The Most Panoramic Prophecy in the Bible (Part I)

For those not all that familiar with the word panoramic, it is the adjective form of the noun, panorama. From the Greek word, horama (which means “sight”), Webster’s Dictionary defines panorama as, “…2a: an unobstructed or complete view of a region in every direction; b: comprehensive presentation of a subject; c: range; 3: a mental picture of a series of images or events.”

Picture a helicopter circling over the Grand Canyon, with a panoramic 360 degree vista. Standing on Mount Everest with a wide-angle camera lens, shooting a spectacular scene that … seems to go on forever. Or reading four verses in the book of Daniel that bear a breathtaking bird’s eye (let’s make it an eagle) view of the two most influential men and significant events in mankind’s history and destiny. One man of light, life, salvation, and all that is good; the other for darkness, death, judgment, and all that is evil.

There are no greater prophecies in Scripture than those of Messiah’s coming to the earth that he created, not once but twice—commonly referred to by theologians as the First and Second Advent of Christ. Though the far greater majority of people on earth, past and present, have not accepted Messiah Jesus as their personal Savior; a vast number of people from every race, religion, and nation recognize the name of Jesus Christ.

(One of My Favorite Passages in All of Scripture … The 1st & 2nd Advent of Jesus in Two Verses)

So, too, have billions of people on this planet heard, seen, or read about the evil antithesis of Messiah Jesus. This corrupt counterfeit of Christ bears several names in the Bible: ruler, king, little horn, man of lawlessness, and beast. But he is most commonly referred to as: Antichrist.

As a student of Scripture, I have intently studied Bible prophecy since the 1970s. Yet it wasn’t until November, 2008, when I realized that some of the pieces of the prophetic puzzle on the Antichrist were not accurately assembled. It began with a dramatic disclosure from the Lord (proper discernment and application of two verses in Revelation 17) that the Antichrist had already lived and died before John even saw him (in the form of a beast) and wrote about him. The implication was staggering, to the extent that it changes and corrects the conception of a modern-day man rising to power as the Antichrist during the soon to come Great Tribulation.

After seeing the astounding vision of a woman (a great city, which is Rome … see the six-part Eye of Prophecy series, The Woman and the Beast, posted 10-12 through 11-16-13) sitting on a beast with seven heads and ten horns (this is the same beast depicted in Revelation 13), the angel explains the mystery, beginning with the beast. Said the angel to John:

“Why are you so amazed? …I will tell you the mystery of this woman and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns on which she sits. The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon (abruptly, suddenly) come up out of the bottomless pit … And the people who belong to this world (the unsaved during the Tribulation) … will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died” (Revelation 17:7-8; italics for emphasis, parenthesis mine).

There is absolutely no ambiguity with regard to what the angel told John. This beast (man) had already lived and died before John first saw it (him) in the first century.

Antichrist passages explored extensively in Out of the Abyss and several prior Eye of Prophecy articles are: II Thessalonians 2 (man of lawlessness); Daniel 7 (sudden appearance of the little horn, king to lead a ten-nation confederation); Daniel 11, Revelation 16 & 19 (Antichrist’s final advance on the Middle East and attack on Israel—Armageddon); Zechariah 11 (worthless shepherd); Revelation 13 (the Hebrew gematria number of the beast matching Nero Caesar and the fact that the world will be amazed at the miracle of his reappearance); Revelation 17 (the Antichrist had already lived and died but would return from the Abyss, to continue on a global scale what he began in the first century). And a panoramic passage which is the main focus of this week’s and next week’s article.

These riveting passages provide evidence of the geopolitical and biographical origin of the Antichrist—none other than the Roman Emperor Nero. With Revelation 17:7-8 presenting the foundational fact that the Antichrist’s appearance during the Tribulation is not that of a modern-day man born in that (our) generation. Whereas, the other Biblical references listed above (including the rest of Revelation 17) relay more specific details to narrow down the Antichrist “candidates” to one man.

*Note: As stated before in a few Eye of Prophecy articles, my identification of Nero as the Antichrist is neither a Preterist View (as they subscribe to the exceptionally erroneous conjecture that the Tribulation took place in the 1st century) nor is it new in the sense of being revelatory. Rather it is discernment from the Lord to revive the clear understanding of the early church (1st through 4th centuries) that Nero was, indeed, the beast of Revelation. For example, see Eye of Prophecy article: The Legendary Return of Nero, posted 4-4-15.

The first mention of the Antichrist (designation of king and little horn) is found in Daniel Chapter 7, which is Daniel’s dream vision of the four beasts—world kingdoms. Chapter 7 primarily confines the introduction to and exposure of Antichrist in the context of his sudden unexpected appearance (reappearance as Revelation 13 & 17 tells us some 600 years later) at the outset of the Great Tribulation.

(Beasts Symbolizing From Left to Right in Order … Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome)

However, there is one passage in Scripture (in just four verses) which panoramically juxtaposes and correlates the first and second coming of Messiah alongside of the initial appearance and then reappearance of the Antichrist. This passage is nothing short of astonishing, to include the precise amount of elapsed time until Jesus would be hailed as the Messiah in Israel—one week before his crucifixion and resurrection. It is also the passage that, more than all the others in Scripture, confirms that the Antichrist would be and was (as fulfilled some 600 years later in the 1st century) the Roman Emperor Nero—the man of lawlessness, the ruler, the little horn, and the king. This wicked man has been kept alive in the Abyss for some 2,000 years and will return as the Antichrist beast of Revelation.

This most sweeping of all Biblical prophetic passages is found in:

Daniel 9:24-27 (Vision of Daniel in 539 B.C.)

Let’s briefly look at the setting.

Daniel had been taken captive to Babylon during Nebuchadnezzar’s first attack against Judah in 605 B.C. Ezekiel was exiled to Babylon in the 2nd campaign of 597 B.C., with the third (and final) most destructive onslaught occurring in 586 B.C. when Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple were destroyed. Jeremiah was also a contemporary (older than Daniel and Ezekiel); however, he was never deported to Babylon.

In 539 B.C. right after Persia had conquered Babylon, Daniel read Jeremiah’s prophecy, “…that Jerusalem must lie desolate for seventy years” (as quoted by Daniel in Chapter 9, verse 2).

That had been the warning given by God through Jeremiah to the two southern tribes of Israel—Judah and Benjamin. If God’s people persisted in worshipping false gods (idols) and refused to return to him, the prophecies given to Moses long before would come to pass—the final and most devastating of which was the inconceivable exile to foreign nations.

Daniel then proceeded to offer one of the most poignant and powerful prayers recorded in all of Scripture, acknowledging the unrepentant sins of the people and God’s perfect justice in judging them. Then pleading with the Lord to be merciful to him and his people. It was tantamount to asking the Lord to please remember his promise to limit the punishment to seventy years (Daniel 9:4-19).

Daniel had barely begun praying when God sent the angel Gabriel to him, but not just to answer Daniel’s prayer, as it was already a foregone conclusion that the Babylonia captivity would last for only 70 years. Rather, the Lord would give to Daniel an astounding panoramic prophecy concerning Israel’s future that would encompass the New Covenant of salvation and Israel’s ultimate physical and spiritual restoration; also times of great turmoil caused by both the first and second appearance of the anti-Messiah. And other phenomenal events that we’ll get to later in this and next week’s article.

Before we read the four verses of this powerful prophecy, let’s pick it up with Gabriel’s first words to Daniel:

“…Daniel, I have come here to give you insight and understanding. The moment you began praying, a command was given. And now I am here to tell you what it was, for you are very precious to God. Listen carefully so that you can understand the meaning of your vision” (Daniel 9:22-23).

(Depiction of Gabriel Appearing to Daniel, Who Would Have Been in His Early Eighties By This Time)

Here is Gabriel’s stunning revelation to Daniel, quoted in its entirety. However, for purpose of easier referencing later on, each verse will be cited individually.

“A period of seventy sets of seven has been decreed for your people and your holy city to finish their rebellion, to put an end to their sin, to atone for their guilt, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to confirm the prophetic vision, and to anoint the Most Holy Place” (Daniel 9:24)

“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. Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets and strong defenses, despite the perilous times” (Verse 25).

“After this period of sixty-two sets of seven, the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple. The end will come with a flood, and war its miseries are decreed from that time to the very end” (Verse 26).

“The ruler will make a treaty with the people for a period of one set of seven, but after half this time, he will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings. And as a climax to all his terrible deeds, he will set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration, until the fate decreed for this defiler is finally poured out on him” (Daniel 9:27).

In just four verses, the angel Gabriel revealed a total of seven (once again illustrating the striking significance of the divine number seven) distinct components to this amazing prophecy. Some of the seven are well-known and sufficiently grasped by students of Bible prophecy; others have been misunderstood or misapplied, especially verse 26.

*Note: You may want to print the above portion of today’s article that quotes the four verses of Daniel Chapter 9, for easier reference as we proceed.

(1) The Seventy Weeks of Daniel

In Hebrew, the 70 weeks represent 490 actual years (one week equals seven years) of time that began with the Persian King Artaxerxes’s decree in 445 B.C.—recorded later in Nehemiah Chapter 2—allowing Nehemiah to return to Israel and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. However, the 70 weeks (particularly the sweeping events depicted in verse 24), would also prophetically span the interlude between the first 69 weeks of this era and the remaining (70th) week.

Sixty-nine of these weeks (483 years) would end with the triumphant ride of Jesus on the back of a donkey (as foretold by Zechariah) into Jerusalem on what we now call Palm Sunday. Seven days later, Messiah Jesus would arise from the dead to seal the New Covenant of Salvation through faith in God’s grace … the substitutionary sacrificial gift of His Son. That is the (once for all) atonement spoken of in verse 24.

The 70th week would not commence until: “The end will come…” (verse 26) at which time the Antichrist would make a seven-year treaty with Israel (verse 27). From which we get the duration of the Great Tribulation, beginning with believers taken from the earth in the Rapture (I Thessalonians 4 & I Corinthians 15).

Take special note that the same ruler (Antichrist) introduced earlier in verse 26 is the one who orchestrates this seven-year treaty with Israel; separated by a (long) period of time before the 70th week would begin, as clearly conveyed in the last half of verse 26: “…The end will come…” Which perfectly matches with Nero’s first time/tenure on earth as a Roman Emperor to his return from the Abyss at the outset of the Tribulation.

At the end of that 70th week (seven years) when Messiah returns triumphantly to earth to set up his Millennial Reign, other of Daniel’s predictions in verse 24 will come to pass. Israel’s rebellion (their persistent refusal by the majority of Jews to accept Jesus as their Messiah) is finally ended when the remnant left at the end of the Tribulation embraces Jesus as their Messiah. First they will mourn for Jesus because they (and their ancestors) had denied him as their Messiah Savior (Zechariah 12:10-14). Everlasting righteousness will be established in the Kingdom of God, and the Most Holy Place (the 3rd Temple) will be divinely “anointed” or set apart for worship and prayer during the Millennium.

At that point the entire scope of the prophetic vision will have been confirmed … completed.

These 70 weeks would comprehensively comprise everything pertaining to Israel’s redemption (individually then nationally) and their ultimate physical and spiritual restoration to the Promised Land. In between the 69th and 70th week, the times of the Gentile domination would continue over Israel, which finally ended in 1967.

(2) Sixty-Nine Weeks to Messiah’s Arrival on Earth

Daniel gives us the starting point of that phenomenally precise prediction, and the Gospels tell us exactly when Messiah Jesus (“the Anointed One comes” … Daniel 9:25) fulfilled the prophecy as foretold in the following well-known passage:

“Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on donkey—riding on a donkey’s colt” (Zechariah 9:9).

Not until the appointed time during his marvelous and miraculous ministry on earth did Jesus allow Israel to “officially” acknowledge him as the long-awaited Messiah; even though his profound teaching and his powerful miracles that no one had ever done before proved that he was the Son of God … exactly who King David said the Messiah would be (Psalm 2 & Psalm 110).

Read with me from Matthew’s Gospel: “The two disciples did as Jesus commanded. They brought the donkey and the colt to him and threw their garments over the colt, and he sat on it. Most of the crowds spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting.

‘Praise God for the Son of David (all Jews knew that term was equivalent to the Messiah)! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise God in highest heaven!’

“The entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar as he entered. ‘Who is this?’ they asked. And the crowds replied, ‘It’s Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee’” (Matthew 21:6-11; italics for emphasis, parenthesis mine).

Although mentioned in subsequent Eye of Prophecy articles, here is an excerpt from an older article, An Incredible Prophecy Time-Lapse Prophecy (Posted 1-18-14). That article was all about the amazing discovery (disclosure) given to Sir Robert Anderson, published in 1894 in his book, The Coming Prince.

Once again, time/space prohibits extensive review of what he found, so I will highly condense his amazing discovery: Sir Robert Anderson calculated (with partial assistance from the Royal Observatory, Greenwich) the Julian date of King Artaxerxes edict to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem to have been March 14th, 445 BC. Furthermore, the Julian date for Jesus’s magnificent ride into Jerusalem was April 6th, 32 AD. By employing the Hebrew calendar, Sir Robert Anderson tallied 173,880 days had elapsed which is exactly 483 Jewish years!! Absolutely astounding! I repeat for emphasis: Incredible!!

Sir Robert Anderson factored in leap years and the 24 days from March 14th to April 6th. Some mathematicians/scholars determined that Anderson was two days off or so; but whether they’re right or Sir Robert was right, doesn’t matter all that much. The fact is: to calculate within two days, or two weeks, or two months, or even two years is remarkable. When you’re talking about 483 years, even a gap of two years still gives significant validation to the prophecy. Meaning that it’s not the God-given prophecy that’s a little off; rather, it might just be a slight miscalculation of what is a fairly complex system of balancing two calendars over such a long period of time.

Unless God, himself, directly inspires someone (such as the prophet Daniel), there’s absolutely no way for a man or woman to predict either the decree of Artaxerxes (some 95 years after Daniel’s vision) or the coming of the Messiah (some 483 years—Jewish calendar) years later to the year and the very day! Or, for that matter to predict anything, with or without a definitive time-frame of fulfillment, on an error-free, 100% standard of accuracy….

*Foot Note: Sir Robert Anderson recognized that Daniel’s prophecy was one (of a very few) Biblical prediction based on an actual calendar time-lapse projection … in this case regarding Messiah’s first coming. The insight given to me comes from the “hidden” gem of prophecy found in Leviticus Chapter 26, pertaining to the Lord’s second coming during the generation that would see the end of Gentile domination of the Jews in 1967. It also is based on a precise period of time, in this case the four phases of seven times over representing the actual historical time-line of God’s uninterrupted discipline of Israel.

(Sir Robert Anderson … 1841-1918)

See Eye of Prophecy articles, Seven Times Seven (to the 4th Power) Parts I, II, III; followed by The Omega Generation—published 1-25-14 through 2-15-14. Also refer to articles: Jubilee and Messiah … They Go Together! (1-25-16) & Double Israel’s Trouble and Double Her Blessings! (8-13-16).

Whether coincidental or not: Sir Robert Anderson was an Investigator for Scotland Yard and my profession was principally that of an Insurance Investigator.

(3) Messiah’s Death

“After this period of sixty-two sets of seven (69 sets of seven in all or 483 years—173,880 days), the Anointed One will be killed…” (Daniel 9:26a, parenthesis mine).

In Verse 25 the angel Gabriel describes (breaks down) the 69 weeks by saying, “seven sets of seven plus sixty-two sets of seven.” There could be two reasons for this: (1) sometimes the way in which the Hebrew language would (poetically) emphasize periods of time. But not just in Bible times. Do you remember a famous U.S. President who used the same kind of expression? “Four score and seven years ago…!”

(2) Gabriel is indirectly but nonetheless prophetically underscoring the time (seven weeks or 49 years) that would pass from the time of the Jerusalem walls decree to the 400-year period of silence when the Lord did not speak to his people through prophets, which is the last 400 years of B.C. time. Forty-nine years from 445 B.C. would lead to the year 396 B.C. which very well could have been the year when Malachi’s prophecies ended. Personally, I lean towards option 2.

Equally astonishing in Daniel’s Chapter 9 prophecy: Not only was Messiah’s arrival on Planet Earth (prophetically earmarked in time by thousands in Israel hailing him as Messiah exactly 173,880 days after the Artaxerxes decree) precisely foretold, so is the fact that he would be killed and that his death would occur BEFORE the 2nd Temple was destroyed (Verse 26). The implication of that fact is stunningly significant, in that there’s no other time for Messiah to (first) arrive other than before the temple was destroyed.

Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article: Where is Messiah … Is He Already Here? Posted 6-25-16. (In italics):

Daniel’s prophecy is unambiguously clear: The Messiah would appear before the destruction of the Temple, which took place in 70 AD. And that’s exactly what occurred … Jesus birth, life, death, and resurrection some 40 years before the Romans sacked Jerusalem, which irrefutably validates the accuracy of Daniel’s prophecy.

Whereas, the religious leaders and people of Jesus’s time scorned him for the reasons given thus far—most prominent of which was ignoring the plain evidence for the time of Messiah’s appearance and marginalizing or outright rejecting his teachings and miracles—all those who deny that he is Messiah after the Temple was destroyed have no grounds whatsoever to refute the Messiahship of Jesus.

Why?

Because they have the 20/20 hindsight of history, right up to the present day. The Messiah would come at the end of 483 years, exactly when Jesus rode on a donkey into Jerusalem … hailed by the people as the Son of David, the Messiah.

Then the Messiah would be killed BEFORE the Temple was destroyed by the armies of a ruler who would arise (shortly) AFTER Messiah arrived and was killed.

According to the time-line of Daniel’s prophecy, there is no way that the Messiah could (first advent) arrive on the scene of history AFTER the Temple was destroyed.

Daniel’s prophecy confirms prior predictions of Messiah’s death as found, for example, in Isaiah Chapter 53. Right up to this present day, the suffering of the Jewish Messiah is a source of consternation and bewilderment to many Jews, especially the observant among them. It is such a paradox that several Rabbis endorse the theory that there are two Messiahs, not just one. See Eye of Prophecy article, More Than One Messiah (12-5-15) and a companion article, Messiah’s Arrival … On Whose Authority? (11-25-15).

Or they continue to maintain that the personal pronouns applied to the Messiah (a man) speak of Israel as a nation in Isaiah 53. Which is impossible because no nation can be “an offering for sin” or “bear all their sins” or “had done no wrong” (Isaiah 53). The nation of Israel certainly couldn’t or wouldn’t be, “…buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave” (Isaiah 53:9).

(If I counted correctly, there are 36 personal pronouns of he, him, or his; plus “a man of sorrows” for a total of 37 references to an individual man–the Messiah–in Isaiah 53, a chapter with 12 verses)

I respect and admire and love the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. But with tough love I must say that for anyone, scholar or otherwise, to allege that the personal pronouns describing a man (the Messiah) in Isaiah 53 apply to Israel as a nation is a grammatically ignorant and/or deliberate contextual distortion of the passage.

For that matter, how could Messiah victoriously, but also humbly, enter Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt while at the same time appearing to Israel as their conquering King, liberating them from their enemies? In Biblical times, a king entering a city on a donkey was a gesture of redemptive-like resolution and peace, without the need for armed conflict. As opposed to a king riding into a city on a horse, symbolizing triumphant conquest in war. In fact, immediately after the verse quoted earlier from Zechariah (Messiah riding into Jerusalem on a donkey) we read:

“…I will destroy all the weapons used in battle, and your king will bring peace to the nations. His realm will stretch from sea to sea … to the ends of the earth. Because of the covenant I made with you, sealed with blood, I will free your prisoners…” (Zechariah 9:10-11).

The only possible explanation is that Messiah came first as Israel’s Sacrificial Redeemer to establish the New Covenant (sealed with his blood) prophesied by Jeremiah (Chapter 31), then will return as King of all kings to establish the Kingdom of God from Jerusalem.

Even before Isaiah 53, we read this in the preceding chapter:

“See, my servant will prosper; he will be highly exalted (which is the only prophetic image most Jews have of Messiah). But many were amazed when they saw him (Isaiah is switching to the past tense to emphasize what must come first, even though the entire passage in prophetically future). His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance one would scarcely know he was a man” (Isaiah 52:13-14, parenthesis mine).

The Gospels vividly tell us that Jesus was struck about his face, part of his beard pulled out, beaten on his head with a rod, a crown of thorns placed on his head, and mercilessly flogged with a lead-tipped whip. Combine that with long nails driven through his wrists and feet on the cross and you get a graphic picture of Isaiah’s prophecy—that Jesus could hardly be recognized as a man.

But then immediately switching back to the future (return of Messiah), Isaiah states, “And he will startle many nations. Kings will stand speechless in his presence…” (Isaiah 52:15).

One day soon all of Israel will recognize beyond any doubt that Jesus is the Messiah when he returns to the Mount of Olives (from which he ascended back to heaven) and rescues the Jews from annihilation at the hands of Antichrist (Nero). Then and only then will their redemption as a nation be complete.

(4) Soon After Messiah’s Death, a Ruler (Antichrist) Would Arise

In amplification of Daniel Chapter 7 which deals primarily with the activities of the Antichrist during the Great Tribulation (although Chapter 7 does identify that this ruler would come from the 4th World Kingdom—Rome), Daniel 9 informs us when and from where the Antichrist would first appear as further supported by Revelation Chapter 17.

Long before the book of Revelation was written telling us that the Antichrist beast of the Great Tribulation had already lived and died in the 1st century (but would return from the Abyss), Daniel Chapter 9 paints a clear picture that this evil man would arise (soon) after Messiah’s birth, life, death, and resurrection.

We know that this ruler would appear soon after Messiah’s death, because of the qualifying language in Daniel 9:26. Beginning with:

“…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 9:26a, italics for emphasis).

Here is an excerpt from my book, Out of the Abyss (in italics):

Another convincing reason to assign contemporary status, correlation, and connection between the ruler (Nero) and the Roman Legions of 70 AD relates to the ruler arising after the Anointed One (Messiah) is killed, “appearing to have accomplished nothing…” (Daniel 9:26).

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

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

(Busts of the First Five Roman Caesars …. Left to Right: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero)

The next paragraph after the above excerpt reads:

“Stating it bluntly: the Roman Legions of 70 AD could not be of, from, or belong to a ruler born some two thousand years later. This would stretch the chain that binds the Roman Legions of 70 AD to a modern-day man to the breaking point. Remember again: this ruler or king originates directly from the fourth world power (Roman Empire) of Daniel Chapter 7. The ruler does not come from a future 7th empire, because there is no such empire in the book of Daniel, as there are not seven heads to the beast of Daniel, only the ten horns (tribulation kings)” (Out of the Abyss, page 257).

Which leads us to the next remarkable feature of this four-verse passage in Daniel Chapter 9, as hinted at in the preceding paragraph just quoted. But one that will need to wait until next week’s Part II article!

That next point is:

(5) The Armies (Roman Legions) That Destroyed the 2nd Temple Belonged to Nero Caesar

As opposed to the impractical notion of these Roman legions belonging to a ruler who wouldn’t be born for another 2,000 years.

Points 6 & 7 will also follow in next week’s article, to, among other things, further demonstrate that Nero is the Antichrist, because the same ruler whose armies destroyed the Temple will initiate the seven-year treaty with Israel (at the outset of the Tribulation).

Things to Ponder

As with other visions seen by Daniel, I’m sure he was overwhelmed at the magnitude of all that Gabriel was telling him, particularly because the breadth of it was comprehensively condensed to a few sentences.

All of the seven component prophecies explained to him by Gabriel as recorded in Daniel 9:24-27 were astounding. But I think the one which probably stunned him the most was the fact that the Temple would be rebuilt. And then destroyed yet again! By a ruler who would arise shortly after Messiah was killed, which he already knew would happen by virtue of Isaiah and King David’s prophecies of Messiah’s death. Yet Daniel didn’t need to wait long to see the unfolding of the rebuilt Temple facet of these seven prophecies.

Less than a year later, the Persian King Cyrus, in his very first year of reign after conquering Babylon, issued a decree that the Jews could return to Israel and rebuild the Temple (See Ezra Chapter 1)!

Although Jeremiah had prophesied that the Babylonian Captivity would last only 70 years, God had not disclosed to him that the Temple would be rebuilt. In fact, it was the year when the Temple was finally finished (516 B.C.) which completed the 70 year-exile of the Jews, after Solomon’s Temple was demolished in 586 B.C.

Do you see how graciously the Lord answered Daniel’s prayer for mercy on and forgiveness of Daniel’s people, the Jews? Not only would the Jews return to Israel (some of them, as not all agreed to go back), the Temple itself would be rebuilt! That’s grace and mercy that only the Lord God can express in real time and in concrete ways. And then the Lord gave Daniel a condensed but nevertheless panoramic view of Israel’s future and destiny like virtually no other found in Scripture. One, however, that we can understand even better than Daniel, if we eagerly and thoroughly compare Scripture with Scripture and also history … particularly the 1st century

(Depiction of The Third Temple Superimposed on Temple Mount Next to the Dome of the Rock)

“Indeed, the Sovereign Lord never does anything until he reveals his plans to his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).

“The time has come, says the Lord, when the grain and grapes will grow faster than they can be harvested. Then the terraced vineyards on the hills of Israel will drip with sweet wine! I will bring my exiled people of Israel back from distant lands, and they will rebuild their ruined cities and live in them again … I will firmly plant them there in their own land. They will never again be uprooted from the land I have given them, says the Lord your God” (Amos 8:13-15).

To the Gentile believers in Rome, the Jewish Apostle Paul wrote:

“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” (Romans 11:11-12).

Long live Israel!

Long live Messiah Yeshua!

Global Obsession with Jerusalem … In Biblical Proportions!

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The World’s OCD over Israel

Obsession: “a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling” (Webster’s Dictionary).

The persistent unreasonable idea or feeling harbored by Israel’s enemies and even by her (few and far between) friends is whether Israel and especially Israel’s capital Jerusalem truly belongs to the Jews. Or are the Jews “occupying” Jerusalem and other parts of Israel?

Obsessive: “excessive often to an abnormal degree … need for quick solutions.” The entire planet is demanding urgent resolution to Israel’s problems, even though the core of these issues is at least three thousand years in the making.

Compulsion: “an irresistible impulse to perform an irrational act.” The compulsive agenda of many world leaders is to impulsively (bordering on the irrational) fix Israel. Their faulty premise: If they can fix Israel and solve Jerusalem’s status, then the entire Middle East can be fixed in some fashion or another.

As the first Eye of Prophecy article for a new year, there is no more fitting topic than the world’s fanatical focus on the tiny state of Israel, smaller in population than many cities on earth. It is political, racial, religious, and social OCD (Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder) on steroids and on a truly global scale. Since her rebirth as a sovereign state in 1948, no nation on earth has received more world-wide attention as has Israel. It is mind-boggling. We only need to look at the United Nations—to which virtually every nation on earth belongs— to confirm that this obsession is not an exaggeration.

Question: Is the United Nations really united? Answer: Of course not. How could it be when there’s such dissimilarity in geopolitical ideologies and practices from one country to another? If anything, there are deeper more divisive differences between nations than ever before—surpassing the disparities that spawned World War II, i.e. fascism versus democracy. Even within nations there is a growing polarity between such things as globalism and populism.

(United Nations General Assembly)

However, when it comes to Israel, the vast majority of otherwise disunited nations of the world have set aside their differences in a common cause that is glaringly and transparently anti-Israel. It is a unified agenda against the one and only Jewish state in the world, with only a handful of nations showing overt support for Israel. In both form and substance, it is a global conspiracy that defies all that is logical, reasonable, and moral. It is peer pressure at its worst. It is so very wrong.

Consequently, the Psalmist pleaded with the Lord:

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

You can count on it! The Lord has heard the incessant threats of the nations against Israel. He has seen the dozens of UN Resolutions against Israel that are shamefully unfounded (based on ignorance or deliberate denial of Israel’s true historical right to the Promised Land), far outnumbering those against truly rogue nations like North Korea, Iran, Yemen, and Syria.

United Nations Retaliates Against the United States & Israel

Please refer to Eye of Prophecy article, U.S. President Agrees with God … Jerusalem is Israel’s Capital! Posted 12-9-17. Which includes quotes from Palestinians and Islamic leaders who blasted President’s Trump decision of 12-6-17 to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital. But also from some of our allies who protested Trump’s decision, such as Great Britain, France, and Germany.

Soon after President Trump’s daring declaration on behalf of our Executive Staff to officially support the Jerusalem Embassy Act passed by a wide margin in the U.S. Congress (1995), the United Nations Security Council convened to vote on yet another resolution effectively against Israel, although the United States was directly targeted.

On December 18th, 2017, less than two weeks after President Trump’s historical announcement, a resolution to declare America’s recognition of Jerusalem as internationally illegal was approved by the UN Security Council. Although it only takes nine of the fifteen council member nations to pass a resolution, fourteen of the fifteen nations voted in favor. As you probably know by now, our United States Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, vetoed the decree.

As a reminder, there are five nations which hold a permanent seat on the Security Council: United States, France, Great Britain, Russia, and China. Each of these five nations possesses veto power for any Security Council resolution. The other ten nations are appointed for two-year terms.

The impetus for this resolution came from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) consisting of 57 Muslim countries, which conducted an “emergency meeting” soon after President Trump’s announcement. Egypt was selected as the country to draft the resolution.

(The Real Founding Purpose of the OIC Was to Deal With the “Zionist Entity” … Israel)

Not that the OIC needed any incentive to once again denigrate Israel (this time via the United States); however, their resolution was spurred on by comments such as made by Turkey’s President Erdogan—who regurgitated Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ previous rhetoric that the United States should be disqualified as a negotiator in Israeli/Palestinian peace process—because the US was no longer an “unbiased” peace broker.

Excuse me: Does that mean that all of the Islamic countries (both Arab and non-Arab) as well as many European nations are NOT biased (toward Israel), or do not favor the Palestinian narrative? That’s like saying the sun rises in the east only for some nations. Whether a good bias or a bad one (in the eye of the beholder) a bias is still a bias. But did President Trump show bias? If simply affirming the historical reality that Jerusalem is and always has been the only capital of Israel is prejudice, then every nation on earth is bigoted because they have exercised their sovereign right as a country to recognize any city of any nation on earth which has declared that city as their capital.

Essentially then, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution that contradicts and even defies one of the integral features and purposes for its very existence: acceptance and recognition of member states to establish its capital in the city of its choice.

Said US Ambassador Nikki Haley after the United States vetoed the resolution: “Today for the simple act of deciding where to put our embassy, the United States was forced to defend its sovereignty. The record will reflect that we did so proudly. Today for acknowledging a basic truth about the capital city of Israel, we are accused of harming peace. The record will reflect that we reject that outrageous claim. For these reasons and with the best interest of both the Israeli and the Palestinian people firmly in mind, the United States votes no on this resolution.”

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this about President Trump’s decision to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, then the subsequent U.S. veto of the malicious and misguided Security Council resolution, which took place during Israel’s celebration of Chanukah.

“Thank you, Ambassador Haley. On Chanukah, you spoke like a Maccabi. You lit a candle of truth. You dispel the darkness. One defeated the many. Truth defeated lies. Thank you, President Trump. Thank you, Nikki Haley.”

(Jewish Family Celebrating Hanukkah– See Eye of Prophecy Article: Hanukkah … The Festival Born of a Prophecy! Posted 12-31-16)

Ambassador Haley also referenced the deplorable UN Resolution 2334, supported (some even say instigated) by outgoing President Obama also in the month of December (2016). Among other anti-Israeli accusations, that resolution condemned the construction of Jewish homes in eastern Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria. Although the U.S. didn’t vote for the resolution, it nevertheless abstained, which was tantamount to supporting it.

Said Nikki Haley: “In December 2016, the US elected to abstain. Now it is a new administration. Given the chance to vote again we would exercise a veto power. The US will not make that mistake again.”

Please see Eye of Prophecy article, United Nations Downsizing of Israel (Resolution 2334) Posted 1-7-17.

The Security Council Resolution against the United States and Israel Was Not Enough

It was no secret to the entire world that the United States would veto the Security Council resolution. Thus, the Muslim nations convinced the United Nations to urgently convene a session in its General Assembly. Although it would be (legally) non-binding, the General Assembly passed its own resolution just three days later (12-21-17) declaring the U.S. action on Jerusalem, “null and void.”

The vote was 128 in favor and 9 against, with 35 countries abstaining and another 21 nations whose representatives didn’t attend the session. The Palestinians considered the vote to be a great victory for them and for the Muslim world, even though the resolution was unenforceable as compared to Security Council measures that are (legally) binding by international law. Said Palestinian Authority spokesman, Nabil Abu Rdainah: “We will continue our efforts in the United Nations and at all international forums to put an end to this occupation, and to establish a Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

Central American countries Guatemala and Honduras were two of the nine nations that voted on the side of the United States and Israel. In fact, after speaking directly with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Guatemala’s President Jimmy Morales had already stated that he would move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem after the United States had done so. The other five countries (besides the US and Israel) were: Micronesia, Nauru, Tonga, Palau, and the Marshall Islands. How many of these countries have you heard of? None of them? Make no mistake: the true and living God—the God of Israel and of all who have placed their faith and eternal destiny in the Jewish Messiah, Jesus—heard their vote. According to God, he will bless those nations who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel. (Genesis 12).

The experts were wrong; they had predicted at least 150 nations would vote in favor of the sanction against the US and Israel. Accordingly, Prime Minister Netanyahu stated:

“Israel rejects the decision of the United Nations and, at the same time, we show gratitude to the high number of countries that abstained from this resolution. Israel thanks President Trump on his unequivocal position in favor of Jerusalem and thanks other countries that voted together with Israel, together with the truth.”

However, the political experts were right in forecasting that several nations who have in the past voted against Israel abstained this time because of what President Trump and Ambassador Haley had boldly said before the General Assembly’s vote on 12-21-17.

Tweeted President Trump with the clear message that US aid to some nations might be cut off or reduced if they defied America’s sovereign right to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital: “We’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us, we’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”

Said Nikki Haley: “The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in this assembly. We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the U.N. and when other member nations ask Washington to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.”

Echoing President Trump’s pledge, she went on to say: “America will put our embassy in Jerusalem. That is what the American people want us to do, and it is the right thing to do. No vote in the United Nations will make any difference on that. But this vote will make a difference on how Americans look at the U.N. and on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the U.N. And this vote will be remembered.”

(US Ambassador to United Nations … Nikki Haley)

Author and columnist Sarah Stern wrote in an article published by the online new source Israel Hayom on 12-26-17 in which she comments on the UN’s reprehensible vote against the US, considering that America pays 22% of the U.N. budget—billions more than any other nation.

Said Ms. Stern: “Seeing as 20 of the 26 General Assembly votes in 2016 were directed against Israel—a full 77%–with only three on Syria, and one each on Iran, North Korea and Crimea, it came as no surprise that on Thursday, the General Assembly rejected President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital…

“The reason for this is the presence within the U.N. of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation—the largest body inside the U.N. and a powerful force against Israel. It is beyond ironic that nations with the glorious human rights records of Syria, Yemen, Iran and Saudi Arabia are lecturing the United States on democracy.

“Thank you, Nikki Haley for finally putting an end to the notion that nations can continue to insult the U.S. and its single democratic ally in the Middle East and then expect a free ride at the American taxpayer’s expense.”

Seventy-seven percent of UN resolutions against Israel (in 2016) is certainly nothing new. Since 2012, some 85% of the almost 90 UN Resolutions have been directed at Israel. And before 2012, UN resolutions were disproportionately anti-Israel. In fact, ever since Israel’s statehood in 1948, she has been the favorite target of this global organization that actually should be called, Nations United Against Israel.

Which reinforces the main theme of today’s article: the extraordinary focus of global attention on Israel is absolutely unprecedented in recorded history. Which is what the Bible said would happen in the last days. Our generation is witnessing the culmination of God’s two sweeping plans for the human race that will complete his three enduring covenants with Israel. Which, in turn, have brought and will bring untold blessings to Gentiles as well as to all Jews who recognize and accept the One destined to bring these covenants to final fruition.

That’s why the entire world is mesmerized by what is happening in the Middle East, especially in, to, and through Israel.

God’s Majestic Plans Accomplished Through Covenants

The first plan was set in motion by God’s covenant with Abraham, which itself was in two parts.

(A) The Chosen People: Abraham as the Patriarchal Father of God’s designated people the Jews, through whom Messiah would come. Messiah Jesus would be the ultimate source of blessing for both the Jews and Gentiles (Genesis 12:1-3, which lists seven promises).

(B) The Promised Land of Israel: As a perpetual inheritance and special possession of the Jews.

Said the Lord to 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 you 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, there are several passages in the Old Testament that define the comprehensive boundaries of the Promised Land of Israel, such as Ezekiel Chapters 47-48 and Obadiah 1. Trust me (better yet trust the Bible): The original expanse of Israel when first given to the Jews (and will be returned to them during the Millennium) was much larger than modern-day Israel.

In preparation for the ultimate Promised Child (Messiah Jesus) through Isaac and a New Covenant that would provide a once for all substitutionary atonement for Israel and all people, the Lord gave a set of universal laws (Ten Commandments) and principles to Israel, but also hundreds of civil, ceremonial, and celebratory laws unique to God’s chosen people.

Because God’s people failed to keep the covenant of the law given through Moses, they were expelled (not once, but twice) from Israel just as the Lord said would happen if his people disobeyed and abandoned him.

Nonetheless, God’s covenant promise to Abraham was unconditional … though it would take thousands of years to be fully realized. In the interim, there are hundreds of Old Testament prophecies declaring that God himself would unilaterally restore the Jews to the Promised Land of Israel. This ultimate physical and spiritual redemption would come through Messiah.

“In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to bring back the remnant of his people—those who remain in Assyria and northern Egypt; in southern Egypt, Ethiopia, and Elam; in Babylonia, Hamath, and all the distant coastlands. He will raise a flag among the nations and assemble the exiles of Israel. He will gather the scattered people of Judah from the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 11:11-12).

The second plan was for God to replace the Mosaic Covenant with a New Covenant, as prophesied by Jeremiah (Chapter 31).

This superb Covenant of Grace would also be extended to the Gentiles, beginning with the substitutionary sacrifice of God’s Son (the Messiah) as so poignantly pictured in Isaiah Chapter 53 and other passages, to make all people right with God by simple faith in so great a salvation.

This covenant was implemented 2,000 years ago with the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Messiah Jesus. Just hours before he was mercilessly and unjustly crucified on a cross, Jesus ate a final meal with his disciples.

“After supper he took another cup of wine and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you’” (Luke 22:20).

That covenant of once-for-all sacrificial redemption has continued to this day, and will remain until the soon to come Rapture of Gentile Christians and Messianic Jews the world over. Followed by the greatest time of calamity the world has ever known, one that will last seven years.

The third covenant was one God made with King David, also in two parts … one conditional the other unconditional.

(A) Conditional Requirements: For descendants of King David to remain on his throne in Israel, they and the people must continue to follow the Lord their God. They did not. Result: End of the Davidic dynasty of kings.

(B) Unconditional Aspect of Davidic Covenant: At God’s appointed time, a King from the tribe of Judah would reinstate the Davidic dynasty. “…He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity…” (Isaiah 9:7).

Messiah Jesus will rule and reign as King of all kings from Jerusalem.

“And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord—his name alone will be worshipped” (Zechariah 14:9).

God’s Covenants Go Through Isaac, Not Ishmael

This is what infuriates Israel’s sworn enemies, which is virtually all Muslims and Islamic nations. They simply cannot tolerate a tiny Jewish nation whose people (whether religiously observant or not) claim to be descendants of a man chosen directly by a God who asserts that he is the only true and living God. But this hatred goes much further back than Muhammad’s invention of Islam and his selection of the moon-god Allah from among other pagan gods worshipped by the Arabs, to replace the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

It goes back to the Lord’s decision that Isaac, not Ishmael, would be the child of promise—ancestor of the greater Child of Promise to come later—Messiah. Some 1.5 billion Muslims on this planet simply will not tolerate the truth of God’s Covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

They have rewritten the Biblical historical record to, among other things, fraudulently claim that Ishmael was Abraham’s rightful heir to the promises of God’s Covenant with Abraham. All the while asserting that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (which is how God initially referred to himself) was really Allah. And that Abraham was actually Muslim—some 2,500 years before Muhammad concocted Islam as a religion. Which to anyone with any (historical) objectivity and common sense at all would realize is pathetically absurd.

(*Note: Once again I will say in no uncertain terms: The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who then revealed his Divine universal name (Yahweh) to Moses is NOT the same as Allah. Or any other man-made god. The differences between the Bible and the Koran and between El Shaddai (God Almighty … another name for the God of the Bible) and Allah are absolutely light years apart.)

But this irrational hatred of the Jews extends far beyond the Arabs and Muslims of the world. The Crusades, the Inquisitions, the European and Russian pogroms, and most (worst) of all the horrendous Holocaust at the hands of the “superior Aryan” Third Reich prove that anti-Semitism has crossed all racial, religious, political, and cultural lines.

No matter the ideology—whether eastern mysticism or western pragmatism, whether religious or non-religious, whether political or apolitical—there is a convergence of world opinion that something must be done about Israel … good, bad, or somewhere in between. Nations are taking sides for or (mostly) against Israel with such a powerful polarity that they will not allow Israel to determine her own destiny.

Even President Trump said that his decision to declare Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would mean that the Israelis would have to “pay” (meaning reciprocate) for “concessions” that would be required of Israel should peace negotiations ever resume. He did not intend that as a threat to Israel. Rather, he was responding to Palestinian Authority President Abbas’ staff which claimed that President Trump was “blackmailing” them with his threat (which it was to the PA) to cut off aid unless the Palestinians included the United States in peace negotiations.

The winds of war are whipping across this planet. As born again believers, we know full well that the ultimate source and force behind the evil ideologies (fascism, communism, state religions, totalitarianism, and New Age globalism) is Satan, himself. He knows the Scriptures and he’s well acquainted with God’s plans so powerfully presented in the Bible. He’s fully aware that God intends to carry out his covenant with Abraham, whereby the Jewish people will forever possess the Promised Land, with Jerusalem as the Holy Capital City of that Holy Land.

Here’s what Jesus said about Satan:

Satan has been preoccupied with eliminating both the Jews and Israel from the face of the earth. He knows that Jerusalem is the heart and soul of Israel. It is to Jerusalem that Messiah will return. And it is from Jerusalem that he will rule and reign victoriously in a Kingdom of righteousness, justice, and peace—all three of which Satan hates. In Satan’s warped mentality: No Jerusalem, no Israel. No Israel, no return of Messiah.

In a two-front war, the devil has also continued his campaign to kill as many Christians as possible. While also devising false religions to strike the Kingdom of Heaven from within—an even more deceitful and dangerous threat, because many more will die in their sins from a false gospel than true believers killed for their faith.

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty power in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

An Intriguing Paradox

There is a remarkable phenomenon underway whereby some national leaders are developing friendly ties with Israel, even though the majority of their people still harbor anti-Semitic feelings against Jews. Still, when it came time on a global level to support Israel (by accepting at face value America’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital), many nations (such as India) that have recently struck up a liaison with Israel, bowed to international peer pressure and voted in favor of the UN General Assembly resolution.

This ambivalent, puzzling disposition of nations toward Israel is exactly what Scripture said would happen, especially when the Gog/Magog coalition invades Israel. This massive campaign led by Russia, Iran, and Turkey (all three of which have a military presence in Syria right next door to Israel) will occur not long after the Rapture.

Says the Sovereign Lord to Gog/Magog, “…At that time evil thoughts will come to your mind, and you will devise a wicked scheme. You will say, ‘Israel is an unprotected land filled with unwalled villages! I will march against her and destroy these people who live in such confidence!” (Ezekiel 38:10-11).

The clear concept conveyed in this passage is that Israel will be at a level of peace not thought possible by Israelis or the rest of the world. Obviously, it will be a false sense of security.

It’s actually not so much the fact that the vast majority of nations still oppose Israel publicly, as demonstrated by the ridiculous and completely disproportionate (especially against the only democracy in the entire Middle East) UN resolutions. As indicated, this hostility towards Israel has been around for a long time. What’s Biblically important to grasp is the incomprehensible, inordinate obsession with Israel by virtually every nation on earth—not the least of which are the most powerful countries including, of course, the United States.

I’m convinced that the “wicked scheme” prophesied by Ezekiel is currently being devised by those nations who seek Israel’s total destruction. The particulars of their diabolical plan to “wipe Israel from the face of the earth” is already underway. All the pieces are in place like never before. They fully intend to move the “immovable rock of Jerusalem” from Israeli control (Zechariah 12:3). First, politically, through a United Nations (against Israel). When that doesn’t work, then an all-out military attack against Israel. But that won’t happen until after the Rapture. However, the Rapture is as imminent as it ever has been.

Thanks be to our Great God and Savior (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit); he has his own majestic plan. And he has the incomparable power and authority to achieve his purpose for national Israel and for spiritual Israel (Jew and Gentile believers in Messiah Jesus).

Here is God’s warning to those people and nations who defy the Lord and his Son:

“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 Lords scoffs at them. Then in anger he rebukes them, terrifying them with his fierce fury. For the Lord declares, ‘I have placed my chosen king on the throne in Jerusalem, on my holy mountain.’

“The king proclaims the Lord’s decree: The Lord said to me, ‘You are my son. Today I have become your Father. Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession. You will break them with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots.’

“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 2:1-12).

The Lord knows exactly which nations are devising a wicked plan against Israel and what that plan is. And we who know the Lord as personal Savior (Jew and Gentile alike) fully realize that we are here for such a time as this. Moreover, many Jews in Israel and the world over—who do not yet recognize Jesus as their Messiah nor have accepted him as God’s Son, their Savior— readily realize that their redemption is drawing near.

The nations are in a frenzy over Jerusalem. God said that one day he would grant their wish to try to solve the Jewish problem on a truly global scale.

In fact, the Lord will take the initiative himself as demonstrated in his words to Gog, “I will turn you around and drive you toward the mountains of Israel, bringing you from the distant north” (Ezekiel 39:2).

God himself will crush this arrogant Magog confederation in the early part of the Great Tribulation.

Then during the final battle of Armageddon regarding the ten-nation coalition led by Antichrist Nero, we read:

“At the time of those events, says the Lord, when I restore the prosperity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather the armies of the world into the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will judge them for harming my people, my special possession, for scattering my people among the nations, and for dividing up my land…

“Say to the nations far and wide: ‘Get ready for war! Call out your best warriors. Let all your fighting men advance for the attack. Hammer your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears. Train even your weaklings to be warriors. Come quickly, all you nations everywhere. Gather together in the valley.’

“And now, O Lord, call out your warriors! Let the nations be called to arms. Let them march to the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I, the Lord, will sit to pronounce judgment on them all” (Joel 3:1-2 & 9-12).

Summary

We are in the 3rd Millennium since the birth of Messiah Jesus and the 7th overall, as indicated in last week’s Eye of Prophecy article. Both are vitally significant numbers and periods of time in the Bible. Although there are multiple signs of last day’s prophecies being fulfilled in our generation, those millennial reasons (numbers) alone are signaling the soon return of Messiah Jesus. There have been seven major epochs in Jewish history (three since Messiah Jesus’s first advent) in which some nations have attempted to (literally) eliminate Jews and/or Israel from the earth.

  1. Pharaoh’s Suppression of the Jews From Becoming a Nation
  2. The Canaanite Tribes Effort to Drive the Jews out of Israel (Joshua to King David)
  3. The Assyrian and Babylonian Conquests of Israel/Judah, Resulting in “Ten Lost Tribes of Israel”
  4. The Evil Persian Haman’s Planned Genocide of the Jews
  5. The Roman Destruction of Jerusalem and the 2nd Temple & Massive Dispersion of the Jews to Other Nations
  6. A Genocide Attempt by Hitler’s Third Reich … Killing Six Million Jews
  7. The (Soon to Come) Gog/Magog, Then Antichrist Nero’s Coalition to Eliminate Israel as a Sovereign Nation.

Things to Ponder

The eyes of the world are on Israel. That magnified telescopic focus will only intensify in 2018.

And so is God intently watching over Israel.

“But the land into which you are about to cross to possess it, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the end of the year” (Deuteronomy 11:11-12, NASB).

Says King David about the Lord’s love for and protection of Israel and of God’s people:

“How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world. You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from those who conspire against them. You shelter them in your presence, far from accusing tongues” (Psalm 31:19-20).

Listen to the song of those in Israel’s antiquity as they ascended to Temple Mount (and even in today’s world with the millions of Jewish and Gentile tourists and Israeli citizens who visit Temple Mount):

Wake up people of the earth. The King is coming!

God has given everyone the freedom and authority to answer the following questions, but they must be answered. Neutrality is not an option with God.

Is Messiah Jesus coming for you or against you? Is he your Savior or your Judge?

“The Father loves his Son and has put everything into his hands. And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey (the obedience of faith in Messiah Jesus) the Son will never experience life but remains under God’s angry judgement” (John 3:35-36, parenthesis mine).

Messiah’s Millennial Reign … Incredible Changes on Earth

“The wolf and the lamb will feed together. The lion will eat hay like a cow…” (Isaiah 65:25).

Hold that thought … we’ll get back to it.

Meanwhile, it’s that time of the year. So shout it out: Happy New Year!

Cherishing and celebrating the Savior’s (Christmas) birthday or not, one week later many of us look forward to a new year. Whether a person’s year begins on January 1st (for most of the world), or the 1st day of Tishrei (Jewish calendar), there’s something about a new year that seems to renew or continue our hope for a meaningful life, and rekindle aspirations for a finer world with some measure of peace. People still make resolutions (some seriously) to be a better person to themselves and others.

Longing for better days ahead is enhanced in multiples of ten, then hundreds, and even thousands. A new decade for years that end in zero—with the average life expectancy in most nations of the world allowing many to see eight, nine, or even ten decades in their lifetime. Some actually experience the beginning of a new century, or have lived for a century or more. However, the human race has undergone only a few transitions from one millennium to another. Including our generation! We have witnessed the first number of the calendar switch from 1 to 2!

Epochs (millennia) of time don’t necessarily take place precisely on the Gregorian calendar year ending with three zeros. Nonetheless, the pivotal milestones of God’s interaction with man—as recorded in the Bible and documented by secular history—in accomplishing his plans for the human race are pretty close to those millennial markers.

For example: God chose Abraham as the progenitor of the Jewish race—through whom the Child of Promise would come to save both Jew and Gentile—around 2,000 B.C., the third millennium. From the tribe of Judah through the lineage of King David, Messiah would descend; David ruled as Israel’s greatest king from 1010 to 970 B.C. … onset of the fourth millennium.

Two thousand years ago marked the fifth millennium of recorded human history, when the miraculous birth of Jesus changed time itself. The number five in Scripture represents God’s grace. And that’s exactly what happened: the advent of the New Covenant of Grace foretold by Jeremiah (Chapter 31). God’s grace through the gift of his Son Messiah Jesus, who died to forgive sin and pardon the penalty of our sins—eternal separation from God. And God only requires one thing of us: to believe and receive the substitutionary death of His Son as the Gospel truth.

Very close to a thousand years after King David, “The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11) was born in Bethlehem. Just a few years and months before the world-changing birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, many Jews brimmed with enthusiasm for Messiah’s arrival. That same Messianic fervor—for believers the Second Coming; for non-Messianic Jews, Messiah’s first arrival—has exploded all over the world once again.

(See Eye of Prophecy articles, Great Expectations for Messiah and Amazing Anticipation for Messiah. Posted 8-8-15 & 8-29-15. Also refer to, The World Wants a Messiah … But It Needs (The) Messiah, posted 1-28-17).

Beginning with the estimated time when God created Adam and Eve (using the Roman, then Gregorian calendar), we became part of the 7th millennium in the year 2,000. Seven, the Divine Number found throughout Scripture constitutes the conclusiveness, completeness, and providential sovereignty of God’s interaction with his creation. Beginning with the Lord setting aside the 7th day as a day of rest, remembrance, and recognition of our awesome God and his majestic creation.

The year 2,000 was also the beginning of the third millennium (A.D.). Which is a meaningful milestone correlation to the fact that Messiah Jesus arose from the grave on the third day.

The Apostle Peter reminded us:

I’m convinced that this one-day-to-a-thousand years model is not only a symbolic comparison, but also a literal time-measurement of and connection to the third-day resurrection of Messiah and his soon glorious return (in this 3rd Millennium A.D, also the 7th Millennium overall).

The second Millennium (marked by the year 1000) and sixth overall, was a continuation of the Age of Grace. Six represents the number of man. In the same passage we just looked at, Peter provides the reason why the Lord might (in the 1st century) have delayed his return—explained by the one day/thousand-year paradigm.

“The Lord isn’t really slow about his promise (to return to the earth), as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent” (II Peter 3:9, parenthesis mine).

But now the time has come. We are almost eighteen years into the Third Millennium A.D. End-time prophecy is being fulfilled or is unfolding in the 20th & 21st centuries in unparalleled fashion since the first century. (See Eye of Prophecy articles, Look Up … Redemption Is Near, Part I & II. Posted 7-11 & 7-18-15, for twelve Biblical prophetic signs occurring in the last 100 years).

Imminent Arrival of the (Lord’s) New World Order

This new world order (not the kind that man-made conspiracies are made of) begins with the Rapture of believers; followed by the greatest time of death and destruction the world will ever experience, culminating with the triumphant return of Christ at the end of this disastrous seven years. (See Eye of Prophecy article, Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation, published 6-6-15).

Whatever time of year that Messiah returns to earth, the following year will bring a whole new meaning to Happy New Year.

There will be the need for only one all-encompassing resolution, which is expressed in many ways throughout Scripture. And that will be to acknowledge the Lord when he says: “For my people will serve the Lord their God and their king descended from David—the king I will raise up for them” (Jeremiah 30:9).

Although that passage is directed to Israel regarding her last day’s restoration, it will also extend to the whole world, because salvation comes through the Jewish Messiah (Jesus) to the Jew first, then to the Gentile (Romans 1:16).

“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).

No matter what year it takes place—2018, 2019, 2020, or soon thereafter—it will be the beginning of the glorious one-thousand year reign of Messiah Jesus on earth. He will usher in a remarkable era of righteousness and justice. Whenever it begins, the 1000-year reign of Christ will finally be: Peace on earth, good will toward men.

“Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. For them the second death holds no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6). See Revelation 20:11-15 for God’s Great White Throne Judgment and the second death.

Blessed, because Messiah Jesus will graciously and generously share his inheritance with believers, including the awesome privilege of reigning with him. Holy, because those who are given the incomparable benefit (through faith in Christ) to be children of God (John 1:12) will be separated just for that purpose—empowered to represent and serve our Lord all over the earth. The “first resurrection” takes place at the Rapture, and then continues with the resurrection of Tribulation Saints, many (probably most) of whom will be murdered by the Antichrist during the Tribulation. (Refer to: The Magnificent Millennial Reign of Believers with Messiah. Posted 7-15-17).

Christ, himself, will establish the Kingdom of God on earth and he will settle international quarrels, the kind that make a cold war hot. All wars will cease, even the cold ones. And the weapons of war will be no more.

(Jesus First Had to Reconcile Man to God)

“The Lord will mediate between peoples and will settle disputes between strong nations far away. 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. Everyone will live in peace and prosperity, enjoying their own grapevines and fig trees, for there will be nothing to fear. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has made this promise!” (Micah 4:3-4).

Concerning Israel: “…Then I, the Lord, will rule from Jerusalem as their king forever. As for you, Jerusalem, the citadel (capital) of God’s people, your royal might and power (as seen in the glory years of King David and Solomon … only better) will come back to you again. The kingship will be restored to my precious Jerusalem” (Micah 4:7-8, parenthesis mine).

Nothing like what Jesus will do when he returns has ever occurred in the long, painful, and all too often evil expression of the human heart throughout mankind’s sordid history. Man’s attempt to govern without acknowledging that, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12) has resulted in unimaginable misery, destruction, and death of hundreds of millions of people (by the end of the Tribulation it will be in the billions) at the hands of other human beings.

Think about it for a moment; pick a time, any time, in history. In anyone’s lifetime (using 70 years as the most common measurement of a generation) when was there peace everywhere on earth? Or even in their sphere of the world? Perhaps once or twice; even then, all too fleeting.

But one day (soon), Jesus will return to make all things right. And, oh, how different and right they will be!

Not only will the phenomenal 1,000-year government of Messiah Jesus (until the very end when God will release Satan from his imprisonment in the Abyss to lead one last rebellion … quickly crushed by God—Revelation 20) eliminate all aggression on earth, the hostility of nature itself will be a thing of the past. Earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, tornadoes, and famine will be few and far between, if at all. In fact, Zechariah both states and implies that the Lord will use nature only to discipline (no rain) those nations who refuse to go to Jerusalem to celebrate the Festival of Shelters and worship the King (Zechariah 14:16-19).

It’s true: Messiah Jesus will “rule with an iron rod” (Revelation 19:15). No more or less (but with perfection) than any benevolent king would do to preserve the peace in his kingdom. But Messiah’s peace will blanket the earth during the Millennium! “His government and its peace will never end.” (Isaiah 9:7a).

Continuing with that verse, Jesus will also: “…rule with fairness and justice…” (Isaiah 9:7b).

Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Kingdom of God, posted 1-17-15. (In italics):

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

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

Spiritual Bodies

Speaking to believers, the Apostle Paul discloses this powerful promise about our amazing inheritance in the Kingdom of God on earth, but also the radical reversal of the curse on nature … a direct result of our original parent’s rebellion against God.

“For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us” (Romans 8:16-23, italics for emphasis).

(Scene in Movie, Ben Hur. Charlton Heston–Playing Judah Ben Hur to the Left; Jack Hawkins–Playing Roman Naval Commander Quintis Arrius in Center. Arrius Adopted Judah Ben-Hur. Romans knew full well (as did Christians at the time) That Adoption Bestowed All the Rights of Inheritance)

Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Spiritual Bodies … A Contradiction of Terms? Part II (10-3-15). Beginning with Paul’s message to believers who were questioning a physical resurrection from the dead, even though that’s exactly what Christ accomplished.

“It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory … They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies” (I Corinthians 15:42-44).

…So, Paul is saying that it’s silly to think that there is no resurrection. Didn’t Christ, himself, rise from the dead? Or, once past that point of doubt, to think that we would be raised with the same earthly body in which we were born. As a result of sin, it was all too clear that our bodies grow old, deteriorate and eventually die. And why on earth would God raise us in spirit form only; when in fact he originally created us with a spirit and body to live forever… Furthermore, this everlasting life will be lived in and with a superbly superior body … a spiritual body!

Then in the final Things to Ponder portion of that article:

By and large, Scripture doesn’t elaborate on the new glorified spiritual bodies that believers in Christ will possess when the dead in Christ are raised from the dead and those alive will also be transformed and immediately follow them. Suffice to say, our spiritual bodies will far exceed anything we could imagine. Neither, however, does the Bible leave us clueless.

There is a general overview and reliable supposition that we can make about our glorified bodies: They will be multi-dimensional. How many more dimensions than we currently have is unknown for now.

But here are a few of the distinguishing characteristics:

Physical Barriers Are No Problem

We’ve already touched on this earlier in the article … Luke Chapter 24. That account is also recorded in John’s Gospel. Even after they had been told that the Lord had arisen, his disciples were still in hiding from the Jewish leaders—meeting behind closed and locked doors.

“…Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! ‘Peace be with you,’ he said. As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side…” (John 20:19-20). Jesus didn’t knock or break down the door. He was just there! Picture entering the famous Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico without going through or down the entrance shaft.

Time and Space Are No Barriers

Remember Jesus walking with the two men on the road to Emmaus, after his resurrection. He verbally took them through all the prophetic Scriptures that spoke of him as the Messiah, then agreed to go to their home to eat dinner with them. Jesus, “…took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them … And at that moment he disappeared!” (Luke 24:30-31).

One minute he was there and the next second he was gone! Gone, as in abruptly vanishing. How long it took him to get to his next destination is not known. But a spiritual educated guess tells us it was fast, very fast. Perhaps we will be able to travel at the speed of sound, or light, or even thought.

Eating, Drinking (Presumably Sleeping) Will Still Be Possible, but Optional

Notice in the account we just looked at with the two followers of Jesus that Jesus chose not to eat. He blessed the bread, gave it to the two men, and disappeared. The very evident implication in this scene is that the seven-mile walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus followed by the time spent at the house preparing dinner and whatever else occurred would have taken several hours. The men were hungry and so could have been the Lord. But he chose not to eat most likely because he didn’t need to.

On the other hand, he ate with his disciples in the account later in Luke Chapter 24. Our spiritual bodies will be such that eating, drinking, and probably sleeping will be optional. With exception that we will periodically partake of the water of life and tree of life in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 22). Thus, we will have the pleasure of eating … who doesn’t want or like to eat! On the other hand, there are times when we just don’t want to take the trouble to eat. We will eat when we want to; won’t eat when we don’t want to!

Gravity Does Not Affect the Spiritual Body

“Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider (Jesus) was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses” (Revelation 19:11, 14).

During the final epic battle of Armageddon, believers will follow our Lord directly from heaven; with the obvious conclusion that it will be from the sky above to the earth below, all the while riding white horses. Included in all the glorious features our spiritual bodies will possess, gravity will have no power over us. Suspended animation? Any time or place we choose.

Flying fast or flying slow. Look out earth, away we go!

Back to this week’s article.

The scourge that has affected nature for thousands of years will be over; even the behavior of animals will change drastically for the better.

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

I recall quoting this famous line from the Wizard of Oz once before. Why or in which article I have no clue, but it must have been for a (good) reason! It certainly fits today’s theme. Though lions and other predators prefer natural game, they have from time to time attacked people. With the advent of the gun, these and other menacing animals are not as much of a threat as they were centuries ago, especially in Biblical times. Yet even in today’s high tech arsenal of weapons, people can still find themselves, in the blink of a tiger’s eye, on the food chain.

Despite what man has done to man especially during the 18th, 19th, 20th, & 21st centuries (think the Napoleonic Wars, two World Wars including genocides, terrorism, and all of the other “lesser wars”), at least we’ve improved our disposition towards animals—a partly serious and partly cynical observation. We’ve placed some animals under protection, such as the buffalo, hump-back whale, and sea-lion; thereby, alleviating their endangered species predicament. Through excellent conservation efforts (for example, bringing wolves back to Yellowstone National Park) we’ve better balanced the (unnatural) increase in the elk population.

(American Buffalo Herd–technically Bison as opposed to the African Water Buffalo. There was truly a “slaughter” of bison in the “Wild West” reducing their numbers from the millions to about 1,000 in 1890. Today, their population is estimated to be nearly 1/2 million).

One day soon, the King of kings and Prince of Peace will return to enact his own conservation program, one that will protect and preserve human life from ruthless predators—tyrants, terrorists, corrupt leaders, and everyday murderers. And also protection from wild animals.

When Adam named all the animals, it’s apparent that none of them were “wild” to the extent of being afraid of or threatening to people. This continued to Noah’s time, as the animals were not food for each other during the twelve and a half months that Noah, his family, and the animals were on the ark. However, it’s evident that the judgment of the Great Flood changed much of the earth’s topography, and also the dynamics of the animal kingdom. That is a reliable conclusion because of what God told Noah after the flood.

“I have given them (fish and animals) to you for food, just as I have given you grain and vegetables. But you must never eat meat that still has the lifeblood in it. … If a wild animal kills a person, it must die. And anyone who murders a fellow human must die … For God made human beings in his own image … Now be fruitful and multiply, and repopulate the earth” (Genesis 9:3-7, parenthesis mine).

When the curse is cancelled at the glorious Second Coming of Christ, even the animals will undergo an extreme makeover. The full nature and extent of these internal (temperament) and external (perhaps fewer or no fangs in predators) changes remain to be seen. The Lord’s magnificent plan of redemption is not only for people who place their personal trust in the Redeemer, but also for the entire earth and all living things. Everything will come full circle back to the beginning … even better!

Scripture only tells us about some of these remarkable transformations. Some of this restoration will take place during the Millennium; some not until after the 1,000-year epoch, which is the beginning of what many Bible scholars simply call “Eternity.” Such as:

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, God’s home is now among his people… God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever’” (Revelation 21:1-4).

The rest is left to our imagination; but even that is inadequate to fully comprehend it all.

This applies to the wonderful benefits of salvation during our journey on this earth, but also to the millennium following the Great Tribulation.

Concerning the renovation of the animal kingdom, listen to this incredible prophecy from Isaiah:

“In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all. The cow will graze near the bear. The cub and the calf will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like a cow (which is the way it was in the beginning). The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra. Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm … for as the waters fill the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord” (Isaiah 11:6-9, parenthesis mine).

Have you watched the National Geographic or Smithsonian Channels or the series called, Planet Earth, or other documentaries on wildlife? Have you seen the marvels of nature, but also the grisly sights of fierce animals seizing and killing their prey? Some of us realize that this is the way of things and has been for a long time. Others recoil in horror, wondering why it must be this way … what or who could possibly eliminate the existence of food chains.

No matter your disposition or your viewpoint, we all could respond to Isaiah’s astounding prophecy with something like, “Wow! How is that possible?”

In that same passage (and others) we’re told who can and will make such a thing happen.

“Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord… He will give justice to the poor and make fair decisions for the exploited. The earth will shake at the force of his word, and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked. He will wear righteousness like a belt and truth like an undergarment. In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together…” (Isaiah 11:1-6).

Because of Jesus’s triumphant victory over sin and death—fully accomplished when he arose from the dead—he has power and authority to do such things. In this life, in the Millennium, and throughout eternity: “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church (born again believers) and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).

As God the Son, that power was also his before the world began.

“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and the authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together” (Colossians 1:15-17).

Yes, even the animals will once again (innately) obey their creator.

Think about the possibilities.

A young boy will ask, “Dad, can I play with the tigers today?”

“Sure son, and be sure to give them some fresh hay when you’re done playing.”

A young girl will say, “Mom, I’m going to explore the cave where the snakes live.”

“Okay, honey, but be careful.”

“Mom, come on, you know what the Lord has done,” the little girl playfully chides.

“Of course,” Mom remembers as her eyes light up. “Have fun, and put them back where you find them!”

(Go Hippo Hopping During the Millennium, Or Just Slide Onto a Hippo’s Back and Enjoy the Ride!)

I’ll be amazed but not surprised (there’s a difference), if my white horse (Revelation 19:14) speaks to me and says, “Just hold on, I’ll do the rest.”

Things to Ponder

Personally, I have planted my life and placed my eternal destiny in the promises of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, so wonderfully and powerfully proclaimed in Scripture. Hundreds of prophecies have been fulfilled with 100% accuracy. Why wouldn’t or shouldn’t the remaining prophecies come to pass?

“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son” (Romans 5:8-10).

That Jesus arose from the dead is a historical fact. He was seen by hundreds of people after his death and burial. But there’s even greater evidence than eyewitness accounts.

“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 John 5:9-12).

Is Messiah Jesus your personal Savior? Is it really worth an eternity separated from God by disregarding or denying that Jesus is who he said he is, or that there’s another way to God and heaven? Do you believe Messiah’s exclusive claim that inclusively says to all who believe in him:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Said the Apostle Peter to his people, but also to the entire world:

“…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).

Do you believe that? Do you want to be in heaven and watch the Lord do what he said will be done: “And the one sitting on the throne said, ‘Look, I am making everything new!’” (Revelation 21:5)

If you do—while you and I and other believers are waiting eagerly for Jesus to inaugurate his Millennium—then have a Happy New Year! For those who don’t believe in Jesus as the Messiah, Son of God, I pray that they will find new life and joy in Him this coming year.

Said the Gentile jailor to Paul and Barnabas, “…Sirs, what must I do to be saved? They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved…’” (Acts 16:30-31).

Does Christmas Really Need Christ?

The Irony of Christmas in an Increasingly Anti-Christian Culture

Whether Jesus Christ was born on December 25th or from mid-September through October, perhaps even on the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) as some Bible scholars propose, doesn’t really matter. The Son of God and God the Son came into this world on Christmas Day.

According to God’s prophet, Messiah would be born of a Virgin (Isaiah 7:14). Mary was that virgin, and Jesus was that child.

The prophet Micah pinpointed the exact place of Messiah’s birth—Bethlehem Ephrathah—for there were two towns in Israel named Bethlehem when Jesus was born. Yet Micah’s stunning prophecy encompassed more than just the place of Messiah’s birth and his divine origin from the ancient past. It also foretold of Messiah’s people, the Jews, returning to Israel even before their exile to Babylon and long before their second exile to the four corners of the earth in 70 A.D.

“But you O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past. The people of Israel will be abandoned to their enemies until the woman in labor gives birth. Then at last his fellow countrymen will return from exile to their own land (which began to take place in great numbers in 1948). And he will stand to lead his flock with the Lord’s strength, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. Then his people will live there undisturbed, for he will be highly honored around the world. And he will be the source of peace…” (Micah 5:2-5a, parenthesis mine).

Micah’s prophecy was sweeping in scope, from the time of Messiah Jesus’s birth to his Millennial Reign on earth, which is soon to come. When that happens, “Then the remnant left in Israel will take their place among the nations” (Verse 7). That remnant is already taking shape in our generation.

Has the name of Jesus, which the Scriptures say is the name of above all names, been “highly honored around the world?” Yes, but not like he will be revered upon his majestic return to the earth.

And, also no, as the name of Jesus Christ has been scorned more and more in our generation, as have believers who bear his name.

According to Messiah Jesus, there would be a time just before the (last days) Day of the Lord—set into motion by the imminent Rapture—when true believers in Christ, “…will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other… Sin will be rampant everywhere and the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:9-12).

Reliable statistics tell us that more Christians have been deprived of property and jobs, imprisoned, tortured, murdered, or forced to flee their homes in the 20th & 21st centuries than in all preceding centuries combined including the 1st century. This unparalleled brutality has been noticeable (documented) in at least 50 countries such as North Korea, China, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Sudan, Somalia, and Nigeria; and in several Middle East Muslim nations like Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia.

Although not (yet) in the form of physical cruelty, we’ve seen an alarming surge of anti-Christian legislation and hostility in our halls of government, our schools and universities, the military, and private businesses in the United States of America … supposedly the greatest sanctuary of liberty and individual rights on this planet.

Wrote the Jewish Apostle Paul: “You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be 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. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!” (II Timothy 3:1-5).

Scoffing at God … nothing is sacred … loving pleasure rather than God.

Many unwittingly and some deliberately are preparing the way for a New Age; an utopian era that will nevertheless be established and led by an (the) Anti-Christ who, “…will have no respect … for any other god, for he will boast that he is greater than them all” (Daniel 11:37). He will satisfy their desire to, “…break their chains … and free ourselves from slavery to God” (Psalm 2:3).

They will embrace to the point of worship, “This man (who) will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them” (II Thessalonians 2:9-10).

The opposite of truth is untruth (lies).

“And who is a liar? Anyone who says that Jesus is not the Christ. Anyone who denies the Father and the Son is an antichrist” (I John 2:22).

This spirit of antichrist is facilitating the reappearance of The Antichrist (Nero). Among other things, it has begun to suppress and swap the true spirit of Christmas. Our humanistic, relativistic society has redefined Christmas, and relegated the Christ of Christmas to what is considered an irrelevant distant past.

Is the Christ of Christmas Relevant Any Longer?

Beginning some 50 years ago and accelerating in the last decade, nowhere are these prophetic end-times’ characteristics more exemplified than in the decline of the real meaning of and purpose for celebrating Christmas. Individuals, groups, businesses, and entire (so-called) Christian nations all over the globe are trivializing and even removing Christ from Christmas, both passively and actively.

Which, if you think about it, is preposterously perplexing. No different than saying that George Washington’s and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays have no relevancy to President’s Day in February. Or that the 4th of July Declaration of Independence has nothing whatsoever to do with the birth of a nation … the United States of America.

(Memorial Day: Should We Not Even Give A Passing Thought to the Brave Men and Women Who Died or Were Disabled While Serving the USA?)

What if your parents and other loved ones ignored the “you” of your birthday?

Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Merry Christmas … What’s It All About? Posted 12-20-14 (in italics, with non-italic words italicized in that article):

Historical figures, nations, and events other than Christ Jesus and Christmas have their own recognized anniversaries. Does anyone demand that observance of these special occasions be religiously generalized and socially or politically expanded to embrace other religious or national figures or events, so as not to be inclusive of just one person? So as not to offend those of other faiths or ideological persuasions?

Even an ordinary birthday or event merits the minimum consideration of that day belonging to an individual or a city or a nation and, therefore, acknowledged as such. What would you think if I refused to wish you a Happy Birthday because I didn’t want to offend someone else who wasn’t born on the same day, and who didn’t share the same enthusiasm for your birthday? Or who believed differently from you, or belonged to another race, or was left-handed? Ridiculous? Of course. It’s your special day. So Happy Birthday already! I mean that sincerely … unless it’s not your birthday!

Might we be more politically correct never to say Happy Thanksgiving? After all, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is much closer to Thanksgiving than it is to Christmas. Shouldn’t it be: Happy Thanksramadan?!

Perhaps we should no longer wish someone a Happy Valentine’s Day in case they take an exception to anyone who has a Saint in front of their name? It is Saint Valentine isn’t it? Might we say, “Happy Heart Day” or “Merry Chocolate?”

…It isn’t whether we use the word happy or merry. It’s that word, Christmas that causes all the fuss.

More than that: it’s the name Christ that gets so many people all up tight. That’s right … all it takes is a mention of his name. That is, unless it’s used as profanity … no problem then.

Why? Because His name is who he is (Yeshua in Hebrew, Jesus in Greek/English, both mean Savior), and a lot of folks just can’t handle that. They don’t want or need a Savior. Certainly not one who claims that he is the Son of God, that he alone is “The Way, The Truth, and The Life” (John 14:6). How exclusively narrow-minded can anyone be? The fact that he was born of a Virgin, performed amazing miracles, and then arose from the dead to validate his claim as Messiah who alone can redeem, can forgive sin; is an affront to those who maintain that self-enabled good works and innate self-worth is the only way to God.

…No other holiday causes anything close to the angst experienced and consternation expressed by the secular among us or those of another religion who take offense at hearing the very name of Jesus or even a special representation of his name—Christmas. What relevance does the birth of a Savior (no man-made religions have a Savior … did you know that?) any longer have to the last holiday of the year? In fact, the very name of Christ and Christmas is an embarrassment to many. It’s just not politically correct.

A Hallmark Christmas

Hallmark Cards is one of the largest corporations in the world. From this greeting card giant came the Hallmark Television Channel in 2001, having begun as the American Christian Television System in 1984; then changing to the Faith & Values Channel in 1993 and the Odyssey Network in 1996.

According to Wikipedia: “The Hallmark Channel is an American cable and satellite television network that is owned by Crown Media Holdings, which is owned by Hallmark Cards. The channel’s programming is primarily targeted at families, and features a mix of television movies and miniseries, original and acquired television series, and lifestyle programs. As of February, 2015, Hallmark Channel is available to approximately 85,439,000 pay television households (73.4% of households with television) in the United States.”

Subsequently the network created Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, a separate channel dedicated almost exclusively to movies especially Christmas films (shown year around), with the newest sister channel debuting just this year … Hallmark Drama.

For women between the ages of 25-54, the Hallmark Channel was the most watched network during the 4th quarter of 2016. Included in Hallmark’s archives are 136 Christmas films produced since the movie channel’s inception. With 33 new Christmas movies aired in a marathon that began in October, 2017 and continuing as this week’s Eye of Prophecy article is being posted.

According to Crown Media’s CEO Bill Abbott, summarizing Hallmark’s underlying philosophy and objectives especially through movies: “We are a place you can go and feel good.”

Although Hallmark is becoming progressively secularized (in contrast to its early beginning of Christian-oriented programming), it still purports to convey the virtues of family and faith.

But faith in what? In whom?

Faith in “feeling good.” Or faith in “the spirit of Christmas.” That phrase or something similar is emphasized in the majority of Hallmark’s Christmas movies, and is often the passionate pursuit of one or more of the characters; no matter what that spirit of Christmas means to them, as long as they find it. I say this first-hand, as I have watched about 15 of these movies over the past year. And in the four to five years before that, perhaps 7-8 Hallmark Christmas movies. I would assume they’re a cross-section representation of all their Christmas films.

So, what is the spirit of Christmas?

Is it just to feel good for a few days at the end of every year? Not that there’s anything wrong with feeling good. Unless it becomes an obsessive goal in life at all cost. A relentless quest to feel good, no matter the repercussions, can sometimes result in others feeling bad (hurting them). Particularly when such a pursuit excludes the very source of what is absolutely good and right and true and eternal—God who created us and who has given us so great (good) a salvation through His Son, Jesus.

Don’t get me wrong. The intent of today’s article is not to bash Hallmark Christmas movies; in general terms, they have improved considerably in the last 2-3 years (personal opinion). Especially with their scripts—as a writer, I appreciate and look for a well-written screen-play—with the acting, and with the plot. There is more substance and depth to (some of the) recent Hallmark movies, Christmas or otherwise.

However, Hallmark Christmas films have become so secularized (politically correct) that rarely do they mention the name of Jesus or Christ. And certainly not Jesus Christ in the same breath. Seldom do we hear the hallowed Christmas hymns and carols, excepting an occasional Joy to the World or Silent Night. But they are replete with secular Christmas songs that convey the sights of Frosty the Snowman, smells of Chestnuts Roasting by the Fire, and sounds of Jingle Bells.

What does the true meaning of Christmas—the real significance of the Savior’s birth—have to do with children getting their two front teeth at Christmas, or a reindeer running over grandma, or wanting a hippopotamus for Christmas (for only a hippopotamus will do)? For sure, these images are cute, warm, and fuzzy (except for poor grandma) and probably would make even the Grinch feel good about himself and others.

(If Ebenezer Scrooge Had Only Watched “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, I’m Sure He Would Have Changed His Ways Long Before Seeing the Ghosts of Christmas Past!)

And, would Christmas be Christmas without Santa Claus? I’ll let you answer that question for yourself. But remember, Santa Claus believes in Christmas! Which begs another question: Could Christmas survive without Santa?

Invariably, the “spirit of Christmas” entails one of the main characters in a Hallmark movie discovering the “meaning of Christmas” that they never knew or had lost somewhere along the way. That true meaning is normally found by someone who has been down on Christmas because of business, or family, or personal setbacks. Or meeting and falling in love with someone who loves Christmas for any number of feel good reasons. Or believing again or for the first time in the “miracles of Christmas.”

With the miracles unfolding in various ways such as: mysteriously arranging or reuniting the paths of star-crossed lovers; resolving otherwise irreconcilable disputes of family members or friends; or getting an impossible career promotion … all worthy of successful conflict-resolution storylines. Yet, omitting the very miracle of Christmas itself—the Virgin Birth of the child Jesus. And never mentioning the miracle of his Resurrection as the triumphant conclusion to why Jesus was born in the first place—to sacrifice his life for the sins of humanity, and to establish the everlasting Kingdom of God on earth in his Second Coming.

Hallmark Movies in a Broader Perspective

As indicated, this week’s article is not about denigrating Hallmark Christmas movies. To do so would be to focus on a symptom, not cause and origin. The problem is much more pervasive than a few secular-stained Christmas movies. In fact, I personally like some of the (more) recent Hallmark productions. Who doesn’t like a good story with a happy ending? It’s just that these stories are wrapped in disguise of the real Christmas spirit, discarding the Christ of Christmas who was gift-wrapped for us in God’s amazing grace.

One of my favorites is, Journey Back to Christmas (2016), starring Candace Cameron Bure, Oliver Hudson, and Tom Skerritt. Yet, even that Christmas miracle is based on a “Christmas comet” which mysteriously strikes Bure; catapulting her into the future where she encounters first, second, and third family generations of those she met during World War I. And then is reunited with her husband thought to be killed in the war, when the comet returns (now 71 years later) and transports her back to the present. The movie was skillfully written, produced, directed, and acted … one that will tug at the strings of your heart.

Obviously the primary purpose of a movie is entertainment. As a Christian, I certainly can and will remember the real reason why I love and honor Christmas, without Hallmark Christmas movies affecting that reverence for the birth of Christ, whether in a positive or negative way. There are two reason why I have watched more Christmas movies in the past few years: (1) For the entertainment, enhanced even more with a narrative that emphasizes morality and Judeo/Christian ethics. (2) To see what’s happening with and in those movies concerning the real meaning of Christmas.

Unfortunately, what I have noticed is that—unintentionally or intentionally (I would hope the former)—the portrayal of Christmas has tainted the message and purpose of Christmas itself. By and large, the movies present a (vague) “spirit of Christmas” as an end unto itself, without any need for the Christ of Christmas. Which is equivalent to redefining, or at the very least minimizing, what the spirit of Christmas is really all about.

The undermining end result is that the media’s “spirit of Christmas” is competing with and even contradicting the Christ of Christmas. Which is, sadly, a representation and repetitive reinforcement of what’s happening in America and all over the world in two ways, and not just at Christmas time: (1) an intense agnostic style attack on Christianity and the authority of the Bible as the Word of God; with increasing antagonism toward “born-again Christians” who have a personal relationship with the One Person who exclusively claims to be the Way, Truth, and Life, thereby, the ONLY way to God. (2) Or, a superficial show of religion—acting religious but denying the real power and authority of God by refusing to consider Christ as the exclusive source of salvation.

I think we would all agree on one thing: the immense influence of the entertainment media and also that of literature and journalism in our daily and seasonal lives. They reflect, but also restructure society’s attitudes, preferences, morality, and belief systems.

On the plus side, there are three things that Christmas movies and Christmas specials contain. All three of which are a bona fide reason to celebrate this joyous time of the year.

They are: (1) Lights/decorations; (2) Giving and receiving of presents; (3) Harmony and togetherness of family.

However, on the minus side: all three in our post-modern society are conspicuously empty of the real reason for the season—Christ Jesus himself.

*Note: Despite the modern-day emphasis of Christmas without Christ, there is still a sense of awe over the entire earth that something very special happened 2000 years ago. As for me, I never get tired of the Good News: from beginning to end—the birth, life, death, burial, resurrection, and soon to be glorious return of the greatest man to ever walk the earth.

“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).

And when was that time? Might it have been Christmas Day!

The Honored Tradition of Christmas Lights

Beginning with an incidental what if: What would we call Christmas trees, or Christmas lights, or Christmas presents, or the holiday (Holy Day) itself if we deleted the name of Christ? Silly question … perhaps. Actually, many have devised an answer to those questions: Holiday trees, lights, and presents. If so, then are we really celebrating Christmas as Christmas?

The problem with that mentality is that we should then call all of our holidays by no other name than holiday. So New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, Resurrection Day (Easter), Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving should be dropped. Instead, we would number the holidays chronologically on the calendar and designate them as Holiday #1, #2, #3, and so on!

What do Christmas lights represent? I trust that you know the answer to that question; however, there are some who don’t. Or don’t want to know. Or, worse … don’t care.

Jesus the Christ (we just say Jesus Christ, but he is Jesus the Messiah) bears many wonderful names and titles, signifying who he is and what he has done for mankind. Such as:

He is the Good Sheppard and the Gate for the sheep … all of us who have been saved by believing and receiving him, the one who sacrificed his life for the sheep (John 10:7 & 11).

He is the Lord of all lords and King of all kings, who will soon return in power and great glory (Revelation 17:14 & Matthew 24:30).

He is the Living Word of God, who existed from the beginning with God for he is God the Son the second Person of the Trinity. Jesus himself said he is “I AM” … Yahweh, the Holy Name of God (John 1:1 & John 8:58).

And, in keeping with today’s theme: “Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, ‘I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life’” (John 8:12).

Jesus fulfilled all of the prophecies concerning the Messiah. Such as: “…the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined” (Matthew 4:16, quoting Isaiah 42:6: “…And you will be a light to guide the nations”).

When Christ first set foot in the rebuilt Temple, after God’s presence (glory) left Solomon’s Temple that was subsequently destroyed, he accomplished—temporarily, with final fulfillment upon his glorious return—another prophecy of the Messiah:

“Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see. For the glory of the Lord rises to shine on you. Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth, but the glory of the Lord rises and appears over you. All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see your radiance” (Isaiah 60:1-3).

Why else do we put up lights at Christmas time? The beautiful lights of Christmas illustrate the magnificent light of salvation that illuminates our minds and hearts through Messiah Jesus when we personally trust him for our salvation. Christmas lights brighten our homes and communities.

The Giving and Receiving of Presents

Can you think of anything about Christmas more treasured than the giving of gifts, then the receiving of those gifts by our loved ones? Especially the children. To watch their eyes light up as they brim with excitement, and eagerly unwrap their package. To listen to their squeals of delight or shouts of joy when they see what you have given them. To cherish their gratitude, “It’s what I’ve always wanted. Thank you Mom!” Or, “Thank you, Dad. You remembered.” Or a husband to his wife, “It’s not what I expected. It’s even better. I love you, honey.”

Christmas without lights and also without giving is like the 4th of July without fireworks. Or like Thanksgiving Day without giving thanks. Even if your only gift is wishing someone a Merry Christmas, it is as they say, “the thought that counts.” If all you can do is to revere the very reason for the season and whisper a prayer of gratitude, then that’s a sacrifice of (thanks) giving to God (Psalm 50:14).

Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? It is cherishing the greatest gift of all time. Born fully human and fully God; Christ freely gave his life to purchase our redemption, a complete pardon for all of our sins.

There are no conditions, except to simply accept that gift by believing and receiving Christ as our personal Savior. Do you know of anyone who receives a Christmas gift and then says, “I’m sorry, but I didn’t earn this gift. I can’t accept it.”

No one can do enough or be enough or even give enough to earn redemption. For it is Christ who willingly paid the price, doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

“So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:21, italics for emphasis).

The Family

The time-honored celebration of Christmas reminds us of the brightest light to ever shine on this dark and dreary planet—Messiah Jesus. His light was snuffed out through the greatest sacrifice ever made by the highest price ever paid. But in three days, his glory shone brighter than ever; the resurrected Christ now seated at the right hand of the Father, awaiting the appointed time to return and make all things right in this wicked world. To brilliantly light up the world with righteousness, justice, and peace.

No matter the size of your immediate family or extended family or even if you are alone this Christmas and limited to calls or emails or Christmas cards; Christmas is for family, including a family of one. If all we do is pray for our loved ones, that is still the best gift of all.

Even if your parents or children have “disowned you” you are still a member of their family. Once born on this earth you can’t be unborn, no matter what you do or what is done to you.

So, too, with the family of God. Once you are born again, you cannot be unborn. You are an adopted child in God’s family with all the rights of God’s magnificent inheritance for his children.

“Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God’” (John 3:3).

“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

Writes the Jewish Apostle Paul:

“God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him” (Ephesians 1:12-14).

Things to Ponder

Whether you put up Christmas lights or not, whether you give or receive a single present or not, whether you are with immediate or extended family or are all alone. The gift of God’s salvation shines as bright as ever, and gives birth in God’s family for simply believing and receiving God’s gracious gift of His Son. That is what Christmas (or any time of the year) is all about.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every true believer on earth and maybe even some unbelievers would open their Bible or at least get online and read one, two, or all of the following Christmas passages … the Greatest Story ever told. A story that began long before Jesus was born, one for cause to pause and ponder the core of Christmas.

“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).

To Joseph, the angel said: “…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).

To Mary, the angel said: “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).

To the shepherds guarding their sheep that night an angel suddenly appeared and said: “…Don’t be afraid … 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 2:10-11).

He came to us as the light of the world, the greatest gift ever given … his precious blood and life for our sins. To give us the awesome privilege of birth in the family of God that leads to everlasting life.

Christ Jesus is the just for the unjust, the righteous for the unrighteous.

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

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!

Let earth receive her King.

Let every heart prepare Him room…

“For God so loved the world…” (Go ahead, finish the verse)

It’s all about JESUS!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Fulfilled Prophecy Proves We Can Trust The Bible

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The Word of God

In the Apostle Paul’s final epistle before he met his death at the hands of the evil Roman Emperor Nero, he writes to Timothy: “You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right” (II Timothy 3:15-16).

In no uncertain terms, the Bible claims that it is the source of absolute universal truth concerning the origin and purpose of life; and wisdom that tells us all about the (need to choose) salvation that will determine our eternal destiny. Biblical truth defines and separates right from wrong, good from evil, light from darkness, and God’s magnificent plan of redemption by faith in Messiah Jesus alone as opposed to good works making us right with God.

Although the New Covenant of Grace had replaced the Old Covenant of Law because of Messiah Jesus’s once for all substitutionary sacrifice for sin, Paul reminded Jewish and Gentile believers that the writings of the prophets, priests, scribes, and kings of the Old Testament remain a valid source of prophetic truth. Knowledge that would continue to teach them about their spiritual heritage and glorious future upon Messiah’s return and the remarkable end-times restoration of Israel as a nation.

“Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled” (Romans 15:4).

Jesus of Nazareth had already fulfilled all of the Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah, proving who he said he was by rising from the dead!

One of dozens of prophecies accomplished by Jesus was:

Now it was time for Paul and other believers to spread this Gospel Good News to the whole world, while Christians continue to, “…live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed” (Titus 2:12-13).

There’s only one way to be made right with God: a way that existed from the beginning; a way that God revealed to Abraham long before the law was given to Moses; a way that was sealed in blood—validated retroactively and progressively by the author and finisher of the New Way (Covenant), Messiah Jesus.

It is the simple child-like way of trusting God’s prophetic promises because they are true.

“Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise… He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God” (Romans 4:20-25).

Prophecy and Its Fulfillment: A Trustworthy Test that Validates Scripture

Biblical prophecies and promises are virtually one and the same. The only difference is that prophecy conveys the promise. Which means that if any prophecy doesn’t come to pass, it becomes a broken promise, a misleading pledge (which is the case with man-made predictions).

Biblical promises are to be embraced by trusting in the God of those promises; they are to be believed by virtue of the remarkable 100% fulfillment of those prophecies. The Lord who inspired all of Scripture claims that he is the very source of truth and life; that HE ALONE IS GOD. What he says will happen, always happens. What he says he will do, he always does.

No other god can do this because there is no other god, except those invented by false prophets and man-made religions such as Islam, Hinduism, Mormonism, and even the unbiblical and works-oriented creeds of Roman Catholicism. Their so-called gods and religious leaders have refrained from predicting the future; they wouldn’t dare foretell what they cannot control. Non-religious seers and fortune-tellers who do make predictions are far more often wrong than right. Anyone can “guess” what’s going to happen and be correct maybe 15% of the time. If anyone is going to trust their life and destiny to a self-proclaimed prophet, the clairvoyant better be right all the time. Otherwise it’s a classic case of “crying wolf.”

People all over the world are longing to know what life is all about and what the future holds for them—tomorrow, next year, and the day they die. Yet, they refuse to consider the claims of the true and living God so meticulously detailed in the Bible; they can know those things that really matter, not the least of which is their eternal destiny. Which is why it never ceases to amaze me that so many look to astrology (the stars instead of the One who made the stars), psychics, genealogies, or ritualistic keeping of man-made religious rules that they hope will earn (merit) them a good-standing in the hereafter.

(On The Serious Side, There Are Countless Advertisement for Psychics Everywhere You Look … On the Streets in the Media–Internet and Television)

If any local newspaper, such as The Arizona Republic that I subscribe to, would remove the Horoscope column, they probably would lose at least 50% of their readers!

God, himself, declares that it is fulfilled prophecy that proves: (1) He alone is God; (2) His Word as recorded in Scripture is the ultimate fountain and foundation of truth and knowledge about the past, present, and FUTURE. The proof is found in both Biblical and secular history … in the people, places, and events that come to pass exactly as predicted in Scripture. The Lord not only foretells the future with one hundred percent accuracy; he also reminds us of life-changing, eternal-destiny altering events that occurred long ago. Things otherwise forgotten or dismissed if not preserved in the Word of God—the Bible.

“Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’” (Isaiah 46:9-10, NASB).

The New International Version rendition of a portion of that passage reads, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’”

The New Living Translation (from which I quote, unless otherwise noted) states: “Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.”

More from the prophet Isaiah: “This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer and Creator: ‘I am the Lord, who made all things. I alone stretched out the heavens. Who was with me when I made the earth? I expose the false prophets as liars and make fools of fortune-tellers. I cause the wise to give bad advice, thus proving them to be fools. But I carry out the predictions of my prophets!

“…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’” (Isaiah 44:24-28).

Here, God names the Persian king who would issue those orders 150 years before Cyrus was even born!

God issues challenges to and indictments against religions, gods, or prophets of those (so-called) gods to do what only He can do. Such as:

“Present the case for your idols, says the Lord. Let them show what they can do, says the King of Israel. Let them try to tell us what happened long ago so that we may consider the evidence. Or let them tell us what the future holds, so we can know what’s going to happen. Yes, tell us what will occur in the days ahead. Then we will know you are gods. In fact, do anything—good or bad! Do something that will amaze and frighten us. But no! You are less than nothing and can do nothing at all. Those who choose you pollute themselves” (Isaiah 41:21-24).

Synonyms of polluted are: contaminated, poisoned, adulterated, dirty, infested, infected, tainted, and rank.

(I Hope The Little Girl Didn’t Jump in After the Photo Was Taken! Adulterated Spiritual Pollution of God’s Truth Is Far Worse … Literally a Matter of Eternal Life or Death)

One more: “But you are my witnesses, O Israel! Says the Lord. You are my servant. You have been chosen to know me, believe in me, and understand that I alone am God (with the New Covenant, both Jew and Gentile can know God intimately when they are redeemed by and through the Jewish Messiah, Jesus). There is no other God—there never has been, and there never will be. I, yes I, am the Lord, and there is no other Savior. First I predicted your rescue, then I saved you and proclaimed it to the world. No foreign god has ever done this. You are witnesses that I am the only God, says the Lord. From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can snatch anyone out of my hand. No one can undo what I have done” (Isaiah 43:10-13, parenthesis mine).

Long-Term Prophecies

As a rule, the prophecies that impress us the most are those accomplished hundreds or even thousands of years after they are foretold, such as Jesus fulfilling all of the many Messianic prophecies hundreds of years later. Anything that happens one hundred years (the longest time-span definition of a generation in the Bible … the other is seventy years) after it’s predicted makes it that much more spectacular.

For example: As prophesied numerous times in Scripture, the rebirth of Israel as a sovereign nation and return of (millions of) Jews to the Promised Land—now 2nd & 3rd generations born in Israel—some 2,700 years after the first major prophet, Isaiah, foretold of such a remarkable event. Longer than that if we go back to Moses.

Or the destruction of Tyre, an ancient city just north of Israel on the Mediterranean Sea, foretold by Ezekiel in 586 B.C. (See Ezekiel Chapters 26 & 27). That very year Nebuchadnezzar attacked Tyre: it took him 15 years to complete some of the prophesied demolition of Tyre. Then, some 250 years later, Alexander the Great utterly destroyed Tyre, an event well documented by secular history.

Or Babylon’s massive final attack on Israel and Jerusalem in that same year of 586 BC resulting in devastation of Judah, complete destruction of Solomon’s Temple, and exile of the Jews predicted by Isaiah some 120 years before it happened. And an even more precise prediction that the captivity in Babylon would last seventy years, with Jews rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem—about 100 years after Jeremiah’s prophesy.

Short-Term (Time Lapse) Fulfillment of Prophecy

Even students and teachers of the Bible sometimes minimize prophecies that came to pass a relatively short time later. However, Biblical forecasts that materialized immediately or a few hours, days, weeks, months, or years are every bit as phenomenal as those that don’t occur for hundreds of years. We’re going to look at only five of them … three in the Old Testament and two in the New Testament. The first Old Testament example is well-known; I’m guessing the next two may not be all that familiar to someone who is not a regular student of the Bible.

First Short Term Prophecy: The Miraculous Birth of Isaac

When Abraham was seventy-five years old, God appeared to him for the first time and told him to leave his home and travel to the land that God would give to him and all his descendants. (Genesis Chapter 12).

Subsequently, the Lord reaffirmed his promise that Abraham would be the progenitor of a great nation, with many descendants. This time God specified that Abraham (and Sarah) would conceive their own child. Abraham’s heir would not be his servant, Eliezer—which was the custom if a couple did not have their own son. Not long before Abraham turned 86 years of age, Sarah became impatient and convinced Abraham to father a son through her servant, Hagar … which was also the custom in those days if the wife could not bear a son. (Genesis Chapters 15 & 16).

Four years later God appeared to Abraham (age 90) and again confirmed his covenant; the Promised Land (Israel) would be given to Abraham and his descendants. It would be, “…their possession forever, and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:8).

When Abraham turned 100, the Lord told Abraham, “Regarding Sarai, your wife—her name will no longer be Sarai. From now on her name will be Sarah. And I will bless her and give you a son from her!” (Genesis 17:15-16). Abraham didn’t disbelieve the Lord, but he did laugh at the thought of fathering a child with Sarah because of his and Sarah’s age—90 at the time.

A short time later, the Lord (the Pre-Incarnate Messiah) visited Abraham and Sarah in person … along with two angels. They told Abraham and Sarah that at about this time next year Sarah would give birth to a son, whom they were to name Isaac (meaning laughter), because this time Sarah laughed at the thought (see Genesis Chapter 18).

“…and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would” (Genesis 21:2).

Does anything ever not happen or transpire differently than the way and time and place that God said it would? Such a rhetorical question. Through the seemingly impossible birth of Isaac, God demonstrated to Abraham that which Abraham already knew and believed: God is God, and his prophetic promises always come true.

Second Short-Term Prophecy: Dramatic Description of a Queen’s Demise

The following passages are not for the faint of heart or the squeamish. But then Scripture tells it like it is. When it comes to God pronouncing judgment on evil individuals and wicked nations (including Israel during her time of punishment, which has ended) it can get pretty graphic.

Most believers and many unbelievers know the name of the infamous Queen Jezebel, who was more contemptible that her appalling husband, King Ahab. Even in today’s post-modern world, people all over the planet have been named after a Biblical character such as John or Jacob or Sarah or Mary. But do you know of any woman named Jezebel? If you do, stay away from her! No parents in their right mind would name their daughter Jezebel, would they?

(One of Many Depictions of Jezebel)

So, too, have many people heard the name of one of the mightiest prophets in the Old Testament … Elijah. (Along with the other great prophet Moses, they will be the two witnesses testifying for God during 3 ½ years of the Great Tribulation).

Not long after Elijah made a mockery of the false prophets appointed by Jezebel to represent their god Baal—then killing them because they were deceiving all of Israel—Elijah had another encounter with Ahab and, indirectly, with Jezebel.

Do you recall Jezebel’s devious plan when an Israelite named Naboth refused to sell his land to Ahab, who desperately wanted the beautiful and productive vineyard belonging to Naboth?

Simple solution for a wicked queen: just have Naboth killed (stoned to death) which is exactly what she did. When Jezebel broke this happy news to her husband, “…Ahab immediately went down to the vineyard of Naboth to claim it” (I Kings 21:16).

Soon afterward the Lord sent Elijah to confront Ahab with some really bad news (for Ahab and for Jezebel). Said Elijah to Ahab:

“…I have come because you have sold yourself to what is evil in the Lord’s sight. So now the Lord says, ‘I will bring disaster on you and consume you …I am going to destroy your family as I did the family of Jeroboam son of Nebat and the family of Baasha son Ahijah, for you have made me very angry and have led Israel into sin.’ And regarding Jezebel, the Lord says, ‘Dogs will eat Jezebel’s body at the plot of land in Jezreel’” (I Kings 21:20-23).

Subsequently, Ahab was killed in battle, which was also foretold by another prophet named Micaiah. Remember: Ahab disguised himself as a common soldier instead of his royal robes (which made a king an easy target). Yet, an arrow randomly shot by an enemy soldier hit Ahab “…between the joints of his armor” (I Kings 22:34).

Poor Ahab … his wine guzzling days from Naboth’s vineyard were over!

Then a few years later, Elisha who had been given the prophetic mantle of Elijah—while Jezebel was still the “Queen Mother” during the reign of King Joram of Israel, son of Ahab and Jezebel—commanded a young prophet in Elisha’s circle to prophesy to Jehu, a Commander in the Israelite army. Accordingly, the young prophet anointed Jehu as the next king of Israel and told him to avenge the murder of the Lord’s prophets and servants by wiping out the entire family of Ahab as well as many priests of Baal. Jehu did what he was told and even what he wasn’t commanded to do … when he also killed Ahaziah the King of Judah in addition to King Joram.

Now it was Jezebel’s turn (to die).

“When Jezebel, the queen mother, heard that Jehu had come to Jezreel, she painted her eyelids and fixed her hair and sat at a window. When Jehu entered the gate of the palace, she shouted at him, ‘Have you come in peace, you murderer? You’re just like Zimri, who murdered his master!’” (II Kings 9:30-31).

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Jezebel was deplorably proficient at murder.

Reading on: “Throw her down! Jehu yelled. So they threw her out the window, and her blood spattered against the wall and on the horses. And Jehu trampled her body under his horses’ hooves … But when they went out to bury her, they found only her skull, her feet, and her hands. When they returned and told Jehu, he stated, ‘This fulfills the message from the Lord, which he spoke through his servant Elijah from Tishbe. At the plot of land in Jezreel, dogs will eat Jezebel’s body. Her remains will be scattered like dung on the plot of land in Jezreel, so that no one will be able to recognize her” (II Kings 9:33-37).

Thus, the prophecy was precise, right down to the dogs. And its fulfillment took place within a couple of decades.

Third Short Term Prophecy: The Phenomenal Healing of a Gentile’s Incurable Disease

Before Messiah Jesus implemented the New Covenant of Grace to the whole world—Jew and Gentile alike—nearly all Old Testament encounters that the Lord initiated with Gentiles involved prophecies of how God would use them or what would happen to them (good if they listened to the Lord’s message, bad if they didn’t).

The Commander of the Aramean army was no exception.

“The king of Aram had great admiration for Naaman, the commander of his army, because through him the Lord had given Aram great victories. But though Naaman was a mighty warrior, he suffered from leprosy” (II Kings 5:1).

*Note: By this time the Lord had periodically used Israel’s enemies to discipline his people as they had already begun to rebel against the Lord, imitating the despicable practices of surrounding pagan nations.

A young Jewish girl who had been taken captive (as a slave) to Aram recommended that Naaman seek the help of a prophet in Israel (Elisha). But the King of Aram sent Naaman first to the king of Israel; who in dismay, but nonetheless cynical and insensitive said, “…This man sends me a leper to heal! Am I God, that I can give life and take it away? I can see that he’s just trying to pick a fight with me” (II Kings 5:7).

When Elisha found out that Naaman was in Israel and why, he advised Israel’s king to send Naaman to him. Upon Naaman’s arrived at Elisha’s house, he became angry when Elisha didn’t come out to greet him. Instead, Elisha sent a messenger instructing Naaman to: “…Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of leprosy” (Verse 10).

Naaman was furious as he, “…expected him (Elisha) to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me!” (Verse 11).

Then his officers got real profound, through an intuitive insight of the ability of God’s anointed prophet Elijah to heal Naaman. They told him: “…Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’ So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child’s, and he was healed!” (II Kings 5:13-14).

Listen to Naaman’s response: “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel…” (Verse 15).

God’s prophetic promise of healing came to pass immediately when Naaman accepted the fact that he didn’t have to do anything but agree with Elisha. All he had to do was immerse himself seven times in the Jordan. Actually, it wasn’t the “dipping” that healed him; it was believing God’s prophet and totally trusting God.

It’s a beautiful illustration of the Lord’s healing salvation extended through his grace (even to Gentiles!), accomplished by simply trusting in the Son of God, Messiah Jesus. That is the Bible’s wonderful prophetic promise—just as relevant now as it was two thousand years ago. “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loves us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved) … 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 2:4-5, 8-9, parenthesis in the text).

New Testament Short-Term Prophetic Fulfillments

Now let’s look at two amazing events in which Messiah Jesus foretold what would happen, each one coming to pass soon afterwards. For you see: Jesus is Prophet, Priest, and King, all in one. No king of ancient Israel could be both a priest and a king. Jesus was the greatest prophet ever, greater even than Moses and Elijah and all the prophets who spoke about his coming. He is also our final High Priest who gave himself as the once for all time substitutionary sacrifice for sin (Hebrews Chapter 7, 8, & 9); thereby, replacing the Levitical sacrificial system that had to be repeated continuously—actually one that ceased to exist when the 2nd Temple was destroyed in 70 AD. And Jesus is the King of all kings, who one day soon will return in power and great glory (Matthew 24:30 & Revelation 17:14).

First Short-Term Prophecy: A Coin in the Mouth of a Fish!

“On their arrival in Capernaum, the collectors of the Temple tax came to Peter and asked him, ‘Doesn’t your teacher pay the Temple tax?’ ‘Yes, he does,’ Peter replied. Then he went into the house.

“But before he had a chance to speak, Jesus asked him, ‘What do you think, Peter? Do kings tax their own people or the people they have conquered?’

‘They tax the people they have conquered,’ Peter replied.

‘Well then,’ Jesus said, ‘the citizens are free! However, we don’t want to offend them, so go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us’” (Matthew 17:24-27).

Astonishing!

This isn’t your ordinary weather prediction, stock market projection, or sporting event prognostication.

What are the odds? There are no odds, not really. The laws of probability are off the charts; to whatever tenth power you care to calculate. How many fish in the Sea of Galilee? How many of those fish had a coin in its mouth? Not just any coin … a “large silver coin.” Instead of using the usual nets to catch a lot of fish at once, all Peter had to do was throw in one single fishing line. What were the chances that it would be the first fish that Peter would catch?!

Come on, give yourself a break! Open your heart and mind to your Creator and Savior, Messiah Jesus. He loves you so much. If you’ve already been born again, then praise him some more for doing the impossible—such as saving you!

How many leaders or followers of any religion or cult or occult system on earth, or anyone at any time could have predicted this; let alone with such certainty that all Peter had to do was go fishing. Easy answer: Absolutely no one. And the situation was seemingly an every-day ordinary detail in the life of Peter and the disciples. But then, Jesus is no ordinary man. Who but the Son of God could do such a thing?

Second Short-Term Prophecy: Meticulous Details of Jesus Death

“As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside privately and told them what was going to happen to him. ‘Listen,’ he said, ‘we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die. Then they will hand him over to the Romans to be mocked, flogged with a whip, and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead’” (Matthew 20:17-19).

Astounding!

Once again, who but the Son of God (who came to this earth as the Son of Man through a Virgin Birth … fully God and fully man) could predict that he would be killed, let alone by crucifixion? Moreover, it would happen on this specific trip to Jerusalem. After all, the Jewish religious leaders had other opportunities to seize Jesus, but did not in fear of an uprising among the people. How did Jesus know that this time the common people would also turn on him, especially just a few days after many of them hailed him as the Messiah?

How did he know that he would be betrayed (by Judas), which created the opportunity for the religious leaders to find Jesus in a secluded area, and arrest him in the middle of the night?

Jesus even predicted what would happen to him before and after he was handed over to the Romans for crucifixion, and in precise sequence. First, betrayal; then sentencing him to die; then turning him over to the Romans with the religious leaders hoping the Romans would agree to carry out the sentence (the Jews were not allowed to execute anyone). But that didn’t mean that the Romans would mock him and then beat him with a whip. That was reserved for criminals or traitors who had been tried and convicted by the clear evidence of their crime. Jesus was totally innocent and the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, knew that.

Although the law of probability may not have been as high as the coin in the fishes mouth (or the donkey’s colt that Jesus told the disciples to fetch on which Jesus would ride triumphantly into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, and exactly where they would find it); the fact of Jesus’s trial and the precise prophetic order of what would happen is absolutely extraordinary.

And let’s not forget the crowning wonder of that prophecy: the stunning fact that Jesus would rise from the dead! And he would do so on the third day, just like he said.

(See Eye of Prophecy article: There’s Resurrection; And There’s Resurrection! Posted 3-19-16)

Things to Ponder

The matchless, marvelous message of the Gospel (Good News) of salvation and eternal life comes from the Word of God. The Bible and its promises are backed up by countless miracles found in no other religion or belief system. The truths of Scripture are founded on and verified by numerous prophecies that have come to pass and many more awaiting fulfillment when the Day of the Lord will soon arrive. Man-made religions are devoid of prophecy. Only the true and living God can declare the end from the beginning.

Personally, I’ve chosen to stake my eternal destiny on a God who loves me; on his Son who has saved me by taking the punishment for my sins and granting me a full pardon; and the Holy Spirit who indwells me (all believers) and who has sealed my new birth in Christ forever.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men” (John 1: 1, 4, NASB). The Apostle John is referring directly to Jesus of Nazareth, the Jewish Messiah for all … Jew and Gentile alike.

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ (the living Word of God)” (Romans 10:17, NASB, parenthesis mine).

“…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 will be saved” (Romans 10:8-10).

I am persuaded not only by the powerful truths and historical accuracy of Scripture, but also by the spectacular fulfillment of prophecy and the mighty miracles found in the Bible. With the miracle of salvation continuing to this very day—changing the lives of people from every race, language, and nation.

Regarding Messiah Jesus, the Jewish Apostle Peter powerfully proclaimed:

Do you believe that? Do you believe in Messiah Jesus?

Or, do you think that you need to do more, be more, give more, or work more to earn God’s favor? Are you weary of trying?

“They replied, ‘We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?’

“Jesus told them, ‘This is the only work God wants from you. Believe in the one he has sent’” (John 6:28-29).

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

U.S. President Agrees with God … Jerusalem Is Israel’s Capital!

The Eyes of the World Are On Jerusalem

No other city in the world has garnered more attention for so long than Jerusalem. No other nation on earth has generated more controversy in the past 70 years than Israel.

Jerusalem is the most significant of ancient cities still in existence, beginning with the glory years of King David and King Solomon. Older cities such as Damascus couldn’t hold a candle to Jerusalem in terms of international prominence and recognition. Through God’s divine providence, the rise and fall and exploits of notable nations have been directly related to Jerusalem.

The crowning achievement of the once mighty city-nation of Babylon was its utter destruction of Jerusalem and of Solomon’s Temple. But Babylon was expressly chosen by the Lord to punish his people for their flagrant disobedience … for abandoning the true and living God who had generously given them the Promised Land, and who established Jerusalem as its eternal capital.

After Babylon destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple—136 years after Assyria conquered the ten northern tribes (Israel)—it became the most feared nation on earth. But God, in his sovereign purpose for his special possession, Israel, had declared before Israel was even conquered that the exile to Babylon would last only 70 years. Then the Lord chose Persia as the nation that would defeat Babylon and deliver his people from captivity. God even named the Persian ruler who would issue the edict for the Jews to return and rebuild the Temple some 150 years before Cyrus was born! Subsequently, the Persian King Artaxerxes authorized Nehemiah’s journey to Israel to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

The culminating triumph of Alexander the Great’s astonishing campaign in conquering nation after nation was when he reached Jerusalem. Because Alexander was so impressed that the Bible had foretold his stunning accomplishments, he spared Jerusalem and wished the Jews well in serving their God.

(Depiction of Alexander the Great. Although It’s Unclear Whether He Actually Kneeled Before the Jewish Religious Leaders, Historian Josephus Records That He, “Treated the Whole Priesthood Magnificently”)

Likewise, the mighty Roman Empire focused inordinate attention on Israel and Jerusalem, than otherwise merited by such a small country that had (at the time) virtually no say in or control over their future. So much so that the fifth Roman Emperor Nero sent eight Roman legions (around 60,000 troops) to Israel under Generals Vespasian and Titus to crush the Jewish revolt of 66 AD. Which led to the complete demolition of the 2nd Temple and dispersion of the Jews throughout the earth for some 1,900 years.

Those powerful empires are long gone, but Israel is alive and well, and Jerusalem will remain its God-appointed capital forever!

It was Jerusalem that motivated (mostly) Roman Catholic Crusaders to wrongly march three times on Israel over a period of 200 years to liberate the holy city from Muslim control, killing thousands of Jews on their way to the Holy Land. When, in fact, the reason for Muslim domination of Israel was to prevent the Jews from exercising their (rightful) control of Jerusalem.

Otherwise, the Arabs and later the Ottoman Empire had little concern for Jerusalem since Islam was founded by Muhammad in the 7th century A.D. That lack of interest suddenly changed when Israel was miraculously reborn as a sovereign state in 1948, and especially after Israel recaptured (liberated) Jerusalem along with the Golan Heights, Sinai, Gaza, and Judea/Samaria in the remarkable Six Day War of 1967. It was then that Jerusalem once again rose to international prominence. Only for Israel, under international pressure, to relinquish functional administration of Judea/Samaria, including (so-called) East Jerusalem, back to Jordanian control.

When Israel defeated Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq, who attacked the Jews the day after Israel became an independent nation on May 14, 1948, the Arabs forfeited any potential (perceived) claim they had to Jerusalem—or for that matter to any part of Israel. Actually, they lost that right when they rejected the UN Resolution of 1947 which offered states for both the Jews and Arabs, with Jerusalem as a city under international jurisdiction—which never happened. Instead, Jordan illegally took over Judea/Samaria (West Bank) including much of Jerusalem and all of Temple Mount with hardly a whisper of protest from the United Nations.

However, the Arabs had minimal interest in Jerusalem for nearly 3,000 years until the Jews reclaimed all of the Holy City in the Six-Day War. That’s when the Arabs referred to themselves on a regular basis as Palestinians, as indicated in last week’s Eye of Prophecy article: What is Palestine & Who Is A Palestinian? And that’s when the Arabs became noticeably “interested” in Temple Mount in particular and Jerusalem in general.

Jerusalem Stands Alone and Unique Among World Capitals

There is not a single country on this planet whose capital city has not been recognized by other nations, except Israel.

All nations have the inalienable right to declare its capital, except Israel, according to world opinion. The United States executive branch under a President whose campaign included a promise to move our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem still relied on the now defunct international status of Jerusalem proposed in the 1947 United Nations Resolution. That feature of the 1947 Resolution immediately became null and void by virtue of Arab refusal to abide by the resolution in any way, shape, or form. Nevertheless, even the United States has deferred to that meaningless and irrelevant international status of Jerusalem as a basis to disavow Jerusalem as Israel’s capital … until now.

All of this despite the US Senate and House of Representatives near unanimous passage of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995; with, however, a contingency clause for a Presidential Waiver of the Embassy move every six months. Waiver or not, the embassy was supposed to be relocated to Jerusalem by the end of May, 1999.

Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Jerusalem … A Capital without a Country (published 6-13-15), beginning with the first two paragraphs of that article (in italics):

Or is it: Israel … A Country without a Capital? It’s a shame that either of these two concepts should even be in the form of a question. But they are, and they must be faced head-on and answered. Any response depends entirely on whether a sovereign nation possesses the inherent right to choose its own capital; which is a reasonable presumption, or it should be. So we’ll begin with both barrels blazing and boldly assert: Of course, a sovereign state has that right! For Israeli Jews, the answer is as obvious as it would be to an American citizen who would never question whether Washington D.C. is the Capital of the United States of America … Jerusalem is the (eternal) capital of Israel.

Yet, the United States and virtually every nation on earth does NOT recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. Instead, they have placed embassies in Tel Aviv; thereby, telling Israel that Tel Aviv is its seat of government, not Jerusalem. So drop the capital and the issue actually becomes: Jerusalem, a City without a Country? That is precisely how the US President and his staff, as well as most governments, classify Jerusalem—which reduces it to the same status as the Vatican … a city-state inside a country but without a country.

Then later in that article:

But concerning the possibility of a Palestinian State, all of this is really a moot point. Because of one monumentally significant truth and fact: Israel will never ever allow Jerusalem to be divided into two capitals. In that context, why can’t Ramallah in the West Bank be the capital of any future Palestinian State? That is the current headquarters of the Palestinian Authority. Or any city in the Gaza Strip, current headquarters of the governing authority, Hamas? I’ll tell you why. Because the Palestinians do not want Israel to exist at all, and certainly not Jerusalem as Israel’s God-given capital.

Following the American Civil War, can you imagine that, after winning the war, the United States (northern states) agreed to cede the southern half of Washington D.C. to the Confederacy as the Confederate capital? For that matter, to even allow the Confederate States to exist as isolated states in a separate Union? Or for the first United States Congress or Executive Staff to do the same with Great Britain after their hard-fought victory in the Revolutionary War? Would the word, absurd, come to mind?

All nations of this earth, including the (at least once upon a time) God-blessed United States of America, would do well to heed the perfect plan and powerful purpose of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—who is also the Father of Messiah Jesus, the Savior of both Jew and Gentile.

Says God of his Son (Messiah Jesus):

The following promise, one of many in Scripture, is soon to be fulfilled:

“The Lord says, ‘Shout and rejoice, O beautiful Jerusalem, for I am coming to live among you. Many nations will join themselves to the Lord on that day, and they, too, will be my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies sent me (Messiah Yeshua) to you. The land of Judah will be the Lord’s special possession in the holy land, and he will once again choose Jerusalem to be his own city. Be silent before the Lord, all humanity, for he is springing into action from his holy dwelling’” (Zechariah 2:10-13, parenthesis mine).

In that same vein, here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Jerusalem … A City of Peace? Posted 12-27-14 (In italics):

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

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

Even before President’s Trump scheduled speech this past Wednesday, Muslim and Palestinian leaders arrogantly issued (self-fulfilled) warnings that relocation of the US Embassy or even United States acknowledgment of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would create chaos in the Middle East.

Reactions Prior to President’s Trump Announcement of December 6th

In an article by Steve Leibowitz posted on 12-3-17 in the online news source World Israel News, we read:

“There is a great deal of anticipation in Israel of US President Donald Trump’s announcement due Wednesday regarding Washington’s policy toward Jerusalem. Trump surprised Israelis leaders and pundits last week when he called for action on his campaign promise to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem … but aides in Washington and experts in Israel expect that Trump will, for a second time, reluctantly sign a waiver postponing the embassy move for yet another six months … All presidents since Bill Clinton have done so and the newest deadline is Monday (December 4th).”

Leibowitz went on to say: “Back in June, when he signed the last waiver, Trump was thought to have been influenced and pressured in discussions with moderate Arab leaders who warned that moving the embassy could end peace prospects while triggering Middle East turmoil…”

Indeed, whatever pressure President Trump may have yielded to six months ago (largely secretive to the public) has as least doubled in intensity and this time more publicly. As have stronger reactions by Israelis supporting potential US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and harsher criticism by those who believe Trump had reneged on his campaign promise to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

(President Trump Signing Waiver in June, 2017)

Several national leaders voiced precautionary warnings, such as French President Emmanuel Macron who, as contained in an Israel Hayom article posted 12-5-17, “expressed his concern over the possibility that the United States would unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

Comment: The United States (or any country) has the “unilateral” prerogative of recognizing the capital of any other country without need to first gain approval from even their allies.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel labeled any such US recognition, “counterproductive” one that would have far-reaching consequences for the Middle East. He said, “We have to make it clear to our allies that there is a limit to our solidarity.” Translated, it means if President Trump extends official recognition that Jerusalem is, indeed, Israel’s capital, then US diplomatic relations (solidarity) with Germany and other allies could be jeopardized.

A reminder: The Congress of the United States—our governing body empowered to enact laws and make resolutions (with the Executive Staff obligated to enforce those laws, short of a Presidential veto)—passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. Which resolved that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel. There were seventeen reasons listed in that legislative act to support the resolution.

For more extensive details, see Eye of Prophecy article, Is President Trump Wavering on the Waiver? Posted 2-4-17.

Arab/Palestinian Tirade against President Trump’s Impending Decision

Quoting a brief article of 12-5-17 in USA Today entitled, Muslim states warn U.S. against moving embassy to Jerusalem:

“An umbrella organization of Muslim countries said Monday that President Trump’s possible recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would constitute ‘naked aggression’ against the Arab and Muslim world. The ruling Palestinian party called for protests against such a move. The Organization for Islamic Cooperation issued a statement condemning an anticipated announcement by Trump, saying its 57 member states should sever ties with any state that transfers its embassy to Jerusalem.”

In an online World Israel News article posted on 12-3-17, the author Aryeh Savir quotes Palestinian spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh who said that “…east Jerusalem, with its holy places, is the start and the end for any solution that would save the region from destruction…”

Aryeh Savir goes on to say: “He (Abu Rudeineh) stressed that, ‘any just solution’ to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict should ensure that east Jerusalem is the capital of an independent Palestinian state, adding that ‘failure to reach a solution to the Palestinian issue will prolong the state of tension, chaos and violence that are prevalent in the region and the world.’ He claimed that the region is facing difficult choices and that these serious challenges ‘affect the essence of the entire Arab existence’” (my italics for emphasis).

As though, for example, the horrendously destructive six-year civil war in Syria began because of and would have ended by now were it not for the “failure to reach a solution to the Palestinian issue”. That is utter nonsense. Worse, it’s a blatant lie. The “Palestinian issue” has nothing whatsoever to do with any ongoing conflict in the Middle East outside of Israel.

(One of Several Syrian Cities That Lie In Ruins, Estimated 400,000 Combatants and Civilians Killed in Syrian Civil War Thus Far … See Eye of Prophecy Article, There’s No Place Like Homs, posted 3-12-16)

It’s crystal clear what he means by the italicized part of his statement. Which is: the essence of the entire Arab existence is predicated on the elimination of the entire Jewish existence.

If ever there was a self-fulfilling prediction, the warning issued by Abu Rudeineh is exactly that. With the not so subtle implication that it will be the Palestinians who will not only continue the current “knife intifada” that began in October, 2015; but that Palestinian terrorism (and Muslim terrorism in general) will intensify against Israel, which has continued virtually unabated over the past few decades, and certainly long before any recent talk of relocating the US Embassy to Jerusalem or recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The ruling terrorist body of the Gaza Strip, Hamas, came right out and said so, stating that US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would, “renew the Jerusalem intifada.” And Palestinian Authority advisor, Mahmoud Habash (speaking for PA President Mahmoud Abbas) boasted, “The world will pay the price.”

Seriously? The only peoples/nations who will ultimately pay a heavy price are those who hate and harm Israel. If they think otherwise, they can take it up with the true and living God who declared: “…Anyone who harms you (Jerusalem … Israel) harms my most precious possession. I will raise my fist to crush them…” (Zechariah 2:8-9, parenthesis mine).

PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi accused President Trump of, “…willfully committing an act of the utmost folly which is not only illegal (it is certainly not illegal and I would be delighted to debate that point with Ms. Ashrawi whenever she’s ready!), but also designed to inflame religious and spiritual sentiments and raise the specter of sectarianism and religious strife (parenthesis mine).”

PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat said that if the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, it will, “promote international anarchy.” He went on to say: “Jerusalem is the social, political, cultural, religious and economic heart of Palestine … the heart of the Arab world. It is a significant symbol of our region and its fate is key to any efforts leading to a peaceful and stable region.”

“Jerusalem … heart of the Arab world?” With that statement, Saeb Erekat slammed Islam’s (most) holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. However, most Arabs and Muslims hate the Jews and Israel so much, they will undoubtedly overlook Erekat’s blunder (intentional or unintentional) of relegating Mecca far behind Jerusalem as “the heart of the Arab world.”

With regard to the hastily scheduled meetings of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and emergency session of another large Muslim group of nations (The Arab League), Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad al-Malki said concerning any announced decision by President Trump: “The decisions made will be compatible with the size and importance of Jerusalem, being the capital of the Palestinian state and the holiest of holies.”

Unimaginable! By referring to the “holiest of holies” what Malki is actually identifying and specifying is the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Temple Mount, which is an alleged holy site for Muslim Arabs and the central overriding issue concerning the status of Jerusalem. Moreover, he uses the term (holy of holies) that is Biblically and historically confined to and reserved for one thing only: The inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle and subsequently the Jewish Temples that originally housed the Ark of the Covenant.

Recall from the earlier quote of Palestinian Nabil Abu Rudeineh, he employed the term “east Jerusalem, with its holy places.” He, too, was referring to the Al-Aqsa Mosque without actually naming it in order to give the impression that there are many Muslim “holy places” in Jerusalem. Furthermore, Riyad Malki had the gall to say, “Jerusalem, being the capital of the Palestinian State.”

A state that will never come into existence if Arabs keep insisting that Jerusalem or even east Jerusalem is its capital.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque is no more holy to the true and living God than is the mosque in Mecca, Medina, or (for that matter) any mosque in the world; because the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is NOT Allah or the same as any other so-called god. The God of the Bible is light-years different than Allah, not only in name but in so many other areas … not the least of which are his attributes and fulfilled prophecy. There is simply no way that Allah is merely another name for God (Yahweh-“I AM”) or Elohim or El Shaddai, or any other name of the Lord in Scripture. Allah was the moon-god, one of many Arabic gods, selected by Muhammad to replace as a counterfeit copy the God of Judaism and Christianity. It was monotheistic plagiarism at its worst, as was capriciously choosing the Biblical angel Gabriel as the one who supposedly gave Muhammad his so-called revelations.

Many things could be said in response to these absurd allegations regarding the purported prominence of (multiple) Islamic holy places in Jerusalem let alone the holiest of holies, but that would take an entire article or two. Instead, let’s look at some excerpts from Eye of Prophecy article, Myth of Al-Aqsa Mosque (posted 4-16-16) in italics:

The myth is in the historical and contemporary significance this mosque bears regarding Muslim claims to Temple Mount and to Jerusalem … indeed, to all of Israel. Was the legend that the Prophet Mohammed travelled from Mecca to Jerusalem in one night, then ascended to heaven from the Noble Sanctuary, fact or fiction? Whether Mohammed’s mysterious trip can be considered credible depends heavily on identifying Al Aqsa Mosque as the site (mosque) of his supposed visit. Should the Noble Sanctuary be classified a sacred Muslim shrine at all, let alone the third holiest site of Islam?

Distinguishing between fact and fiction is of vital importance because it is Temple Mount in Jerusalem that is the very heart and soul of Israel and the Jewish people. The status of Temple Mount is the core of the current conflict (dispute) between Jew and Arab in Israel; although there are certainly other reasons, not the least of which is the ancient animosity between the two peoples.

Quoting Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu:

“Our generation had a great privilege—we saw the words of the prophet come true. We saw the rise of Zion, the return of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel, the ingathering of exiles and our return to Jerusalem. We will make sure Jerusalem’s golden light will shine on our people, and spread the light of Jerusalem to the whole world. We will protect Jerusalem, because Israel without Jerusalem is like a body without a heart … Our heart will never be divided again.”

Benjamin echoed the prophetic promise of God through Isaiah:

“Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see. For the glory of the Lord rises to shine on you. Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth, but the glory of the Lord rises and appears over you. All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see your radiance. Look and see, for everyone is coming home! Your sons are coming from distant lands; your little daughters will be carried home” (Isaiah 60:1-4).

Then later in that article:

…Initially Islamic scholars firmly believed that the farthest mosque was a metaphor, signifying some unknown place between heaven and earth, not a specific physical location. In his earliest biography, Muslim historians depict Mohammed’s passage to heaven as a spiritual one only; additionally, this journey (in spirit) was directly from Mecca to heaven, not from Mecca to Jerusalem, then to heaven. Apparently, in the effort to make Mohammed’s mystical travels more plausible, Muslim historians changed the story to that of a physical pilgrimage to the farthest mosque or the “remote mosque” which they later decided should be in Jerusalem, that didn’t have a mosque until some 70-80 years afterward—what is now called the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Even more contradictory is the fact that the Koran refers to Israel as the adna al-ard, translated in English as the “closest land.” If Muslim tradition holds that Mohammed was taken to the farthest mosque (Al-Aqsa) or land (wherever that might have been), then how could that have been Jerusalem (Israel), which they claim is the nearest land?

The historians should have stuck with their initial interpretation, that Mohammed’s imaginative journey was spiritual only. To change it to a physical occurrence is to further reduce it to nothing more than a myth, what with the conflicting timelines and contradictory legend (language) of nearest (Israel) and farthest (mosque in Jerusalem) places where this event supposedly occurred.

There’s even more. Jerusalem, itself, is NEVER mentioned in the Koran … not once. Whereas, Jerusalem is referenced 669 times in the Bible and Zion (Jerusalem) 154 times. This is nothing short of an insurmountable obstacle to Muslim statements that not only Temple Mount, but all of Jerusalem belongs to them….

The British understood how little significance Arabs placed on Jerusalem when they did not include the city as part of assigned Arab territories preceding the Balfour Declaration of 1917 … The historical record is unmistakable: It’s not that the Arabs desperately wanted Jerusalem or control of Temple Mount (not until 1967). In fact, they had marginal interest in Jerusalem, and did little to maintain or improve the city’s infrastructure for hundreds of years.

Here is a quote from British negotiator, Henry McMahon, when Great Britain chose not to include Jerusalem as part of Arab controlled regions in the 1917 partition of Israel between Jews and Arabs: “…there was no place … of sufficient importance … further south of Damascus to which the Arabs attached vital importance.”

It is not question of even one square foot of land on Temple Mount or anywhere else in Israel. It is a question of whether Palestinian Arabs and Muslim nations will ever recognize the sovereign state of Israel and the right of Jews to live in their ancient land, given to them by God himself. A land they occupied (in the positive connotation of the word) long before the Arabs, hundreds of years before Mohammed started the religion of Islam.

Now with a bit of a literary drum roll (instead of inserting a website link of an actual audio drum roll!), let’s look at:

President Trump’s Decision Regarding the US Embassy and Jerusalem

Obviously today’s posting is on a Saturday (as are all Eye of Prophecy articles), three days after President Trump’s announcement. Perhaps you’ve already heard or read about his decision, which pretty much was a foregone conclusion. All Eye of Prophecy articles are placed in one of four categories: Prophecy in General, The Antichrist, The Rapture, and Current Events (the category of this week’s article). This is the first article for which I couldn’t finish even the rough draft until the current event in question became “current!”

On December 6th, United States President Donald Trump made an announcement that the whole world was waiting for.

(President Trump Holding Plaque of Jerusalem Embassy Act, Photo Taken on 12-6-17)

Said Trump: “After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result. Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

His dramatic declaration was anticipated, yet it was nevertheless stunning and long overdue.

Echoing the reasons given by the US Congress when they passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995, President Trump stated: “Today, Jerusalem is the seat of the modern Israeli government. It is the home of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, as well as the Israeli Supreme Court. It is the location of the official residences of the Prime Minister and the President. It is the headquarters of many government ministries … Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish people established in ancient times. Today, Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s government. Today, we finally acknowledged the obvious, that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more than a recognition of realty. It is also the right thing to do.”

Although President Trump said that he would direct the State Department to begin preparations to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, he gave no timetable for this relocation. And he once again signed the Waiver, which means that the embassy won’t be moved for at least six more months.

Borrowing the famous words of Astronaut Neil Armstrong upon the first moon landing in 1969, recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was, “one giant leap for mankind.” But, rephrasing and reversing the first part of Armstrong’s statement, it was also one small step backwards. Only if President Trump doesn’t sign the next waiver (or the next, or the next), will the verbal recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital shift from symbolic to substance (physical reality).

For now, those of us who love and support Israel can be grateful that the United States Executive Branch of our government has upheld the US Congressional decision to officially acknowledge the Israelis’ Biblical, historical, national, and legal right to choose Jerusalem as their eternal capital.

It’s clear for many reasons that God’s hand was in this. Not the least of which was President’s Trump announcement that came exactly 70 years (Jewish calendar) after the UN Resolution of 1947 declaring Israel’s right to statehood … the 17th of (the month of) Kislev, which was November 29th, 1947 on the Gregorian calendar.

Amazing!

As expected after President’s Trump proclamation, a plethora of hate-filled responses flowed from Arab Muslims. A spokesman for Hamas said that Trump’s decision, “opens the gates of hell.” Using their own metaphor, the Palestinians will apparently pass through those gates. By the time this week’s article is actually posted or perhaps a few days afterward, the Palestinians may raise hell. They’ve already called for three “days of rage.”

Things to Ponder

Just when we think that the world’s focus on and angst over Jerusalem couldn’t increase in frequency and fullness, that’s exactly what it has done. Of all the final generational (our generation) events, the most significant is what’s happening to, within, and around Jerusalem and Israel. In several end-times prophecies, that’s precisely what Scripture said would take place. For example, Ezekiel is told to prophesy against Edom, which was a mortal enemy of the Jews and which also represents those nations in the last days that come against Israel—particularly the Arabic/Muslim countries that surround Israel in today’s world.

Read with me these ancient words that prophetically portray what is happening in our generation:

“For you (Edom) said, ‘The lands of Israel and Judah will be ours. We will take possession of them. What do we care that the Lord is there!’ Therefore, as surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, I will pay back your angry deeds with my own. I will punish you for all your acts of anger, envy, and hatred. And I will make myself known to Israel by what I do to you. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have heard every contemptuous word you spoke against the mountains of Israel…” (Ezekiel 35:10-12).

Just as the Lord said: Anger, envy, and hatred is an absolutely accurate account of contemporary Muslims and many non-Muslims toward Jews and Israel.

Listen to this startling passage concerning God’s ultimate sovereignty over the boundaries of the world’s countries.

“When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of man, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel. For the Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob (Israel) is the allotment of His inheritance … He encircled him (Jacob or Israel), He cared for him, He guarded him as the pupil of his eye” (Deuteronomy 32:8-10, NASB, parenthesis mine, italics for emphasis).

*Note: The italicized words in the Complete Jewish Bible are translated, “…according to Israel’s population.” This means that God—in his infinite wisdom, plan, and fairness—selected a very small part of the earth (Israel) for the Jews, based on what he knew would be a comparative proportion of Israel’s population to the rest of the world. And yet there are hundreds of millions of Muslims and hundreds million more people the world over who detest the idea of the tiny nation of Israel (especially its capital Jerusalem) belonging to the Jews.

(This Is The Only Way to Find Israel on a World Map … Israel Is Even Difficult to Spot on a Map of Just the Middle East)

Says the Lord: “On the holy mountain stands the city founded by the Lord. He loves the city of Jerusalem more than any other city in Israel. O city of God, what glorious things are said of you!” (Psalm 87:1-3).

If the Lord loves Jerusalem more than any city in Israel, then it’s a sure thing that he loves Jerusalem more than any city on earth.

Yet, concerning each person on earth, God loves everyone equally and wants everyone to be saved by believing and receiving his only Son, Messiah Yeshua (Jesus). That certainly includes Palestinians.

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

“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we (all those who believe and receive Jesus as personal Savior) 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, parenthesis mine).

With the Jewish Apostle Paul, I earnestly exclaim: “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 1:16-17, quoting Habakkuk 2:4).

What is Palestine & Who Is A Palestinian?

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The Relentless Islamic Strategy to Destroy Israel

It’s not enough for Arab and Islamic non-Arab political, military, and religious leaders such as Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei to repeatedly threatened Israel with extinction. Or for Palestinians to continuously murder and maim Jews at the incitement of their leaders and with the active or passive approval of mainstream Palestinians.

This ancient irrational Arabic hatred (going back nearly 3,800 years) and Muslim loathing (when Muhammad invented Islam some 1,400 years ago) of the Jews has no geographical, political, social, or educational boundaries. It also includes—indeed, is even led by—Islamic academia and intelligentsia.

In the online Prophecy News Watch, the title of an article posted on November 14, 2017 reads: Islamic Scholars Gather To Discuss Destroying Israel. It begins with:

“A large group of Islamic leaders recently held a conference that the liberal press has quietly buried. Its theme was the total destruction of Israel. The City of Beirut, Lebanon played host to the second meeting of a group that calls itself the International Union of Resistance Scholars… comprised of approximately 700 Islamic scholars hailing from 80 countries … and their stated goal to wipe Israel off the map forever.”

The article contains a couple of quotes from Muslim spokesmen at the conference including an excerpt from a letter written to/for the conference by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.

I decided to also look up this information directly from the primary online source that published a review of this conference. It can be found on an Iranian news site, en.mehrnews.com, which is an affiliate of Tehran, Iran’s main newspaper. The title of that article in English posted on the same day of the conference (11-1-17): 2nd meeting of Intl. Union of Resistance Scholars kicks off.

Here is a more complete excerpt from Khamenei’s letter to the conference: “…the heavy and unforgettable responsibility for Palestine rests upon the shoulders of the entire Muslim world… I recommend that all individuals, who feel the importance of this great responsibility, continue to fight against the usurping Zionist regime using diversified tactics.”

It’s all too abhorrently clear: what Khamenei means by diversified is anything and everything (whatever it takes) to rid the world of Israel and the Jews.

(Assembly of the “Resistance Scholars” in Beirut … Just as Menacing and Deadly as Any Physical Attacks on Jews)

The Iranian article states, “The conference is being held under the banner of ‘True Promise: Palestine between Balfour Declaration and Divine Promise,’ gathering together religious clerics who highlight the role of Palestine in the World of Islam and voice their readiness to side with the Palestinian nation against the Israeli regime and its allies in and out of the region.” (That includes the United States, the most obvious ally of Israel).

A Brief Commentary: The role of Palestine in the World of Islam is merely another excuse for Islam to seek Israel’s annihilation. If there was no such thing as Palestinians or Palestine, Muslims would find another “cause” or reason to drive the Jews into the sea and eliminate the sovereign state of Israel from the face of the map.

Which begs the question: Is there, in fact, any such thing as a Palestinian or Palestine? Stay tuned.

Another quote in the Iranian news article came at the opening of the conference from its chairman, one of the leaders of the Resistance Scholars Union, Sunni Sheikh Maher Hammoud, who said: “…the Israelis believe in the certainty of their collapse more than the Muslims.”

Which is a blatant lie, but one that is believed (or at least hoped for) by Muslims all over the Middle East. I have read hundreds of articles by Israeli correspondents. I have listened to and read hundreds of quotes from Israel’s religious, military, educational, and political leaders, not the least of which is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Although Israel faces the same kind of internal disagreements that any democracy experiences, by and large they are optimistically united when it comes to the matter of Israel’s survival. But also Israel’s marvelous achievements and their sharing of those accomplishments with the world in the fields of medicine, education, agriculture, computer technology, transportation, disaster relief, and a host of other modern-day advances.

Another report on this conference comes from writer Rachel Frommer as posted in the online site, (Washington) Free Beacon. Her article entitled, Islamic Scholars Gather to Discuss Destroying Israel, posted on 11-3-17, includes information that the Lebanese (terrorist group) Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, attended the conference; as did Ismail Haniyeh, a senior leader of the Gaza terrorist organization, Hamas.

Question: Are Nasrallah and Haniyeh scholars? Evidently they are, or they wouldn’t have been invited by the International Union of Resistance Scholars, would they?!

It’s also crystal clear that all of the “scholars” study one thing above all else. How to destroy Israel … the sooner the better.

How Soon is Sooner?

As I had learned some time ago, brought to recall by part of the aforementioned Prophecy News Watch article, we read:

“The year 2022 has become an obsession over the past half-decade for Islamic leaders. Hassan Rahimpour Azghadi of Iran’s Supreme Court for the Revolution declared in 2015 that Israel would be destroyed in 2022. In that same year, another Iranian cleric published a book that drew from the occult and calculations based on the Koran to predict Israel’s defeat and annihilation in the year 2022. The Islamic State, not to be left out, has also called for the war to be brought to Israel in 2022.”

What’s that saying? Be careful what you wish for…

Scripture predicts that nations hostile to Israel will unite together not once but twice in the last days (during the Tribulation). God himself will arrange it! The Lord will allow these arrogant nations and peoples to try to fulfill their diabolical desire to finish Hitler’s devious and detestable “final solution” for the Jews. Only this time the final solution (potion) will be swallowed by Israel’s enemies. Says the Sovereign Lord:

“Just as you swallowed up my people on my holy mountain, so you and the surrounding nations will swallow the punishment I pour out on you. Yes, all you nations will drink and stagger and disappear from history” (Obadiah 1:16).

First, will be the Gog/Magog alliance, consisting of Russia and several diehard Muslim nations like Iran and Turkey and Libya. Says the Lord, “I will turn you around and drive you toward the mountains of Israel, bringing you from the distant north… You and your army and your allies will all die on the mountains … You will fall in the open fields … In this way, I will make known my holy name among my people of Israel. I will not let anyone bring shame on it. And the nations, too, will know that I am the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. That day of judgment will come, says the Sovereign Lord. Everything will happen just as I have declared it” (Ezekiel 39:2-8).

As documented in previous Eye of Prophecy articles concerning the Gog/Magog invasion, I’m convinced this attack will take place within the first two years of the Tribulation.

God is an equal opportunity God, regarding both salvation and judgment. In the last part of the Tribulation, he also will grant Antichrist Nero and his ten-nation confederation the chance (wish) to conquer Israel.

Read with me: “At the time of those events, says the Lord, when I restore the prosperity of Judah and Jerusalem (which began and has increased exponentially since 1948), I will gather the armies of the world into the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will judge them for harming my people, my special possession, for scattering my people among the nations, and for dividing up my land” (Joel 3:1-2, parenthesis mine).

Then later in that chapter: “Let the nations be called to arms. Let them march to the valley of Jehoshaphat. There, I the Lord, will sit to pronounce judgment on them all” (Verse 12).

The valley of Jehoshaphat is another designation of the valley of Megiddo, where the final battle of Armageddon will take place (Revelation 16:16).

And, “Thousands upon thousands are waiting in the valley of decision. There the day of the Lord will soon arrive” (Joel 3:14).

Here’s another prophecy about the nations of today’s world: “I will make Jerusalem like an intoxicating drink that makes the nearby nations stagger when they send their armies to besiege Jerusalem and Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock. All the nations will gather against it to try to move it, but they will only hurt themselves” (Zechariah 12:2-3).

“For on that day I will begin to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem” (Verse 9).

Several times in Old Testament and New Testament prophecy we see that these last days events will happen “soon” or “soon arrive” as we just read in Joel. Jesus, himself, said in the last chapter of the Bible, “Look, I am coming soon…” (Revelation 22:12).

Your first impulse might be: “How can that be when Joel’s prophecy was written so long ago (some 2,800 years); or Zechariah’s about 2,500 years ago; or Jesus’s words spoken nearly 2,000 years ago?”

Answer: Often Scripture will identify end times events with the phrase, “Day of the Lord” or, “in those days,” or “on that day.” When the term “soon” is connected to “that day” or something similar, it is in the collective context of all Biblical last day’s prophecies. Specifically, from the time they begin to unfold during the “birth pains” as described by Messiah Jesus; then intensify, culminating at the end of the final (Omega) generation specified by Jesus. With the Day of the Lord beginning with the Rapture of believers from the earth, followed soon by the Great Tribulation. Soon means abruptly, and is also equivalent to and expressed by what Jesus said:

In other words, soon applies to the accumulative peak (fulfillment) of end-times prophetic events in the context of the final generation specified by Jesus. It does not necessarily mean “just around the corner” in terms of the lapse of time from when the predictions were made.

When the Lord gave the amazingly detailed prophecy to Ezekiel concerning the Gog/Magog invasion of Israel, he announces that it will be a long time in coming. God declares in the form of a warning and also a taunting challenge for Gog and his allies to be ready when God says it’s time for him to, “…turn you around and put hooks in your jaws to lead you out with your whole army…” (Ezekiel 38:4).

It’s like saying to someone who is so ready they can hardly stand it, “Are you ready?”

Then get on with it.

“Get ready; be prepared! Keep all the armies around you mobilized, and take command of them. A long time from now you will be called into action. In the distant future you will sweep down on the land of Israel, which will be enjoying peace after recovering from war and after its people have returned from many lands to the mountains of Israel. You and all your allies—a vast and awesome army—will roll down on them like a storm and cover the land like a cloud” (Ezekiel 38:7-9).

Are they ready in our generation? You bet they are. In just the last 18 months or so, both Russia and Iran have established military bases in Syria. And Turkey (by today’s small world standards) is geographically a stone’s throw away from Israel. All three nations have missiles that can easily reach Israel. Just last week, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, and President Erdogan of Turkey met in Syria with its President Bashar al-Assad. Purpose of which was to essentially declare victory over the rebel fighters (supported by the United States) who have waged a war of independence from Assad for several years now.

(Russian Fighter Jets and Helicopter Stationed at Hemeimeem Air Base in Syria)

However, Scripture is clear: It is the Lord who will decide when to bring the two massive coalitions against Israel (Gog/Magog and then Antichrist and his confederacy). These two campaigns are part of God’s end-times plan for the human race. Which is to establish the Jews in Israel forever in the mighty Kingdom of God on earth with Jewish and Gentile believers alike reigning and ruling with Messiah Jesus.

What if God allows the Gog/Magog league or the Antichrist coalition to begin their respective campaigns against Israel in 2022 or thereabouts? Or sooner than that?! We are near the end of the final generation as indicated in several Eye of Prophecy articles, the most recent of which was Just How Imminent is Messiah’s Imminent Return? Posted 11-18-17.

The Need to Define Terms

Let’s return to the conference of the International Union of Resistance Scholars. What is it they are resisting, which is the reason for their union? The answer is glaringly gruesome: They are denying the very existence of the sovereign State of Israel. They are resisting the notion of a single Jew living in Israel.

They seldom refer to Israel as Israel. It’s almost always: Palestine. Nor do they refer to Arabs living in “Palestine” as Arabs. They are Palestinians. They don’t even like to call Arab citizens of Israel (some 1.8 million of them) by the term that precisely fits them and their citizenship rights in Israel … Israeli Arabs. Instead these scholars and much of the Islamic world also refer to Israeli Arabs as Palestinians.

That is the rub. Therein is the problem. It is a matter of semantics. It is an issue of definitions.

Although many people don’t want to be bothered with semantics (even using the sometimes cop-out phrase of, “it’s just a matter of semantics” to throttle any further discussion), it’s sometimes necessary to define certain terms. Otherwise people and groups with different views or agendas can apply their own meaning to terms that can be ambiguous unless defined. For example, nearly all contracts (insurance policies, lease agreements, purchase agreements, warranties, loans) will define terms within and parties to the contract.

Webster’s definition of definition is: “a word or phrase expressing the essential nature of a person or thing.” (Note: since some nouns in particular—as opposed to adjectives or adverbs which have synonyms—merit definition, I would add “places” to people and things). Also, definition is: “the action or the power of describing, explaining, or making definite and clear.”

Are you, by definition, an American citizen—either born in the United States or through naturalized citizenship? If you are, it’s because the United States of America has been geographically defined by the borders of the forty-eight contiguous (actual contact along established boundaries) Continental States. Plus, the addition of two non-contiguous states, Alaska and Hawaii, which received statehood status in January and August, 1959, respectively … our 49th and 50th states. Both of these states were American territories (like many of the continental states were at one time), with Hawaii initially annexed by the United States and Alaska originally purchased (1867) from Russia.

Whether British, French, German, Canadian, Brazilian, Norwegian, Australian, or Chinese, virtually all citizens of any nation in the world are acknowledged as such because their country is defined and recognized by established geographical borders. Many indigenous ethnic groups have split from a larger country in the 20th & 21st centuries, resulting in an explosion of smaller countries or city-states all over the world. Nevertheless, all of them have some system of government that defines citizen membership requirements.

(An Example of an Island Country: Nauru Became an Independent Nation in 1968, Formerly A German Colony, Then Under Trusteeship of Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. Population of Nauru Through 2016–10,100, Smaller Than Thousands of Cities in the World)

(Nauru, a Polynesian Island in the Pacific. On a Personal Note, One of 173 Nations That Have Visited Eye of Prophecy Website To Date)

Let’s pause here to examine one of the two most definitive statements ever made in the history of the world. The other one is: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). It is a declaration that leaves no doubt whatsoever as to who and what is the source of redemption for the human race. An unambiguous authoritative assertion that—depending on whether we believe and receive the one who defined in no uncertain terms who and what he is—will determine the eternal destiny of every person on earth.

Messiah Jesus stated: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

He begins by declaring that, “I am…” Thus, defining exactly who he was, is, and always will be: The Son of God and God the Son. “I AM” is the very name of God, the name that he first uttered during the miracle of the burning bush.

“God replied to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you.’ God also said to Moses, ‘Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you. This is my eternal name, my name to remember for all generations” (Exodus 3:14-15).

Read with me Jesus’s astonishing response to the religious leaders of Israel:

“Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming, He saw it and was glad.

“The people said, ‘You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?’

“Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM!’” (John 8:56-58).

Jesus declared (defined) himself as: The (only) Way—that anyone can come to God the Father for salvation and forgiveness of sin. Jesus is Truth—absolute, universal, objective truth as opposed to subjective relative truth that says, “I’ll determine what is true (for me).” Jesus is Life itself—he gives (created) us life on this earth and gives us life again in heaven; if we only will believe and receive him as our Personal Savior.

Jesus is the only definitive Way to God, Truth of/from God, and Everlasting Life with God.

Palestine and Palestinians?

If we’re going to grasp the essence of the Middle East conflict between Jew and Arab and who actually has Biblical (which is really the only authority needed) but also man-made national rights to the land of Israel, then it is crucial that we define Palestine and Palestinian.

Who is a Palestinian?

Answer: No one, not really. There is no such thing as a Palestinian. I realize that practically the whole world (including me) uses that designation to refer to the Arabs living in (occupying) the West Bank—a term invented not so long ago to identify that part of Israel called Judea/Samaria—or to Arabs living in the Gaza. But we use the term only out of necessity; to distinguish between citizens of Israel (Jews and Israeli Arabs) and non-citizens of Israel. If someone did use the term Palestinian (before 1948), they were invariably identifying the Jews, not the Arabs.

What is Palestine?

Answer: there is no such thing as Palestine, not really. Certainly not after May 14, 1948 when Israel became a Sovereign State, less than six months after the United Nations Resolution granted statehood rights to the Jews, and also to the Arabs who flatly rejected any idea of a state alongside a Jewish state. Instead, five Arab nations attacked Israel the very next day, confident that they would kill infant Israel in its national crib.

Actually, a better question would be: Where is Palestine? With an equally legitimate response: Nowhere. Even when it was called Palestine, it was not a country or a nation. At the most, it was a territory with disputed borders. Nor was there or has there ever been a Palestinian language. Hebrew, yes. Arabic, yes. But no one speaks Palestinian. Along with established borders, it is language that most plainly defines nations and ethnic groups (such as Arabs in Israel) within nations.

A Summary Analysis of “Palestine” and “Palestinians”

Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Israeli Occupation … Fact or Myth? Posted 5-16-16 (in italics):

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

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

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

But as periodically mentioned in past Eye of Prophecy articles, it’s not just all of East Jerusalem (there is no legal distinction between West and East Jerusalem) that the Arabs want; it’s all of Jerusalem, all of Israel that they lay claim to….

Then later in that article:

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

Next are a couple of excerpts from a recent article (11-20-17) written by Jean Patrick Grumberg, posted in the online op-ed source of Gatestone Institute. Much of what he wrote has been covered in prior Eye of Prophecy articles. The reason that this author (and a few others like him) and I are on the same page is because we’ve studied extensively the real definable history of the Middle East. The main difference is that my articles are in the context of Scripture, as the Bible is the definitive God-breathed source of humanity’s history pertaining to God’s plans for Israel and Gentile nations.

The all-encompassing purpose for and existence of Eye of Prophecy website is to give a clear witness for Messiah Jesus who is the essence of Biblical prophecy, its proclamations and predictions. Within that purpose, to correlate proclamations and prophecies to each other in the whole context and counsel of Scripture, history, and current events. And, when necessary, to clarify and even correct misunderstandings or misapplication of certain prophecies and terms. This is just another way of defining people, places, events, and the enduring truths and principles found in Scripture.

(Jesus Is The Living Word of God)

Wrote Grumberg: “All people born in the British Mandatory Palestine between 1923-1948 had “Palestine” stamped on their passports at the time. (Thereafter and to this date the majority of “Palestinians” have Jordanian passports). But when they were called Palestinians, the Arabs were offended. They complained: ‘We are not Palestinians, we are Arabs. The Palestinians are the Jews’” (parenthesis mine).

Grumberg quotes Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Zuheir Mohsen who articulated in 1977: “The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality, today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians, and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct Palestinian people to oppose Zionism.”

*Note: I couldn’t have said it better myself, let alone relay this information from a prominent Muslim Arab (“Palestinian”) leader. Since this leader spoke those words in 1977, that definitive statement on Palestine and Palestinians was subsequently suppressed by PLO founder Yasser Arafat and now by the Palestinian Authority (name change from the PLO) President Mahmoud Abbas. They and other leaders of the PA and the Arabs living in the West Bank and Gaza conspicuously refer to themselves as Palestinians. This to give the impression that their “cause” is all about Palestine and Palestinians who allegedly are the only lawful residents of a nation that should never have been called Israel, and the Jews who are illegitimate “settlers.”

Jean Patrick Grumberg goes on to say: “Prior to the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, there were no ‘Palestinians.’”

Actually, Arabs didn’t begin to refer to themselves as Palestinians on a regular basis and for ulterior motives until the PLO was established in 1964; even more so after the Six-Day War of 1967 and the following cease-fire orchestrated primarily by the United States and western nations.

Here is another excerpt concerning the prevailing Israeli Arab view on a Palestinian State, from Eye of Prophecy Article: A Palestinian State (No, Say Many Arabs). Published 1-11-14 (still true today):

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

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

The Palestinian journalist goes on to say, “The Palestinians have their own parliament in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But this parliament, known as the Palestinian Legislative Council, has been paralyzed since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007. In most Arab countries, parliament members who dare to criticize their rulers often find themselves sitting at home or behind bars.” And I might add to Khaled’s astute observations: An Israeli Arab Knesset member is free to criticize his/her own government (and often does) without fear of any reprisal. They can return to their home after a hard day at the Knesset, and start all over again the following morning.

(Ahmed Tibi, Recently Slammed Israel at the United Nations Regarding Some Nations Attending the 70th Anniversary Of UN Resolution of Nov. 29th, 1947, Granting Israel Statehood Rights. And He Is an Arab Member of the Israeli Knesset no less!)

Concerning Jewish “settlements” in Israel, here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, United Nations Downsizing of Israel (Resolution 2334). Posted 1-7-17. This reprehensible resolution was drafted by several Arab/Muslim nations and nations hostile toward Israel.

In gleeful reaction to Resolution 2334, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas presumptuously said, “We are calling for 2017 to be the year of international recognition of the State of Palestine because more recognitions will strengthen the possibility of achieving a two-state solution and real peace.”

As though Palestine was already a state, Abbas continued, “I say to you that settlements on the land of the occupied State of Palestine are on their way out. We secured a historic UN Security Council resolution, which said that any changes since 1967 to the demographic composition or land of the State of Palestine including East Jerusalem are unacceptable.”

By prematurely referring to Palestine as a state, which has never legally or legislatively or nationally existed in the first place … an impression is made on both the informed and uninformed that Jews don’t belong anywhere in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. When, in fact, much of the land in Judea and Samaria on which some 600,000 Jews reside was purchased by the Jews … even land won from the Arabs in the Six-Day War.

Does the United States and the United Nations actually believe that any portion of land within the sovereign borders of any nation on earth could be (illegally) “occupied” by citizens of that country? With the resulting conclusion that no citizen of that country has any right to purchase and own land in select areas of their nation that are indwelt mostly by a certain ethnic group of people….

A slight exception to what I just said would be Native American Reservations or Tribal Lands in the United States. But in that case, the United States intentionally set aside certain areas of land just for the Indians. Even so, some 1.5 of the 2.5 million Native Americans in this country live outside of the Reservations … just like Israel has permitted Arabs (some 1.8 million to date) to become citizens of Israel. But that doesn’t give the Palestinian Arabs who don’t want to be citizens of Israel the right to deny living quarters to Jews in “Palestinian territory” that is not an official state or nation.

I (in a few previous Eye of Prophecy articles) and several others have said it before, but it needs to be said again and again, else the world at large will never grasp the true hidden agenda of the Palestinians in particular and Islam in general.

That is: The so-called Jewish “settlement occupation” is neither (1) illegal, nor, (2) the main obstacle to peace in Israel. Nor is a Palestinian State the solution. Certainly not one that is unilaterally imposed on Israelis with little or no input from them, especially relating to their national security and survival. Which means that imposition of the pre-1967 truce boundaries (lines) cannot be accepted by Israel. Some concessions could be made (through negotiation), but at least two demands cannot be met: (1) Jerusalem as a divided capital, or (2) Israeli departure from the Golan Heights.

(Note How Much of Israel The Arab Palestinians Occupy in the West Bank and Gaza. There Are Also Many Arab Community Settlements Outside of the West Bank Throughout Israel. There are no Jews Allowed to Live in Gaza & the Palestinians Far Outnumber the Jews in the West Bank, Yet the Arabs Want All Jews Removed from the West Bank)

In conclusion, here is an excerpt from an article written by an astute scholar of the Middle East, Bassam Tawil, also posted in Gatestone Institute on 11-21-17:

“Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist terror group controlling the Gaza Strip, maintains that it will never accept the presence of Israel on ‘Muslim-owned’ land. Hamas wants all the land Israel supposedly ‘took’ in 1948…”

My comment: If ever there was a need to define a term (Muslim-owned land … in Israel) this would be it. Neither Hamas nor its rival Palestinian Authority would be able to even come close to defining legally or proving politically that there is such land within and certainly not in place of the Sovereign State of Israel.

Things to Ponder

Though mentioned in a few prior Eye of Prophecy articles, it bears repeating: God has designed two majestic plans for humanity, as so magnificently contained in Scripture and demonstrated throughout history. (1) Selection and separation of the Jews and Israel as a people and nation through whom God’s plan of redemption would come. Specifically through the Jewish Messiah. Although this included discipline of Israel, herself, and entails punishment of peoples and nations who seek to thwart God’s plan for the return of Jews to Israel, the light of God’s salvation has shown on both Jew and Gentile.

Said God the Father about His Son (Messiah Jesus): “…You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me. I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6).

The end result, which will begin during the millennial reign of Messiah Jesus, is exquisitely expressed in several Bible passages such as the following:

“Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King over all the earth. Praise him with a psalm. God reigns above the nations, sitting on his holy throne. The rulers of the world have gathered together with the people of the God of Abraham. For all the kings of the earth belong to God. He is highly honored everywhere” (Psalm 47:6-9).

Just this past Wednesday (November 29th), US Vice President Mike Pence was the keynote speaker to representatives of 33 nations (those countries which voted for Israel) celebrating the 70th anniversary of United Nations Resolution 181, which conveyed statehood rights to Israel.

(2) Salvation for all Jews and Gentiles who agree with God; who place their personal trust in God’s Messiah.

Concerning Jesus of Nazareth: “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God” (John 1:12-13).

Jesus asked the question of his disciples. This question applies to all people.

“…But who do you say I am? Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God’” (Matthew 16:15-16).

Who do you say that Jesus is? The answer to this question will determine your eternal destiny.

Is he the everlasting Alpha and Omega, beginning and end of all things?

Is he the ultimate definitive reference point to this life and the one to come?

Is he, the great I AM?

Major Earthquake in Israel … When & Where It Will Strike

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Major earthquake in Israel will cause untold damage.

This was the headline of a brief but alarming article posted on November 14th in the online Newsletter Israel Hayom.

Said official Amir Yahav, head of the Israeli government’s steering committee on earthquake readiness: “Israel is due to sustain another major earthquake, but it’s impossible to predict when or where it will hit.”

Actually, without going out on a limb, we can know where in Israel and approximately when this earthquake will strike … because it’s predicted in Scripture!

Scientists and geologists in Israel or anywhere in the world have never been able to predict precisely when or exactly where earthquakes or volcanic eruptions or tsunamis will hit or when hurricanes and tornadoes will form. However, with advanced technology and years of accumulative experience in the checking, calculating, and correlating of previous catastrophes to current demographics and geophysics, experts have become more adept in determining how much damage and loss of life could occur.

Messiah Jesus cited two of these natural calamities in his dramatic description of things that will take place during the last days of the end times … as have the prophets of the Old Testament and apostles of the New Testament.

“…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).

(Just One Example of an Earthquake)

Among the more to come are certainly the four mega-earthquakes found in the twenty-one plagues of the Book of Revelation—the sixth and seventh seals, the seventh trumpet, and the most massive of all described in the final 7th bowl judgment.

In Eye of Prophecy articles, Look Up, Redemption is Near, Part I & II (posted 7-11 & 7-18-15), twelve Biblically foretold events or developments are identified that have taken place in this century and the last, including the one listed as number eight: Amazing Increase of Natural Disasters.

Here is an excerpt from Part II of those articles (in italics):

In general (all kinds), five of the top ten natural calamities of all time have occurred in the 20th and 21st centuries. That’s fifty percent in the last one hundred years alone! Likewise, five of the top ten earthquakes through the ages have occurred in the 20th & 21st centuries. Or expanding that to the top twenty-five deadliest earthquakes of all time, fourteen have taken place in the last hundred years or so. Of the ten deadliest tornadoes recorded, eight have occurred in this and the last century.

Yes, it’s true that there are more people now and the death toll would accordingly increase, but that’s not the whole story. Not only has the severity increased, but also the frequency. Although the Richter scale wasn’t invented until 1935, four of the top ten measured earthquakes have taken place just since 2004.

Bringing those figures up to date, we have the following statistics on earthquakes 7.0 or higher on the Richter scale:

Nineteen in 2015. Sixteen in 2016. Eight thus far in 2017 including the: magnitude 8.2 in Mexico on September 8th; 7.9 in Papua New Guinea on January 22nd; 7.7 in Russia on July 17th; 7.3 in Iran on November 12th; 7.1 in Mexico on September 19th. We also witnessed the most destructive hurricane (in terms of dollar loss and massive flooding) in United States history when Hurricane Harvey struck Texas in late August of this year. Please see Eye of Prophecy article, Hurricane Harvey & A Year of Prophetic Milestones (2017), posted 9-9-17.

The Earthquake in Israel: Biblically & Geologically Foretold

Returning to the Israel Hayom article: “The last major tremor to hit Israel was the 1927 Jericho earthquake, which measured 6.2 on the Richter scale. Its epicenter was the Dead Sea, and its effects were felt in Jerusalem, Nablus, Jericho, Ramia, and Tiberius, killing 500 people and wounding 700.”

Whether casualties resulting from war, terrorist attacks, or natural disasters, Israelis are inordinately concerned and painstakingly detailed in tabulating the figures and also in projecting the number of casualties for future calamities. It has to do with Israel’s (small) geographic size; even more so her population, which is almost half of the approximate 14.5 million Jews alive in the world today.

For instance: During research for my first book—a novel entitled, O Israel … the end is the beginning for those left behind—a former Israeli Defense Force Major agreed to meet with me and provide general information (with no security breaches!) about the IDF. His specialty in the IDF was grid infrastructure and logistics. When I mentioned the opening scenes of the novel as a coordinated terrorist attack on Tel Aviv resulting in the death (and injury) of Israelis, he promptly asked me how many would die. Although partly dumbfounded by his question, I gave him the figures. He simply nodded his head in some sort of agreement; silently suggesting that if the number was too high, I should strongly consider reducing the casualties or perhaps not write the book at all.

Incredibly, he was apprehensive about the figures even though my book was a work of fiction … albeit based on reality and in the context of history and the near future fulfillment of Biblical prophecy! Thereafter, Major David Zadok and I became friends and have been since that interview in 2006. Before that, he became a Messianic Jew (accepting Jesus as Messiah and Savior), subsequently leaving the IDF to pursue a full-time ministry particularly to the Jews.

(David Zadok)

(David is Pastor of Grace & Truth Congregation Pictured Above, Near Gadera, Israel)

The Israel Hayom article mentioned earlier was one of 15-25 new articles I read weekly from several difference online sources, some of which I occasionally reference or even quote in a few Eye of Prophecy articles. Had it not been for a statistic cited toward the end of that article, it’s highly unlikely I would have used the article at all, let alone center this week’s Eye of Prophecy on it. I could hardly believe what I was reading.

Continuing with Amir Yahav’s ominous projections (the portion that I italicized is what captivated my attention):

“The most recent assessments paint a bleak picture. A major earthquake could cause the collapse of at least 28,000 buildings nationwide, with 290,000 buildings sustaining various degrees of damage. An estimated 7,000 people could be killed and almost 380,000 injured, 8,600 of them seriously. Over 170,000 Israelis could become homeless.”

*Note: Comparing, for example, Israel’s population of 8.3 million (6.5 million Jews, 1.8 million Israeli Arabs) to America’s population of 320 million, the projected loss of 7,000 Israelis in this earthquake would be proportionally equivalent to the loss of 268,800 Americans.

For some reason, I immediately made the connection of the estimated 7,000 killed to an earthquake that will certainly take place in Israel’s (near) future. I say certainly because it is a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy … an absolutely sure thing. Hundreds of prophecies have already come to pass, which guarantees—through the laws of probability alone but also because what God says will happen always happens—that this earthquake will occur.

Read with me: “But after three and a half days, God breathed life into them, and they stood up! Terror struck all who were staring at them. Then a loud voice from heaven called to the two prophets, ‘Come up here!’ And they rose to heaven in a cloud as their enemies watched.

“At the same time there was a terrible earthquake that destroyed a tenth of the city. Seven thousand people died in that earthquake, and everyone else was terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven” (Revelation 11:11-13, italics for emphasis).

What city (where in Israel)? Answer: Jerusalem, as the text and context of this passage denotes both directly and indirectly.

It’s a foregone conclusion that Amir Yahav’s estimated fatality count of 7,000 bore no connection in his mind or in the mind of other Israelis (for that matter, to hardly anyone else) to the prophecy in Revelation. There’s maybe a one-tenth of one percent chance that Amir even knows of the Revelation prophecy; the vast majority of Jews in Israel are non-Messianic Jews, who do not (yet) believe in Messiah Jesus nor have ever read the New Testament. Besides, he’s quoting estimated (probable) geophysical measurements of the damage and casualties. Even if he is a Messianic Jew, it’s improbable that his superiors would permit or any secular news source like Israel Hayom would print such a comparison.

Instead, I’m convinced that the (scientifically feasible and reliable) 7,000 fatalities proposed by an Israeli expert in the field of earthquake statistical probabilities was providentially directed by God in yet another other end-times correlation between Biblical prophecy and the phenomenal events and developments of these last days in which we are living. In other words, it’s not coincidental.

It’s analogous to the 6+ million Jews now living in Israel. They literally and prophetically represent the return of Jews to Israel in great numbers from the floods of Roman dispersion and the fires of Nazi death camp, in triumphant comparison to the tragedy of six million Jews slaughtered during the Holocaust. This is much more than chance. It is the unfolding of divine destiny and providential purpose. Nazi Germany has fallen into the ash heap of history. The mighty Roman Empire is long gone. Israel is alive and well! The Jews are back, this time forever!

(The Hebrew Words Say, “The People of Israel Live!”)

These examples are more of what I would term incidental correlations to Biblical prophecy than the more obvious direct connections, such as the twelve events detailed in the aforementioned Eye of Prophecy articles, Look Up, Redemption is Near, Part I & II. Another example of secondary parallels within Biblical prophecy fulfillment are the four 400-year eras found in Biblical and secular history, the fourth (last) of which is ending in our generation. (See Eye of Prophecy article, Countdown to Armageddon … End of The Fourth 400-Year Eras, posted 7-29-17).

The earthquake that will kill 7,000 as recorded in Revelation Chapter 11 takes place right after the two prophets were raised to life. Which caused even more terror to unbelievers who, “…will gloat over them and give presents to each other to celebrate the death of the two prophets who had tormented them” (Revelation 11:10). Twice they are referred to as the two prophets, but at the beginning of Chapter 11 they are also identified as God’s two witnesses, which is how most Christians and Bible scholars refer to them.

Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, The Two Witnesses, Part I. Posted 6-7-14. With Part II & III posted on 6-14 & 6-21-14. (In italics):

So, too with Elijah. He not only was spared providentially from Jezebel’s decree of death for him, he was told by the Lord that 7,000 others in Israel also followed the Lord, who had, “…never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!” (I Kings 19:18); to assure Elijah that he was not alone … nor the last true prophet in Israel at the time. Strange or ironic that 7,000 will die in the earthquake immediately after the two prophets are raised from the dead, 3 ½ days after they are murdered by Antichrist. Undoubtedly many, if not all, of these 7,000 who die had already taken the mark of the beast and/or had bowed to the statue of the beast. And it takes the prophets 3 ½ years to, “complete their testimony” (Rev. 11:7), approximately the same amount of time Elijah stopped the rain in Israel.

Ten Intriguing Observations of the Earthquake and the Two Witnesses

(1) As detailed extensively in the trilogy of articles, The Two Witnesses, these prophets are Moses and Elijah. This convincing conclusion includes documented comparison of the description of what they do as found in Revelation 11, to several events of their lives as recorded in the Old Testament.

(2) As indicated, they are stationed in Jerusalem for 1,260 days or 3 ½ years of the Great Tribulation, where and when they “will prophesy” and “strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they wish” (Revelation 11:3-6).

(3) Revelation Chapter 11 begins with an (interlude) introduction to the two witnesses; however, it also chronologically continues the set of trumpet judgments ending with the 7th trumpet. Because the two witnesses are killed after 3 ½ years of their time on earth and this occurs between the 6th and 7th trumpet judgments, I believe we can determine what part of the Great Tribulation during which they testify.

(4) I would encourage you to read Eye of Prophecy article, Stunning Catastrophes of the Tribulation / Their Timing and Purpose, recently posted on 11-4-17. As explained in that article: Based on the chronological sequence and evidence of all twenty-one judgments (actually twenty plagues as the 5th seal depicts slain tribulation saints, not a judgment as such) in Revelation, we can accurately estimate the approximate time duration of or gap between the judgments. The projected time between a preceding and successive judgment will be 4-5 months. Because the two witnesses are killed (and come back to life 3 ½ days later) between the 6th and 7th trumpet judgments, that would place their time of death at 48-50 months into the tribulation. They would have begun their mission 3 ½ years earlier (42 months) or about 6-8 months after the tribulation begins. Which, in turn, would be the same time-frame as the 2nd to 3rd Seal judgements (Horses of the Apocalypse).

(5) That would make perfect sense, as the two witnesses would be preaching to “those who belong to the world;” and, by great power given to them by the Lord, actually begin bringing to an end the destruction caused by the Four Horsemen, who figuratively depict the man-made catastrophes (war, disease, famine) in the first part of the Great Tribulation. Concerning those peoples and armies who try to prevent Elijah and Moses from shutting the sky so that no rain will fall, and turning rivers and oceans into blood: “If anyone tries to harm them, fire flashes from their mouths and consumes their enemies. This is how anyone who tries to harm them must die” (Revelation 11:5). Not until the last half of the tribulation does Antichrist Nero rise to the height of his power; thus, at first, he is powerless to take out Moses and Elijah.

(6) Antichrist Nero will begin his full reign of terror when he breaks the seven-year treaty with the Jews (Daniel 9). He and his ten-nation confederation, “…will trample the holy city (Jerusalem) for 42 months” (Revelation 11:2, parenthesis mine). Because of this increase in power and authority given to him directly by Satan (as permitted by God), Nero will finally be successful in killing Moses and Elijah, which would be about 12-14 months after the half-way mark of the tribulation. Thus, Moses’ and Elijah’s 3 ½ years will overlap the mid-point of the tribulation. Like the Lord raptures believers in Messiah Jesus just before the Tribulation begins, so will Moses and Elijah (after they are brought back to life) be spared from the final devastating full wrath of God poured out in the seven bowls, all of which are directed primarily (some exclusively) against Antichrist and his coalition. In fact, Jesus issues the same command to Moses and Elijah as he does to John, the author of Revelation (which is tantamount to and a representation of the Rapture). Do you recall that command? Hint: it was quoted earlier. Answer: “Come up here!” (Revelation 4:1 & 11:12).

(7) I’m convinced that most, if not all, of the 7,000 who die in the Jerusalem earthquake will be unbelievers—both Jew and Gentile—who have taken the mark of the beast, which Nero will implement soon after the mid-point of the Tribulation. The reason for that conclusion: “…everyone else was terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven” (Revelation 11:13). Many of those not killed will immediately acknowledge God as the only one who could undo what the false messiah had done (kill Moses and Elijah) by raising them from the dead. Undoubtedly, giving glory to God will also include some in Jerusalem who will embrace Jesus as the true Messiah. This spectacular resurrection of Elijah and Moses to life will prove to many Jews that Jesus is Messiah. Also that Elijah is, indeed, Elijah, and Moses is truly Moses.

(8) This earthquake in Jerusalem is not one of the trumpet plagues, as it takes place between the sixth and seventh trumpets. It is a special sentence on the city of Jerusalem. More specifically, a judgement directly against the Antichrist beast (Nero) and his coalition; which, by now, have occupied Jerusalem, including the rebuilt Temple’s “outer courtyard, for it has been turned over to the nations” (Revelation 11:2).

(9) Although Revelation Chapters 13 & 17 contain much more information on the biographical and geographic origin of the Antichrist beast including strong clues to his identity (to be solved with wisdom and a mind of understanding—Revelation 13:18 & 17:9), the first mention of the beast is in Chapter 11. “When they complete their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the bottomless pit will declare war against them, and he will conquer them and kill them” (Verse 7). Can you imagine? Nero and his armies will declare war against two men! That’s how much power will be given to Moses and Elijah during their astounding 42 months on earth proclaiming the Kingdom of God, along with the 144,000 Jewish witnesses (Revelation 7) all over the world.

(10) The Jerusalem earthquake is not one of the four major world-wide earthquakes that occur during the twenty-one seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments. Remarkably ironic: the seven thousand killed is a (one thousand) multiple of seven, representing the number of God’s final judgment of evil and sin before the 1,000-year Millennial Reign of Christ Jesus on earth begins.

*Note: It is, in fact, a coincidence that I ended up with ten comments, the number of which correspond to “a tenth” of Jerusalem destroyed by the earthquake. Granted, its speculation, however, I believe we can establish a comparative link with one tenth of the city to the ten Egyptian plagues of the Exodus. The implied meaning: The Lord is judging Jerusalem (in general, for allowing the Antichrist to kill the two witnesses and also because that is where their Messiah was crucified); but also sparingly … to represented the equivalent effect of only one of the ten Egyptians plagues. This comparison to Egypt is further reinforced by the fact that Jerusalem is also depicted symbolically: “And their bodies will lie in the main street of Jerusalem, the city that is figuratively called ‘Sodom’ and ‘Egypt,’ the city where their Lord was crucified” (Revelation 11:8).

Premise: Concerning Biblical prophecy, essentially there are two kinds (extremes) of speculation. (1) That which is reasonably safe based on comparing and correlating Scripture itself. (2) That which is unreasonably risky with little or no textual or contextual evidence in Scripture or history.

The Spectacular Increase in Messianic Fervor Among Both Religious and Secular Jews

In several Eye of Prophecy articles, I’ve written about this passionate expectation in the Jewish community for Messiah’s return—what they believe is the first imminent appearance of the Messiah. At least four articles have been entirely focused on this remarkable 20th & 21st century phenomenon. (See Great Expectations for Messiah, posted 8-8-15; Amazing Anticipation for Messiah, 8-29-15; Messiah’s Arrival … On Whose Authority? 11-28-15; Where is Messiah? Is He Already Here? 6-25-16). It’s been 2 ½ years (1 ½ years for the last one mentioned) since these articles were published.

If anything, the Jewish zeal for Messiah’s arrival has intensified even more; unequaled since eager enthusiasm for Messiah’s (first) advent just a few decades before Jesus of Nazareth’s miraculous Virgin birth—which changed the very measurement of time from B.C. to A.D.

Here is an excerpt from, Great Expectations for Messiah … beginning with the opening paragraph of that article (in italics):

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!

Later in that article, more details were given for each of those seven events to further explain how and why both religious and secular Jews have linked them, and many others, to Messiah’s imminent appearance.

Continuing with the excerpt:

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.

Then later in that article:

For those of us, Jew and Gentile, who have been redeemed by Jesus’s atoning sacrifice on the Cross, it will be the glorious reappearance of our Lord. For the greater number of Jews in Israel and world-wide, they believe of course, that it will be Messiah’s first advent. But during the time of Jacob’s trouble (the Great Tribulation) they, too, will fully realize that Messiah and Jesus are one and the same.

For now, suffice to say that Jews (particularly rabbis) are seeing Messianic connections between seemingly unrelated events… I firmly believe that when Jews, especially rabbis, begin making these associations in such large numbers and to such a level of intensity; this is God’s sovereignty in action … by planting the seed of Messianic passion within the hearts and minds of his people just as he did before Christ came the first time.

A Recent Example of the Non-Messianic Jewish Focus on Messiah’s Arrival

As we’ll see from excerpts in the following article, this time a rabbi has gone so far as to claim that Messiah’s identity will be soon revealed. For millions of Gentile Christians and thousands of Messianic Jews down through the ages, we know who Messiah is! Therefore, it’s a matter of proclaiming that truth, and praying for and bearing witness to the Jewish community that they would see this, too; if they would objectively examine the testimony of the Scriptures (such as Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, and Psalm 110). Then compare that evidence to the amazing 100% fulfillment of messianic prophecies by Jesus of Nazareth when he came to earth 2,000 years ago.

The title of this article written by Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz, posted November 9th in the online newsletter, Breaking Israel News, was: Mystic Rabbi Describes How Will Messiah Be Revealed To World. The article begins:

“Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi, a well-known Israeli mystic leader, made a remarkable statement last Sunday predicting that the identity of the Messiah would be revealed in the very near future, even giving specific details on how the revelation would occur.

‘Messiah is at work right now,’ Rabbi Ben Artzi said in a sermon. ‘Jews, be happy! Very soon, the Messiah will be revealed to everyone!’

*Note: He’s right, but for the wrong reasons! For example, Messiah has already been revealed (Jesus of Nazareth). His soon arrival will be his second coming, but that won’t occur until seven years after the astonishing Rapture of believers, Jew and Gentile alike. See Eye of Prophecy article, Messiah’s Return & The Rapture (Same or Separate Events?). Posted 12-3-16.

The article continues to quote Rabbi Ben Artzi:

“‘The Holy One, Blessed be He, will come to the rabbis in a dream with a vision and inform them of whom He has chosen for the King Messiah … There will be a yellow card and holy letters inscribed on a parchment like a Torah scroll, where they will be told in Aramaic who is King Messiah,’ the rabbi continued. Aramaic is no longer spoken, but it is the language of the Talmud (oral law). ‘Then they will have no choice and they will recognize the King Messiah.’

‘Either you reveal him or the Creator of the world will cause you great trouble and will not let go until you reveal this and tell it to the people of Israel … Then they will follow the instructions laid out in the dream and acknowledge who the Messiah King is.’”

(Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi)

Once again, we find a rabbi who doesn’t quote even one passage of Scripture to substantiate his claim (how Messiah will be revealed). Although some rabbis will cite a verse or two, invariably it doesn’t track with nor is it pertinent to whatever event the rabbi may refer or prediction he makes. A few have been relevant to Scripture in a general context, but with specific details inaccurately applied to, not found in, and/or contradicting the Bible.

Here is an excerpt from the aforementioned Eye of Prophecy article: Where is Messiah? Is He Already Here? (In italics)

Indeed, there will be great joy when Messiah appears, not just with the Jews but with all the surviving tribulation saints who are on the brink of Armageddon-ish destruction.

Sadly, before the rejoicing, there will be great sorrow and mourning throughout Israel and with Jews globally. I’ve sometimes quoted the following verses and will cite them again, because it is a passage that you seldom hear or see quoted by Jews, especially the Orthodox among them. It is one of several Messianic passages in the Old Testament that Judaism unfortunately ignores or tries to explain away. See Eye of Prophecy articles, Does God Really Have a Son, Part I & II (published 10-31-15 & 11-7-15) for some of these key passages.

When reading the following passage, pay special attention to the personal pronouns. The context is clearly the very last days just before and during Messiah’s magnificent appearance. Actually, his return; which is, as indicated, the main emphasis of today’s article … reappearance versus appearance.

“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 whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died. The sorrow and mourning in Jerusalem on that day will be like the great mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the valley of Megiddo. All Israel will mourn…” (Zechariah 12:10-12).

Messiah is speaking, and he tells Israel that they will, “look on me whom they have pierced.” Then switches to the 2nd person and states, “…and mourn for him…”

The piercing was literally fulfilled when the Romans cruelly staked Jesus to a cross with spikes driven into his wrists and feet—a form of execution not yet invented (at least not like the Romans “perfected” it) when Zechariah made this prophecy.

Considering the anxious anticipation and eager expectation for Messiah and the wonderful things he will do to restore and redeem Israel, why on earth would Israel mourn when they first see him? If the Jews are right that this will be Messiah’s initial appearance, what then would produce such great sorrow, before their joy of being delivered from their enemies?

The text is explicitly clear: They will recognize that it was Jesus all along who was and is their Messiah. Their personal redemption had been purchased long ago, which is why they will mourn for him individually and separately (see the rest of Zechariah 12). Grief will flow from their (and their ancestor’s) rejection of Messiah and their decision to ignore the New Covenant that Isaiah and Jeremiah had promised would come.

There is no Scriptural evidence whatsoever for Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi’s vision to be given credibility. He is but one of several Jewish rabbis who purport to have visions or dreams or messages from heaven concerning Messiah’s arrival. Many of these predictions are based on and interpretations of the Oral Law of Judaism written down in the Talmud. Most of these rabbis belong to the Kabbalistic branch of Judaism, which is a mystical, sometimes even paranormal, attempt to correlate the Old Testament and (mostly the) Talmud to modern-day events and developments.

(Many Volumes to the Babylonian Talmud)

More often than not, these psychic projections or problematic predictions are extra-Biblical in origin and application to whatever event is being cited to “prove” that Messiah is on his way.

Nevertheless, there is a profound positive perspective that both Gentile Christians and Messianic Jews can and should possess with regard to this exponential growth of Messianic fervor in Judaism. At the very least, most observant and even some non-observant Jews are generally tuned in to the prophetic events taking place, not the least of which was the miraculous rebirth of the State of Israel as a prelude to Messiah’s imminent arrival. And, that is good!

However, the Jewish ardent anticipation for Messiah needs to be placed in the context explicitly explained by the Apostle Paul. Reason: By and large, Jews and Judaism still refuse to believe and receive Jesus as the (their) Messiah. Read with me Paul’s passionate words which are every bit as relevant and applicable in the 21st century as the 1st century:

“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, the cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God” (Romans 10:1-4).

Things to Ponder

I trust you had a happy Thanksgiving Day, continuing throughout this weekend.

Whether a Jewish or Gentile believer in Messiah Jesus—saved by personally accepting his substitutionary sacrifice on a cruel cross—or an unbeliever who will hopefully reach out to Jesus for redemption, we have much to be thankful for. Despite all of the internal strife and polarization in America and all over the world, we still have the freedom to live for and share whom and what we love and believe in.

As born again believers, we certainly are not better than anyone else. But, according to the powerful and precious promises so wonderfully presented in the Bible, we are (in the context of eternity) better off. I say this with utmost humility, because believers are simply sinners saved by the Grace of God. We have a hope that is grounded in the sure word of Biblical prophecy, whether those promises pertain to the present or future or both.

Here is one of those many promises that assure born-again believers in Messiah Jesus that our salvation is permanent; it cannot be taken from us, nor can we lose it. Because it’s based solely on God’s unconditional love and our eternal position in Christ (what he did for us that we could not do for ourselves) the moment we trust him as our personal Savior.

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? ….

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39).

One day soon God’s great love which gave us so great a salvation will lead believers to a change of address from earth to heaven, through a brand new body just like our Lord and Savior, Messiah Jesus!

On the wall above my desk, I’ve attached a note with these words:

Things Precious to Me:

The Lord’s Promises, Protection, Patience, and (above all) Presence

Come quickly, Lord Jesus. We are ready.

Just How Imminent is Messiah’s Imminent Return?

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Messiah’s Final Days on Earth During His First Advent

Do you know how long Jesus remained on earth between his resurrection and his ascension back to heaven?

“To these (Jesus’s apostles) He also presented Himself alive after his suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3, NASB, parenthesis mine).

Then we read: “So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, ‘Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?’” (Acts 1:6, italics for emphasis).

During these wonderful forty days, Jesus proved to his disciples and to hundreds of others that he had, indeed, risen from the dead. He also instructed them about the coming Kingdom of God on earth. In fact, it was the subject uppermost on the apostles’ minds and hearts, as clearly indicated by their repeated question cited in the above verse.

This opening scene in the book of Acts was Jesus’s last day on earth; however, the apostles didn’t know that. It’s evident (has the time come) that they assumed Jesus would begin doing whatever would be done to establish his glorious kingdom while he was still with them. They ardently wanted to know when this restoration would begin.

Some who know the Scriptures—at least the New Testament—will recall Jesus’ answer.

“He replied, ‘The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 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 1:7-8). Those were Messiah’s final words before he departed to heaven.

Many Christians, even astute Bible scholars, have misunderstood the Lord’s reply to mean that we can’t know the seasons or times of his return. However, Jesus was referring specifically to the disciples’ inquiry as to when he would liberate the Jews from Roman oppression and reestablish Israel as a sovereign kingdom. In fact, the Lord did answer another separate and distinct question from the disciples concerning his return, as found in Matthew Chapters 24-25. See Eye of Prophecy article, Messiah’s Return & The Rapture (Same or Separate Events?) Posted 12-3-16.

The last thing the disciples were told as Jesus ascended to heaven concerned his return.

“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).

The New Covenant Rejected

Why was it not yet time for them to know when the Kingdom of God through and in Israel would be established on the earth, as the Old Testaments prophets had written about frequently?

For two main reasons. (1) The Gospel of Jesus Christ must first be spread over the entire earth. With a qualifying observation that it very well could have been done (and was done in most of the then known world) in the 1st century lifetime of some of the disciples, or anytime thereafter. “…The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it” (Colossians 1:23).

(2) By the time the Apostle Paul penned those words, his ministry had been switched from proclaiming the Gospel to the Jews first (as he stated in Romans 1:16) to the Gentiles. Why? Although thousands of Jews had accepted Jesus as the Messiah and their personal Savior, Israel as a nation (particularly the religious leaders) had rejected God’s salvation through grace by faith alone in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ Jesus—even after Jesus arose from the dead! They had refused the clear evidence that the New Covenant, announced by Jeremiah, had arrived; implemented by God to supersede the repeated animal sacrifices for sin mandated by the Mosaic Covenant. Those sacrifices were but shadow types of the once-for-all substitutionary sacrifice of God’s Son.

Consequently, Israel would continue under God’s “seven times over” punishment as prophetically detailed in Leviticus Chapter 26. (See Eye of Prophecy articles, Seven Times Seven, to the 4th power, I, II, III; posted 1-25, 2-1, & 2-8-14). The fourth phase of that discipline was the worst of all—conquest by and exile to foreign nations, as so dreadfully experienced during the Babylonian Captivity. But it didn’t end there. Jesus knew what the awful results would be when (not if, as it was a foregone conclusion) his own people would reject him … their very Messiah. His disciples even heard what Jesus said would happen when he with great compassion and sorrow for his own people spoke these poignant words:

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’” (Matthew 23:37-39, NASB).

Soon afterwards, Jesus is even more explicit on what will happen to Jerusalem and the Temple.

It would be less than forty years when Jesus’s prophecy came to pass; but it was not even for the disciples to know when or for how long the house of Israel would be demolished and desolate.

The nation of Israel as a whole had forfeited their prophetic privilege of discerning when Israel would once again return to the glory days of King David and King Solomon. For they had already denied the only one who could restore Israel’s glory … their very Messiah. Although this would be temporary, it was not for Israel (including the disciples and other believers) to know just how long it would be. In the interim, God’s majestic plan of salvation would be extended to the Gentiles.

“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” (Romans 11:11-12).

Although the apostles and many Christians knew something terrible would befall Jerusalem and the Temple, it was not for them to know when it would happen or when Israel would be restored as a sovereign nation. Paul didn’t even know that. Both he and Peter were murdered by Nero before the Roman General Titus and his legions destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple and brutally began the massive Diaspora exile of the Jews to the four corners of the earth in 70 AD.

At the time most Jews and Christians (including Messianic Jews) didn’t fully realize that the ingathering return of Jews to Israel spoken of many times by the prophets would apply to yet another (one more) exile … this one far more extensive than the first exile (Assyria and then Babylon). What they didn’t know is that the period of the Gentiles (continuing Gentile domination of Israel but also Gentiles coming to faith in Christ) would last so long … another 2,000 years. That was entirely part of God’s prerogative, plan, and providence.

Please understand: Although the Lord has supernaturally and sovereignly secured the return of his people to Israel in our generation, he could have done this in any previous generation in a relatively short period of time. In fact, just three years after World War II and the horrible Holocaust, Israel was reborn as a Sovereign State, which, as we will see, makes our generation the final one. That’s why the disciples and all believers at that time didn’t need to know when this would happen. The Lord wanted believers to concentrate on preaching the Gospel to the Jews, then to the Gentiles. So that both (but especially the Jews when it came to restoration of Israel) would realize that unless they got their priorities straight, and (first and foremost) placed their trust for redemption in Israel’s Messiah, they would not be part of the glorious Kingdom of God on earth headquartered in Jerusalem.

Once they understood that the second coming of Messiah Jesus was for the greater purpose of rescuing and restoring Israel (with the Rapture designed only to remove believers from the earth to spare them from the Great Tribulation), then they would realize that the return of Jews from exile to Israel would be one of the most important signs of Jesus’s imminent return. Then they would better grasp the following prophecy about Israel’s restoration as a nation through which the Kingdom of God would be established.

“Before the birth pains even begin (analogous in time, form, and substance to the birth pains mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 24 and others in Scripture), Jerusalem gives birth to a son. Who has ever seen anything as strange as this? Who ever heard of such a thing? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment? By the time Jerusalem’s birth pains begin, her children will be born” (Isaiah 66:7-8, prophesied some 2,700 years before Israel’s rebirth, parenthesis mine).

The Valley of Dry Bones

Have you heard of or actually read the renowned Dry Bones prophecy found in Ezekiel Chapter 37? Although it is only one of hundreds of Old Testament passages concerning the final return of Jews to Israel (from their 2nd great exile), it is probably the most well-known.

Except for the following verse in the photographic depiction of the Dry Bones prophecy, time/space doesn’t permit full quotation of the scattered bones to living people. We’ll pick it up later in the chapter when the Lord plainly explains to Ezekiel the meaning of this marvelous metaphor.

“Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel’ … This is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel’” (Ezekiel 37:11-12).

In verses 15 through 20, Ezekiel is told that Israel (ten northern tribes) and Judah (two southern tribes) would both be returned to the Promised Land.

“…I will gather the people of Israel from among the nations. I will bring them home to their own land from the places where they have been scattered. 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” (Verses 21-22).

There is no doubt, whatsoever, that Jews from all twelve tribes are among the 6.5 million Jews currently living in Israel. There’s no way that only the southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin are represented by so many Israelis. Only a handful know their tribal ancestry, but God knows from which tribe every single one of them has descended, including the approximately 8 million Jews still living in foreign lands.

Several times this passage in Ezekiel refers to “they” and “them.” With the unmistakable meaning and application that they are the very ones brought “home to their own land,” some of whom will be alive when “one king (Messiah Jesus) will rule them all.”

We need to fully understand: The unfolding of Ezekiel’s Dry Bones prophecy has taken place ONLY in our generation, with the time-lapse definition of generation to be explained in a moment.

Let’s read on:

“They will live in the land I gave my servant Jacob, the land where their ancestors lived. They and their children and their grandchildren after them will live there forever, generation after generation … I will give them their land and increase their numbers…” (Ezekiel 37:25-26).

Do you see semantically what’s going on here?

Who are “they?” Answer: The remnant of Jews who will be returned to the land of Israel. And Israel wouldn’t be Israel until she once again became a Sovereign Nation (1948); the reality of which began with and was prepared by the Balfour Declaration of 1917—declaring the Jewish right of return to Israel. The Lord makes this even clearer by then referring to their (they or them of the passage) children and grandchildren. Then even more so by saying this would continue from generation to generation.

From which generation does this perpetual generational cycle begin? Answer: From the generation that returns to the Promised Land in which Israel is “born in a single day (Isaiah 66:8).

Ezekiel’s prophecy is time-dedicated and generational-specific to those Jews who return to and are born-in Israel in the last days (same) generation referred to by Jesus … the one which will see his return. Right now as you are reading this article, most Jews in Israel (and the world over) are first, second, and third generations since Israel was reborn in 1948. Those are the, “they,” the “children,” and the “grandchildren” distinctively identified in this passage.

In fact, this 2nd exodus of Jews to the Promised Land (in our generation) has been greater even than the original Exodus—in terms of the number of Jews and the number of countries from which they have returned to Israel. Just as the Lord said it would, as follows:

“In that day, says the Lord, when people are taking an oath, they will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.’ Instead, they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the people of Israel back to their own land from the land of the north and from all the countries to which he had exiled them.’ Then they will live in their own land” (Jeremiah 23:7-8).

Generation Length of Time in Scripture

Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, The Omega Generation (posted 2-15-14) beginning with the two time-parameters of a generation found in Scripture. In italics:

One Hundred Years: “Then the Lord said to Abram, ‘You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years … After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction’” (Genesis 15: 13-15).

This is a phenomenal prophecy given to Abraham even before Isaac was born, in which God not only talks about the (many) descendants of Abraham; but hundreds of years before the fact announces that they (the Israelites) would be slaves in a foreign land (Egypt), only to return to the Promised Land of Israel. Moreover, God equates a generation to 100 years … 400 hundred years equals four generations. Think about it for a moment. Although unusual (perhaps even rare), there are people the world over who live to be one hundred … some even a few years more. Yet, 100 years of age is pretty much the maximum scope of any given lifetime or generation.

Seventy Years: “Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty” (Psalms 90:10).

This insight as to the customary lifespan of a human being was given to Moses, who is the author of Psalms 90, the only Psalm credited to Moses. Again, think about it. By and large, the normal or average lifespan of most people the world over is between 70 and 80 years of age. By seventy, virtually no more children are conceived and birthed by a woman. For all practical purposes, a person who reaches 70 years of age (perhaps a few more years) has lived a generational life-time. They have children and grandchildren who are the progeny of the next generation. King David, himself, died at exactly 70 years of age.

If Jesus is referring specifically to the last generation, and I believe the text/context is crystal clear that he is; then this generation must have a designated start-up date or dates. Without an actual event (which can be identified by a specific calendar year) to begin the generation, the 70-year or 100-year generational time frame is much too vague … meaning there’s too much overlap or ambiguity as to the actual decades involved. If you were explaining your generation to someone, what would be your reference point? How would you describe it? Wouldn’t you say, “In my generation….” Essentially, then, your reference or starting point is the date of your birth!

Using our first example of four generations of Israel’s enslavement in Egypt, God gave Abraham the point-in-time commencement of this 400 hundred years (four generations) captivity, i.e. from the time that the Jews no longer enjoyed freedom in Egypt, which was not too long after Joseph died. Another example is the 70-year Babylonian captivity, which just happened to be the exact length of the 2nd measurement of time for a generation … 70 years. Historically, we know the beginning (586 BC) and end date (516 BC) of this time-designated punishment of Israel.

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.

Now, we’ll take another look at those events.

Three Monumental Milestones That Mark the Final Generation

(1)Balfour Declaration of 1917

The more I study and write about this pioneering event in modern Jewish history, the more convinced I am of its stunning significance and relevance to the beginning of the final (100-year) generation identified by Messiah Jesus. Ours is the generation of which Jesus told his disciples in the first century and for centuries thereafter that it was not for them to know the “dates and times” (Acts 1:7) … meaning the beginning of Israel’s final restoration. But Jesus did answer their question on the Mount of Olives: “What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3). He gave them many signs, as did the prophets of the Old Testament and (to a lesser extent) the writers of the New Testament.

See Eye of Prophecy articles, The Balfour Declaration … Beginning of the Omega Generation, Part I & II. Published 5-13-17 and 5-20-17.

Thus, the sequential connection is as follows: Once Israel’s restoration begins to take place, then we should also see other signs that the imminent return of Christ is as imminent as it ever will be or could be. That is exactly what has taken place throughout the last one hundred years or so, especially in the past seventy years.

Also refer to articles: Look Up, Redemption is Near, I & II. Posted 7-11 & 7-18-15. Which detail twelve flashpoint events in the 20th & 21st centuries, six applying to Israel (including those in this week’s article) and six to the rest of the world.

The Balfour Declaration of 100 hundred years ago bears an amazing correlation with and resemblance to the 100-year time-span of a generation as given by God to Abraham. Not long after the end of the fourth (of a total of four) generation of captivity in Egypt, the Israelites were birthed as a nation—beginning when the Law of Moses was given and the twelve tribes were integrated under God himself; finally unified nationally when they entered Canaan (the Promised Land that would become Israel) under Joshua. Same thing happened and in the approximate time-frame between the Balfour Declaration and the rebirth of Israel as a sovereign nation.

This past November 2nd, Israel’s Knesset—as did officials in Great Britain—celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. The featured speaker was Lord Nathanial Jacob Rothschild, who is the 4th Baron Rothschild. It was the 2nd Baron, Walter Rothschild, to whom Lord Balfour’s declaration was specifically addressed in 1917.

Said, Nathanial Jacob Rothschild: “A decade after the Declaration, Lord Balfour himself said it was important not only for the Jewish people, but also for the history of the entire world. This is not merely a historic document, but a vision of a society that will be governed by Jewish values and will care for non-Jewish populations as well.”

Here is an excerpt from the online United with Israel news source, published 11-9-17:

“British Ambassador to Israel David Quarrey read aloud a message on behalf of British Prime Minister Theresa May… Lord Balfour, the message said, had a vision of returning the persecuted Jewish nation to a safe haven. Britain … is proud of its part in the pioneering work for the establishment of the State of Israel. Britain is proud of the State of Israel, for what it stands for as an open and democratic country in the Middle East, said the message from May.”

Said Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, with, however, a sober reminder of what didn’t happen soon enough after the Balfour Declaration: “…the Balfour Declaration laid the international foundation and the support for Zionism in Europe and America and in other parts of the world, and by doing so it contributed greatly to the resurrection enterprise of our people. To our regret, a short while later Britain withdrew from what was promised in the Balfour Declaration, and this was a major tragedy. The fact that we were not sovereign until 1948 prevented the rescue of millions of Jews, who were annihilated in the Holocaust. The tragedy of the Balfour Declaration is that it took 30 years to implement it.”

Benjamin concluded by saying: “When I saw the Palestinian leadership refer to the Balfour Declaration as a crime and call on the British Government to apologize for it—they are not moving forward, they are going 100 years backwards. This is the root of the conflict, the 100-year old refusal to recognize Zionism and the State of Israel within any borders.”

I’d like to add and embrace as my own the vital vision of the prophet Isaiah. His passionate words are in the unmistakable context (like many other prophetic passages) that Israel’s restoration goes hand in hand with their (our) Jewish Messiah; who came first as Redeemer (Lamb of God), and who will return as King of all kings (Lion of Judah) at the end of the generation, when all these things will take place.

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

Who or what is Israel’s righteousness and salvation? The prophet Jeremiah answers that question.

“For the time is coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will be a King who rules with wisdom. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. And this will be his name: ‘The Lord is our Righteousness.’ In that day Judah will be saved, and Israel will live in safety” (Jeremiah 23:5-6).

For you see, none of us—neither Jew nor Gentile—has any innate righteousness of our own. Nor can we work or give enough to acquire it. It is the Lord himself who is our righteousness and who imputes right-standing with God to and in us.

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

(2) UN Resolution (1947) That Led to the Rebirth of Israel (1948)

Soon, on the 29th of November, Israel will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Resolution that paved the way for Israel to become a sovereign state. Less than six months later that is exactly what happened with the miraculous rebirth of Israel on May 14, 1948.

That was the beginning of the 70-year generation (a generation within the 100-year generation) that I’m equally convinced is this same final generation, and will in all likelihood culminate in the Day of the Lord—beginning with the Rapture. Actually, using the Jewish calendar of 30 days, both generational time frames extend through May, 2019. Am I saying the Rapture will absolutely take place by then? No, I’m not saying that. However, if not, I’m confident it won’t be long afterward.

Jesus said that no one knows the “day or hour” of the Rapture—the first phase of his glorious return. But we can and should recognize the signs of the end-times … which take place (are taking place) within the Omega generation.

As we read earlier in the astonishing passage of Isaiah Chapter 66, Israel’s actual birth pains began AFTER she was reborn. Through four major wars and countless terrorist’s attacks and seemingly never-ending threats against her very survival, modern-day Israel is going through the same kind of existential struggle experienced before, during, and after her 70-year Babylonian Captivity. The Babylonian exile was a smaller, but still terrible, parallel prototype of the Holocaust horror that led directly to the State of Israel and the miraculous mass return of the Jews to Israel. With one huge difference (the reason for which is that Israel is now back to stay forever): after 1948, Israel was able to defend herself because God is with her, not against her.

(Helicopters, Fighter Jets, Tanks, State of the Art Weaponry, and Superbly Trained & Skilled Soldiers … Israel is Ranked 6th in the World’s Military Powers, Behind the United States, Russia, China, France, and United Kingdom)

Still, the return of Jews from Babylon to Israel is akin to what has transpired since Israel’s statehood of 1948. It wasn’t until then that large numbers of Jews began to return to their ancient homeland and many more born in Israel thereafter. In fact, the population of the Jews in Israel has increased tenfold in the last 70 years.

(3) The Amazing Liberation & Reunification of Jerusalem (Six-Day War of 1967)

We must include the all-important Jubilee period of 50 years duration. (See Eye of Prophecy article, Jubilee and Messiah … They Go Together! Posted 1-23-16).

I am fully persuaded that Israel’s Jubilee was reinstated unilaterally by the Lord himself in 1967—Israel’s stupendous victory in which the Golan Heights, the Sinai Peninsula, Judea Samaria, the Gaza Strip, and especially Jerusalem and Temple Mount were all returned to Jewish sovereignty. The whole idea and purpose of a Jubilee year was for many to freely (freedom) return to their dispossessed land, which they originally owned and occupied. That is exactly what happened on a historical scale in the Six-Day War, especially the reunion of Jerusalem with the rest of Israel. Unfortunately, the Gaza, the Sinai, large parts of Judea/Samaria (called by some, the West Bank) and Temple Mount were subsequently relinquished back to Arab control. But all that will change one day soon.

This past summer, Israel celebrated the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s liberation. Do you see how precisely that tracks with the 100-year and 70-year generation of the 20th and 21st centuries? In fact, a case could be made that the Balfour Declaration was actually when the Lord revived the Jubilee, as that took place 50 years before the Six Day War.

Another incredible phenomenon begin to take place in 1967. A few, then many Messianic ministries sprang up in America but also the world over. Many thousands of Jews have accepted Jesus as their Messiah and Savior as a result … a Jubilee-like redemption for all their sins and freedom from the penalty thereof.

What better connection or more logical deduction could we make than the next Jubilee will see the magnificent inception of the Day of the Lord, which commences with the Rapture!

Things to Ponder

Let’s take a thumbnail look at Israel’s 2017 population, placed in the context of the 100-year generation that began in 1917 (Balfour Declaration); the 70-year generation that commenced in 1947 (UN Resolution or Israeli Statehood in 1948—either one will work); and the 50-year Jubilee of the Six-Day War of 1967.

Of the almost 6.5 million Jews in Israel, 10.3% are 65 and older, which would be approximately 669,500 Jews in Israel over 65. It’s likely these figures are similar with Jews all over the world, not living in Israel. However, life expectancy in Israel has increased ten years since 1970, to the average of 81.2 years for Israeli men and 84.5 years for Israeli woman.

(You may want to click onto the following link for more of Israel’s population details, however the following statistics will suffice for purpose of this article. The 8.3 million in population shown on the chart includes about 1.8 million Israeli Arabs).

https://www.populationpyramid.net/israel/2017/

If you click to the above link, and hover over the individual bars online you’ll find that there are 622 men and 895 women in Israel who are still alive at the age of 100 or more. For age bracket 95-99, there are 3,622 men and 5,963 women. For age group 70-74: 106,374 men and 122,671 women. For ages 50-54: 194,684 men and 202,742 woman.

Now let’s see the remarkable relevance of these statistics to the remnant of Israel (“they” and “their children and grandchildren” of the Ezekiel prophecy detailed earlier in today’s article).

Using a nuclear fusion term, the “critical mass” of the Jewish remnant ingathering back to Israel was certainly the fusion point of Israel’s national rebirth in 1947-48. The combined number of Jewish men and woman currently living in Israel beginning with the age group of 70-74 (approximately 229,000) would be “they” of the Ezekiel prophecy.

“Their children” (Ezekiel 37:25) would be those in the age bracket of 50-55 (or thereabouts) which total another 397,000 or so. And “their grandchildren” (also verse 25) would be hundreds of thousands more. These age groups represent and are part of the 70-year component of the last (what I’ve termed the Omega) generation spoken of by Jesus.

But it also goes back to the preparatory phase of the return of the Jews to Israel that started very slowly, but surely, in 1917. I’m convinced that a few of these Jews will also be alive to witness the Rapture—whether taken as and with other believers in Messiah, or left behind to experience the terrible Tribulation, but hopefully to choose Messiah at that time. Currently there are about 1,500 Jews who are 100+ years old in Israel. They, too, could be considered first generation of returning Jews in 1917; with their children those in the 70-year generation and their grandchildren those in the Jubilee time-frame. With all three groups part of the 100-year final generation (countdown).

These three pivotal epic events in Israel’s modern-day history are legitimate benchmarks with which to identify the last generation that will witness the Day of the Lord. Both the generation cited by Jesus and the generations identified by Ezekiel (and other prophets) are one and the same literal generational age-groups in the last days.

Here’s what the Lord said shortly after Ezekiel identifies they and them, and their children and grandchildren:

“I will make my home among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Ezekiel 37:27).

That is a time-capsule prophecy dedicated and applied to the last generation (100-year, 70-year, and 50-year Jubilee).

We are that generation!

“Would I ever bring this nation to the point of birth and then not deliver it? Asks the Lord. No! I would never keep this nation from being born, says your God” (Isaiah 66:9).

“Now learn a lesson from the fig tree (which represents Israel). When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, 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 24:32-34, parenthesis mine).

The productive life span of many fig trees is 50 to 100 years! Except the Sycamore Fig which can live to be 1,000 years. But that’s a whole different analogy—to the Millennium!

Palestinian Terror Tunnels & Poetic Justice

The Book

The Bible is an amazing union of sixty-six books in one. In fact, it is known world-wide as simply, The Book. It contains every literary genre and style known to man.

What is it you’re looking for? History of peoples, places, times, and events—including the created beginning of all things? Biographies—including four separate but synchronized accounts of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of the Messiah, Jesus? Letters? Poetry? Inspirational Prayers and Psalms. Parables—short stories but always to illustrate real-life situations and realities? Genealogies? Divine doctrinal articles on truth and wisdom? You’ll find them all in Scripture and more.

“All Scripture is inspired by God…” (II Timothy 3:16, NASB).

“…I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2-3).

Plus that which is found nowhere else in history or literature or non-Biblical “sacred” writings: an autobiography of the true and living God, himself.

You know: The ONLY God who has foretold the future through hundreds of prophecies with one hundred percent accuracy. With, therefore, an absolute statistical probability (ten to an infinite power) that the yet unfulfilled predictions will most certainly come to pass. And scores of mighty miracles (of which only God, His Son, and their prophets and apostles have performed) that no other so-called gods and prophets of man-made religions can even come close to achieving.

Although somewhat of an oversimplification, there are three basic categories that comprise the style and substance of Scripture.

1) Outright proclamations of divine truth, with many of them spoken by the Lord himself. Such as: “Let all the world look to me for salvation! For I am God; there is no other” (Isaiah 45:22). And hundreds more like: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Or: “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (II Corinthians 5:21)

2) Historical records of people, places, and events. Creation, the Exodus, and the life of Christ come to mind.

3) Poetic and narrative metaphorical portrayals, with life-like illustrations, active analogies, and dramatic descriptions of God’s revealed truth to the human race. Such as: “The Lords lives! Praise to my Rock! May the God of my salvation be exalted!” (Psalm 18:46). Or Messiah Jesus described as, “…the Lion of the tribe of Judah…” (Revelation 5:5). Or as found in the words of Jesus, himself: “…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).

(Jesus is also the “Good Shepherd” … John 10:11)

Another example of illustrative imagery in Scripture, specifically applicable to this week’s article, is as follows:

“The wicked conceive evil; they are pregnant with trouble and give birth to lies. They dig a pit to trap others, then fall into it themselves. The trouble they make for others backfires on them. The violence they plan falls on their own heads” (Psalm 7:14-16).

Then in the very next verse we read: “I will thank the Lord because he is just; I will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High” (Verse 17, italics for emphasis).

The Justice of God

One of God’s awesome attributes is that of pure justice … justice dispensed with firmness but fairness. Such as administered by Messiah Jesus (God the Son) during his imminent glorious millennial reign on Planet Earth: “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…” (Isaiah 9:7).

The very concept of impartial justice, including punishment fitting the crime, was given to the human race by God through Moses to the nation of Israel when the Jews were known as Hebrews or Israelites. Later, some of the essentials of Hebrew law were adopted by the Roman Empire, such as innocent until proven guilty. Then fine-tuned by the British system of law and order, and raised to new heights by the republic checks and balance standards of the United States of America. Moreover, there is no better example of jurisprudence than found in modern-day Israel.

Society’s system of justice was mandated by God to human government. But retribution (final reckoning) belongs to God, himself.

“For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the (new) covenant, which made us holy (separated to God), as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us. For we know the one who said, ‘I will take revenge. I will pay them back…’” (Hebrews 10:28-30, parenthesis mine, the last sentence a quote from Deuteronomy 32:35).

During the course of human history, we see many examples of God’s justice. Including harsh discipline of God’s own people for their unfaithfulness to him, mostly because they turned to false gods and religious systems of their pagan neighbors. Resulting in what the Lord called, “despicable” and “evil” deeds; brazenly committed by even the prophets, priests, and kings of Israel and Judah.

God’s punishment began in full when the remaining Jews in Judah (Southern Kingdom) were exiled to Babylon and Jerusalem and the Temple were utterly destroyed. Although some of the exiles returned to Israel, God’s people still did seek him as a nation. Thus God’s Seven Times Over punishment of Israel continued uninterrupted until 1967, when the Israelis liberated Jerusalem and ended Gentile domination of the Jews forever. God’s prescribed time period for Israel’s discipline was over. [Refer to Eye of Prophecy articles Seven Times Seven (to the 4th power) I, II, & III and the sequel summary, The Omega Generation, posted 1-25, 2-1, 2-8 & 2-15-14, based on this astonishing prophecy found in Leviticus Chapter 26].

We also see God’s anger vented against Gentile nations in the deliverance and defense of his chosen people before, during, and after (to this very day) the miraculous rebirth of Israel as a sovereign nation.

Very few people study the historical repercussions experienced by nations (including those which have fallen never to rise again, such as Babylon and the Roman Empire) in the context of how they related to and treated the Jews as a people and/or Israel as a nation. (See Eye of Prophecy article: For or Against Israel? which includes a section on Great Britain. Posted, 7-16-16).

Unfortunately, secular history is not concerned in the least with God’s two major magnificent designs and purposes for the human race, despite clear evidence and expression of these plans down through the ages. One of those plans is God’s prophesied destiny for his special possession, Israel. The other is God’s plan of salvation through the Jewish Messiah Jesus—for individual Jews and Gentiles alike.

Nor do most people in today’s world (sadly including some Christians) give a second thought to significant statements made by the Lord himself regarding Israel. Such as the oft quoted: “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3).

Few and far between are those who have read Bible passages (at all or more than once) like the following, which was also referenced in the recent Eye of Prophecy article, Prophetic Fate of Israel’s Friends and Foes (posted 10-28-17); let alone place any historical or future value on it. Despite the fact that this warning is solemnly issued by God, himself.

“The day is near when I, the Lord, will judge all godless nations! As you have done to Israel, so it will be done to you. All your evil deeds will fall back on your own heads. Just as you swallowed up my people on my holy mountain, so you and the surrounding nations will swallow the punishment I pour out on you. Yes, all you nations will drink and stagger and disappear from history” (Obadiah 1:15-16).

They see the incredible return of the Jews from the four corners of the earth to Israel as predicted hundreds of times in Scripture. But passively or actively refuse to make any Biblical connection to the Balfour Declaration of 1917; the rebirth of Israel in 1947-48; the reunification of Jerusalem to Israel in 1967; and the amazing alignment of Middle East nations against each other and Israel in today’s world.

As does much of the Old Testament, particularly prophecy, the above passage in Obadiah uses explicit illustrative imagery … entire nations and peoples that will drink and stagger and swallow the punishment of God’s judgment. This symbolism is designed to vividly depict God’s righteous justice to those nations/peoples that have harmed or even seek to harm Israel. When it comes to God’s discipline, deliverance, and defense of Israel, this figurative representation of God’s direct retribution or of justice in general (what comes around goes around) is normally carried out in principle and patterns. But also literally, as we shall soon see regarding the Palestinian terror tunnels.

Three Prototype Patterns of God’s Protection of Israel

1) God’s direct supernatural intervention. Such as the powerful plagues levied against Pharaoh and Egypt that would result in the dramatic deliverance of God’s people from (hundreds of years of) slavery. Or God’s remarkable rescue of King Hezekiah and all of Judah through one single angel who destroyed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers overnight (see II Kings 19 & Isaiah 37). Or the massive defeat that God will inflict on the Gog/Magog coalition which invades Israel in the early part of the soon-to-come Great Tribulation. In these (and others such as II Kings 7) astonishing victories, the Jews had only to watch in wonder as God vanquished Israel’s enemies unilaterally and supernaturally.

(The 10th & Most Devastating Plague. The firstborn of all Egyptians, including Pharaoh were struck down by the Lord … Exodus 12:28-30).

2) God causing Israel’s enemies to turn on each other. As one example (with a practical application to the United States of America) here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Stand Still & Watch God Fight For Israel (posted 7-30-16). In italics:

“After this, the armies of the Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites (Aram) declared war on Jehoshaphat. Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, ‘A vast army from Edom (Aram) is marching against you from beyond the Dead Sea’ … Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the Lord for guidance … So people from all the towns of Judah came to Jerusalem to seek the Lord’s help” (II Chronicles 20:1-4).

Commentary: Good response. Not only the king, but representatives from all of Judah sought the counsel and help of the God of Israel. Once again, the Bible is crystal clear on this principle: If we sincerely call on the Lord to rescue us and with equal sincerity listen to him through his Word and obey him, he will hear us. If we exclude the Lord and certainly if we expel him from the affairs of our nation, individually and collectively, then we’re on our own.

“…O Lord, God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is in heaven. You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against you!” (II Chronicles 20:6).

O that these words of Jehoshaphat speaking for the entire nation of Judah could be heard in our Halls of Congress, in the White House, in the seats of our Supreme Court Justices, and throughout the Pentagon:

He goes on to say:

“O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help” (Verse 12).

Biblical fact: Any nation, including what many think is the invincible United States of America, is powerless to help themselves if God is not with them. Period. End of story … end of nation.

Then Jehoshaphat and all the people bowed and worshipped the Lord. The next morning, Jehoshaphat said to the people as they prepared to meet the invading enemy: “…Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed” (Verse 20).

Here’s what happened next:

“After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: ‘Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever!’

“At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves. The armies of Moab and Ammon turned against their allies from Mount Seir and killed every one of them. After they had destroyed the army of Seir, they began attacking each other. So when the army of Judah arrived at the lookout point in the wilderness, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground as far as they could see. Not a single one of the enemy had escaped” (Verses 21-24).

Many of us remember the wartime slogan, “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.” We all know that to mean: Seek the Lord’s help for a righteous cause and praise him for all he has done and will do; but we must still fight and some will die to win the victory. That is a maxim for armies that the Lord has aided down through the years.

Not so with Jehoshaphat and his people. All they did was to praise the Lord! No bows, arrows, spears, swords, or ammunition of any kind. The Lord did it all. There have been documented cases in war when an army or militia turned on one of its allies. Yet they are few and certainly didn’t result in total annihilation of each other, before they even began to engage their real enemy. Nothing like what happened to the armies of Moab, Ammon, Edom, and Aram. All the people of Judah had to do was trust the Lord, praise him for a victory already guaranteed against a massive coalition that would have annihilated Judah, and then, “…gather the plunder” (Verse 25).

3) God’s providential assurance of Israel’s victories when her people actually fight. There are many examples of this in the Old Testament. But to demonstrate that God’s prophetic promises also apply to the return of the Jews to the Promised Land and rebirth of the State of Israel, I’ll cite the against all odds miraculous triumph of the Israelis in their 1948 War of Independence; their stunning victory in the Six-Day War of 1967; and their equally incredible defeat of the surprise attack launched by Egypt and Syria on the Jewish Holy Day of Yom Kippur in 1973.

(At the Western Wall: Battle Hardened Israeli Soldiers Celebrating Liberation of Jerusalem. Some Wept Tears of Joy)

In all of these examples we see Israel’s enemies swallowing the pill of death and destruction meant for Israel, and staggering from the blows with which they would have pulverized Israel into oblivion. Or, Israel’s enemies drinking the same disabling concoction which they had intended to force down Israel’s throat.

“…I will punish them in proportion to the suffering they cause my people. This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, said to me: ‘Take from my hand this cup filled to the brim with my anger, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink from it. When they drink from it, they will stagger, crazed by the warfare I will send against them’” (Jeremiah 25:14-16).

Jeremiah goes on to list a lengthy array of nations and their kings—past, present, and future, beginning with Judah itself and ending with Babylon—that would drink from this cup of God’s wrath. To include, by default (based on other prophets and their prophecies) all end-times nations that despise, denigrate, demonize, and arrogantly seek to destroy Israel.

The allegorical language so often used by the Lord through his prophets has and will continue to apply to those peoples who hate the Jews and to nations that seek to erase Israel from the map. Even more remarkable is the literal demonstration (cause and effect) of justice that we find in Scripture and also in today’s world, as we shall soon see through a stunning turn of events in the Gaza Strip.

The term, “poetic justice” was first coined by English literary critic Thomas Rymer in the late 17th century. Initially and specifically it applied to some literary works that Rymer believed should reflect the rewarding of the good characters and punishment of the bad characters … a right representation of real life. Since then, poetic justice seems to have expanded to a universal code of cause and effect in ethics and morality, beyond literature.

This is reflected in the generalized definition of poetic justice found in Webster’s Dictionary: “An outcome in which vice is punished and virtue rewarded usually in a manner peculiarly or ironically appropriate.”

A well-known example of a literal “ironic twist of fate” (in the context of poetic justice) is that of the wicked Persian official Haman, as found in the book of Esther. Haman’s evil plot to kill Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, then to annihilate all of the Jews throughout the Persian Empire, came back to (ironically appropriate) haunt, humiliate, and hang him on a pole … literally.

It was Haman who ended up being executed; impaled on the same pole that he erected to murder Mordecai … a precisely peculiar ironic and literal “twist of fate.”

Recent Collapse of Palestinian Terror Tunnels; Justice Served—Literally

Less than two weeks ago on October 30th, 2017, eight Palestinians—some of whom (including senior officials) belonged to the militant terrorist cell known as Palestinian Islamic Jihad—were killed when Israelis “neutralized a terror tunnel” by blowing it up. At least eight more terrorists were injured or missing in the tunnel’s collapse. Israeli Army spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said that the tunnel had been exploded where it ended on Israel’s side of the border with the Gaza Strip. Obviously the detonation was large enough for a ripple effect to parts of the tunnel on the Gaza side.

(One of the Palestinian Terror Tunnels Uncovered by the IDF)

Lt. Col Conricus went on to call this tunnel a, “grave and unacceptable violation of Israeli sovereignty.”

Although Islamic Jihad is a separate militant organization from Hamas—which is the controlling entity of the Gaza Strip—Israel holds Hamas accountable for any terrorist attacks or illegal excursions into Israel, including tunnels.

In an article published on 10-31-17 in the online Op Ed News Source, Israel Hayom, IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis is quoted: “Only conventional measures were used. The IDF used the same measures it uses regularly. The secondary damage underground resulted in fatalities … There was no intent to target any specific individual. The operation took place in our territory. Their people were killed in their territory.”

He also said that most of the casualties were from smoke inhalation, dust, and landslides, not directly from the detonation itself.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s response was, “Those who try to harm us, we harm them. Today we detected a tunnel and destroyed it and we will continue to do so.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett reacted in the vein of other Israeli officials; however, his response also criticized IDF’s insinuation that human targets were not intended.

Said Bennett: “We must never apologize for success in eliminating terrorists. These are terrorists who were digging an attack tunnel inside Israeli territory. It was dug to kill Israeli woman and children. We are not interested in any escalation, and as a member of the cabinet who, since Operation Protective Edge has pushed for eliminating the terror tunnel threat, I fully support this operation. The IDF’s objective is to defeat the enemy, and we must continue doing that.”

Operation Protective Edge began in 2014, in justified retaliation for the abduction and brutal murder of three Israeli youths by Hamas militants, but also because Hamas terrorists were infiltrating Israel through dozens of tunnels, the sheer number of which caught the IDF off guard. (See Eye of Prophecy articles, Bring Back Our Boys, posted 6-28-14. Followed by Prince of Peace on 7-5-14, after the abducted boys were found dead).

During that campaign, the IDF destroyed 32 terrorist tunnels, and since then has made neutralization of tunnels one of Israel’s top priorities. Some of those tunnels were a mile long and sixty feet deep.

Whether dug by Palestinians between Gaza and Israel or between Gaza and Egypt to smuggle arms and ammunition, several Palestinians have been killed (in the past couple of years) during the excavation of tunnels, having nothing to do with Israeli intervention. On the contrary, tunnels simply collapsed with the implied conclusion that the diggers were not skilled enough in subterranean digging or safety to prevent their own deaths.

Yet, when the Israelis (through precautionary, preemptive defense strategies) blow up a tunnel while it just happens to be occupied by terrorists, here is the reaction of the Islamic Jihad leader, Mohammad Al Hindi: “The truce with the enemy is over and the response will be the size of the crime.”

In the Palestinian news agency Wafa, the military branch of the Palestinian Authority (Fatah) also called it, “the Israeli crime.” Boasting that, “the blood (of those killed) would not be wasted.”

Even this response is couched in gloomy irony. It is the Palestinians who are wasting their own blood in their hate-fueled and ill-fated agenda to eliminate Israel from the face of the earth. Worse, they are spilling the blood of Israelis.

(The “Knife Intifada” Began In October, 2016. Other Means of Palestinians Killing Jews Are With Guns, Axes, Clubs, Ramming Cars. Some of the Attacks Carried Out by Women. Even Slingshots Can Be Deadly)

Crime? Is it a crime for Israel to protect her people from death and injury at the hands of those whose life’s ambition is to kill innocent men, woman, and children? When the real crime can be found in the Palestinian “cause” which is based on lies and false rewritten history that Jews are the occupiers of land that rightfully belongs to them. Not only Jews but also Israeli Arabs who are citizens of the Sovereign State of Israel. When, in fact, there is no such thing as a Palestinian State or a Palestinian people or a Palestinian language. Or to deliberately ignore the fact that Israel’s name was changed to Palestine by a Roman Emperor in the 2nd century who hated the Jews, killed them, and drove out many Jews who had not been exiled by the Romans in 70 AD. It is the Arabs of Gaza and the West Bank who are non-citizens … by their own preference and choice. They are the actual settlers (in the negative connotation) of the land, all of which belongs to Israel by God’s decree and also by historical presence and rights that existed long before Arabs occupied parts of Israel.

Yet, it’s even deeper than the land of Israel. It is the irrational, unreasonable, and unfathomable Arab/Muslim hatred of the Jews. And not only by the Arabs, but by entire nations and peoples the world over in the ugly expression of Anti-Semitism. See Eye of Prophecy article The Real Reason for Palestinian Terrorism (posted 9-30-17) to discover the historical underlying cause.

Two days before the tunnel in question was demolished by the IDF, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency revealed discovery of another tunnel dug by Palestinian militants directly beneath one of UNRWA’s schools in Gaza. UNRWA reported that they had, “sealed the cavity created by the tunnel.”

For years, this United Nations agency (along with UNESCO) has been a stubbornly stern critic of Israel, for any number of unfounded and bogus reasons. So much so that both the United States (via President Trump’s executive order) and Israel recently canceled their membership in UNESCO. Thus, it’s obvious that the press release by UNRWA (UNESCO’s counterpart in bashing Israel) was moderated toward Israel in order not to ruffle more United States’ feathers. Regarding the sealing of the tunnel beneath their office complex, an UNRWA official pretentiously protested, “…the violation of the sanctity and disrespect of the neutrality” of United Nations fixtures. Yet this spokesperson didn’t call the violators terrorists or identify them as Hamas or even as Palestinians. Instead, they employed the term “relevant parties” as those responsible for the tunnel.

In an Israel Hayom article written by Yoav Limor, also posted on 10-31-17, we read: “Israel told Hamas in no uncertain terms that as the sovereign power in Gaza it would pay the price for any form of retaliation (meaning by Islamic Jihad). It is unclear why Hamas failed to take this into consideration when it allowed Islamic Jihad to dig the attack tunnel into Israel … Although the armed factions in Gaza have coordinated in recent years, they remain far apart ideologically and are sponsored by rival powers. While Hamas is supported by Sunni Gulf States, Islamic Jihad is backed by Iran and Syria.”

*Note: The last sentence of the above statement by Yoav Limor is certainly accurate; however, recently Hamas sent delegates to Iran for two reasons: (1) to brief Iran on the signed agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, in which the PA will take over administrative functions of the Gaza Strip. (2) Iranian officials agreeing with and encouraging Hamas not to give up their weapons, which was a precondition for this truce with the Palestinian Authority. It’s apparent that PA President Mahmoud Abbas was embarrassed by Hamas’s unwillingness to lay down their arms, and it’s equally evident that Abbas will or can do nothing about it.

Summary

In light of this recent tunnel episode and the possibility of terrorists being in the tunnel when it was demolished (does it really matter in the context of Israel’s right or any country’s right to protect its citizens?), let’s look again at the Scripture quoted near the beginning of this week’s article:

“The wicked conceive evil; they are pregnant with trouble and give birth to lies. They dig a pit to trap others, then fall into it themselves. The trouble they make for others backfires on them. The violence they plan falls on their own heads” (Psalm 7:14-16, italics for emphasis).

The providential privilege and universal principles of justice, especially poetic justice, in this and previous “natural” collapses of terror tunnels is extraordinary. The metaphorical language of warranted payback, as prophetically and poignantly expressed in the above passage, literally took place. To wit: Dig a pit, fall into it … the backfire of the detonation to the beginning point of the tunnel … falls on their own heads.

Those of us who are believers in Messiah Jesus (both Jew and Gentile) can appreciate the perfect justice of our Great God and Savior and the Biblical standard that what is sown will be reaped. Whether through unprovoked, unjustified wars or the constant killing of innocent people the world over (by terrorist groups, lone-wolf terrorists, or evil-deranged murderers), we are satisfied when justice is served. Who among us doesn’t breathe a sigh of relief when the killer will kill no more because he or she has been silenced?

However, we need to maintain a Biblical balance. We need to distinguish between welcoming God’s justice against wicked individuals and nations during our lifetime, and the Lord’s final sentence against all unbelievers at the last judgment.

“…And all were judged according to their deeds. Then death and grave were thrown into the lake of fire. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:13-15). *Note: The unsaved will be judged according to their deeds, because it is their erroneous belief that good works would be the basis for redemption; rather than Biblical salvation by simply believing and receiving Messiah Jesus as personal Savior.

Things to Ponder

God doesn’t take pleasure in the death of the wicked, and neither should we.

This premise is not a contradiction of the following passage: “When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish, there is glad shouting. By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down” (Proverbs 11:10-11, NASB).

This proverb is not suggesting that people should revel capriciously or vindictively in the actual death of wicked people (especially rulers and leaders), with the celebrating an end into itself. Yes, there is gladness when terrible tyrants and malicious murderers are dealt with. Who wasn’t elated, except a few die-hard Nazis, when Hitler (and others like him at all different levels) exited this earth?

Rather, the context and connotation of this proverb is how much better it is when a city (or state or nation) is governed by those whose God is the Lord (Psalm 33:12), not whose god is themselves.

“Do you think that I like to see wicked people die? Says the Sovereign Lord. Of course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live” (Ezekiel 18:23).

And again: “As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die?” (Ezekiel 33:11).

That’s right. This principle was applied even to God’s chosen people.

God is Love (I John 4:8). He loves all people equally (John 3:16). This love was graciously expressed through the death of his only Son, Messiah Jesus, for the sins that every human being has committed and the eternal pardon for those sins.

“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God” (John 1:12-13)

“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).

Islam and its false god, Allah, bestow the highest honor to those who die while they are killing the infidels … Jews and Christians, and even other Muslims who belong to a different sect of Islam. Thus, Sunnis kill Shi’ites and vice versa. And they both murder Jews and Christians. Whereas, the true and living God doesn’t force anyone to love him or to accept his Son as the only way of salvation. He asks only for a willing response to so great a love, so great a salvation.

God’s justice is firm but fair. It is pure; it altogether combines his love and his holiness. There is a perfect blend of life-giving grace and salvation with the truth of sin and its eternal consequences.

Iran and its proxies have repeatedly vowed to “wipe Israel from the face of the earth.”

Listen to the word of the Lord when the armies of Gog/Magog (which includes Iran) dare advance against Israel in the soon to come Great Tribulation:

“You and your army and your allies will all die on the mountains. I will feed you to the vultures and wild animals. You will fall in the open fields, for I have spoken, says the Sovereign Lord. And I will rain down fire on Magog and on all your allies who live safely on the coasts. Then they will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 39:4-6).

Yes, Scripture tells us who actually will be wiping whom from the face of the earth.

Iran and all peoples and nations who bear ill-will toward Israel should take heed. God’s supreme power and justice will not be denied. So, too, against all who, “…refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them… They will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth” (II Thessalonians 2:10 & 12).

“Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6).

Do you believe him?