomon’s Temple, God’s Shekinah glory (his majestic presence) had been glaringly absent from the Temple. Then, the essence and substance of God’s forgiveness through the Atonement Sacrifices abruptly ceased with the loss of the 2nd Temple. According to the Law of Moses—which to varying degrees is still practiced or at least recognized by millions of Jews the world over—without the God-ordained place and procedure for shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin … no acquittal for the penalty for sin.

Where, then, is the Temple?

The evidence is overwhelmingly clear: Ever since the loss of the Jewish Temple and the inability to continue the all-important sacrificial shedding of innocent (animal) blood, God’s people have been in mental, emotional, and spiritual denial over the dramatic dilemma of no longer keeping the daily, monthly, and especially the annual (Yom Kippur) sacrifices that included the scapegoat. Here is how I summarized it in the aforementioned series of: Where Is the Temple?

No Temple, no sacrificial offerings. No sacrifices, no atonement forgiveness of sins. No forgiveness, no redemption. No redemption, no right standing with God

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(Depicts Impending Destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple)

Amazing Events Connected to the Crucifixion of Messiah Jesus

Jesus predicted that the 2nd Temple would be destroyed, which took place just forty years later. Here are his words:

“Some of his disciples began talking about the majestic stonework of the Temple and the memorial decorations on the walls. But Jesus said, ‘The time is coming when all these things will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!’” (Luke 21:5-6).

This amazing prophecy was fulfilled when the Romans sacked Jerusalem in 70 AD. Immediately following Jesus’ announcement of the Temple’s destruction, he answered his disciple’s question about the signs of the last days; which included more details on what would happen when the (Roman) armies attacked Jerusalem. And, of course, many signs of the very last days, which after some 2000 years are upon us.

Although the obliteration of the Temple was the climatic event that put an end to the Levitical sacrificial system so vital to Judaism, there were other extraordinary things that occurred before, during, and after Jesus was crucified and then miraculously arose from the dead. Things that resulted in what was then and still is cause for the Jews to this very day to be (as is said in today’s jargon) “in denial.”

Read with me the astonishing account recorded in one of the four Gospels:

“Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit (died). At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people” (Matthew 27:50-53, italics for emphasis).

Before we more closely examine the phenomenal, inexplicable tearing of the beautiful but very strong inner Temple curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place (Holy of Holies), let’s do a little refresher on what else happened when the “earth shook” while Christ was on the Cross, and also while he was still in the tomb.

Here is the reaction of the Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus and what they said:

“The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, ‘This man truly was the Son of God.’” (Verse 54).

Can you imagine that? If you have read or have known about the toughness of Roman soldiers and their loyalty to Caesar, then their response to (even) an earthquake—let alone their recognition of Jesus as the very Son of God—is historically unimaginable. These are the same soldiers that had mercilessly beaten him, maliciously mocked him as King of the Jews with a crown of thorns and a sign on the Cross, and ruthlessly nailed him to that Cross with long spikes through his wrists and feet.

Not only this execution squad of Roman soldiers, but also the incredible and less than courageous reaction of the Roman guards assigned to seal and guard Jesus’ tomb to prevent the bizarre (We don’t believe such a thing could happen but just in case) request of the Jewish leaders to Pontius Pilate that: “…you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first” (Matthew 27:64).

Pilate then issued the orders. “So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it” (Verse 66).

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Then three days later another shaking of the earth took place which caused this second contingency of normally courageous but callous Roman soldiers to quake in their boots.

“Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint” (Matthew 28:2-4).

Even the hard-as-steel Roman soldiers were no match for an angel of God, and certainly no match for the divine supernatural resurrection of the Son of God. Moreover, they had no (truthful) explanation for such an event, nor is there any historical record whatsoever that they denied what they had seen and experienced.

So, what really took place? What was the real explanation of what had happened? Easy, but nevertheless, still a profound and powerful answer. Immediately after this staggering (the soldiers fell into a dead faint) spectacle, Mary Magdalene and another woman named Mary came on the scene. The angel who had nearly frightened the brave Roman soldiers to death said to them:

“Don’t be afraid … I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying” (Matthew 28:5-6, italics for emphasis).

Our Redeemer lives!

However, the Roman soldiers didn’t tell Pilate what had happened. Although it’s unlikely that Pontius Pilate really cared at all whether Jesus’ body would be or actually was “stolen” by the disciples, the soldiers didn’t want to take a chance that they could be executed for allowing this to happen. Which was the usual penalty for a Roman sentry who allowed prisoners to escape.

But this prisoner was dead! At least for three days! Surely the Roman officers would make an exception to executing soldiers who somehow (through no fault of their own) couldn’t prevent a dead man from leaving his grave? But the evidence is clear: The soldiers were too afraid; they didn’t know for sure what their fate would be.

Consequently they reported the event to the Jewish elders, not to Pilate.

And what did the elders do in response? About the most ludicrous thing they could do; but only because they, too, couldn’t think of anything else given the extraordinary evidence in front of them. Because they, themselves, had no reasonable rationalization or recourse to this inconceivable news that Jesus was no longer in the tomb.

Although they fully realized the absurd impossibility of the disciples “stealing” Jesus’ body under the watch of the Roman Guard, their only option was to bribe the Roman soldiers into saying, “…Jesus’ disciples came during the night while we were sleeping, and they stole his body. If the governor (Pilate) hears about it, we’ll stand up for you so you won’t get in trouble. So the guards accepted the bribe and said what they were told to say…” (Matthew 28:13-15).

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Neither Scripture nor secular history tells us whether Pilate ever followed up on the possibility that the “disciples had stolen the body.” Undoubtedly he did find out that Jesus was no longer in the grave, but chose to do nothing about it. Ether because he didn’t care or because he had no clue what to do about angels rolling away a huge tomb stone making cowards out of his men, ending with an executed man disappearing from a tomb protected by those soldiers. To guard a dead man’s tomb in the first place was a virtually unprecedented occurrence.

The Torn Curtain

Not only were the Jewish leaders in denial of the horrendous results of the 2nd Temple’s destruction forty years after they called for the Roman crucifixion of Jesus—with no God-approved feasible alternative to the mandated sacrificial system given through Moses—they were equally in denial that the majestic Temple inner sanctuary curtain had been ripped in half when Jesus died on the Cross.

Because the Jewish religious leaders denied that Jesus had arisen from the dead by fabricating what is probably the most lame excuse of all time (the disciples had rolled away a huge tomb stone without awaking the Roman soldiers, some of whom wouldn’t have been asleep anyway under penalty of Roman execution themselves), they certainly would have suppressed any report that this some 40-60 foot high curtain with a four to six-inch thickness could have been inexplicably torn in half from top to bottom while Jesus hung on the Cross.

Jewish scholars and Rabbis, as well as Gentile critics of Scripture have pointed to the scarcity of secular or Judaic history to substantiate the Biblical account of the torn Temple curtain.

Question? Does a lack of secular or Jewish religious records mean that the Biblical account didn’t happen?

The answer is a resounding, “no!” Periodically, I have mentioned this in prior Eye of Prophecy articles. To wit: The Bible is much more than just a Book of Faith. It is, first and foremost, a historical account of all the events of God interacting with man throughout history, including the creation of the universe and man himself. It is a meticulous record of people, places, dates, events, and prophecies (many of which came to pass, including dozens of prophecies fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah). In fact, the Faith feature of the Bible is a direct result of the historical events that transpired. Not the least of which is the Apostle Paul’s (a former Jewish Pharisee who malevolently persecuted Christians until he met the risen Christ) condensation of the Gospel (Good News of Salvation) into an authentic historical event/record:

“I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter … by more than 500 followers at one time….” (I Corinthians 15:3-6).

To out of hand dismiss individual books of the Bible and Scripture as a whole as a valid historical record flies in the face of existing evidence; that there are more full or partial manuscripts of the Bible (by far) than any other document. There are thousands more of these manuscripts (such as the Dead Sea Scrolls) than the nearest number of writings (Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey), which all scholars know to be a fictional account of the Trojan Wars. Homer’s books are what we would classify as historical novels.

Moreover, there have been no archeological discoveries that refute the authenticity of people, places, and events recorded in Scripture. Conversely, there have been and continue to be many archeological findings that confirm the Biblical record.

As I’ve said before (paraphrased): If someone is going to deny the historicity of Jesus or any New or Old Testament books, whose authors wrote alongside of other ancient historians, then why can’t and shouldn’t they deny the validity of such historians as Tacitus, Josephus, or even more modern historians such as Arnold Toynbee?

More Supernatural Events When Jesus Died

There were other mysterious occurrences that took place not recorded in Scripture, events that made it to the Jewish Talmud, or the writings of Josephus, and other Jewish sources; incidents reported to have taken place during or shortly after the death of Jesus, around 30 AD or so. As follows:

(1) The center lamp of the Temple Menorah went out on its own in an inexplicable manner, even though the priests would perform their duties by attending to the lampstand and making sure there was enough holy oil to keep each of the seven lamps burning at all times—which was required by the Mosaic Law. To the Jews, this became a sign that God’s presence was not there, or that his blessing had been withdrawn.

*Note: Actually, the Jews had been in denial (it happened, but what can we do about it?) that the Shekinah presence of God had been absent since God withdrew from Solomon’s Temple, as recorded by Ezekiel even before that Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians.

(2) The thread that no longer changed from crimson to white during the annual observance of Yom Kippur … Day of Atonement, at or shortly after the time of Christ on the earth. This thread that literally changed from red to white was a pre-New Covenant physical demonstration of what the prophet Isaiah had said would happen when God fulfilled his promise (through the new covenant):

“Come now, let’s settle this, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool” (Isaiah 1:18). Jesus death on the cross was the final sacrifice for all time, belief in whom/which could pardon all sins forever … changing a person’s heart and conscience from crimson stained guilt to a beautifully pure cleansing white.

(3) The gates of Herod’s Temple would mysteriously open during the night, though they had been shut by the gatekeepers daily.

(4) The smoke from the altar sacrifices ceased to rise upward in a tight column, which it had done for hundreds of years even during strong winds.

All of these perplexing changes relating to the Temple and the Most Holy Place occurred after the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and ascension back to heaven. The Talmudic tradition unmistakably presented these events as a harbinger of coming destruction which later took place in 70 AD, less than a generation after Jesus of Nazareth predicted the utter ruin of the Temple.

But it was the torn curtain of the Most Holy Place in the Temple, while Jesus still hung on the Cross, that most represented the advent of the New Covenant of Grace. A permanently new and better way to God that had replaced the Old Covenant, which was only a shadow or forerunner of redemption from sin and reconciliation with God. A removal of the barrier between a Holy God and sinful men.

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As Alfred Edersheim wrote in his book, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, “That some great catastrophe, betokening the impending destruction of the Temple, had occurred in the Sanctuary about this very time (referring to when Christ died on the Cross and the passage of Matthew 27), is confirmed by not less than four mutually independent testimonies: those of Tacitus, of Josephus, of the Talmud, and of earliest Christian tradition. The most important of these are, of course, the Talmud and Josephus.”

With, however, reference to the torn curtain of the Temple, I would add that the most important and reliable source is Scripture itself as recorded by the Apostle Matthew. In that passage quoted earlier, Matthew also tells us that the sun was completely darkened from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, the hour that Jesus died. That a great earthquake struck the area, and that many believers in Messiah Jesus were resurrected after Jesus first arose from the dead.

Whether Jewish religious leaders in the 1st century or the 21st century cast doubt (or actually deny) that the curtain was ripped in half when Jesus died on the cross, they acknowledge in their own writings the other incidents such as the Temple gates opening on their own at night. And, of course, no one can dispute the fact that the Temple was completely demolished by the Romans which ended the Jewish sacrificial system and all Temple activities altogether.

With a knee-jerk, but also ongoing, response to this solemn event in Jewish history mostly that of denial. Not that it occurred; rather that it fundamentally shook the foundation of Jewish worship and changed the very essence of atonement through the sacrificial requirements of the Levitical priesthood.

Yet, as so movingly conveyed by New Testament authors inspired by the same God, Son of God, and Holy Spirit that spoke to and through the Old Testament prophets, it was all part of God’s majestic plan of salvation to the Jew first, and then to the Gentile.

With virtually the entire book of Hebrews presenting a detailed contrast between the Mosaic Covenant of Law and the New Covenant of Grace. Between the flawed Old Testament priesthood and High Priest and the perfectly pure High Priest, Messiah Jesus.

We’ll conclude this week’s post with one of those passages, with more to follow in next week’s Part II article. Truths that explain the awesome benefits, advantages, and everlasting superiority of the new way God has provided to make people right with him.

“There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented them from remaining in office. But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood last forever. Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf. He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin…” (Hebrews 7:23-26).

Jesus death on the Cross was incomparable. It was and remains:

The Greatest Sacrifice Ever Made, By the Highest Price Ever Paid.

Things to Ponder

In Scripture, as confirmed by historical events, we see transparent evidence that God often performs miracles and gives us signs of his divine sovereignty before, during, and after he initiates a Covenant with his chosen people, the Jews, but also with all of humanity.

Such as the radiate rainbow to Noah; the awesome plagues to deliver the Hebrews from Egypt then the powerful parting of the Red Sea; the Lord’s majestic appearance in the giving of the Mosaic Law on Mount Sinai and his glorious presence in the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle and Temple; the mysterious Manna from heaven and the miraculous budding of Aaron’s staff; the inconceivable, but nevertheless Virgin Birth conception of Jesus of Nazareth, who is and will be the ultimate Messiah King descendant of David’s throne; the incredible miracles performed by Jesus; and the remarkable torn Temple Curtain … along with other supernatural events while Christ was on the cross.

With the greatest miracle of all: Resurrection of Messiah Jesus from the dead!

In our generation, the last day’s signs are distinctly discernible. The next divine supernatural event is just around the corner.

The Rapture!

Can A Murderer Be A Martyr?

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(How) Can a Murderer Be A Martyr?

Sometimes an Eye of Prophecy article will begin with a quote; or a question or the title itself (like this article) will be a question leading into the main theme of the post. Most of the time the question will be answered gradually, postponed in full detail until later in the article with anticipation to hopefully build interest.

Occasionally the query will be rhetorical. In which case the question will be answered almost immediately, mostly because the subject matter is somber or controversial enough to be explained and expanded on forthwith.

So, let’s get right to it: Can a Murderer Be a Martyr? Obviously, it’s as much of a rhetorical question as can be. The answer is as obvious as it should be.

Answer: No.

Emphatic Expanded Answer: No Way.

No more than a martyr can be a (past) murderer, unless that person has expressed deep remorse for his actions and changed directions in her life.

Let’s begin by defining the terms from Webster’s Dictionary.

Murder (murderer): “To kill (a human being) unlawfully and with premeditated malice.”

“Thou shall not kill,” is probably the most well-known of the Ten Commandments. In the clear context of this command in God’s Word and society’s understanding of it, the precise concept is that of murder, not killing in general. In fact, the New Living Translation of the Bible, that I use most often, accurately translates the Hebrew word and meaning: “You must not murder” (Exodus 20:13, italics for emphasis).

Nearly all laws of every land fully recognize the right of self-defense or “justifiable homicide.” As well as the lesser offense of manslaughter, which is not deemed to be malicious and premeditated; nevertheless, an offense that should not have occurred in the first place. Likewise, most people readily distinguish between cold-blooded murder and the need to take human life during wartime, especially if the conflict is waged as a “just war.” Moreover, preemptive (justified) strikes that invariably involve necessary killing can be initiated by a nation; such as the campaigns God ordered the Israelites to wage against Canaanite nations who were completely corrupt, irreversibly immoral, and unashamedly ungodly in their conduct … including killing of their own children through human sacrifice.

Which, as we will see shortly, is tragically what the Palestinians are doing with their children. Frankly, it’s even worse: these children are first murdering Israelis. This diabolically distorted and demented diatribe currently known as the “knife intifada” (although the attacks are also made with guns, cars, and rocks) inevitably results in the Palestinian Authority pathetically classifying the murderers as martyrs, which is another way Islam glorifies death.

Martyr: (Noun) “One who voluntarily suffers death as the penalty of witnessing to and refusing to renounce his religion. One who sacrifices his life or something of great value for the sake of principle.” Then Martyr as a Verb: “To put to death for adhering to a belief, faith, or profession. To inflict agonizing pain on.”

Immediately we see the (obvious) paradox: The person who is a true martyr (noun form) cannot also be one who martyrs (action verb form) someone else.

One who unlawfully and immorally takes the life of someone else (especially for the race or religion of the victim) cannot be called a martyr, when they, in turn, are killed for their crime(s). This would also apply to intent … whether the killer succeeds or not.

Thus, it is incomprehensible that an unrepentant murderer could ever be a martyr for any cause whatsoever … because the concept of martyrdom cannot exist in a vacuum. Meaning that in order for one to be a martyr or be martyred, there must first exist a condition that is inherent in the concept and understood within any rationale, reasonable, logical, and most of all moral framework. Which is that the person killed for their belief must first be innocent of murder, not only by actual commission of the crime, but also by intent. By simple definition and common sense morality, a martyr must be innocent of shedding human blood of otherwise innocent victims.

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Unless, that is, you are a Palestinian. Or, in the broader scope of this wicked world in which we live, you are a militant Muslim who indiscriminately murders innocent people (mostly Jews and Christians). This includes less aggressive adherents to Islam, who nevertheless condone and even celebrate the death of innocent Jews and Christians and sometimes other Muslims.

The Horrendous Murders Continue in Israel

The death count is now thirty Israelis, most of whom were stabbed by Palestinian children, some as young as twelve or thirteen, both boys and girls. Moreover, these atrocious attacks are now taking place in what normally are considered society’s sanctuaries, i.e. neighborhood grocery stores, in their cars, in synagogues, at community bus stops, at the Jaffa Gate of Jerusalem, and even in their homes. No place is safe anymore.

The last three attacks have been against Jewish women, one of whom was pregnant (fortunately, she survived). One of the victims was Dafna Meir, biological mother of four children and foster-mother of two more children. In an Israel Hayom news article, journalist Annika Hernroth-Rothstein writes:

“Dafna Meir was murdered by a terrorist in front of her children on Sunday (January 17th, 2016). As she went about her everyday chores in her modest Otniel house, a terrorist came to her door and stabbed her repeatedly. Meir fought him until her dying breath, preventing the terrorist from attacking any of her six children before he fled, leaving her to die in a pool of her own blood.”

In the on-line news source, Aish.com. Article, Adina Hershberg wrote: “An investigation revealed that Dafna had opened her front door to the terrorist (who was working at a nearby construction site) while three of her six children were home with her. The terrorist stabbed Dafna and a struggle ensued in which Dafna attempted to close the door. Renana, Dafna’s 17-year old daughter described the horrifying event, ‘I saw the terrorist stab my mother and she struggled with all her might so he would not come into the house and hurt us. At one point the knife got stuck and the terrorist could not get it out. Our eyes met. He looked at me and I looked at him. He kept trying to pull out the knife and it was clear to me he wanted to come and hurt me too.’

“Renana was screaming at the terrorist, and when he failed to retrieve his bloody knife, he ran away. After a two-day manhunt, police arrested a 16-year old Morad Bader Abdullah Adais.”

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(Dafna Meir, with her husband, Natan)

Shortly after the brutal murder of Dafna Meir, another Israeli woman was murdered in her community. In a January 26th article in Israel Hayom, author Emily Amrousi writes:

“Meanwhile, Beit Horon, the community where a young woman was killed in a terror attack Monday, is well fortified with a physical fence. But the terrorists came up from the wadi, climbed over the fence, and within minutes were right there next to the shopping carts inside the neighborhood grocery store.”

Previously in the article, Ms. Amrousi wrote: “But now, as we recently witnessed, a vow to avoid leaving the settlement is not enough anymore. Islamist terrorists armed with Nazi ideology have been invading our homes, backyards and even the local grocery store—they are right at our doorstep.

“In a small community, people go to their neighborhood grocery store in their slippers and pajamas. It is a place where they can catch up on what their neighbors have been up to between the milk cartons and the ketchup bottle…. On Monday afternoon, that safe, inviting place turned into a bloodbath. Just like the home of Dafna Meir who was murdered in her home in Othniel last week, or the clothing store where Michal  (woman) was stabbed in Tekoa, and countless other examples of terrorists trying to infiltrate Jewish communities in recent weeks. Everywhere you look, boundaries are being breached.

‘Stay inside the safety of your own home and don’t go anywhere,’ they told us during the Second Intifada when buses were exploding day in and day out. Today, even staying at home is frightening.”

Yes, what is happening to Jewish men, woman, and children in Israel is, indeed, frightening.

Author and columnist, Ruthie Blum, in her article published in Israel Hayom on January 19, 2016 wrote about these attacks, but in the context of U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro’s speech in Tel Aviv. Referencing the murder of Dafna Meir and the serious wounding of Michal Froman, Ms. Blum states:

“These two attacks were by no means the only attacks against Israelis, even in the 24-hour period during which Shapiro made his speech, they were just the most blatant and bloody ones. But they were par for the course in the current Palestinian “lone-wolf” uprising, which has come to be called the ‘knife intifada.’

“This is a misnomer, of course, because the surge in Palestinian violence that began in September has been characterized by many other forms of aggression against innocent Jews. Car rammings … rock throwing and Molotov cocktail hurling, too, are popular methods of attack. And let’s not forget the shootings. Whether committed by drivers, snipers or point-blank gunslingers, these acts of terrorism are also part and parcel of the war against Israel being waged by young Arabs living under Palestinian Authority rule, some of whom are even Israeli citizens.

“Like the other speakers at the conference, Shapiro (whose boss is Secretary of State, John Kerry) condemned the above. Briefly, that is, until getting to the real purpose of his talk: to chastise Israel. Naturally, he did this in perfect Obama pitch, professing his country’s great friendship and alliance with Israel, while calling on the Jewish state to stop causing all the trouble.”

Here, let me quote and comment on part of Dan Shapiro’s speech in which he brashly criticizes Israel for a so-called double standard by falsely exaggerating that there are, “…Too many attacks on Palestinians (that) lack a vigorous investigation or response by Israeli authorities; too much vigilantism goes unchecked; and at times there seem to be two standards of adherence to the rule of law; one for Israelis and another for Palestinians…”

Murderers Hailed as Martyrs

I’m going to get even blunter that Ruthie Blum by saying that Dan Shapiro as a representative of our executive staff is deliberately ignoring and blatantly falsifying the real reasons for these attacks, which has nearly nothing to do with alleged Israeli settlements or (false) reported desecration of Temple Mount by Israelis. Rather, it has everything to do with the hate instilled by parents into their children for Jews, and the need to eliminate all Jews from Israel by killing as many as possible so the rest will leave out of fear. It has everything to do with the daily denigration of Jews on Palestinian television, in their school curriculum, and through incessant public incitement by Palestinian religious and political leaders to (as an example) keep the Jews “filthy feet” from walking on holy sites in Israel. This quote to incite especially Jewish children was from none other than Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas.

Despite Mahmoud Abbas’ denial, his speech to the United Nations last fall and subsequent rhetoric to his people has directly inflamed mostly teenage Palestinians to commit murder. With nearly all of the parents of these children not only excusing the actions of their offspring, but praising them for it. Not only the parents, but the Palestinian leaders have glorified the “heroic” actions of their child martyrs.

Here is what the father of 16-year old Morad Adais, who killed Dafna Meir, said: “I am proud of my son.”

That says it all. All fathers are or should be proud of their sons, right? Even when they commit murder, right? Of course not. It’s as wickedly wrong as anything can be.

Earlier this month, the Facebook site of the Fatah organization (the military wing of the Palestinian Authority) published a photograph of another proud Palestinian parent who was flashing the victory sign (“V”) with her right hand. The subtitle of the photo read: ‘How great you are, O mother of the Martyr.”

Her 22-year old son, Muhammad Shamasneh was shot and killed by Israeli police shortly after he stabbed three Jews near a Jerusalem bus station on October 12, 2015. His was one of the first of what has become hundreds of unprovoked and deadly attacks against innocent Israelis.

Additionally, the website of Palestinian Media Watch is replete with testimonials of parents whose terrorist’s sons and daughters have killed Jews. Nearly all of these assassins are under the age of thirty, and many of them are 18 years of age or younger.

It’s common knowledge, with no denial from PA President Abbas, that the Palestinian Authority makes monthly compensation to Palestinian families whose child was “martyred” after killing Israelis. Also, stipends to parents or spouses whose family member was not killed, but apprehended, tried, convicted, and put into prison.

Frequently, photos of Palestinian terrorists who were killed during or shortly after (resisting arrest) their murderous rampage are posted on billboards throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Even streets are named after them.

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(Murderer or Martyr?)

Although the vast majority of Muslim parents support and praise their children for their “heroism,” and glorify their ugly acts of murder, not all parents do. But that can be dangerous for the parent. For example, a few weeks ago the Muslim mother of a young ISIS recruit pleaded with her son not to stay with ISIS. For this love and concern for her son, she was killed. And, yes, it was her son who killed her … on the orders of an officer; but reportedly the son was honored to have killed his mother who had apparently betrayed Islam.

What about the average Palestinian mother? Well let’s read what the Palestinian Authority’s Minister of Women’s Affairs, Haifa Al-Agha boasted about the distinctiveness of Palestinian women, posted in the Palestinian “moderate” newspaper, Al-Hayay Al-Jadida in November, 2015: “The Palestinian women’s uniqueness differentiates her from the women of the world, as only she receives the news of her son’s Martyrdom with cries of joy.”

Thanks to the true and living God, that all mothers are not so unique! Seriously.

It never ceases to amaze me that our US President and his staff refuse to see through the ultimate agenda of the Palestinian Authority in particular and the majority of Palestinians in general. But they don’t. Because of today’s politically correct misspeak, they can’t. Consequently, the US continues to send hundreds of millions of dollars to the corrupt Palestinian Authority.

Did you know that The Palestinian Health Ministry actually keeps a register of “martyrs” who kill Jews? That’s right, the Health Ministry! The names of these martyrs are kept alongside of the recording of patients, diseases, injured or wounded during clashes with Israelis, but only for murders of Jews or events occurring within the territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

In a recent dispute over whether or not to include an Israeli Arab, Nashat Milhem (who was killed after murdering Jews in Tel Aviv on January 1, 2016) in their register, because the attack occurred outside of the West Bank, a spokesman for the Health Ministry nevertheless said:

“We are proud of our Palestinian people in the 48 territories, and are proud of their sacrifices that have gone down in history … Their profound affiliation with their motherland, Palestine, cannot be denied under any circumstances.”

The praise of those who murder Jews, those who then become “martyrs” is repulsively rampant. It is much too flagrant for the United States Executive Staff to overlook it as though it doesn’t matter, and certainly not to deny it, after the fashion of an ostrich sticking its head in the sand. But, for all practical purposes, they do. Instead, our government constantly berates Israel for their alleged settlements and for not doing more to reach an agreement for a Palestinian State alongside Israel. When it’s actually a Palestinian State instead of the State of Israel that Arab Muslims want.

As Judith Bergman writing for Israel Hayom stated in an article posted on January 19th: “Anyone left with any illusions of the official intentions of the PA … is truly delusional. Not only are the murders of Jews praised—in accordance with the intense incitement against Jews and the State of Israel for decades on PA TV, in schools and kindergartens, mosques and on the streets—but it is evident beyond any doubt that the PA considers all of Israel ‘Palestine.’”

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(A Palestinian Map of Israel … Shows very few Jewish cities)

Although they may not realize it or even care about the repercussions, our government’s current disposition and attitude toward Israel is beginning to shape up as one of, if not the most, devastating mistakes this country has ever made or will make. I say this, exclusively on the authority of Scripture, i.e. the blessings and curses for nations that bless or curse Israel, respectively (Genesis 12:3 & other passages).

Immoral (Amoral) Equivalency?

Although these murderous Palestinian assaults on Israelis are perpetrated by individuals (as opposed to known terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas), in my opinion they can no longer be classified as “lone-wolf” attacks. If for no other reason than there have been over 300 such incidents just in the past four months or so, resulting in the death of 30 Jews and wounding of dozens more. In other words, the sheer number of the attackers can now be classified as a concerted group of individuals in a cruel combined effort to instill terror among Jewish communities, no different than a terrorist group or grouping of terrorists with a collaborative mindset and a callous communal cause of killing Jews.

As such, this makes them vastly different from the “ordinary” murderer in the United States or anywhere in the world who kills someone for any number of different reasons, but certainly not just because their victims are Jews (or Christians). Surely the parents, families, national leaders, and fellow citizens don’t glorify the murderer in these kind of killings. Conversely, they are appalled.

Not so with the Palestinians. If they, in turn, are killed in the commission of their hideous crimes, their own people (including parents and leaders) and religion can call them martyrs to their heart’s content. But by all the universal laws of morality, of right and wrong, of good and evil, there’s no way that a murderer or would-be murderer (in case they don’t succeed) can be considered a martyr for a cause that is anything but righteous or a religion that is anything but peaceful.

Which is another compelling argument that there must be (and is) a universal standard of law and truth that can objectively define right and wrong. Moreover, these universal truths have, in fact, been given to us by the true and living God through the Bible.

Otherwise, we are left with the moral and spiritual dilemma that a murderer is actually someone’s martyr. That a terrorist is another one’s activist. If that were true then all Nazis (participating in Jewish genocide) who were killed during the Second World War or who were tried and executed for war crimes after the war could be designated as martyrs “for their cause.”

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(Terrorists or merely Activists?)

Thus, when our own President and most of his staff ignore the true history of Israel, and the acrimonious (no longer hidden) agenda of the Arab Muslims living in Israel, they also apathetically disregard the insidious (but no longer subtle) and all too real objective of Arab Palestinians and Muslims the world over: To eliminate Israel as a State and the Jews as a race. All the while, taking out as many Christians as they can.

When I refer to global (blind and irrational) animosity toward the Jews, I mean just that; as exhibited by the repeated United Nations sanctions against Israel—vastly outnumbering the sanctions against such rogue nations as Iran, North Korea, and many other countries that oppress their people, not the least of which is Syria.

For example, on January 26th, one day after 23-year old Shlomit Krigman was murdered by a Palestinian teenager in Beit Horon (I alluded to this earlier in today’s article), United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon made this unconscionable statement: “Palestinian frustration is growing under the weight of a half century of occupation and the paralysis of the peace process. As oppressed peoples have demonstrated throughout the ages, it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism.”

Is it human nature, meaning the typical or average response, to react to occupation by killing innocent people whether or not they are truly occupying (the Jews are not the occupiers as I’ve written about in prior Eye of Prophecy articles)? That rhetorical question plus at least two more things are terribly wrong with the Secretary General’s thinking and statement.

First, this part of his speech to the UN Security Council directly referenced the recent killings (murders) of Jews in Israel. Which demonstrates beyond any doubt that Ban Ki-moon believes that even murder can be understood, rationalized, and possibly accepted if the murderer is doing so in reaction to “occupation.” It is a transparent insinuation that Palestinian murder of Jews in Israel is justifiable homicide.

Second, it’s unmistakable that the majority of the terrorists’ murderers couldn’t care less about so-called Israeli occupation. What is clear from interviewing those who were captured and by monitoring the daily Palestinian media is that these children (and young adults) are motivated by the incitement spread through media propaganda and by constant rhetoric from their leaders that elimination of Jews is the only solution. Not two states, that the Palestinians have rejected repeatedly, i.e. the terms of. Or a solution to the so-called occupation of the West Bank, in which the Palestinian Authority has turned down two incredible offers from prior Israeli Prime Ministers, Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert to retain only about 5% of the so-called West Bank for existing and future Jewish settlements.

Not as a legal requirement, but as an accommodation to the Palestinian Authority following the 1993 Oslo Accords, Israel withdrew from most Arab cities in the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria (now called the West Bank). And, of course, the glaring fact that Israel removed all of its citizens from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

Yes, if the Secretary General bothered in the least to learn about real facts of Israel’s history since 1948, especially since 1967, he would not (or perhaps he would if he is being dishonest and/or patently biased against Israel, i.e. anti-Semitic) have also said in his speech: “Continued settlement activities are an affront to the Palestinian people and to the international community. They rightly raise fundamental questions about Israel’s commitment to a two-state solution.”

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(Ban Ki-moon)

Said Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu in response to the UN Secretary General’s incredibly inaccurate and inflammatory comments: “The remarks by the secretary-general encourage terrorism. The UN has long lost it neutrality and moral power, and the secretary-general’s statements do not improve the situation.”

A Comparative Perspective on What’s Happening in Israel

Despite the massive attacks against Israel by Arab armies in 1948, 1967, and 1973; suicide bombers during the Second Intifada that began in 2000; 21st century missiles and mortars raining down on southern Israel from the Gaza Strip; and military battles with Hezbollah and Hamas; it is painfully evident that Israel has never faced a “knife intifada” in their national history.

Americans are appalled and distressed by the occasional mass murders that take place in our schools and other public places, and rightfully so. But for the most part we process these hideous homicides in the context of the vast size and large population of our country. We emotionally and mentally and morally empathize with the victims and their families. But unless we live in or close to the vicinity of these brutal crimes, we generally think in terms of being safe just because of the distance, for example, between living in Arizona or New Jersey.

Not so in Israel. Using both New Jersey and Arizona (my home state) as an example, let’s digest the following statistics to see just how terrifyingly up close and perilously personal these attacks are in Israel.

Israel’s land mass is 8,630 square miles. That is very close to the size of New Jersey, at 8,729 square miles. However, the state of Arizona, alone, is 113,998 square miles. Which means you could fit thirteen states the size of Israel in Arizona, with 1,700 acres to spare! Even if the equivalent number of attacks and murders committed in Israel were confined to a certain geographical section of Arizona (say 1 county), 93% of the State’s area/population would still feel/be safe. And that’s just one state in our country a long way from New Jersey.

If, however, the residents of New Jersey were experiencing what Israel is going through, then we (they) would have a totally different perspective on the problem. But even a comparison to New Jersey doesn’t fully represent or depict what the Jews are experiencing in their own nation.

Why?

Israel’s minuscule land mass shrinks even more when you eliminate the areas where Jews are not permitted to or (even if permitted) choose not to live. Combined, these two areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip comprise approximately 25% of land within Israel’s borders.

The Jewish population of Israel is about 6.3 million people. The Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (non-Israeli citizens) is roughly 3.5 million, of which 1.7 live in the West Bank. Plus there are another 1.8 million Arabs who are citizens of Israel. Technically, they are called Israeli-Arabs, not Palestinians. However, both tragically and disgustingly, many of these “lone-wolf” murderers are Israeli Arab citizens. They can travel throughout Israel virtually unimpeded. Accordingly, these Palestinian attackers often gain easy access to Jewish communities in or near the West Bank, including East Jerusalem … but even West Jerusalem and all of Israel.

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(True Map of Israel)

Thus, the saying, “there’s no place like home,” has become fatefully irrelevant and immaterial to both the murderer and the murdered. Nowhere in Israel is a Jew safe from these ghastly attacks; not in their stores or synagogues, not even in their own homes.

You can rest assured that the Israeli government, the Shin Bet, and the IDF are deeply troubled about this new form of (mass) homicide against their people. You can also rest assured that they have already responded and will continue to carefully weigh all options to deal with the problem.

Furthermore, many Palestinians are fully aware of the consequences of their actions. For example, one response was that of Israeli businesses dismissing (whether temporary or permanent … remains to be seen) some 27,000 Palestinian laborers in and around the West Bank area of Hebron where Dafna Meir was murdered by the 16-year old Palestinian construction worker. In addition, Israel has established more checkpoints, closed some roads, and deployed additional troops to thwart these attacks. With the ripple effect of disrupting Palestinian businesses and access of Palestinians who have permits to work at Israeli companies.

Sadly, however, the Palestinians will continue to honor and glorify the absolutely needless death of their sons and daughters. They will continue to hate the Jews more than they love their own children. They will continue to celebrate the deaths of Jews at the hands of their heroic young martyrs, who are doing nothing more than what their parents and leaders train, prepare, incite, and even expect them to do … kill Jews. All Jews, no matter who they are or where they live. The softer the target and more defenseless the victim, the better.

Things to Ponder

Several Eye of Prophecy articles have identified clear signs that we are in the last days leading up to the apocalyptic Day of the Lord. Twelve of those milepost indicators have been listed in the articles, Look Up, Redemption is Near, Part I & II (posted 7-11 & 7-18-15). Such as: The rebirth of Israel as a sovereign nation; the increasing strife and controversy over Temple Mount and a rebuilt Jewish Temple; alignment of the Gog/Magog nations that will attack Israel, amazing increase in natural disasters, and others.

One of those signs that we don’t often think about or correlate to the last days—but one that also fits within the last generational time-frame specified by Jesus—is the moral and spiritual decline of the final generation, especially the young. We are experiencing an exponential increase in brutal crimes in this 21st century and last part of the 20th century being committed by children, some as young as eight. Of children killing other children and even their parents. Of, as we’ve seen in Israel, teenagers randomly stabbing and shooting women and children.

Listen to the words of the Apostle Paul describing these days, which are already upon us:

“You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God” (II Timothy 3:1-4).

Little wonder when so many (parents) of this generation twist and pervert the very truth and meaning of words and actions. When they scorn the sanctity of life and the value of every human being. When they blindly follow a religion that pursues hatred and death of those who cherish peace and life. When they despise the kind of things that are produced in the lives of those who have been wonderfully redeemed and reborn by the all-sufficient Grace of God through the atoning sacrifice of his awesome Son, Messiah Jesus.

Things that are produced by the Holy Spirit such as: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22)

God’s Justice will prevail, as will his Love: “What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever” (Isaiah 5:20-21).

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone (even terrorist murderers) who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life … There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil” (John 3:16, 18-19).

Jubilee and Messiah … They Go Together!

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Jubilee, What a Wonderful Year!

What is a Jubilee? Or more precisely, the year of Jubilee? Amidst the fervent anticipation of Christians, but also of Jews in Israel and the world over for the imminent appearance of Messiah, we are seeing a growing 21st century interest in this ancient decree issued by God for the Hebrews. Why has a regulation that hasn’t been kept by Judaism for some 3,000 years; one that even Jewish Rabbis can’t agree on in terms of whether it is a 49-year or 50-year cycle; nor one that can be identified by actual historical dates, regained profound prominence in the last decade or so?

The quick answer is because a few Bible scholars—observant Jews, Messianic Jews, and Gentile Christians, including me—are seeing a remarkable connection between two 20th century events that are 49-50 years apart. Both of these milestones directly reflect on and relate to the very heart and purpose of the Jubilee, which is a general restoration of Jewish property in the Promised Land back to its original owners in the 50th year, or the Year of Jubilee. Applying this principle to Israel as a nation, we can make an unmistakable correlation between the Year of Jubilee—emancipation, freedom, restoration, redemption of both people and land—and the remarkable return of Jews to Israel to sovereignly reclaim the land taken from them by Gentile nations for nearly 2,500 years.

Based on, in part, some notable prophetic calculations made by Sir Isaac Newton (who was more interested in Bible prophecies than the astounding scientific discoveries he made, i.e. law of gravity), Bible students such as Mark Blitz, Jonathan Cahn, Bob O’Dell and Gidon Ariel (and myself, but not necessarily based on Isaac Newton) have identified these two historical events in the 20th century as pivotal dates to demonstrate that the Year of Jubilee is playing a significant role in end-times fulfillment of prophecy. This all started not long ago by looking backwards to the incredible dates of June, 1967 and November, 1917—the recapture of Jerusalem in the Six Day War and the Balfour Declaration that gave Jews the right of return to Palestine, respectively. These two enormously important dates are 49-50 years apart, the calendar cycle of a Jubilee.

Year-of-jubilee

Then looking ahead to the next Jubilee year which some say began on September 13, 2015 (the beginning of the new Jewish year of 5776). With very few others (like me) who place the beginning of the Jubilee year in the first month, Nisan, of the original Jewish calendar (March/April of the Gregorian Calendar, this year beginning April 9th), we can prophetically propose that another noteworthy occurrence will take place in the next year or two, perhaps even the Rapture itself. But at the very least, a momentous episode pertaining to freedom of and in the land of Israel; for example, the possible opening of Temple Mount to Jewish and Christian worship.

In that regard, please refer to a recent Eye of Prophecy article entitled, The Legacy of Temple Mount, published 1-2-16.

The difference in the actual sequence or interlude of a Jubilee—whether 49 or 50 years—has been debated by both Bible Scholars and Jewish Rabbis for centuries. Time/space does not permit an in-depth study of these two views (including the disagreement as to which Jewish calendar should be used to identify when a Jubilee Year begins) except to say that I personally am in the camp of those who contend that a Jubilee is every 50 years. However the 50th year is also the first year of the next Jubilee period, i.e. year one of that 49-year cycle for purpose of counting off the number of years.

In the final analysis, it’s not imperative that we absolutely know for sure; as there remains a small time-gap window of opportunity for the next Jubilee year to begin … whether 49 or 50 years from the previous Jubilee, whether beginning in the fall or spring, it’s still a year or less.

Later in this article, I’ll once again present evidence that the aforementioned events in 1917 and 1967 were but two of three incredible events that took place in the 20th century return of Jews to Israel. The third (2nd in chronological sequence) was the November, 1947 United Nations Resolution that entitled Israel to become a State, which she did in May, 1948. In addition to a complete (exact or almost exact) Jubilee cycle taking place between the first event (Balfour Declaration of 1917) and the Six-Day War recapture of Jerusalem by the IDF in 1967, we have the twofold beginning of an actual generation of which Jesus, himself, said was a crucial time-frame indicator in the last days of his return. Recalling his words, he said: “…this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place” (Matthew 24:34, italics for emphasis).

Thus, these three extraordinary 20th century historical end-times milestones (signs) are a divine combination and coordination of Jubilee years and the 100 and 70-year Biblical parameters of an actual generation.

First, let’s examine the original Jubilee commandment as found in the Complete Jewish Bible translation. It comes directly after God’s decree that the land was to be given a complete rest (no planting of crops or cultivation) every 7th year, which the Jews call a Shemitah year. Let’s read about the Year of Jubilee:

The Biblical Record of Jubilee

“You are to count seven Shabbats of years, seven times seven years, that is, forty-nine years. Then, on the tenth day of the seventh month, on Yom Kippur, you are to sound a blast on the shofar; you are to the sound the shofar all through your land; and you are to consecrate the fiftieth year, proclaiming freedom throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It will be a yovel (jubilee) for you; you will return everyone to the land he owns, and everyone is to return to his family. That fiftieth year will be a yovel for you; in that year you are not to sow, harvest what grows by itself or gather the grapes of untended vines; because it is a yovel. It will be holy for you; whatever the fields produce will be food for all of you. In this year of yovel, every one of you is to return to the land he owns” (Leviticus 25:8-13).

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There were more instructions, but this passage contains the essence of how Webster’s Dictionary accurately (based on a correct application of the Biblical account) portrays and defines Jubilee:

“A year of emancipation and restoration provided by ancient Hebrew law to be kept every 50 years by the emancipation of Hebrew slaves, restoration of alienated lands to their former owners, and omission of all cultivation of the land.” Then in more general terms: “a special anniversary, a celebration of such an anniversary.”

The Promised Land of Israel was given by the Lord to the Jews, as opposed to any other people or nation; moreover, this land grant was irreversible and was meant to be an everlasting inheritance for God’s chosen people. Nevertheless, when it came to the reasons (too many and too complicated to explain in detail in one article) for the Jubilee, the Lord instructed his people:

“The land is not to be sold in perpetuity, because the land belongs to me—you are only foreigners and temporary residents with me. Therefore, when you sell your property, you must include the right of redemption (buying back)” (Verses 23-24, New Jewish Bible).

Then more details were provided on exactly how and when redemption of both land and people would take place.

But the overriding purpose for keeping God’s meticulous requirements of the seven-year Shemitah and the fifty-year Yovel (Jubilee) cycle was: “Thus you are not to take advantage of each other, but you are to fear your God; for I am Adonai your God. Rather, you are to keep my regulations and rulings and act accordingly. If you do, you will live securely in the land” (Leviticus 25:17-18, New Jewish Bible).

The original commands from God pertaining to remembrance of the Jewish Festivals—such as Passover, Pentecost, Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Tabernacles—as well as observing the Shemitah and Jubilee years was based on the original Jewish monthly (moon) calendar in which the first month was Nisan (March-April on our calendar). It was the seventh month (September-October on our calendar) in which the Feast of Trumpets, Yom Kippur, and the Feast of Tabernacles were to be observed. Later, in Jewish History the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashana) became the start of a new calendar year for the Jews. Thus they have what might be called a religious calendar and a secular calendar.

The announcement of the year of Jubilee was to be made on the tenth day of the seventh month (Yom Kippur), which would still be in the 49th year that began in March/April of that year. But the year of Jubilee wouldn’t begin until the following spring, which was the actual calendar commencement of the 50th year (of Jubilee). I believe this is the correct understanding of Leviticus 25, because verse 11 states: “You shall have the fiftieth year as a jubilee; you shall not sow, nor reap … for it is a jubilee; it shall be holy (set apart) to you…” (New American Standard Bible).

Although there were fall crops, the primary harvest season was understood to begin in the spring, the first month of the Hebrew calendar; which is why the actual Jubilee year wouldn’t begin until the following spring, after having been proclaimed throughout the land in September or October, the month of Tishrei, or the 7th month (of the 49th year).

For example, the Balfour Declaration of November, 1917 would have taken place in a year of Jubilee that began officially in March/April of that year (month of Nisan). Counting off 49 Jewish years (360 days in a year) or actually 49 years and 8 months on our calendar, from March/April 1917 brings us to the months of Sept/Oct in the calendar year of 1966. If the Jews were still keeping the Jubilee years, the Jubilee would then have been announced in the seventh month (Sept/Oct of 1966) and officially commenced the following March/April, which would have been 1967 on our calendar, i.e. the 50th year (of Jubilee). The Six-Day War, therefore, would have taken place in the year of Jubilee, because it occurred in June, 1967.

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(Photo of Israeli Troops Entering Jerusalem, Six-Day War)

However, when the secular Jewish calendar was introduced after the Babylonian Captivity, the new Jewish year–for purpose of counting and recording the years–began on Rosh Hashana, the first day of the month of Tishrei, September/October of the Gregorian calendar. Thus, the Jewish year 5776 began on September 13, 2015.

Confused? That’s okay. In part the confusion is healthy. Why? Because it prevents us from precise date setting as to the Rapture which will usher in the Day of the Lord and all end-times events thereafter. Moreover, the seven to eight month overlap provides some built in flexibility when trying to match up (for example) the November, 1917 Balfour Declaration with the June, 1967 Six-Day War. Same thing when adding 49 or 50 years or something in between from the 1967 Six-Day War to the present year 2016.

If we hold to what I believe is the Biblical formula, then the next Jubilee would be proclaimed in the fall of 2016; but actually begin in the Jewish month of Nisan (March/April) of 2017, not the calendar year of 2015 or 2016 as some suggest. This would also be the Jewish year of 5777, a tremendously important set of numbers to both the Jews and those who are students of Biblical numbers. With five representing the number of Grace (God’s favor poured out) and the three sevens a perfect three-fold extension of the divine number seven.

It Is God Who Has Restored the Jubilee

Whatever month or months we choose in 2017 or 2016 or even 2015 as the beginning of another year of Jubilee, the most important feature of this entire study is to realize that the Year of Jubilee is a phenomena that God has taken the initiative to restore as part of his spectacular plan for the last days.

In fact, it is God who introduced the New Covenant of Grace through his Son, who sealed that covenant with his very blood … with his death, burial, and resurrection from the grave. It is God who providentially planned and instigated the return of the Jews to Israel. It is God who sovereignly orchestrated the rebirth of Israel as a nation, and who has divinely renewed the Jubilee cycle. All the while opportunely matching the Jubilee of 1917 and 1967 with the two definitions of generations found in Scripture, i.e. 100 years and 70 years, which more than coincidentally correlate with the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the United Nations Resolution granting Statehood rights to Israel in 1947.

Then the entire 26th chapter of Leviticus is God’s promise of his blessings on Israel if they worshipped only him; if they loved, respected, and obeyed him and the commandments given to them for their own good. Followed by God’s warnings if they did not, “…listen to me and obey all these mitzvot (commandments or more broadly—general principles for living), if you loathe my regulations and reject my rulings, in order not to obey all my mitzvot but cancel my covenant, then I, for my part, will do this to you: I will bring terror upon you … I will set my face against you—your enemies will defeat you, those who hate you will hound you, and you will flee when no one is pursuing you” (Leviticus 26:14-17, New Jewish Bible).

Throughout this stunning 26th chapter of Leviticus, the Lord specifies four successive seven times over punishments that he would inflict on his people if they began and continued their disobedience. Which is exactly what they did leading up to the Babylonian Captivity, but also following their return to Israel after seventy years of exile. Then continuing without interruption to and through the Diaspora that began with the Roman conquest of Israel and destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.

The worst of this divine discipline took place during the horrible Holocaust; which, however, led to the rebirth of Israel in 1948 and the final end of Gentile domination of the Jews in 1967.

Here I want to pause and refer you to an astounding disclosure that the Lord gave to me nearly ten years ago (October, 2006). Namely, that these four cycles of seven times correction of God’s people was administered consecutively in actual years, both in principle and practice, to correlate with the seven-year Sabbath land cycle and the fifty-year Jubilee cycle. In order to see the amazing details of how this developed historically, coming to an end in the phenomenal year of 1967, please read the three-part Eye of Prophecy series entitled, Seven Times Seven (to the 4th power!) Parts I, II, III, published 1-25-14, 2-1-14, and 2-8-14, followed by the summary article The Omega Generation, posted on 2-15-14.

In that regard, let’s review some excerpts from The Omega Generation article, as follows in italics:

Is it, then, possible to select or identify events/dates in Israel’s contemporary history that correspond to the Biblical definition of a generation … that is one hundred years and/or seventy years? The answer is a resounding, YES. In fact, we’ve already touched on these dates in the previous three articles. In addition, I partially addressed these events some time ago in the Eye of Prophecy article, entitled, When the Rapture, published 8-10-13, as well as The End of the Age article published 11-23-13.

Some Christians are confused about or don’t entirely understand the role of the Church and Israel during the last days beginning with the Rapture. Please fathom one critical premise/truth: Although the Mount of Olives discourse indirectly applies to the Church (composed of all Jews and Gentiles who have been redeemed by Messiah Jesus), the whole purpose of Christ’s majestic return is to set up the Kingdom of Heaven (Kingdom of God) on the earth IN the Holy Land and THROUGH / FOR his chosen people, the Jews. And what triggers the need for Christ to return to Israel is none other than the ultimate and final rescue of the Jews (Israel) from conquest and destruction at the hands of Antichrist.

Concerning the Church, the sole purpose of the Rapture is to snatch away believers from the earth so that we do not have to experience the final wrath of God poured out on an ungodly generation of unbelievers. Otherwise, ALL of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Last Days or End Times focus on Israel, not the Church; in fact, the Church (consisted of all Jews/Gentiles who place their trust in Christ’s sacrificial death) doesn’t even come into existence for over 400 years after the last book of the Old Testament was written. Moreover, from the 4th Chapter through the 18th Chapter of the book of Revelation, the Church is not even mentioned, as such.

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So, let’s look again at the three monumentally crucial events of the last 100 years, relating to the return of the Jews to Israel.

Balfour Declaration of November, 1917: England extended official support that Palestine could be a home for the Jews. This was the beginning of Jewish autonomy in Israel, although the land was still called Palestine at that time.

Recognizing this very important event/date, we can then apply the Biblical generational measurement of 100 years. Once again, however, we need to convert Roman calendar years to Jewish years. Doing the math we come up with 101.4 Jewish years which translates to 101 years and 5 months. From November, 1917, this would take us to March or April, 2019.

United Nations Resolution of November, 1947: UN voted to grant statehood rights to the Jews; the nation would be called Israel. (May 14, 1948, David Ben Gurion proclaimed the reborn existence of the State of Israel!).

This was the 2nd significant milestone in fulfillment of hundreds of Biblical prophecies concerning the Abrahamic Covenant, i.e. the physical restoration of Israel. Most Bible scholars and historians select the statehood date of May 14, 1948 as the historical landmark, which it certainly is; however, the actual declaration of statehood was almost anticlimactic. Reason: officially, the British Mandate (rule) over Palestine expired on that date. But it was the UN Resolution that delivered the pivotal turning point or breakthrough. Without the UN resolution of November, 1947, there would have been no recognized Israeli State in May, 1948. Yet, there is only a period of 6 months separating these two events; thus, selection of either one would be a legitimate application to the 70-year generational measurement of time.

Again, doing the conversion math, we arrive at a total of 70.97 or (rounding it off) 71 Jewish years. Adding 71 years to November, 1947, we arrive at November, 2018. If we utilize May, 1948 as the benchmark date, the 71 years would take us to May, 2019.

June, 1967 Six-Day War (Jubilee Years): In addition to the two Biblical measurements of a generation (100 years and 70 years), what happens if we also select the Jubilee time-frame of 50 years? As stressed in the previous seven times seven articles, the 50-year Jubilee was part of God’s formula for disciplining Israel, as the Jews also failed to keep the Jubilee. Consequently, I believe the Jubilee will also be a component part of God’s magnificent restoration of Israel.

In this instance, we will use the next epic milestone in Israel’s brief modern-history … that of the June, 1967 Six-Day War. We talked about this at great length in last week’s article, to include the fact that it occurred 50 years (not coincidentally, a Jubilee period of time) from the Balfour Declaration of 1917.

Once again we convert 50 Roman calendar years to Jewish time and we come up with: 50.7 years which is 50 years and 8.4 months (8-9 months). From June, 1967, this would take us through February or into March, 2018.

…What other specific events have occurred relating to Israel during the 20th or 21st century that would surpass or supplant the 1917, 1947 (48), and 1967 highlights that we’ve selected as commencement dates for both the 100 and 70-year generations, as well as the equally important Jubilee? In answer to this question, I’ll give you a hint: There are NO other events that even come close to these historical mileposts. In fact, take a look at what constitutes the Jubilee year in Leviticus Chapter 25. Among other things, it is a time to free servants, debts, and captives, which is exactly what happened when the IDF captured Jerusalem and freed all Jews to return to and live in all of Jerusalem—at least in principle.

I then summarized these pivotal milestones in the 20th century with the following conclusion:

Here’s what we find when we combine all three projected dates of generational or Jubilee time-lapse… meaning 100 years, 70 years, and 50 years (Roman calendar). From our three (four, if we also use Israel’s statehood of May, 1948) examples, we will select the earliest possible month/year all the way to the latest month/year.

It’s conceivable that we will hear the blast of the last Rapture trumpet: BETWEEN FEBRUARY, 2018 and MAY, 2019!!

Back to today’s article. (In hindsight, I would have added 2017 to the above quoted time frame, as March/April of 2017 is the beginning of Jubilee, while still within the parameters of the generational period of time).

Once again, what we’re trying to demonstrate is that there have been three incredibly significant events in the 20th century that match up with the two monumentally important factors that give us a time-frame (not the exact time, but a span of time) when the Day of the Lord will begin. One is the Old Testament celebration of the Jubilee Year, which the majority of Jewish scholars and Rabbis strongly believe is connected to Messiah’s arrival. The other is the New Testament discourse of Jesus, himself, concerning the signs of the last days; culminating in his statement that the last (Omega) generation will not pass from the scene until all these things have been accomplished.

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Moreover, the Jubilee signifies and represents the restoration of both land and the people living in the land. Concerning the nation of Israel, this began with the right of return of the Jews to Israel afforded by the now famous Balfour Declaration of November, 1917 … a year that could, (and in my opinion did) by definition and by actual experience, be considered a year of Jubilee. But one that also began the countdown of the final generation, based on the oldest Biblical definition of such a generation, i.e. 100 years.

Followed by the second generational event of November, 1947 … the UN Resolution granting statehood rights to Israel. Then the soon to follow formal declaration of Jewish Statehood in May, 1948. I’m firmly convinced that the evidence determines this to be the end-times beginning of the 2nd Biblical definition of a generational period of time … seventy years.

Next is the extraordinary recapture of Jerusalem in June, 1967; which, as I’ve written about, did two things: (1) Ended completely God’s seven times over discipline of his people, along with the Gentile domination of the Jews. (2) Restored the Holy City of the Holy Land to the Jews. Both of these results are part and parcel of a Jubilee. In this case the next to last Jubilee before the magnificent return of Messiah Jesus to begin the final Jubilee, with respect to the nation of Israel and with regard to the Rapture of the Church that will propel us into the Millennial Messianic Age of complete restoration and redemption of God’s chosen people, the Jews.

Here is a quote from an August 12, 2015 article in Breaking Israel News online news source which was written on the subject of the year of Jubilee:

“If it is a positive religious commandment with a clear Biblical source, what is the reason Jews do not currently mark the Jubilee year? According to rabbinic tradition, there are three conditions for the observance of the Jubilee year and none of them are completely fulfilled today.”

The author goes on to list these three conditions as: (1) observance of Jubilee is contingent on the majority of Jewish people living in the land of Israel. (2) The Jewish people must live in their Biblically assigned portion of the Land of Israel (each of the twelve tribes). Because ten of the tribes are still considered Lost Tribes, this condition also has not been met in modern times. (3) A fully functional Sanhedrin, which in today’s Israel has not yet been accomplished, i.e. a full complement of 71 judges.

Much could be said in response to these three rabbinical conditions; however, suffice to say that none of them are found, as such, in Scripture. Meaning they are not valid reasons for the continued historical lack of setting apart the Jubilee years. Having said that, however, there is much more to the matter than these or other conditions to first be met before Jews can again celebrate the year of Jubilee in particular and their final redemption in general.

In fact, it is not the implementation of certain conditions in Israel or prescribed actions by God’s chosen people before the Lord will keep his promises to fully restore and reconcile Israel to himself. Instead, it is (as already alluded to) a matter of God, himself, reintroducing the year of Jubilee into Israel’s history, as an integral facet of what is shaping up to be a God-controlled and God-orchestrated plan to restore and redeem the Promised Land to the Jews and the Jews, themselves, back to God.

Another significant condition cited by Jewish Rabbis is that Israelis and Jews the world over must begin to repent (of several things) and intensify their righteous acts or good deeds in order for Messiah to return, whether 2016 or 2017 is a year of Jubilee or not. But then they offer few boundaries or guidelines to say when enough repentance is enough for the Lord to act, and they differ on exactly what form this penitence should take.

I believe we can answer their questions and concerns by pointing to the New Covenant of Grace established by God for Jew and Gentile alike. The only thing that the Lord now requires in terms of repentance is for the Jew (for everyone) to change their minds about Jesus Christ … to believe in him and receive him as Messiah and Savior. That’s what it means to repent … a change of mind. When that takes place individually and within Israel as a nation, then the Lord will change their heart.

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“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart” (Ezekiel 36:26).

Things to Ponder

There are dozens of Old Testament prophecies about Israel’s restoration that both state and imply that God will take the initiative; in fact, he already has. Although the Jews will express their heartfelt sorrow when they see and acknowledge Jesus as the true Messiah at the end of the seven-year Tribulation, the Lord will not wait for the Jews to first “repent.” As individuals but also as a nation their repentance will be commensurate with recognition of their Messiah … who he was all along.

“Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me (Messiah) whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son…” (Zechariah 12:10).

The following is just one of many passages that clearly confirm it is the Lord who takes the lead to redeem Israel, beginning with the New Covenant sealed by the blood of Messiah Jesus, culminating in the final restoration of the Promised Land and redemption of its people:

“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘I myself will search and find my sheep. I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day. I will bring them back home to their own land of Israel from among the peoples and nations … I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign Lord. I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again…” (Ezekiel 34:11-16).

Then later the Lord said to Ezekiel regarding Israel: “I will unify them into one nation on the mountains of Israel. One king will rule them all; no longer will they be divided into two nations or into two kingdoms. They will never again pollute themselves with their idols and vile images and rebellion, for I will save them from sinful backsliding. I will cleanse them. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God” (Ezekiel 37:22-23).

As for me, I’m already celebrating by means of eager expectation for Messiah Jesus to take us (believers in Christ Jesus) home during the next Jubilee year. If not then, soon afterward! If not the Rapture taking place in the year of Jubilee, then Israel’s Knesset government sovereignly declaring the right of all Jews and Christians (Muslims already have the right) to visit and worship on Temple Mount anytime they choose.

Once again, listen to the words of Messiah Jesus:

“…When you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place” (Matthew 24:33-34).

That time will truly be a Jubilee jubilation like never before! And that time is near, so very near!

Preach the Gospel … But Not to the Jews!

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Preach the Gospel … But Not to the Jews!

“After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!’” (Acts 1:9-11).

“After saying this…” Do you remember those last words spoken by Jesus before he departed this earth and ascended to heaven, with a promise by his angels that he would return to Jerusalem in exactly the same place and manner in which he left?

These are his words: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8).

Messiah Jesus could have said any number of things just before he returned to heaven; but he told his disciples that they should tell people everywhere about him, beginning in Jerusalem, then Judea, then Samaria, then to the ends of the earth. The sequence commissioned by the Lord is deliberate and decisive. The Gospel of Jesus Christ was to be proclaimed first to the Jews in Jerusalem and Judea, then to the mixed race of Jews and Gentiles (Samaritans), and finally to Gentiles all over the world.

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A few years later, the Apostle Paul affirmed the dynamic order of spreading the Good News of the Greatest Story ever told, when he wrote:

“For I have a great sense of obligation to people in both the civilized world and the rest of the world, to the educated and uneducated alike. So I am eager to come to you in Rome, too, to preach the Good News. For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, ‘It is through faith that a righteous person has life’” (Romans 1:14-17, quoting Habakkuk 2:4, italics for emphasis).

A short time before that, Paul condensed the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a concise but powerful presentation: “I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said” (I Corinthians 15:3-4).

Then in keeping with the most reliable record of proof for any historical event, both then and now, Paul provides documented evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ through eye-witness accounts: “He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all … I also saw him” (Verses 5-8).

Can the words of Jesus and Paul be any clearer? Not only was the Good News of God’s marvelous New Covenant plan of salvation in and through Jesus Christ to be preached to the entire world, it first must be shared with the Jews. Why first, foremost, and continually to the Jews?

That question will be answered, but not until we examine an astonishing decree issued by the Roman Catholic Church’s seat of authority, the Vatican, just a few weeks ago on December 10th, 2015.

Headline—Vatican to Catholics: Stop Missionizing Jews

The document—marking the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council—states: “Catholics must not try to convert Jews.” Instead, Catholics should, “…bear witness of their faith in a humble and sensitive manner, acknowledging that Jews are bearers of God’s word.”

The Second Vatican Council in October, 1965 called the Nostra Aetate, was a substantial shift in the Catholic Church’s historical view that Jews were collectively guilty for the death of Jesus. That Council sought to normalize relations with Israel in particular and Jews in general, by calling for more open and friendly interaction with not only Judaism, but all religions, including Islam.

The December 10th edict goes on to say that Judaism and Christianity are “intertwined with each other, Christianity has Jewish roots and Jews believe in the one God.” Therefore, Jews, “…should be treated differently than people of other religions and views,” and, “Catholics must work with Jews to put an end to any anti-Semitic activity.” Furthermore, “a Christian can never be an anti-Semite.”

In context, this last observation clearly equates the efforts to “convert” Jews to Christianity with other anti-Semitic activities including, for example, hatred for and violence toward Jews all over the world … mostly at the hands of Muslims; but also Roman Catholic animosity toward Jews, particularly in European nations.

According to Rabbi Joshua Stanton, Member of the Board of Governors of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations, “the document is one of the more significant statements on Jewish-Catholic relations in the half-century since Nostra Aetate. It reiterates the common roots of Christianity and Judaism and affirms the fraternal relationship that should be pursued between the traditions.”

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(Picture of the 2nd Vatican Council)

The document also states, “In concrete terms this means that the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed toward Jews.”

This is the first time that the Vatican has published a plain proclamation forbidding Catholic missionary activity among the Jews. The orthodox Jewish anti-missionary organization Yad L’Achim, “expressed satisfaction with the announcement” but also reminded Jews that it bears no authority for Protestants, “who continue to dedicate millions to missionary activity in Israel.”

For evangelical Christians who may not be aware, there are several Jewish “anti-missionary” organizations such as Yad L’Achim and Jews for Judaism that seek to suppress Christian and Jewish Messianic groups such as Jews for Jesus from spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ anywhere in Israel, but also the world over.

For example, on November 27, 2015, the news source HaShavua B’Ashdod published the following article:

“The anti-missionary activist organization Yad L’Achim warns against missionary volunteers who have been clandestinely distributing material in Ashdod mailboxes in the middle of the night, and recently in Jewish orthodox neighborhoods. Yad L’Achim has asked citizens in the area to notify them if any such material is found, and to destroy it at once. Rabbi Binyamin Volkan, director of field activities in Yad L’Achim department for fighting missionary activity, has stated as well that in his opinion the rare fact of material distribution in orthodox neighborhoods is ‘an intentional provocation and an act of revenge against the sectors of the city which are preventing them (the missionary factions) from increasing their influence.’ Yad L’Achim has additionally stated that ‘this cult gives out blankets and food with one hand and material connected to the New Testament with the other, and it members call themselves Jews even though the Supreme Court has ruled that whoever believes in Jesus is a Christian.’”

Ironically, the Christian faith in the first century was also considered a “cult” by the Jews and an offshoot sect of Judaism by the Gentile Romans.

But what about the tens of thousands of Israeli Jews who are (rightfully) classified as Jewish citizens of Israel, yet who are not observant Jews, i.e. those who do not actively support the orthodox or even conservative tenets of Judaism? Should their lack of following and practicing the requirements of observant Judaism disqualify them from being classified by the State of Israel as a Jew? In terms of whether they are Jewish citizens of the State of Israel, how are they any different from Jews in Israel who believe in Jesus as Messiah and Savior of Israel? Neither are observant Jews in the traditional sense of strictly espousing and practicing the Law of Moses.

Getting back to the Roman Catholic decree ordering mainstream Catholics not to engage in “evangelism” to the Jews in the same fashion as trying to convert people from other religions: of course a true believer in Christ would not be anti-Semitic in any way, shape, or form. We recognize our heritage that began with God revealing himself to Abraham and the Jewish nation. We believe in a Jewish Messiah who is the light of the world promised to both Jew and Gentile alike. We believe all of God’s promises to restore the Jews, physically and spiritually, apply to Israel, not the Church; thereby, rejecting Replacement Theology.

But I would propose that withholding the Good News of God’s salvation to his chosen people is the worst form of anti-Semitism. It is denying them the truth of their Scriptures, both Old and New Testament. For the New Testament is nothing more or less than a composite record of the New Covenant prophesied by the Jewish prophet, Jeremiah (See Jeremiah 31). It is account in the four Gospels and the Book of Acts of the birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection of the long-awaited Messiah foretold by nearly all of the Old Testament prophets. It is the encapsulation of the life-changing and destiny altering truth that Jesus of Nazareth is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (of the entire world) in the New Testament Epistles. It is the final revelation of Messiah Jesus and the glorious hope of his return found in the Book of Revelation.

The True Gospel

But here I’m referring to the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. The actual Gospel that says we are saved by simple faith in the substitutionary sacrifice of the Son of God for our sins. A Gospel that says we are redeemed not by religious duties but by virtue of our relationship with a person. Listen to the Jewish Apostle Peter’s magnificent description of who Jesus is when he and John were challenged by the Jewish High Priest Annas, along with Caiaphas and other religious leaders. They demanded:

“…By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?” (Acts 4:7). Meaning the healing of a man crippled from birth.

“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them. Rulers and elders of our people, are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:8-12, quoting Psalm 118:22).

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(Depiction of Peter & John healing the crippled man)

That my friend is the Good News! Jesus Saves!

Not a distorted, watered-down gospel that claims keeping of sacraments and performance of good works as a pre-requisite for salvation and eternal life.

In that regard, I have no problem with the Vatican ordering their clergy and laity not to “convert” Jews. For a Jew to convert to Roman Catholicism is to make them worse off than they were before such a conversion. It’s nothing more than leaving one religion of good works for another religion that claims salvation is procured through keeping of the law.

Listen to the words of a former Jewish religious leader who also considered Jewish Christians as heretics, cultic, rebels, and anti-Semitic in their beliefs. This was a man who was far more militant than today’s Yad L’Achim representatives; a man who imprisoned and physically persecuted Jewish believers in Jesus. That is, until he had a miraculous encounter with the risen Messiah that changed the course of his entire life and eternal destiny.

In keeping with his previous statement that God’s New Plan of Salvation must be first preached to the Jews, the man called Saul, a Pharisee of Pharisees, who became the Apostle Paul through his radical transformation by the very Gospel he sought to destroy, Paul tells us:

“…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).

As it was in Paul’s day (the first century) when he began preaching the New Covenant, the New Way of getting right with God, so it still is today in our world. The orthodox Jews are still trying to merit God’s favor by keeping the law, which no one has ever done or ever will do, completely.

And why to the Jew first? Paul also answers that question, while at the same time expressing his great love for his Jewish brethren, the same love that compels me and other true believers in Messiah Jesus to proclaim the truth of the Gospel to the Jews:

“With Christ as my witness, I speak with utter truthfulness. My conscience and the Holy Spirit confirm it. My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed—cut off from Christ!—if that would save them. They are the people of Israel, chosen to be God’s adopted children. God revealed his glory to them. He made covenants with them and gave them his law. He gave them the privilege of worshipping him and receiving his wonderful promises. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are their ancestors, and Christ himself was an Israelite as far as his human nature is concerned. And he is God, the one who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen” (Romans 9:1-5).

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Paul then presents compelling evidence as to who is truly a Jew and who is not. In doing so, he demonstrates that when a Jew believes in Jesus and accepts him as personal Savior, he or she is not converting from Judaism to Christianity. It’s not a matter of conversion from one religion to another … not even close. In fact, nowhere does Paul or any other author of the New Testament consider Christianity to be a religion whatsoever. A religion is man’s attempt to appease God or gain God’s favor by keeping a set of laws or rules or rituals. The Christian faith is simply trusting what Christ did on the cross for complete pardon of our sins and promise of eternal life with God in heaven.

To believe in Jesus Christ—who backed up his claim to be the “resurrection and the life” (John 11:25) by rising from the dead—is to become a real Jew under the providential plan of God for his chosen people from the beginning. Listen again to God’s explanation through Paul:

“Well then, has God failed to fulfill his promise to Israel? No, for not all who are born into the nation of Israel are truly members of God’s people! Being descendants of Abraham doesn’t make them truly Abraham’s children. For the Scriptures say, ‘Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted,’ though Abraham had other children, too. This means that Abraham’s physical descendants are not necessarily children of God. Only the children of the promise are considered to be Abraham’s children” (Romans 9:6-8, quoting Genesis 21:12).

Paul explains in his letter to the Galatians that the real children of promise are those that acknowledge Jesus as the Jewish Savior; because it was Christ Jesus who became the true Child of Promise … the Anointed Messiah. That is the message of the Good News of the Gospel.

“…And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved … Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (Romans 10:8-13, quoting Joel 2:32).

We Must Not Keep Silent

Do we keep silent so as not to offend Orthodox Jews who have for hundreds of years beginning in the first century done everything possible to prevent the Gospel from being promulgated to “the Jew first.” Do we actually think telling someone that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and that he is the Way, Truth, and Life is tantamount to anti-Semitism? When, in fact, it’s our love and concern for every Jew to experience the life-giving light of the New Covenant promised and prophesied by Jeremiah to God’s people.

Do we make an exception for the Jews because they were the people through whom God revealed himself to the nations? No, it’s because they ARE the chosen people that we are compelled to share the Good News of God’s redemption. A redemption found only in one Person: The Son of God, Son of David, and Son of Man … Jesus of Nazareth.

Paul makes it abundantly clear how it is that his brothers in the flesh can and will be saved. Listen to his words that directly and emphatically contradict the Roman Catholic edict to refrain from “missionizing” the Jews:

“But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, ‘How beautiful are the feet of the messengers who bring good news!’ But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, ‘Lord, who has believed our message?’ So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ” (Romans 10:14-17, quoting Nahum 1:15 and Isaiah 53:1).

That is the gospel we love and share with all who will listen, to the Jew first and then to the Gentile. That is the Good News that will change a person’s heart and alter their destiny forever. It is literally a matter of eternal life and death.

I Agree … Don’t Try to Convert Jews to Roman Catholicism!

My first reaction was the same as so many other Christians when I heard of the Vatican’s decree, i.e. what convoluted twisted logic! But the more I thought about it, the more I’m certain that it was a good decision by the Vatican. Actually, there really would be no conversion in the first place, as both Judaism and Catholicism espouse some of the same dogmas.

For example: The Roman Catholic Priesthood is basically a derivative of the priestly order of Judaism, even though the Levitical animal sacrificial system is no longer practiced by the Jews, as there is no longer a Mercy Seat, or a curtain separating the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. In fact, there is no longer a Temple at all!

(As a side note, the very absence of the Jewish Temple and the Levitical Sacrificial system reduces Judaism to righteous acts by keeping the Law of Moses exclusively as a means of attaining a right relationship with God … something no one has ever done except one man. Please see the three-part Eye of Prophecy series entitled, Where Is The Temple? Published 11-29, 12-6, & 12-13-14.)

The following two paragraphs in quotation marks are excerpts from the third of these articles:

“The intriguing question posed in this article and the past two Eye of Prophecy articles relating to the fate of the Jewish Temples is designed as a challenge to explain what happened to them and why. To stimulate reflection about the repercussions of such a devastating time of Jewish history. To investigate the staggering impact on the entire Jewish faith WHEN Solomon’s Temple, then (hundreds of years later) Herod’s Temple, was destroyed. But also Gentile participation in this history pertaining mostly to religious systems that, to varying degrees, were patterned after and around the Mosaic Laws.

To once again come to terms with the rolling Premise of these articles: No Temple, no sacrificial offerings. No sacrifices, no atonement forgiveness of sins. No forgiveness, no redemption. No redemption, no right standing with God.”

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(Depicts destruction of Solomon’s Temple)

In place of the daily, monthly, and annual sacrifices, Jews today rely heavily on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, as a means of forgiveness of sins against God once a year. The Roman Catholics seek forgiveness of sins through periodic confession with their priest, whom they call, “Father” (contrary to the very words of Jesus who said, “Call no man, Father”). Then the penitent parishioner is given such absurd duties in order to be forgiven as to repeat “Hail Mary” five times. The greater the offense, the more Hail Marys’ must be said.

The Apostle Peter, himself, (who the Catholics claim was the first Pope) tells us that every born-again believer in Jesus is a priest.

“And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God” (I Peter 2:5).

Not only priests, but “living stones” that have replaced the Temple that once stood in Jerusalem. Because the Kingdom of Heaven currently on earth is found in the hearts of those who believe in Jesus Christ, the cornerstone of the true church of God (I Peter 2:6).

Nor do we need an earthly priest (priests) as a mediator between God and ourselves. “For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time” (I Timothy 2:5-6).

Jesus Christ did away with the priestly system of atonement, because he is the High Priest for all people, Jew and Gentile alike.

“Here is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle, the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands” (Hebrews 8:1-2).

And, “But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises. If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it. But when God found fault with the people, he said: ‘The day is coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of the land of Egypt. They did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned my back on them, says the Lord. But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Hebrews 8:6-10, quoting Jeremiah 31:31-34).

And, “When God speaks of a ‘new’ covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear” (Hebrews 8:13).

The Jewish author of the book of Hebrews knew that the New Covenant had already replaced the Old Covenant; it would just be a matter of time before the Levitical sacrificial system would be “obsolete.” A few years later that is exactly what happened when the Romans ruthlessly sacked Jerusalem and demolished the Temple in 70 AD. The Law of Moses could never save anyone, not because the Law was inadequate. But because no human being could keep that Law.

The following paragraph is italicized for sheer emphasis:

So I humbly and earnestly ask the observant Jew and the practicing Roman Catholic: Why are you trying to hang onto to a system of good works and rabbinical or priestly mediation when, in fact, God’s New Covenant has been available to you since the first century? You don’t need to consult with or seek mediation through Rabbis, who (as much as I respect their devotion to God) offer conflicting advice that often contradicts their own Scriptures. You don’t need absolution through a priest or the repeated shedding of Jesus blood through the sacrament of Mass. In fact, that is an insult to God and to Christ, mocking his once and for all sacrifice for your sins. You don’t need to ask Mary to intercede for you; there is one and only one Mediator, the man Christ Jesus who just happens to also be the Son of God.

Only Jesus, who perfectly, without sin, fulfilled the entire Law of Moses was qualified to make atonement for our sins. It was the death of the just for the unjust, the righteous for the unrighteous, the perfect for the imperfect.

Jesus-cross-grave

Biblical salvation is truly a free gift from God that, under no circumstances or conditions, can be earned by any number of good deeds or the keeping of regulations and rituals. A born again believer in Messiah Jesus recognizes that good deeds are a grateful response to what Christ did for us—a result of our salvation … not the means of salvation.

True children of God and of Abraham (through Isaac) understand that God has imputed his righteousness to us through the finished work of Jesus on the Cross. His righteousness is our righteousness. We have none of our own.

Summary

Although the Vatican’s reasoning behind their decree is faulty, I nevertheless applaud their decision. Stop trying to convert Jews to a system that distorts the New Covenant of Grace freely offered through the once and for all saving sacrifice of Jesus atoning death on the Cross. There is a far better way through what Jesus accomplished by offering the greatest price ever paid (his very blood and life) to achieve the greatest salvation known to man … a complete pardon of our sins and a total assurance of everlasting life in heaven.

As in Paul’s time, to this very day, “So this is the situation: Most of the people of Israel have not found the favor of God they are looking for so earnestly. A few have—the ones God has chosen—but the hearts of the rest were hardened. As the Scriptures say, ‘God has put them into a deep sleep. To this day he has shut their eyes so they do not see, and closed their ears so they do not hear’” (Romans 11:7-8, quoting Isaiah 29:10).

But God did not utterly reject his people, the Jews; though it must have seemed so when they were dispersed to the four corners of the earth in the Great Diaspora of 70 AD. Because of their rejection of Jesus as their Messiah and Savior, Paul asks and answers the question:

“Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves. Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it … For since their rejection meant that God offered salvation to the rest of the world, their acceptance will be even more wonderful. It will be life for those who were dead! (Romans 11:11-15).

Again for emphasis, I italicize the following paragraph:

That time is almost here. All over the world we see thousands upon thousands of Jews who have claimed Jesus as Messiah and have personally received him as Savior and God. That is a force that cannot be stopped, because God is behind it. His magnificent plan of Israel’s physical return to the Promised Land is unfolding on a daily basis. His equally spectacular purpose for all (the believing remnant) of Israel to be saved is at hand. Just ask any Messianic Jew, and he or she will tell you about the saving love of Jesus Christ. They will say: “Go tell it on the roof tops. Shout it aloud to every Jew and Gentile you know. Proclaim it on the mountain of God in Jerusalem. Messiah Jesus has come as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. And he is coming back soon as the Lion from the Tribe of Judah to set all things right in Israel, and the whole world!”

Hallelujah to the Lamb of God!

Things to Ponder

To all Jews, both observant and non-observant, please consider this: Since the God of Israel announced the New Covenant through your prophet, Jeremiah, why have there been no kings in Israel? Why have there been no priests and prophets in Israel less than a generation after Jesus Christ proclaimed during the Passover supper?: “…This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as sacrifice for you” (Luke 22:20).

Could it be that your final, once for all Prophet and High Priest has come to you? That the New Covenant has been given to you? Could it be that the King of kings will soon return to rule and reign from Israel? As a nation, you have been reborn from the floods of dispersion and the fires of Nazi death camps. Now as individual Jews, don’t wait until it’s too late, when you will look on the Messiah and mourn for him whom you pierced (Zechariah 12:10).

Stop working so hard to earn God’s favor. You can’t do it, no one can. Listen to the words of Messiah Jesus: “…This is the only work God wants from you; Believe in the one (Jesus) he has sent” (John 6:29).

Your Messiah beckons you to heed his words to Nicodemus, a Jewish Member of the Sanhedrin who came secretly to Jesus looking for answers, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

He implores you to say, “Yes,” to him as your Redeemer and Messiah.

“Jesus replied, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty’” (John 6:35).

Listen to his invitation: “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends” (Revelation 3:20).

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“Since we believe human testimony, surely we can believe the greater testimony that comes from God. And God has testified about his Son. All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don’t believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about his Son. 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 have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life” (I John 5:9-13, italics for emphasis).

ISIS, Nero, and Rome

ISIS, Nero, and Rome

With each passing day, I’m more amazed at the number of Jewish Rabbis who are making end-times prophetic connections to practically every national or international development in the world. Nearly all of the correlations involve the coming of Messiah; although the origins of these prophetic associations are not often found in the Bible, which is, by far, the most reliable source of last-days prophetic events.

Let’s begin with an excerpt (in italics) from the Eye of Prophecy article entitled, Great Expectations for Messiah, published 8-8-15, as a reminder that one current event after another is being identified in some fashion or another as a catalyst or precursor to the beginning of the end of this age.

 What does Aliyah, the blood moon tetrad, the Shemitah, hidden Bible codes, the third Jewish Temple, a red heifer, and Jonathan Pollard’s release from prison have in common, one with the other? If you desire a short easy-to-remember response to that question, then the answer is: Israel’s Redemption Is Very Near. If you prefer a one-word explanation for the common-ground connection between these seemingly diverse subjects and events, we can do that too:

MESSIAH!

 Jews all over the world, especially observant Jews in Israel, are becoming exponentially excited over Israel’s redemption. They see this restoration as both physical—rescue from and protection against their enemies—and spiritual … individual and national return to God through renewal of the sacrificial system lost to them when the second Temple was destroyed. No matter what form this revival takes and no matter whether a Jew is religious or secular, there is one prevailing and passionate premise: Messiah will make all these things happen upon his glorious appearance.

 For most Jews this will be the first arrival of Messiah. For born-again believers, Gentiles and Messianic Jews alike, this will be the majestic return of Messiah (Jesus Christ). Two Eye of Prophecy articles entitled Look Up, Redemption is Near (Part I & II) were recently published on 7-11-15 and 7-18-15, respectively. In these articles, we looked discerningly at twelve unmistakable signs of the 20th & 21st centuries showing that Biblical end-times prophecy has been and is being fulfilled in one generation alone. In the second article, these signs were itemized for quick reference. They are as follows:

  • Rebirth of Israel as a Sovereign Nation, 1948
  • Recapture of Jerusalem in the June, 1967 Six-Day War
  • Jerusalem, a Heavy Burden to the Nations
  • The 3rd Rebuilt Temple
  • Israel’s Phenomenal Agricultural Accomplishments
  • Modern-Day Alignment of Gog/Magog Nations against Israel
  • National and Ethnic Wars in the 20th & 21st Centuries
  • Amazing Increase of Natural Disasters
  • Moral & Spiritual Decline & Intense Persecution of Christians
  • False Messiahs & Prophets
  • Unequaled Increase in Quantity and Speed of Transportation and Information
  • Unprecedented Spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the World

In this 107th article, which is also the 3rd post in the 3rd year since this project began in late July, 2013, it’s fitting to quote the subtitle of the Eye of Prophecy website which is: “For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus” (Revelation 19:10). The very center of Biblical prophecy, Jesus Christ, is what this ministry is all about. I trust that the articles have been true to and accomplished that objective. Thus, considering that the numbers seven and three are directly related to and reflective of God’s divinity and sovereignty, it’s also fitting that this week’s article focuses on this Messianic fervor that is sweeping over Israel.

Although most of the topics listed in the first paragraph of this article are not specific Biblical prophecies as such, they are, when combined together, amazing evidence that the time of Messiah is near, so very near. Why can we say that? Because the last time that Israel and even surrounding Gentile nations were so zealous about the arrival of Messiah, that’s exactly what happened! Jesus Christ appeared on the scene of history fulfilling dozens of Biblical prophecies that he was, in fact, the Messiah … with an abundance of documentation, the greatest proof of which was his resurrection from the grave!

jesusresurrection8

Then in a subsequent Eye of Prophecy article, Amazing Anticipation for Messiah, posted on 8-29-15, we examined more recent events to further demonstrate the improbable correlations made especially by Jewish Rabbis between ancient predictions and contemporary occurrences. We looked at such things as Hebrew Gematria pointing to Messiah’s appearing in the Jewish Calendar year 5776 (which began this past September), as purported by Hidden Bible Code expert, Rabbi Mattijahu Glazerson.

We also studied the Jewish Shemitah cycle as it relates to the United States economy and potential adverse effect on the Stock Market. In conjunction with this week’s Eye of Prophecy article, let’s review one of these Jewish prophecies by quoting an excerpt from Amazing Anticipation for Messiah, specifically relating to a reference about the Roman Emperor, Nero.

As follows in italics:

Purported Correlation between Syria’s Demise and the End-Times Messiah & Antichrist:

Actually this connection goes all the way back to a 2nd century Jewish Rabbi, Shimon Bar Yochai whose writings are part of the Midrash. While hiding in a cave, Rabbi Bar Yochai allegedly heard from an angel who told him: “And it is a sign for you, when you see that an Eastern Nero has fallen, that in Damascus has fallen the Bnei Mizrach kingdom, then will sprout the salvation of Israel, and Mashiach ben David comes and will ascend to Jerusalem.”

It was the aforementioned blogger, Tomer Devorah who thinks that this end-times Nero of the East is or could be Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad; that his shaky hold of the Syrian government could collapse any day now.

Most likely, Rabbi Bar Yochai made the connection that the destruction of Damascus is one of the end-times prophecies that will dovetail with Messiah’s arrival. This one is directly from Isaiah. “This message came to me concerning Damascus: Look, the city of Damascus will disappear! It will become a heap of ruins” (Isaiah 17:1).

There are three applications that can be made to any given prophecy. (1) The prophecy has already been fulfilled in Biblical times; (2) the prophecy will come to pass during the last days; (3) the prophecy was fulfilled then and will be fulfilled again during the end-times. Regarding Isaiah’s prediction, I believe it was fulfilled when Assyria conquered Damascus in 732 BC; because a few verses later Isaiah also said: “The fortified towns of Israel will also be destroyed, and the royal power of Damascus will end. All that remains of Syria will share the fate of Israel’s departed glory, declares the Lord of Heaven’s Armies” (Verse 3).

Just ten years later, Assyria conquered the ten northern tribes know as Israel … Syria will share the fate of Israel’s departed glory.

The glory of Israel began to be restored in 1948 and is in high gear in the 21st century. It’s a much better fit to conclude that the destruction of Damascus predicted by Isaiah occurred when the northern kingdom of Israel was also destroyed within a span of ten years.

The word “disappear” used in the New Living Translation is translated, “removed from being a city,” in the NASB. These and other translations essentially mean that Damascus would no longer function as a viable city, let alone the capital of Syria.

However, it’s certainly possible that Syria and Damascus will once again be vanquished. As will many nations and cities during the Great Tribulation. If so, we don’t know if the ruin of Damascus will occur before the Rapture or after the Rapture. Moreover, it would only be one of dozens of other end-times prophecies that will take place during the soon-to-come Day of the Lord.

What does grab my attention is this second century Rabbi’s reference to the Eastern Nero which can also read, Nero of the East. Why would he even mention Nero or equate the proposed end-times Syrian ruler with this malevolent Roman Emperor? Those of you who have read my book, Out of the Abyss and/or several Eye of Prophecy articles on the Antichrist, know that a ton of Biblical and historical evidence leads to (what I think is overwhelming evidence) the conclusion that the Antichrist is none other than the return of the Roman Emperor Nero. Furthermore, that Nero’s revival was a widely held belief by secular Romans, by early Christians, and I’m sure by many Jews during the first four centuries or so. It was even given a name: Nero Redivivus Legend.

(Read all about this in the Eye of Prophecy article entitled, The Legendary Return of Nero, published 4-4-15. It was a sequel summary to the series of articles named, “A Beast by Any Other Name … Part I, II, III, published 3-14, 3-21, & 3-28-15).

Thus, it’s evident that Rabbi Bar Yochai combined the Old Testament prophecy of the fall of Damascus with the end-times appearance of Messiah, then connected both of those events to the Syrian monarch who would be a representation or counterpart of the wicked ruler Nero.

Little did he know that there would be no counterparts of or to Nero? Rather, it will be Nero himself who will appear from the Abyss and boast that he is the risen Messiah and the only God to be worshipped.

In today’s article, let’s examine three more recent world events, each of which is considered yet another sign (especially to observant Jews) that Israel’s redemption is so very close at hand.

Severing of Diplomatic Ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia

Although there has never been much love to lose between these two Muslim nations, Saudi Arabia’s decision to sever all diplomatic relations with Iran was still a shocking development in the Middle East. Subsequently Bahrain and other Arab countries expelled Iranian diplomats and sent them packing back to Iran. The repercussions of such a dramatic split between these Islamic nations will affect alliances and interactions with other nations, including the United States. But then the long-standing bitter rivalry between Sunni Muslims (Saudi Arabia) and Shi’ite Muslims (Iran) has led to several deadly conflicts between these two Islamic sects, such as the bloody vicious Iraq-Iran War of the 1980s. And, there is the racial difference … Iran is Persian, Saudi Arabia is Arabic.

iran-vs-saudi

Much could be said about the political and religious rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia in particular and Shia and Sunni Muslims in general. However, for purpose of today’s article and how this explosive rift between two Islamic nations affects Israel, the Middle East, and the world at large, we need to focus on an 800 year old prophecy supposedly linking this remarkable development of just a few days ago to Messiah’s appearance.

According to an article in the on-line Breaking Israel News, written by Rivkah Lambert Adler, this messianic prophecy is found in a Jewish holy book known as the Yalkut Shimoni.

Ms. Adler states: “The Yalkut Shimoni, a compilation of rabbinic commentary on the Bible, is believed to have been composed in the 13th century … The full text of the Yalkut Shimoni connects the political tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia with good news about the full redemption of the Jewish people.”

She then quotes Rabbi Yizchok who wrote the prediction: “The year that Melech HaMoshiach (Messiah the King) will be revealed, all the nations of the world will be provoking each other. The King of Persia (Iran) will provoke the King of Arabia, and the King of Arabia will go to Edom (the West) to take counsel, but the King of Persia will in turn, destroy the entire world. The nations of the world will be outraged and panicked. They will fall on their faces, and they will experience pains like birth pangs. Israel too will be outraged and in a state of panic and ask, where do we go? But say unto them, ‘My children, do not fear … the time of your redemption has come…’”

There is nothing in Scripture to indicate that Messiah’s appearance to Israel and to the world will be linked by time (the same year) or linked at all to the political or racial fissure between Persia (Iran) and Saudi Arabia. Nor is there any Biblical prophecy that, “the King of Persia will in turn, destroy the world.”

In the Gog/Magog prophecy of Ezekiel 38 & 39, Iran is listed as one of the main allies of Gog (Russia); however, this huge alliance will suffer a catastrophic defeat at the hands of God, himself, while Israel looks on in wonder, and the nations in awe of the God of Israel.

The panic of the nations and nation provoking nation is pretty much covered in several Old Testament prophecies of the Day of the Lord and the end-times Jacob’s Troubles. Certainly, the Rabbi who made this prediction would not have referred to Jesus Christ. However, it’s interesting to note that Jesus talked about “birth pangs” during the last day’s experiences of people the world over. After giving his disciples many details of what will cause the birth pains, he said, “In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door” (Matthew 24:33).

Just before that, Jesus said about himself (as Messiah): “And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Verse 30).

On the other hand, we can’t dismiss out-of-hand the Rabbi’s mention that the Persian King would provoke the Arabian King. That’s what happened a few days ago when Shiite Iranians overran the Saudi Embassy in Tehran to protest the Saudi’s execution of a Shiite Muslim Cleric. Which, in turn, led to Saudi Arabia imposing a 48-hour ultimatum for Iranian diplomats to get out of Saudi Arabia.

On the other, other hand, you could also make an argument that such an event was bound to happen sooner or later, as Persians and Arabs have not been on friendly terms for centuries. Which makes it a fairly safe prognostication, to include a connection with Messiah’s appearing. In that regard, there will be a plethora of things taking place, both from Biblical prophecy and from the daily unfolding of global events when Messiah (Jesus) first sets foot on the Mount of Olives.

Thus, it’s not so much whether this 13th century rabbinical prediction has come to pass, as most of the prophecy is either not based on Scripture or inaccurately depicts what the Bible says will take place.

What is, however, of great significance is the fact that today’s Jews (especially the observant among them) are finding ancient Jewish literature, history, traditions, the Bible itself, hidden Bible codes; then making some astute correlations between their Jewish sages and practically every important news story of the day. Let’s look at the second recent world development and how the Jews consider it, too, a precursor to Messiah’s arrival.

Conflict between Russia and Turkey … The Precursor to Messiah

As most know, the Turkish downing of a Russian warplane has caused a deep division between these two countries. Neither Russian President Vladimir Putin nor Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is willing to make the first move of reconciliation. Neither will back down, with each considering the other’s country to be at fault for this international incident.

RUSSIAN_JET

Once again citing a Breaking Israel News article, from which most of these stories originate in terms of Rabbis making connections between global occurrences and ancient prophecies, with the majority of the predictions actually from extra-Biblical sources, i.e. Talmud, Shimoni, Midrash, Jewish Traditions, and others.

A BIN article posted on December 30, 2015, by columnist Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz begins with:

“On Saturday evening, Rabbi Aharon Shtern, the son of the respected kabbalist, Rabbi David Chaim Shtern of Bnei Brak, revealed an astounding teaching handed down from father to son for untold generations regarding the End of Days. This past Saturday night, at the Tomb of King David on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, Rabbi Shtern spoke at a traditional melaveh malkah meal, which is held each Saturday night upon the conclusion of the Sabbath by Jews all over the world.”

The article’s author continues: “Rabbi Shtern’s teaching centers around the verse found in Genesis 49:1, ‘That will happen at the End of Days.’ According to the understanding passed down in his family, Rabbi Shtern explained that each letter in the entire verse is used in an acronym for:

At the end of six thousand the Caesar of Russia Alexander will fall, there will be several wars in the world, Russia will be destroyed and Jerusalem will be built, the Diaspora will leave us, and the Messiah will come.

The article continues: “Rabbi Shtern explained the present day conflict between Russia and Turkey is what is described in his family’s ancient teaching. The rabbi explained how Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, boasted that his country could occupy Russia in seven days. Rabbi Shtern exclaimed, ‘That statement is so misguided, so extraordinary, that a nation’s leader would say something like that. The only way a president would say that in front of the whole world is if God’s hand was forcing him to say so.’”

Said Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of the Tomb of David, about Rabbi Shtern’s revealed secrets:

“All these things show us how close we are. It was prophesied in Micah (7:15), ‘As in the days when you came out from the land of Egypt, I will show you miracles.’ Things that happened in the Exodus will repeat themselves before the messiah, and even more. The present conflict between Russia and Turkey is the precursor to the events leading up to the Messiah, when we will see Divine intervention more clearly, if we look for it. What we are seeing now, things that have no reason or logic, and no explanation, makes it clear what is about to happen. We are so close, and all the prophecies and signs show this. It is the only explanation for what is happening today.”

As you’ve probably surmised, these two Rabbis seem to be stretching the prophetic rope to the snapping point, which reportedly ties the previously stated Genesis 49:1 acronym to the recent strife between Russia and Turkey; then makes this sudden adversarial relationship between Russia and Turkey one of the signs of Messiah’s any-time arrival.

For example, what Scripture actually tells us is that the Gog/Magog invasion of Israel will include Turkey and Iran as Russia’s allies. This dispute between Turkey and Russia will be short-lived and could very well resolve itself before the Rapture takes place or soon, thereafter. But even if Turkey doesn’t actively participate in the Gog/Magog assault against Israel, she certainly won’t fight on the side of Israel. In fact, the passage in Ezekiel 38 & 39 clearly indicates that no nation on earth will come to Israel’s aid. Which is one of the reasons that God, himself, will fight for Israel and completely crush this evil coalition of nations.

ezekiel38sml

But once again, it’s not necessarily a matter of accuracy of these (and others like them) Rabbinical prophetic correlations matching up to pretty much whatever event seems to suit the extra-Biblical predictions that they’re attempting to connect. Rather, it is the sum-total effect of so many observant Jews suddenly but somewhat randomly finding associations between any number of contemporary events and a few Biblical, but mostly non-Biblical prophecies and commentaries.

It is as some say: “A time of the signs.”

ISIS, Nero, and Rome … What Do They Have in Common?

Did you know that the terrorist organization ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) is also in the business of making predictions; or at least making them come to pass? That Islam also has its messiah-type figure, the Mahdi, who Muslims (particularly Sunnis) say will subjugate the world with help from the “Muslim prophet Jesus.” Yes, you read that correctly. Jesus is considered a prophet of Islam, and he allegedly will assist the Mahdi in converting Christians and Jews to Islam! Those who refuse to convert will be killed. Obviously, this is a diabolical distortion and corrupt contradiction of the historical Jesus of the Bible.

ISIS has recently renewed its vow to eradicate Israel as a Jewish State. Yet in an interview with a German journalist, Jurgen Todenhofer, whom ISIS allowed to spend ten days embedded with their fighters, ISIS leaders acknowledged that the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) was “too strong for them.” Conversely, said Todenhofer, ISIS is confident that, “…they can defeat U.S. and U.K. ground troops, who they say have no experience in city guerrilla or terrorist strategies. But they know the Israelis are very tough as far as fighting against guerrillas and terrorists. The jihadists told me the Israeli army is the real danger.”

Despite their fear of the IDF, ISIS has become even more belligerent toward Israel and also toward Christianity and Christians. According to reliable sources, ISIS has murdered and raped thousands of Christians in Iraq, Syria, and Libya.

In that regard, ISIS is no different than the religious and political leaders of Iran, most of whom believe that it is up to them to usher in what they call, malahim; which is their version of the apocalyptic end of the world through jihad.

In another Breaking Israel News article posted on December 31, 2015, the writer states, “According to Dr. Timothy Furnish, an international media commentator on radical Islam and author of Ten Years Captivation with the Mahdi’s Camps … that counter to Obama’s claims, ISIS is, ‘quite Islamic and very much in the mainstream of prior Islamic eschatological movements.’”

The article continues:

“The key to understanding ISIS lies in a small town in northern Syria … The name of the town, Dabiq, is synonymous with a concept in Islam under the same name that discusses a much awaited battle between Islam and Christianity that will mark the end of the world.

“In the Hadith, a collection of Islamic traditions relating to the Prophet Mohammed, including many direct quotations from him … it is written that the city of Dabiq is one of two possible locations for an epic battle between invading Christians and the defending Muslims. It is foretold that this battle will result in a climatic Muslim victory.”

A companion to the Prophet Mohammed, Abu Hurayrah writes in the Hadith: “The Last Hour would not come until the Romans land at al-A’maq or in Dabiq. An army consisting of the best (soldiers) of the people of the earth at that time will come from Medina (to fight them).”

The article’s author, Adam Berkowitz goes on to say: “According to traditional teachings, Romans are understood to be Christians and today ISIS uses this title for the US and its coalition partners. Last year, when ISIS beheaded former US Army Ranger turned Muslim convert Peter Kassig, they did so quite intentionally in the town of Dabiq. In the video of the execution, ISIS referred to US President Barack Obama as, ‘the dog of Rome.’”

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(Photo of Peter Kassig before his execution)

Summary

Be careful what you wish for. ISIS and Islamic Jihadists would do well to heed this adage. As they boast of victory over a United States coalition ground force, they are retreating from territory in Iraq captured last year in Ramadi. It’s highly unlikely they could defeat a Western coalition, particularly if the United States decided to “go all in.” If, however, our President continues to curtail the extent of our military assistance in Iraq and Syria by limiting our involvement to air strikes, ISIS could continue to be an irresistible force. Or if ISIS would foolishly expand its aggression to include attacks against Israel, then the world could victoriously kiss ISIS goodbye … compliments of one of the world’s smallest, yet strongest militaries—the IDF.

However, I don’t believe either of these scenarios will develop now or after the Rapture, which could take place any minute of any day. Although they certainly could, neither a United States led coalition nor Israel will (completely) defeat ISIS or any other terrorist group in our lifetime. They won’t need to. Why can I say that?

The key is Rome. But not the inaccurate Islamic connection that equates Rome with Christianity or the Crusaders, i.e. the term that Muslims constantly use to characterize one of their sworn enemies (Christians) … the other being, of course, the Jews.

No, it will not be “Christian armies” literally from or symbolically representing Rome that will take on Islamic armies … be it terrorists groups or entire Muslim rogue nations like Iran. It will be God, himself, but through two distinct and different ways.

For Iran, as one of Gog’s (Russia) allies, God will supernaturally crush this evil alliance when they march against Israel during the early part of the Great Tribulation.

For ISIS, I’m convinced that God will deal with them through, of all sources, Antichrist Nero. One of God’s strategies in conquering evil is to providentially pit one evil empire against another. This is clearly seen in the rise and fall of Gentile empires or ethnic groups throughout history. With, however, the full wrath of God poured out against wicked rulers and terrorists during the Great Tribulation.

Soon after the Rapture occurs, the Antichrist beast-king (Nero) will suddenly appear from the Abyss. As earlier indicated in this article, I’ve written about this extensively in Out of the Abyss and prior Eye of Prophecy articles. In addition to striking a remarkable seven-year treaty between Israel and Islamic nations, he will also bring peace to a terrified world by several means, one of which is to crush all terrorist groups, including ISIS.

ISIS will suddenly find itself up against a man who is as brutally wicked as they are. One who will also use beheadings (a popular form of execution in the ancient Roman Empire) to terrorize and demoralize his enemies.

In that regard, the Islamic reference to Rome as their chief rival and enemy in the last days is accurate. But not the Rome that they equate with the Vatican or with the United States as the most powerful nation on earth representing Christianity as a whole, which Muslims despise.

Rather, it will be the Rome ruled by the miraculous reappearance of a once mighty Roman Emperor, none other than Nero. At first Nero will align himself with Roman Catholics (Vatican), but only for a sinister purpose, i.e. to consolidate his power over the ten-nation confederation that will give him their complete loyalty. Please refer to Eye of Prophecy article, “One Ring to Rule Them All…” posted 11-21-15, for the complete list of the ten kingdoms aligning with Nero. It will be Nero and his empire that will destroy the woman on the beast, i.e. that great city of Babylon, which is Rome … specifically the “Holy Roman Empire,” i.e. the Vatican. (See Revelation 17).

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Nero’s return from the grave (Abyss) will be more than enough to generate world-wide allegiance and loyalty. But his defeat of global terrorism in general and ISIS in particular will endear himself even more to many peoples. After all, virtually the entire world is against ISIS in some fashion, for one reason or another. Some very strange bedfellows have surfaced in response to the rise of Islamic terror dispensed by ISIS. To the extent that it’s difficult to distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys. I mean … even Iran is against ISIS!

Things to Ponder

After Nero pleases and pacifies much of the world by eliminating terrorism, he will turn his malevolent ambitions to Israel by breaking his treaty with the Jews. Just like Nero’s historical predecessor, Antiochus Epiphanes, listen to the prophet Daniel describe this second Epiphanes:

“His army will take over the Temple fortress, pollute the sanctuary, put a stop to the daily sacrifices, and set up the sacrilegious object that causes desecration” (Daniel 11:31).

Once Nero shows his true colors (again … as he did while a Roman Emperor), Daniel tells us:

“The king will do as he pleases, exalting himself and claiming to be greater than every god, even blaspheming the God of gods. He will succeed, but only until the time of wrath is completed. For what has been determined will surely take place” (Daniel 11:36).

What among many other things will surely take place? Daniel answers that question:

“He will enter the glorious land of Israel and many nations will fall, but Moab, Edom, and the best part of Ammon will escape. He will conquer many countries, and even Egypt will not escape … But then news from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in great anger to destroy and obliterate many. He will stop between the glorious holy mountain and the sea and will pitch his royal tents. But while he is there, his time will suddenly run out, and no one will help him” (Daniel 11:41-45).

“Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war” (Revelation 19:11).

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

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

The Legacy of Temple Mount

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News Flash from Jerusalem!

Really? You might be thinking. What’s so new about a news flash from Jerusalem, when Jerusalem, itself, is a daily flash point? And you would be right; another media story from this contested city would not be much different than a few thousand gallons of water pouring over Niagara Falls every second. Of course, that’s an exaggeration, but only for dramatic effect. Millions of people have paid good money to watch the spectacular cascade of water over Niagara Falls. Likewise, millions have been mesmerized by the incessant flow of events from the Middle East, from Israel, from Jerusalem, and especially from Temple Mount.

Earlier this week five Knesset Members from two of the more conservative Israeli political parties introduced legislation that calls for freedom of religion throughout Israel (worship and prayer) for all religions, including, of course the Jews. Which is a profound paradox, as you would think that Jewish citizens, of what many people consider and call the Holy Land, have the legal liberty and religious right to worship and pray wherever they choose.

But they don’t.

This bill pertains to every sacred site in Israel, to include the hotly disputed Temple Mount and its current status quo. For those not quite up-to-date, status quo technically means that only Muslims can worship on what is the holiest site in Judaism and ostensibly the third holiest place in Islam. The Jews have restricted access to Temple Mount; but, under no circumstances are they allowed to pray or exhibit any signs, whatsoever, of worship.

Despite the recapture of ALL Jerusalem by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, the Israelis relinquished East Jerusalem, which includes Temple Mount, to Jordanian control. Subsequently, Jordan extended governing authority of East Jerusalem and the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority, but Jordan continues to maintain jurisdiction over Temple Mount. Palestinians are permitted to worship on Temple Mount (Al Aqsa to the Muslims), but not Jews or Christians.

This would be absolutely no different than the United States, for example, conceding jurisdiction of the Statue of Liberty to the British, years after we won our independence from them in the Revolutionary War; then maintained that freedom by defeating England in the War of 1812.

In fact, it was this so-called status quo that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas falsely accused the Jews of violating by reason of Jewish desecration (or intent to desecrate) of a sacred site that Abbas claims, “ Is ours … everything (meaning in all of Israel) is ours. The Jews have no right to desecrate them (holy sites) with their filthy feet and we won’t allow them to.”

It’s crystal clear to anyone who has any objectivity at all and knows what is actually taking place in Israel, that this “filthy feet” reference to the Jews was a disgusting inflammatory caricature of the Jews designed to incite Palestinian violence to protect Al Aqsa from Jewish “desecration,” which is a euphemism for preventing any Jewish presence whatsoever on Temple Mount.

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Immediately afterward Palestinians began the “lone wolf” terrorist attacks on Israelis all over Israel, but primarily in Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rightfully and accurately refuted Abbas’ blatant lie with factual visual evidence that the Israelis are not defiling the Temple Mount or any other holy site in Israel. That Israel will continue to honor and maintain the “status quo,” of Temple Mount. He has reminded the entire world that Israel is a democracy which will continue to guarantee the freedom of religion to all citizens of Israel, including the non-citizen Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Ironically, however, this democratic religious freedom excludes Jewish worship on Temple Mount.

An Ingenious Piece of Legislation

Which makes the Knesset bill all the more intriguing and controversial; not just for the Arabs but for the Israeli government and particularly for Prime Minister Netanyahu and his staff. This legislative proposal is both legitimate and shrewd, as it seeks to politically or constitutionally affirm the principle of religious freedom in Israel, while dramatically changing the Temple Mount “status quo” that the Israeli government is determined to honor; if, for no other reason than to maintain some semblance of peace with the Palestinians. However, it’s all too evident that it doesn’t much matter what the Israelis do to minimize confrontation with the Palestinians over Temple Mount; the Palestinians always find a way to incite conflict even if it means lying about Israel’s actions and intentions with regard to holy sites in Israel.

At present there is no provision in Israeli law, as such, that actually pledges protection of freedom of worship and freedom of access to holy sites. There is only the aforementioned pragmatic maintenance of the so-called status quo to keep Jews and Christians from any act of worship, especially prayer, on what the Arabs also call Haram al-Sharif—The Noble Sanctuary. Thus, it is the Israeli police that guard Temple Mount and enforce Jordanian restrictions to all non-Muslims to access this holy site whenever they choose and certainly not to worship while on Temple Mount.

If passed, the bill would enhance the existing law of religious freedom in Israel by, “protecting the holy places, (allowing) freedom of worship for all religions with free and fixed access, so that this fundamental right will be defined by law and will result in freedom of worship anywhere and to anyone.” That this exercise of religious freedom is, “…a basic right in a democracy,” as stated in an explanatory note attached to the bill, itself.

Hence, a daunting dilemma if the bill is passed: Can and will the actual exercise of religious freedom based on the inherent democratic liberties for all citizens in Israel supersede the status quo of Jordanian/Palestinian Arabs to restrict such rights just because Israel previously granted jurisdiction of Temple Mount to Jordan? If implemented, the bill would be a stunning reversal of the extremely ill-advised decision by IDF General Moshe Dayan to return Temple Mount to Arab control after defeating several Arab nations in the Six-Day War.

As much as I love Israel and ardently admire the Jewish people, their government, and the IDF, the choice to give East Jerusalem and the Temple Mount back to a people that possessed no territorial or ownership or legacy rights in the first place was the worse decision ever made by Israel.

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IDF General Moshe Dayan (left) with Ariel Sharon (former Prime Minister of Israel)

From an American perspective or a Western point of reference, the bill would be akin to an expansion of citizenship privileges, much like the American Bill of Rights. Or similar to a constitutional amendment that seeks to right an inherent wrong, such as American’s 19th Amendment that legalized a woman’s innate right to vote. It would restore the God-given, intrinsic freedom of religious rights for all Jews (and Christians) living in Israel of which they were wrongfully and illegally deprived. All for the sake of a politically correct agenda that attempted to placate Palestinian Arabs (Muslims) into a peaceful co-existence that has proven to be practically non-existent and virtually implausible in the first place.

Once again I repeat what has been said in several prior Eye of Prophecy articles, something that is abundantly apparent to anyone with any sense of what the real problem is between Jews and Arabs. It is not, repeat not, an issue of Israeli settlements or so-called occupation in portions of East Jerusalem or the West Bank. And certainly not in the Gaza Strip since Israel removed all of its citizens in 2005. It is not a matter of a Palestinian State alongside of the already existing— legal and internationally acknowledged—Jewish State of Israel. Most Palestinians do not even want a state of their own, unless it completely replaces the State of Israel. It is not Palestinian deprivation at the hands of Israelis (the majority of Palestinians know they’re better off politically and economically within Israeli jurisdictions); there is no such thing. It is not a territorial dispute over any particular part of Israel, even including the Temple Mount. All of these factors are not reasons; they are excuses for Arabs to vent their hostilities against Jews in Israel.

Rather, it is: Ancient animosity toward and outright Arab hatred of Jews anywhere, but especially in Israel. It is a rigid refusal to acknowledge that Israel even exists or that the Jews have any right to ANY part of the land at all. Which is why when several Arab nations couldn’t defeat Israel in war, they resorted to terrorism or lies or both. The latest lie is that the Jews intend to take over Temple Mount completely and refuse Arabs access, all the while “desecrating” Muslim holy sites. If, however, Israel completely renounced all rights to East Jerusalem or the Temple Mount, it still wouldn’t be enough to appease the Palestinians. They would continue their aggression and not give up their propaganda, BDS, and terrorist tactics until there wasn’t a single Jew left in Israel. An Israel without Jews is their true agenda.

What Will Israel’s Prime Minister Do or Say if the Bill Passes

How would Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu respond to the Palestinians, to Middle East Arabs, and to the watching world? How could he explain the paradox between his vowed protocols of compliance with current Arab imposed status quo restrictions to Jews and Christians on Temple Mount, and a new Israeli law that grants unrestricted and enforced rights of all peoples to worship freely on Temple Mount and all holy sites within Israel? In that regard, Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly extolled the Israeli ideal of democratic freedoms throughout Israel.

Once again using the United States as an example or any free democratic country in the world for that matter: What if Americans were not allowed to even bow their head in silent prayer beneath Abraham Lincoln’s statue in Washington D.C? Or a Parisian forbidden to visit the Eiffel Tower except on Mondays and Thursdays, because only Germans were allowed access during the rest of the week?

Obviously, passage of the bill would provide an endless supply of political and (perhaps) actual ammunition to both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to affirm what they already claim is Israel’s true intention to change the status quo.

With thousands of others, I am an admirer of Prime Minister Netanyahu; however, to predict what he will say or do if his own government passes this legislation would be speculation at best.

But I would like to think he would do the following:

Reaffirm his passionate love for Israel and his people that he has voiced in the past concerning Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel. This Holy City of the Holy Land will not be divided politically, religiously, or geographically. Constitutionally, there will no East and West Jerusalem.

That he will staunchly support the Israeli Knesset’s decision to grant and enforce religious freedom to all of Israel, including and especially to Temple Mount in Jerusalem. That this decision is predicated on not just religious, but also political freedom that must take lawful precedence over the current exclusionary and discriminatory practice of allowing people of only one religion (Islam) to worship on Temple Mount.

I would hope that Prime Minister Netanyahu would cite the legitimate and internationally recognized prerogative of a nation to claim or reclaim land won in the bloody sacrifices of a rightful, justified war of self-defense and survival (as opposed to unjustified war of aggression against another nation such as Germany’s attack on Poland and other European nations or Japan’s unprovoked assault against China and the United States in World War II). Thus, because of Israel’s victories in the wars initiated by a coalition of several Arab nations (War of Independence 1948; Suez War 1956; Six-Day War 1967; and the Yom Kippur War 1973, Israel has a fundamentally minimal right for her citizens to live in all of Jerusalem and Israel (if they choose) and certainly to worship on Temple Mount.

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Picture of Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu

Once again, try to imagine the United States allowing England full administrative control of the eastern half of Washington D.C after victory in the Revolutionary War, or ANY TIME THEREAFTER.

Once Netanyahu reminds the world of national sovereignty and administrative authority extended by virtue of victory in war, particularly over disputed land, he would go back historically even further. He would mention a precedent not available to any democracy or republic on earth, including the United States of America. And certainly not available to Muslim nations, the vast majority of which usurped the land in which they live by aggression and by force. He would defer to the land ownership rights by virtue of national and racial legacy to Israel given by God, himself, to the Jews as a perpetual heritage. Beginning with Abraham, the father of Ishmael, through whom God would also make a great nation, i.e. the Arab nations.

To this day, Moslems still revere Abraham as their ancestral patriarch, but only as Abraham’s heritage applies to Ishmael, not Isaac. Yet the Scriptures are indisputably explicit: Abraham’s son, Isaac, would be the ancestral child of promise, not Ishmael. Thus, the divine deed to Israel belongs to the Jews, not the Arabs. God knows they have enough land as it is in the Middle East.

Abrahamic Covenant

Listen to the Lord’s renewal of the permanent land covenant that he had earlier made with Abraham:

“I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you. And I will give the entire land of Canaan, where you now live as a foreigner, to you and your descendants. It will be their possession forever, and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:7-8).

Subsequently, this covenant would be affirmed with Abraham’s son Isaac, not Ishmael as claimed by Islam. (See Genesis 26:1-6). Later the covenant was again sworn to Isaac’s son, Jacob … eventually passed down through the twelve sons (tribes) of Jacob whose name God changed to Israel. Thus, the land of Israel became a Jewish legacy over 2,500 years before Islam became a religion through its prophet, Muhammad.

As periodically stated in Eye of Prophecy articles and by several others, there is not one single reference to Jerusalem in the Koran; whereas there are hundreds of passages in the Bible naming Jerusalem. How can Muslims possibly explain that away? If they insist that Jerusalem (or any part of Israel) belongs to them and Temple Mount (Al Aqsa) has become their third holiest site, then they best use some other argument than the “holy” text of the Koran. Which leaves them with no contemporarily viable or historically reliable defense at all.

The only other possible (indefensible) arguments are:

Religious or Historical Possession/Occupation: This premise is easily refuted by both Biblical and secular historical accounts and archeology. Israel as a nation with Jerusalem as its capital and Temple Mount the very center of Judaism existed long before Muhammad arbitrarily selected the moon-god Allah and himself as the founder of Islam. Likewise with the Bible, both Old and New Testaments pre-date the Koran by hundreds of years.

Contemporary/Recent Generational Right of Control by Virtue of Population: Also, easily rebutted. Arabs did outnumber Jews in what was previously called Palestine (a name given to the land by a Roman Emperor to replace Israel as the rightful name of the nation) for a few hundred years. Even then, Arabs living in Palestine were subjects of the Ottoman Empire. However, by 1967, Jewish population in Israel easily exceeded the Arab populace. As 2016 begins, the Jews far outnumber the Arab Palestinians. Moreover, there was absolutely no (so-called) Palestinian rule of Israel before the United Nations approved Nation-status to Israel in 1947, then declaration of Israel’s Statehood in 1948. And certainly not since Israel’s return as a sovereign country in the international family of nations.

Until 1967, the so-called West Bank (Judea, Samaria) was controlled by Jordan, the Gaza Strip by Egypt, and the Golan Heights by Syria. As noted, Israel, assumed authority over these territories by virtue of her victory in the 1967 Six-Day War. Subsequently in 1994 (after the Oslo Peace Accord), the Palestinian Authority was established to govern the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with Gaza eventually taken over by the terrorist group Hamas in 2006. For security and strategic reasons, Israel maintains control of the Golan Heights.

So, please, someone explain to me and especially to those who are confused about ownership and occupation rights within Israel and the “disputed territories” of the West Bank and Gaza Strip: On what historical, cultural, racial, or political platform and on whose national or international authority can Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (or any Palestinian) claim that any part of Israel “belongs to them,” let alone Jerusalem and especially Temple Mount?

Obviously I’m being facetious when asking someone to explain this to me … only because I’d like to think that I’ve done my homework (countless hours of study/research of Scripture and history, and keeping abreast of current events in the Middle East). But I’m quite serious about those, including many Americans, who support the Palestinian cause because they really don’t know (or perhaps don’t care to know) the real history of Israel or the rest of the story of why Arabs have become today’s Palestinians. Whereas, just a generation ago if you were referring to a Palestinian, you were talking about a Jew, i.e. Jewish residents of Palestine (now once again rightfully called Israel).

The Legacy of Jerusalem and Temple Mount

Legacy is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as: “something received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.”

Getting back to what I think Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would say or do if this remarkable “Temple Mount bill” passes as the law of the land.

He would rightfully remind his people (particularly Israelis who prefer not to risk confrontation with Muslims and, therefore, oppose Jews ascending Temple Mount); Christians, especially those who doubt Jewish rights to live and worship anywhere in Israel; the Palestinians and the Arab world; Muslims everywhere, and the whole world—that it was Mount Moriah (Temple Mount) where God tested the love and loyalty of Abraham, by ordering Abraham to sacrifice the child of promise, Isaac. That the Lord rewarded Abraham’s faithfulness by sparing Isaac and graciously providing a ram in his place for the sacrifice.

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Accordingly, “Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means: ‘The Lord will provide’). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided’” (Genesis 22:14).

What would be provided? A place where God’s very presence would dwell, and did for hundreds of years. A place where all people could ascend to worship the true and living God, bringing their offerings of praise and sacrifice. A once and for all sacrifice of the Jewish Messiah, himself—for the past, present, and future sins of his chosen people and of all peoples. With this same Messiah returning first to the Mount of Olives, then Temple Mount and Jerusalem to rule and reign forever. To draw all peoples to himself and to his Father, the God of Israel and of the nations.

In short, as a result of Abraham’s obedience, God promised: “And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me” (Genesis 22:18).

Then the Prime Minister would call to memory King David’s passionate desire to build a beautiful Temple to God, one that would be permanently located in Jerusalem to replicate but also replace the Tabernacle with an even more glorious place of worship. This temple would demonstrate to all of Israel and the surrounding nations that Jerusalem was God’s chosen city, where he would dwell among his people … a city that God loves above all other cities. Jerusalem would be the Holy Capital of the Holy Land of Israel.

After David captured Jerusalem and began building the City of David, the Bible tell us, “And David became more and more powerful, because the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies was with him” (II Samuel 5:10).

Then, “And David realized that the Lord had confirmed him as king over Israel and had blessed his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel” (Verse 12).

The Prime Minister would correctly contend that God’s blessing on and through King David remains to this very day, despite hundreds of years of exile from Israel leading to great persecution of the Jewish people. No less than God’s repeated affirmation of the covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob … the land of Israel as a permanent inheritance for the Jews. For these reasons alone, through God’s divine providential purpose, Israel was miraculously reborn as a sovereign nation. She is here to stay.

But there’s more. King David’s dream came true when his son, King Solomon, built the magnificent Temple on Mount Moriah (Temple Mount) long before any Muslim shrines were built on this holy mountain of God. As was the second Temple assembled by the Jewish exiles who returned from Babylon seventy years later … over 1,000 years before the religion of Islam began.

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Model of Solomon’s Temple

He would appeal to the United States and the nations of the free world that the blessings promised by God to the Gentiles can only be realized in and accomplished through a strong, stable, and secure Israel who truly wants peace within and without her national boundaries.

He would stir our enthusiasm over the global significance of Temple Mount not only to Jews, not exclusively for Muslims, but for the whole world from God’s prophetic promise through the prophet Isaiah:

“I will also bless the foreigners who commit themselves to the Lord, who serve him and love his name … I will bring them to my holy mountain of Jerusalem and will fill them with joy in my house of prayer. I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices, because my Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations. For the Sovereign Lord, who brings back the outcasts of Israel, says: I will bring others, too, besides my people Israel” (Isaiah 56: 6-8).

Because of Benjamin Netanyahu’s respect and stated appreciation for the contributions to and support of Israel by (evangelical) Christians, he would bring to mind that Jesus of Nazareth repeated these same words, “My Temple will be a house of prayer…” (Luke 19:46).

He would repeat more words from the prophet Isaiah, scripted in granite on a retaining wall located on First Avenue in New York City, just across from the United Nations General Assembly Building:

“…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).

In keeping with his plea that the whole earth recognize the past, present, and future right of Jews to possess and pray on Temple Mount, but to also share that privilege with people from many nations, Benjamin would also convey the entire context of this inspiring prophetic passage from Isaiah. A prophecy that is beginning to unfold in our generation:

“In the last days, the mountain of the Lord’s house will be the highest of all—the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship. People from many nations will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lords, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.’ For the Lord’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. The Lord will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares…” (Isaiah 2:2-4).

Summary

Will it happen? Is it possible? Can the Knesset representing the incredible diversity of Israelis, Orthodox, Conservative, Reformed, Liberal, Secular, Agnostics, (Muslim) Arab-Israelis—some who support a rebuilt Temple or at least freedom of worship on Temple Mount even without a third Temple, and some who don’t—pass this law amidst such dissent, even from their own people?

If passed, will Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu provide law enforcement support of Jewish access to Temple Mount to pray and worship, perhaps with justifications as proposed in this article? Would he dramatically defend the God-given right of every Jew to every square foot of land in Israel, especially to their most sacred place of Temple Mount? After all, the Prime Minister has unequivocally declared that Jerusalem will not be divided nor any part of this great Jewish city become the capital of a Palestinian State.

And just a few days ago, Benjamin’s reaction to the death of yet another victim of Palestinian “knife terrorism” (dying three weeks after being repeatedly stabbed); this time relating to another Jewish holy site located in Hebron, Israel. Said Prime Minister Netanyahu at the beginning of his cabinet meeting:

“I wish to send my condolences to the family of Genadi Kaufman. Genadi was a gardener at the Tomb of the Patriarchs. He was stabbed in a murderous attack a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, he did not recover … This morning as well, I say to all those who would uproot us from the Tomb of the Patriarchs—except for a few years in the previous century, we have been there for almost 4,000 years and we will stay there forever. You cannot defeat us.”

He is also keenly aware of the potential consequences through adverse reaction of Palestinians should Temple Mount status quo actually be changed … not by Palestinian bogus claims of desecration, but by perfectly legal and legitimate legislation applicable to all of Israel.

But, then, how much more volatile can the situation get? How much more animosity can the Palestinians display than what they’ve shown through murder of Israelis, because the Arabs have been duped by their leaders into thinking that the Jews have already “desecrated” Temple Mount?

The Prime Minister also said in November, 2014—shortly after Rabbi Yehuda Glick was shot four times (he survived and is active again) for the Rabbis’ ardent support of a rebuilt Temple and unimpeded Jewish access to Temple Mount: “It is easy to start a religious fire; it is much more difficult to extinguish it.”

Which as Jewish author Ruchama King Feuerman succinctly commented earlier this year in her article posted in the online Aish.com site: “Whether he is aware of it or not, Netanyahu is in line with mainstream rabbinical Diaspora ideology, which is the way Jews have been functioning since Roman times. A Jew does not ask for too much, a Jew does not grab…”

She then states: “And yet, and yet… Who cannot be pained and outraged to see Jews hounded on their sacred land? Does one need reminding that Judaism’s holiest spot on earth isn’t the Kotel—it’s the Temple Mount! Sometimes I want to cry out: Enough with this humiliating passivity. If we don’t claim this land as ours, it may be lost forever.”

She concludes by saying, “But then the words of our sages return to me, as they must. One isn’t permitted to force the hand of the Messiah. For now, one cannot pray there. Instead I yearn to see our Temple rebuilt, and Jews from the four corners of the earth coming to pray there as a unified people. May we see this speedily in our days.”

My personal response: Well, said Ruchama, extremely well said. However, I strongly believe that Jews should resume praying on Temple Mount now (and forever more).

It’s clear in her article and other writings that she, too, longs for Messiah’s coming. As do I and so many other Jews and Christians. That he will make all things right, straighten all crooked paths, including the path to Temple Mount.

Whether now or when he returns, without the Prince of Peace, Yeshua haMashiach, genuine everlasting peace is impossible anywhere in the world, most certainly in Israel and on Temple Mount.

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Things to Ponder

There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever: We are living in the Omega generation, the generation that will see the return of Messiah Jesus. The end time signs are overwhelming in frequency and clarity.

God’s discipline of his special possession, the Jews and Israel, ended after the worst affliction they have ever suffered … the Holocaust. The Lord called them back and they were reborn as a people and as a nation, with their ancient language restored. Gentile domination of Jews and Israel ended in 1967, when Israel reclaimed ultimate authority over all of Israel. All of Israel belongs to them.

So let them walk up the ramp from the Western Wall, touch and kiss the sacred ground, and worship on Temple Mount when they choose.

Listen to the words of the prophet Zechariah, who writes about the last days in which we are living, the days of Israel’s restoration.

“I will strengthen Judah and save Israel; I will restore them because of my compassion. It will be as though I had never rejected them, for I am the Lord their God, who will hear their cries. The people of Israel will become like mighty warriors, and their hearts will be made happy as if by wine. Their children, too, will see it and be glad; their hearts will rejoice in the Lord. When I whistle to them, they will come running, for I have redeemed them. From the few who are left, (from the Holocaust) they will grow as numerous as they were before. Though I have scattered them like seeds among the nations, they will still remember me in distant lands. They and their children will survive and return again to Israel” (Zechariah 10:6-9).

The chapter concludes with: “By my power, I will make my people strong, and by my authority they will go wherever they wish. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Zechariah 10:12, italics for emphasis).

Do you agree (with God)? Wherever they wish includes Temple Mount!

A Trilogy of Terror

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Christmas … More Than a Baby in a Manger

What a joyous time of the year! Believers in Jesus as Messiah and Savior and unbelievers alike celebrate Christmas, which is more than just a tradition. It is a vital and vibrant fact of life, and has led to a way of life for hundreds of millions from every language, race, and country. World religions are, for the most part, confined to certain races, regions, and nations. The Christian faith is truly universal. Even those from the major religions of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism, to some extent or another, sense something special about this holiday (Holy Day) though it’s been over 2000 years since the birth of Jesus Christ. That’s because his birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension back to heaven is Timeless.

His is truly the Greatest (true) Story ever told, but it only begins with Christmas.

Though it has been increasingly secularized by those who don’t believe in the reason for the season; when they light the lights of Christmas, they representatively point to the Light of the World. When they exchange gifts, they express the greatest gift ever given—the sacrificial death of God’s Son for our sins.

Yet millions upon millions who celebrate Christmas continue to see the Christ-child only as a baby in a manager. As precious and meaningful as the birth of Jesus is to the Christian faith, so many forget or prefer not to remember that his birth was only the beginning of his life, death, and resurrection from the grave to accomplish the magnificent plan of God’s salvation for the human race.

The gospels and epistles are replete with his words of truth, life, and hope; but also words of warning of the great tribulation and coming judgment. As do most of the Old Testament prophets. What many preachers and teachers have said is true: Jesus and Scripture talk more about hell than heaven. More about sin and its awful consequences than the salvation that will forgive those sins and pardon the penalty imposed by God. But for a purpose: To demonstrate that, as awesome as God’s love is for every individual and for the Jewish nation as a whole, God’s justice must be administered or the world as we know it would inevitably self-destruct. Imploding from within by the destructive consequences of sin that produce the evil that results in the explosion of terrorism and war caused by terrorists and tyrants.

Indeed, it is vital to know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem of a Virgin, as his birth fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah (7:14) and Micah (5:1-2) for the coming Messiah. That he was born a Jew from the lineage of King David (genealogy in Matthew 1), to validate that he was the child of promise descending from Abraham’s son, Isaac.

Yet, the vast majority of dozens of Bible prophecies pertaining to Messiah relate to who he is and what he does as fully man and fully God. None more so than the following:

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

As with all Scripture, there is reason for the syntax (sentence structure, order, and arrangement) of verses and passages, including this Messianic prophecy, written some 2,700 years ago.

A Child Born … A Son Given To Us

This amazing announcement through Isaiah of the coming Messiah begins with, “For a child is born to us…” This is not only a logical place to begin (birth), but even more so an affirmation of what other prophets had said and would say … that the Messiah would be a man. As opposed to an angel or merely some cosmic force that will awaken and assert itself at the end of days, hopefully to triumph over the forces of evil. If you’re wondering, then yes: That was a direct hit on the new Star Wars Movie, The Force Awakens! I’m sure it’s a great movie, but Messiah Jesus is our force. As God the Son, he neither slumbers nor sleeps. And, soon, he will spring into action!

After that little digression, we can get back to wishing everyone a Merry Christmas because this time of the year is, indeed, a wonderful remembrance of the Christ-child born to us so long ago. He was born in Bethlehem, Israel; not in a galaxy far, far away. But Jesus’s birth did originate from a conception never before and never again experienced. This miraculous birth was, indeed, the coming of the Messiah, “…whose origins are from the distant past” (Micah 5:2).

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But we must not stop there, as many people do. We should not leave baby Jesus in the manager as though the only reason for celebrating Christmas is to remember his day of birth, glorious as it was. If we stop there, then we might as well not read the rest of Isaiah’s powerful prophecy that comes after, “For a child is born to us….”

Also notice to whom the child is born. He is born, “to us.” Every person on this earth ever born has worth and meaning, but that value as part of humanity is first and foremost to the person’s parents and family; not to or for the entire human race as such. Not so Messiah Yeshua. He was born to “us”; to all peoples of the world—past, present, and future.

Not only was the Christ-child born to and for the whole human race, Isaiah continues by saying, “…a son is given to us.” Throughout Scripture, Messiah is referred to as the Son of God, Son of David, and Son of Man; and, in terms of God’s timeless plan unfolding chronologically, in that order.

King David refers to Messiah as both man and God … the Son of God, David’s Lord. Specifically, see Psalm 2 and 110. For a detailed expansion of this magnificent truth, please see Eye of Prophecy articles entitled, Does God Really Have a Son, Part I & II, posted 10-31 & 11-7-15.

There are other Bible passages, both direct and implied, that Messiah would be divine, including the passage we’re examining in Isaiah. Through his spectacular return from the dead, Jesus proved beyond any doubt that he was the Son of God and God the Son (David’s Lord). Moreover, God’s Son was given to “us,” for a specific reason and purpose. (Such as found in John 3:16).

Scripture is also replete with evidence that the Messiah will be from tribe of Judah, specifically through the lineage of King David, thus the Son of David. Although Messiah, the Son of God, is from the ancient past (Micah), he would arrive on this earth from the Jewish nation—called out and set aside by God as a people through whom the Lord would bring Light into a world full of spiritual darkness.

Jesus the child grew up to be the Son of Man. He often referred to himself by this term, which further affirms that the Son is given to the entire human race. Son of Man is tantamount to Son of Mankind … Savior of the World. The implication is crystal clear: Jesus, the Son of Man is unique, exclusive, one of a kind. No other person has been fully man and fully God. No one else could possibly qualify to become God’s substitutionary sacrifice to satisfy the God imposed penalty and judgment for our sins. Yet this exclusive salvation, the one and only way to God, is inclusively available to all who believe and receive Jesus as their personal Savior.

From a child born to us and a son given to us, Isaiah’s sweeping prophecy that spans the ages of time fast forwards to, “the government will rest on his shoulders.” Scripture tells us (Old Testament looking ahead) that all nations of the earth would be given to Christ as his rightful inheritance. That he will exercise authority over the entire earth, and the world’s government (singular) will “rest on his shoulders.”

Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace

Isaiah goes on to say that this son given to us, who will bear the welfare of all peoples of the earth on his shoulders, will be called (meaning that is who he is): “…Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

And, “He will rule with fairness and justice … for all eternity.” (Verse 7).

Isn’t that whom people all over the world are longing and hoping for? One man whose reign is supreme, but one who governs in justice, fairness, goodness, kindness, compassion; one whose reign will bring permanent peace to this earth. Not a despot or a group of “religious” anarchists that use terrorism as a means of subjugation and forced loyalty to a religion of death. Or other religions that offer no certainty of life after death or of one’s ultimate destiny.

Unlike Biblical salvation that says we can know beyond any doubt: “I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life” (I John 5:13).

The Son of God, Son of David, and Son of Man will be called Wonderful Counselor. That is exactly who he was and what he did during his brief time on this earth. His words of eternal life and everlasting truth were, indeed, wonderful, as were his many miracles of healing. He gave counsel that astonished even the elite religious leaders of his time; wisdom of which thousands who listened to him were in awe, both those who believed that he was the Messiah and those who did not believe. And he will do so again upon his glorious return; but this time as the Lion from the tribe of Judah, rather than the Lamb of God who willingly gave up his life for our sins.

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Messiah Jesus is our Wonderful Counselor, but also the Mighty God. That title is what today’s Part III article will focus on because the Mighty or Almighty God is the title used in Scripture, especially the book of Revelation, Such as: “…Great and marvelous are your works, O Lord God, the Almighty. Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations” (Revelation 15:3).

After Mighty God, comes Everlasting Father which affirms Jesus’s declaration that he and his Father are one … his divinity. Though separate Persons in the magnificent Trinity, they are also One God. As Mighty God and King, Jesus will crush the ten-nation confederation led by the Antichrist and the vast armies of the Kings of the East in the final battle of Armageddon.

The last majestic title ascribed to Messiah (Jesus) is Prince of Peace. For that is exactly who he is and will be and what he will do after he wages a righteous war to rescue Israel from her enemies and the entire world from self-annihilation. As King of all kings, he will, indeed, be the Prince of Peace on earth throughout the Millennium and then all Eternity.

Mighty God

The Lord has many names, but two in particular portray his Omnipotence (all-powerful): El Elyon (Most High God) and El Shaddai (Almighty God). God has displayed his power throughout the ages when and where he chose, mostly through supernatural events that set aside the natural laws of physics. For example, the ten plagues against Egypt and Pharaoh. And the greatest miracle of all: Jesus resurrection from the dead.

As indicated in last week’s article, we need to fully comprehend that Jesus came into this world to declare the truth of God’s salvation (through Jesus, the ultimate Truth) and to destroy Satan’s kingdom of evil manifested through the wickedness present in the four corners of our planet. In its place will be the resplendent Kingdom of Heaven on earth.

That is why the longest message given by Jesus is the Sermon on the Mount which described all of the characteristics of the Kingdom of God (on earth) in great detail. This is the glorious Kingdom Age that will govern the earth during the Millennium. The second longest message given by Jesus comprises two lengthy chapters in Matthew’s Gospel (Chapters 24 & 25) in which he describes the signs and events directly preceding and then including the Tribulation.

For these reasons and because we are living in the last of the last days, this year’s Eye of Prophecy Christmas trilogy is focused on the terrorism so rampant throughout the world, almost exclusively at the hands of Islamic radicals. Yet, tacitly supported and condoned by mainstream Muslims. But also the terror that will terrorize the terrorists as a result of God’s judgment on those who: (1) persecute and kill Jews and Christians; and (2) all those who reject God’s gracious and everlasting life-giving redemption in and through Messiah Jesus.

Let’s examine some of the incredible catastrophes that will instill Holy Terror in the hearts and minds of unbelievers … those “who belong to the world.” Beginning with a verse quoted in the first two articles of this Eye of Prophecy trilogy, Terror, Terror, Terror!

“Then I looked, and I heard a single eagle crying loudly as it flew through the air, ‘Terror, terror, terror to all who belong to this world because of what will happen when the last three angels blow their trumpets’” (Revelation 8:13).

This astounding announcement to the entire world was made by an eagle, which takes place after the 4th trumpet judgment and immediately precedes the 5th, 6th, and 7th angelic trumpets. There’s no indication that the eagle is symbolic, as is the case with other images in the book of Revelation where metaphorical comparisons are made with words such as, (looked) like and as (though). But whether the eagle is real or a symbolic representation of say an airplane is not the issue. The fact remains that the Lord is warning the entire world that what has happened up to this point in the Great Tribulation will pale in comparison to what remains.

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The eagle shouts this apocalyptic admonishment almost exactly half-way through the twenty-one catastrophes that the earth will experience from the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgements … of which there are seven each. I’m convinced that this global proclamation will track chronologically with the twenty-one judgments; it will occur approximately half-way through the Tribulation, with the last 3 ½ years experiencing the full wrath of Almighty God.

Let’s first look at the seven seal judgments.

The Seven Seals Are Broken

The seven seals of the heavenly scroll could only be opened by Christ Jesus. Because of who he is and what he has done for the whole world through his redemptive sacrifice on the cross, only he is qualified to break the seals and, by doing so, allow malevolent rulers and their armies to release the full measure of violence on the earth and rebellion against God.

“You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10).

The first four seals are the most well-known: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. As a direct result of treachery (false peace), then war, famine, destruction, and death never before seen on such a scale, approximately one-fourth of the earth’s population will perish. Moreover, this is man-made carnage.

The fifth seal is directly linked to the preceding four seals, in that it depicts Christian tribulation saints (Jew and Gentile), “who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony” (Revelation 6:9).

The sixth seal results in a great earthquake (one of four catastrophic earthquakes during the Tribulation) in which, “…The sun became as dark as black cloth, and the moon became as red as blood … The sky was rolled up like a scroll, and all of the mountains and islands were moved from their places” (Revelation 6:12-14).

The seventh seal brings another mighty earthquake in which, “thunder crashed, lightning flashed…” (Revelation 8:5); but the seventh seal also signals the appointment of seven angels to blow the seven trumpets which is the next phenomenal phase of the Great Tribulation. By strong implication, this thunder and lightning will be the most dramatic display of lightning and thunder ever seen before. And it very well could be just what the order of the words state, i.e. thunder first, then lightning. To demonstrate that God has complete control over nature, to the extent of reversing the normal physics of: lightning first, then thunder. Every bit as extraordinary as the sun turning black and the moon blood-red.

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However, for the most part, the seven seals and the first four trumpet calamities will be a combination of man-made disasters (war, famine, plagues) and natural disasters; albeit with unparalleled scope and severity dramatically and destructively heightened by the beginning of God’s supernatural intervention.

This conclusion is corroborated by the first four trumpets that will destroy and disrupt one-third of:

  • Grass and trees of the entire earth set on fire (Revelation 8:7).
  • Salt water in the oceans and seas turning to blood, killing one-third of ocean life and destroying one-third of the ships (Verses 8-9).
  • Fresh water in rivers and springs supernaturally polluted (inland water), resulting in the death of many people from drinking the water (Verses 10-11).
  • The light of the sun, moon, and stars darkened resulting in utter darkness for one-third of both day and night (Verse 12).

As terrible as these trumpets are, they are only a partial demonstration of God’s providential power, so identified by the numerical impact that only one-third of the earth, sun, and moon will be affected.

The seven seal and first four trumpet judgments will include all peoples to give them more than enough incentive and opportunity to choose the true Messiah, Jesus, over the false Messiah (Nero), even at the pain of death. Most of the tribulation saints will die in the carnage of the four horsemen and at the hands of Antichrist (Nero), and some in the trumpet (first four) disasters.

However, beginning with the fifth trumpet judgment, it’s clear that the shock and awe of what’s happened to date has worn off of those who, “belong to the world;” a phrase used several times in Revelation of the people who have hardened their hearts much like Pharaoh and most Egyptians prior to the Exodus. Despite the overwhelming evidence that God is directly intervening in the affairs of men, billions will still believe the lie that either Antichrist or their national leaders (kings of the East) will save them and usher in Utopia. Conversely, the vast majority of those who will bravely accept the true Messiah (Jesus) as Lord and Savior, will have already done so by this stage of the Tribulation.

Which is why the fifth trumpet judgment signals a dramatic shift in the nature and extent of what is to come. Which is also why God uses an (talking) eagle to get the attention of the entire globe. The triple Terror that is to come with the last three trumpets, followed by the unbelievable horror and destruction inflicted by the seven bowl judgments is beyond anything the most creative science fiction writer could ever imagine. For those left behind at the Rapture, it will be all too real.

The First Terror Begins

“Then the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen to earth from the sky, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit” (Revelation 9:1). Time/space does not permit quoting the rest of the fifth trumpet passage, but the result was unimaginable pain caused by (what John metaphorically describes as) locusts that are clearly demons released from the Abyss—which is the same place from where the beast-king, the Roman Emperor Nero, will suddenly appear to the amazement of the world (Revelation 17:8).

The agonizing pain caused by the “sting” of these demons will torment for five months, “only the people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads” (Revelation 9:4). Meaning the 144,000 Jews and the tribulation saints will not be touched by these demonic forces from the Abyss. However, unbelievers will, “…seek death but will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them!” (Verse 6).

As we will read later, God avenges the blood of his people by spilling the blood of those who kill Jews and Christians, but this tormenting sting of death without dying is also God’s revenge on those who have persecuted and will literally torture God’s people before and during the Tribulation.

Yet, this is just a warm-up to what will happen next when the sixth trumpet is sounded.

The Second Terror Is Unleashed

Another demonic army numbering 200 million will be released to wreak incredible havoc and death on the earth. To the implausible extent that, “One-third of all the people on earth were killed by these three plagues—by the fire and smoke and burning sulfur…” (Revelation 9:18). As calculated in the Eye of Prophecy article, Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation, posted 6-6-15, this one-third will result in approximately 1.6 billion deaths. Although this massive catastrophe is permitted by God (to allow evil to run its course), it is not directly at the hand of God; rather it is straight from the gates of hell.

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Once again we can reliably conclude that the vast majority of those killed are unbelievers for two reasons: (1) the fifth seal yielding the already stated premise that most tribulation Christians (who chose Messiah Jesus after the Rapture) will have already died or been killed by now.

(2) The fact that: “But the people who did not die in these plagues (meaning the 6th trumpet) still refused to repent of their evil deeds and turn to God … And they did not repent of their murders of their witchcraft or their sexual immorality or their thefts” (Revelation 9:20-21).

To further affirm the premise in last week’s article, the above verse unmistakably demonstrates one of the two reasons for God’s second world-wide judgment of mankind (the Great Flood being the first): Which is to eliminate evil and man-made terrorism, but also to give people the opportunity like never before to turn to God and his Messiah for salvation. Revelation Chapter 9 is the first of three times during the Great Tribulation that people refused to repent (change their minds about and toward God) because they loved the wickedness of their sins and rebellion.

When the seventh trumpet is blown initiating the third Terror, it is again directed toward unbelievers because it is a terror that will usher in and include the final seven bowl judgments that are also, as we will see, designed to punish those who continue their defiance of the true and living God and rejection of his Messiah.

The Third Terror Strikes

“The second terror is past, but look, the third terror is quickly coming. Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting in heaven: ‘The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever’” (Revelation 11:14-15).

And then, “…It is time to destroy all who have caused destruction on the earth” (Verse 18).

For the tribulation saints who have not yet died at the hands of Antichrist, this will be a time of great rejoicing and gratitude. They will shout with the host of heaven: “…We give thanks to you, Lord God, the Almighty, the one who is and who always was, for now you have assumed your great power and have begun to reign. The nations were filled with wrath, but now the time of your wrath has come…” (Revelation 11:17-18).

In the seventh trumpet judgment which begins the Third Terror, we have the third of four great earthquakes during the Tribulation, along with a “terrible hailstorm” (Revelation 11:19).

We see that the remaining bowl judgments are directed exclusively against the unbelievers, this time to specifically include Antichrist and his ten-nation coalition. Preceded by another trilogy of warnings that involves three mighty angels, with the first angel shouting to, “the people who belong to the world—to every nation, tribe, language, and people. ‘Fear God … Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as judge…’” (Revelation 14:6-7).

The second angel shouting: “Babylon is fallen—that great city is fallen—because she made all the nations of the world drink the wine of her passionate immorality” (Verse 8). Please refer to Eye of Prophecy articles entitled, The Woman and the Beast I through VI, published October and November, 2013, for detailed information as to the identity of Babylon (the seat of Roman Catholicism in the great city of Rome). Refer also to Revelation 17 & 18.

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The third angel shouting: “… Anyone who worships the beast and his statue or who accepts his mark … must drink the wine of God’s anger…” (Verses 9-10).

Finally the seven bowl judgments that exponentially expand the magnitude of God’s final wrath poured out on those who stubbornly refuse to listen to God’s global warnings, both verbally and by means of catastrophic disasters never before seen by mankind, nor ever will again. Briefly in order, the bowl judgments are:

  • “…Horrible, malignant sores broke out on everyone who had the mark of the beast and who worshipped his statue” (Revelation 16:2).
  • Everything in the sea dying … as opposed to just one-third in the trumpet judgment (Verse 3).
  • Fresh (inland) waters becoming blood, but not just one-third of them. Once again we see this judgment executed against unbelievers, because an angel proclaims, “…You are just, O Holy One, who is and who always was, because you have sent these judgments. Since they shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets, you have given them blood to drink. It is their just reward” (Verses 5-6). Followed by, “Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, your judgments are true and just” (Verse 7).
  • A massive solar flare in which people were, “burned by this blast of heat.” But again, “…they cursed the name of God, who had control over all these plagues. They did not repent of their sins and turn to God and give him glory” (Verses 8-9).
  • I’ll quote the fifth bowl judgment: “Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. His subjects ground their teeth in anguish, and they cursed the God of heaven for their pains and sores. But they did not repent of their evil deeds and turn to God” (Revelation 16:10-11).
  • The sixth bowl judgment is that which precipitates and includes the final battle of the ages, when the rulers of the world (Kings of the east) join with Antichrist and the False Prophet to, “…battle against the Lord on that great judgment day of God the Almighty.” (Revelation 16:14). “And the demonic spirits gathered all the rulers and their armies to a place with the Hebrew name Armageddon” (Verse 16).
  • The seventh and final of God’s judgments is the most awesome and destructive of all. It is so devastating as to literally boggle the mind, one that is incomprehensibly stunning in scope and severity. No movie ever made or picture painted or story told or song sung could adequately describe what will take place.

We must simply defer to the Bible, and do the best we can to grasp the enormity of it all.

Read with me:

“Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air. And a mighty shout came from the throne in the Temple, saying, ‘It is finished!’ Then the thunder crashed and rolled, and lightning flashed. And a great earthquake struck—the worst since people were placed on the earth. The great city of Babylon split into three sections, and the cities of many nations fell into heaps of rubble. So God remembered all of Babylon’s sins, and he made her drink the cup that was filled with the wine of his fierce wrath. And every island disappeared, and all the mountains were leveled. There was a terrible hailstorm, and hailstones weighing seventy-five pounds fell from the sky onto the people below. They cursed God because of the terrible plague of the hailstorm” (Revelation 16:17-21).

Great cities all over the world reduced to rubble. Unthinkable!

Every island on earth swept under the sea by titanic tsunamis. Unimaginable!

Majestic mountains razed to the ground. Inconceivable!

Yet, what was it that caused the people who remained to once again curse God? None other than the hailstones! Which, by implication, exceeded the unfathomable devastation of this world-wide earthquake itself.

Things to Ponder

When an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to the shepherds, “…the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them, ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!’” (Luke 2:9-11).

Indeed, a child has been born and a son has been given to us. The shepherds were terrified, but only because of the angel’s sudden dramatic appearance and the brilliance of the Lord’s glory that surrounded them. Immediately they were reassured and their terror was gone.

Not so with all those who sadly, ever so tragically, deny that Jesus is Messiah, Son of God, Son of David, Son of Man. Many will experience the terrible terror of the Tribulation, the eternal horror of dying in their sins without Messiah Jesus as their Savior.

Listen to the words of the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary:

“You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” (Luke 1:31-33). And, “…he will be called the Son of God” (Verse 35).

Soon, very soon those who know Messiah Jesus as personal Savior will shout with the host of heaven:

“…All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

“Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him—even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him. Yes! Amen!” (Revelation 1:5-7).

Baruch haba beshem Adonai. (Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord).

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

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Terror, Terror, Terror (Part II)

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Terror and Truth

Perhaps you’re wondering why a sequel article on terror and terrorism is being posted instead of a more seasonal theme about Christmas. Or even why the first article (Part I published last week) couldn’t wait until this wonderful time of the year had run its cheerful course … what with the lovely lights, delightful decorations, marvelous meals, and gracious gifts given and received. Why dwell on such a seriously somber subject at such a festive time in the lives of billions the world over?

Well, for the record, there was a timely Eye of Prophecy article posted last Holiday season entitled Merry Christmas, What’s It All About? Published 12-20-14. And the year before that, The Wonder of It All, posted 12-21-13. If you’d rather read those articles, then by all means do so. I think both are quite good, but then I’m a little bit partial! So, why focus on the repulsive reality of today’s terror-filled world anytime, let alone this joyous time of year when we celebrate the birth of the Christ-child? Isn’t there enough media bombardment of gloom and doom before and after Christmas?

There is an answer, which is the same reason for the season that we celebrate Christmas in the first place, none other than Jesus Christ (Yeshua HaMashiach). As meaningful as it is to revere the miraculous arrival of Messiah Jesus through his Virgin Birth, we also need to remember the real reason that he came to this earth. We revel in his glorious arrival as fully God and fully Man, but we also need to grasp God’s ultimate providential purpose for this child born, this son given (Isaiah 9:6) to the human race. It is a plan that determines our very destiny, individually and collectively as human beings. It is above all else:

TRUTH! (Including the truth about the terror experienced just before and during the Great Tribulation).

Jesus, himself, spoke often about such truth. Right up to the time of his crucifixion, which began with an unlawful, unjust trial devised by the Jewish religious leaders to falsely condemn him to death. Listen to the words of Jesus in response to the interrogation by the Roman Governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate:

“…Actually I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true” (John 18:37).

Angels announced this magnificent birth: “The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” (Luke 2:11).

Jesus not only proclaimed truth, he claimed that he is Truth (John 14:6). That he is the only way to God, the only means of redemption and deliverance from the coming judgment of God on a wicked world. That this salvation would bring life … everlasting life with God in heaven.

Repeatedly during his ministry on this earth, Jesus said that he spoke the words of truth given to him by his Father, the true and living God. And that his miracles confirmed that he was not only the Son of God, but God the Son. Of himself, Jesus used the awesome, holy name of God … I AM (Yahweh). With the greatest miracle of all: His resurrection from the dead!

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Said Jesus to the Jewish Pharisees: “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am!” (John 8:58).

To those who believed in him, Jesus said, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

Free from what? Scripture is abundantly clear in many passages: The truth of redemption purchased by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus’s death on the cross will set us free from the penalty of our sins, which is eternal separation from God in hell. It will protect us from believing and following the lies of Satan and those who embrace those lies, including many religions and religious leaders. And in these last days, our redemptive position in Christ will spare us from the soon to come apocalyptic terror of man-made carnage and of God’s wrath on the earth.

“For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever” (I Thessalonians 5:9-10). Yet, this assurance is only for believers in Messiah Jesus.

Of the Jewish religious leaders, Jesus said: “…for if you were really the children of Abraham, you would follow his example. Instead, you are trying to kill me because I told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham never did such a thing. No, you are imitating your real father … If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God … For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him … for he is a liar and the father of lies. So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me! Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God” (John 8:39-47).

If these words from Messiah are applicable even to religious leaders, they certainly are true for all peoples.

Later the Apostle John gives us a companion reason why Jesus came into this world. By declaring the truth of Biblical salvation which is only available in and through Christ Jesus, and with Jesus being the very essence of that truth, John states: “But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil” (I John 3:8, italics for emphasis).

Satan’s Strategy

From the very beginning, Satan declared war on God and the human race. Satan hates the truth of God’s salvation through Messiah Jesus, and his strategy is summed up in Jesus’s description of him as, “a murderer from the beginning” and “a liar and the father of lies.”

Satan’s tactics are twofold:

  1. Covertly, through lies that distort, degrade, and deny the truth of God’s sovereignty in creating the world and of God’s magnificent plan of redemption to deliver mankind from the penalty of rebellion (sin) against God. This salvation is frequently spoken of in Scripture, and can be summarized 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).

Ironically, the greatest deception is through religion, i.e. man-made religions like Islam that erroneously teach good works as a means of pleasing God or somehow earning their way to heaven. Which in reality and practice entails all religions and cults (including Roman Catholicism), except Christianity which is not a religion. Not a religion because the truth of the Good News tells us that God, through Christ, did for us what we could not do for ourselves … redemption and forgiveness of sins. No one has done enough or can do enough to merit a divine pardon for any and all transgressions against God. Moreover, we sin because we’re born with a sin nature … a built in propensity to do what is wrong, inherited from our original ancestors, Adam and Eve.

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Think of GEICO. They sell insurance and make commercials. That’s what they do! Now think of the Energizer Bunny. Until we are changed by the spiritual rebirth in Christ, we keep on sinning and sinning and… That’s what we do.

As believers who have been redeemed by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ: “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone, a new life has begun!” (II Corinthians 5:17).

2. Overtly, through violence (the ultimate of which is murder) to eliminate some; and to suppress, oppress, and terrorize others into complete submission to whatever or whoever is terrorizing them. Hence, the anti-Semitic subjugation of and genocidal attacks against Jews from the birth of the Jewish people to this very day; and the equally diabolical persecution and killings of reborn (spiritually) Christians from all nations, including Israel, since the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Satan—and the tyrants, religions, nations, and ethnic groups of people who deliberately or unwittingly align themselves with Satan’s agenda—employs terrorism to forcefully coerce submission and loyalty. Thus, the terror of terrorism has a purpose. It’s clearly evident that today’s terrorists are systematically dispensing fear and horror through brutal persecution and ruthless killing of innocent people. This terror is utilized for, “a cause.” It is to establish a Muslim kingdom over the entire earth. Or with non-religious governments, such as Nazi Germany or Communist Russia, to deify the State as supreme over the lives of its people. But it’s also terror for the sake of terror … an end unto itself. Because, if their gruesome goals are achieved, they will continue terrorizing people to solidify submission and to discourage dissent.

Who Are The Guilty?

The characteristics and attributes of God as conveyed in the Bible are extraordinary and explicit.

Such as: Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Immutable, Perfect, Alpha, Omega, Life, Light, Truth, Holy, Righteous, Patient, Just, Fair, Faithful, Merciful, and Savior.

Because of who he is, the Lord freely offers: Grace, Forgiveness, Redemption, and Everlasting Life. Man was created in his image. In that regard, God displays the same emotions as we do. But his character and emotions are pure; flawlessly expressed and perfectly relevant to every situation in which he proactively or reactively responds to people and events. Feelings such as: love, hate, compassion, and anger.

When God first revealed himself to Moses from the burning bush, he identified himself by name … I AM. A name that contained and conveyed his very essence or glory … the Timeless, Everlasting God. Subsequently, God granted Moses’ request to look upon God’s glory, but with conditions. Moses could not look directly at God’s face or Moses would die. Instead, he gazed upon the afterglow of God’s glory. Here’s what happened:

“Then the Lord came down in a cloud and stood there with him; and he called out his own name, Yahweh. The Lord passed in front of Moses, calling out, ‘Yahweh! The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty…’” (Exodus 34:5-7, italics for emphasis).

Who are the guilty and why (when) cannot God excuse their guilt? That question will be answered, but not until we expand on the first part of this awesome announcement by God to Moses: “I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.”

Well over a thousand years later, the Jewish Apostle John wrote about the incomparable love of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; who was also the God of Moses, King David, the prophets, and subsequently of all those who believed and received the Son of God (Messiah Jesus) as their personal Savior and Lord.

“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (I John 4:9-10).

Moreover, the Son of God, Messiah Jesus, is the picture-perfect, “visible image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). “For God in all his fullness (attributes, essence) was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself” (Colossians 1:19-20).

John goes on to say in his epistle: “And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love” (I John 4:13-16).

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Then the Apostle John simply but profoundly states: “…God is love…” (Verse 16).

Those (believers) who have placed their trust in God’s gracious provision for redemption and forgiveness of sin through God’s Son, Jesus Christ, will have everlasting life. Furthermore, they need not fear the, “great and terrible day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31).

John goes on to say:

“And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the Day of Judgment, but we can face him with confidence….” (I John 4:17).

Holy Terror

Said God through his prophet to Israel and about the Gentile nations: “Yes, says the Lord, I will do mighty miracles for you, like those I did when I rescued you from slavery in Egypt. All the nations of the world will stand amazed at what the Lord will do for you. They will be embarrassed at their feeble power. They will cover their mouths in silent awe, deaf to everything around them. Like snakes crawling from their holes, they will come out to meet the Lord our God. They will fear him greatly, trembling in terror at his presence” (Micah 7:15-17).

Listen now to the remarkable similarity between the prophet Micah’s end time prophecy and what those left behind will experience, just a short time after the soon to come Rapture and Great Tribulation:

“Then everyone—the kings of the earth, the rulers, the generals, the wealthy, the powerful, and every slave and free person—all hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb (Messiah Jesus). For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to survive?” (Revelation 6:15-17).

The terror that comes from God is truly a Holy Terror. Although God’s judgment is meant to destroy all that is wicked and perverse, the actual terror is intended by God to demonstrate that he is the Sovereign God. This terror (fear and awe) comes from the very presence of God, from the very thought of God’s holiness and righteousness. From the very idea that he is true and just and fair in all that he is and does. Most of all that God’s salvation is available to all who willingly believe and receive Christ as Savior and Lord. But for those who reject so great a salvation, only judgment remains. Thus, God’s Wrath serves a dual purpose: to judge evil, but also to traumatically and dramatically get the attention of many. For those left behind after the Rapture, that is (unfortunately) what it will take.

Even Moses experienced this terror. Once again, referring to Moses encounter with the Most High God at the burning bush: “When Moses saw it he was amazed at the sight. As he went take a closer look, the voice of the Lord called out to him, ‘I am the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ Moses shook with terror and did not dare to look” (Acts 7:31-32).

Yet this was not the terror of impending judgment, rather of obvious respect for and awe of God’s holiness. The result of such an awesome encounter with God was that Moses would devote the rest of his life to serving a holy, but loving and merciful God.

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But for those who reject God in general and God’s Son, Messiah Jesus, in particular, a Bible passage quoted in last week’s article bears repeating:

“Will those who do evil never learn? They eat up my people like bread and wouldn’t think of praying to God. Terror will grip them, terror like they have never known before. God will scatter the bones of your enemies. You will put them to shame, for God has rejected them. Who will come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel? When God restores his people, Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice” (Psalm 53:4-6).

Terror from Divine Justice and Judgement

God is Love, but he is also Just … Justice. Both of these attributes exist equally in and with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Many people emphasize one of these attributes above the other, but they must be kept in balance. However, most people prefer not to talk or even think about God’s (perfect) justice, which by very definition and expression must include judgment and retribution.

On this earth, we expect and endorse justice for those among us who refuse to abide by the law of the land. To overlook or capriciously excuse those who rob, defraud, falsely testify, assault, persecute, and murder is to create anarchy and injustice—the likes of which would cause society and government to collapse. No less and even more so with the Lord. “…Should not the Judge of all the earth do what is right” (Genesis 18:25).

“…For the Lord is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with fairness” (Psalm 98:9).

God is perfectly loving, but he also is perfectly just.

“For I, the Lord, love justice…” (Isaiah 61:8).

And, “The Sovereign Lord will show his justice to the nations of the world. Everyone will praise him! His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring with plants springing up everywhere” (Verse 11).

One more: “The Lord is king! Let the nations tremble!” (Psalm 99:1). Then, “Mighty King, lover of justice, you have established fairness. You have acted with justice and righteousness throughout Israel” (Verse 4). And, by obvious implication … the whole world.

Furthermore, God’s justice administered through judgment is perfectly pure and profoundly proportionate. It’s from the Law of Moses that Roman law and now Western law derives the standard that: Punishment must fit the crime.

During the last days (the Great Tribulation soon to come), we read many times of the righteousness, holiness, truth, and justice exemplified through the judgments administered by God and by Messiah on an unrighteous, unholy, lying, and unjust world.

Such as:

“…You are just, O Holy One, who is and who always was, because you have sent these judgments. Since they shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets, you have given them blood to drink. It is their just reward … “Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, your judgments are true and just” (Revelation 16:5-7).

And, “…Great and marvelous are your works, O Lord God, the Almighty. Just and true are your ways O King of the nations. Who will not fear you, Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous deeds have been revealed” (Revelation 15:3-4).

Against the rulers of this earth (both secular and religious), those whose actions deceive and terrorize their enemies but also their own people, Scripture declares through King David:

“Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one. ‘Let us break their chains,’ they cry, ‘and free ourselves from slavery to God.’ But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. Then in anger he rebukes them, terrifying them with his fierce fury” (Psalm 2:1-5).

Later, King David warns: “Now then, you kings, act wisely! Be warned, you rulers of the earth! Serve the Lord with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling. Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry, and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities—for his anger flares up in an instant. But what joy for all who take refuge in him!” (Psalm 2:10-12).

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According to Scripture, God’s judgment is exceptionally harsh against those in illegitimate or legitimate authority—rulers, leaders, judges, religious factions (like ISIS) who mislead, suppress, oppress, and otherwise terrorize others into submission. Those who are perniciously proud of their wickedness and audaciously arrogant toward God and others.

“Justice—do you rulers know the meaning of the word? Do you judge the people fairly? No! You plot injustice in your hearts. You spread violence throughout the land” (Psalm 58:1-2).

King David continues in this passage: “Break off their fangs, O God! Smash the jaws of these lions, O Lord! May they disappear like water into thirsty ground. Make their weapons useless in their hands” (Verses 6-7).

David concludes with: “Then at last everyone will say, ‘There truly is a reward for those who live for God; surely there is a God who judges justly here on earth’” (Verse 11).

Listen to the Psalmist speak of God’s justice: “O Lord, God of vengeance, O God of vengeance, let your glorious justice shine forth! Arise, O judge of the earth. Give the proud what they deserve. How long, O Lord? How long will the wicked be allowed to gloat? How long will they speak with arrogance? How long will these evil people boast? They crush your people, Lord, hurting those you claim as your own. They kill widows and foreigners and murder orphans. ‘The Lord isn’t looking,’ they say, ‘and besides, the God of Israel doesn’t care.’

“Think again you fools! When will you finally catch on? Is he deaf—the one who made your ears? Is he blind—the one who formed your eyes? He punishes the nations—won’t he also punish you? He knows everything—doesn’t he also know what you are doing?” (Psalm 94:1-10).

(*Note: Recently, it was discovered that ISIS has begun to murder children who are disabled or deformed, much as Nazi Germany did during World War II. How hideous is that? But what about government sponsored abortion in the United States? Is that any different?)

In the context of God restoring and protecting Israel in the last days by means of divine judgment (including the justified terror that it brings) on those who seek to destroy God’s people, both Jew and Gentile, contrasted to the terrorism dispensed by wicked people, Scripture states: “The Lord will not reject his people; he will not abandon his special possession. Judgment will again be founded on justice, and those with virtuous hearts will pursue it” (Psalm 94:14-15, italics for emphasis).

Then, a rhetorical question: “Can unjust leaders claim that God is on their side—leaders whose decrees permit injustice?” (Verse 20).

It is a foregone conclusion, a certainty that God will judge evil and wickedness, most assuredly those who terrorize and murder innocent men, woman, and children. His anger will be most intense against those who seek to destroy Israel and the Jews. But also those who persecute and kill believers in God’s Anointed One, Messiah Jesus.

Summary

Returning to our question: Who then are the guilty? Whose guilt will not be excused by God? Who are they that will suffer the wrath of God poured out on the earth as foretold by the prophets and as depicted graphically in the book of Revelation? Who are those among the masses of people already passed from this earth who will rise to perpetual separation from God in the Lake of Fire, instead of everlasting life in heaven? Is it only the brutal sadistic terrorists or every-day murderers … the most wicked among us? Is it only evil tyrants like Adolph Hitler and Osama bin Laden, and their deplorable culprits in crime?

Does anyone on earth have the right to determine who is guilty of breaking God’s laws and falling short of his standards? Or judging whose sins are greater, or who should deserve more punishment, or no punishment at all? Will anyone be able to stand before God and declare they are innocent because of all the good things they’ve done. Or demand (or even request) leniency because the wrong things they’ve done aren’t nearly as bad as other people’s transgressions? Or plead ignorance because they didn’t fully realize the gravity of and consequences for their actions? Or argue that they shouldn’t be so severely penalized just because they didn’t make a decision to accept God’s gracious offer of pardon through what his Son did for them?

The true and living God says, no.

Scripture says: “But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. 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 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 3:21-25, italics for emphasis).

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For you see, we are all guilty. We are all born into sin, and the wages of that sin is death (Romans 6:23). That’s right … we actually earn death. That’s one wage that we all wish we weren’t paid. But we earned it, we deserve it. Scripture also tells us there are two deaths; one that we can’t escape (physical), but one that we can be rescued from … spiritual death or eternal separation from God. In the Bible, death does not mean annihilation; rather, it means separation. That’s what happens when we die, the spirit is separated from the body.

The spirit of every person ever birthed, is born dead … unable to fellowship, love, serve, understand, or even communicate with God. Furthermore, the moment we commit our first sin, we are subject to God’s justice and judgment. Essentially then, we are born under judgment.

Most people don’t think that way or grasp its significance, because we contemplate in terms of innocent (even if we’re not) until judged guilty. But because God needs no court or jury or judge (he is all of those), and because he is timeless, he has already passed judgment on all human beings. Thus, we are all guilty from the very beginning of our lives. How do we know that to be true?

“And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.” (John 3:36, italics for emphasis). Obedience in this passage refers to believing in/on the Son of God and his sacrificial death on the cross. Previously, the Apostle John records that Jesus had said that the (only) ultimate thing God really requires of anyone is that they believe and receive his Son.

Did you catch the italicized words? The only way to remain in or under anything (in this case God’s judgment) is to already be in that condition in the first place.

BUT, God has provided a way out. He will pardon our sins and set aside the guilty verdict for, “anyone who believes in God’s Son.”

The moment we accept Christ as our personal Savior, God declares us not guilty. The charges are dropped. The sentence is commuted. The prison doors are flung open and we can run out, then keep on running right to the gates of heaven, where we will spend a glorious eternity!

Things to Ponder

“Then I looked, and I heard a single eagle crying loudly as it flew through the air, ‘Terror, terror, terror to all who belong to this world because of what will happen when the last three angels blow their trumpets’” (Revelation 8:13).

The ultimate terror is that described by Jesus when speaking to the Jewish religious leaders:

“You are from below; I am from above. You belong to this world; I do not. That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be, you will die in your sins” (John 8:23-24).

There is nothing as tragic as dying without acknowledging and accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. That is what Christ meant by “dying in your sins.” That is the terrifying fate of the extraordinarily wicked on this earth; but also for those who prefer to do it their way. Those who insist on clinging to self-righteousness, to self-merit, to working their way to heaven; to being their own judge of how good they are, especially by comparison to others.

Scripture tells us often that God’s justice is absolutely true and unequivocally equitable. There’s no doubt that there will be different levels of punishment throughout eternity, for those who have rejected Jesus Christ.

Confirmation of this came from Jesus, himself, when he (again) chastised the Jewish religious leaders: “Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be more severely punished” (Mark 12:40). And that was one of the less serious things Jesus said about the Pharisees.

But that’s little consolation when the fact also remains: All who have not made a decision for Jesus Christ will end up in the same God-forsaken (literally) place … the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:13-15).

You don’t want to go there!

(We’re going to need a third article to finish. Please tune in to next week’s Part III of Terror, Terror, Terror!)

Terror, Terror, Terror! (Part I)

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Terror, Terror, Terror!

Earlier this week, news sources all over America once again paused to headline December 7th, 1941 … the horrendous attack on Pearl Harbor. This was the 74th anniversary of what United States President Franklin Roosevelt would (the following day) broadcast: “…a date which will live in infamy.” A day when, “the United States was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”

It was a terrifying assault that, for the moment, struck terror in the lives of Americans. That anyone could or would dare attack the shores of this great country, let alone wreak such destruction on our naval fleet and kill 2,400 US servicemen, was unthinkable. But we gathered ourselves together; we rebounded with the resounding resolve of a “sleeping giant” (the words of Japanese Admiral Yamamoto). Eventually the United States crushed the nation whose people—long before terror and terrorism became every-day terms—believed they could cripple our military beyond recovery; and terrify America traumatically enough to keep us from interfering with their Pacific conquests, to negotiate some form of settlement on their terms, or to think we could possibly win a war against Japan and the Axis Powers.

For baby boomers out there, do you remember the movie released in 1970 about the audacious attack on Pearl Harbor? The film was called Tora! Tora! Tora! The Japanese word, tora, literally means tiger. However, the Japanese military used the term as an acronym for two Japanese words totsugeki raigeki, which means “lightning attack.” Tora, tora, tora … Attack, attack, attack.

For me and for purpose of this article, the Japanese word Tora sounds a lot like Terror. That’s not a far stretch when you imagine the lightning quick attack of a tiger on its target. If the prey is a human being, the attack can be that much more terrifying.

Terror is rampant throughout the world, garnering almost daily headlines as cold calculated acts of terrorism grow in frequency and severity … each with a chilling reminder of 9/11.

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Murder is murder no matter who does the killing; it is the foulest most brutal act of one human being against another. Therefore, is there any difference between terrorism (terrorists who kill) and otherwise random killings by those we normally consider either deranged or morally anesthetized when they take a human life? The answer is an absolute, unqualified, “Yes.” Moreover, it’s vitally necessary that we distinguish between the two, otherwise we won’t know how to reactively and proactively respond. If we conclude that terrorists have the same mindset as common criminals or every-day murderers, then we will miss or ignore their ulterior motive. We will fail to see that terrorism and terrorists—whether members of a terrorist group or lone wolf murderers that otherwise support the ideology of Islamic terrorists—kill for a “cause.”

We Need to Define Terrorism

Webster’s Dictionary defines terror as: “a state of intense fear, a frightening aspect (of invasion), a cause of anxiety.” Terrorism is defined as: “the systematic use of terror, as a means of coercion” (italics for emphasis). And to terrorize is to: “fill with terror or anxiety, to coerce by threat or violence.”

Those who commit these sudden, unprovoked, cruelly inhumane, blood-thirsty acts of ruthless violence are rightfully called terrorists. Invariably their victims are defenseless (soft targets) and their intention is to advance a callous cause, which is why today’s terrorism is, indeed, systematic. Frankly, there aren’t enough adverse adjectives in any language to adequately describe the depraved mentality, hardened hearts, and wicked acts of these people. Except, perhaps, Evil. But even that word has been used so often of what’s taking place on this war-weary, terrified globe that it is losing its meaning and impact.

Terror(ism) is essentially an ideology that is carried out by those whose belief system (religious or otherwise) seeks to eliminate or, at the very least, subjugate those of another race, culture, religion, or belief system that the terrorists consider to be inferior or irrelevant and unworthy of even occupying the same space (land).

In today’s world, the ism that breeds terrorists who seek to terrorize their enemies (perceived or real) into submission by killing innocent people is none other than Islam. If I’m being politically incorrect, then please identify even 10% (make that 5%) of terrorist acts in the past twenty years that were committed by those who were not Muslim. Guilt by association, confirmed by the identity of those who rape, pillage, and murder Jews, Christians, and even fellow-Muslims, the new breed of terrorists and terrorism is almost exclusively linked to the Islamic religion.

Terrorism, by today’s meaning and practice, stems directly from a heinous higher cause, carried out by those who possess a diabolically distorted higher calling. In this case to, by Jihad (holy war), establish a Middle East then world-wide Islamic Caliphate that will either eradicate or suppress their rivals … primarily Christians and Jews.

Does it really matter to the families and victims of terrorism and to all of us who are horrified at the seemingly incessant bloodshed in the name of Islam that the majority of Muslims do not resort to violence? Actually, it’s sad that this question is pragmatically rhetorical. But it could be a non-rhetorical probe with a better answer if the greater majority of Muslims would condemn these atrocities. Such as the massive condemnation by Christians everywhere of the man (so-called Christian) who attacked the Planned Parenthood office in Colorado. It could be a question that doesn’t even need to be asked, if so-called mainstreams Muslims would do something about the merciless killings committed by the “radical” among them.

If, however, only 5% of Muslims are radical, that’s still equates to some 750,000 militant Muslims in the world. It only took two seemingly “mainstream” Muslims (husband and wife) to kill fourteen innocent people in San Bernardino, California just a few days ago. Mainstream in the sense and context of their work, family, and community life in San Bernardino, California. Were they “radicalized?” Of course they were. But then so was Islam’s prophet, Mohammed, who devised, dictated, and delivered (carried out) Islam’s combative creeds and bellicose beliefs.

It’s now quite evident that these two Muslims despised Israel, the Jews, and were ideological followers of ISIS. Because the media at large has generally down-played it, a lesser known fact is that the husband, Sayeed Farook, hated a Christian co-employee, Nicholas Thalasinos, who staunchly supported Israel in general and Messianic Jews in particular. Mr. Thalasinos was also outspoken about Islamic terrorism, to which Farook took great exception. Just a short time before Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, launched their murderous rampage, she pledged loyalty to ISIS, which (as you may recall) also claimed credit for the horrific attacks in Paris just a few weeks ago.

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(Photo of November 13, 2015 Attacks on Paris)

Farook had previously threatened Nicholas Thalasinos by saying, “Christians and Jews deserve to die,” and that he (Nicholas), “was going to die.” Just a couple of hours before Farook and his wife returned to the Social Center and opened fire on innocent defenseless victims, he had a heated argument with Nicholas. Consequently, I don’t know how much clearer it can be as to the motive for the (terrorist) attack that killed Nicholas and thirteen others. Because of their weapons and munitions found in their home, it’s also evident that they had planned to act sometime, probably more methodically. However, the argument with the Christian co-worker who loved Israel and the Jews became the trigger point excuse for Farook and his wife.

Islam and Muslims … An Agenda of Peace or War?

In italics, the following is an excerpt from an Eye of Prophecy article entitled, A Religion of Peace? Part I, posted on 4-11-15.

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.

The San Bernardino massacre and many other “long-wolf” attacks taking place mostly in Israel are unequivocally Muslim terrorism. The terrorists have an undeviating association with and are direct products of Islamic ideology; with the primary prevailing objective that of destroying Israel in particular, and killing Jews and Christians in general. As opposed to random murders or mass murders (killing four or more people) which occur far too often in the United States, but are rarely associated with a specific, identifiable “cause,” as such. Yet, when investigated, evidence was disclosed in many of these random attacks that the killer(s) had targeted either Jews or Christians. Although terrorist groups, especially ISIS, are branching out and expanding their targets to other nations like Russia (224 killed from a bomb on a Russian plane over the Sinai Peninsula) and France (130 killed in coordinated attacks), they are doing so because both countries are fighting against ISIS strongholds in Syria.

But the fact remains: The professed goal of ISIS is to be the first (rather than other terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda or an entire nation like Iran or other Arab and/or Muslim countries) to wipe Israel from the face of the earth by establishing an Islamic Caliphate in Iraq and Syria, close to Israel’s borders. Directly, indirectly, invariably, inevitably, and ultimately Muslim global terrorism and Palestinian lone-wolf terrorism is aimed at Jews and Israel. And, by default, whoever gets in their way by supporting Israel. There are a few exceptions: In Africa the Muslims are directing their terror mainly against Christians, as the Jewish population is very small in African countries.

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Here, I would like to present an excerpt from Part II of the Eye of Prophecy article, A Religion of Peace? Posted 4-18-15.

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.

In that regard, contemporary Muslims are much like ordinary Germans during the rise of Hitler’s Third Reich, a rogue government and ideology that began with but a handful of fanatics. The average German did virtually nothing to condemn (or even to complain about) the intensely increasing violence against the Jews at the hands of a relatively small band of Nazi thugs. Slowly but surely, mainstream (actually should be called mid-stream or fence riders) Germans ignored, then condoned the round-up, interment, and transportation of Jews to work camps where millions were shot, starved, hung, and gassed. Although Germans didn’t necessarily celebrate in the streets as modern-day Muslims do when Jews (and others) are murdered by terrorists, they, nevertheless were silently complicit in the “final solution” of the Jews.

No less in today’s world are mainstream Muslims complicit because the vast majority of them refuse to condemn or otherwise do anything about the ongoing slaughter of Jews and Christians all over the world, particularly in the Middle East. In fact, it’s worse than the complicity of Germans before and during World War II. As indicated, Muslims have celebrated over many of the terrorists attacks of the 20th and 21st century; particularly when those killed are Jews, Americans, and Europeans that in some fashion support Israel and/or fight against terrorist groups like ISIS.

Who can forget Palestinians dancing in the streets as they celebrated 9/11? Recently, some Muslims in Dearborn, Michigan set off fireworks to celebrate the mass killings in Paris. Muslim Palestinians in Israel always honor those who maim and kill Israelis.

The Real Issue … The Actual Source of Terrorism

One more excerpt from A Religion of Peace? Part II in summary of that article and to further expand the theme of today’s article, especially in light of our own President, Barack Obama, previously comparing Muslim carnage in today’s world with the Crusades of long ago:

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.

I have written often about the real problem between Arabs and Jews, between Palestinians and Israelis. And it is NOT simply an issue of alleged Israeli occupation or settlements or activity on Temple Mount or other fundamentally false and historically inaccurate accusations constantly hurled against Israel by the Arabs and also by Western nations who continuously support the absurdly unjustified United Nations sanctions against Israel.

The REAL problem is a long-standing animosity of most Arabs and outright hatred by many Muslins (Arab, Persian or otherwise) of the Jews in particular and of Israel in general. In part, due to unfounded and irrational support of the “Palestinian cause,” Antisemitism has once again reared its ugly head in nations the world over, including European and Asian countries, and even in the United States … particularly on university campuses.

It is not a question of even one square mile of land in Israel or of a two-state solution (that many Palestinians don’t want in the first place, because they innately know they’re better off under Israeli administration) or of any other kind of self-governing autonomy such as the corrupt, inept Palestinian Authority. In fact, most Palestinians prefer the terrorist leadership of Hamas, which blatantly vows to kill Jews and eliminate Israel from the face of the earth. Even the so-called moderate leader of the Palestinian Authority, President Mahmoud Abbas, has become more militant with such inciting rhetoric as not permitting, “the filthy feet of the Jews to step foot on Temple Mount.”

The whole world knows, but many are unwilling to admit it: This incitement from the most recognized leader of the Palestinians (a microcosm of Muslim society in general) has led to the lone-wolf attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians alike. Most of these attackers are young, a few under the age of fifteen. Sadly, Palestinian children are expendable to their parents and to their leaders. Their actions clearly confirm the premise that former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir suggested: The Arabs hate the Jews more than they love their own children.

Whether ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Hamas, the militants among the Palestinian Authority, and even mainstream Muslims, their tenet and tactic is terrifyingly transparent: Fewer Jews (or Christians) … less problems. No Jews … no Israel. So terrorize and kill the infidels until they change their Jewish ways and shrink from their Christian beliefs.

As terrible and terrifying the inexcusable atrocities of terrorism can be for unsuspecting, unprepared, and defenseless individuals going about their daily lives, terrorism is not even close to being the greatest threat facing Israel, Europe, America, and the free world. Rather, it is the powder-keg hot and cold civil conflict taking place within nations like Syria, the Ukraine, and African countries. Or the imminent eruption of wars between long-time rivals such as North and South Korea, India and Pakistan, China and Taiwan and others.

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(Destruction in Syria)

Worst of all, it is entire rogue nations like Iran and an Arab Confederation which seek Israel’s annihilation, the collapse of the United States, the disintegration of European countries, and the dissolution of other democratic countries such as Canada and Australia and a few South American nations.

Summary

As much as we need to accurately define and identify the real terrorists of the world and as diligent as we need to be in planning the best course of action to eliminate terrorist groups such as ISIS, the greater need is to prepare for the global Terror to come. It is none other than the Great Tribulation foretold by Messiah Jesus when he said: “Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come” (Matthew 24:7-8).

He went on to say: “For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones” (Verses 21-22).

As terrifying as it is and certainly without minimizing the horrendous results, the terrorism perpetrated by today’s terrorists affects dozens, hundreds, or thousands. Perhaps even tens of thousands. But this will pale in comparison to the catastrophe prophesied by Jesus, by the Apostle Peter, by John of Revelation, and by several Old Testament prophets. The Bible has been 100% correct in prophecies fulfilled to date. Scripture is equally accurate concerning the prophetic developments unfolding now and those that will take place in our near future.

The terror of (in) terrorism that we know today will explode exponentially into an awful apocalypse that we can’t even comprehend or imagine. It is the terror of malevolent tyrants and evil empires forming alliances that will threaten their own survival, but also the extinction of the human race.

It will begin soon after the glorious Rapture of believers by our Risen Lord and Savior, Messiah Jesus. This miraculous event will bring terror to tens of millions left behind. The trauma of this terror will compel many to realize what happened and call on the Lord to save them. But many who will be saved by the Grace and Mercy of God will die for choosing the true Messiah.

Tens of millions of others will rejoice and celebrate at the removal (some will call it a cleansing) of all those “intolerant, narrow-minded Christian bigots.”

For a brief time the terror will subside when an emperor from the ancient Roman Empire suddenly appears on the scene (from the Abyss). Many will be amazed at his “miraculous” return from the grave. He will promise them paradise on earth, but people must first give him their complete loyalty to the point of worship. All the while he will blaspheme the true and living God and the true Messiah, Jesus, boasting that he (Nero) is God and Messiah. The peace promised by this enormously evil man will abruptly end.

“While they are saying, ‘Peace and safety!’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape” (I Thessalonians 5:3).

The terror will return and abject fear will intensify beyond description for billions left behind. The source of this horror will originate from two opposite sources:

  • Malevolent empire-like coalitions such as the Gog/Magog alliance, the Antichrist-led ten nation confederation, and the mighty kings of the east will generate terror not only for billions of civilians, but also for the soldiers in those military alliances. There will be a loss of life on an unprecedented scale.

See, Eye of Prophecy article, One Ring to Rule Them All, published 11-21-15. Also, Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation, posted 6-6-15.

  • The second source is one that many people the world over don’t like to think about, prefer not to talk about, or choose not to believe at all. It will be the topic of next week’s Part II article. This terror is different. It is a terror to end terror. One from which there is no escape, whatsoever; unless you believe and receive the only One who can and will put a stop to the massive destruction and death that will follow for those who believe the lies and false promises of the Man of Lawlessness, more often called the Antichrist.

This new terror is pure terror that comes from what is true and right, fearsome but fair. It is a terror than billions of ungodly, unloving, uncaring, unrepentant, and just plain wicked people will experience like never before.

We’re talking about the Wrath of God. Poured out on those who, “…did not repent of their murders or their witchcraft or their sexual immorality or their thefts” (Revelation 9:21).

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(Depicting the Wrath of God)

It is the terror of God’s justice through judgment that will vindicate all those who have been persecuted and killed for believing in him and his Son; judgment for all who have rejected Messiah Jesus, the one whom God chose to bring salvation to the world through the highest price ever paid … Christ’s death on the Cross. The righteous for the unrighteous; the just for the unjust.

“Those who plant injustice will harvest disaster; and their reign of terror will come to an end” (Proverbs 22:8).

Things to Ponder

The Bible tells us not only about the terror that originates from evil men and the source of that evil, Satan; but also the righteous terror that comes from God who is far greater and possesses infinitely more power than Satan, than the nations of the earth, their governments, and their leaders.

“Will those who do evil never learn? They eat up my people like bread and wouldn’t think of praying to God. Terror will grip them, terror like they have never known before. God will scatter the bones of your enemies. You will put them to shame, for God has rejected them. Who will come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel? When God restores his people, Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice.” (Psalms 53:4-6).

Halfway through the Great Tribulation, the incredible death and destruction already experienced by those left behind at the Rapture will have just begun in scope and severity.

“Then I looked, and I heard a single eagle crying loudly as it flew through the air, ‘Terror, terror, terror to all who belong to this world because of what will happen when the last three angels blow their trumpets’” (Revelation 8:13).

Don’t miss next week’s article, as we examine some dramatic details of what will bring greater terror to the earth than has ever been experienced or ever will be again.

Terror, terror, terror is only for unbelievers.

For believers in Messiah Jesus: “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love” (I Corinthians 13:13).

It is the hope we have for a glorious future, given to us freely by God’s great love expressed in the greatest gift ever given—Messiah Jesus and his sacrificial atonement for our sins. Apprehended by simple faith (trust) in so great a salvation.

 

More Than One Messiah?

How Many Messiahs Are There?

People everywhere are growing so very tired of incessant terrorism, mass murders, poverty, greed, oppression, inequality, deprivation, political corruption and ineptness, and other seemingly unsolvable problems that plague this worn-out weary world. To some extent or another, billions all over the world are fervently hoping for and expecting a Messiah or what many call a Messiah figure to usher in a Messianic Age.

What will characterize that Age, who the Messiah will be, and what he will do varies profoundly from one religion or world-view to another. What if a messiah or even two messiahs appeared from each belief system?! With instant global communication and rapid transportation, is our swiftly shrinking world big enough for multiple messiahs?

Actually, how can there be more than one Messiah? It begs a similar question: How can there be more than one God? When, for example, the God of the Bible unequivocally proclaims to be the one and only true and living God. As does Islam assert Allah to be the only god. How can you have more than one God or Messiah (or no God at all for the humanists and secularists) if each creed claims ultimate authority? Competition between messiahs defeats the very idea and purpose of one man uniting the world and establishing peace, liberty, and justice for all. More than one (true God and Messiah) means that the others are false gods or messiahs.

What kind of scenario would unfold if there was more than Messiah? The answer is self-evident: confusion and conflict between the messiahs and those that follow them.

Webster’s Dictionary defines messiah as, “1a: the expected king and deliverer of the Jews b: Jesus. 2: a professed or accepted leader of some hope or cause.” Even in a secular context, these three definitions are remarkably correct. Both Biblical and secular history confirm the chronological accuracy in which Webster defines messiah.

First, because the very word, messiah, comes from the Hebrew word, Mashiach, which is the term used in the Old Testament (anointed or chosen one) of the expected king and deliver of the Jews. All through the Old Testament, beginning with the first book of Genesis, the prophets wrote about Messiah and heralded his coming.

The second definition is simply one word: Jesus; because he is the author and cornerstone of the Christian faith. Because he fulfilled dozens of Messianic prophecies through his birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension back to heaven, he fully qualifies to be not just a messiah, but The Messiah.

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The third and final definition of messiah is: “a professed or accepted leader of some hope or cause.” Which accurately describes a messiah mentioned in Islam’s Koran, but also all (false) would-be messiahs mostly typified by evil tyrants such as Hitler and Stalin. Both were adored by millions of their people, many of whom actually deified them; like the ancient Roman Emperors. Moreover, Islam’s messiah and his purported appearance in the near future has become a catalyst for rogue nations like Iran and Muslim terrorists groups to hasten his arrival through jihad and world upheaval.

We’re going to examine the intriguing Two-Messiah theory proposed by many (not all) Jews, especially the Orthodox among them. However, we need to first reestablish a premise that I have alluded to in some prior Eye of Prophecy articles:

Premise: There are many things that distinguish the Christian faith from all religions.

Religions, such as Islam or Judaism—which is (still) based on the Law of Moses but absent the Levitical sacrificial system. Although the God of the Bible is the same God for both Jew and Christian, there is a distinction between the two in the very nature of God. Most know that difference: Christians have embraced the New Covenant (of Grace) prophesied by Isaiah and Jeremiah, and believe in the Triune God … Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

However, there are monumental, irreconcilable dissimilarities between the God and Messiah of the Bible and Allah—the god of Islam along with their Muslim messiah. With three components in particular that separate and elevate the God of the Bible infinitely above the god of Islam and other gods or messiahs of any belief system.

(1) The astounding miracles performed by God and by the Son of God, Jesus Christ, during his some thirty-three years on this earth. To wit: dozens of healings such as restoring sight to a man born blind, turning water into wine, walking on water, feeding thousands of people with a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish, and many more. The most astounding and significant of these supernatural miracles was Jesus rising from the dead … a historical fact confirmed by hundreds of witnesses.

(2) Biblical Salvation alone is based on God’s Grace demonstrated by the gift of His Son to die for our sins, as opposed to a system of Law and Works to gain God’s favor. The Gospel is freely offered to all (inclusive), but is available only to those who personally believe and receive the atoning redemption purchased by Jesus—Son of God, Son of David, Son of Man—on the cross (exclusive). Christianity is the only belief system that announces a Savior to bridge the otherwise irreversible and impassable gap between God and man caused by man’s rebellion (sin).

(3) Hundreds of prophecies: Some fulfilled during Old Testament times, others in and through Jesus of Nazareth, and still others in the last 100 years or so; including but not limited to the astonishing rebirth of Israel and return of Jews to Israel from all over the world.

The Lord is God … There is No Other

No other religion or cult or creed or religious leader, certainly not Islam nor Mohammed, did or can do what the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and his divine Son, Christ Jesus has done and will do. Likewise with secular despots through the ages with a messiah-mindset claiming to be a god, or god-like, or messiah figure. Down through history, no religion, gods of that religion, or their religious leaders—or any who would feign to be a messiah—have dared to answer the challenge of the true and living God.

Read with me God’s declaration: “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to anyone else, nor share my praise with carved idols. Everything I prophesied has come true, and now I will prophesy again. I will tell you the future before it happens” (Isaiah 42:8-9).

Now let’s listen to the Lord’s reassurance to Israel and challenge to all religions and their man-made gods and false messiahs: “This is what the Lord says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: ‘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. Do not tremble; do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago? You are my witnesses—is there any other God? No! There is no other Rock—not one!’” (Isaiah 44:6-8).

When the God of the Old and New Testament and his Messiah (Jesus) declares that the Triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is the only true and living God, it is crystal clear that this is an absolute, eternal statement. Unreservedly, the Lord backs up this claim with fulfilled prophecy, which categorically allows no room to consider that all religions are equal … that there are “many paths” to God.

Trinity

In that context permit me to quote an excerpt from my second book. In italics, as follows:

…if a specific religion or religious leader asserts that their/his god is at least like the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God issues a challenge: “Let him step forward and prove to you his power.” Then God intensifies that challenge when he dares any other god, or man who is promoting that god, to step up to the plate and do as God has done, i.e. explained (foretold) the future. Essentially, the Lord is asserting: You want proof, check out that everything I say comes to pass.

Later in this same chapter (Isaiah 44) beginning in verse 26, God says: “But I carry out the predictions of my prophets! By them I say to Jerusalem, ‘People will live here again,’ and to the towns of Judah, ‘You will be rebuilt; I will restore all your ruins!’ When I speak to the rivers and say, ‘Dry up!’ they will be dry. When I say of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd,’ he will certainly do as I say. He will command, ‘Rebuild Jerusalem;’ he will say, ‘Restore the Temple.’”

That is exactly what happened nearly two hundred years later, after a remnant of the Jews returned from captivity in Babylon and in Persia. The Persian ruler Cyrus authorized the Jews to return to Israel. Within a few decades the returning Jewish exiles restored the Temple and then rebuilt the walls and the city of Jerusalem. Remember when Isaiah made this prediction, Cyrus had not yet been born! (Out of the Abyss, pages 13-14).

Therefore, for sake of time/space, we’re going to dismiss out-of-hand these so-called messiahs (past, present, or future) such as the one found in the Koran or any number of other messiah-types as found in world governments or religious cults. Jesus, himself, said there would be false messiahs, particularly during the end-times. With the most appalling, audacious, and vehemently anti-Christ (false messiah) of all … the return of the (little horn) ruler prophesied by Daniel, the man of lawlessness spoken of by the Apostle Paul, and the beast-king of Revelation. None other than the revived Roman Emperor, Nero—the Antichrist, who will be the final false messiah.

Instead, we’re going to focus on a prevailing premise that comes from a long-standing Jewish belief that there will be two Messiahs appearing during the last days.

Why Two Messiahs in Judaism?

Last week’s Eye of Prophecy article (Messiah’s Arrival … On Whose Authority?) discussed the controversial edict recently issued by a large group of Jewish rabbis … that God is now obligated to bring the Messiah, the sooner the better. Included in my article were references to Jewish traditions and axioms unfortunately taking precedence over Scripture, itself.

There’s another ancient rabbinical tradition that has regained prominence in today’s exceptional enthusiasm for Messiah’s arrival. That of the two-Messiah theory. Why? Because the vast majority of Rabbis and many other Jews simply cannot and do not accept the Biblical evidence that one Messiah is both (1) the suffering servant who would die for the sins of Jews and Gentiles alike; and, (2) the same Messiah who will return as the Lion from the Tribe of Judah to rule and reign from Jerusalem forever.

Consequently, from the first or second century B.C. and especially in the first couple of centuries A.D., observant Jews have postulated that there will be two Messiahs. The first to come from the lineage of Joseph, son of Jacob (a descendant of the tribe of Joseph). They speculate that this messiah will lead the armies of Israel against their enemies but will fall victim (die) during the battle with God/Magog of Ezekiel 38 & 39. He supposedly represents or depicts the staff of Israel from the house or family of Joseph.

The second messiah is the ultimate Liberator who will lead Israel to final victory and redemption, and will usher in the Messianic Age. He will be from the lineage of King David, one who represents the kingly scepter of Israel.

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Once again, because time/space doesn’t permit in this article, but also because of many other Eye of Prophecy articles (and vast amounts of writings from other authors), I won’t elaborate on the many passages of Scripture as well as history to support overwhelming Biblical evidence that Yeshua is the one and only Messiah. And that he is indisputably both King David’s son (descendant) but also King David’s Lord, the Second Person of the Triune God. (See Eye of Prophecy articles entitled, Does God Really Have a Son? Part I & II, posted on 10-31 and 11-7-15).

We will, however, look at one passage that (like so many others), Jewish religious leaders have alarmingly and ill-advisedly overlooked, or minimized, or dismissed, or simply rejected outright; because it conflicts with their rigid refusal to recognize Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah. Their first messiah dies but not for the sins of the people, nor would he be resurrected and return as the Jewish Savior-King. Accordingly, there must be two messiahs to fulfill and reconcile what seem to most Jewish rabbis as otherwise contradictory prophecies throughout Scripture. But the prophecy we are about to examine imposes a prophetic time-line on Messiah’s revealing that refutes any two-Messiah theory and also the prevalent Jewish belief that Messiah is still to be revealed … for the first time.

An Incredible Prophecy to Dispel the Two-Messiah Theory and/or Rejection of Jesus

In this absolutely amazing passage that I’ve occasionally quoted in certain Eye of Prophecy articles, with varying emphasis depending on each article’s main topic, we find a prophetic announcement of the actual time in history that Messiah would appear. Read with me the astounding prophecy given by the angel Gabriel to Daniel:

“Now listen and understand! Seven sets of seven plus sixty-two sets of seven will pass from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until a ruler—the Anointed One—comes … 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…” (Daniel 9:25-26a).

As indicated, much has been written about this remarkable time-dedicated prophecy, including the Eye of Prophecy article entitled, An Incredible Time-Lapse Prophecy, posted on 1-18-14. Yet, the primary purpose of that article was to serve as a lead-in to the subsequent Eye of Prophecy articles, Seven Times Seven to the 4th Power, Parts I, II, III. With the primary emphasis on the shocking (literal time-based) prophecies of God’s discipline of Israel—seven times over, four consecutive times, as foretold in Leviticus Chapter 26. The prophetic calendar began its countdown after the Jews returned from Babylonia captivity and ended in 1967 with the miraculous recapture of Jerusalem in the Six-Day War. At that point in God’s providential plan, the Gentile domination of Israel and the Jews ended; because the Lord’s discipline of Israel had run its full course over the exact number of years foretold by God (7 x 7 x 7 x 7 translated to actual years on the Jewish calendar).

Likewise, this remarkable prophecy in Daniel that we just read can be converted into Jewish calendar years and days from the time that the Persian King Artaxerxes decreed the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem in 445 BC to the 483 years (sixty-nine sets of seven) when the Anointed One comes. This calculation leads us to the exact day in 32 AD when Jesus of Nazareth rode on a donkey (predicted by Zechariah) into Jerusalem and was hailed as King Messiah, the Son of David, exactly 173,880 days elapsed … 483 years. Thanks to the Christian historian/author Sir Robert Anderson, a Scotland Yard Detective, for explaining this incredible prophecy in his book, The Coming Prince.

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Just as spectacular and significant is the part of this same prophecy that says the Anointed One (Messiah) will be killed and then (subsequently) a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the Temple.

In other words, the Messiah would appear BEFORE the Jewish Temple (the second Temple, because Solomon’s Temple had already been destroyed when Daniel received this revelation) was torn down (by the Romans). This took place less than forty years after Jesus was crucified, arose from the dead, and returned to heaven. Also, Jesus, himself, predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and the second Temple.

(*Note: I refer to this passage, along with other passages, to also document and demonstrate that Nero is the Roman ruler who ordered his armies under General Vespasian and Titus to march on Israel and crush the rebellion that had begun in 66 A.D. Thus, he is the king and ruler of Daniel 7 and 9; the man of lawlessness in II Thessalonians; and the Antichrist beast of Revelation 13 & 17, who will reappear from the Abyss soon after the Rapture).

There is absolutely no ambiguity or question that the Messiah would come before the second Temple was destroyed. That’s exactly what Daniel Chapter 9 is telling us. Moreover, this could not possibly refer to the third Jewish Temple that will be rebuilt (hopefully in the near future), as there’s no indication, whatsoever, in Ezekiel, that this third temple will also be destroyed. Just the opposite; it will stand forever.

Not only is there only one Messiah, Daniel’s time-lapse prophecy convincingly predicted that the (2nd rebuilt) Jewish Temple would be destroyed by the armies—Roman, as confirmed by the sack of Jerusalem in 70 AD belonging to a ruler—(Nero ordered Vespasian and Titus to launch this campaign against Israel) who would orchestrate this calamity AFTER the death of the Anointed One … the Messiah.

Although this specific prophecy in Daniel Chapter 9 doesn’t disclose the fact that Messiah would also arise from the dead, many other passages of Scripture prophesy the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Messiah; then confirm/fulfill those prophecies with the written historical account of Jesus of Nazareth in the New Testament Gospels.

Later the Apostle Paul and other writers would consolidate the remarkable events during Jesus’s life on earth into epistles that further elaborate, explain, and defend the accuracy and validity of the prophetic fulfillment of Messiah’s first appearance to mankind … the Lamb of God who died for the sins of the world. Followed by the passionate anticipation for Messiah Jesus return to earth as the Lion from the Tribe of Judah whose second appearance will usher in the Messianic Age so desperately longed for by Jews the world over; and, of course, by believers in Yeshua … both Jew and Gentile.

Summary

Oh so many objections that Jesus is the Messiah, especially from God’s own people, the Jews; whom he calls his special possession … the very people to whom God originally revealed himself, his attributes, and his Word. Through whom all the nations of the world were to be blessed. Through whom the light of the world was to come, Messiah.

Here is an excerpt from last week’s Eye of Prophecy article:

I fully realize and sincerely appreciate the fervor that many Jews have toward God, particularly the observant among them and especially concerning the Messiah. But as the Apostle Paul said to the believers in Rome, both Jew and Gentile:

“Dear brothers and sisters, 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).

It is no different today, with millions of God’s chosen people, the Jews, still holding onto good deeds, righteous conduct, and tradition after tradition to gain favor with God, and to hopefully be accepted by the Lord into and throughout eternity. To the tragic point that their traditions, especially the Rabbinical rulings or decisions (often with disagreements among rabbis, themselves), become more dominant and decisive than Scripture, itself.

It is good that so many Jews—the Orthodox, Conservative, Reformed, and Liberal among them—are once again longing for their Messiah to come.

It is also so very tragic that so many still refuse to see the clear evidence found in the Torah and Tanakh (Old Testament) of who the Messiah is and when he would appear. To hang onto the Old Covenant of Law as their source of salvation, when the New Covenant is already here—has been for nearly two thousand years. The Covenant of Grace and Redemption authored and sealed by Messiah Jesus, by shedding his precious blood as a once for all payment and pardon for our sins … if we only believe and receive Christ as personal Savior.

But one day (soon) all that will dramatically change. It’s already changing, attested to by thousands upon thousands of Jews the world-over who have embraced Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah. Because Jesus is Messiah!

And though many will mourn out of remorse and guilt (Zechariah 12) when Messiah Jesus returns in power and great glory (Matthew 24), Israelis in Israel and Jews in the nations will one day shout, Baruch haba beshem Adonai. “Blessed is he (Messiah Jesus) who comes in the name of the Lord (God the Father).”

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Jesus proved beyond any doubt that he was/is the Son of God by rising from the dead, with a glorious eternal body. Who but God could do that? Who else but Jesus could possibly be the Messiah? The historical record of his birth, life, death, and resurrection were precise fulfillments of Old Testament prophecies from the Psalms and many of the Prophetic books, such as Isaiah, Micah, and Zechariah.

As one indication that our Jewish friends (most slowly, some more rapidly) are considering Jesus as Messiah is the increasing conciliation and friendship between Israelis and Christians who support Israel (such as myself). We’re not at all reluctant to be called: Christian Zionists.

Listen to the words of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commenting on the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) gathering of over 5,000 from many nations during their conference to celebrate Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) in Israel this past September:

“Israel has no better friends around the world.”

And Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat said about the event and the Christian Zionists:

“Not everyone in the world seeks the best for Jerusalem. There are people who challenge our history. Sometimes, we feel alone … Your friendship is warming our hearts. I want to thank you for your prayers and your unprecedented support and passion.”

Yet, all we who love Israel and the Jews are really saying is what the Jewish Apostle Paul said long ago, but still so very relevant today: “Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved” (Romans 10:1).

Israel’s final redemption will come and it will come soon, but not like they expect. Not by or through good deeds or right thinking or obligatory observance of holy days. That is and will be a result of their salvation, not the source.

When Messiah returns, what a glorious time that will be for God’s chosen people. And equally wonderful for us Gentiles who have been branches grafted into the spiritual tree of Israel (Romans 11:17-24). Why? Because:

“Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it” (Romans 11:12).

Did you catch that? Not if, but when.

Things to Ponder

Nowhere in Scripture is there any indication, either direct or indirect, that there will be two messiahs. One obvious reason is that God’s many prophecies of the coming Messiah are, by default, meant to be logically and clearly understood as one Messiah. It’s a foregone conclusion that only one Messiah would appear; thus, no indication whatsoever that there is or could be more than one Messiah. Moreover, as mentioned in several prior Eye of Prophecy articles, Scripture couldn’t be more clear that Messiah is indisputably Divine, i.e. Son of God and God the Son.

King David, himself, said so.

There are several Bible passages declaring the divinity of Messiah, while simultaneously demonstrating that there will be only one Messiah. But none more so than one of my all-time favorites:

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6, italics for emphasis). Grammatically and contextually, it is crystal clear that the child and the son are one and the same.

On whose shoulders will the government rest? Answer: His shoulders … the only one.

Who will be called Mighty God and Everlasting Father? Answer: He … the only one.

In this joyous time of the year when some celebrate Hanukkah (Festival of Lights) and others Christmas, and still others revere both holidays, we once again rejoice in the Good News of the Gospel. We remember the life-changing gift from heaven … a child born, the Son given.

“That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them … I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! … Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased’” (Luke 2:8-14).

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None months earlier another angel appeared to Joseph and said: “…Joseph, son of David … do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21).

Hallelujah to the Lamb of God!

Praise, honor, glory, power, and majesty belong to our great God and to his majestic Son, Messiah Jesus!

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