The Prince and the People That Destroyed the Jewish Temple / Who Were They?

A correct answer to the question contained in the title of this week’s article will confirm the identity of the Antichrist, presumed to be unknown until after the Rapture occurs!

I say, confirm, because his identity has already been disclosed and documented in my second book, Out of the Abyss, and in several Eye of Prophecy articles.

Let’s get right to the first part of a well-known Bible passage (Daniel 9:26-27) from which the question posed in this week’s article is derived. Quoting from the New American Standard Bible—one of the older translations that uses the phrase, people of the prince:

“Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary…” (Daniel 9:26a).

Bible scholars, including me, are virtually unanimous: The Messiah identified in this sweeping prophecy is Jesus of Nazareth (Incarnate Son of God) whose extraordinary birth, life, death, and resurrection from the grave seemed to accomplish little … at first. Not until several years later did the Christian faith explode throughout the Roman Empire and turn the ancient pagan world upside down.

But who is “the prince” referenced in this passage?

Once again, the consensus among serious Bible teachers, students, and commentators, including me: The prince is the Antichrist, which is the most common designation given to this evil man; also known as the little horn, ruler, king, man of lawlessness, and beast (of Revelation).

However, the mainstream perception regarding the (Antichrist) prince is that he will be a modern-day born man (some say he’s already alive) who ascends to power shortly after the Rapture. Just like all tyrants before him, i.e. a natural and normal rise to power. Even though Revelation Chapters 13 and 17 depict the Antichrist’s arrival on the scene (reappearance) as anything but normal or natural.

Next question: Who are the “people of the prince” mentioned in this passage?

Again, the answer is accepted by most Bible teachers as a given historical fact in fulfillment of the (first part) of the prophecy. So much so, that newer translations of the Bible get even more specific in order to precisely identify the people of the prince.

Here, then is that same portion of the passage as found in the New Living Translation, from which I always quote, unless otherwise noted in my articles.

“After this period of sixty-two sets of seven, the Anointed One (Messiah) will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple…” (Daniel 9:26a, parenthesis mine).

One of the most documented dramatic events of ancient history was that of the Roman Legions assault against Israel that began in A.D. 66, culminating in the sack of Jerusalem, slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Jews, and annihilation of the 2nd Jewish Temple in A.D. 70. Thus, the people of the prince in fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy were the Roman Legions of the 1st century.

Accordingly, let me rephrase the question contained in this week’s Eye of Prophecy article. A question that, as indicated, will be answered with decisive documentation and compelling commentary on both the prince (his identity) and the people of that prince (Roman Legions).

To Whom Do (Did) the 1st Century Roman Legions That Destroyed the Temple Belong?

This week’s Eye of Prophecy post is the 310th article overall and the 60th in the Category of The Antichrist.

Many of these 60 articles elaborate on one or more of the Biblical passages concerning the Antichrist with extensive evaluation of each of these passages contained in my 2nd book, Out of the Abyss. The passages: Daniel Chapter 7, 9, & 11; Zechariah Chapter 11; II Thessalonians Chapter 2; I John Chapter 2; Revelation Chapters 13, 17, and 19. With Revelation Chapter 17 more of a biographical introduction to the beast-king (Antichrist) regarding his initial appearance during the 1st century, then his reappearance (soon-to-come) in what is now the 21st century … at the outset of the Great Tribulation.

Note: The first mention of the beast—who comes up out of the bottomless pit—in the book of Revelation is in Chapter 11, but in the greater context of the two mighty prophets who are killed by the Antichrist beast.

In follow up to my book, Out of the Abyss, most Eye of Prophecy articles in the category of The Antichrist provide ample evidence (Biblically and historically) to support the startling conclusion that the Antichrist will not be a modern-day born man who rises to prominence before and power shortly after the Rapture.

Rather, he is none other than the Roman Emperor Nero!

For me, it all began with Revelation 17:7-8; the angel’s astounding disclosure to John that the man he had just seen (in the form of a beast) had already lived and died in the first century.

Read with me: “Why are you so amazed, the angel asked. I will tell you the mystery of this woman and of the beast with seven heads… The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon (abruptly) come up out of the bottomless pit… And the people who belong to this world … will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died” (parenthesis mine).

Question: Does the passage state or even imply that the beast will die then come back to life during the Seven-Year Tribulation? No, it does not. What it says is that the beast (the man called Antichrist) HAD ALREADY LIVED AND DIED BEFORE JOHN SAW HIM.

Moreover, the fatal wound of the beast that had been healed is seen by (marveled at) the world after he arises from the sea (Abyss … Abyssal sea, Revelation 17). Meaning that when the world first sees him as described in Revelation 13:1-4, his fatal wound had already been healed. Which when combined with Chapter 17 clearly refers to the reappearance of the beast who had already lived and died even before John wrote Revelation. Which is why (the only reason as presented in Revelation 13) that many give him their complete allegiance, to the point of worship, i.e. his return from the grave as they will perceive it.

From there (for me) it was a matter of extensive and intensive study of every passage on the Antichrist; plus, a deep dose of 1st century Roman and Church history to identify which of the five fallen kings (Revelation 17:10) was the Antichrist. Part of that process was to match the number of the beast (six hundred, sixty-six) to a man of the 1st century through Hebrew gematria (counting by the Hebrew alphabet) after translating from the Greek—the language in which the New Testament was written. This clue was given in Revelation Chapter 13. Remarkably, it matches the name of Neron Kaiser (Greek) or Nero Caesar.

(Bust of Nero)

Yet, there is more evidence in Revelation 13 & 17 than just the number of the beast to convincingly conclude that Nero was the Antichrist of the 1st century and will return from the Abyss (just like Scripture says will happen) to resume his reign of terror for 3 ½ years of the Tribulation. Likewise, that he was the Man of Lawlessness, a term that the Apostle Paul used of him in II Thessalonians Chapter 2. And the little horn/king of Daniel 7, as well as the King of the North in Daniel 11.

Today, we’ll focus on Daniel 9:26-27, which is perhaps the most persuasive passage to confirm Nero as the Antichrist; specifically, his two appearances to mimic the true Messiah’s first and second arrivals (Advents) to this earth.

The Ruler and His Armies

Before we continue with the extraordinary evidence to establish Nero as the prince/ruler of Daniel’s amazing prophecy, let’s look at the entirety of this passage. We’ll see how and when Nero was intricately involved with and linked to in real-time and space the very people (Roman legions) who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70.

As opposed to a modern-day man who is supposed to arise from some replicated version of the ancient Roman Empire, and, thereby, is somehow considered to be attached or affiliated with the people of that long-gone empire. We’ll see how this stretches the contemporary mainstream connection between a modern-day Antichrist and the ancient Roman legions to the breaking point.

Here is the full passage:

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

It is from this passage that we know the duration of the Great Tribulation to be seven years (one set of seven), as that is the length of the treaty with Israel orchestrated by the ruler (Antichrist). But half-way through, the ruler will break the treaty and abruptly end the sacrifices and offerings that will have been restored to and through the rebuilt Jewish Temple.

This also tracks with the full power and authority given to (permitted by the Lord) Antichrist during the last half of the Tribulation—42 months as stated in Revelation Chapter 13.

Note: just a quick reference to the sacrilegious object erected by the Antichrist. Most Bible teachers propose that this will be done when Antichrist breaks the treaty. Yet, this passage combined with Daniel 12:11-12 strongly suggests that the profane object won’t be set up until the very end of the Tribulation.  As indicated in a couple of prior Eye of Prophecy articles, I’m convinced this will take place (as a climax to all his terrible deeds, as the passage states) after Messiah Jesus returns to Jerusalem to rescue Israel from Antichrist and his ten-nation coalition. In fact, 30 days after the last 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation. This will be just before Christ defeats Antichrist and his armies at Armageddon.

However, today’s emphasis is on the ruler of this passage, particularly the relationship to his people (of the prince); more specifically that those people were the Roman legions that destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70.

Notice that Daniel first introduces the ruler (Antichrist) as “a ruler will arise…”

Which begs the question: When will this ruler arise?

Narrowing it down further: Has he already arose (appeared on the scene) or will this take place (for the first and only time) after the Rapture at the outset of the Tribulation?

One way to answer those questions is to simply repeat what the angel told John in the subsequent New Testament revelation of the beast … Revelation Chapter 17. Which is the FACT that the Antichrist beast had already lived and died before John twice saw visions of this man. Plus, the FACT that the Antichrist beast would reappear from the Abyss to the utter amazement of those left behind at the Rapture—unbelievers. Then more disclosure in Revelation 17 that the beast would return to form a ten-nation coalition during the Tribulation period.

However, in keeping with the main subject/passage of this week’s article, let’s concentrate on Daniel Chapter 9 to answer the question as to when the ruler would (first) arise or appear on the scene of history. To also state that the man (a ruler) who would arise is “the ruler” (the same ruler) who would make a treaty with Israel that would usher in the Great Tribulation.

As indicated, the prevailing view (assumption) is that this ruler will make only one appearance, as he must be a modern-day born man. But that’s not what the passage says. It first states that this ruler would arise, “whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple.” Which we know happened in AD 70.

Next, we read: “The end will come with a flood and war and its miseries are decreed from that time to the very end” (Daniel 9:26b).

We must recognize that Daniel is talking about the Jews and Israel, and her Messiah and the Anti-Messiah whose armies would destroy the Temple. The entire passage even beginning with verse 24 is a prophecy concerning Israel’s destiny, with the rest of the world affected by what happens to Israel.

Moreover, there is a strongly suggested time-gap between verse 26 and the beginning of verse 27.

“The end” (that) will come (last days) begins with a flood (“from that time to the very end”) which is undoubtedly the Roman conquest of Israel in A.D. 70 (what else could it be, plus flood is used symbolically in Scripture of a great army). Followed by centuries of wars, including two World Wars of the 20th century, and the Holocaust itself which was the ultimate “misery” or devastation of God’s chosen people, the Jews.

There is no way to ignore or even minimize the insertion of this part of Daniel’s prophecy (“the end will come…”) precisely between the ruler’s arising and his armies destroying the Temple, followed (much later) by this same ruler striking a seven-year treaty with Israel. The only way that could happen is for the ruler to return after he had already lived and died (in the 1st century).

Which is EXACTLY what Revelation 17 is telling us when it says the beast (Antichrist) will reappear from the Abyss.

Once again, the question: To whom were the Roman Legions directly connected?

Answer: To the ruler or prince who is also the Antichrist.

Yet, as alluded, there are two options from which to choose: (1) To a Roman Emperor directly associated with those same legions that destroyed the Temple in the first century. With this same ruler (Antichrist) reappearing from the Abyss as Scripture said will happen. (2) To a far-off (what is now 2,000 years and counting) modern-day born ruler who would bear no time/space link to those legions, no matter from where this ruler arose—even if it were from Rome, Italy.

To provide more validation that the correct choice is #1, thereby confirming that Nero Caesar was the ruler, king, and man of lawlessness in the first century (Antichrist) and will return as the Antichrist beast soon after the Rapture, we’ll examine two key areas of proof. (A) Syntax of the text itself, especially the prepositional possessive correlation between the ruler and the people of the ruler. (B) First Century history that distinctly ties Nero to the people (Roman legions) who sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple in A.D. 70, followed by a world-wide exile of Jews from Israel that lasted until Israel’s rebirth in 1948.

(This is when end times prophecy began to unfold. Which sets the stage for the return of the ruler to make a treaty with the nation of Israel. Right after the Rapture, which is more imminent than ever before)

(A) Possessive Language of the Passage Itself

Again, citing the second part of Daniel 9:26, this time from The Amplified Bible, which uses the same designation (prince) as other older translations.

“…And the people of the (other) prince who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary…” [parenthesis in the text, to further identify the “other” prince as the Antichrist in contrast to the “Anointed One” or “Messiah” who would be killed (just) before the second prince would arise].

Because the historical record is crystal clear that “the people of the prince who will come” were more precisely the Roman Legions that destroyed Jerusalem and the 2nd Jewish Temple, the New Living Translation renders this part of the passage as: “…a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple.”

Let’s scrutinize the simple but often used word in the Old Testament (written in Hebrew) found in this passage that is crucial to comprehending this prophecy. That and the prepositional phrase that emphatically establishes a possessive correlation between the ruler and his armies.

It is the English word, people, translated from the Hebrew word “am” (pronounced ahm) which is used some 1,620 times in the Old Testament.

The meaning is clear: peoples, people of a nation, members of one’s peoples, kinsmen, one’s countrymen (or women), or compatriots. Especially in the context of what’s going on in this verse, it’s imperative that we grasp what should be obvious: the “people” (of the prince) is used in the same sense that people or peoples is used throughout Scripture. For that matter, in and through any literary source.

Whenever people is found in Scripture that relates those people to God, a king, a ruler, or a nation, it invariably refers to and is in the context of an immediate, possessive, generational (at that time in whatever scene is taking place) relationship. This is the commonsense case even if the word “people” is part of a prophecy, as it is in Daniel 9.

Have you heard of Moses, Pharaoh, and the deliverance of the Hebrews from Egypt … the Exodus? Of course, you have. Read with me:

“After this presentation to Israel’s leaders, Moses and Aaron went and spoke to Pharaoh. They told him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Let my people go…” (Exodus 5:1, emphasis added).

(Moses before Pharaoh … scene from the movie, The Ten Commandments)

Who were the people?

Easy and obvious answer: The Hebrews alive at that specific time in history. Furthermore, God called them, “my people.” Meaning the descendants of Abraham whom God chose as a special people to bring God’s Word and the Messiah to the world. When Messiah Jesus came (born from the tribe of Judah), his flesh and blood people were the Jews of that time, just like the Hebrews of Moses time were “my (God’s) people.”

This (possession) principle is also what’s taking place in Daniel 9. “People” of the prince or ruler to come includes (would include when the prophecy was fulfilled) the prince’s countrymen. Regarding the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, more precisely it was the Roman Legions that fulfilled the prophecy.

Whose armies, were they? Whose people, were they? The answer is found in the possessive pronoun or prepositional phrase, depending on which Bible translation is used. Thus, whether we read, “people of the prince” or “a ruler… whose armies” the same possessive relationship is established.

As a result, we can say with a great deal of certainty: The people directly affiliated, associated, or united with the prince (during the 1st century) are the ones who destroyed the Temple. They belonged to that ruler (of their time), not to some far-off ruler who would come at a much later date in history.

There’s no way the grammar or syntax or linguistic meaning of the text (or any text) allows for a ruler who would arrive on the scene long after his people destroyed the city. Thus, an (the) Antichrist born in the 20th or 21st century would be a direct contradiction of the textual time/space connection between the ruler and his people (armies) as clearly stated in Daniel’s prophecy.

To further amplify this point, the following is an excerpt from my book, Out of the Abyss (in italics):

In verse 25, the angel Gabriel tells Daniel, ‘Now listen and understand!’ There should be no confusion or misunderstanding here. If Gabriel had meant that the Temple would first be destroyed by the people of the prince, and then the prince would come at a (much) later date, he would have told Daniel that the armies or people of the prince to come will have or would have already destroyed the city and the Temple…. In some fashion Daniel would have clarified that the people or armies would first destroy the city, and then the prince would come (Page 255).

However, Gabriel through Daniel is not saying that. In fact, the passage—especially the New Living Translation—says just the opposite. The ruler would arise (meaning first) and his armies would (subsequently) destroy the Temple.

“…A ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple” (Daniel 9:26, emphasis added).

Returning to Out of the Abyss:

“People of the prince who is to come” is a prepositional phrase that demands a possessive correlation. “People of the prince who is to come will destroy the city” neither prophetically or grammatically state nor even imply that the city would be destroyed before the prince arrived. In other words, this ruler and his armies are inseparably linked together in possessive relationship and in a real time context. Both events were future to Daniel.

Where have you ever read or seen or thought that a ruler of any era would be connected to armies or people hundreds or thousands of years earlier. All monarchs, both in Biblical and secular history, are linked directly with the armies of that time of the ruler’s life. Contextually and grammatically it makes no sense for Gabriel to tell Daniel that the ruler’s armies would destroy Jerusalem, but the ruler wouldn’t come until much later…. Conversely, the text clearly delineates and specifies that when the ruler comes, his people or armies will destroy the city.

…Why, then, should Gabriel and Daniel mean a far-off, time-warped differential between the Roman Legions and a prince that wouldn’t arrive on the scene for what is now a nearly two-thousand-year gap?

…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 tries to bind the Roman Legions of 70 AD to a modern-day man to the breaking point.

…Daniel tells us that the ruler will come, and the people of the ruler will destroy the city. He does not say that the Temple must be or is first destroyed before the prince arrives. But that’s the current hindsight application made by those who hold to a modern-day Antichrist and a Revived Roman Empire. Meaning that this “prince who is to come” must be born and rise to power after an enormous lapse of time (2000 years), with a 21st century result of an impractical and unrealistic time-capsule detachment from the armies that destroyed the city and Temple (Pages 255-257).

Now let’s examine 1st Century history to emphatically establish the association between the ruler/prince and his people/armies who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple.

(B) The Stunning Historical Connection

Beginning with three questions that will set the stage for what was (at that time), a dramatic partial fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy. Then to better grasp the angel’s astonishing disclosure to John that this ruler prophesied by Daniel had already lived and died before the book of Revelation was written in the first century. Even more remarkable: this same ruler would return from the Abyss at the outset of the Great Tribulation to the amazement of those left behind after the Rapture.

Question #1: What Roman General was in command of the legions that destroyed Jerusalem and demolished the 2nd Jewish Temple in A.D. 70?

Question #2: What Roman General initiated the campaign to crush the Jewish rebellion against Rome, which was completed by the Roman General of question #1?

Question #3: Who was the Roman Emperor (Caesar) that hand-picked these two generals?

Many details are presented in my book, Out of the Abyss regarding identification of these well-known men of their time. However, time/space does not permit more than a summary overview in this week’s article. So, right to the point.

Answer #1: Titus

Answer #2: Vespasian, father of Titus.

Answer #3: Nero

(Both Vespasian and Titus later became Roman Emperors themselves, 69-79 AD; 79-81 AD, respectively. Nero was the fifth and last Emperor of the Claudian dynasty, He ruled from 54-68 AD)

I’m sure you were clued into Nero as the Roman Emperor, if for no other reason than this article had already given that answer away by now. However, not too many students of the Bible or world history would remember or even know in the first place that Nero personally selected Vespasian and Titus to lead the military campaign against Israel in A.D. 66. Plus, the fact that Nero died in A.D 68 (half-way through this assault against Israel) causes even more disregard for his direct connection to Daniel’s prophecy.

Consequently, most Bible scholars overlook or dismiss outright Nero’s involvement in this historic event, as not being all that relevant.

Why? Because they endorse the contemporary view of a modern-day born Antichrist, and a kingdom application to the seven heads of Revelation’s beast. Instead of the correct application that the seven heads are seven Roman Emperors, five of whom had already died (The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now, Revelation 17:8).

Here is another excerpt from Out of the Abyss to explain this significant connection more clearly (in italics):

In Daniel Chapter 9 … the angelic messenger told Daniel that it would be the (specific) people or armies which belong to the prince that would destroy the city and the Temple.

Think about it! Historically, that’s exactly what happened. Nero issued direct orders and personally selected the Roman generals to carry out the directive. But Nero wasn’t around to see the outcome…. Thus, it was necessary for Daniel to prophetically tell us that it was the armies of the ruler who finished the job.

…To eliminate any misunderstanding as to when the ruler would arise, the angel would have told Daniel that when the ruler arrives, his armies would have already destroyed the city. But that’s not what Daniel says, nor did it happen that way in history.

Nor has any conquest, in ancient or modern warfare, been accomplished or even recognized by means of troops conquering a city or country, then the supreme leader (king or emperor) of that army born hundreds of years later or even a few years later. In fact, that makes no sense at all. The only way the armies can be connected to, belong to, controlled or ordered by their leader, is a direct result of the leader—by virtue of being alive—delivering commands to his subordinates; thus, for that ruler to be unequivocally associated with and attached to the people that do the conquering.

…The armies are of or belong to the ruler himself, by virtue of the possessive correlation clearly articulated in the passage (Daniel 9). The passage does not state nor even imply a (far away) future ruler to the Roman Legions of the first century. Instead, we see culpability by direct possessive association with and correlation between first century Rome and a first century Roman ruler.

…The armies or people who destroyed the city and the Temple were Roman Legions that belonged to Nero, as ultimate Commander in Chief of all Roman legions. These legions are long gone and couldn’t possibly be the people or armies of a modern-day born Antichrist. Again, I will stress: the ruler and his armies of Daniel 9 are inextricably conjoined, coupled, and connectively linked by the possessive pronouns employed in the text, whether the translated pronoun is “of” or “whose.”

This ruler would return from the Abyss. This same ruler whose armies annihilated Jerusalem in 70 A.D. would strike a treaty, would mesmerize the nations by returning from the dead, and would require that his name or the number of his name be implanted in every human being. It just so happens that the name of a Roman emperor matches the gematria numerical code of six hundred, sixty-six… (Pages 263-265)

Things to Ponder

I’m convinced that the main purpose for the correct retrofitting of the prophetic puzzle regarding the Antichrist is that some (hopefully many) will not be so amazed at Nero’s reappearance.

Instead, they will soon (after the Rapture) see that the Bible and the God of the Bible had predicted this hundreds of years ago. They will further understand that Nero did not return from his grave. Rather, he would reappear from the Abyss, having been confined there after the Lord revived him. (If the Antichrist comes up out of the Abyss—Revelation 17:8—then he must first be placed there). That many will then choose the true Christ over the false (anti) Christ, even on the pain of death.

Where did the Roman Legions camp and prepare for the march on Jerusalem in 70 AD? Answer: Megiddo. Who ordered this campaign against Israel? That right; it was Nero. Where will the final conflict of Revelation be decided? Right again … Armageddon. Who will be leading these armies against Israel, then against Messiah himself? Easy answer: Antichrist. A chilling connection, don’t you think?

One last little asterisk footnote of history if you will. What was it that, in part, contributed to the Jewish revolt against Roman occupation in 66 AD? Answer: A Jewish priest refused to administer a pagan sacrifice in the Temple. And, this pagan sacrifice had been ordered by none other than Caesar. Now who do you suppose this Caesar might have been? …none other than Nero! Subsequently, Nero hand-picked Vespasian and Titus and ordered his generals to set things right in Judea (Out of the Abyss, Page 265).

In closing, let’s read Revelation 17:8 again, as this is the pivotal (starting) point in refitting the prophetic puzzle concerning the Antichrist.

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

There is no question; the meaning of the verse is as irrefutable as anything can be. The beast had already died before John received this revelation.… John didn’t see the vision in the future; he saw it in the present—that hour of that day. The beast is past tense … no longer alive when John saw the vision. The beast isn’t born and doesn’t die in the future; he’s already dead. When will the beast become future tense? Correct: When he reappears from the Abyss. At the beginning of the Tribulation, the world will be amazed at the reappearance of the beast that had died. Will the beast die during the Tribulation? No, he died even before John saw him from Patmos (Out of the Abyss, page 271).

“…until the fate decreed for this defiler is finally poured out on him” (Daniel 9:27b)

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

Do you want to know the future? It’s quite simple.

Those who belong to the world—refusing to trust Jesus as personal Savior—will (sadly) lose.

We who belong to Messiah Jesus will WIN!

Thank you, Lord. We trust you. All your promises are true.

And we love you because you first loved us!

Israel Is Again The Head, Not the Tail (The Deal of the Century)

“The tail wagging the dog!”

This clever quip appeared sometime in the 19th century.

It’s a funny picture. The tail is in high gear and seems to wag the rest of the dog. As if the tail is telling the head what to do.

It’s one of many idioms that reduces what can sometimes be a complicated issue into an image that simplifies the situation and enhances our understanding.

From the Free Dictionary, one of the meanings of the tail wagging the dog: “The smallest or least important part of something in control of the larger or more important elements, a reversal of typical roles or dynamics of power.”

Occasionally, individuals, businesses, communities, cities, states, and entire nations could be or have been accused of being the tail wagging the dog. And others have viewed themselves as either heads or tails (or both) depending upon certain conditions, including what is occasionally perceived as chance, i.e. the proverbial flip of the coin—heads or tails. Meaning circumstances and (historical) developments beyond their control.

Modern-Day Israel … Head or Tail?

I pose this question in the context of Israel’s 71-year contemporary history. For much of that time geopolitical experts, heads of state, the common person, and entire nations have been fixated on the Middle East in general and Israel in particular. Rarely is anyone or any government neutral about Israel.

Most people and nations have judged Israel and/or Jews throughout the rest of the world to be the tail wagging the dog. That considering Israel’s small size and population, she exerts a disproportionate influence over world affairs. But then whose problem is that? Israel’s? Diaspora Jews? Or could it be the attitude of those who incessantly and unreasonably find fault with a people who swore, “Never again.”

A people of whom six million were slaughtered by Hitler’s Third Reich. From the floods of dispersion and the fires of Nazi death camps, Israel was reborn as a sovereign nation in May 1948. Consequently, they began to return in great numbers to a small slice of land on this planet as promised by the true and living God of the Bible. This time they would never be driven from the Promised Land again. Those who doubt and even despise that fact are in denial of reality (facts on the ground) and of the astounding accuracy of Biblical prophecy.

In just one generation (70 years), Israel has flourished beyond anyone’s wildest dreams—agriculturally, commercially, geopolitically, and militarily. Just as God said would happen in the last days of the end times. And would only get better during the soon-to-come majestic Millennial reign of Messiah Jesus (upon his return).

“The time will 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. They will plant vineyards and gardens; they will eat their crops and drink their wine. 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 9:13-15, emphasis added).

(One of many vineyards in Israel)

Yes, the world has been mesmerized with and by Israel for decades. It has been a progressive preoccupation, getting stronger by the year.

The following is an excerpt from the beginning of Eye of Prophecy article, Global Obsession with Israel … In Biblical Proportions! (posted 1-6-18), in italics:

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.

…Even within nations there is a growing polarity between such things as globalism and populism.

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.

As indicated, that article was the first of a new year (2018). However, regarding the disposition of many nations toward Israel, things have changed dramatically in the last two years.

Since then, President Trump on behalf of the United States has recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and more recently, Judea Samaria—also known as the West Bank. (See Eye of Prophecy article: Jewish Settlements in Judea/Samaria … Are They Illegal? Posted 11-23-19. Also, Palestine or Israel? Which Is It? Your Answer May Be in Jeopardy! Posted 1-18-20).

Just last week, another global geopolitical earthquake (event) prophetically shook the status quo and will shape the remaining (short) time before the Rapture takes place. As well as what happens not long after the Rapture … the Gog/Magog invasion of Israel.

On January 27th & 28th, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu along with his main political rival, Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party of Israel met with U.S. President Donald Trump. Key executive staff members, heads of state from three Arab nations, and other diplomats attended this historic session in the White House, at which time President Trump unveiled the political phase of his “Deal of the Century.”

(US President Trump and Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu during the Deal of the Century meeting in the White House)

Shortly we’ll examine some of the extraordinary elements and repercussions of this plan. One that is a dramatic departure from the roadmaps for peace paradigms of the past.

Though there were other factors, each of these peace plans of the past had two basic things in common: (1) Demand for Israel’s return to pre-1967 Six Day War armistice lines (not borders). (2) Israel’s exchange (relinquishing) of land for peace. A peace that the Palestinians don’t want in the first place because they want the entire state of Israel as their own. Preferably all at once but would settle for one piece of Israel at a time, and because they still refuse to recognize the sovereign Jewish State of Israel.

The Head and Not the Tail        

Did you know that the God of the Bible referred to Israel in terms of “head and tail?” A word picture that would portray Israel throughout her mostly troubled past but also her triumphant present and glorious future.

Listen to God’s Word given through Moses. The setting is the Hebrews (2nd generation) camped on the east bank of the Jordan River, poised to enter the Promised Land and if/when necessary do battle with their enemies.

“The Lord will give you prosperity in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you, blessing you with many children, numerous livestock, and abundant crops. The Lord will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them” (Deuteronomy 28:11-12).

Several times before and after this passage, Moses emphasized the conditions required of God’s chosen people in order to prosper in the land that would be called Israel. In fact, their very presence (remaining) in the Promised Land, as opposed to defeat and eventual exile at the hands of their enemies, was predicated on trusting and obeying the Lord.

For example: “If you listen to these regulations and faithfully obey them, the Lord your God will keep his covenant of unfailing love with you, as he promised with an oath to your ancestors. He will love you and bless you, and he will give you many children. He will give fertility to your land and your animals … You will be blessed above all the nations of the earth…” (Deuteronomy 7:12-14a).

The Lord also reminded Israel why they were the chosen people and why he had given them the region known as Canaan: To dwell in the Promised Land in perpetuity from where and through whom (the Jews) Messiah would come … as later expounded by the prophets. As follows:

“…don’t say in your hearts, ‘The Lord has given us this land because we are such good people! No, it is because of the wickedness of the other nations that he is pushing them out of your way. It is not because you are so good or have such integrity that you are about to occupy their land. The Lord your God will drive these nations out ahead of you only because of their wickedness, and to fulfill the oath he swore to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You must recognize that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land because you are good, for you are not—you are a stubborn people” (Deuteronomy 9:4-6).

Ouch!

However, in other passages God told his people that he loved them with an everlasting love—an unconditional love that would eventually result in complete fulfillment of his covenant with Abraham, i.e. the Jews forever possessing the Promised Land of Israel.

ALL OF ISRAEL!

Including Judea and Samaria!!

For example: “For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you (meaning permanently, though both of these occurred as a means of God’s discipline of Israel) or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors (Abrahamic Covenant)” (Deuteronomy 4:31, parenthesis mine).

Now let’s read about the head and the tail.

“If you listen to these commands of the Lord your God that I am giving to today, and if you carefully obey them, the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom. You must not turn away from any of the commands I am giving you today, nor follow after other gods and worship them” (Deuteronomy 28:13-14).

During the next 300 years or so, aptly called the time of the Judges, Israel was alternately the head and the tail. Sometimes at the top, sometimes beneath other nations. When Israel fell into complacency or outright sin (worshipping those man-made gods), their enemies defeated and ruled them. When Israel sincerely repented and seriously sought the Lord, he raised up judges to deliver his people … like Deborah, Gideon, and Samson.

Not until the reigns of King David and King Solomon did Israel become the most powerful nation on earth. Israel was not the tail wagging the dog; indeed, they were not even the tail. They were the head. Moreover, the peoples and nations that favored Israel were themselves successful and blessed.

A God-given principle that has been relevant to this very day.

Sadly, Israel as a nation eventually abandoned her God-given heritage and faith; to the extent that most kings, prophets, and priests (and many of the common people) fell into rampant immorality, corruption, and idolatry. What happened to Israel is exactly what God said would happen, beginning with Moses’ prophecies and continuing with Isaiah, Jeremiah, and other prophets, though the Lord was patient with Israel for hundreds of years.

The residual result was God withdrawing his protection and allowing Assyria to conquer the ten northern tribes (722 B.C.). Then Babylon vanquishing the two southern tribes, Judah and Benjamin, in 586 B.C. The remnant in Israel remained a nation, albeit a shattered one.

Israel—A Modern Prototype

First, let me state with a great deal (pun intended) of confidence and authority (directly from Scripture) that Israel of the 21st century is once again a head and not a (the) tail. Nor is it—other than in the perception of Muslim countries and western nations that blindly support the Palestinian narrative—the tail wagging the dog. In the sense that Israel intentionally tries to exert far more influence that it should on the rest of the world. Rather, it is nations all over the globe that focus undue attention on Israel, mostly because they have had an (unrealistic) agenda against Israel. And, frankly, because many are jealous of Israel’s success.

Despite the inexplicable and even irrational animosity of so many people and nations (anti-Semitism and BDS), Israel’s stature among the family of nations has gradually improved over the past 50 years. But not until the recent Deal of the Century has Israel’s position been so prominent, even among a few Arab nations which not that long ago would have emphatically denounced such a deal. To the point of dismissing it out-of-hand as the Palestinians (and two Muslim nations that are not Arabic—Turkey and Iran) did both before and after the plan was released in full.

A few days before and in anticipation of U.S. President Trump’s Deal of the Century, well-known author Caroline Glick posted an article in the online news source Israel Hayom, entitled Sovereign or beggar—it’s Israel’s choice to make.

In the article, she contrasted Israel’s heretofore foreign policy “beggar” paradigm (status) which was a direct result of several Israeli leaders succumbing to world opinion that Israel was a “pariah state.” That Israel must make whatever concessions necessary to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians. This mindset was due to the United States and most European nations endorsing the Palestinian assertions that Israelis were “occupying Palestinian territories” which has no basis whatsoever in reality. I’ve written about this extensively, with much documentation to demonstrate that there is no such thing as “Palestine” or “Palestinian territories” or Israeli “occupation” of land that has belonged to the Jews for over 3,000 years.

The ill-fated Oslo Accord of 1993-1995 was a direct derivative of this belief that the Israelis were in the wrong, especially concerning Judea and Samaria. Which is why this “beggar” mentality (to appease the Palestinians and flawed world-opinion) also led to former Israeli Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert making outrageous offers for Palestinian control of 97% of Judea/Samaria (West Bank) in 2000 and 2008 respectively, which would have created a serious security problem for Israelis Jews. Fortunately for Israel, the Palestinians rejected both offers which could have led to a Palestinian State with the eastern part of Jerusalem as their capital.

Caroline Glick offered this astute comparison: “The beggar paradigm was the basis for Israel’s foreign policy from 1992 until 2009, when it was exchanged for another one. That alternative paradigm should rightly be called the Sovereignty paradigm. The Sovereignty paradigm is the model championed by (Israeli Prime Minister) Netanyahu. At its core is the assumption that Israel’s strength is the key to its success. The Sovereignty paradigm asserts that Israeli strength is what attracts foreign powers to work with it in ways that advance its economic, diplomatic and military interests…”

No longer will the Jews need to make unnecessary concessions of “land for peace.” What kind of deal is that in the first place? Offering land that belongs to Israel just so the Palestinians will stop murdering Jews is, indeed, negotiating or operating from a “beggarly” position. That all ended with Trump’s Deal of the Century—whether the Palestinians accept it or not.

If considered in proportional terms—Israel’s miniscule land mass and population compared to many countries—Israel is head and shoulders above most nations. There’s no arrogance or exaggeration in that statement; it’s what’s been happening in Israel for the past several decades.

Israeli/Jewish inventions and stunning advancements in water conservation, scientific research, state of the art technology, agricultural accomplishments, achievement in the arts (particularly movie and T.V. actors, directors and producers), business and industry, and medicine; exponentially exceed the proportional Jewish population in Israel (6.9 million) or world-wide (15 million).

Do you have a cell/smart phone in your hand? An irrigation drip system for your lawn? Delicious cherry tomatoes on your plate? You can thank the Jews for those and many more inventions and improvements. Nobel peace prizes awarded to Jews far outnumber proportionately any other peoples on the planet.

(Over 900 Nobel peace prizes awarded internationally of which 20% went to Jews, who comprise just 0.2% of world’s population)

Deal of the Century

Since Donald Trump’s time in office, he has made some dramatic decisions that have profoundly impacted the Middle East and Israel. Each of them generated predictable reactions both for and against, depending on whether you’re an Arab or a Jew; your point of view concerning Israeli sovereignty over all or just part of Israel; and your knowledge of Israel’s real history, both ancient and contemporary.

He reaffirmed the obvious: Jerusalem always has been and still is the eternal capital of the nation-state of Israel. Then he ordered the U.S. Embassy moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He officially supported Israel’s autonomous rights to the Golan Heights as a matter of national security, having several times been attacked from that region by her enemies. Likewise, that the Israelis have ultimate sovereign rights in Judea and Samaria—the very heartland of Israel—with the understanding that Arab Palestinians also have jurisdiction over designated areas (A & B) of that region.

Each of these official declarations by President Trump on behalf of the United States of America is hugely significant. They meet standards set forth by God himself regarding Israel’s position in the family of nations. With a composite conclusion that Israel is (as she was in King David’s time) once again the head and not the tail. It is a Biblical principle that when individuals, groups, and nations bless Israel (support, promote, befriend, defend), they, too, will be blessed (acknowledged, rewarded) by the true and living God (Genesis 12:1-3).

And now, we have the Deal of the Century, which provides proposals that can benefit Israelis and Palestinians alike. Although it’s highly unlikely that the Palestinians will agree to even one, let alone all the points of this deal, the plan itself is prophetically pertinent and powerful.

In the greater context of God’s two-fold plan for humanity (first, the Promised Land of Israel as a perpetual possession of his chosen people; second, the New Covenant of Redemptive Grace through the Messiah—the very Son of God), the Jewish Apostle Paul writes under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:

“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 (by nationally rejecting their Messiah, Jesus, although many in the first century and many more in the 20th & 21st century have accepted him), think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it” (Romans 11:11-12, emphasis added, parenthesis mine).

Personal Note: I sometimes cringe at President’s Trump’s off-the-wall comments (mostly through tweets) that are often rude and crude. By now, however, it’s clear that he’s not your typical politician. I’ve voted for Presidents since 1964 and studied other presidents who served throughout our nation’s history. I cannot recall a single U.S. President who has kept his candidacy promises (plus more) like President Trump. No matter what you think of him, he has boldly stood with Israel in direct opposition to most of the world. Whether he fully understands or even believes the Biblical prophecies is not all that relevant; the fact remains that God is providentially using him to accomplish those promises. Just like God used King Cyrus and King Artaxerxes in ancient times to rebuild the Jewish Temple and the Walls of Jerusalem.

Here are (most of) the key points of the Deal of the Century:

  • Although all Judea and Samaria (aka West Bank) belong to Israel, the proposal recognizes Israel’s prerogative to officially annex about 30% of this region, which comprises about 50% of Area C where most of the nearly 500,000 Jews already reside.
  • Israel maintains complete control of an undivided Jerusalem.
  • No settlements, either Israeli or Palestinian, would be uprooted anywhere in Judea and Samaria. However, Israelis would not be permitted to develop new communities in Judea/Samaria for four years—the same amount of time allotted to Palestinians to meet conditions required of them.
  • Those conditions are primarily: final recognition of Israel’s right to exist; disarming of Hamas in the Gaza Strip; cessation of inciting (through textbooks and rhetoric in general) Palestinian terrorism; stop rewarding (paying) terrorists and/or their families for acts of terrorism against Israeli Jews.
  • If, after four years, a Palestinian State is formed, its capital can be located on the perimeter of East Jerusalem, outside the Israeli security force. A US Embassy would be placed there.
  • In a previous partial release of the Deal of the Century (June 2019), 50 billion dollars of aid would be provided (from several sources) for the Palestinians to create vital infrastructure necessary to support a Palestinian state.
  • Israel would maintain protective control of the Jordan Valley including areas of Palestinian settlements. In fact, this security would extend across Israel to the Mediterranean.
  • Some Israeli land in southwest Israel (Negev) along the Mediterranean coast would be given to Palestinians to equal the land mass had the pre-1967 armistice lines been used for the boundaries of a Palestinian State.
  • The document includes actual maps with the fine points of the land division to be worked out later.

(“Conceptual” or proposed map of Deal of the Century, with more details to come later)

Previous peace plans were arranged with Israel mostly on the defensive … requiring the Jews to give up much more than they got. The Deal of the Century has changed all that—no matter the outcome.

One of the big differences is that Israel won’t need to depend upon Palestinian compliance for Israel’s part of the deal to be implemented. And, unlike prior proposals, the Palestinians could and probably would lose forever their opportunity to create their own state, if they do not comply with the conditions imposed by the plan. In the past, all the Palestinians need do was to hold out for their unrealistic demands.

No longer do they have the luxury of “the tail wagging the dog.”

Conversely, if the Palestinians accept this Deal of the Century, they could very well be their own head, not a tail at all. But they won’t agree to it, because they still cannot tolerate an Israeli head along side theirs. In fact, they won’t even accept an Israeli “tail” nearby. They want no Jewish head or tail at all in Israel—which is simply not going to happen. Because Israel is, in fact, a Jewish nation-state. However, one in which there are nearly 2 million Israeli Arab citizens with civil rights equal to the Jews, including holding office in various levels of government. The nearly four million Palestinians of Judea/Samaria and Gaza have chosen not to apply for citizenship for the reasons listed above.

In the truly big picture, this Deal of the Century is another significant milestone that has propelled Israel and the whole world that much closer to the return of Messiah Jesus. Beginning with the Rapture of all believers that will soon be followed by the Gog/Magog invasion of Israel.

Notable Reactions (Commentaries) to the Deal of the Century

Said Israeli Major General (res.) Gershon Hacohen: “The greatness of the Trump plan lies in the fact that unlike preceding American peace initiatives, it recognizes Israel’s right to retain territories beyond the 1967 lines as a matter of historical right and not solely as a measure to be taken for security purposes…”

From an article by columnist Batya Jerenberg posted in World Israel News: “Europe, which the Palestinians normally can count on to protect their interests, has responded positively to the Trump proposals as well with Britain, France, Austria and the European Union blessing the effort…. For decades, a majority of the world has parroted the Palestinian line demanding a state on the entire area Israel liberated in 1967’s Six Day War and the return of millions of descendants of refugees from Israel’s War of Independence. (Palestinian Authority President) Abbas has now discovered that support for this maximalist position has withered in almost every country, with the notable exceptions of Iran and Turkey, both of which condemned the American plan in the strongest of terms.”

Although we would expect Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to express strong support for the Deal of the Century, it doesn’t change the Biblical, historical, and contemporary facts on the ground truth of what he said last week to President Trump and the press when the plan was fully released:

“For too long, the heart of Israel has been outrageously branded as illegally occupied territory. Today, Mr. President, you are puncturing this big lie. You are recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over all Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria—large and small alike.”

In an article first in Jewish News Syndicate, reposted in Israel Hayom, well-known author and expert on Middle East/ Israel, Melanie Phillips wrote on 1-31-20:

“US President Donald Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ offers the Palestinians a state. They have rejected it and threatened instead to ramp up violence against Israel. No one can be surprised. They have rejected every offer of a state previously made to them in 1937, 1947, 2000, 2008 and 2014. So is this latest deal anything more than Groundhog Day for the Middle East all over again? Yes, because this isn’t a deal. It’s an ultimatum….

“That’s because this isn’t a ‘peace process’ in which both sides must progress in tandem with each other—a process that gave the Palestinians an effective veto even while they continued to wage their war of extermination against Israel. For the first time, here’s an American plan that puts the security of Israel first and foremost. It’s, therefore, the first time that the United States has unequivocally supported Israel’s future existence.

“…Now the Palestinians’ bluff has been called. Once again, they are responding with threats of more violence, because there are no circumstances in which they will ever accept the right of the Jews to their own ancestral homeland.”

She concludes her article by stating: “The Trump plan won’t bring peace; however, it restores the truth and justice that are essential prerequisites of peace…. It replaces illusions by reality. That’s no small achievement. Now it’s up to the rest of the world.”

Note: As far as I know, Melanie Phillips is not a Messianic Jew (believer in Jesus as her Messiah and Savior); however, she is a student of the Hebrew Bible. How much she has read regarding the numerous Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, I don’t know. But she’s on track by concluding that the Deal of the Century will not bring peace in the Middle East. The Bible says the same thing. Not that is, until the Prince of Peace, Messiah Jesus, returns to make all things right.

Oh, there will be a seven-year treaty (of peace!) immediately after the Rapture takes place and Antichrist (Nero) returns from the Abyss to a world in shock from the Rapture. It will turn out to be the most anti-peace peace treaty ever orchestrated.

(See Eye of Prophecy articles: The Peace Treaty That Will Guarantee War, posted 9-3-16; Peace Between Israel & Judah … Then World Peace! 12-18-18; Two-State Solution & The Seven-Year Treaty … Impossible? 1-26-19)

The Head/Tail Paradigm Under the Old Covenant vs. New Covenant

Earlier we read that God would bless his chosen people and keep them in the Promised Land of Israel, but with conditions attached. The conditions were not at all difficult—trust and obey the Lord and not jeopardize their relationship with Him by turning to man-made pagan gods. Keep in mind, however, that these conditions were part of the Mosaic Covenant of Law—which the people progressively failed to keep, ending with their conquest and exile from Israel.

So, the Lord announced a breath-taking new covenant through Jeremiah (Chapter 31). Which would come to Israel (and the whole world) at God’s appointed time, i.e. when Messiah came—which he did as Jesus of Nazareth.

Still, while under the Mosaic Covenant, the Lord kept his promise to bring them back to the land and return to them if they returned to him. Which they did, first under Ezra’s leadership, then Nehemiah’s. Alas, that was temporary. They couldn’t and wouldn’t continue to obey the Lord, as poignantly portrayed in the last book of the Old Testament, Malachi.

Subsequently, the Jews were conquered again by the Romans in 70 A.D. and exiled for a period that would last some 1,900 years. Why did this happen? Why would God allow such a devastating 2nd exile? Especially since they weren’t worshipping false gods and the religious among them were as religious as ever—Pharisees. Only one historical explanation; they had rejected their Messiah and then God’s New Covenant purchased by Messiah’s blood (death on the Cross).

However, the prophetic promises of Israel’s final return were no longer contingent on their obedience to the law. They were part and parcel of the New Covenant. Messiah introduced the far better Covenant of Grace, not conditioned upon obeying the law, but of simply trusting (believing and receiving) Christ as Savior. This included the blessings God promised eternally to Abraham and his descendants.

Thus, God took the initiative to unconditionally resume (keep) his everlasting covenant with Abraham and begin the providential return of the Jews to Israel, which took place in large numbers after Israel was reborn as a nation in 1948. Then God’s discipline (through Gentile domination of Israel and the Jews) of his people ended with Israel’s stunning victory in the Six-Day War. On paper and in principle and partly, at that time, in practice, Israel reclaimed the entire land of Israel.

Summary

Under the Old Covenant of the Law, Israel was the head, but more often the tail. Not even the tail wagging the dog. All that began to change in 1948, then more so in 1967 and 1973. With the Deal of the Century, Israel is the head that God promised they would be after Israel had run its course of head/tail patterns.

One of the most timely, pertinent, and amazing results of this deal is that Israel is, in fact, more of a sovereign … no longer a beggar. But in a respectful, humble manner. With deep gratitude for the astonishing turnabout not only by the United States (which had long supported Israel, yet with many reservations, not the least of which was the settlements issue) but by many nations heretofore antagonistic toward Israel. And the most unlikely scenario that even some Arab nations are supporting at least in principle Israel’s sovereign right to be the only Jewish nation on earth. For example, dignitaries from three Arab Gulf States attended the Deal of the Century meeting last week … Oman, Bahrain, and United Arab Emirates. Including positive reactions from Saudi Arabia and Egypt. That would have been unheard of only a few years ago.

And it’s absolutely no coincidence that the nations vehemently opposed to Israel (Turkey, Iran, and other smaller Muslim countries) continue to view Israel in the light of the Gog/Magog prophecy of Ezekiel. Which makes that prophecy even more imminent in its fulfillment.

In closing, let’s read part of that prophecy as pertains to this incredible development in these last days, i.e. the Deal of the Century—officially entitled “Peace to Prosperity.”

God is speaking through Ezekiel to Gog and his Magog allies, followed by Gog’s boast:

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

Iran has repeatedly threatened to wipe Israel from the face of the map. Turkey has become increasingly hostile toward Israel even to the point of supporting Hamas in Gaza. Russia has and will continue to feign favor toward Israel until suddenly turning on her just before Gog/Magog invades Israel. They continue to disdain Israel’s growing confidence as a global power that is no longer the tail … forced to one concession after another by misguided peace plans of the past.

However, that is only their perception. And it is based mostly on envy by these nations concerning Israel’s achievements. It is not what modern-day Israel is really like. Her people simply want to live in peace but also want to live sovereignly in all the land promised to them by God. Israel and her leaders/people are proud of their accomplishments. The Deal of the Century gives them more confidence than ever, but they are not conceited. Nor is there any sense of superiority.

This will be Israel’s condition when that attack takes place. Effectively, this is Israel’s position as we speak. Which brings us that much closer to the Rapture.

When it comes to God’s sovereign plan for Israel in particular and humanity in general, there will be no flipping of a coin to determine by chance whether it (Israel) is heads or tails. Hundreds of Biblical prophecies have already come to pass and those yet to be fulfilled will surely happen.

What God says he will do, he always does. What he says will happen, always happens. Period.

End of story.

Things to Ponder

The Deal of the Century is NOT Middle East peace in our time.

Rather, it has and will continue to strengthen Israeli sovereignty in their own land at just the right time for last day’s prophecy to unfold in rapid-fire fashion. That’s exactly what’s taking place before the eyes of the watching world.

It is a giant leap toward establishing the specific setting of and in Israel just prior to the Rapture and the subsequent horrific seven-year tribulation—the early part of which will be the Gog/Magog attack against what soon could be an overconfident Israel.

Israel is undergoing a transformation that is preparing her to once again be the head of nations, just like God said would happen. Furthermore, Scripture is abundantly clear that the Messiah will rule and reign from Jerusalem, Israel.

Once again, God has delivered his people from the bondage of exile as he did through Moses long ago. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so you would no longer be their slaves. I broke the yoke of slavery from your neck so you can walk with your heads held high” (Leviticus 26:13).

In no way does that passage state or even imply that the Jews as individuals or Israel as a nation are condescending towards other people or countries. We’ve already read that God didn’t choose Abraham’s descendants to become a nation because they were exceptionally good or special. Instead, they became special, because he chose and blessed them. And, after hundreds of years of divine discipline to make them ready for the return of Messiah Jesus and their national redemption, they are again being blessed by the Lord as the head.

Later in that same chapter of Leviticus we read:

“But despite all this (God’s seven-times over discipline of Israel, which ended in 1967), I will not utterly reject or despise them while they are in exile in the land of their enemies. I will not cancel my covenant (referring to the Abrahamic covenant of the Promised Land not the Mosaic covenant of law) with them by wiping them out, for I am the Lord their God. For their sakes I will remember my ancient covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of all the nations, that I might be their God. I am the Lord” (Leviticus 26:44-45, parenthesis mine).

Regarding the New Covenant that replaced the Mosaic Covenant of Law, we read: “But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.

“If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it. But when God found fault with the people, he said: ‘…They did not remain faithful to my covenant, so I turned my back on them…. But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel… I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts (instead of stone tablets). I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Hebrews 8:6-10, parenthesis mine).

That New Covenant (of Grace) began with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

And it won’t be long before:

“All Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26).

Palestine or Israel? Which Is It? / Your Answer May Be In Jeopardy!

This week’s article begins with a personal confession.

I was once a Jeopardy junkie! Having watched the program often in the late 1970s and through the 1980s.

And, yes, I played the home version with family for years; clicker in hand ready to beat everyone else to the click (answer). Which must be in the form of a question, as the answer (clue) is already given in the six categories that constitute each of the first two rounds—Jeopardy and Double Jeopardy.

Straight from Wikipedia: “Jeopardy! is an American television game show created by Merv Griffin…. The original daytime version debuted on NBC on March 30, 1964 and aired until January 3, 1975…. The current version … produced by Sony Pictures Television, premiered on September 10, 1984.

“…The daily syndicated version has featured Alex Trebek as host and Johnny Gilbert as announcer … Jeopardy! has also gained a worldwide following with regional adaptations in many other countries.”

Though I no longer follow the T.V. game show or play the home version, two recent Jeopardy events grabbed my attention … big time.

First, the (fairly) recent announcement that Alex Trebek’s 36-year stint as host may be over soon. Sadly, he has Stage-4 pancreatic cancer. Then, an even more recent occurrence; one that made global headlines regarding one of the questions on the January 10th, 2020 episode of Jeopardy.

I want to give credit to my wonderful wife for bringing the second (now controversial) incident to my attention … having seen it on her Android phone. Thus, the lead-in to this week’s Eye of Prophecy post.

The Jeopardy category was: “Where’s that Church?” The $200.00 clue: “Built in the 300s A.D., the Church of the Nativity.”

First to buzz in was returning contestant Katie Needle. Her response: “What is Palestine?”

To which Alex replied, “Nope.”

Another contestant, Jack McGuire, answered correctly, “What is Israel?”

I recall telling my wife, “Good for Alex Trebek and Jeopardy. Israel is the correct answer … there has never been a state or country of Palestine, nor are there actual Palestinian territories within Israel.”

(Jeopardy Host, Alex Trebek)

Israel or Palestine? It’s been the subject of several Eye of Prophecy articles.

It’s time to talk about it again. If for no other reason than recent and sudden world flashpoint focus on this contentious issue … on a T.V. game show no less. One that need not be debated at all, if you know the facts of real history—rather than rewritten history by/of the Arabs (in and outside of Israel) who now call themselves Palestinians.

Consequently, it’s no surprise whatsoever that one of the dissenting tweets posted the very day of the show condemned Jeopardy’s original decision that Israel was the correct answer. Said Omar Baddar: “Unacceptable!! Bethlehem is in the Palestinian territories which Israel illegally occupies (Katie Needle got the correct answer & was robbed). Jeopardy owes an apology for endorsing Israel’s universally-condemned illegal takeover of Palestinian lands.”

Omar Baddar is the deputy director of the Arab American Institute, which is one of many virulent anti-Israel, anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic organizations that incessantly distort the Biblical and even the secular historical evidence of Israel and the “Palestinians.” What should be (but isn’t) startling is that his blatantly false narrative about “Palestinian territories and lands” is believed by much of the world, including many in the United States and particularly Europe. And (obviously) includes Jeopardy contestant Katie Needle.

(Note: Even if there were such a thing as Palestinian lands there has been no illegal takeover of said land by the Israelis. That will be made clear by the end of this week’s article)

Jeopardy’s Reversal

Alas, my compliment to Jeopardy for not only identifying (Bethlehem in) Israel as the correct answer but also incorporating such an answer/question in the first place, was premature. After researching the rest of the story, I discovered that Jeopardy (after a commercial break) had rescinded their decision; thereby, restoring points/dollars to Katie Needle and withdrawing points awarded to Jack McGuire for that question. With an explanation that the outcome of the contest was not influenced by that one question alone. I’m sure it wasn’t but that’s not the point.

In response to scathing criticism from the likes of Omar Baddar (and others), Jeopardy issued an apology: “In the process of taping this clue, ‘BUILT IN THE 300s A.D., THE CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY’ we became aware that the clue was flawed as written and that determining an acceptable response would be problematic. In accordance with our rules and in the interest of fairness, we voided the clue and threw it out… Unfortunately, through human error in post-production, the uncorrected version of the game was broadcast. We regret the error, and we will make every effort to ensure this never happens again.”

Seriously?

What was it that made the clue flawed?

Was it because the more direct question (answer) should have been, “What is Bethlehem?” Instead of Israel (or Palestine) … an indirect or secondary response. Which, however, were the responses of the contestants. Or was the flaw that of (as suggested by Jeopardy) failing to recognize—because they had not invested a little time in researching the fact that there has never been a Palestinian state or sovereign Palestinian territory—that nothing should/would be “problematic” about Israel as the sovereign location of Bethlehem from before the time of King David over 3,000 years ago and it’s Church of the Nativity (built in the 300s A.D.).

(Exterior complex of Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Israel)

(Interior of Nativity Church, showing designated site of Jesus’ birth)

Moreover, the only reason there are “Palestinians” in Israel is because the Arab non-citizens living there have identified themselves as such. For the express purpose of trying to convince (mislead) the watching world that the Israeli Jews—but also 1.9 million Arabs who are citizens of Israel—are “illegal occupiers” of land that belongs to Palestinians.

The only accurate and fair feature of that retraction was to leave the “A.D.” part of the clue intact. For that I give Jeopardy’s staff some credit. Until the 19th century, A.D. (along with B.C.) was the correct time-honored designation that separated time itself by the birth of Jesus Christ.

B.C. (before Christ) and A.D. (Latin anno domini for “in the year of our Lord”) has been secularly replaced in virtually all academic circles and daily print to B.C.E. (before the Common Era) and C.E. (Common Era). For the propagandized purpose and misguided motive of not offending anyone of another religion or the diehard secular among us.

Nevertheless, it wasn’t until after the turn of the 21st century that the secular designations began to replace the Messianic designations on a large scale. For example, the World Almanac edition of 2007 officially commissioned B.C.E. and C.E.

People can B.C.E and C.E. all they want. However, the birth, life, death, burial, and (especially) resurrection of Messiah Jesus was so pivotal in human history that virtually the entire world understood the reason for subsequently marking time itself by his arrival on this earth. It doesn’t matter that Jesus may have been born a couple of years before 1 A.D. What counts is that the entire world eventually recognized the monumental impact and magnificent influence that Jesus Christ has had on both the ancient and modern world.

The Apostle Paul who was miraculously changed (by a direct encounter with the risen Christ) from an uncompromising Pharisee out to arrest, imprison, and even kill the early Christians, to one who is considered the greatest apologist for the Christian faith (Biblical salvation) wrote about this enormous event in human history. For example:

“For there is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom (from sin and its eternal penalty) for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time. And I have been chosen as a preacher and apostle to teach the Gentiles this message about faith and truth. I’m not exaggerating—just telling the truth” (I Timothy 2:5-7, emphasis added, parenthesis mine).

So, kudos to Jeopardy for at least using the more definitive designation of A.D.

Still, they made an unnecessary apology on the alleged basis that it was “…in the interest of fairness, we voided the clue and threw it out.”

Fairness to whom? I’m not referring to the contestants; rather I’m deferring to the larger context of Israel vs. Palestine. Meaning the very existence of Israel. Is Israel, Israel? Or is it Palestine?

The answer will determine the legitimacy of all Israeli “settlements” no matter where they are located. The answer will determine whether Israeli Jews legally reside (occupying in the positive connotation of the concept) in Judea/Samaria—also called the West Bank for political purposes.

What is Palestine? And Who Is a Palestinian?

That heading is the title of an Eye of Prophecy article, posted 12-2-17. Before citing some of that article’s material, let’s do a brief review of Bethlehem, itself. In which the Church of the Nativity was built to commemorate the birthplace of (the Jewish) Jesus, prophesied by Micah over 700 years earlier.

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf” (Micah 5:2).

Where was Bethlehem (Ephrathah) located back then and where would it be when Messiah was born?

Easy answer: Judah.

Even after the ten northern tribes (called Israel) withdrew from the Davidic dynasty based in Israel’s capital of Jerusalem (two southern tribes known as Judah), Judah is synonymous and used interchangeably with Israel throughout the Bible and secular history. Or, even more specifically, in the region known as Judea/Samaria, which is central/southern Israel. Bethlehem is just a few miles south of Jerusalem, Israel. NOT PALESTINE.

(The “City of David” is Bethlehem, which was in Israel when Micah made his prophecy, in Israel when Jesus was born there, and is still in ISRAEL to this day!)

Bethlehem (Beit Lechem in Hebrew, meaning “house of bread”) is first mentioned in the Bible as the burial site of Jacob’s wife Rachel. “So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). Jacob set up a stone monument over Rachel’s grave…” (Genesis 35:19-20a, parenthesis in the text).

Bethlehem is one of the oldest towns in Israel and is also referenced in the Hebrew Old Testament books of Ruth, I Samuel, the Psalms, and in Micah as quoted earlier. And, of course, in the New Testament as the birthplace of Messiah Jesus.

Just because Bethlehem is currently under the jurisdictional supervision of the Palestinian Authority since the Oslo Accords of 1993, doesn’t mean that it (or any other city in Israel) is in Palestine. Nor is Bethlehem (or any other Israeli city) in Palestinian territories, which is a term that the Arabs (Palestinians) use in a geopolitical context to give the impression that the region of Judea/Samaria legally belongs in and to an entity called Palestine. Which doesn’t exist in the first place.

Nor, technically, is there such a person as a Palestinian. They are Arab non-citizens who live in Israel. Moreover, Israel has granted a large measure of self-governing authority to these non-citizens, i.e. the Palestinian Authority of Judea/Samara and Hamas of the Gaza Strip—who themselves are bitter rivals.

The Palestinians and those who support the Palestinian narrative want the world to believe that the demarcation lines between Israel proper and Areas A, B, & C (established in the 1993 Oslo Accords) of Judea/Samaria are actual borders. They are not. Meaning the kind of national borders established and recognized by neighboring nations. The true geographical boundaries of the Jewish State of Israel are with other sovereign countries—Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt.

Repeating for emphasis: There are no internal borders within Israel.

Instead they were simply armistice lines agreed to by the Israelis, even though Israel was victorious over her enemies in her 1948 War of Independence, and even more emphatically in the Six-Day War of 1967. Having reclaimed ALL Israel, including ALL of Jerusalem.

Because of international pressure, Israel agreed to these truce lines.

The following (in italics) is an excerpt from What is Palestine? And Who Is a Palestinian? One of several Eye of Prophecy articles written about Israel’s sovereignty as a nation in contrast to a Palestine that simply doesn’t exist—as a nation or even a so-called territory.

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; 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.

…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.

Though not surprising (considering the source), it’s still incredulous that the director for the Arab American Institute, Omar Baddar, blatantly and wrongly asserts that “Bethlehem is in the Palestinian territories which Israel illegally occupies.” And perplexing that many throughout the world simply accept that statement and others like it as fact … refusing to learn or even consider the authentic history of Israel.

Yet, that small slice of land on this planet is far too much for the Arabs to concede to the Jews; even though Arab/Muslim nations adjacent to and surrounding Israel far exceed Israel in land mass and population.

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

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. 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.

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.

Concerning Jewish settlements in Israel, the following 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 hostile toward Israel and silently endorsed (if not instigated) by outgoing U.S. President Obama at the time, as a parting shot to Israel and particularly Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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 (or Bethlehem per today’s article). 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 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….

Bethlehem and Areas A, B, & C of Judea/Samaria (so-called West Bank)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ has repetitively announced his intention to evict all Jewish residents from the entire expanse of any future Palestinian State. If that’s not ethnic cleansing, then what is?

And, of course, he’s demanding that all of Judea/Samaria be included in that state, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Jerusalem (any major city) with two capitals? No way would that work, any more than and certainly not as long as East Berlin & West Berlin lasted.

In stark contrast, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated his pledge in a statement earlier this month that the Israeli government, “…will not allow the uprooting of any community, Jewish or Arab, under any peace plan. The principles are simple. Israel has and will continue to have security control west of Jordan, Jerusalem will never be divided, and settlements will not be uprooted.”

In another statement, Netanyahu said that Israel has always had the right of sovereignty over Judea Samaria. It’s just that they haven’t exercised that full right. But it’s time to do so.

(Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Still actively leading Israel, doing what needs to be done concerning both domestic and foreign policy, despite lack of a majority coalition government from the past two Israeli elections)

(Note: Sovereignty doesn’t mean suppression. Rather, it’s a democratic due-process geopolitical, socioeconomic, and military guaranteed security and sanctuary of a nation’s inhabitants.)

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman had earlier stated: “the Pompeo Doctrine does not resolve the conflict over Judea and Samaria, but it does move the goalposts back onto the field. It does not obfuscate the very real issue that two million or more Palestinians reside in Judea and Samaria … The Pompeo Doctrine says clearly that Israelis have a right to live in Judea and Samaria. But it doesn’t say Palestinians don’t. Rather, it calls for a practical negotiated resolution of the conflict that improves lives on both sides.”

Mike Pompeo had previously said (what is now termed the Pompeo Doctrine): “We’re recognizing that these settlements don’t inherently violate international law. That’s important. We’re disavowing the deeply flawed 1978 Hansell memo, and we’re returning to a balanced and sober Reagan-era approach.”

(Please refer to Eye of Prophecy article: Jewish Settlements in Judea/Samaria … Are They Illegal? Posted 11-23-19)

Here is an excerpt from another Eye of Prophecy article, Judea/Samaria & Gaza Strip / Who Has Sovereignty? Published 5-11-19. In italics:

Though I consider myself informed about Israel and what’s happening there and in the Middle East, when it comes to some of the “land logistics” (especially in Judea/Samaria), I’m no expert. However, the experts have already said that it would be a logistical nightmare to realign the already apportioned areas in the West Bank designated as A, B, & C. This is especially the case for the eastern part of Jerusalem.

But I know enough to with a great deal of certainty present the following facts on the ground obstacles to anything approaching a practical two-state option. It would be an unworkable solution to an already misunderstood problem (the root thereof) that would create a problem far greater and more dangerous than the existing status quo.

I then presented four reasons why a Two-State Solution won’t work.

Then later in that article:

Once again, national sovereign rights belong to citizens of the nation in question. The existence of a Palestinian State was not then nor is now. With, as being discussed, the creation of which would be calamitous for both the Jews and Arabs. Instead, all the Palestinians need do is apply for Israeli citizenship just as 1.9 million of their fellow-Arabs have that citizenship.

IT’S REALLY THAT SIMPLE … unlike a thorny two-state option. But inevitably, it’s a matter of the heart. Of seriously and sincerely wanting to live in peace with the Jews, not to eradicate them or eliminate the State of Israel.

Concluding with:

Another reason for Netanyahu’s proposal to officially exercise (administrative) sovereignty over Area C is in the event (albeit remote) a Palestinian state is created, which would include the portion of this area crucial to Israeli security, especially the Jordan Valley. Nor will Israel consider dismantling Jewish communities in Area C, causing massive displacement of hundreds of thousands of Jews. It just isn’t going to happen. Netanyahu’s sovereignty promise was a public statement of that fact.

…As author Victor Rosenthal recently wrote in an article posted by the online news source Jewish News Syndicate: “Netanyahu’s decision to extend Israeli law to the settlements in Area C would not have any effect whatever on Palestinians living under the control of the PA, and it does not change the status of the territories in which they are located.”

It occurred to me while writing this week’s article: In prior Eye of Prophecy posts pertaining to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, I don’t recall identifying the three areas into which Judea/Samaria (West Bank) was apportioned by the Oslo Accords that began in 1993.

Since Victor Rosenthal has done it for me, here is another excerpt from his article:

“When Israel and the PLO signed the Oslo Accords in 1993-95, they agreed to divide Judea and Samaria into Areas A, B, and C. Area A was under Palestinian security control and civil control, Area B (much smaller) under Palestinian civil control and Israeli security control, and Area C under full Israeli control. Area C contains all Jewish communities. More than 95% of the Palestinian population lives in area A and B, where they are governed by the Palestinian Authority (PA). While it is true that Israel’s security forces reserve the right to enter area A to arrest wanted terrorists, Palestinians have civil and political rights granted by the PA to vote and hold political office (such as it is … my comment). There are Palestinian courts and Palestinian police, Palestinian ministries of health, finance, labor, etc. It’s hardly fair to blame Israel for the fact that the PA is corrupt and dictatorial and hasn’t held an election for years.”

Ultimately it doesn’t matter what city of Israel is in what area (A, B, or C or the rest of Israel).

Because ALL Israel belongs to the State of Israel, which has the nation-state right of sovereign control.

Summary

The following includes but is not limited to the pivotal points and primary principles why ALL Israel inherently, historically, morally, geopolitically, and legally belongs to Israelis:

Balfour Declaration of 1917: An internationally recognized doctrine that gave Diaspora Jews the right and opportunity to return from exile to the Promised Land of Israel. In fact, PA President Mahmoud Abbas has periodically ranted against the legitimacy of this declaration, even though it was officially endorsed by the League of Nations in July 1922 which established the British Mandate.

UN Resolution of 1947: By a convincing margin, the United Nations passed a resolution granting the Jews (and Arabs) the dual right to form a state when the British Mandate expired for the region referred to as Palestine. The Arabs refused to consider a state west of (Trans)Jordan alongside a Jewish state and out-of-hand rejected this (at the time) two-state solution.

Israel’s Statehood Declared May 14, 1948: The very next day, large armies from five Arab countries attacked the newborn state of Israel with the avowed goal of annihilating the Jewish State. Against all odds, Israel won her War of Independence.

Six-Day War & Yom Kippur War: Although Israel preemptively struck first in June 1967, it was crystal clear to the entire world that Syria and Egypt (later joined by Jordan) were about to attack Israel again. Israel won this war in incredible fashion, considered to be one of the greatest military victories of all time … in only six days! In doing so, Israel reclaimed (liberated) the entire land mass of Israel, including Judea/Samaria, Gaza Strip, Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. And yes, Bethlehem! It is an internationally accepted principle that any country that is victorious in a war of self-defense (at the cost of the blood and lives of both soldiers and civilians) has the right to possess and develop the land occupied and/or used by its enemies who had launched or were preparing to launch an attack.

Again in 1973, Egypt and Syria attacked Israel. Again, they were defeated in an even bloodier war than 1967.

Oslo Accords of 1993: Israel agreed to extend in varying measures Palestinian control of certain areas of Judea/Samaria, as previously explained in today’s article. It was at that time that the Palestinian Authority was created. But on condition that the Palestinians negotiate with Israel the actual land area further; that they also cease and desist from terrorist attacks against Israelis. The Palestinians have done neither. For all intents and purposes, the Oslo Accords are now a relic of history … an agreement that should never have been made in the first place. One that then Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat never intended to honor. Nor have the Palestinians officially recognized the right for the sovereign state of Israel to even exist … as a Jewish nation-state.

(The now iconic photo of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, US President Bill Clinton, and PLO Leader Yasser Arafat)

United States Action to Recognize Israeli Sovereignty: Through President Trump’s initiative, the U.S. Embassy has been relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; Israel’s prior annexation of the Golan Heights officially recognized; the Deal of the Century partially announced with the rest of this peace plan still pending release; and most recently America declaring that Jewish communities in Judea/Samaria are legal. Because that region is an integral part (the very heartland) of Israel. Not in Palestine. Why: Because the state of Palestine doesn’t exist. And unless/until it does, nothing in Bethlehem or any part of Israel is in Palestine or Palestinian territory.

Things to Ponder

The greatest reason of all for Israel’s sovereignty over the entire breadth of the Promised Land comes first and foremost from the only true and living God. Listen to Him:

“Then another message came to me from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: ‘My love for Mount Zion is passionate and strong; I am consumed with passion for Jerusalem! And now the Lord says: I am returning to Mount Zion and I will live in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City; the mountain of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will be called the Holy Mountain … Once again old men and women will walk Jerusalem’s streets with their canes and will sit together in the city squares. And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls at play” (Zechariah 8:1-5).

Jerusalem (and Bethlehem) are the heart and soul of Israel and the Christian faith, respectively. As Jerusalem goes, so goes Israel. As Israel goes, so goes the world. That has been God’s plan from the beginning—choosing Abraham to father the Jewish nation through the promised child Isaac … not Ishmael.

The final stages of this Divine promise are being fulfilled in our generation and will be experienced fully upon Messiah’s return to Israel. He will step foot on the Mount of Olives directly across the Kidron Valley from Temple Mount in Jerusalem!

Soon, thereafter, he will occupy Jerusalem!

And after that: “People from many nations will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.’ For the Lord’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. The Lord will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore” (Isaiah 2:3-4).

Removing Christ From Christmas … What Are The Consequences?

Christmas has come and gone … 10 days ago.

So why am I posting a Christmas article the first week of the new year … 2020!

Let me explain.

From the Thought of the Day in the Almanac section of the December 24th, 2019 Arizona Republic newspaper (yes, I read it daily!), I found the following quote: “Christmas comes, but once a year is enough.”

Though most quotations are from well-known individuals, this one was labeled an American proverb. One that I had never seen before; thus, I have no idea how old it is or how many Americans have heard it. Or how many agree with it. If they do agree, to what extent?

On the other hand, that doesn’t really matter; the reality is all too evident in our increasingly secularized society. A post-modern world so politically correct that we risk frowns and sometimes even contempt if we say Merry Christmas in mixed company.

By mixed company, I’m referring to the agnostics and atheists among us; to those of other religions and cultures who want nothing to do with Jesus Christ, and certainly not his claim that he is the (only) Way to God the Father. That salvation from our sins and pardon from the penalty thereof is possible only by believing and receiving him as Personal Savior.

Or those who claim that: (1) Separation of church and state is found in the United States Constitution … it is not; (2) Consequently, there should be no reason to commemorate Christmas with any “religious” overtones or symbols.

What’s your take on this proverb? Do you know anyone who feels that way about Christmas? Do you?

Because of the pressures of the season—buying presents, decorating trees, stringing lights, entertaining relatives, preparing extravagant meals—is it a relief that Christmas comes only once a year? After all, life is stressful enough; the notion of celebrating such a demanding holiday more than once a year would be….

Until I read this American proverb, I wasn’t going to write an article about Christmas (last year 2019). That and reading the results of a research survey conducted by OnePoll in Great Britain, reposted in the Christian Post. One geared to the generation that has been given the tag of Millennials.

As follows: nearly 40% of Britons in the 21-28 age group could not identify the baby in Christmas Nativity displays. Nor could they name Joseph or Mary. And less than 10% knew the three gifts (gold, frankincense, and myrrh) from the Magi.

This phenomenon is a clear-cut indication of the of the anti-Christian culture that has become prevalent throughout Europe. And it’s catching on in the United States of America. So much so that many in the Western world prefer that such scenes not be displayed publicly (or even privately) at all.

Sadly, for many, Christmas would be more tolerable without reminiscing, let alone cherishing, the true Christmas story. Others ostensibly celebrate the birth of a world-famous baby without knowing why that child came to humanity. Nor do they really care. No need to remember who or what the season is all about. Just do Christmas and when it’s over, sigh: I’m glad it only comes once a year.

What Child Is This?

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us… (Isaiah 9:6a).

This amazing prophecy was referring distinctly to Israel’s Messiah, who also would be the Messiah to the Gentiles as declared in Isaiah 49:6 and other passages.

None other than Jesus of Nazareth, born in a lowly manger, “…whose origins are in the distant past” (Micah 5:2).

He is the Son of God, Son of David, and (as Jesus often referred to himself) Son of Man. Indeed, he is THE UNIVERSAL SON of mankind. Yet, he is also divine, conceived by the Holy Spirit. Only Jesus was qualified to be the perfect (sinless life) substitutionary sacrifice to forgive sin and make us right with God.

“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).

Continuing with Isaiah 9:6-7: “…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!”

Although this week’s article is (slightly) post-Christmas, I’d like to think it’s timeless—appropriate for any time of the year. Especially to our younger generation, those in their teens and twenties and even thirties. Every generation has its unique set of problems, depending on national and international military, political, cultural, and economic changes, challenges, and crisis. And, as I’ve stated in several prior articles (tracking Biblical prophecy with 20th & 21st century events and ongoing developments), we are surely living in the last days of the end times.

The waning importance and impact of Christmas didn’t happen overnight. It began with my generation.

As a Bible Scholar, I’ve studied extensively and intensively the Scriptures (particularly prophecy) and secular history. Neither two World Wars nor the Great Depression of the 1930s led to the kind of spiritual complacency and moral decay (a direct result of secular humanism mentality) that has mushroomed in the last 50 years or so—particularly the past decade. Yet, the increasing indifference and (sometimes) hostility toward the real meaning of Christmas is not just about Christmas itself. It is a symptomatic tip-of-the-iceberg spectacle that represents the perplexing apathy and antagonism for the light of God’s truth found only in His Word—the Bible.

We’ve lost our innocence. No stronger proof of which is the disrespect harbored and expressed by old and young alike towards authority and toward each other.

Polarization is the buzz word in today’s hostile world. Conservative (Republican) / Liberal (Democrat); Old / Young; Male / Female; Rich / Poor; and White vs. Person of Color.

Here’s what the Apostle Paul wrote as a mentor to a young believer, Timothy, concerning the end times. Notice that Paul doesn’t talk about geopolitical rivalries, national or international conflicts, or cultural and racial differences. Rather, he cites the spiritual condition of the final (Omega) generation, focusing mostly, but not entirely, on the youth.

“You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred (such as the Christ of Christmas). 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 with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly (the power of God’s salvation to change their heart and revere the Christ of Christmas). Stay away from people like that!” (II Timothy 3:1-5, parenthesis mine as pertaining the symptomatic suppression of the Christ in the current Christmas mindset of many).

Then, in stark contrast, Paul encourages Timothy: “But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. 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 3:14-16).

Messiah Jesus’s Mission

In both letters to Timothy, the Apostle Paul reminded him of who Jesus was/is and why he came to this earth. In every one of these passages, we could easily insert a parenthetical commentary to the effect: It all began with the birth of Christ. We must never forget that. Remember why he came and what he has done and will do for all who place their faith in him.

For example: “This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…’” (I Timothy 1:15).

“Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For, there is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom (from sin and its penalty) for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time” (I Timothy 2:2-6, italics for emphasis, parenthesis mine).

And what a time that was!

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire…. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David (so was Mary), he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son…” (Luke 2:1-6, emphasis added, parenthesis mine).

You know the rest of the story … don’t you!? It’s the epic Christmas Chronicle; the beginning of the Greatest Story ever told.

Back to Paul and Timothy.

Regarding Messiah’s return (second coming), Paul again emphasizes the timing of it: “For, at just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords” (I Timothy 6:15).

In his second letter to Timothy, Paul writes: “For God saved us and called us to live a holy (set apart) life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News” (II Timothy 1:9-10, parenthesis mine).

From before time began, God conceived a perfect plan for what he knew would become fallen humanity. At the ideal time, that plan was set into motion with the awesome birth of God’s Son. The perfect timing of his birth changed the very keeping of time … from B.C. to A.D. Thus, altering the course of human history by conquering death through his remarkable resurrection from the grave.

“Always remember that Jesus Christ, a descendent of King David was raised from the dead. This is the good news I preach” (II Timothy 2:8).

Christmas is the beginning, but not the end of the story. So, let’s not leave baby Jesus in the manager. Let’s not let our nights (and days) be silent just because Christmas is over for another year. Let’s sing and shout (or at least remember) Joy to the World, the Lord has come. Let earth receive her King! (Personally, I could sing that song anytime of the year—say, the 4th of July!)

Let’s fully acknowledge, appreciate, and apportion (share) the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ—the New Covenant of salvation through faith in God’s gracious gift. Which began with the birth of Messiah Jesus. He is the child born to us; the son given to us.

In the last chapter of Paul’s final letter before he was executed during Nero’s reign, he writes:

“I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he comes to set up his Kingdom: Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching….” (II Timothy 4:1-3a).

Those who are more familiar with older translations of the Bible, such as the New American Standard will recognize verse two as: “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season…”

The deeper repercussion and more serious problem of Christmas without Christ is that it can and has adversely affected every season of our individual and national lives. Many no longer need or want God in their lives. They no longer acknowledge his sovereignty or seek his counsel. They ignore his precious promises and powerful prophecies concerning Messiah Jesus, that have and will continue to shape our destiny. They consider things 20 years ago as irrelevant, let alone 2,000 years ago. Nothing is timeless to them.

What do I mean by a Christ-less Christmas affecting every season of our lives, including other significant Holidays? I’ll answer that with a couple of excerpts from an Eye of Prophecy article posted on 12-20-14. Entitled: Merry Christmas … What’s It All About?

As follows (in italics):

Stay with me; you know what I’m saying. It isn’t whether we use the word happy or merry. It’s that word, Christmas that causes all the fuss. Shhh not so loud.

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. A person is compelled to say something meaningful when they hit their thumb with a hammer. Right?

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.

PC is the Password

…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. In fact, the very name of Christ and Christmas is an embarrassment to many. It’s just not politically correct.

…According to those who dislike, even detest the name of Jesus Christ, or perhaps the less adamant who, nevertheless, don’t want to offend anyone else of a different religion, wouldn’t it be better just to omit any reference to Jesus Christ during Christmas? (Shhh … not so loud).

Do Muslims or non-Muslims whisper when they say Mohammed or Ramadan? Jews or non-Jews when they utter Moses or Hanukkah? Since whispering doesn’t fit with all the sights of Frosty the Snowman, smells of roasting chestnuts, and sounds of Jingle Bells, many simply change the real meaning of and reason for Christmas not necessarily by speaking softly and carrying a big peppermint stick. Rather, by replacing a simple but intensely meaningful, joyful, and hope-filled greeting with a ho-hum, humdrum, monotonous, “Happy Holidays.” We have no problem with Happy Valentine, but “Merry Christmas” creates real issues. (I know … not so loud).

Simple solution isn’t it: Just say Happy Holidays. And presto, no more infringement on all those who champion the cause of tolerance, of broad-mindedness, of acceptance. Oops … except for the Christians. But then, non-Christians have no obligation whatsoever to be tolerant of Christians. After all, aren’t Christians the most intolerant people ever to walk the face of the earth? They are so inconsiderate because they believe that Christ came to this earth to die for their sins, to save them from hell; that he arose from the dead to prove that he was telling the truth—that he is the majestic Son of God—that only he can bring light and peace to a dark and troubled world? That’s about as exclusively one-sided as you can get.

Then a little later in that article:

Yet, the only way a tolerant person can be truly tolerant is to first be selectively intolerant of whoever or whatever they think is intolerant. Did you get that? If not, who can blame you? Because that is how intolerably unenlightened the logic is of those who contend (pretend) that tolerance should trump all other world views no matter that tolerance in the extreme leads only to intolerance. Meaning that if just one person or group of people disagrees with you; then for the sake of tolerance at all costs, you must make an exception and be intolerant of those dissenting views. If someone didn’t get that, then they’re not as tolerantly open-minded as they think.

What’s the use …? I give up. I’m going to be PC and wish you a very Happ….

Wrong. Make that a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

For you see

It occurs to me

That we can make something else

Of this thing called PC.

Positively Christian!

Yes, I’m borrowing a lot from that article … nevertheless, let’s continue:

Without Jesus, is there really any reason whatsoever to celebrate Christmas? …Why bother to put Christmas lights on something once known as a Christmas tree? Why take the time to fight the crowds in order to do something as frustrating as Christmas shopping? Why on earth would anyone want to send greetings of good will and cheer on something as archaic as a Christmas card? Who in their right mind would be so cheeky as to sing irrelevant Christmas carols like Joy to the World, when Frosty the Snowman can accompany us all the way to our Holiday shopping spree and back?

…So, let me get this straight: It’s still (PC) appropriate to give and receive gifts, but don’t say Merry Christmas to the clerk who just wrapped the gifts you purchased for your children and your spouse. After the sale, be polite and wish her Happy Holidays; which is what she said to you after taking your money. And when opening the gifts under the Holiday tree, certainly don’t wish your child a Merry Christmas. He could get the wrong impression: that the gift opened might just represent and be in remembrance of the greatest gift of all time—God’s own Son as a ransom for our redemption. We can still put up lights … preferably holiday lights. But no nativity scenes anywhere in public places. God forbid: Someone might be offended or get the wrong impression that this Holiday is truly holy… instead of just another holiday.

Sorry, did I say God forbid. How careless. You know what I meant to say: Would the man upstairs please overlook my outdated, irrelevant, presumptuous, intolerant notion that Christmas ever existed in the first place. Or if it did, it has no relevance whatsoever in today’s post-modern existential, expedient, politically correct society that tolerates anything and everything except one thing: The Name of Christ or anything or anyone that bears His name. Whatever is thought, said, or done: don’t say that name or anything that reminds the world who he is.

…I happen to love Israel, love the Jewish people, and love the Jewish Savior who is Jewish through and through. But even if I didn’t, I have no problem with Happy Hanukkah. I do, however, have a problem with Happy Holidays. It’s more than just semantics. It’s a deliberate politically correct, socially expedient substitution for the very essence of my faith and the faith of millions of others who have trusted in what God’s Son did for us and the whole human race; starting with his miraculous birth (Christmas), culminating in his miraculous resurrection from the dead (Easter resurrection day).

For one thing, we have plenty of Happy Holidays throughout the year.

What’s so wrong with the one time of year that incorporates the very best of all those holidays into the most precious, powerful, and profitable sequence of events ever to hit the human race: The birth, life, death, and resurrection of Messiah Jesus.

So Then, How Is It Possible to Leave Jesus Christ Out of Christmas?

Marginalizing or (worse) ignoring the fact that Christ Jesus is the one and only real reason for a Christmas season is both cause and effect of spiritual blindness and deafness to such truths as: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).

I’m not talking about a state religion or a religious state that seeks to legislate morality. Please see Eye of Prophecy articles, Separation of Church and State, Part I & Part II (April 2016) for what I believe is a balanced view of that ever-present issue.

In fact, if you know anything at all about the Bible, you’ll find that the Lord abhors all man-made religions. Reason: all religions have one thing in common. They seek to appease or please God (or their own man-made god, such as Allah) through their self-worth or good deeds.

Whereas, Biblical redemption declares:

Man-made religions and cults say: Do what our religion says to do, and you just might make it.

God’s salvation says: It’s been done … just believe and receive the One who did for us what we cannot possibly do for ourselves.

Thus, the Christian faith is NOT a religion. It is a relationship with Messiah Jesus who came to us in human form through a divine birth. How, then, is it possible that Christ can be (has been) removed from Christmas by so many?

For a nation—via governmental restrictions or regulations—to disparage or deny or even to downgrade what the true and living God considers to be the most significant event of human history (life, death, resurrection of His Son, beginning with his birth) is to jeopardize and eventually forfeit God’s blessings on that nation, as expressed in the truth and principles of the Bible.

Such as: “Trust in the Lord and do good (we do good because we’ve been redeemed, not in order to get saved). Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you… Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act…” (Psalm 37:3-7a, italics for emphasis, parenthesis mine).

Yes, the Lord blesses and honors people and nations whose God is The Lord.

“Put your hope in the Lord. Travel steadily along his path. He will honor you by giving you the land. You will see the wicked destroyed” (Psalm 37:34).

The United States of America was clearly a gift from God to honor those who came to this land seeking freedom to worship God and begin a new life built on the Judeo/Christian heritage. He blessed this nation with that freedom and great abundance. It amazes me that so many in today’s America (indeed, the whole world) have forgotten or never recognized this correlation between honoring God and being honored and blessed in return.

There’s another practical principle of God’s blessing in Scripture. One that pertains to treatment of the Jews and Israel—chosen by God to bring us the Scriptures and the Living Word … Messiah Jesus (John 1:1): Those who bless Israel will, in turn, be blessed. And those who curse Israel…. (Genesis 12).

Removing Christ from Christmas is another sign of eliminating God from our national conscience. Doing either can lead to loss of God’s provisions and protection. Most of all … his presence.

Why? Because God the Father’s magnificent plan for humanity—individually and corporately—is centered in his Son’s extraordinary life (teaching and miracles), substitutionary sacrificial death, and astounding resurrection from the dead. And it all began with Jesus’s miraculous birth—the very heart of Christmas.

What every person does about Jesus Christ will determine their eternal destiny—heaven or hell. God allows no neutrality when it comes to his Son. You either believe and receive Christ as personal Savior or you don’t. Moreover, this life on earth is the only time given to us to make that decision. After we die, it’s too late.

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle John also wrote:

“And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life. I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know (not just think or hope, but know beyond any doubt) you have eternal life” (I John 5:11-13, parenthesis mine).

Here is the final excerpt from, Merry Christmas … What’s It All About?

Jesus is the Reason for Every Season!

New Year’s: An exciting time for all to contemplate a new start … to be better, to do better.

Jesus, himself, the giver of second chances, of a new beginning, a new life … everlasting. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (II Corinthians 5:17). In the next to last chapter of the Bible, God said to John: “Look, I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5).

Martin Luther King Day: A champion of racial equality, of equal opportunity for all.

In Christ, all are equal. There is absolutely no discrimination by Christ. Yes, his salvation is exclusive, because he is the only way to God and everlasting life (Acts 4:12). But he and his message are also unconditionally inclusive to ALL who believe and receive him. “For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26 & 28).

Valentine’s Day: Love makes the world go around. “Would you be my valentine?” we plead.

Concerning true everlasting love and life, we need only ask, “Jesus, would you be my Savior?”

God IS Love. “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).

Memorial Day: Brave men and woman fought and gave their lives to help us preserve freedom from tyranny and oppression.

Christ gave his life to free us from sin which produces tyranny and cruelty and all that is wrong with humanity.

“The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit” (Romans 8:3-4).

And so, we remember what Christ said and did: “He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.’ 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 22:19-20).

Independence Day (4th of July): A constitutional body founded on the profound principle of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We salute a flag that symbolizes a vibrant government of the people, by the people, and for the people. “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands. One nation indivisible, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”

Even greater is the body of Christ, as Paul writes to the believers in Corinth: “The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit” (I Corinthians 12:12-13).

Christ has great power to change the world, one redeemed heart at a time. Listen to the Apostle Paul, “I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself” (Ephesians 1:19-23).

Labor Day: Each year we set aside this day to rest from our weary labor that provides for our families.

But Christ is our ultimate rest … a respite from the unnecessary struggle to gain salvation through good works. From the guilt of sin, from the uncertainty of death. “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light’” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Thanksgiving: The Pilgrims and founding fathers were immensely grateful to God for his providence and provisions in sustaining them through troubled times of testing and trials.

Without Christ’s willingness to come to this world he created, take on human form, and then die for the horrible things that everyone has done (some more than others but God doesn’t grade on a curve), we all would be helpless and hopeless.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NASB, italics for emphasis).

And don’t forget Easter. For those who place their trust in Christ, that day represents the first day of the rest of their lives … life that goes on and on and on, ad infinitum. Unless Christ rose from the dead, there would be no hope of our resurrection from the grave. And a Merry Christmas—any kind of Christmas—would have no meaning at all.

Mother’s Day. Father’s Day. Pick a holiday … any other holiday not listed here. And you’ll find that Jesus can also be the reason for that season.

Things to Ponder

We are just a few days past that time of the year.

Did you miss it?

Many might say: “Of course, I didn’t miss it. Put up a tree, strung some lights, listened to holiday music, exchanged presents, ate everything in sight. It was okay, but I’m glad it’s over.”

Let me put it another way: Did you miss Him? Did you even think about Jesus? Did you speak his name aloud?

“Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven” (Hebrews 1:1-3).

“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).

We all have a choice:

“But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved….” (Joel 2:32).

What say you about the Christ of Christmas?

(A belated) MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Happy New Year

Superhuman Bodies for Believers / How & Why?

“Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound!”

Who could do such things?

“Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird. It’s a plane.”

If you’re a Baby Boomer, then you know.

“It’s Superman!”

I fully realize that late 20th century and (now) 21st century movie and television technology make the original Adventures of Superman seem … well, comical. And considering the dazzling special effects that we’ve grown accustomed to in our viewing pleasure, it’s natural to trivialize that television series with its low-budget feeble attempt to make Superman fly, burst through (flimsy) walls, and twist (toy) guns into pretzels.

On the other hand, millions of children were captivated by the idea of our comic book hero appearing on the magical medium of its time—Television.

“Yes, it’s Superman … strange visitor from another planet who came to earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Who can change the course of mighty rivers; bend steel with his bare hands…”

Those captivating words grabbed our attention at the outset of each episode. In fact, the introduction often exceeded and even saved the mundane show itself. I don’t want to admit it but will anyway: Although looking them up just to be sure, I had remembered verbatim the opening to every show!

Introduced in September 1952 when television was still in its infancy, the Adventures of Superman lasted until April 1958. The very next year George Reeves (who played Superman) died from a gunshot wound to his head. The official report ruled his death as a suicide; that he had been depressed over his, “failed career.” However, there are those to this day who believe he was murdered … only 45 years old when he died.

Naturally, we’re talking about a fictional person played by Reeves; a character that began with the original comic book superhero. Still, how ironic that Reeves’ main claim to fame was as an actor who portrayed the “man of steel.” A super man (Superman) who, for all intents and purposes, was indestructible. With powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men.

These are the kind of superhuman powers that people can only dream about … science fiction fantasy found in comic books, novels, radio, movies, and television.

Fast forward to 1978 when the first of several blockbuster movies simply entitled Superman was released, starring Christopher Reeve (eerily similar last name to George Reeves). The special effects of those movies were stunning … state of the art at the time. As were the Star Wars films released during the same period. Plus, Christopher Reeve’s portrayal was much more what we wanted and expected Superman to be.

Oddly, Christopher Reeve was born in 1952, a few days after the first T.V. episode of Superman aired.

Tragically, in 1995, he was dramatically disabled in the prime of life when he fell from his horse during an Equestrian event. Rendered a quadriplegic, Reeve was barely able to survive until his eventual death in 2004—at the age of 52. Which is also a taste of irony—considering his real-life physical features. And, of course, his portrayal of the extraordinary (but fictional) exploits of Superman whose immortality was a foregone conclusion.

From Fiction to Fact!

Alas, death brings an end to it all. To the most gifted athletes on this planet whose physical skills are substantially beyond those of the average person, so much so that we pay to watch them perform. Also, to the authors and artists and actors and directors and producers who create and immortalize our legendary super men and super women.

And so, people the world over wonder: “Is that all there is (to life)?” Only what we can think, read, or dream about? Only what’s not (really) real?

Not according to the Bible, the very Word of God. There’s more … much more!

There’s life after death. There’s a real body in which life will be forever lived and a real place where only that body can live … heaven. And there’s a person who has proved there is such an existence, because he has now and forever a supernatural body—immortal, indestructible.

Though Messiah Jesus was/is fully God and existed as the Son of God before the beginning of time, he came into this world as a human being; conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a Virgin. A miracle birth, but a birth, nonetheless. God Incarnate. Immanuel … God with us. A baby who grew as a child into manhood, but in a body that needed food, water, and sleep. Fully human.

Yet, he could do things that no mortal man has ever done. Real-life feats that can only be imitated through works of fiction and Superman-like fantasies. One way or another, Jesus’s miracles were accomplished by the power and authority to change the course of nature. To transcend the natural. Turning water into wine—his very first miracle. Walking on water, itself.

When he silenced a great storm on the Sea of Galilee, his disciples fully realized that this was no ordinary man. In fact, he was extraordinary.

“…The disciples were terrified and amazed. ‘Who is this man?’ they asked each other. ‘When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him?’” (Luke 8:25).

He was/is the authentic Super Man.

Synonyms for Super: Wonderful, Great, Marvelous, Tremendous, Superb, Outstanding, Superior.

Super: “over and above; higher in quantity, quality, or degree than; more than (superhuman) … situated or placed above, on, or at the top of; superior in status, title, or position” (Webster’s Dictionary).

Jesus healed the deformed and terminally ill; cast out demons; caused the lame to walk, the dumb to talk, the deaf to hear, and the blind to see with but a word of his mouth or a touch of his hand. Instantly they were cured. No complicated medical treatment or surgery or drug therapy—much of which is still ineffective against certain diseases even in our post-modern world.

Still, those supernaturally healed by Jesus eventually died. Even those that Jesus raised from the dead had to die again. Same thing with Elijah and Elisha, each raising a young boy from the dead as recorded in the Old Testament. Or the Apostles Peter and Paul (through the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus) after Jesus returned to heaven.

DEATH: Therein lies the problem (pun intended).

The few times in history when someone was raised from the dead, it was a demonstration that death itself could be overcome. And only the Triune God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) had that kind of power, because it was God who created life. But complete and conclusive victory over death must be accomplished once and for all.

Also, that which causes death must (first) be dealt with once and for all—Sin.

That’s why Messiah Jesus came to this earth. To solve the problem of sin and death, through death itself—a substitutionary, sacrificial atonement for the sins of every person who has ever lived. With only one thing required of us by God—believe in Christ and humbly receive him as our personal Savior (John 6:29). Recognizing that he did for us what we could never do for ourselves.

We have eternal life the nanosecond that we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord. Our dead (to God) human spirit is instantly given life and we immediately become “citizens of heaven.” But in order to live forever in heaven, we also will be given the same immortal body in which Jesus arose from the dead and ascended to heaven. First there is eternal spiritual life; then a never-ending spiritual body to complete so great a salvation.

Yet, even Jesus’s death on the cross in payment of the penalty of our sins wasn’t enough to conquer death. If he had remained in the grave like all those before him and after him, then there would be no proof that Jesus was different from any other person—religious or otherwise. Despite his amazing teachings and astounding miracles, he would have been just an ordinary mortal man.

He would not have been a Super Man.

Moreover, his claim that he was the Son of God and that he would rise from the dead on the third day would have been nothing more than idle boasts had he remained in the grave. Worse, God’s marvelous promise of redemption and eternal life for all who believe and receive His Son would have been nullified. No one would or could be saved from the penalty of their sins, let alone spend eternity with God.

Praise God. “He isn’t here (in his tomb)! He is risen from the dead!” (Luke 24:6).

Resurrection!

Jesus did the one thing that no other man or woman had ever done: RESURRECTION.

Not the raising from the dead only to die again as occurred a few times in the Bible (history).

Rather, a once-for-all permanent resurrection! With a new body that is truly imperishable.

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

Here’s how the Apostle Paul explained it to the believers in Corinth, some of whom doubted there was such a thing as bodily resurrection:

“And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless, and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost!” (I Corinthians 15:16-18).

Obviously, Paul was speaking of a physical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. In the early verses of this same chapter, Paul reminded the believers that: “…Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died” (I Corinthians 15:3-6).

To them, being born-again was (only) a spiritual phenomenon. That believers would spend eternity in spirit-form only. What some of the early Christians didn’t fully grasp is that our human spirit had already been formed by God to live forever from the moment we were conceived, then took our first breath from the womb. Paul wanted them to understand that their spirit was born again (made alive), but their bodies also would undergo a rebirth as it were … in the same manner that Messiah Jesus was transfigured. On the Mount of Transfiguration as a dynamic preview of what was to come; then perpetually when Christ arose from the dead.

Certainly, the new birth in Christ is spiritual, which effectively makes our human spirit alive to God. Enabling us to enter God’s presence anytime and anywhere, communicate with him, and better appreciate the precious and powerful promises contained in God’s Word—The Bible.

Said Jesus to Nicodemus: “Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again’” (John 3:6-7).

The Apostle Paul proclaimed that the immediate result of believing and receiving Messiah Jesus as personal Savior is a revival of our human spirit which had been dead (to God). “Once you were dead (referring to the human spirit) because of your disobedience and your many sins” (Ephesians 2:1, parenthesis mine).

As a result of Biblical salvation, we are first resurrected spiritually from the dead. Paul goes on to say:

“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-6, parenthesis in the text).

There was even more to God’s magnificent plan of salvation than spiritual rebirth. Both Jesus (and later Paul) announced everlasting life produced by this spiritual resurrection that would and could be lived bodily in heaven and on the earth. Which is why Jesus also said: “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water (physical birth) and the Spirit” (John 3:5, italics for emphasis, parenthesis mine).

As clearly contained in Scripture (both Old and New Testaments), the Kingdom of God will be a physical kingdom on earth beginning with the Millennial Reign of Christ after the Great Tribulation. In order to live forever in that Kingdom as well as heaven itself, there must be a resurrection and transformation of our temporal earthly bodies into a boundless body (not bound or limited by time, physics, disease, disabilities, pain, aging, or even by death). Until then, it is the Kingdom of Heaven that has been established in the hearts and minds of believers. Which qualifies us to be spiritually seated with him in the heavenly realms. Then one day, in our immortal bodies, to literally be seated with him in heaven.

The eternal life spoken of by Jesus (and others in the Bible) clearly conveys the continuance of life as it was meant to be when God created Adam and Eve; their complete being—body, soul, and spirit. Their body was meant to live forever along with their soul and spirit.

However, when they disobeyed God, they experienced physical death. Thus, there’s only one way to accomplish this final phase of so great a salvation that Messiah Jesus purchased on the cross for us. It would be a spectacular reuniting of the human spirit of believers with their new superhuman body.

Returning to the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he continues: “But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died” (I Corinthians 15:20).

Do you know or care to guess when this great harvest will take place? For that matter, what is this great harvest? If you know the answer to the last question, then you probably know the answer to the first question. And, yes, this harvest is physical. Though the terminology itself is metaphorical, i.e. comparing the event to a great harvest.

This great harvest is the resurrection of dead (and dying … stay with me on that one) believers at what has been called: The Rapture.

(Scene from movie, Field of Dreams, starring Keven Costner. Tugs at your heart, but is pure fiction. Fact: There will be a resurrection/transformation of believers in Messiah Jesus at the Rapture. A Great Harvest!)

Unless Messiah Jesus had been raised from the dead first (in his glorified body), there would be no resurrection of dead believers or transformation of both dead and living believers into an eternal body like our Lord and Savior.

However, even the transformation of living believer’s bodies is a form of “dying.”

(See Eye of Prophecy article: Scripture Says Everyone Will Die / But What About The Rapture? Published 6-23-18)

Here is an excerpt from that article, beginning with one of most well-known passages in the Bible (in italics):

“For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting.’

“For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:53-55).

First, a reminder of what death is or what is means. The Greek word for death (Thanatos, used 119 times in the King James Version) is defined as separation, not annihilation or cessation of existence. In Hebrews 9:27, the Greek phrase “to die” is apothnesko (ap-oth-nace-ko), which means just that, to die. Which is defined as, the natural death of a person. Thus, when someone dies, he or she has entered the state of death (Thanatos) which is separation of their spirit from their physical body.

Spiritual death is separation from God eternally for those who have not accepted God’s (Biblical) salvation by believing and receiving his Son’s substitutionary death (and resurrection!) as the only remedy for the penalty of sin and rebellion against the Lord (John 3:16).

Notice: Paul says that our “dying bodies” will (need to) be transformed. As we’ve already seen, the Bible proclaims that all must die.

We begin to die the moment we are born. It’s just a matter of time, longer for some than others. Without intending to be morbid (as opposed to celebrating life with gratitude for God in giving us that life) we could accurately say, “After we’re born, we’re as good as dead.”

Which is exactly what Paul is saying: “For our dying bodies must be transformed…”

Here, Paul is expanding on his prior statement that, “We will not all die…”

This clarification is not merely a technical distinction between those who have (actually) died before the Rapture and those who are dying … having not fully reached the otherwise inevitable point of death. In the context of what death is and means, Paul is saying that even those “alive” at the Rapture will experience death.

Seriously? Yes, seriously. Even living believers will encounter death the instant they are transformed. Just like the “dead in Christ” they, too, will be resurrected from that death.

The moment the dead in Christ are raised then shortly thereafter the “living in Christ,” the body of both groups of believers will be “transformed into bodies that will never die…”

Which unmistakably means that even the spirit of those believers who are alive when this transformation takes place will be separated (Thanatos) from their earthly body and intricately united with their glorious new spiritual body that will never die. Nonetheless, a body recognizable by friends and family as the same person (the new replacing the old) but with an amazingly altered appearance.

…Thus, when he says, “we will not all die,” he’s referring to those believers who are not actually in the grave. And why he continues by describing those alive are nevertheless in “dying bodies” that must be transformed (from death to life) precisely like those who have preceded them in death. With the action and result of this tremendous transfiguration that of each “living” believer’s spirit separated from their earthly body and placed into a glorious spiritual body that will never ever die or even begin to die in any way, shape, or form.

The only difference is the timing of it all. The spirit of believers whose body is in the grave has been waiting (some much longer than others) for this reunion of their spirit into a transformed spiritual body. Whereas those alive at the Rapture will experience this instantly.

…In either case, the heart of the believer will beat one last time; each will draw one last breath in this earthly body

The Apostle Paul characterizes the transfigured bodies of believers as: “Spiritual Bodies.” In contrast to earthly bodies. Nonetheless, a body; one that will undergo what we describe in today’s terms as an Extreme Makeover.

“Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. 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 15:43-44).

God doesn’t start from scratch with the spiritual body. Instead, he uses that which we were born with; through a transformation that will transfer believers from mortal to immortal. From a dying or dead body that will be resplendently restored for everlasting life in heaven and on the new earth.

Read with me: “So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back (at the Rapture, the first of his two-part second return)” (I Corinthians 15:21-23, parenthesis mine).

Paul continues by explaining that there are different kinds of bodies in the world, i.e. plants, animals, birds, fish, the heavenly bodies (sun, moon, planets, stars) and, of course, the human body.

Then he writes: “The Scriptures tell us, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living person.’ But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit. What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. Earthly people are like the earthly man, and heavenly people are like the heavenly man. Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man… our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever” (I Corinthians 15:45-50).

(Refer to Eye of Prophecy articles: Spiritual Bodies … A Contradiction of Terms? Part I & II. Posted 9-26 & 10-3-15).

After first revealing the tremendous truth of the Rapture to the Thessalonians (I Thessalonians 4) which provides the stunning sequence of events during that soon-to-come event—including the catching up of all believers to meet Christ in the air—Paul then discloses another remarkable feature of this experience as he continues in I Corinthians 15:

“…We (believers in Messiah Jesus) will not all die, but we all be transformed! It (the transformation itself, not the entire sequence of the Rapture) will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies” (I Corinthians 15:51-53, parenthesis mine).

What Will Believers Be Like at the Rapture Transformation of Our Earthly Bodies?

This question has been asked by nearly all born-again believers. Until it happens, we don’t know for sure exactly what we’ll be like. Except, that is, for one incredible fact, which will be part of the eternal inheritance Messiah Jesus will share with those whom he has redeemed. Listen to this powerful promise from the Apostle John:

“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world (the unsaved) don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is” (I John 3:1-2; italics for emphasis, parenthesis mine).

Nevertheless, there are some fascinating facts to draw on—mostly from Jesus’s post-resurrection appearances. To, at least in general terms, imagine what we will be and be able to do. Things that would make Superman envious! For one thing, there will be no Kryptonite to weaken our indestructible bodies (Only partially kidding!).

When it comes to this area of Biblical prophecy, there’s nothing wrong with some creative speculation that (for now) will allow us fill in some of the blanks. In fact, thinking about some of these superhuman abilities that our spiritual bodies will possess (enabling us to more perfectly rule and reign with Christ in the Kingdom of God) intensifies our hope for the Rapture and give us even more incentive to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).

In a moment, we’ll examine three (there are obviously more) astounding attributes of Messiah Jesus after he arose from the dead. Although Christ had provided a preview of coming (resurrected body) attractions when he walked on the Sea of Galilee, what he did after his resurrection was even more remarkable. With the reasonable conclusion that believers also will be able to do some, perhaps all these things. Because we, too, will be transformed into the same kind of imperishable, indestructible body that Jesus possesses in heaven to this very day.

But first, here is a scene from Eye of Prophecy article, A Dramatic Enactment of the Rapture! (4-20-19) to stir our imagination and heighten our hope as to what could take place at the Rapture.

Beginning with the introduction to that article/play:

It could be the proverbial understatement to say that this week’s Eye of Prophecy article is different.

But then we are in the last days of the end times, when many things are going to be different, supernaturally so. Not the least of which is an extraordinary event to prepare for the triumphant physical return of Messiah Jesus to establish the glorious Kingdom of God on earth.

That trigger point is none other than the Rapture. Followed by seven years of unmitigated deceit, destruction, and death before Jesus steps in and puts an end to the violence, injustice, and corruption of this wicked world we live in.

Today’s post is not a docudrama, as those are reserved for events which have already occurred.

Rather, it will be in the form of Seven-Act Play (the scenes are short); to reasonably represent and dramatically depict what could and probably will occur during the Rapture.

It is based primarily on a previous article, which provides Scriptural documentation and correlation accompanied with commentary to support a rational premise: The entire sequence of the Rapture will take several minutes; only the bodily transfiguration of raised from the dead believers and believers still alive will be instantaneous.

(Note: The article referenced is: The Shout Heard Around the World, posted 4-22-17).

If you like, grab a soda or whatever and plop a bag of popcorn in the microwave.

Open your mind and heart; picture what’s happening; fill in your own details if you like; and stretch your imagination to accommodate the reality of what’s going to take place in what I’m convinced is the near future.

Now the excerpt from Act Four of the play:

The Shofar sounded again. If there was any doubt that the first three were global, this fourth blast was surely being carried on every sound wave existing in and above the earth’s atmosphere. Millions of megaphones and loudspeakers couldn’t have produced a sound so strong, so pure, so universal; yet so moderate as to not burst ear drums.

He immediately recognized it as the fourth and final of the Jewish Shofar sequence that had been handed down through tradition by and to the Jews for centuries. But now it was for all believers in Messiah, Jew and Gentile alike.

Though it was difficult to speak and hear, Esther asked, “Will this be the final Shofar?”

“Yes, I’m sure it will,” Eitan said. “It’s almost time.”

He had just finished speaking when they heard the voice from above, “Children of the Most High God; the appointed time has come.”

“I’m pretty sure that was the voice of the archangel,” Eitan said.

Eitan glanced at his watch again. He was about to tell Esther how much time had elapsed from the first blast, when the fourth Shofar stopped suddenly, not gradually like the others. Within seconds, the expected, but nonetheless stunning scene unfolded. Benjamin’s grave exploded as did a few others in the cemetery.

“Mom, Dad, look!” Netanya yelled.

They watched in total awe as Benjamin’s remains were lifted from his grave by an unseen hand. Then, ten, maybe fifteen seconds later, his skeletal form was radically changed. Too fast for Eitan or anyone else to see how. They only saw the results.

Benjamin stood on the ground and looked directly at them, then at his body.

He was enshrouded in white clothing they had never seen before or knew existed. If it was a robe, it seemed almost transparent, as if it was part of his form. His entire body and face were indescribably perfect. As though he had just been born that way without the imperfections that develop with age.

Immediately, Eitan realized this was the spiritual body spoken of by the Apostle Paul. It was as though Benjamin’s spirit was on the outside enveloping his flawless features, instead of the unseen spirit on the inside of a natural blemished body. The two, body and spirit were one. Beautifully blended one with the other. Both visible, yet indivisible.

Eitan knew that the same thing was happening to resurrected believers the world over. For those who had been cremated, the Lord was raising their ashes, bringing them together with the same supernatural force that rolled away the stone at Jesus’s tomb. With the same instantaneous transformation as the decomposing and skeleton bodies. So, too, the remains of those buried at sea.

“Benjamin, it’s you. You’re much better than…” Eitan couldn’t finish.

He felt a burst of energy that seemed to come from inside out but also outside in. It was over before he saw anything else. His wife Esther had been an attractive woman. It wasn’t just in his beholding eye; others had told him the same thing. There she stood next to him more beautiful than she had ever been. An appearance that wasn’t sexual at all; rather a supernatural loveliness that transcended anything natural. An ageless beauty that was immortal.

So, too, Netanya and Naphtali. Changed dramatically, but just as dramatically the same person … each one of them.

“Look at you!” Benjamin pointed to Eitan.

“Look at you!” Eitan trumpeted in return.

“Look at our kids,” Esther exclaimed. “Same age, but older. How can that be!”

“Hallelujah,” Eitan roared.

“Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised,” Esther shouted.

In unison, Netanya and Naphtali said, “We love you Jesus.”

Which as it turned out was right on cue. The next voice thundered from above, from everywhere.

“COME UP HERE!”

“That was Jesus himself,” Eitan shouted. His watch was gone, but he estimated that from the first shofar had been maybe fourteen or fifteen minutes.

Immediately the raised dead and those still alive and transformed began to rise in the air … exactly how, they didn’t know. By whom, they knew for sure. It wasn’t a fast ascent like a kite, nor was it slow like a hot air balloon. There was time for ecstasy to look around at other believers within sight rising simultaneously. And for a passing moment, a time of sadness when looking down at the many who were staring into the sky.

Things to Ponder

Time/space doesn’t permit quotation of the passages; however, most believers are familiar with the scene of Jesus’s sudden post-Resurrection appearance to his disciples in a locked room without waiting for the door to be opened. Then his sudden appearance and disappearance to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, after they finally realized who he was—the risen Christ.

Speaking of time and space, it’s abundantly clear that Jesus could go into and out of different dimensions. No need to open doors, just go through them. Same thing with believers at and after the Rapture. We know that we will be lifted from this earth and transported to heaven; we also know that we will be given positions of power and authority on the earth during the Millennium. No speculation is needed to determine that we will be able to go back and forth between heaven and earth at any time during the magnificent Millennial Reign of Messiah Jesus.

Faster than a speeding bullet?

More like the speed of light. No, much more than that. Even light traveling at 186,000 miles per second from the nearest star that is not our sun, takes four years to reach the earth.

Think in terms of the speed of thought! But, if we like, we can travel more leisurely by simply flying to our destination. And I’m not talking about supersonic jets.

In addition to instant access from one dimension to another (limited only by our imagination but with a Biblical perspective), it’s evident that our eternal spiritual bodies will at the very minimum possess the following three attributes:

  1. Defying Gravity: Beginning with our ascent to meet our Lord in the air at the Rapture. Then descending with him on white horses from heaven to earth to watch in awe as Jesus vanquishes Antichrist, the False Prophet and their massive military in the Valley of Megiddo (Armageddon … Revelation 19).
  2. Eclipses Time: No longer restricted by time, as we will never grow old again. Nor be concerned about how much time it takes to get from one end of the earth to the other, or even from one galaxy to another!
  3. Transcends Space: From a timeless existence in heaven to a (still) time-locked earth (and back again) at any moment with what will most likely be a mere thought.

And away we go!

To infinity and beyond!

Jewish Settlements in Judea/Samaria … Are They Illegal?

Does Israel Belong to The State of Israel?

At the start of a new article, rarely do I quote from a previous Eye of Prophecy post; let alone begin with the title of a prior article.

However, regarding the stunning announcement earlier this week by United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, it’s fitting to begin with the question posed in the title of that article, posted 5-4-19.

We’ll get to this announcement shortly, including world-wide reactions (approval and disapproval) and its repercussions regarding the elusive pursuit of peace between Jews and Arabs in Israel … in the entire Middle East.

That prior article (Does Israel Belong to the State of Israel?) was somewhat general in nature; although, it did focus on the volatile region of northern Israel called the Golan Heights.

Whereas, today’s post is a result of dramatic developments that continue to focus the world’s attention on and angst with the tiny nation of Israel in the last days of the end times. Just as the Bible predicted long ago. Specifically, in the region of Israel called Judea/Samaria. What the geopolitical world designates as the West Bank.

“This message concerning the fate of Israel came from the Lord: ‘This message is from the Lord, who stretched out the heavens, laid the foundations of the earth, and formed the human spirit. I will make Jerusalem like an intoxicating drink that makes the nearby nations stagger when they send their armies to besiege Jerusalem and Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock. All the nations will gather against it to try to move it, but they will only hurt themselves” (Zechariah 12:1-3).

Look closely at some of the amazing features of that passage, not the least of which is the extraordinary juxtaposition of Israel and her fate in the context of the supernatural sovereignty of God creating the universe and forming the human spirit.

  • In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). He also gave the entire land of Israel with boundaries that encompass modern-day Israel and much more to Abraham and his descendants, the Jewish people (Genesis 12, Obadiah 1:19-21, Joshua Chapters 13-21, and other passages).
  • Not just Jerusalem, but Judah’s (representative of Judea/Samaria and all of Israel) fate is in the hands of God as we approach the end of this age.
  • That divinely controlled fate starts to unfold when nations begin to wring their collective hands over what to do with and about Israel. Which is exactly what’s happening in today’s world and has been for some 70 years now, since Israel became a sovereign nation in 1948. And even more so since Israelis reclaimed Jerusalem and ALL disputed territories (1967) within this Holy Land set aside for the Jews by God himself.

Does Israel Belong to the State of Israel?

Are you thinking: “What kind of a question is that?”

Meaning that if all of Israel—including Judea/Samaria and the Gaza Strip—does NOT belong to Israel, then it’s a rhetorical question. If only part of the geographical boundaries of the State of Israel as found on any legitimate map of the globe belongs to the Jews, then the answer is a foregone conclusion, i.e. only some of the land in Israel belongs to the State of Israel. So why ask the question?

The opposite is just the same. If the entire land mass within Israel’s external borders with Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt are the legal possessions of Israelis, then the question is equally rhetorical.

With an equally obvious answer: Of course, the entire area belongs to the Sovereign Jewish State of Israel—including Judea/Samaria, the Jordan Valley, the Golan Heights, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

(As small as Israel is–including the West Bank and Gaza Strip–It is still too big for the Palestinians and surrounding Arab nations!)

Here is an excerpt from the previously identified article that is applicable to today’s titled topic, which is also in the form of a question concerning the legal status of Jewish settlements (homes and businesses) in the Judea/Samaria region of Israel:

One reaction to the title of this week’s article might be: Is that a trick question?

Not really.

Why?

Because many have allowed themselves to be tricked (misled) into thinking that certain disputed regions of Israel do not belong to the Israelis. Or there is a legal; or, if non-legal, then at least an acceptable argument to challenge Israeli sovereignty over and Jewish communities within Palestinian territories … also the Golan Heights.

There are three groupings of people world-wide that to some extent or another participate in this debate—whether all of Israel’s borders, annexed or not, include sovereign Israeli ground within what the Israeli government recently affirmed as the Jewish nation-state. (Refer to Eye of Prophecy article, Israel’s Controversial Nation-State Law, posted 8-11-18; which explains what this law means, what it does not mean, and the repercussions thereof).

The three groups are:

(1) Those who deliberately distort contemporary facts on the ground (reality) and intentionally dismiss or flippantly falsify (rewrite) history to promote the agenda that Jews are occupying land that does not belong to them. For the most part they are Palestinians, Islamic nations, and other national leaders and their people—most notably many western nations within the European Union.

Although non-Muslim nations occasionally express their support for the Jew’s right of self-determination and security, they (even the United States, particularly under the Obama administration) accuse the Israeli government of allowing “illegal Jewish settlements” and even of apartheid. (See Eye of Prophecy article: Israeli Occupation … Fact or Myth? Posted 5-16-15. Also, Jewish Sovereignty on Temple Mount Part I & II … August 2017).

(2) Those ignorant of or indifferent to Israel’s true history and the Middle East chronicle in general. Without bothering to become familiar with at least the basics, they blindly support the anti-Israeli rhetoric accompanied by an intersectional bandwagon approach that includes the Palestinian narrative along with other causes on their eclectic bucket list, e.g. LGBT, racial discrimination, women’s rights.

Ironically, the extremists (of group #1 above) like political activist Linda Sarsour, a “leader” of the women’s rights movement, don’t like or want other women who support Israel in any fashion as part of these intersectional movements. Even more paradoxical is that Sarsour’s strenuous support of Islam includes toleration for Islamic subjugation of women as 2nd class citizens, who have nowhere near the rights of Muslim men; nor anything resembling the liberties of western women. As is said, “Go figure.”

On the other hand, it’s easy to figure out. Everything that campaigners like Sarsour, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib promote (literally for Omar and Tlaib, as each is a U.S. Congresswoman) is fueled by and couched in their innate (antisemitic) hostility toward Israel and the right of Jews to a sovereign state. Which is the ONLY Jewish nation on the planet. And the ONLY democratic nation in the entire Middle East. Yet, they and most Muslims want Israel replaced with yet another Arab nation (currently there are 22 of them) or at least an Islamic dominated nation, of which there are 57 in the world, including the 22 Arab countries.

(3) Those who have studied Israel’s national and spiritual heritage (Biblical and secular), keeping abreast of historical and contemporary cause and effect developments in the Middle East. I put myself in this category.

Though several Eye of Prophecy articles have dealt at length with the Palestinian/Israeli conflict generally and the disputed territories as understood (or not) by the world community specifically; it’s time to revisit this issue that has captivated global attention in an exponential fashion since Israel’s rebirth as a sovereign-state in 1948. (Refer to Eye of Prophecy article: Global Obsession with Israel … In Biblical Proportions! Published 1-6-18)

From north to south in Israel those contested regions: the Golan Heights, Judea & Samaria (in the last 50 years or so-called the West Bank), and the Gaza Strip.

In this week’s post, we’ll focus our looking glass on the Golan Heights. Next week’s article will concentrate on Judea/Samaria and the Gaza Strip.

*Note: You may also want to visit that subsequent article, entitled: Judea/Samaria & Gaza Strip / Who Has Sovereignty? (posted 5-11-19).

Since those articles were posted, no one could have known for certain what would come next in the theater of the Middle East and never-ending drama of Israel. But it’s a sure thing that something would happen and soon to heighten the global anguish and/or anger over Jewish settlements in so-called Palestinian territory.

Sure enough; something did happen.

With two clarifications needing to be made (yet again as I have done in several prior articles) before examining this electrifying event:

(A) The term “settlements” and “occupying” must be understood in the traditional (neutral, even positive) meaning. They are those neighborhoods which are entirely legal because the land has been purchased by Jews and because Judea/Samaria was originally part of the British Mandate from which the State of Israel was reborn. As opposed to the negative connotation that the Jews are occupying (trespassing by building illegal homesteads) on land that doesn’t belong to them.

They are not trespassers.

(B) There is no such thing as “Palestinian territory” in the legal or geopolitical sense. Because there is no such thing as Palestine. Nor a Palestinian State …yet. Therefore, there is (really) no such thing as a Palestinian … by birth, race, passport, language, or citizenship).

Instead, there are about four million Arabs living within the legal national boundaries of the sovereign state of Israel who have refused to even apply for Israeli citizenship. And neighboring Arab nations (such as Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia) have declined to allow any more of these “Palestinians” to migrate to their country and become citizens with their fellow Arabs. As opposed to some 1.8 million Arabs who are citizens of Israel and can live wherever they like within the scope of Israel’s national borders. Plus, they have all the citizenship rights of Israeli Jews, including voting and holding governmental positions.

[For in-depth examination of the non-existent entity of Palestine and how/why Arabs are now called Palestinians, please see Eye of Prophecy articles: What is Palestine & Who Is A Palestinian? (posted 12-2-17) Followed by, The “Right of Return” … For Palestinians or Jews? (4-7-18).]

A Stunning Historical Shift in United States Policy Toward “Jewish Settlements”

This past Monday (11-18-19), Secretary of State Mike Pompeo relayed President Trump’s official change in policy toward Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, on behalf of the United States of America.

(U.S. Sec. of State Mike Pompeo with Israeli President Rivlin)

Among other things, Pompeo said: “…after carefully studying all sides of the legal debate, the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law.”

And: “The hard truth is that there will never be a judicial resolution to the conflict, and arguments about who is right and who is wrong as a matter of international law will not bring peace.”

First: it’s the informed opinion and (now) official policy of the United States Government that Jewish residents of Judea & Samaria (West Bank) are not living there illegally.

Second: even if they were, to some extent or another, in violation of international law (which they are not—as I’ve explained in prior articles with documentation provided), our Executive Staff’s position is that no international court can unilaterally and ultimately resolve this issue of who the land belongs to and who belongs to the land. Rather, Arabs and Jews themselves must do that.

Which is why Mike Pompeo also said (as others have said many times before): “We recognized the reality on the ground … [and] provided a space for Israel and the Palestinians to negotiate…. Calling the establishment of settlements inconsistent with international law has not worked. It cannot bring peace.”

With that, he is 100% correct. But neither will negotiations result in any measure of peace until the non-citizen Arabs of Israel and the world at large fully recognize that Israel is a Sovereign Jewish State.

No more or less than Germany is a German State; France is a French State; Spain is a Spanish State; so forth and so on. With all democratic countries (including the only democracy in the Middle East—Israel) allowing minority groups citizenship if they apply and qualify. Thus, the LEGALITY (reality) of the situation in Israel is that the non-citizen Arabs are foreigners, no matter how long they have lived there. Which (not just incidentally) is not nearly as long as the Jews have. Not even close, if you go back 3000 years to Israel’s nationhood in Old Testament times, with Jerusalem as its uncontested Capital. Or even go back only 2,000 years when the Romans “occupied” Israel (now that’s occupation in the worst sense of the word).

No less that President Trump’s executive authority to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem (May, 2018) which both symbolically and literally affirmed his 2017 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided eternal capital and his recent endorsement of Israel’s 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights, this latest decision is quite historical in nature. Or, if you prefer the term historic, that works too.

(U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. I’ve not been to Israel since 2006, thus my last visit to the US. Embassy was while it was still in Tel Aviv. But good for President Trump and the USA that our Embassy in Israel was finally moved to Jerusalem)

There are several implications of and variables to the expressions historical or historic. Yet, anytime a government of a prominent nation on earth decides to change something that has influenced or potentially will affect the fate of other nations, including its own, that to me qualifies as historical.

I’m not alone in that opinion. For example, well-known author Caroline Glick began her article posted earlier this week in the online Jewish News Syndicate, entitled New US Policy on Settlements is a Diplomatic Turning Point, with: “Monday will long be remembered as a turning point in Middle East history. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement Monday that Israeli settlements are not illegal per se is the most significant shift in U.S. Middle East policy in the past generation…”

In her article, Trump Makes Pro-Israel History Again, another respected columnist Ruthie Blum begins with: “US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s dramatic announcement on Monday that the ‘establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law’ sent shockwaves around the world…. Since his election three years ago, US President Donald Trump has been consistent in his efforts to reverse the policies of the administration of his predecessor, Barack Obama. Not only in relation to Israel. But his pro-Israel stance has been steady and unapologetic from the get-go, which is as it should be.”

This decision is momentous because it challenged and therefore changed the previous position of the United States; a policy based on misinformation and foundational ignorance of Israel’s history—contemporary and ancient. It was a reversal of a 1978 State Department view imparted through what was called the Hansell Memorandum. Essentially, that rationale (which became official U.S. policy) presumed that Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria were “inconsistent with international law.” (Note: not necessarily illegal, just inconsistent?!)

It was no coincidence that the Hansell Memorandum arose out of the Jimmy Carter Presidency.

Then and to this day, President Carter has been an (ill-informed) critic of Israeli governments to the extent that he places virtually all the blame for lack of peace or a Palestinian State on Israel herself. This misguided mindset continued under President Obama, with each of those presidents virtually ignoring the true history of how/why Israel became a nation again. Plus, repeated Palestinian rejections of chances/offers for their own state. Conditions for an Arab State within Israel made possible not only by the United Nations Resolution of 1947; but also subsequent offers from two Israeli Prime Ministers (2000 and 2008) that would have given away 95+% of Judea/Samaria, had the Palestinian Authority accepted. Instead, the PA stubbornly rejected these offers because they do not recognize Israel’s legitimate right to exist as a nation.

Despite President Ronald Reagan rejecting the Hansell Memorandum in 1981 and despite a myriad of articles and books on the subject (including Eye of Prophecy articles), it has remained U.S official policy until now. As indicated, it was a rule based on erroneous evaluation of international law, especially language which states that a country cannot occupy territory conquered through war. But with qualifications that stipulate which kind of war (unprovoked hostile aggression versus a provoked defensive response) should determine who or what constitutes an occupying power.

In each of Israel’s four major wars against superior Arab manpower and armaments, she fought a defensive war of survival. During the Six-Day War of 1967, the IDF reclaimed the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, and Judea/Samaria as an already legitimate and legal part of the State of Israel. INCLUDING JERUSALEM AS ITS CAPITAL.

Positive Reactions To The United States Recognition of Israeli Sovereignty in Judea/Samaria

As expected, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the announcement as one that, “…reflects a historical truth … rights a historical wrong. The Trump administration clearly rejected the false claim that Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria are inherently illegal under international law.”

He went on to say concerning the historical truth of the matter: “…the Jewish people are not foreign colonialists in Judea and Samaria. In fact, we are called Jews because we are the people of Judea.”

*Note: The Bible extends Judea to the entirety of Israel by sometimes substituting Judah (virtually the same as Judea) for the two southern tribes of Israel, and interchangeably to ALL Israel … especially when referring to the prophetic end times.

(Notice how much land is within the West Bank or the Judea/Samaria region of Israel)

Benjamin Netanyahu continued: “Israel’s legal systems, which has proven itself fully capable of addressing legal questions related to the settlements, is the appropriate place for these matters to be adjudicated—not biased international forums that pay no attention to history or facts. Israel remains ready and willing to conduct peace negotiations with the Palestinians regarding all final status issues in an effort to achieve a durable peace but will continue to reject all arguments regarding the illegality of the settlements.”

*Note: In commentary on Benjamin’s (and others) reliance on the Israeli judicial system to determine the “legality” of Jewish settlements free of international dictates that interfere with a nation’s sovereignty; it would be no different than questioning the ultimate United States Federal jurisdiction over land disputes between say the states of California and Arizona.

Israel’s Minister of Tourism (a prestigious office in the Israeli government as millions of tourists every year bring in a substantial revenue to Israel’s economy) Yariv Levin said: “We’re talking about another historic step of the most friendly government that Israel has ever had. The recognition of the legality of the settlements is a meaningful milestone on the way toward Israeli sovereignty in all parts of Israel.”

Ayelet Shaked, co-leader of the New Right Party and a prior Justice Minister of Israel echoed: “We’re talking about an important and meaningful decision. Therefore, better late than never. The settlements in Judea and Samaria don’t contradict international law, and it’s good that the greatest power in the world tells the truth and corrects this distortion of many years.”

Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein specifically connected the U.S. shift in policy to the recent European Union judicial decision on labeling (in a derogatory, delegitimizing manner) Israeli goods made in Judea/Samaria when he said: “The announcement of the American government is an outstanding Israeli victory against the scandalous ruling of the E.U. court that instructed that only products of Jews can be identified.”

He was referring to the E.U court decision to selectively in a discriminatory manner identify products coming from Jews in Judea/Samaria, instead of simply labeling them, “Made in Israel.”

It was another not so subtle endorsement of the BDS movement against Israel, gaining momentum across the planet. Only this time with entire nations of the European Union signing off on a bill that is flatly antisemitic. With the same misinformed, uninformed, or deliberate reliance on false claims that Israel is an apartheid nation and/or illegally occupies land that doesn’t belong to them.

Edelstein went on to say: “This is a historic and moral justice of the first rank that strengthens Israel. I commend President Trump on this unequivocal and courageous statement. The next step—establishing sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.”

*Note: When I write about Israeli sovereignty over Judea/Samaria and all of Israel, it’s in the context of the way it once was (in Biblical times). Plus, being restored in principle and more gradually in practice beginning with Israel’s rebirth in 1948. Followed by the legal acquisition of land through purchase or through victory in a justified war of defense. If the Jews had been defeated in any of those wars (1948, 1956, 1967, 1973), there effectively would be no more Israel. Because it would be absolutely guaranteed that the Arabs in and outside Israel and Muslim nations would have not tolerated any Jewish presence anywhere in Israel—not just in the “disputed territories” of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Which is the main reason that Benjamin Netanyahu has recently pushed for accelerated annexation of the Jordan Valley (1/4 of the region of Judea/Samaria) via a bill introduced by Knesset Member Sharren Haskel. This in follow up to Netanyahu’s stated promise during his pre-election candidacy: That if he would return as Israel’s Prime Minister (the 2nd election process is still ongoing), he would do everything possible to officially annex the Jordan Valley for the ongoing safety and security of Israel. On the tail of Mike Pompeo’s remarkable announcement, MK Haskel confidently said: “There is no reason that this important bill won’t pass with an 80-MK majority.”

Negative Reactions

Equally expected, were scathing responses from the Palestinian Authority and Hamas; even from the European Union.

Immediately following the declaration, the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank (Judea Samaria) called the decision, “unacceptable.”

Which is anything but surprising, as the Palestinians have deemed the entire State of Israel unacceptable from day one. Also unacceptable to most Muslims is any demonstrable American support for Israel, a nation reborn from the floods of dispersion and the fires of Nazi death camps (six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust).

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas—in the 14th year of a four-year term as President because there have been no Palestinian elections since 2005—blasted the United States by saying that the, “…declaration is baseless, unacceptable, condemned and totally in contravention with international law and international decisions that reject settlement building, especially United Nations Council resolution 2334.”

*Note: On that subject, another Eye of Prophecy post to consider: United Nations Downsizing of Israel (Resolution 2334); posted 1-1-17. As a reminder, that resolution was a result of out-going U.S. President Obama’s last jab at Israel.

(Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who was also declared President of the State of Palestine in 2008 by the Palestinian Authority. No matter that the “State of Palestine” doesn’t exist)

Palestinian Authority spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh regurgitated Abbas’s criticism of the United States shift in policy by stating: “The American administration is not qualified or authorized to cancel the resolutions of international law, and has no right to grant legality to any Israeli settlement.”

Much could be said about that one-sided and inherently incorrect statement (resolutions of international law); part of which, however, is partially true. Namely that the United States has no legal authority to enforce such a decision. But that’s not the point made by our Executive Staff. In fact, it’s just the opposite.

What Trump and Pompeo are saying (based on extensive research into “international law” on the subject of “settlements”) is that in the final analysis no international judicial (such as the World Court) or executive body (such as the United Nations General Assembly or UN Security Council) has the preemptive power or prerogative to tell Israel to stop building houses in Judea/Samaria.

For two main reasons: (1) The “legal” evidence or rationale is completely groundless. Based on several factors; not the least of which was/is Israel’s legitimate right to include Judea/Samaria as part of the interior land of Israel’s borders. (2) Even if “international law” as applied to Israeli settlements was based on real history and accurate evidence, short of a nation usurping territory via an unprovoked, unjustified war against another people/territory, a nation has every right to maintain ultimate control and build settlements on land that they won by virtue of defending themselves from an aggressor.

However, there’s a greater reason why the Jews have had and should have autonomy over ALL of Israel. Which is the historical fact that they were in Israel LONG BEFORE the Arabs.

Then there’s another reason even greater than that, which we’ll get to in a moment, in close of today’s article.

But first, a quote from a European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherinia, who said: “The EU calls on Israel to end all settlement activity, in line with its obligations as an occupying power.”

There’s a huge problem with that statement. Which is the factual truth that Israel is NOT an occupying power, even by definition of international law. Simply put: You can’t occupy (negative connotation of the word … meaning illegally) land that already belongs to you. Nor can you be an occupying power over/in land that you claimed or reclaimed in a defensive, justified, righteous war. Which is exactly what the Jews did in their remarkable victory in the Six-Day War of 1967. But also, in Israel’s War of Independence (1948), Suez Canal War (1956), and the Yom Kippur War (1973).

How is it possible that a significant leader of the European Union doesn’t know just what international law says? Instead, she and countless other international organizations and heads of state (and, of course the Palestinians and all Islamic nations) are demanding that Israel “give back” Judea/Samaria to the Palestinians. And until that happens, stop building any more settlements there, because an “occupying power” doesn’t have that right.

And how many times do others (like me) who rely on historically accurate “facts on the ground” (such as the aforementioned Six-Day War outcome) need to remind these political pundits that the Jews have allowed Palestinians much more land in Judea/Samaria than that on which these settlements have been built? For example, there are some two million Palestinians in Judea/Samaria compared to around half a million Jews in Jewish communities of that region. Yet, proportionally, the Palestinians live on much more of that land than do the Jewish Israelis. Most of the Jewish communities and population in Judea/Samaria comprise only about 5% of the region.

And once again to emphatically explain that the Jews are not occupiers in the negative sense of the concept. Which is why we seldom get an actual definition of occupying power by those who claim the Jews are doing just that. And when Israel’s critics do make a feeble attempt at explaining this perception, they invariably distort or ignore what really happened before, during, and after the Six-Day War of 1967 and the Yom Kippur War of 1973.

Summary

Another substantial feature of the United States shift in official policy regarding the Jewish settlements in Judea/Samaria was the timing of the announcement. It came on the heels of eight more anti-Israel resolutions recently passed by the United Nations. Ironically, one of those motions reads: “the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of land by force and therefore the illegality of the annexation of any part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

Question: Which phrase in that statement (five words) would you think deserves a whole lot more scrutiny and explanation before blindly accepting it as fact; thereby exposing the resolution for what it really is … an outright misrepresentation?

I realize that it was a complicated question, but for a reason. To demonstrate that so many statements (resolutions) like the one just quoted are accepted at face value by the world-at-large. It’s the age-old: “Don’t bother me with the facts, my mind is already made up.”

The phrase that deserves an abundance of clarification and correction: acquisition of land by force.”

Because it’s that premise that lends a measure of credibility to the resolution, but only if “force” is defined. Furthermore, that definition must be in the historically correct context of precisely what happened in the Six-Day War of 1967. For you see, the entire premise for a Palestinian State presented by Israel’s enemies (and even by their friends) is that Israel must give back all the territory it won in battle—through the blood and lives of Jews. Territory that was never “Palestinian Territory” in the first place.

Once again: ALL territory within the sovereign borders of a sovereign state (in this case Israel) ultimately belongs to that state. No matter how the land is allocated for use or who lives on that land.

Did the Israelis acquire Judea/Samaria and Jerusalem by force?

Answer: Absolutely. How else could they have prevented the Arab armies of Syria and Egypt and Jordan from overrunning the land and slaughtering Israelis along the way—with the Arab avowed goal of eliminating Israel and Jews in Israel from the face of the earth.

*Note: In reality, the word acquisition (acquire) is misleading, as the Jews acquired Judea/Samaria long before the Six-Day War of 1967. A much more accurate term would be reclaimed or regained (by force).

(Israeli soldiers resting at the Western Wall after victory over Arabs and reclaiming all of Jerusalem and Israel in June 1967)

Do you see what’s happening here? The UN, the EU, all Muslim nations, and even some so-called neutral countries want Israel to stop building settlements in Judea/Samaria and eventually give back all the land they reclaimed in 1967 and again in 1973. With the incredibly lame rationale that Israel took the land by (unauthorized … so they say) force.

Which they sure did! And for a good reason: THE VERY SURVIVAL OF ISRAEL AND THE JEWS. Would you wait for anyone, especially your enemy, to give you authorization to defend yourself while they were attacking you?

By simply saying “acquisition of land by force” the UN resolution is deceptively implying that Israel was the aggressor.

Did Israel strike first in the Six-Day War? Indeed, she did. However, the facts were crystal clear at the time: the Arab armies were imminently prepared to launch their own attack.

What would/should any nation do if threatened by enemies who swore to kill them and whose mobilized military was much larger than theirs?

Okay, you get the point. And that’s good. Because the world-at-large simply doesn’t get it.

Sadly, most do not want to “get it.”

Things to Ponder

It’s unlikely that President Trump, nor most of the United States Executive Staff, nor many in the US Congress, nor the majority of Americans or the world realizes that the biggest positive impact (advantage) of our Presidential gesture of support for Israel is based on a guaranteed promise by God himself. Who several times refers to Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Or the God of Israel.

Or the Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 1:4).

“I am the LORD, your Holy One, Israel’s Creator and King” (Isaiah 43:15).

“Said King David of the LORD: “Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them. They cried out to you and were saved…” (Psalm 22:3-5a).

Just as surely as God’s prophetic promises to Israel have been and will continue to be fulfilled, so does the Lord assure blessings and favor to those (individuals and nations) who support Israel. Those who recognize that God is not (nor ever has been) done with Israel.

Said God to and about Abraham and his descendants: “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).

It is through Israel that Messiah Jesus has come to bless Israel and the nations.

Isaiah also declares another remarkable prophecy in which God is speaking to the Messiah (God’s Son … Psalm 2 & 110):

“He says, ‘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.’ The Lord, the Redeemer, and Holy One of Israel, says to the one who is despised and rejected by the nations, to the one who is the servant of rulers: ‘Kings will stand at attention when you pass by. Princes will also bow low because of the LORD, the faithful one, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you… Through you I will reestablish the land of Israel and assign it to its own people again’” (Isaiah 49:6-8, emphasis added to show that God himself has “assigned” all Israel to the Jews, including Judea/Samaria!)

Then later in that same prophetic chapter, Isaiah says this about Israel, including graphic details of what happens to Israel’s enemies:

“…For I will fight those who fight you, and I will save your children. I will feed your enemies with their own flesh. They will be drunk with rivers of their own blood. All the world will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel” (Isaiah 49:25-26).

Pity the time and dread the day if/when the United States irreversibly turns its national back on Israel. Or spurns on a national level the Holy One of Israel—Father and Son.

The Prophetic Endgame of Gog/Magog

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I’m guessing that nearly everyone reading this article has watched a sporting event of some sort.

Your son’s little league game. Your daughter’s soccer match. A high school football game. College basketball. Professional football. A tennis or golf tournament.

Not always, but most of the time it’s the final quarter, or inning, or set, or hole (golf) that generates the most suspense and excitement. Especially if the score is close and the outcome is still undecided.

Even if the contest is a rout, diehard fans will usually stick around until the “end of the game.” Particularly, if their team or favorite player is winning.

Some sporting contests are called games; others carry the label of matches. And if you want to sound half-way knowledgeable, it’s more than just semantics to know which is which.

For example: Basketball, football, and baseball competitions are referred to as games. Whereas, if you watch or participate in tennis, golf, soccer, or hockey, you’re involved in a match. Yet, in the final analysis, each sport is a game and there is always an end to the game.

Then there’s the “game of chess.” Which I’ve played frequently, but not recently. However, if you’re playing a game of chess with someone, you are engaged in a chess match. With the critical part of most chess matches (especially for those evenly matched) called the “end game.”

In fact, the chess expression (term … a noun) end game became so well known that it was recognized as a definable word in the latter part of the 19th century by Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. With its definition: “the stage of a chess game after major reduction of forces.”

Because of the sometimes-complicated strategy of the game of chess, the term end game became one word (endgame) with an expanded meaning of: “the final stage of some action or process.”

The online Free Dictionary defines endgame as: “the final stage of a chess game after most of the pieces have been removed from the board. The final stage of an extended process or course of events.” Followed by a sentence example: “the diplomatic endgame that led to the treaty.”

Yes, there are even wargames. And nations matched one against another during war time.

(Are you too young to remember this blockbuster movie released in 1983, while the Cold War between the United States and the Russia was going on?)

The Urban Dictionary includes the explanation of endgame: “the final moments of a dramatic encounter, fight or series of events.”

Because the plans or tactics of an individual, team, or even a nation (government) are sometimes questionable, if not devious, one might pose the question: “What’s their endgame?” Which is effectively saying, “What’s their real agenda?” Or, “What are they going to do next?”

Which is a question that appropriately fits what’s happening in the Middle East, specifically in the nation of Syria. And more precisely pertaining to Russia, Iran, and Turkey—each of which boasts a prominent military presence in that war-torn country, adjacent to Israel’s northern border.

In no uncertain terms, the term endgame is contemporarily accurate and prophetically applicable to the three prominent nations of the Gog/Magog alliance—Russia, Iran, and Turkey. Explicitly evident in what is one of the most powerful end-times prophecies in all of Scripture—Ezekiel Chapters 38 & 39. Commonly called the Gog/Magog prophecy.

In fact, these three nations and their leaders are playing a deadly stealth endgame of: “the real reason we’re in Syria has nothing to do with Syria … everything to do with Israel.”

Unprecedented Signs of the Times

There are several Biblically predicted events, either completed or ongoing in the 20th & 21st centuries, which clearly show that we are in the last days of the end times. We are nearing the ENDGAME of the greatest contest of all time—good against evil. God against Satan. Christ against Antichrist. Moses and Elijah against the False Prophet and Antichrist.

From Eye of Prophecy article, Look Up Redemption is Near, Part II (posted July 2015) here is a list of twelve flashpoint events that signal the soon to come Rapture. Followed by the seven-year Tribulation and the triumphant return of Messiah Jesus to earth to vanquish the armies of the world that would dare fight against the King of all kings.

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

This list was preceded by the following excerpt from that article (in italics):

What is different now from then is that all twelve have synchronized with a frequency and magnitude never seen before. With intensity that really can’t get much more extreme or enhanced than it already is. Together they have formed a combustible concoction ready to spontaneously ignite. The accumulative impact of these flash point prophecies fits precisely with the Lord’s comparison to childbirth, all in a generation’s time.

The first six items on the list relate directly to the nation of Israel. Other than the glorious appearing (return) of Messiah to the earth, Israel’s rebirth as a Sovereign Nation is the most extraordinary episode in Biblical prophecy and its fulfillment. If for no other reason that the sheer number of prophecies in the Old Testament regarding the restoration of Israel as a nation and return of the Jews to their Promised Land.

(Another one of many prophecies regarding the Jews returning to Israel)

Israel celebrated its 70th birthday last year (2018).

The Jewish generation that experienced the miraculous rebirth of Israel has seen their children and grandchildren grow up in Israel or make Aliyah there (immigrate to Israel and become Israeli citizens).

This revival of the Jewish nation is predicted in Ezekiel Chapter 37, just one chapter before the sixth item on the above list, i.e. Modern-Day Alignment of Gog/Magog Nations against Israel. It’s no coincidence that the next two chapters of Ezekiel (38 & 39) graphically portray the invasion of Israel by the armies of the Gog/Magog nations.

Let’s examine this phenomenal cause and effect relationship between Israel’s rebirth and the Gog/Magog invasion, to include some recent remarkable events taking place in the Middle East, specifically in the nation of Syria. Generating a clear signal that the Gog/Magog attack on Israel is already in the endgame phase of soon to be fulfilled Biblical prophecy.

Israel’s Rebirth as a Nation

First, a brief review of Israel’s rebirth that led to her stunning victory in four wars over stronger enemies, resulting in Israel’s current status of a vibrantly strong nation—economically and militarily despite the current political disunity and unscheduled elections.

The Yom Kippur War of 1973, some 46 years ago, was the last time Israel’s very survival as a nation was threatened. Since then, Israelis have enjoyed a substantial measure of peace; even if at the bare minimum that peace is defined and represented by an absence of (all-out) war. Thus, the prophet Ezekiel’s amazing description of the Jews return to Israel is directly connected to the Gog/Magog invasion—spearheaded by Russia, Iran, and Turkey. For Ezekiel it would be a long time in coming. For our generation, some 2,500 years later, the endgame is taking shape as we watch.

Listen to God’s words to a man given the name of Gog, leader of the Magog nations:

“Get ready; be prepared! Keep all of 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 swoop 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, italics for emphasis).

In commentary on this passage, the following is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Gog Magog’s Prophetic Clock is Ticking, Ticking… (6-16-18):

The present tense condition of these words is unmistakable. God is speaking to Gog/Magog as though they were poised to strike Israel. Which is exactly the geopolitical and military position that Russia, Iran, and Turkey are currently occupying in Syria. And only since 2014, when Russia, then Iran, and later Turkey deployed military bases in Syria. It’s as though God, through Ezekiel, was addressing this coalition by email telling them to be on the alert, to get ready for action, to go ahead with their sinister (ulterior) goal of conquering Israel. Because when they do, God will spring into action and it won’t be a pretty scene for Gog and his allies.

…In the hundreds of Biblical end-times prophecies, rarely, if at all, does the Lord use the phrase, a long time from now or in the distant future. Why here in Ezekiel as applied to Gog/Magog? I’m convinced it’s because the Lord is emphasizing that—although the Gog/Magog alliance would (historically) be a long time in coming—when Gog and his allies were ready to pounce on Israel, the events preceding that invasion would unfold in exceptionally quick sequence. In fact, the passage bookmarks the beginning of that time: the restoration of Israel as a nation and return of the Jews from world-wide exile.

Ezekiel Chapters 38 & 39 provide the fascinating yet graphic details of this end-times phenomenon. However, these two chapters are linked directly to the preceding chapters 36 & 37 that foretell the return of Jewish exiles to Israel. These two events are tied together in space (geographically) and time (generationally). Here I’m referring to one of two Biblical definitions of an average generation, i.e. 70 years.

In the last part of Ezekiel Chapter 37, this timeframe is broken down further into children and grandchildren of that generation.

Many are familiar with the remarkable Dry Bones vision of Ezekiel in which God dramatically depicts a valley of broken skeletons that miraculously join and create a vast army of people … flesh and bones and skin and life breathed into them.

Then God said to Ezekiel: “…Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel… 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).

However, the return of the Jews to their reborn nation begins in Ezekiel Chapter 36.

For example: “I will greatly increase the population of Israel, and the ruined cities will be rebuilt and filled with people… O mountains of Israel, I will bring people to live on you once again. I will make you even more prosperous than you were before. Then you will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 36:10-11).

Much more is said in these two chapters regarding Israel’s physical return to the Promised Land and spiritual restoration to the Lord. Such as: “And you will live in Israel, the land I gave your ancestors long ago. You will be my people, and I will be your God” (Ezekiel 36:28).

The physical restoration of Israel as a sovereign nation and return of millions of Jews (including those born in Israel since 1948) have resulted in a Jewish population today of some 6.7 million in Israel. That and rebuilt modern cities all over Israel, not the least of which are Tel Aviv and the modern section of Jerusalem.

As with the Gog/Magog attack on Israel found in chapters 38 & 39, some portions of Ezekiel 36 & 37 are awaiting fulfillment. Such as: “I will unify them into one nation on the mountains of Israel (already being fulfilled). One king will rule them all… (fulfilled when Messiah Jesus returns to Jerusalem)” (Ezekiel 37:22, parenthesis mine).

Then, to realize just how closely chapters 36 & 37 are linked to the Gog/Magog scenario of Chapters 38 & 39, we read the same kind of prophetic language with one amazing addition—the actual accomplishment of the return of God’s people to Israel, that was in the form of a prophecy in Chapters 36 & 37.

Read with me as the Lord tells Ezekiel what Gog will think and say just before invading Israel:

“…Israel is an unprotected land filled with unwalled villages! I will march against her and destroy these people who live in such confidence! I will go to these formerly desolate cities that are now filled with people who have returned from exile in many nations…” (Ezekiel 38:11-12, emphasis added).

Since 1948 and especially since Israel reclaimed all of the Promised Land in the Six-Day War of 1967 (only to relinquish some of that territory back to the Arabs) the Jews have done exactly what these verses (and many others like it) prophesied they would do: rebuild and live in those cities, having returned from nations all over the earth.

(Tel Aviv, Israel … Rivals any  modern City in the world)

(Terraced vineyard in Israel, representative of how productively the Jews have planted and harvested crops in Israel)

Again, we read that the Gog (Magog) march against Israel will take place:

“…When my people are living in peace in their land, then you will rouse yourself. You will come from your homeland in the distant north with your vast cavalry and your mighty army, and you will attack my people Israel, covering their land like a cloud…” (Ezekiel 38:14-15, emphasis added).

Future Tense to Present Tense!

Now notice how the future tense (Gog saying, “I will go to these formerly desolate cities”) has switched to the present tense when the Lord says to Gog:

“…Are you the one I was talking about long ago, when I announced through Israel’s prophets that in the future I would bring you against my people?” (Ezekiel 38:17).

Is there any significance in that shift from the future to the present tense?

Answer: Absolutely.

What is that significance?

The significance is that we are living in precisely the conditions prophesied by Ezekiel when the Gog/Magog confederacy would launch their assault on Israel. Not only is the State of Israel functioning geopolitically as foretold by Ezekiel; Russia, Iran, and Turkey all have a substantial military presence in Syria, right next door to Israel. That has never happened in history, nor even a decade ago.

In just a moment, we’ll examine what’s taking place in Syria. But first another passage that closes Ezekiel Chapter 37 to demonstrate that all these things—including the subsequent Gog/Magog invasion (which will take place not long after the Rapture)—are happening and will continue to unfold during one (our) generation.

“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. And my servant David will be their prince forever… I will give them their land and increase their numbers, and I will put my Temple among them forever. I will make my home among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Ezekiel 37:25-27).

Scholars differ as to whether David is symbolic for the Messiah in this passage or may very well be King David of old, who will be resurrected from the dead along with all believers when the Rapture takes place. As stated in several prior articles, the Rapture is the trigger point that precipitates the Day of the Lord. Which is the seven-year Tribulation (the Gog/Magog invasion will take place in the first part of the Tribulation); the glorious return of Messiah Jesus to the earth; then the majestic Millennial Reign of Christ.

Yet, the vital component of this passage to grasp in the context of this week’s article is the special identification of those living in the land (Israel) just prior to and at the outset of the Gog/Magog assault on Israel. Which are those Jews who were in a territory called Palestine when she once again became the nation (state) of Israel in 1948, plus those who immigrated shortly thereafter. And not only that first group; also, their children and grandchildren. Today’s Israel demographically and geopolitically (and, of course, prophetically) consists primarily of those three age (generational) groups.

If the Lord only wanted to convey a symbolic or generalized concept of Jews possessing the Promised Land in perpetuity (forever) he would have needed only to say, “…will live there forever, generation after generation” (Ezekiel 37:25). Which obviously God did say. But before that he specifically classified the very generation (including their children and grandchildren) who would be the first to return to Israel upon her rebirth. This process began in 1917 with the Balfour Declaration and has continued to the present day. With, however, the most definitive generation commencing when Israel was reborn in a single day as a nation—1948.

For further clarification, here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Just How Imminent is Messiah’s Imminent Return? (posted 11-18-17). Though that article is two years old, it’s certainly still relevant, with Israel’s population having increased to about 6.7 million since then.

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 women.

(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 women.

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 timeframe. 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).

The Sad Saga of Syria

Syria is the only country in the world in which the three most conspicuous nations of the Gog/Magog alliance currently maintain a military presence simultaneously… Russia, Iran, and Turkey. It wasn’t all that long ago that each of these nations were enemies of the others.

(

(Although a long way off, Moscow is due north of Israel. Notice the proximity of Syria, Iran, and Turkey to Israel)

In review of the Syrian conflict, the following is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, The Gog/Magog Countdown Has Begun. That article was posted over three years ago (9-10-16). Since then, I firmly believe that the endgame of the Gog/Magog agenda has begun to unfold, which means the Rapture is more imminent than ever. In italics:

The Gog/Magog coalition will take advantage of Israel’s “confidence” generated because the Israelis, “…are living in peace in their land” (Verse 14) …. We also see two malicious motives that seduce Russia, Iran, and Turkey: (1) to capture vast amounts of plunder. (2) The deep animosity of these wicked nations toward the Jews compounded by a jealous hatred which claims that Israel, thinks the whole world revolves around them.” (Ezekiel 38:12).

I then quoted from an Eye of Prophecy article posted the previous week, entitled The Peace Treaty That Will Guarantee War. As follows:

In just the last few months and weeks, Russia, Iran, and Turkey have “mobilized their armies” and have taken “command of them” in Syria, which borders Israel. Although the mobilization is limited, the fact remains that for the first time in history these three Magog nations are conducting military operations in the Middle East. Unmistakably, this is the beginning fulfillment of Ezekiel’s astounding prophecy. It’s just a matter of (a short) time before the full military might of Russia, Iran, Turkey, and other nations descend on Israel to completely bring about the Gog/Magog prophecy.

Returning to the excerpt from The Gog Magog Countdown Has Begun:

The two most powerful nations referenced in Ezekiel’s predictions are Russia, by clear inference, and Iran, by actual name. Once enemies by virtue of the Iranian’s (Persians) national adherence to Islam, directly opposed to Russia’s atheistic communism, Iran is now an ally of Russia. They have set aside their differences for the common cause of establishing a footing in the region, under the pretense of supporting Bashar Assad and his Syrian government. Russia’s main agenda is to take over the gas fields off the coast of Israel and newly discovered oil reserves in Israel. Iran’s objective is much less subtle. Their hatred of Jews and Israel has been repeatedly voiced by their leaders with genocidal threats to: Wipe Israel from the face of the earth.

To demonstrate how much stronger this unlikely alliance between Russia and Iran is getting: Less than a month ago, for the first time ever, Iran permitted a foreign nation’s (Russia, of course) fighter bombers and jets to take off from Iran’s Hamedan Air Base. If you’ve kept up with just a little of what’s happening in the Middle East, you’ll know that this military liaison between Russia and Iran pretentiously serves the purpose of striking ISIS targets in Syria. Because both Iran and Russia support the Syrian Government still led by Bashar Assad, they also bomb and strafe Syrian rebel militia fighting against Assad. These freedom fighters are supported by the United States and some Western nations. Although Iran subsequently restricted Russia’s use of the airfield to refueling only, the sure fulfillment of the Gog/Magog prophecy will eventually lead to unhindered cooperation between these two nations. Their anti-God (of the Bible) and anti-Israel agenda will override any differences.

Fast forward back to the present. Russia and Iran are still in Syria and Turkey has returned.

For all practical purposes, President Assad’s brutal regime has regained power and controls much more of Syria that it did even three years ago. Because US President Trump’s main concern was elimination of ISIS in Syria (not whether Assad remains in power), he ordered the withdrawal of a relatively small contingency of American troops near the Syrian/Turkish border. Even some Republicans criticized this decision as it would trigger Turkey’s immediate entrance into a strip of Syria along the Turkish border, mostly inhabited and controlled by the Kurds who fought alongside the United States to defeat ISIS.

Turkey and its President Erdogan hate the Kurds. Under the pretense of protecting the Turkish border with Syria, he sent troops and armament to secure a segment of Syria that stretches about 75 miles long (on the border) and 20 miles deep into Syria. The Turks agenda was twofold: (1) Drive out the Kurds; (2) Replace them with resettled Syrian refugees now in Turkey that number nearly 3 ½ million. However, Erdogan has wanted to eliminate (ethnic cleansing or actual genocide) the Syrian Kurds for years.

Fortunately, the bloodshed has been limited; only because the Kurds have agreed to withdraw. If or when or why the Turks will leave Syria is anybody’s guess. Much depends on not only pressure from the United States but from other nations of NATO, of which Turkey is the only Eurasian country that is a member of this North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

(Turkish Military Convoy in Syria)

Though they’ve had their differences, the presidential leaders of Russia (Vladimir Putin), Iran (Hassan Rouhani) and Turkey (Recep Erdogan) recently met to ostensibly decide the fate of Syria; at least in terms of their respective interests and involvement in this country ravaged by war and economic hardship.

What To Do With Syria (make that … Israel)

In part, President Trump vindicated his decision to remove United States troops from Syria in two ways: (1) With intelligence assistance from the very Kurds whose security was threatened by absence of our troops, US Special Forces found and raided the compound of ISIS leader (Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi) who killed himself and three of his children while trying to escape. (2) Instead of withdrawing all military personnel, President Trump repositioned some of them to safeguard the oil fields of Syria and Iraq.

Even then, the Democrat controlled House of Representatives moved forward in their relentless effort to impeach President Trump. Whether the stated reasons to impeach him are legally valid and/or whatever the outcome of this impeachment, the process itself will only intensify the enormous polarity and disunity taking place in America between conservatives and liberals.

Although the main reason why the United States will not come to Israel’s aid during the Gog/Magog campaign will be loss of millions of people in America at the Rapture, the stage is already being set for a hands-off, isolationist mindset that will contribute to America’s disregard for and apathy toward Israel’s fate in the early part of the Tribulation.

Which is precisely what God said would happen through the prophet Ezekiel. Meaning that the only support offered to Israel by the United States and Western allies is that of a half-hearted reprimand of the Gog/Magog assault on Israel. These western nations will merely say to Russia, Iran, Turkey, and the entire Magog confederation:

“…Do you really think the armies you have gathered can rob them of silver and gold? Do you think you can drive away their livestock and seize their goods and carry off plunder?” (Ezekiel 38:13).

As a result of the meeting between Putin, Rouhani, and Erdogan, Russian and Syrian government forces occupied this wide swath of Syria on its border with Turkey, while the Kurds pulled out. Followed by Russian and Turkish troops patrolling the corridor to prevent further fighting. All the while, Iran continues to build and rebuild military installations (those bombed periodically by Israeli airstrikes) throughout Syria, some perilously close to the Israeli border … particularly the Golan Heights.

In keeping with his deceptive attempt to label the Kurds as terrorists (in fact they did more to defeat ISIS than any other group of fighters), Turkey’s President Erdogan said of his country’s recent incursion into Syria and the eviction of the Kurds from the stretch of land in question: “I believe this agreement will start a new era toward Syria’s lasting stability and it being cleared of terrorism. I hope that this agreement is beneficial to our countries and to our brothers in Syria.”

Seriously? What brothers in Syria? Turkey has been an opponent of Syrian President Assad’s government for years. Moreover, Syrian President Assad recently said that he is willing to support any resistance (meaning from the Kurds) against Turkey’s invasion. Whereas, Russia and Iran have sent troops to Syria to enable Assad to defeat the rebel freedom fighters (supported by the United States).

The only reason that Russia, Iran, and Turkey maintain diplomatic and military liaisons with each other and barely tolerate the presence of each other is because all three have their sights set on conquest of Israel. As does Syrian President Assad, who—emboldened by his recent military success in Syria—has recently ramped up his rhetoric against Israel.

Russia, Iran, and Turkey have been and will continue to be that much more entrenched in Syria, ready to strike Israel when the Syrian conflict subsides—at least to the satisfaction of the nations involved. Initially, however, they may actually or under pretense begin to slowly withdraw their military from Syria. Which would track with God’s precise prophetic words to Gog/Magog:

“…Gog, I am your enemy! I will turn you around and put hooks in your jaws to lead you out with your whole army (including Iran and Turkey) …” (Ezekiel 38:3-4, parenthesis mine).

Then later, the Lord taunts Gog again: “Get ready; be prepared! Keep all the armies around you mobilized, and take command of them … you will be called into action…” (Verses 7-8).

Again in Chapter 39, God says: “I will turn you around and drive you toward the mountains of Israel…” (Verse 2).

Nevertheless, until the Rapture takes place, the United States would immediately come to the aid of Israel if even one of these nations launched a large-scale military campaign against Israel, let alone all three at the same time. As we speak, neither President Trump nor the United States Senate would sit idly by if Israel is attacked by a massive strike force, no matter which country or countries perpetrated such an assault.

All these recent developments have resulted in another endgame piece of the prophetic puzzle perfectly placed and playing out in our generation, just as Scripture said would happen.

Things to Ponder

“But this is what the Sovereign Lord says: When Gog invades the land of Israel, my fury will boil over! In my jealousy and blazing anger, I promise a mighty shaking in the land of Israel on that day … all the people on earth will quake in terror at my presence. Mountains will be thrown down; cliffs will crumble; walls will fall to the earth. I will summon the sword against you on all the hills of Israel, says the Sovereign Lord. Your men will turn their swords against each other. I will punish you and your armies with disease and bloodshed; I will send torrential rain, hailstones, fire, and burning sulfur!” (Ezekiel 38:18-22).

Twice before in Jewish history, God fought for Israel unilaterally, decisively defeating Israel’s enemies without the Jews needing to fight at all. Please refer to Eye of Prophecy article, Stand Still and Watch God Fight For Israel! (published 7-30-16) for an in-depth examination of those events.

The above quoted passage from Ezekiel depicts the third time in Israel’s epic existence that the Lord God will spring into action and crush those nations aligned against Israel, i.e. Gog and his allies.

There are three reasons why God alone will vanquish the massive coalition of Russia, Iran, Turkey, Libya, Ethiopia and other nations when they invade Israel.

  1. Despite the military might of Israel in today’s world, she will be no match for this “mighty army” (Ezekiel 38:15) that will come against God’s people and the Promised Land of Israel.
  2. The supernatural means in which God will destroy Gog/Magog is part of the beginning of the Lord’s demonstration of his power and authority during the early part of the seven-year Tribulation. This to get the attention of not only Israel but the entire world. The judgments on Gog and Magog are very similar to the 6th & 7th Seal judgments and 1st Trumpet judgment (Revelation 6:12-14; 8:4-5; 8:7). In Ezekiel we read what the Lord says after he smashes Gog/Magog: “In this way, I will demonstrate my glory to the nations. Everyone will see the punishment I have inflicted on them and the power of my fist when I strike” (Ezekiel 39:21). Compare those words to what people all over the world begin to realize and say after the 6th Seal is broken: “…hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to survive?” (Revelation 6:16-17).
  3. To eliminate some of Israel’s enemies in preparation for God’s permission for Antichrist’s (Nero) increased ascendancy to power that will be fully developed during the last half of the Great Tribulation. Then the physical return of Messiah Jesus to defeat Antichrist, this time with the Jews fighting alongside their King (Zechariah Chapter 12).

These things have happened, are happening, and will continue to happen as the oldest part (defined as 100 years), the middle part (70 years), and the youngest (final) part of our generation ends.

“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” (Words spoken by Jesus; Matthew 24:32-34, parenthesis mine).

Keep your eyes on the Middle East. God’s plan for all humanity goes directly through Jerusalem.

As Israel goes, so goes the entire world.

One day soon both individually and nationally, both physically and spiritually, “…all Israel will be saved…” (Romans 11:26).

First Century Existence of Christ and Antichrist & Their 21st Century Return

What do former leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Adolf Hitler have in common? Or George Washington and Joseph Stalin? Or Winston Churchill and Mao tse-tung (China)?

If you said, “absolutely nothing” in the context of and contrast to good and evil, just and unjust, moral and immoral, positive and negative (effect on their nation and the world), you would, of course, be “right on.”

In terms of personal integrity and consideration for others, they were opposites. With entirely different social, political, and military consequences for the people they led; indeed, for the whole world during their time in power.

But these trailblazers and world figures before and after them do have one thing in common: They were born, lived, and died in the generation shaped by their influence and exploits—whether good or bad. And they appeared on the world stage only once.

Your immediate response would probably be: “Of course, they had that in common. That’s simple logic. That’s just the way of it. Always has been, always will be.”

And your reaction would be just as rational as your conclusion: Whether abruptly or gradually, persuasive people through the ages have risen to prominence through the typical course of human events.

Next, you might ask another reasonable question: Where is he going with this?

What’s the point of stating the obvious regarding the natural way of birth, life, and death for all people, including prominent leaders from previous generations?

(Arlington National Cemetery Tombstone of Former US President John F. Kennedy; many longed for his return to complete the Camelot-like paradise of his presidency)

Good questions and sound logic. In fact, so sound, that nearly everyone (including believers in Messiah Jesus) automatically assumes that the Antichrist will be born a few decades before the Rapture and rise to power at the outset of the Seven-Year Tribulation period in the pattern of tyrants before him.

However, this natural and reasonable assumption has three foundational flaws:

First Flaw: Failure to fully realize that the post-Rapture appearance of the Antichrist is (in the eyes of those left behind) as stunning as the Rapture itself. Followed by the spectacular events described not only in the book of Revelation, but also by many Old Testament prophets and by Jesus himself … which are anything but natural or normal. They are, in fact: supernatural, abnormal, and extra ordinary (extraordinary).

Second Flaw: The tendency to forget that the Antichrist is not only the opposite of Christ but also a counterfeit imitator of the true Messiah—Jesus. Those who have believed and received Messiah Jesus as personal Savior have done so because we believe with our whole heart the Biblical record (plus secular history) that decisively documents the supernatural birth, exceptional life, and marvelous miracles of Jesus of Nazareth.

The Apostle Paul succinctly summarized the pivotal event that changed the course of human history when he penned these words to verify that Jesus of Nazareth was the long-awaited Messiah, the very Son of God:

“I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died” (I Corinthians 15:3-6).

Several Biblical prophecies declare in definitive and dramatic terms that Jesus will return to this earth during the Day of the Lord—Tribulation period followed by the Millennial Reign of Messiah—in the same glorified body in which he ascended to heaven forty days after his magnificent resurrection from the grave. In that respect, he is different from any other person who has ever lived. Scripture (Old and New Testament) is abundantly clear that Messiah’s soon-to-come arrival will not be his first appearance on earth. Rather, it will be his glorious Second Coming to establish the global Kingdom of God.

Listen to the words of Messiah himself as spoken to the prophet regarding the last days of the end times:

“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” (Zechariah 12:10).

Followed by: “Then the Lord will go out to fight against those nations, as he has fought in times past. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. And the Mount of Olives will split apart, making a wide valley running from east to west. Half the mountain will move toward the north and half toward the south” (Zechariah 14:3-4).

Other than Messiah (Jesus), no ruler will return to complete what he started during his lifetime on this earth.

Except one: The Antichrist. Because the tendency is to think in terms of the natural/normal ascendency of leaders during their “once in a lifetime” position of power on this earth, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the Antichrist will be a (false) replica of the true Messiah. Including his initial revealing (1st Century) and his subsequent return from the Abyss (21st Century).

Messiah’s Second Coming will be mimicked by the Antichrist, also in a supernatural way.

Antichrist will be the only other person to “reappear” on the scene of human history. Thus, he, too, will not be a modern-day born man.

(Fingers have been pointed at Popes, Presidents, and other Dignitaries as the Antichrist. The latest target is Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and Advisor)

Third Flaw: As indicated, it’s intuitively reasonable to suppose that the Antichrist will be born and rise to power in the generation of the Rapture and ensuing Tribulation … like all despots before him in their generation.

Consequently, Bible Scholars (including me at one time) to this day have missed or even dismissed some significant statements—some clear, others more like clues—in Scripture which convincingly illustrate that the Antichrist was also born in the 1st Century and will return shortly after the Rapture to finish what he started. But this time on a global scale.

In my book, Out of the Abyss and in most of the 59 Eye of Prophecy articles to date in the Category of The Antichrist, I’ve provided detailed Scriptural and historical evidence to demonstrate that this despicable man is none other than the Roman Emperor Nero. I’ve examined at length ALL Biblical passages pertaining to the Antichrist, such as Daniel Chapters 7, 9, & 11. Also, Zechariah Chapter 11 and Revelation Chapter 13.

Present & Past Tense Existence of the Antichrist in the First Century

In this week’s article, we’ll focus on the two passages that categorically convey the present and past tense existence of Antichrist in the first century, i.e. that he was alive at the very time that the Apostle Paul wrote about this man of lawlessness. And that he had already lived and died BEFORE John of Revelation saw his visions of this perverse man—described symbolically by John as a beast. Respectively, they are II Thessalonians Chapter 2 and Revelation Chapter 17.

In addition, there are only two passages in all of Scripture in which the writer (John of Revelation) challenges believers to—with wisdom and understanding—comprehend and, thereby, solve a mystery. Both exhortations apply directly to the Antichrist beast; that his identity could be known (and was known by 1st Century believers). With that knowledge waning by the 5th Century. See Eye of Prophecy article: The Legendary Return of Nero, posted 4-4-15.

The first challenge is found in Revelation Chapter 13—the initial revelation of the Antichrist beast to John. Even many unbelievers know or know of the infamous number found in this verse:

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

As indicated in Out of the Abyss and prior articles, the title/name of Nero Caesar equals six hundred, sixty-six in Hebrew gematria. Gematria is how Jews counted, via the Hebrew alphabet; then translated to the Greek, the original language of the New Testament. First century believers, especially Messianic Jewish believers, would have easily been able to “solve the meaning of the number of the beast.”

Nevertheless, John was given a second vision of the beast, with even more clues; this time focusing on the biographical and geopolitical status of the Antichrist. Clues so strong that they stand alone to provide more proof as to the identity of the beast. They are found in Revelation 17:7-11. For purpose of today’s examination, we’ll focus on verses 7 and 8. With verses 9 through 11 providing more evidence to narrow down which of the seven kings (Caesars) was the beast … Nero.

For an in-depth study of these seven kings (to document they are kings not kingdoms) please refer to Chapters 16 & 17 in Out of the Abyss. Or, Eye of Prophecy articles, Exposing Antichrist’s Identity … More Compelling Evidence, Part I & II (Published 3-18 & 3-25-17).

Revelation 17:7-8

Let’s look again at these two astonishing verses that Bible teachers/students (including me for several years) have overlooked. With the stated reason that it’s so very difficult to wrap our minds around the startling fact that the Antichrist’s arrival soon after the Rapture will NOT be a contemporary man appearing on the scene for the first time. Instead, it will be his reappearance on earth—straight from the Abyss. Where he has been imprisoned for some 2,000 years after his death and revival by the Lord himself.

“Why are you so amazed? the angel asked. 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, at any time) come up out of the bottomless pit (Abyss) and go to eternal destruction. And the people who belong to this world, whose names were not written in the Book of Life before the world was made, will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died” (Revelation 17:7-8, emphasis added, parenthesis mine).

In further commentary on that passage, the following is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Antichrist / A “Back To The Future” Prophecy. Posted 11-17-18 (in italics).

Question: When is the now of the verse?

If you’ve never thought about it before, now you know the obvious answer. The now is right then and there at that precise point in time in the first-century A.D. The wording is unambiguous and the meaning irrefutable: The beast had already lived and died! “Once alive but isn’t now.”

The life and death of the beast also had to be in the first century, not long before John saw the visions recorded in Revelation. Which is confirmed by more of the mystery unveiled by the angel.

*Note: I then quote the next two verses, which is the 2nd time in Revelation that a challenge is issued by the angel to accurately decipher the clues.

“This calls for a mind with understanding (same challenge as in Revelation 13): The seven heads of the beast represent the seven hills (of Rome) where the woman rules. They also represent seven kings (a totally different Greek word than kingdoms). Five kings have already fallen (died), the sixth now reigns (at that very time when John saw the vision), and the seventh is yet to come, but his reign will be brief (all seven kings were Roman Emperors). The scarlet beast that was, but is no longer (more validation that the beast is past tense), is the eighth king. He is like (Greek word is ek, meaning of, out of, from, one of, like) the other seven…” (Revelation 17:9-10, parenthesis mine for additional commentary).

Continuing with the excerpt:

What had John witnessed? Answer: He had prophetically witnessed the same thing those left behind at the Rapture will see and be utterly amazed at (still in the future … beginning of the Tribulation).

What will amaze them? Answer: the reappearance of this beast (Antichrist) who had (already) died. Or, as phrased in Revelation 13: they will marvel at the miracle of the beast whose fatal wound had been healed.

It is a back to the future spectacle that will mesmerize the world’s attention and capture their loyalty like no other since the resurrection of the true Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.

I then summarized that section of the article with the following observations:

Once a secret is revealed, it is no longer a secret. When the angel explained the mystery of John’s second vision of the beast, it would clarify and confirm John’s first vision; the beast was one of the seven heads, also the composite beast (man) as a whole. Also, to dispel any doubt as to when the fatal wound was inflicted. The solved mystery would provide insight to the very origin of the beast—one that also corroborates Daniel’s disclosure that the little horn (Antichrist) comes directly from the fourth Gentile Kingdom—the Roman Empire.

Not from a (7th kingdom) Revived Roman Empire, because there is no such empire identified in Scripture.

I repeat for emphasis: no such kingdom because there are only four Gentile kingdoms designated by Daniel—known to be Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. The kings of Revelation are just that: kings … seven Roman Caesars. Of which Nero was one of the five who had died before John saw him in the symbolic form of a beast. The ten kingdoms are those that belong to the ten kings in existence during the Tribulation; they will yield their kingdoms to the beast who reappears from the Abyss. Thus, the past tense (seven heads) and future tense (ten horns) unveiling of the mystery.

For sheer emphasis, here is an excerpt from Out of the Abyss (in italics):

The beast had already died before John received this revelation. How else can this passage be understood? Is there any other way to see or read this verse? If some can’t let go of a contemporary Antichrist, then what will they do with this verse … and all the other passages that help refit the prophetic puzzle?

John didn’t see the vision in the future; he saw it in the present—that hour of that day. The beast is past tense … no longer alive when John saw the vision. The beast isn’t born and doesn’t die in the future; he’s already dead. When will the beast become future tense? Correct: When he reappears from the Abyss. At the beginning of the Tribulation, the world will be amazed at the reappearance of the beast who had died. Will the beast die during the Tribulation? No, he died even before John saw him from Patmos (Page 271).

Now let’s take an up close and personal look at another passage on the Antichrist which emphatically expresses that this man was alive when the Apostle Paul reminded the believers in the Thessalonica Church what he had already told them about the Rapture in I Thessalonians (Chapter 4 & 5).

II Thessalonians Chapter 2

Paul begins that chapter with: “Now, dear brothers and sisters, let us clarify some things about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet him” (II Thessalonians 2:1).

Why was that clarification necessary?

Answer: Some of the Christians had believed false reports that the Day of the Lord had already begun. In his first epistle to the Thessalonians written just a few months earlier, Paul had explained that the Day of the Lord begins with the Rapture of believers to heaven. Followed by a time of disaster that would fall on unbelievers (those left behind).

Yet, Paul reassured the believers that the Rapture would spare them from this time of great tribulation that Jesus had previously spoken of when he said: “For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones” (Matthew 24:21-22).

In fact, the Tribulation will be limited to seven years. But as Jesus said: what a period of death and destruction that will be. See Eye of Prophecy article: Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation (posted 6-6-15).

Returning to II Thessalonians Chapter 2, the Apostle Paul provides another reason or component as to why the Day of the Lord had not yet begun. Which, incidentally, he and all the other apostles including Peter believed would take place in their lifetime … any day.

However, it wasn’t until after Paul and Peter had been executed during the latter part of Nero’s reign that the 1st Century believers were given more dramatic details of the Antichrist, which John saw as a beast. Whereas, Paul labeled him the Man of Lawlessness.

As contained in the Eye of Prophecy trilogy, A Beast By Any Other Name I, II, III (posted 3-14, 3-21, & 3-28-15), it’s vitally important to know why different designations are used of the Antichrist, such as king, ruler, man of lawlessness, and beast. Paul never used the tag of Antichrist or beast because he had not been given full disclosure of the sequence of events during the 1st century … later described in the book of Revelation.

Paul wrote only what the Lord had revealed to him:

“Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction. He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship…” (II Thessalonians 2:3-4a).

As contained in Out of the Abyss and several Eye of Prophecy articles, Paul knew that Nero was the man of lawlessness; although Nero hadn’t yet ascended to the throne as the fifth Roman Emperor when Paul penned the two letters to the Thessalonians. We know that Paul knew because of what he says in verses 5 through 8, which we’ll get to momentarily. Paul wrote II Thessalonians in AD 51. Nero surreptitiously claimed the throne as Caesar in AD 54. During his reign, he and the Roman Empire began what Paul said would happen when the man of lawlessness was revealed (meaning coming to power).

There would be a great rebellion against God. Which is exactly what happened when Nero instigated a campaign of terror against the new Christian faith in which thousands of believers were killed. Never (before) had an entire empire persecuted people simply because of their beliefs. This rebellion (persecution) began with the Orthodox Jews—including Paul while he was still a Pharisee named Saul. It was a revolt against God’s New Covenant of Grace which, among other things, declared that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah and Savior of mankind.

Nero also fit the profile portrayed by Paul of exalting himself and defying everything that people call god and every object of worship. He had a monumental statue built of himself and wanted people to worship him as God, not just “a god.”

(Current statue at Anzio, Italy–memorializing Nero at his place of birth. The nearly 100-foot statue Nero had built for himself in the 1st century no longer exists)

Then Paul goes on to predict what else the man of lawlessness would do: “…He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God” (II Thessalonians 2:4b).

The Apostle Paul was beheaded because of his Christian faith during Nero’s reign … most likely at the direct orders of Nero. The temple was still intact at that time, as the Roman Legions under General Titus didn’t destroy the Temple until AD 70. It was Nero who, in AD 66, ordered the assault on Israel and hand-picked the Roman Generals Vespasian and Titus to crush the Jewish revolt. However, Nero died in AD 68 before his legions completed the conquest of Israel, Jerusalem, and the Temple.

Which fits perfectly with Daniel’s prophecy, of which I’ve also written extensively:

“After this period of sixty-two sets of seven, the Anointed One (Messiah Jesus) will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple…” (Daniel 9:26, emphasis added, parenthesis mine).

However, the Lord hadn’t revealed to Paul that the man of lawlessness would later be called Antichrist by the Apostle John and a beast/king by John of Revelation. Although Paul knew that Jesus himself would kill the man of lawlessness (II Thessalonians 2:8), he didn’t know this would happen before the man would desecrate the Temple. Likewise, Paul wasn’t aware that the beast would reappear from the Abyss (at God’s appointed time) and continue his 1st century escapades but in far greater proportion on a global level.

The Present Tense Lawlessness Going On

Continuing with II Thessalonians Chapter 2, we read about the lawlessness secretly at work in the Roman Empire. It is the present tense verbs and adjectives in this passage which convincingly confirm that the man of lawlessness (Nero) was currently being restrained (delayed) from perfecting the plot to make him Emperor.

“Don’t you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you? And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming” (II Thessalonians 2:5-8).

Because I said it as well then as could be said now, here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Does the Holy Spirit Restrain (the Man of) Lawlessness? Posted 3-4-17.

Now let’s read part of the above quoted passage from the New American Standard Version: “And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed” (II Thessalonians 2:6). Then in verse seven, “…only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.”

Paul uses the impersonal pronoun “what” (restrains him) but then switches to a personal pronoun “he” (who now restrains). You’ll see who the “he” is later on, but the fact remains that the restrainer(s)—there are actually two sources of restriction —is first referred to as “what.” Which could not possibly be the Holy Spirit for reasons already provided: The Holy Spirit is ALWAYS referred to by the personal pronoun … He, Him, or His.

I then provided an excerpt from my book, Out of the Abyss. As follows (also in italics):

A torrent of crucial words floods these verses. Let’s begin with the present tense words that clearly convey and confirm the premise that all this was taking place before and when Paul wrote his letter.

According to Paul, the restrainer “is” (at that time) holding the lawless one back. This present tense application is augmented by the fact that what restrains is holding “him now.” Not later, not in some distant future, but right then and there while Paul informed the believers. Paul obviously is not referring to a man who hadn’t even been born yet…

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

Newsflash: Nero became emperor in 54 AD, but Claudius Caesar and his wife, Agrippina, were already touting Nero as successor when Paul wrote I & II Thessalonians. Furthermore, all of Rome knew that Nero would not be a lawful successor to the crown… (Page 191).

*Note: Agrippina was Nero’s mother. Emperor Claudius was Nero’s stepfather and the biological father of a son, Britannicus, who should have been the lawful heir to the throne.

(The first five Roman Emperors, known as the Claudian Dynasty. From left to right: Augustus Caesar; Tiberius; Caligula; Claudius; Nero)

To further understand how and why Nero was/is the Antichrist/beast/man of lawlessness, here is an excerpt from A Beast By Any Other Name…Part III (in italics):

Thus, when examined closely in the contextual references to Christ and Antichrist, we find a clear indication that the Antichrist would first be revealed as the Man of Lawlessness (ruler-king of Daniel whose armies would destroy the Temple); then return (reappear) as the beast-king of the Tribulation period. There is, however, one astounding verse in the New Testament passages about Antichrist in which both Greek words are used (referring to the words, reveal and reappear) It is a verse that many scholars (including me at one time) have overlooked regarding the significant impact of what is being said.

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

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

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

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

In closing, here is another excerpt from Out of the Abyss:

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

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

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

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

Also:

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

The mainstream present-day explanation is that a modern-day Antichrist will be killed (some say his death is faked, but Revelation 13 tells us that it’s a fatal wound, i.e. death) at the hands of a Jew, or perhaps by a member of his inner circle. There are several theoretical scenarios presented by various scholars, but not one that I know of factors in II Thessalonians 2:8—that Christ, himself, will kill the man of lawlessness. However, these theories lead to a moot point. Because Revelation 17 unequivocally states that the Antichrist had already lived and died even before John saw a vision of him as a beast!

Continuing in Out of the Abyss:

Expressing it another way: Jesus did not kill the beast; he killed the man of lawlessness. Although the man of lawlessness and the beast are one and the same (Nero), this is not a contradiction. Why … because the Holy Spirit, through Paul, is telling us when the beast would be killed. The beast would be killed by Christ while the beast was the man of lawlessness (in the first century) before he reappeared as the beast! As the beast (during his 21st century return) Nero will be cast into the Lake of Fire, alive. (Page 206, parenthesis added for purpose of this week’s article).

Things to Ponder

Said the risen and ascended Jesus to John:

Then Jesus told John to: “Write down what you have seen—both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen” (Revelation 1:19, italics for emphasis).

“Jesus, who is the way, truth, and life because he perfectly fulfilled the Law of Moses arrived on the scene first. Then came the man of lawlessness who would seek to pervert and destroy this way, truth, and life. Nero arrived on the scene of humanity only some three and a half years after Jesus ascended to heaven. Nero will be allowed to reappear some seven years before Messiah returns, but Nero’s ultimate authority during that time will be for three and a half years. Thus, Christ will have the final say in this matter. Yeshua is the First and the Last.” (Out of the Abyss; Page 208)

In closing, here is another excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article: Antichrist / A “Back to the Future” Prophecy:

As said before, I believe that the longer-term purpose and benefit of identifying (correctly) the Antichrist is for those who will have missed the Rapture. That some left behind will quickly realize the awesome accuracy of God’s Word the Bible. That there will be some unbelievers who will not be so amazed at the reappearance of the beast who had died long ago.

Just like John’s amazement ended when the angel revealed to him the mystery of the beast’s and woman’s identity, without naming names to protect believers in the first century from even more Roman retaliation. The names are: Nero and Rome, the beast and the woman, respectively.

Also, for believers and unbelievers alive now. For those of us whose loved ones still have not decided to believe and receive Messiah Jesus as personal Savior. With love and concern, we eagerly want them to make that decision, NOW. So, they don’t have to experience the horror of the Great Tribulation. But if they are left behind, perhaps they won’t be so amazed at this evil man when he abruptly reappears from the Abyss.

Instead, they will choose the true Messiah, Jesus … even on pain of death.

“…And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus and for proclaiming the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4).

West Bank or Judea/Samaria? What’s In A Name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” (Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2 … Juliet speaking).

Whether a fan of Shakespeare or not, many are familiar with the tragic story of Romeo (Montague) and Juliet (Capulet) who were born into families that despised each other. The long-standing feud between the Montagues and Capulets was too much to overcome for these young star-crossed lovers.

Through a shocking series of misunderstandings and twisted fate, they both died without fulfilling their dream of love and life together.

The balcony scene is the most memorable. Juliet could not understand why their heritage would be such a hindrance. Why must a family rivalry dominate and determine their future? What would it take to set aside generational animosity between peoples? Did the family names really matter that much?

If only the Montagues would look through the lenses of the Capulets and the Capulets identify with the Montagues long enough to bridge this gulf between the two? As noble as Juliet’s wishes were, they clashed with the reality of it all. Although Romeo and Juliet wanted to end the long-standing hostility between the two families, it was not meant to be. There was something in the names.

(Several Romeo & Juliet movies have been made. My personal favorite is the 1968 release, directed by Franco Zeffirelli; starring Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting)

If only the Palestinians would agree to accept and refer to the West Bank as Judea/Samaria.

Instead they and those who support the Palestinian agenda employ the designation of West Bank, with the misguided implication that it belongs to the Palestinian Arabs. It does not!

Israel is a Jewish State established by native and immigrant Jews (not by Arabs) no different than France is a French state. Germany is a German state. Spain is a Spanish state … on and on.

All areas within the borders of these nations and others like them are (or should be) under the sovereign jurisdiction of that nation’s government. The United States of America is unique in that her ethnic citizens are Americans … a true melting pot. With, however, Federal authority over political, economic, military, and security matters common to all 50 States as reflected in the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of our Republic.

When Israel became a sovereign state, the Jews did not displace the Arabs living alongside them. Instead, many Arabs voluntarily left Israel at the directive of five Arab nations that invaded Israel on May 15th, 1948—the day after Israel declared statehood. Unlike the United States forced dislodgment of some Native Americans, especially during our westward expansion.

The analogy between Juliet’s famous words and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is intriguing but also imperfect … as many analogies are. For one thing: often one side of such long-standing disputes is right and the other wrong. On one side is the truth; on the other side are lies that distort and even rewrite the history of such truth.

What’s in a name?

What does it matter if the identity of Israel’s central region is called the West Bank (merely because Judea/Samaria is on the west side of the Jordan River) instead of its authentic Biblical time-honored designation of Judah and Samaria?

Answer: It makes all the difference in the world.

It is the distinction between historical truth and modern-day fabrications, including but not limited to who has sovereign rights to that portion of Israel. For that matter, to all of Israel. In that regard, the terms that are tossed around casually by most world leaders and certainly all Islamic nations of “West Bank, (Jewish) Settlements, and East Jerusalem” are used for political reasons.

The Biblical Precedent/Truth

The rivalry between the Jews and Arabs (to now include non-Arab Muslim nations and the Arabs within the state of Israel who started to call themselves Palestinians after the Six-Day War of 1967) is ancient in origin.

It began when God sovereignly chose Isaac as the promised child through whom his father Abraham’s descendants would be given the Promised Land of Israel and through whom the Messiah would come to bring redemption to all people, Jew and Gentile alike (including Arabs!).

Not Ishmael, as Muslims claim.

God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham when he said: “I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:2-3).

The Lord then reaffirmed this two-part unconditional covenant with Abraham … and later Isaac and Jacob (the Lord changed Jacob’s name to Israel): (1) Abraham’s descendants would inherit the land of Israel, called Canaan at the time. (2) As subsequently revealed by the prophets, it would be God’s Messiah (his very Son) who would come from the tribe of Judah and be the ultimate source of salvation’s blessing to individuals who believed and received him as personal Savior. Also, blessings to entire nations that would acknowledge the God of Israel and his Messiah.

Regarding Point #1, God said to Abraham: “…Look as far as you can see in every direction—north and south, east and west. I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants as a permanent possession” (Genesis 13:14-15).

Just how far Abraham could see is not known, nor was it necessary to know at that time. Rest assured, however, that the boundaries of that Promised Land encompassed much more than modern-day Israel. And one day will again. God later designated these borders of the Promised Land as found in several passages of Scripture, including Joshua Chapters 13 through 21.

(Original and restored future borders of Israel … although the bottom of the red line is extended too far down into Saudi Arabia)

The very existence of the modern State of Israel and the unprecedented return of the Jews from many nations bear irrefutable testimony to the absolute and amazing accuracy of Biblical prophecy. No other nation on the face of the earth has ever been restored like Israel, from the floods of dispersion and from the fires of Nazi death camps. No other dead language has ever been revived like Hebrew, now spoken by Jews throughout Israel.

Yet, the world at large refuses to recognize these astonishing accomplishments.

Instead, they regard the timeless truths and fulfilled prophecies of the Bible as irrelevant to our post-modern world. Entire nations have denied the right of Israeli Jews to sovereignty over ALL Israel, including Judea/Samaria and the Gaza Strip. Virtually every nation on earth still pushes for a Palestinian state within Israel despite the clear evidence that this would imperil Israel’s security and its very survival. And despite the undeniable fact that the Palestinians have blatantly rejected several generous offers to form such a state.

The Arabs have persistently denied Israel’s right to exist. Moreover, the militant among them (with silent approval from the so-called moderates) have sworn to destroy Israel. They do not want a state alongside the Jewish state; they want a nation in place of Israel. Yet, the heads of the global heads of state remain buried in the sand, oblivious to the true history of the Middle East and the real agenda of the Muslim world.

One of those passages that I’ve quoted before is from the otherwise obscure book of Obadiah; obscure only because of its brevity (one chapter). Certainly not because of its powerful prophetic impact regarding Israel’s future, which has transpired before our 20th & 21st century eyes.

Here it is as part of an excerpt from the final portion of Eye of Prophecy article, Israel’s Controversial Nation State Law (posted 8-11-18); having already listed seven reasons why Israel is and always will be a Jewish state:

Not one of the seven reasons for or distinguishing characteristics of a nation is necessary to unequivocally proclaim Israel as a Jewish nation.

Only one reason is needed: God, himself—who created and owns the entire universe—gave a small portion of the Earth to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The same God who always does what he says he will do, who knows the end from the beginning. Whose prophecies through his prophets have or will come to pass with 100% certainty and accuracy.

The very fact that God referred to foreigners in Israel demonstrates that Israel was and still is a Jewish nation. Israel and the Israeli Jews do not oppress minorities. It’s just the opposite. Going so far as granting self-governing privileges to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza who have refused Israeli citizenship, something that hardly any country on earth would allow of its non-citizens.

As alluded earlier, Israel is not to be divided (think two-state proposal) among any other people or nation except the Jews. Lest anyone thinks that’s merely a suggestion or may be inconsequential, read with me:

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

Moreover, in dozens of subsequent prophecies, the Lord promised that he would return his people to their Promised Land and restore Israel to the full frontiers established by the Lord himself.

Continuing with the excerpt from the previously cited article:

The last three verses of Obadiah describe much (but not all) of Israel’s original land mass. In parenthesis, the modern-day portion of Israel will be inserted to match the Biblical names, some of which are still the same. Notice that the passage uses the word “occupy.” And does so with a matter-of-fact positive connotation. Not the negative occupation accusation by Israel’s enemies (and even some of her “friends”) that is patently false … Biblically, historically, and currently.

“Then my people living in the Negev (still called the Negev … southern part of Israel next to the Sinai Peninsula which is part of ancient Israel that bordered Egypt and Arabia) will occupy the mountains of Edom (southern Jordan and western part of Saudi Arabia). Those living in the foothills of Judah (land and cities south of Jerusalem, including Hebron) will possess the Philistine plains (Gaza Strip) and take over the fields of Ephraim and Samaria (the West Bank). And the people of Benjamin will occupy the land of Gilead (portion of northwestern Jordan and southwestern Syria).

“The exiles of Israel will return to their land and occupy the Phoenician coast as far north as Zarephath (ancient Tyre and Sidon … the coast of Lebanon). The captives from Jerusalem exiled in the north will return home and resettle the towns of the Negev. Those who have been rescued will go up to Mount Zion in Jerusalem (Temple Mount which has belonged to the Jews in perpetuity but currently under administrative control of Jordan and the Palestinians) to rule over the mountains of Edom” (Obadiah 1:19-21a).

Will Israel Annex Portions of Judea/Samaria?

Fulfillment of end-times Biblical prophecy regarding Israel and the return of Messiah Jesus is taking place at an extraordinary pace. Just like the analogy of birth pains depicted by Christ. The latest of these remarkable developments was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bold announcement that, if he and his right-wing bloc are reelected, Israel would officially annex portions of Judea/Samaria (West Bank) in which there are Jewish communities.

Moreover, Netanyahu said that any such action would not be undertaken until after the 2nd part of the United States peace-plan (Deal of the Century) was formally announced—which President Trump indicated would be soon after the Israeli elections of September 17th (this past Tuesday).

(Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Annexation Announcement)

During a press conference held on September 10th, Prime Minister Netanyahu declared: “It puts a great challenge before us, but also a great opportunity. It’s a historic opportunity—a one-time window of opportunity to extend Israel sovereignty over our settlements in Judea and Samaria and also other areas of importance to our security, our history and our future. We haven’t had such an opportunity since the Six-Day War, and I doubt we’ll have another opportunity in the next 50 years. Give me the power to guarantee Israel’s security. Give me the power to determine Israel’s borders.”

He went on to say: “There’s one place in which it’s possible to extend Israeli sovereignty immediately after the elections if I receive from you, the citizens of Israel, a clear mandate to do it… Today, I reveal my intention to annex the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea.”

Along with the Golan Heights—which Israel annexed years ago—he said that the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea area, “…is the essential security belt in the Middle East.” Furthermore, he promised that (paraphrasing): not one Jew will be uprooted from Judea/Samaria.

Following this stunning news, the on-line op-ed site of Jewish News Syndicate said in an article: “…regarding the annexation of the Jordan Valley, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had notified the White House prior to making the announcement, and that ‘someone in the White House’ had said off the record that ‘Netanyahu’s plan does not impinge on Trump’s.’”

(Note: The White House’s implied support of Netanyahu’s proposal is unprecedented. Despite Israel’s spectacular victory in the Six-Day War of 1967, no U.S. President or Executive Staff had officially extended approval for this annexation, even though they had recognized Israel’s legal and national right to do so).

Said Benjamin Netanyahu in response to the White House’s statement: “That’s saying a lot. For over eight years (referring to Obama’s time as United States President) I blocked the attempt to push us into the 1967 borders, to uproot settlements. Then, in the last three years, I’m changing the course of Jewish history by getting recognition for settlement, for the borders (parenthesis mine).”

Netanyahu’s referral to borders is a slight concession to international presumptions that the demarcation between Israel proper and Areas A, B, & C (established in the 1993 Oslo Accords) of Judea/Samaria were actual borders. They are not. The true geographical boundaries of the Jewish State of Israel are with other countries—Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. They are NOT internal borders within Israel.

Instead they were simply armistice lines agreed to by the Israelis, even though Israel was victorious over her enemies in her 1948 War of Independence, and even more so in the Six-Day War of 1967; having reclaimed ALL Israel, including ALL of Jerusalem.

Because of international pressure to return some of this territory to Jordanian (West Bank) and Egyptian (Gaza and Sinai Peninsula) control, Israel agreed to these truce lines. In fact, both Jordan and Egypt had illegally usurped control of these areas after Israel’s War of Independence of 1948.

Netanyahu concluded by comparing his recent annexation plans to previous agreements with President Trump. That he had, “persuaded Trump to recognize Jerusalem as our capital, move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, recognize our sovereignty in the Golan, get out of the horrible Iran deal… and now I’m doing the same thing (not only) vis a vis the Jordan Valley, but also all the settlements inside and outside the blocs. This is crucial.”

This isn’t the first time that Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed the view of most Israelis Jews concerning Israel’s sovereignty over Judea/Samaria. Shortly after Israeli elections in April of this year (that didn’t result in a majority government … thus, the need for reelections earlier this week), Netanyahu asserted the need for such autonomy.

Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Judea/Samaria & Gaza Strip / Who Has Sovereignty? (published 5-11-19, that also explains the demographics of Areas A, B, & C of Judea/Samaria) … in italics:

Not only did President’s Trump’s March 2019 declaration that the United States recognizes Israel’s sovereignty in the Golan Heights generate a backlash of criticism, so did Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign promise concerning Judea/Samaria….

In the context of the dismal failure of total Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 that produced previously non-existent Hamas driven terrorism instead of peaceful co-existence between Israel and the Gaza Palestinians, plus the seemingly never-ending Palestinian lone-wolf terrorist attacks mostly against Israeli Jews living in the West Bank, Netanyahu promised to extend Israeli (functional) sovereignty over Area C of the West Bank in which Israeli Jews live.

Immediately most global media headlines conveyed his campaign announcement by saying that Netanyahu (Israel) was going to “annex the West Bank” … or something to that effect. That is NOT what he said, although Israel has every right to annex the entire area of Judea/Samaria if they choose, not just Area C.

Another reason for Netanyahu’s proposal to officially exercise (administrative) sovereignty over Area C is in the event (albeit remote) a Palestinian state is created, which would include the portion of this area crucial to Israeli security, especially the Jordan Valley. Nor will Israel consider dismantling Jewish communities in Area C, causing massive displacement of hundreds of thousands of Jews. It just isn’t going to happen. Netanyahu’s sovereignty promise was a public statement of that fact.

Annexation is nothing more than an official exclamation point on that portion of Israel (like the Golan Heights annexed in 1981) already sovereignly controlled by Israel. But as indicated, Netanyahu stopped short of saying Area C of the West Bank would be annexed.

Now, however, Benjamin Netanyahu has included annexation as the final step in exercising Israeli sovereignty over land that has belonged to the Jews from ancient times. Which lies within the very heart of Israel, the Promised Land that was given to them by the only true and living God as an everlasting possession. Israel’s Prime Minister is doing exactly what the Lord said should and would be done. Ultimately, it will be accomplished by God’s sovereignty over Israel and all nations of the world, though Israel will still go through some tough times during the Great Tribulation.

Listen to the Word of God:

“Then another message came to me from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: ‘My love for Mount Zion is passionate and strong; I am consumed with passion for Jerusalem! And now the Lord says: I am returning to Mount Zion and I will live in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City; the mountain of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will be called the Holy Mountain … Once again old men and women will walk Jerusalem’s streets with their canes and will sit together in the city squares. And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls at play” (Zechariah 8:1-5).

This Divine promise is taking place in our generation and will be experienced fully upon Messiah’s return.

Adverse Reactions to Annexation Plans

As expected, the Palestinians and Muslim nations including Iran strenuously objected to and condemned Prime Minister Netanyahu’s promise to annex the Jordan Valley, where Jews outnumber Palestinians, 13,000 to 6,000. If Jericho is included, then Palestinians outnumber Jews, 53,000 to 13,000; however, Netanyahu’s plan does not include Jericho. The Jordan Valley comprises about 30% of the “West Bank.” Regarding Area C of Judea/Samaria, Jews outnumber Palestinians 400,000 to 200,000.

Said one Palestinian farmer in this region: “It’s our parents and grandparents land. We will hold onto it no matter what it costs.”

Yet, for the Jews, it’s also their parents and grandparents. And much more: It’s generations of Jews that go all the way back to the time of Abraham, some 4,000 years ago.

Said Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat: “It’s impossible to have a Palestinian state without the Jordan Valley.”

Really? The truth is that it’s currently impossible to have a Palestinian State … period!

Because the Palestinians want all of Israel; not just the Jordan Valley, not just Judea/Samaria, not just the Gaza Strip. For that matter, how does Israel negotiate with those who seek her destruction and who have vowed never to officially recognize her existence? And even if they did, with whom does Israel negotiate? Hamas of the Gaza Strip or the Palestinian Authority of the (misleading term) West Bank? Each of whom hate the other and solemnly swear that they alone will be the governing authority of any Palestinian state.

(Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh–to the left & Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Not certain when this photo was taken, but not recently. As these two Palestinian leaders have become bitter rivals)

Not just the Palestinians and Muslim nations and leaders of some European countries; even the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres denounced the plan. According to Guterres, the plan: “would constitute a serious violation of international law.” That it, “would be devastating to the potential of reviving negotiations and regional peace, while severely undermining the viability of the two-state solution.”

Seriously? How is it that the leader of the United Nations can be so ignorant of “international law.” Or the real reasons why a “two-state solution” has not taken place by now? Or that such a solution could bring peace to Israel, let alone the Middle East?

I have written about this extensively in several prior articles. Here is an excerpt from, Two-State Solution & The Seven-Year Treaty … Impossible? (Posted 1-26-19):

Likewise, any (pre-Rapture) agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians is equally unachievable.

However, the world at large doesn’t see it that way for two (main) reasons: (1) Heads of states and even geopolitical experts don’t fully comprehend the real underlying issues; not the least of which is the ancient Arab hatred of the Jews, which has morphed into the present-day Muslim loathing of a Jewish nation on earth. (2) They don’t know or care to know what the God of the Bible has to say and what he will do about these matters. The true and living God whose hundreds of prophecies have come to pass and more last days predictions that will happen just as surely.

Globally, there is an intense focus on and incessant demand for what is commonly referred to as the Two-State Solution for Israelis and Israel’s non-citizen (by choice) Palestinians. Flying in the face of reality, the two-state solution is nevertheless the political jousting frequently heard from the United Nations, the European Union, the Arab League, NGO’s, and common citizens. Even from those, including many celebrities, who know virtually nothing about the origin (history) or contemporary facts-on-the-ground details of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Those (and there are many) who promote such a proposal do so with the misguided assumption that if the Palestinians are granted their own state, there would be: (1) peace within Israel and throughout the Middle East, and (2) no more or at least reduced Arab/Muslim hostility toward Jews—within and outside Israel.

No matter that the Palestinians have four times rejected offers that could have resulted in a Palestinian state. First—the Balfour Declaration of 1917; Second—UN Partition Resolution 181 in 1947; Third—then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s offer in the year 2000 of some 95% of the West Bank (including what is referred to as east Jerusalem) to the Palestinians in exchange for peace. Fourth—an even more (ill-advised) generous offer from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008.

And from Eye of Prophecy article, The “Right of Return” … For Palestinians or Jews? (4-7-18).

Many people forget that the Arabs had a golden opportunity to create a state alongside the State of Israel in 1948. They forfeited that right by rejecting UN Resolution 181. Which was an international recognition of Israel’s right to statehood approved by the United Nations itself, no matter if the Arabs consented or not. Instead the Arabs viciously attacked the infant state of Israel the very next day. Which leads us to the 2nd reason why Israel legally and legitimately belongs to the Jews, and why the Jews alone had (still have) the Right of Return … for those still in Diaspora.

There is an innate time-honored tradition that any nation or people have the right to reactively or preemptively defend themselves from armed attack. In fact, it’s moral common sense. This includes the prerogative, if exercised, to annex or purchase land (Jews have purchased most of the land on which Israelis reside) within the geographical boundaries of that nation. When obviously justified, it also includes adjacent territory (such as the Syrian section of the Golan Heights) from which an enemy had constantly rained down rockets, shells, and small arms fire.

As opposed to a unilateral unprovoked assault on neighboring nations for the exclusive purpose of taking over all or part of another country … an unrighteous war of aggression.

The historical record is indisputable: Israel was forced to defend herself when attacked by an Arab coalition that far outnumbered and outgunned the Jews. Against insurmountable odds, Israel won her “War of Independence.” An independence that had already been granted by a convincing majority of the UN’s member countries.

But the world at large sees it differently. To this day, many entertain the notion that the Arabs made a mistake. So, give them another chance to reconsider acceptance of the UN Resolution. Or, even that UN Resolution 181 still applies to the Arabs—which it doesn’t because the Arabs rejected it. Or, PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ farcical fantasy that Resolution 181 is invalid, much like his accusation that the Balfour Declaration of 1917 was illegitimate.

The Arabs made more mistakes, one after another. I’m referring to three more wars in which Israel was forced to fight for its very survival; Suez War of 1956, Six-Day War of 1967, and the Yom Kippur War of 1973. In the Six-Day War, Israel reclaimed ALL of what was formerly called Palestine, including the historic liberation of Jerusalem itself. Israel had every individual, national, and international RIGHT to keep those liberated lands of the Golan Heights, Judea/Samaria (West Bank), the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, and ALL of Jerusalem.

(After the Six-Day War, Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt; kept the Golan Heights; withdrew Israeli settlements from the Gaza Strip in 2005; relinquished administrative control of Judea/Samaria–West Bank– to Jordan and now the Palestinian Authority, to include Temple Mount. Yet, Israel has ultimate sovereignty over all these regions)

[Other Eye of Prophecy articles on this general subject are: Israeli Occupation … Fact or Myth? (5-16-15); United Nations Downsizing of Israel (Resolution 2334) (1-17-17); The Balfour Declaration … Beginning of the Omega Generation, Part I & II (May 2017); What is Palestine & Who Is a Palestinian? (12-2-17); Does Israel Belong to the State of Israel? (5-4-19).]

Summary of the Annexation Proposal

In an article on that same day (September 10th) posted by journalist Sean Savage in Jewish News Syndicate, he quotes Eugene Kontorovich’s (Director of International Law at the Jewish-based Kohelet Policy Forum) reaction to Benjamin Netanyahu’s annexation statement:

“The Prime Minister’s announcement is fully in line with Israel’s international legal rights. Because these territories were part of the British Mandate, Israel has as much legal right to them as to Tel Aviv. Israel is simply changing the method under which it exercises its jurisdiction over these territories, to make it more governable and equitable.”

Savage went on to say: “The proposed move cannot be described as ‘annexation’ he (Kontorovich) explained, because under international law, annexation means the taking of the territory of a foreign country. Judea and Samaria did not belong to Jordan or any other country when Israel retook control of it in 1967.”

Quoting Kontorovich again, Savage wrote: “Israel waited for more than 50 years to regularize the status of these territories, giving the Palestinians opportunity after opportunity to make a peace deal that would have given them a sovereign state. The Palestinians refused time after time, rejecting initiatives under presidents Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump. Israel has now decided that the people in these areas cannot be held in limbo forever; Israelis should not pay the price for Palestinian intransigence.”

Said Dore Gold, well-known expert on the Middle East who currently heads the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs think tank, in comparing what happened when Israel evicted all Israelis (some 10,000) from the Gaza Strip in 2005 to what would happen if Israel relinquished its sovereignty and presence in the Jordan Valley: “We did not get an era of peace. We got three (Gaza Strip) wars. We’re not going to allow that to happen to our east (parenthesis mine).”

No matter the results of Israel’s election, it’s time for Israel’s destiny to be fulfilled.

It’s time for God’s chosen people to exercise their God-given covenant birthright to live in all of Israel; all the while extending equal rights, which Israel does, to Israeli Arab citizens (Palestinians are not citizens by choice). To continue God’s providential plan for Jews to maintain sovereignty over what is an extremely small portion of this earth to begin with, but also to remember what the Lord told them long ago:

“Do not take advantage of foreigners who live among you in your land. Treat them like native-born Israelites, and love them as you love yourself. Remember that you were once foreigners living in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:33-34).

I’ve been to Israel and constantly keep abreast of what’s taking place there and in the Middle East in general. For decades, I have studied Israel’s past and contemporary history in detail; including, of course, what the Bible has to say about this amazing land. There is no evidence whatsoever of apartheid in Israel—as alleged by many the world over. On the contrary, there are numerous examples of democratic equality for Israeli Arabs; to the point of serving in all branches of Israel’s government and certainly the right to vote.

Things to Ponder

“The time will come, says the Lord, when the grain and grapes will grow faster than they can be harvested. Then the terrace 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. They will plant vineyards and gardens; they will eat their crops and drink their wine. 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 9:13-15).

The time (that) will come as promised by God through the prophet Amos is here. In the context of and correlation to many other prophecies of Israel’s future, it is clearly referring to the last days of the end times.

That time is now.

Again, we read: “On that day I will gather you together and bring you home again. I will give you a good name, a name of distinction, among all the nations of the earth. I will restore your fortunes before their very eyes. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Zephaniah 3:20).

That day of gathering has indeed begun before the watching eyes of the entire world. It won’t be long before Israel will be a beacon to the nations, no longer denigrated by those who loathe her very existence and who have distorted the truth of God’s Word to achieve their own warped agenda, individually and nationally.

All the prophetic pieces are falling rapidly in place for the first onslaught against Israel via the Gog/Magog coalition of Russia, Iran, Turkey (and smaller nations) as demonstrated by the presence of these nations in Syria for the past few years. And a September 16th, 2019 conference in Ankara, Turkey attended by the leaders of this alliance—President Vladimir Putin of Russia; President Hassan Rouhani of Iran; President Recep Erdogan of Turkey. This campaign will take place not long after the Rapture; God will crush the Gog/Magog armies without need for Israel to fight at all!

Followed by the assault on Israel led by Antichrist (Nero) and his coalition during the last part of the seven-year Great Tribulation, which will be dealt a final devastating defeat by Messiah Jesus himself.

Regarding Israel and Jerusalem:

The next verse says: Look and see, for everyone is coming home! Your sons are coming from distant lands; your little daughters will be carried home” (Isaiah 60:4).

Have you looked? Do you see (know) that millions of Jews from the four corners of the earth have returned home to Israel? That millions have been born in the land of their ancestors.

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

The Rapture / Before or After The Great Tribulation?

“So encourage each other with these words” (I Thessalonians 4:18).

What are the words referred to by the Apostle Paul? Do you recognize the context of this verse?

If your answer is the resurrection of dead believers in Christ, their transformation into immortal bodies along with those Christians who are still alive; then the “catching up” (Greek word, harpazo) of both living and raised believers to meet the Lord in the air, you would be 100% correct.

Congratulations!

This earth-shaking event is commonly referred to as, The Rapture. The following is an excerpt from the very first Eye of Prophecy article posted (July 2013), entitled, What Is The Rapture? (in italics):

Remember, the word Rapture is not a direct translation of the Greek word, although it is a very close transliteration of the Latin word; rather it is a substitute or alternative or expanded way to describe emotionally or spiritually what is taking place. One of the definitions for rapture found in Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary is, “a mystical experience in which the spirit is exalted to a knowledge of divine things,” and a companion definition is, “an expression or manifestation of ecstasy or passion.”

Thus, we have a captivating combination of the original Latin and Greek words, which is accurately rendered “caught up” in most English translations of the Bible. These words convey the dynamics of the actual time/space sequence involved in this literal transfiguration of the Christian’s physical body, with the spiritual joy, emotional bliss, and mental delight in what is taking place. Those who have accepted Christ as their personal Savior (both the dead and the living), will experience the highest degree of spiritual and physical euphoria possible, as we will be instantly changed and then transported to heaven, there to be with our Lord and King forever. As the sayings go, “It doesn’t get any better than this.” And, “What a way to go!”

Messiah Jesus was the first to dramatically describe the Rapture: “Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken (believer), the other left (unbeliever). Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left” (Matthew 24:40, parenthesis mine).

And, “That night two people will be asleep in one bed; one will be taken, the other left” (Luke 17:34).

Those verses clearly convey that the Rapture will be a global phenomenon. Reason: Half of the earth will be day; the other half will be night.

The Apostle Paul’s amazing account of the Rapture in I Thessalonians 4 contains the full sequence of the Rapture. Every time I read this priceless passage; I’m as thrilled as the time before. Here it is again:

Later, in I Corinthians 15, Paul explains the tremendous transfiguration of believers into imperishable bodies … equipped to live forever.

Although the extreme makeover of believer’s bodies will take place in a nanosecond, the entire episode of the Rapture will take several minutes. Please refer to Eye of Prophecy articles: The Shout Heard Around the World (posted 4-22-17); also, A Dramatic Enactment of the Rapture! (4-20-19).

Is that, then, why Paul exhorts believers to “encourage each other with these words”?

Answer: Obviously, yes; but also, no (not entirely).

Yes, because the resurrection of believers who have already died and their transfiguration and transportation to heaven along with living believers is one of the two powerful purposes of the Rapture. It is the grand finale of Biblical redemption that began when we believed and received Jesus as our personal Savior. At that moment, we were given eternal life. The Rapture will then usher us into heaven (also the new earth to come)—our home for eternity.

No (not entirely), because there is a significant second reason for the Rapture; one that some Christians have misunderstood, sometimes to the point of discouragement and disagreement.

More Encouraging Words

A few verses later, The Apostle Paul again urges 1st century believers: “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing” (I Thessalonians 5:11).

Although the broader perspective of that verse is still that of the Rapture, there is a narrower context which begins with Chapter 5. Paul elaborates on what Jesus had said earlier about the Rapture, both stated and implied: Such as: no one knows the precise day/hour when Jesus will snatch away both living and raised from the dead believers from the earth. And, the Rapture itself will precede the physical return of Messiah Jesus … they are different events. See Eye of Prophecy article, Messiah’s Return & The Rapture (Same or Separate Events?) Published 12-3-16.

Consequently, Scripture cautions believers to be on the highest alert and fully aware of the signs and seasons of the Omega (final) generation.

Both Jesus and Paul use the term, “return” or “the Lord’s return.” However, in their description it is explicitly evident that the Rapture phase of Messiah’s return is different than and separate from his physical return; with each stage an integral part of his Second Coming.

Unfortunately, the question that some believers have incorrectly answered is whether the Rapture will take place shortly (days, weeks, months) before Messiah descends to earth. Or whether it will occur before the seven-year Tribulation begins. These two views are identified in the terms: Pre-Tribulation Rapture or Post-Tribulation Rapture. Abbreviated as Pre-Trib or Post-Trib.

I’ve written about this subject in several articles, the most comprehensive of which is: Will Believers Go Through the Tribulation? Part I & II (posted 6-15 & 6-22-19). Later, we’ll concentrate on a couple of other passages, which were mentioned more in passing in previous articles.

But first, in a brief review of the above referenced articles, let’s return to I Thessalonians Chapter 5; one of the most convincing statements to demonstrate that the Rapture will take place before the onset of the Great Tribulation.

There, we find the second purpose for the Rapture, as well as the reason why the Apostle Paul again tells believers to reassure each other, as we just read in I Thessalonians 5:11. In fact, the cause for encouragement is stated just two verses earlier:

“For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us” (I Thessalonians 5:9).

The saving us (believers in Messiah Jesus) is NOT a direct reference to or in the context of our salvation when we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord. That is found in passages such as John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 10:9-10, and a host of others. Nor does it apply to the general trials, tribulation, and suffering during a believer’s time on this earth spoken of by Jesus, Paul, and Peter—which some Christians confuse with the specific seven-year Tribulation. Thus, claiming that believers will go through the Tribulation.

Rather the clear context of God’s choosing “to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ” is still in the parameters of the Day of the Lord, in which God’s final wrath is meted out globally on those left behind at the Rapture who stubbornly refuse to acknowledge God’s sovereignty and his salvation available only through the true Messiah, Jesus. Instead they will follow the false Messiah. They will be, “…on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them … Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth” (II Thessalonians 2:10 & 12).

That’s precisely what Paul is talking about in I Thessalonians Chapter 5; a direct extension of the Rapture revelation in the last three verses of Chapter 4. He’s telling us that—in addition to the resurrection of the dead in Christ and transfiguration of their bodies—living believers will be also be transfigured AND taken from the earth.

Why? Because God has chosen to save us from the Great Tribulation. God has chosen, not to pour out his anger on us (believers). Rather, that wrath will be directed to a wicked, unbelieving world who will embrace the lies foisted on them by Satan, Antichrist, and the False Prophet.

As indicated, there are several other passages (covered in detail in a few Eye of Prophecy articles) to convincingly confirm that there is absolutely no way that believers will experience the Great Tribulation. Here, I’m referring to pre-Rapture believers, not those who accept Christ after the Rapture, called Tribulation saints. Even then, many of the plagues described in Revelation will be confined to unbelievers, including most of the seven bowl judgments.

However, this one verse (I Thessalonians 5:9) is more than enough to decisively demonstrate that the Rapture will spare believers from the apocalyptic death and destruction during the inconceivable horror of the Tribulation.

For emphasis, here is the passage again, this time adding verse 10: “For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns (Paul is again referring to the Rapture phase of Christ’s return), we can live with him forever. So encourage each other…” (I Thessalonians 5:9-11a, parenthesis mine).

How could this verse be any clearer or more emphatic?

Not just the words of the verse in the context of the Tribulation, but also the common-sense application of it. Certainly, believers could and should encourage each other after Paul’s dynamic disclosure of the Rapture itself, as an enhancement of what Jesus had already said. On the other hand, how could believers possibly be encouraged (again) if they/we must go through the Tribulation?

Webster’s Definition of Encouraging: “giving hope or promise.”

Encouragement: “the act of encouraging; the state of being encouraged; something that encourages.”

Paul isn’t telling the believers to be encouraged despite the Tribulation, i.e. having to experience it.

Instead, he’s telling them to encourage each other because they wouldn’t have to undergo God’s final judgment poured out on a wicked, corrupt world whose left-behind unbelieving inhabitants will follow a man even more perverse than they are. As optimistic as Paul was during his amazing life on this earth and ministry for Messiah Jesus in which he experienced great hardship, he wouldn’t tell his brothers and sisters in Christ to “grin and bear it.” Not in the context of what would be the most terrible time on earth imaginable.

According to the Bible (directly from Jesus and the prophets and apostles) there’s a vast difference between the daily trials and heartaches of life—including varying levels of persecution brought by unbelievers against believers during our lifetime on this earth—and the greatest calamity of all time that will take place during the Tribulation in only seven-years’ time.

Said Jesus:

*Note: The “chosen ones” are God’s chosen people the Jews; time doesn’t permit in this week’s article to document that.

More Evidence of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture

In the remainder of this week’s article, we’ll focus on two primary passages in Scripture which I’ve not covered as extensively as other passages in prior articles pertaining to the Rapture and Physical Return of Christ.

First Passage:

“Then as I looked, I saw a door standing open in heaven, and the same voice I had heard before spoke to me like a trumpet blast. The voice said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this.’ And instantly I was in the Spirit…” (Revelation 4:1-2a).

In this remarkable scene, John—the author of Revelation—is instantly transported to heaven from the Isle of Patmos. We’ll see why this is a prototype preview and replica representation of believers taken from the earth during the Rapture. Therefore, why the Rapture must and will take place before the Great Tribulation begins.

Come up here. These are the words of Christ Jesus himself, because it was the same voice that John heard as recorded in Revelation Chapter 1. John had not only heard the voice of Jesus but had seen him in all his resurrection splendor, as well. We know that John was taken to heaven, because Messiah Jesus told him to, “come up here.” In that regard, John was a foreshadow of living believers who will be taken from the earth at the Rapture; thereby, spared from the Tribulation.

Prophetically, John was given the awesome privilege of watching the entire Tribulation unfold before his eyes. Then to record these apocalyptic scenes for all believers.

Although it’s unlikely that raptured believers will witness the seven seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments while we’re in heaven, it’s crystal clear that we will accompany Messiah Jesus upon his final return to earth (Revelation 19:11-21 & Revelation 17:14). But the fact remains that both John (as a prefigure representation) and raptured believers will sit out the Tribulation in heaven. Nowhere in the successive Tribulation scenes of Revelation (Chapters 5 through 19), do we find John personally experiencing any part of God’s solemn and sovereign judgment of the earth. Instead, he is a bystander to and recorder of these cataclysmic events.

NOR DO WE FIND any mention of the church (born-again believers) in Chapters 5 through 18. That fact is intentional, not merely coincidental.

Only the Tribulation saints are identified—those who were left behind at the Rapture but then chose Messiah Jesus over Antichrist (Nero). Not until Chapter 19, when all raptured believers (not including Tribulation saints, for they won’t be raised from being martyred until Chapter 20) will ride to victory with Messiah Jesus. The latter part of Chapter 19 is the final battle of all time, known by virtually the entire world as Armageddon. In this crushing victory Jesus will throw the Antichrist and False Prophet into the Lake of Fire. He will then destroy their entire army, whose military leaders would dare fight against the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. Shortly, thereafter, Satan (in bodily form … the dragon) will be cast into and chained in the Abyss for 1,000 years—during the magnificent Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ on earth.

Most believers are familiar, if not well versed, with Jesus’s letters to the seven churches as found in Revelation Chapters 2 and 3. The chronological sequence of these letters in juxtaposition to John’s subsequent and sudden ascent into heaven is unmistakable. They were written to seven existing churches in the 1st century but are obviously meant for all churches thereafter. Each of the congregations had its own distinct set of conditions (two of them positive and five mostly negative).

However, the main purpose for the Lord’s assessment of and advice to each church was to prepare them for his return. With rewards of eternal significance for listening and obeying; just as he warned all believers in his end-times discourse found in Matthew Chapters 24-25 to be ready for his two-phase return. First the Rapture, then his physical reappearance on earth to complete God’s final judgment (Armageddon). But nowhere in these letters do we find any shred of evidence whatsoever that these churches (even the miserable, apathetic Laodicean church) would be part of or subject to the final wrath of God poured out on a rebellious and unrepentant world.

Instead, there would be discipline (of churches and individual believers) when necessary.

Specifically, to the church at Laodicea, Jesus said: “I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference” (Revelation 3:19).

Followed by one of the most loving and compassionate offers Jesus makes to any believer—especially to those who have gone their own way: “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends” (Revelation 3:20).

That verse is often quoted as an invitation for unbelievers to open the door of their heart to Jesus. Although there’s nothing wrong with that extended application, the concise context of Jesus’s invitation is to lukewarm believers who were saying, “I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!” With Jesus’s response: “And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked” (Revelation 3:17).

John was still on the Isle of Patmos when Jesus gave him these seven letters. But the very next scene is that of John being whisked away to heaven. The prototype parallel to all born-again believers is clear-cut. Neither the seven churches of the 1st Century—when Christ could certainly have returned—nor believers in the centuries to follow (right up to the present time) would need go through the Tribulation. Like our forerunner, John, we will be snatched away, exempt from the terror to come. In the meantime, we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (II Peter 3:18). And that sometimes includes the Lord’s discipline of believers, when we get bigheaded; or, a little too big for our britches.

In summary: The absence of any reference to individual believers or individual churches during the Tribulation Chapters (Revelation 5 – 18 + 19:11-21), preceded by John’s instant transport to heaven as an observer of (not a participant in) the Great Tribulation, is more validation of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture.

If there was any possibility that John (representing his brothers and sisters in Christ as stated in Revelation 19:10) would experience the Tribulation, then John would have been given his visions of the future on Patmos. Instead, he was removed to heaven in the Spirit. An electrifying experience so real that he might as well have been there bodily. And, although we don’t know for sure, he very well could have been (Paul said the same thing … II Corinthians 12:1-4).

Which, in turn, is a foretaste of the wonderful immortal spiritual bodies that every believer will be given just before being taken to heaven.

Second Passage (Sets of):

Just before the Rapture segment of I Thessalonians 4:15-18, we read: “For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died” (I Thessalonians 4:14).

This is a pivotal verse to further confirm that the Rapture will take place before the Tribulation. But we must combine it with verses in and commentary on Revelation 19 & 20 to explain this additional proof.

First, an observation of the obvious: For believers who have died to be (brought back) with Jesus upon his physical return to earth, they must be raised from the dead. Exactly what Paul proceeds to say in the ensuring verses 15 & 16. But don’t forget that this passage is referring to the Rapture, not the physical return of Christ to earth, as our Lord doesn’t descend to earth during the Rapture. Instead, believers will meet him in the air.

Please see Eye of Prophecy article: Armageddon and Messiah’s Return … An Amazing Sequence of Events (2-3-18) for an in-depth examination of Jesus’s two-part return to earth, near the end of the Tribulation. The first to fight alongside Israel (Jews) in the heroic battle for Jerusalem (Zechariah 12 & 14). The second (final) time: to crush Antichrist and his coalition, which by then will include the Kings of the East (Revelation 16).

This epic battle in the Valley of Megiddo (Armageddon) is vividly described in Revelation 19 (also a few Old Testament passages). With Christ are, “…the armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses.” (Revelation 19:14). These are clearly the raised from the dead (plus raptured living believers) identified in I Thessalonians 4. Or, in the form of a question: Who else could they be?

(Jezreel Valley in Israel; also known as Megiddo Valley, in which Har (hill) Megiddo is location, from which the term Armageddon comes)

So, the all-important question: when will they be raised from the dead? In other words, when will the Rapture take place? Before the Tribulation or afterwards?

To further verify a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, let’s look at a sequential event that happens soon after Christ’s magnificent victory at Armageddon. Chronologically, it comes in the next chapter of Revelation, just after Satan is bound for a thousand years.

“Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus and for proclaiming the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their forehead or their hands. They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4).

Along with a few other passages in Scripture, this verse coupled with believers accompanying Messiah Jesus during his victorious descent from heaven (Revelation 19), presents a serious problem for those who endorse a Post Tribulation Rapture, as opposed to the clear Biblical evidence of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture.

It goes like this: Those who subscribe to the Rapture taking place after the Tribulation must then explain why believers are able to ride with Christ during the final battle of Armageddon, which is still part of the seven-year Tribulation (the final stage); if they haven’t been raised from the dead yet. Because the resurrection taking place in Revelation 20 doesn’t occur until after Armageddon.

In that same vein, to be consistent with a resurrection of the dead for all believers, a Post-Trib position cannot distinguish between Tribulation saints (which Revelation 20 is referring to) and believers both dead and alive before the Tribulation begins. To hold to a Post-Tribulation Rapture, they must concede that all living believers will “enter” the Tribulation and those killed during that time will arise from the dead along with those who died before the Tribulation began. Which further compounds the same problem: How can dead believers return with Christ at Armageddon, if they’re not raised from the dead (via the Rapture) until the Tribulation has ended—which it won’t until Armageddon?

Revelation Chapter 20 is clearly referring only to believers who were killed (beheaded) during the Tribulation … also see Revelation 7:14. Which doesn’t account for all believers throughout history who died before the Tribulation begins. There are believers who will descend with Christ to earth for the final event of the Tribulation (Armageddon). But they couldn’t be the Tribulation saints, because those believers won’t be raised from the dead until after the Tribulation is over. The only possible explanation is that the believers mentioned in Revelation 19:11-21 were already raised from the dead or were living AT THE TIME OF THE RAPTURE.

By default, then, the Rapture must take place before the Tribulation begins.

There’s another problem with a Post-Tribulation Rapture. How can believers participate in the Wedding Feast of the Lamb in heaven (Revelation 19:7-9) which also takes place before Armageddon; if, in fact, they are still on the earth … either dead or alive? (Meaning they haven’t been raptured yet according to the Post-Tribulation theory).

When the opposite of that is so evident: The true Church (all believers both dead and living) must be taken (raptured) BEFORE the Tribulation begins in order to celebrate the greatest wedding feast of all time. In preparation for our victorious ride with Christ from heaven to earth as we watch up close and personal his righteous and just war against the forces of evil.

*Note: Immediately after the tribulation saints are raised from the dead, we read: “This is the first resurrection. (The rest of the dead did not come back to life until the thousand years had ended.)” (Revelation 20:5, parenthesis in the text).

Then, “Blessed are those who share in the first resurrection…” (Verse 6a, italics for emphasis).

In Revelation 20:11-15, we’re told of the Great White Throne Judgment which is the final judgment of all unbelievers—those who were raised after the Millennial Reign of Christ.

The “first resurrection” is labeled such in contrast to the second resurrection of the dead. The first resurrection combines the Rapture resurrection of dead believers described in I Thessalonians 4 and I Corinthians 15; PLUS, the subsequent resurrection of Tribulation saints at the end of the Tribulation. That is the sharing cited in verse 6. But they are at different times, because the evidence is clear in I Thessalonians 4 that Jesus does not descend to the earth at the actual Rapture. Then the second resurrection is only for unbelievers.

Summary

Both Jesus and the Apostle Paul clearly depict the Rapture as taking place abruptly, without warning. Like Paul’s analogy: “a thief in the night” suddenness. Whereas, all the Tribulation events are prophetically categorized in sequence with a known collective duration of seven-years. Thus, for a Post-Tribulation Rapture conjecture to be accurate, the Rapture would occur shortly after the series of known Tribulation events have run their course.

Question: How could a Rapture at that time be sudden or without warning? It would be fully expected because the Tribulation had ended.

And by that time, why would one person be taken and another close by be left? Left behind for what? Christ has already defeated the armies of the world, arrogantly aligned to wage war against him. Left behind to follow the Antichrist, who “…will use every kind of deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them” (II Thessalonians 2:10)? That’s already taken place throughout and by the end of the Tribulation. Billions have already met their destruction, but pre-Tribulation believers won’t be among them.

If you are a believer in Messiah Jesus as your Savior and Lord, then be totally encouraged that you won’t have to go through the greatest series of catastrophes ever experienced by humanity. You are not destined to experience the wrath of God. He has already promised to save you from that terrible time.

Yes, there will be believers on earth during the Tribulation, but only because they believed and received Christ after the Rapture. Included are 144,000 powerful Jewish witnesses who will lead millions to Jesus. Most of these believers will be killed for their testimony of Jesus.

If you don’t know Messiah Jesus as your personal Savior, now is the time to make that decision.

Not only will you be saved from your sins and live forever in heaven, you will be spared from the Tribulation which could begin any day now, soon after the Rapture. You don’t want to be left behind!

“…Indeed, the ‘right time’ is now. Today is the day of salvation” (II Corinthians 6:2).

“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 4:11-12).

Things to Ponder

We are living in the last days of the end times. Please see Eye of Prophecy articles: Look Up, Redemption is Near Part I & II (7-11 & 7-18-15), in which I’ve detailed twelve prophetic flashpoints that have been or are being fulfilled in this generation. Here is an excerpt from Part II (in italics):

What is different now from then is that all twelve have synchronized with a frequency and magnitude never seen before. With intensity that really can’t get much more extreme or enhanced than it already is. Together they have formed a combustible concoction ready to spontaneously ignite. The accumulative impact of these flash point prophecies fits precisely with the Lord’s comparison to childbirth, all in a generation’s time.

Here is the list of the twelve in a handy concise format. Check each one to see if they either have been fulfilled or if they have reached or nearly reached their optimum and maximum flash point.

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

Listen to the Apostle Peter’s warning:

“Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, ‘What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.’

“They deliberately forget that God made the heavens by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed.

“But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand days is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, 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. But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief…” (II Peter 3:3-10).

“…Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty—the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come” (Revelation 4:8).