A Tale of Two (Arab) Cousins

A Literary Masterpiece

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

If you’re an avid reader who enjoys classical as well as contemporary literature, you may have already recognized the source of these memorable words, though they were penned over 150 years ago. Perhaps the title of today’s article helped you make the connection.

Those who’ve never read or can’t remember the origin of this attention-grabbing line are still likely to have seen or heard it, as this catchphrase universally represents people, places, and events down through the ages.

It is the opening lyrics from a historical novel which is one of four bestselling books of all time.

Written by Charles Dickens and originally published in installments from April to November, 1859, it is:

A Tale of Two Cities

So, what is the greatest selling and most read book of all time (by far)?

Easy answer: The Bible.

Was it mere coincidence that Charles Dickens’s began his novel with seven sets of contradictory times? With, for example, the next set: “it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness….”

It occurred to me that Dickens consciously or perhaps subconsciously may have modeled his iconic opening after one of the most recognized passages in the Bible: “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). After the opening verse in Ecclesiastes 3, there are seven verses of contrasting “times.” Beginning with: “A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest” (Verse 2).

The final two lines: “A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace” (Verse 8).

Set just before and during the French Revolution, A Tale of Two Cities was fictional, yet a historical story of two cities—London and Paris. And more so of two countries: England and France. Time doesn’t permit an adequate synopsis of this great novel; plus, I would need to read it again to do justice to even a summation!

Suffice to say that Charles Dickens painted both cities and countries in an unfavorable light throughout most of the book, due to the autocratic oppression by English and French royalty of the poor and less unfortunate. But he also expressed equal disapproval of the Reign of Terror that began with the mob revolt and brutal killing of France’s royal family and many nobles; without really accomplishing the purpose of the French Revolution—righting legal and social injustice.

Historically, you may (or may not) recall: The chaos that resulted by viciously eliminating the autocratic rule of the French aristocracy led directly to a dictatorship in France—as opposed to the democracy established by the American Revolution against England. You remember: Napoleon—one of the greatest (with the connotation of both good and bad … mostly bad) tyrants of all time—filled the lawless vacuum created through anarchy by establishing law and order, then seizing control of France and most of Europe.

Charles Dickens depicted England in a more favorable light toward the end of his novel, principally because the British commoners did not resort to a bloody chaotic revolution. England’s masses also realized that it would be folly and futile to stage a revolution against British royalty while their country was trying to suppress the revolution that had already begun in America.

A Tale of Two Cities is a study of similarities between two eminent cities and countries, and also a study in contrast.

The Ancient Saga of Two (Half) Brothers

The racial and religious friction between Jews and Arabs (rather than a class conflict between the same people as portrayed in A Tale of Two Cities and other novels by Charles Dickens) has been a major struggle from time immemorial. In fact, the dissension between Jew and Arab is longest (continuing) clash in human history. Moreover, both ancient and modern chronicles clearly show that the hostility is almost exclusively a one-way street that runs from Arab/Muslim nations and peoples toward Jews and Israel.

It began when God picked Isaac, not Ishmael, to be the ancestor of God’s chosen people; when he selected Israel, not Egypt (or any other Arab nation), as the Promised Land. Isaac, as the first child of promise, would be the progenitor of the Messiah—the ultimate Child of Promise—who would be the source of redemption for the Jew first, then for all Gentiles, including Arabs! (Romans 1:16). A Jewish Messiah who would come from the lineage of King David, from the tribe of Judah, from the nation of Israel.

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government (of the entire earth) will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, (only he can and will be) Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6, parenthesis mine).

*Note: To affirm an obvious historical fact: The sole reason that a descendant of Ishmael—Muhammad, an Arab—conceived the religion of Islam was to replace the Judeo-Christian faith with a counterfeit creed that refuted and rejected God’s covenant promise to Abraham. In order to do this, Muhammed also had to devise a god to supersede the true and living God of Scripture. Thus, he chose the pagan moon-god, Allah. He plagiarized the Bible by alleging that the angel Gabriel gave him revelations … the same angel who had appeared to Mary to announce that she would give birth to Messiah Jesus.

Think about it: Why would God send the angel Gabriel to the Jewish Virgin Mary to tell her:

Then six hundred years later send Gabriel to (allegedly) tell Muhammad that Jesus was merely a prophet, not even equal to Muhammad. That Islam (an Islamic Caliphate) would rule the world. That Jews (and Christians) should be killed if they didn’t submit to Islamic religious demands? This is only one of innumerable dramatic differences between the Bible and the Koran, between the true God who made man and the man-made god Allah, and between Messiah Jesus who arose from the dead and Muhammad who remains in his grave!

An Appropriate and Relevant Analogy

The epic tale of two cities is a meaningful prototype comparison to a much lesser known, but nevertheless intriguing story of two women, who are cousins.

Naturally they have common ground by virtue of being blood relatives. Both are Muslims born in Nazareth, and both are Israeli-Arabs with full citizenship rights in Israel. But you’ll soon see what makes them so very different.

Their names: Haneen Zoabi and Sara Zoabi.

Hanin Zoabi: (The English spelling of her name from Arabic is Haneen Zoabi; in Hebrew it is Hanin Zoubi. Nearly all media references give her name as Hanin Zoabi).

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Haifa and a Master of Arts in communication from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Before entering politics, she was employed by the Israeli Ministry of Education as a school inspector and before that taught mathematics.

Directly from Wikipedia we read that Hanin Zoabi, “…is an Israeli Arab politician, who currently serves as a member of the Knesset for the Joint List. Serving in the Knesset since 2009, Zoabi is the first Arab woman to be elected to Israel’s parliament on an Arab party’s list. Representing the Balad party…”

I wrote about her once before in a portion of the Eye of Prophecy article, More Palestinian Lies, posted 2-20-16. Here is an excerpt from that article (in italics):

The Israeli Government is considered to be a Parliamentary Democracy, and is one of the most unique governments in the entire world. It consists of 120 Knesset members representing the diversity of Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs (citizens of Israel) and currently consists of twelve separate parties, including the Joint Arab List … For years, Arab Israelis have served in the Knesset. Presently there are seventeen such delegates who represent the approximately 1.8 million Arabs living in Israel with full citizenship rights.

These inhabitants should be distinguished from the Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, who have refused to become citizens of Israel, and who now bear the identity of Palestinians. Most of the lone-wolf attackers have been West Bank Palestinians, but there has also been a handful of Israeli Arab citizens who committed these crimes.

Israeli Arabs have freedom of transportation throughout Israel, freedom of education, freedom of employment, and (as indicated) freedom even to serve in the Israeli government. The Israeli Arab Knesset members are supposed to represent their fellow Arab Israeli citizens; not the Palestinians, who are (supposed to be) represented by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. That is if you consider corruption as a representative form of government.

On February 2, 2016, three of these Knesset members (Hanin Zoabi, Jamal Zahalka, and Basel Ghattas) met with the families of eleven terrorists who were killed during their unprovoked murderous attacks on innocent Jews. Then, the following day the families also met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in his Ramallah office just a few hours after another terror attack killed 19-year-old female Border Patrol Corporal Hadar Cohen, and injured another soldier.

As representatives of the Balad faction within the Joint Arab List Knesset party, both Hanin Zoabi and Jamal Zahalka are well-known for their anti-Jewish activism, and have a long history of confrontational incidents with other Knesset members in particular and Israelis in general.

Though yet to be convicted, Zoabi, in particular, has been charged with incitement several times in the past including participation in violent Palestinian protests; resulting in several attempts by fellow Knesset members to remove her from the Israeli government.

Joint List party member Hanin Zoabi seen at the Israeli parliament during a plenum session in the assembly hall of the Israeli parliament on July 11, 2016.

(*Note: What do you make of the posture of the Knesset Member behind Zoabi?!)

Not mentioned in that article: Hanin Zoabi had been suspended from the Knesset for six months in the aftermath of the three Israeli boys (one of whom was a dual U.S. citizen) who were kidnapped and murdered in June, 2014 by two Palestinians from Hebron … affiliated with Hamas. I wrote about the kidnapping of those three teenage boys in Eye of Prophecy article, Bring Our Boys Back, posted 6-28-14. Followed by another article entitled Prince of Peace posted 7-5-18 (Messiah Jesus, Prince of Peace, who is the only source and hope for peace in the Middle East … in the entire world) after their bodies were found near Hebron.

Soon, thereafter, Hamas began launching rockets and mortars into Israel which resulted in the IDF’s Operation Protective Edge against Hamas. That was the last war between Israel and either Hamas or Hezbollah.

In effect, Hanin Zoabi excused the actions of the Palestinian men who murdered the Israeli boys (even implying they may have been justified in their brutal crime), and also gave implicit endorsement to Hamas which she doesn’t consider to be a terrorist organization. She was reinstated to the Knesset and remains a member to this day, despite subsequent acts that bordered on treason. (Time/space doesn’t permit explanation of the reasons why she is still in the Knesset).

Continuing with the excerpt from More Palestinian Lies:

Yet, in the view of many Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, her (and the other two MK’s) appearance with the families of the terrorists crossed a line that shouldn’t be crossed. Ostensibly this meeting was to demand return of the terrorist’s bodies from the Israelis; but anyone who has any clue at all knows the real reason they met with the families. It was a show of tacit solidarity and overt support of the killers and their actions to snuff out the lives of Jews anywhere and everywhere in Israel.

Political protest is one thing … we have an abundance of that in our own republic of the United States of America. But an out-and-out endorsement of murder (no matter the rationale of the murderers) is far beyond what any democratic or representative form of government should condone in their government representatives….

As an example: Can you imagine if a few United States Senators or Congressmen met with the family of the two Islamic terrorists who killed fourteen people in San Bernardino last year? Moreover, that the purpose of such a meeting was to extend both political and personal sympathy to the family for the loss of these two murderers?

Said Netanyahu: “Members of Knesset who go to comfort the families of terrorists who murdered Israelis do not deserve to be in the Israeli Knesset. I have asked the Speaker of the Knesset to examine what steps can be taken against them….”

Subsequently, the Speaker of the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein filed a complaint to the Knesset Ethics Committee with a strong rebuke of the three Arab MKs … that their actions constituted incitement and, “encouragement to murder.”

Both Netanyahu and Edelstein are absolutely justified in their recommendations, if for no other reason than the oath that all Knesset Members took when sworn into office: “I pledge to bear allegiance to the State of Israel and faithfully to discharge my mandate in the Knesset.”

Using her position in the Knesset to ostensibly represent Israeli Arabs (citizens of Israel), she and a few other Arab Knesset members actually undermine the Israeli government whenever possible—by subtle and sometimes not so subtle representation of the Palestinians who already have their own representatives … the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank (Judea/Samaria) and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

When Hanin Zoabi was first sworn-in as a member of Knesset in 2009, she walked out before Israel’s national anthem, Hatikva, was played and sung. That is tantamount to a member of the United States Congress spitefully walking out on the playing of the Stars Spangled Banner.

I’ve read several of her quotes and quotes about her. In short, she is an avowed enemy of the State of Israel; if (as she puts it) it remains or even is considered, “a Jewish State.” She endorses the rhetoric and actions of Palestinians and many Israeli-Arabs who hate the Jews and do not want a two-state solution. They want one state: the state of Palestine—preferably absent any Jews.

Sara Zoabi:

In stark contrast, Hanin’s cousin, Sara Zoabi, is a staunch supporter of Israel. This is practically unheard of among Arabs and Muslims; and, as expected, vociferously condemned by the vast majority of Arabs in Israel and Muslims in surrounding countries who know of these two women.

She is the mother of Muhammad Zoabi who had voiced his own support of Israel by condemning the kidnapping (then murder) of the three Israeli boys mentioned earlier. Following several serious death threats issued by the Palestinians, he was forced to go into hiding. In an online video he said he wanted to, “show the world the real face of regular Arabs and Muslims who are simply sick of their leaders’ corruption and unlimited hate.” Eventually he was forced to flee to the United States for asylum.

Sara is an accomplished chef who in June, 2015 appeared as a contestant on the Israeli T.V. show MasterChef Israel. During the interview phase of the program, she introduced herself as an, “Arab, Muslim, Israeli, proud Zionist” from the city of Nazareth.

When one of the judges asked her to expand on this shocking disclosure (“proud Zionist”), Sara had much to say. Beginning with, “I believe in the right of the Jewish people to have their own country, which is the state of Israel, the holy land.”

Among other things, she went on to say: “I’m sure that the people who hear me will say, ‘what, have you lost your mind? How can you say you are a Zionist?’ I want to say to all the Arabs (citizens) of Israel to wake up. We live in paradise. Compared to other countries, to Arab countries—we live in paradise.”

She continued: “We have a state that is Israel, and wonderful people who embrace us with love … We must support our soldiers who defend us with their bodies (referring to the Israeli Defense Force) … Our army is the most moral army in the world … Terror and killing is not the way of the Jewish people … (or) our dear Prime Minister … The Jewish people did not choose terror and did not lose their humanity. The Jewish people despite the genocide and persecutions they have suffered, the Jewish people are a pride to humanity.”

Later Sara Zoabi was invited and spoke before the Israeli Knesset, with, of course, strong opposition from her cousin, Hanin Zoabi, who has labeled IDF soldiers praised by Sara, as “murderers.” Hanin had said in the past that she considers the IDF more dangerous than a nuclear-armed Iran. With regard to the IDF or Israeli police silencing Arab terrorists who maim and murder Jews … she’s right!

Then on May 1, 2017, Sara again went public with her dramatic defense of Israel. In a May 5, 2017 Breaking Israel News article posted by Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz, we read:

“The most inspiring Israel Independence Day video this year was the most unexpected, showing a Muslim Palestinian woman passionately describing her love for the State of Israel in Arabic. As powerful as the video is, the story behind it is even more so.

“The video was posted … by Boomerang, a non-profit organization working towards improving Israel’s image via social media … and in a few short days has garnered almost one million views. In the video, Sara Zoabi, an Israeli Arab, stood proudly in front of the Knesset Building, expressing her love for Israel in no uncertain terms. The video stands as an open challenge to the way Israel-haters view the plight of the Palestinians in Israel.

“Zoabi unabashedly declares in the beginning of the video, ‘I believe with my whole heart in the right of the Jewish People to a sovereign state in the holy Land of Israel. It is a right that God promised.’

“She goes on to enthusiastically praise Israel and the Jewish People, waxing poetic. ‘The sun shining over you and the wind blowing through your fields, they are the inspiration for my love for you,’ she said in her native Arabic. She decries Arab terrorism and praises Israeli humanitarian efforts.”

(Note: Please take a few minutes to watch all or at least part of this video, posted as a link at the end of today’s Eye of Prophecy article).

My personal response: May God richly bless this amazing and courageous woman. May the Lord graciously lead her to the next step in her journey to walk along side of Israel by showing her that He alone is the true and living God. That she will one day also say what a Gentile woman named Ruth said long ago to a Jewish woman Naomi:

“…Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God” (Ruth 1:16).

Even more: That she will believe and receive the one and only Messiah to Jews and Gentiles alike—Jesus Christ; who is a descendent of Ruth (and her Jewish husband Boaz).

(Depiction of Ruth and Boaz)

A Tale of Two Cousins: the ancient and modern-day conflict between Arab and Jew.

On the one hand it is the sad story that is indicative of Muslims in Israel and in many democratic countries of the world. Who (either as citizens or refugees) misuse the freedom granted to them by denigrating their host nation and by calling for the demonization of Israel and even genocide against the Jews (as an Imam in a California mosque did just a few days ago).

On the other hand, there are a few Arabs and Muslims like Sara Zoabi (and like writers Khalid abu Toameh, Bassam Tawil, A.Z Mohamed, or Turkish author Uzay Balut) who recognize and overtly support the right of Jews to live in the sovereign State of Israel, a land given to them by God as a permanent inheritance.

It is an ongoing story of good and evil, of light and darkness, of love and hate.

Though not with the same either/or extremes, the story also brings to mind:

Two Attributes (of God)—Love and Justice

God is Love

The last two Eye of Prophecy articles, Jewish Sovereignty on Temple Mount, Part I & II, and a few like them—such as the above quoted More Palestinian Lies—were written to expose the actual adversarial agenda of Arab Muslims in general and Palestinians in particular against Israel.

Does that mean that I dislike or even despise Arab Muslims as individuals? Not at all. Though not as often as my prayers for Israel’s national redemption and personal salvation of individual Jews, I also have prayed for God’s salvation to Israel’s enemies. For you see, the true and living God loves everyone equally and unconditionally, including Arabs. As a sinner saved by the Grace of God, the least I can do is to love them, too. At the very least, not to hate them. It’s the old adage that is truly Biblical in its origin: hate the evil that people do, but not the people themselves.

In his Gospel, the Apostle John records the words of Jesus in what is probably the most well-known passage in all of Scripture: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone (each person can put their own name in place of “everyone”) who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, parenthesis obviously mine).

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

God gave us his Son, because:

As a result, “We love each other because he loved us first” (Verse 19).

As difficult as it is for me to understand this; the Lord loves Hanin Zoabi the same as he loves her cousin, Sara Zoabi.

“…He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent” (II Peter 3:9).

All of God’s attributes are entirely equal and consistently compatible. The Lord demonstrates his attributes (his glory, his very essence) in perfect harmony one with another.

God is Holy and Just

Yes, God IS Love. But he is also a holy God, who is the righteous judge of all the earth.

Wrote King David: “But the Lord reigns forever, executing judgment from his throne. He will judge the world with justice and rule the nations with fairness” (Psalm 9:7-8).

We all are under God’s judgment as soon as we are born into this world. It is a foregone conclusion that we will sin because we are born with a sin nature.

King David acknowledged his sin and innate capacity to sin when he confessed to the Lord:

“Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. For I was born a sinner—yes, from the moment my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:4-5)

The Apostle Paul reminds us: “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23).

Set aside for a moment any objection you may have that God’s judgement of (all) sin is too harsh; meaning eternal separation from him and heaven, for all who do not accept his pardon by believing and receiving the one and only remedy for sin—Messiah Jesus’s substitutionary sacrifice on the cross.

Think about the incredible evil in the world in general, and the specific horrible consequences we’ve all experienced because of the wrong things we’ve done to ourselves, to others … or what has been done to us.

Dare we abolish law-enforcement and judicial systems that prevent anarchy and help keep us safe by apprehending, trying, convicting, and punishing people for their crimes? Shall we ignore the life-giving and life-guarding moral benefits of the Ten Commandments or trivialize the consequences of breaking them? Should anyone be able to get away with anything that violates God’s laws.

According to God’s righteous standards, any and all sin is an offense against him, whether it’s a violation of civil/criminal statutes, or not. Is it right to get away with lying, stealing, adultery, and a host of other sins as long as we don’t get caught? Even though you might bring yourself to forgive someone for raping your daughter or murdering your son, would you also want the person who attacked your child to not pay the price for their terrible crime? Is do the crime, but not the time the way to maintain law and order?

Everyone’s salvation is a personal matter between them and God. Each person’s eternal destiny (heaven or hell) depends on whether they accept Messiah Jesus as their personal Savior. God’s final judgment at the end of the Millennium on all who have rejected his Son is actually the sentencing phase of God’s justice. Just like a judge in a court of law imposes the sentence on someone who has already been found guilty. (See Revelation Chapter 20).

Let’s read the verses immediately following John 3:16.

“God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil” (John 3:17-19).

For those who have been born again from above, God has forgiven all our sins and granted a full pardon from the penalty thereof. Messiah Jesus paid that penalty and satisfied God’s perfect justice.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus … 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 is a body like the bodies we sinners have … 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 8:1-4).

Things to Ponder

The tale of two Arab cousins is the universal story of two hearts. One filled with goodness, kindness, and love (for Israel and the Jews). The other harboring irrational hate and senseless bitterness toward another race of people, just because they’re Jews.

All hearts—both good and bad—need Jesus. Sara Zoabi needs personal redemption just the same as her cousin, Hanin.

However, as mentioned in a few prior Eye of Prophecy articles, God has designed two plans for the human race. In addition to personal salvation for Jew and Gentile alike through the Jewish Messiah Jesus, he also has established a national destiny for his chosen people the Jews and his special possession Israel. Accordingly, the Lord promises to bless those who bless his people and bless those nations whose God is the Lord (Genesis 12:3 & Psalm 33:12).

God will bless those who support Israel and who champion the sovereign right of the Jews to live in the Promised Land. For Sara Zoabi and others like her, I believe God’s blessing could very well result in her salvation. That she will embrace the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and make a personal decision to accept Messiah Jesus, a descendent of Israel’s forefathers, as her personal Savior. And as the King of all kings.

Although possible, it’s (sadly) unlikely that Hanin Zoabi will ever get to that point in her life. She seemingly has staked out an irreversible position that most Muslims take: Their Muslim god hates all infidels (Jews and Christians) who refuse to submit to Islam.

Although the Lord had to discipline his people for their disobedience, that time of corporate punishment is over. His plan for Israel’s final restoration of their sovereignty in Israel and national redemption is nearing completion.

His passionate love and purpose for Israel and Jerusalem will not be denied.

Nor will his justice against Israel’s sworn enemies be dismissed.

The following is an excerpt from the earlier mentioned Eye of Prophecy article, Prince of Peace, which was written after the three kidnapped Jewish boys were found murdered and buried in a shallow grave near Hebron, Israel (in italics):

Warning! You are about to read graphic language straight from the mouth of the true and living God, the God of Israel, and the God of all who have put their trust in his son, Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Christ). But these harsh future judgments to be inflicted by God against Israel’s enemies (and there are many such passages in Scripture) reveal to us the serious consequences and destiny of those who seek to destroy Israel and the Jews…

(*Note: In Scripture, Edom (Mount Seir) is representative of all nations who despise Israel. The Edomites were descendants of Esau. God chose Esau’s twin brother Jacob to continue the Jewish lineage of Messiah. See the one-chapter book of Obadiah which, in addition to the below passage from Ezekiel, also contains God’s indictment against Edom … the nations).

“Again a message came to me from the Lord: ‘Son of man, turn and face Mount Seir, and prophesy against its people. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord: ‘I am your enemy, O Mount Seir (Edom), and I will raise my fist against you to destroy you completely. I will demolish your cities and make you desolate. Then you will know that I am the Lord. Your eternal hatred for the people of Israel led you to butcher them when they were helpless, when I had already punished them for all their sins. As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, since you show no distaste for blood, I will give you a bloodbath of your own. Your turn has come! I will make Mount Seir utterly desolate, killing off all who try to escape and any who return. I will fill your mountains with the dead. Your hills, your valleys, and your ravines will be filled with people slaughtered by the sword … Therefore, as surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, I will pay back your angry deeds with my own. I will punish you for all the acts of anger, envy, and hatred. And I will make myself known to Israel by what I do to you” (Ezekiel 35:1-11).

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

Jewish Sovereignty on Temple Mount (Part II)

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Sovereignty versus Superiority

Unlike the totalitarian suppression of varying degrees found in Middle Eastern Muslim nations, Jewish sovereignty over Temple Mount, Jerusalem, and all of the land of Israel given to them by the true and living God and reclaimed in four defensive wars of survival against Arab nations, does not equate to superiority of one people over another.

The very idea of sovereignty is understood in principle and practice to be that which a “sovereign state” is entitled to by virtue of belonging to the family of nations on this earth. Israel was afforded that status by the United Nations in 1947 and, accordingly, declared her statehood in 1948. Whereas, there is no such thing as a Palestinian State or even “Palestinian territories occupied by Israeli settlers” except in the indoctrinated mindset of virtually all Palestinians and many Israeli-Arabs.

Webster’s Dictionary defines sovereignty: “a: supreme excellence or example of it. Supreme power esp. over a body politic. b: freedom from external control. Autonomy…”

In contrast, the definition of superiority is: “…in a higher or better manner or degree … in a haughty or condescending manner.”

Last week’s Eye of Prophecy article included the period of Jewish ancient history when her people did harbor a haughty attitude toward Gentile nations, even toward the Lord their God—exhibited in Israel’s disobedience to and defiance of the Lord. Consequently, God severely disciplined them when the Romans in 70 A.D. devastated Israel and destroyed the Temple, then exiled the Jews to the four corners of the earth. For nearly 2,000 years, God’s people were humbled. In fact, they were often humiliated, persecuted, and murdered by the millions.

Here is an excerpt from last week’s Eye of Prophecy article (in italics):

…God ended his centuries-long punishment of Israel—through Gentile domination of the Jews—in the 1967 Six-Day War. Yet Israel did not, by any stretch of the imagination, become arrogant or feel superior by virtue of this stunning victory. Instead, they (one could even say “humbly”) relinquished what was their rightful sovereignty over Judea/Samaria, the Gaza Strip, and the Temple Mount to the Arabs. In fact, many, including me, believe that this self-effacing gesture was ill-advised.

However, they did so to appease international pressure (including that from the United States) not to assert their God-restored self-determining authority; because the world-at-large had not yet (still hasn’t) accepted Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel or the Temple Mount as the original holy dwelling of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob among his people. In short, the world still refuses to recognize the God-given right of Jewish sovereignty over ALL of Israel, first and foremost Temple Mount.

For Israel to continue to allow Jordan administrative supremacy over Temple Mount as well as Palestinian self-government in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank (properly called Judea/Samaria) is anything but an expression of apartheid-like arrogance or superiority of one people over another. For example, the millions of Palestinians in Jordan don’t have near the liberties or standard of living that Israeli-Arabs citizens of Israel and even the Palestinians who live in Israel enjoy.

Then, the last paragraph of that excerpt:

Yes, the Jews are back and Israel is here to stay forever. As in their glory years of King David and King Solomon…

The Chosen People … Why the Jews?

The Lord didn’t choose the Jews to be his special possession because they were better than anyone else. He did not select and separate them from other nations because they were special. Rather, they became a special possession because God chose them. God chose Abraham and his descendants because that was his choice. Those who rant and rave against Israel are defying the sovereignty of the Most High God. They also are harming themselves by refusing to accept God’s sovereign plan to bless all peoples and nations through Israel.

On the other hand, God imposed a higher standard of faithfulness on his people; one that was attainable—if they would only reciprocate by trusting that God knew what was best for them, and choosing to obey God’s Laws. Laws of light and life that would set them apart as an example of morality and integrity; a godly nation that the Lord would provide for, prosper, and protect … so much so that other nations would want to emulate their example.

“The Lord has declared today that you are his people, his own special treasure, just as he promised, and that you must obey all his commands. And if you do, he will set you high above all the other nations he has made. Then you will receive praise, honor, and renown. You will be a nation that is holy to the Lord your God, just as he promised” (Deuteronomy 26:18-19).

This lofty position of Israel was not to lord it over other nations or peoples. Rather, they were called to be a “holy” people, which means set apart by God for a specific purpose—to ultimately bring the light of God’s salvation through the Jewish Messiah (Jesus) to the whole world. And for Jerusalem to be the seat of God’s divine government on earth forever, which began to take shape with the miraculous recreation of the State of Israel.

“The Lord has sworn to Jerusalem by his own strength: ‘I will never again hand you over to your enemies. Never again will foreign warriors come and take away your grain and new wine. You raised the grain, and you will eat it, praising the Lord. Within the courtyards of the Temple, you yourselves will drink the wine you have pressed” (Isaiah 62:8-9, italics for emphasis).

Never again is the poignant prayer of Jews the world over. Never again could they or would they suffer another holocaust. Prophetically, this longing came to pass beginning with Israel’s rebirth in 1948; stamped with divine certainty when the Israelis liberated Jerusalem in 1967, and Gentile domination of the Jews came to an end. Then sealed tightly with Israel’s victory in the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Since then, no Arab coalition has attacked Israel by conventional warfare.

The crops and the vineyards of Israel are flourishing. One day soon they will eat the grain and drink of this wine in the courtyards of the rebuilt Temple.

(Vineyards and Crops in Israel)

Ironically, like the Persian King Cyrus—whom God chose to return the Jews from Babylonian captivity and rebuild Solomon’s Temple—another Gentile ruler will be instrumental in getting the 3rd Temple built. This will be accomplished as part of a seven-year treaty between Israel and the Arab nations. It will be orchestrated by, of all people, the Antichrist (See Daniel 9).

While solidifying his ten-nation federation, Antichrist Nero will sit on his hands and gleefully watch Russia, Iran, Turkey, and other smaller nations invade Israel to destroy the Jews and accomplish his real agenda against God’s people under the pretext of bringing them peace. When this assault fails miserably, it won’t phase Nero a bit … not even the fact that it is God himself who personally crushes Gog/Magog. From the outset, Nero will boast of his divinity by virtue of returning from a 2,000 year-old grave (actually reappearing from the Abyss, but the world won’t know this or care). He will pick up where Russia and its cohorts failed, and break his treaty with Israel half way through the Tribulation. Then, a man-made hell will break loose on the earth. And God’s wrath will be poured out from heaven on a wicked, warped, and wretched world.

For a brief time, Israel, especially in Jerusalem, will once again experience great peril, but nothing like the Holocaust. See Zechariah Chapter 14. See also Eye of Prophecy article, Two-Thirds of the Jews Killed … Past or Future? Posted 9-19-15.

In the final days of the Great Tribulation during Nero’s campaign against Israel, the Jews will do something they couldn’t do and hadn’t done for over 2,500 years … until 1948. They will fight back. Even the weakest among Israeli warriors will fight valiantly like King David (Zechariah 12:8).

And the Lord will do something for Israel that he hadn’t done during almost all of that same 2,500 years of Israel’s history; until he providentially restored the State of Israel, and divinely directed her victories in the wars of 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973.

“Then the Lord will go out to fight against those nations, as he has fought in times past” (Zechariah 14:3).

Aftermath of the Temple Mount Attack on July 14th

Nearly 75% of Israelis were critical of Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to take down the metal detectors just a few days after they were installed. Israel’s Minister of Culture Miri Regev voiced the prevailing view of many Jews by saying:

“The Cabinet’s decision is regrettable. You don’t have to be a security expert to understand that the metal detectors have a security and deterrence effect.”

Said Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely: “Placing the metal detectors was a legitimate action. When what you want to do is ignite the region, any excuse works.”

Although I’ve conveyed the same thought in a few Eye of Prophecy articles as Ms. Hotovely’s last sentence, I’ll choose an excerpt from Jerusalem, City of Peace? (Posted 12-27-14) as an example:

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

The Palestinian and Muslim pathetically flawed protest over the metal detectors seemed to accomplish its aggressive agenda: Divert attention away from the three Israeli-Arabs who started the whole thing by murdering two Israeli policemen (in an entrance to Temple Mount no less), by accusing the Israelis of arbitrarily forcing Arabs to go through metal detectors. How dare Israel change the “status quo?” No matter that Jews themselves have always had to go through metal detectors at the one and only entrance (Dung Gate) through which non-Muslims can ascend Temple Mount?

(Dung Gate, the Gate Nearest to the Western Wall … Metal Detectors Are Further Ahead)

Even after the metal detectors were removed, for days Arabs rioted in the streets. They wouldn’t miss the opportunity to do what they seem to do best: incite the radicals among them to periodically antagonize, terrorize, and murder Israelis. Since September, 2015, that incitement has focused even more sharply on the flagrantly false allegation that the Jews are “desecrating” Al-Aqsa Mosque and are seeking to change the “status-quo” of Temple Mount by asserting “illegal” sovereignty over it. No matter that the Israelis do, in fact, have ultimate jurisdictional authority over Temple Mount and all of Israel; but have chosen not to exercise that right for reasons already covered in last week’s and this week’s Eye of Prophecy articles.

Another incident in which an Israeli Embassy guard shot and killed a Jordanian who had stabbed the guard with a screwdriver (obviously trying to kill the guard) was part of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to do what (I along with a handful of others conclude) was tantamount to a tactical retreat … as opposed to an unwarranted capitulation to the Arabs. In order for the Jordanians to release the Embassy security guard, Israel needed to withdraw the metal detectors. More security cameras and security guards would be a substitution for the removed metal detectors.

According to Netanyahu, his and his cabinet’s decision was made in the context of several factors that, in the long run, would provide a more beneficial long-term solution to the problem. Bottom line, however: Many Israelis believe that their Prime Minister compromised, and missed a golden opportunity to restore Jewish sovereignty on Temple Mount that had been relinquished soon after Israel liberated Jerusalem in 1967.

Palestinian Reaction to the Israeli “Capitulation”

Although the Palestinians would never ever consider a simple “thank-you” to the Israelis for taking down the metal detectors, you would think that gesture would be enough for the Muslims to at least return to their own “status-quo” by lying low for a while. Instead they have ramped up their incitement rhetoric to an unmatched loathsome level.

Just last weekend Muslim Arabs in Israel released a vile (music) video that has gone viral on Palestinian social media. Breaking Israel News columnist Abra Forman described it as, “real footage of terror attacks and car rammings, as well as graphic illustrative animations depicting bloody stabbings as the singer croons, ‘I will attack you, tear you apart, and stab you.’”

The singer brags: “I will do what’s never been done before for the sake of Al Aqsa Mosque, so that the Jews will know who I am—a Muslim, an Arab, a Palestinian.”

Obviously, this is a boast to reinforce his perverse point as to who will be killing the Jews. Still, do those behind this taunting song (representing the Palestinians as a whole) seriously think that the Jews don’t know or won’t remember the identity of those killing them, or that something will be done that’s never been done before? When, in fact, as recently as July 14th that’s exactly what happened: the unprecedented killing of Israelis in the entrance to Temple Mount. Then the brutally evil murder of three Jews in their own home on July 22nd.

The songster disgustingly crows—what Abra Forman described as an upbeat, Middle Eastern-style tune—in perfect Hebrew in order to intimidate the Jews even more: “I will kill you, I swear by my religion … You will be killed, I guarantee. An axe, a gun, or a rifle will kill you.”

Although there have been hundreds, if not thousands of Palestinian online cartoons, caricatures, and videos denigrating the Jews and calling for their elimination and eradication of Israel, this recent video has grotesquely pushed the envelope that much further.

See Eye of Prophecy article, Ethnic Cleansing of Jews … The Real Palestinian Agenda, posted on 9-17-16.

The video concludes with what is (always has been but lately is being broadcast by Palestinians like never before) the real objective of Muslims in Israel and the world over: “cleanse my country of every Jew.”

Their country? Not according to the League of Nations which recognized the British Mandate for Palestine based on the Balfour Declaration of 1917, followed by the United Nations Resolution of 1947 that granted statehood rights to both the Jews and Arabs in Palestine. The Arabs flatly refused to create their own state if it meant one next to the State of Israel. They still reject such a notion unless Israel concedes to every single one of their (non-negotiable) demands, not the least of which is eastern Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.

Thus, the Palestinians have no country; they have no one to blame for that, except themselves. It’s quite simple: they live in the sovereign Jewish State of Israel. But the only way for the Palestinians to tolerate that fact is if the words, sovereign, Jewish, State, and Israel were all deleted.

(Earlier This Year at the Western Wall, Israelis Celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Jerusalem’s Liberation During the 1967 Six-Day War. From God’s Viewpoint There Is No Such Thing as East or West Jerusalem. It Is and Will Always Remain the Undivided Capital of Israel)

*Note: I still don’t understand why the United States won’t consider giving the eastern half of Washington D.C. and the east-wing of the White House to Great Britain, so the British can create their own “status quo” and govern all of the immigrants who have come to America from England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland!

Although nearly two million Arabs are citizens of Israel, Israelis still permit Arab non-citizens (about 3.7 million Palestinians) to reside in Israel. Unlike some surrounding Muslim countries that have evicted all Jews since Israel became a state in 1948, the Jews have not expelled Palestinians from Israel. My guess is that 95% of the world’s population doesn’t know these historical and contemporary facts. And 4% of those who do know, don’t care.

Most Palestinians either don’t know or choose to ignore their real history. Instead they have begun to rewrite history to vainly justify their warped agenda of wiping Israel from all maps of the world. And UNESCO is all too happy to believe this fake Palestinian history by passing resolutions that Temple Mount, the Western Wall, and the Tombs of the (Jewish) Patriarchs are all Muslim holy sites! Pray tell … how can these sacred Jewish sites be Muslim holy places when they (and more) existed long before Islam became a religion? As we use to say, “Go figure!”

(Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, Israel)

More Incitement from Palestinian Leaders

Here is another quote from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in response to the Israeli metal detectors: “These are political steps in the guise of imaginary security, whose goal is to take control of Al-Aqsa and set facts on the ground, evade the peace process, and turn the conflict into a religious one.”

“Imaginary security,” says Abbas. Was it the figment of Israeli imagination that two of their police officers were murdered in cold blood, then three innocent Israeli civilians knifed to death in their own home?

“Take control of Al-Aqsa mosque,” contends Abbas. If that were the case, Israel could have done that long ago. Jews couldn’t care less about the mosque, which is NOT the mosque that Arabs claim was visited by Muhammad in his fictitious journey to Israel and his imaginary ride to heaven on his fanciful flying horse (See Eye of Prophecy article, Myth of Al-Aqsa Mosque published 4-16-16).

I can state with absolute certainty: If the Jews did assert their God-given right to exercise complete control over Temple Mount, Israel would still allow Muslims to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Just as they did after a brief 48 hour shut down of Temple Mount when the police officers were murdered, only to reopen it to Arabs … albeit through metal detectors, which were then removed a couple of days later.

“Evade the peace process,” claims Abbas. It has been Abbas who has several times rejected Netanyahu’s request for a peace conference. Instead, Abbas has taken his case to the United Nations, calling for unilateral establishment of a Palestinian State without any input from Israel whatsoever.

Finally, Abbas ludicrously asserts that Israel is turning, “the conflict into a religious one.”

Absolutely false, as though Palestinian insistence that only Muslims have the right to Temple Mount is exclusively a political reason, having nothing to do with Islam. So much could be said in response to this absurd allegation, but I’ll limit commentary to the following: The Jews don’t indiscriminately kill Palestinians or anyone else in the world. And when they do silence terrorists in self-defense, they don’t yell, “Great is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

Who is it that constantly commits terror atrocities not only in Israel but all over the world? And who is it that screams in the name of their religion, “Allah Akbar” (Allah is the greatest) as they bomb, shoot, stab, and ram cars into innocent people?

As stated by Bassam Tawil in his August 1st article, The Battle over Jerusalem Has Just Begun” posted in the online Op-ed source, Gatestone Institute:

“We have reached a new level in this discourse: Palestinian Authority (PA) officials are now openly admitting that it is not the metal detectors or security cameras that are at issue. Instead, they admit, this is a battle over sovereignty on the Temple Mount and Jerusalem … The real battle, in their eyes, is over the Jews right to live in their own state in the Middle East…”

In fact, Bassam Tawil based the title of his article on a statement by Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki.

Bassam Tawil writes: “In a speech before the Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo, Malki explained: ‘The issue is not metal detectors or cameras, but who is in charge and who has sovereignty over the Al-Aqsa Mosque … The battle over Jerusalem has just begun,’ he said, adding that the wave of Palestinian protests over the Israeli security measures had succeeded in ‘thwarting’ Israel’s ‘conspiracy’ to change the historical and legal status quo at the Temple Mount.”

Later in his article, Bassam Tawil summarizes: “Now that Israel has complied with their demands regarding the security measures, Palestinians feel more emboldened than ever. Murder and incitement, in their case, does indeed pay. They got away with the murder of the two police officers at the Temple Mount; they got away with the murder of the three family members in Halamish, and, in their view, they also got away with the recent violent protest and incitement against Israel.”

According to PA Foreign Minister Malki: “The battle for Jerusalem has just begun.”

Whether Malki realizes it or not—in the light of Biblical prophecy and contemporary developments in fulfillment of those prophecies—what he’s really saying is that: The FINAL battle for Jerusalem has just begun. Not “just begun,” because it’s been going on for millennia, centuries, decades; but with increasing intensity in just the past few years, months, and days … via a verbal and physical Muslim intifada against Israel.

Palestinian and Israeli-Arabs are audaciously testing international political waters and the court of world opinion. Now that they’ve crossed the line of Temple Mount violence with (in their eyes) virtually no impunity, they have and will continue to publicly accelerate their devious objective—absolute autonomy over Temple Mount. Then Jerusalem, then all of Israel.

They have shown their true but ugly colors. They are no longer trying to disguise their real agenda with such fabrications as stated by PA President Abbas to President Trump (“we are raising our children in a culture of peace”). They have ratcheted up their rhetoric and, I believe, will more overtly intensify their avowed intention to destroy Israel. In light of and reaction to several nations warming up to Israel in just the past few weeks and months, the Palestinians have now charted a course to determine if the world-at-large will support the Palestinian narrative or the rights of the Israelis in the sovereign state of Israel.

Like never before, the Arab/Muslim mindset is: It’s us or them. Now they’ve added: We can get away with anything. Let’s see who’s on our side.

Israeli Sovereignty … The Real Issue in Israel

Several conservative and even some liberal Jews have called for Israel to take this opportunity—in which the Arabs crossed a line that shouldn’t be crossed and violated the holiest place of Judaism—to assert sovereignty over Temple Mount that should have never been relinquished in the first place, going back to the 1967 Six-Day War. This begins effectively with more proactive media publications, as written representatively in a July 26th Israel Hayom article by Ariel Bolstein—founder of the Israel advocacy organization Faces of Israel:

“We must refine our message and focus our efforts on emphasizing our rights and not the rights of others.”

His reference to the rights of others was not what the United States of America or other democratic nations would consider the inalienable rights of all people; rather his remarks were in the context of what he previously identified as “anti-Israel propaganda incitement in the Muslim world.”

Ariel Bolstein went on to say: “Our right to the land of Israel, to Jerusalem, and to the Temple Mount is indisputable, and the time has come to realize this right with the uncompromising implementation of Israeli sovereignty throughout the country … Our path to a public diplomacy victory is long, but determination and an insistence on our rights will take us there.”

Regarding Israel’s regrettable lack of reactive and proactive promotion of Jewish sovereignty in Israel, Nadav Shragai, a regular columnist for the online news source Israel Hayom, wrote in an article posted July 28, 2017:

“The problem is that we are in a constant state of defensiveness, retreat and apology. No one ever mentions the enormous, profound and unimaginable concession Israel made back in 1967 regarding the Temple Mount. No one brings up the fact that Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people, took the Temple Mount, the holiest place for the Jewish nation, and placed it in the hands of a competing religion, Islam, for which the Temple Mount is only the third-holiest site—essentially infringing on the rights of Jews there. This unacceptable state of affairs is now being taken for granted for some reason, even though it really shouldn’t be. In terms of religious relations across the globe, this concession is unprecedented in scope, but Israel downplays it, hides it, as if in never happened. Israel is neglecting the obvious. It is not telling the world the most basic and elementary truth—that the Temple Mount is first and foremost a holy place for the Jews…”

Of course there are many Jews and some Gentiles (including me) who love Israel; who have spoken and written about her God-given right to the Promised Land, which includes Divine-delegated sovereignty in Israel. Several Eye of Prophecy articles have dealt with that issue to some extent or another. In fact, the title of last week’s and this week’s article is precisely on that subject.

Naturally, Nadav Shragai knows there are others like him who passionately and proactively defend and support Israel. So when he states, “No one ever mentions…” he’s saying this for dramatic effect; to stir the hearts and minds of Israelis to do more and say more in defense of their country and their rights.

In another Israel Hayom article written by contributing author Annika Hernroth Rothstein (Jewish, but a resident/citizen of Sweden … one of my favorite Op-Ed columnists) also posted on July 28th, she tells the story of a recent meeting she had with a Chinese woman who was “a fan of Israel.” However, the Chinese woman was puzzled over the disposition of Israeli Jews in general and the mentality of Israel’s government in particular. So much so that the Chinese woman asked Annika: “Why do you (Jews) not assert yourself? Being humble is nice but it seems like you don’t believe in standing up for yourself.”

I, too, am a “fan of Israel!” So, I, too, will ask a question: Whether Gentile or Jew, what about you? Do you believe God’s promise to Abraham and God’s special possession Israel?

“I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3).

As for me, I will echo the prophetic words of the Prophet Isaiah:

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

As long as the Lord gives me breath, I will continue to shout: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek (Gentile)” (Romans 1:16, NASB, parenthesis mine).

By God’s grace, I will continue to exalt my Lord and Savior Messiah Jesus. Because: “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

And concerning Israel’s final redemption, I say ardently with the Jewish Apostle Paul (former Pharisee who was dramatically and eternally changed by the risen Messiah, Jesus):

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

Things to Ponder

Restating the premise proposed in last week’s Part I article:

As Temple Mount goes, so goes Jerusalem. As Jerusalem goes, so goes Israel. As Israel goes, so goes the world.

I’m not stating or even implying that the nation of Israel is the only nation on earth that matters, and certainly not that Israel is perfect. However, based on the authority of God’s Word, I am saying that God’s ultimate plan and purpose for the human race goes directly through Israel.

How much sovereignty Israel will regain over Temple Mount, over Jerusalem, and over Judea/Samaria before the Rapture—which will take place any day now—remains to be seen. But whatever the extent of any reclaimed authority, it won’t be enough until they exercise their God-given right to sovereignty over ALL of Israel.

(Star of David Superimposed Over Temple Mount to Symbolize Jewish Sovereignty in Israel)

Those with eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to know the truth of God’s salvation and the sovereign position and responsibility he has given to Israel will eagerly agree with the prophet Isaiah who said:

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

And from whom does this righteousness come?

“In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth. In those days Judah shall be saved and Jerusalem shall dwell in safety; and this is the name by which she shall be called: the Lord is our righteousness” (Jeremiah 33:15-16, NASB, italics for emphasis).

Once upon a time, the Kingdom of God on earth was almost here. When Jesus of Nazareth rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, thousands in Israel proclaimed, “Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessings on the coming Kingdom of our ancestor David! (Hosanna) Praise God in highest heaven!” (Mark 11:9-10).

Heartbreakingly, their religious leaders handed Jesus over to the Romans to be crucified. But just as Jesus said would happen: He arose from the dead to prove he was and is the Messiah, the Son of God. That was God’s providential purpose: The Kingdom of Heaven in the hearts of men and woman who believe and receive His Son’s supreme sacrifice for our sins. Soon, God’s ultimate plan will be fulfilled: the Kingdom of God on earth.

Nearly half of Jews on this earth are now living in Israel. And many more, if not all, will return when Jesus Christ himself returns to Israel—setting foot on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem directly across the Kidron Valley from Temple Mount. He will then enter Temple Mount through the now sealed Eastern Gate.

From then on Messiah Jesus will be the Status Quo.

Jewish Sovereignty on Temple Mount (Part I)

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An Amazingly Disproportionate Focus on Israel

Is it mere coincidence that 20th and 21st century global attention has been focused on Israel like never before in history?

Is it by chance that events in the Middle East have repeatedly captured media headlines since Israel’s miraculous rebirth as a nation on May 14th, 1948, followed by her miraculous defeat of five Arab nations that attacked the newborn Jewish state the very next day? Then the dramatic “against-all-odds” Israeli Six-Day War victory in 1967, followed by another stunning triumph in the Yom Kippur War of 1973? Or the (failed) Oslo Accord of 1993, and the Palestinian intifada of 2000 leading to incessant atrocities committed by “lone-wolf” Palestinians to the present day? And the intervention of the United States, Canada, Australia, Russia, Turkey, Iran, and some European nations in the broader scope of Middle East wars and terrorism?

Not at all random, according to Scripture as found in numerous end-times prophecies of the last days concerning the Jews and Gentile nations’ attitude toward and treatment of Israel.

“Then the remnant left in Israel will take their place among the nations. They will be like dew sent by the Lord or like rain falling on the grass, which no one can hold back and no one can restrain” (Micah 5:7).

Based on the above end-times prophecy and others like it, and in the context of the horrific holocaust of World War II which directly led to the reborn State of Israel just three years later, it’s clear that the Jews who have immigrated to Israel and the native-born Israelis (Sabra) are the remnant spoken of by Micah. (Please see Eye of Prophecy article, Two-Thirds of the Jews Killed … Past or Future? Posted 9-19-15).

Says the Sovereign Lord regarding the last days: “I will strengthen Judah and save Israel; I will restore them because of my compassion. It will be as though I had never rejected them, for I am the Lord their God, who will hear their cries” (Zechariah 10:6).

God has seen the plight and heard the pleading of his people from the floods of dispersion and the fires of Nazi death camps, just like he listened to their cries of slavery in Egypt long ago. If anyone doubts the powerful prominence that the true and living God places on Israel, listen to the following passage:

“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!” (Zechariah 8:2).

Those nations and peoples who seek to destroy the Jews and Israel or even harm them, would do well to heed Almighty God’s warning: “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).

In light of what’s happened in the current generation (last 70 years)—especially events in the past few weeks that have drawn global attention to the real overriding issue of Jewish versus Arab sovereignty on Temple Mount, Jerusalem, and ultimately all of Israel—we can on the authority of the Bible recognize the validity of the following premise:

As Temple Mount goes, so goes Jerusalem. As Jerusalem goes, so goes Israel. As Israel goes, so goes the World.

God’s sweeping plan for mankind is centered on the tiny nation of Israel and on her Messiah—born of a Virgin from the lineage of King David, from the tribe of Judah. Messiah Jesus: who brings salvation to all who believe and receive him as their personal Savior; who will soon return to establish the Kingdom of God on earth and put an end to human misery caused by pride, greed, inequality, injustice, terrorism, and war.

Listed to this magnificent prophetic announcement of both the First and Second Advent of the Messiah:

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

Said the mighty angel Gabriel to the virgin:

“Don’t be afraid, Mary … for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” (Luke 1:30-33).

From the Garden of Eden when God cursed Satan through the serpent and told him that the offspring of the woman (Eve, but also referring to Mary, the Jewish virgin who would give birth to Messiah … Isaiah 7:14) would strike Satan a death-blow; then God’s promise to Abraham that his heir (Isaac) would be the predecessor of salvation and blessings (ultimately through Messiah), Satan has tried maliciously to thwart God’s plans.

Satan’s plan bears the ugly name of Anti-Semitism: demonstrated by entire nations through horrendous hatred, persistent persecution, and attempted annihilation of the Jews.

This intolerant, irrational disdain for the Jews (just became they’re Jews) and insidious agenda to destroy the nation of Israel originates mostly from an unreasonable and flawed assumption that the Jews are arrogant. When, in fact, virtually every nation and peoples that have despised the Jews have done so out of sheer jealousy over what the Jews have accomplished down through the ages. That, and their refusal to acknowledge that the God of Israel is the only true God.

A Review of the Latest Terrorist Murders of Israelis

The Eye of Prophecy article entitled An Unprecedented Palestinian Attack in Jerusalem, posted 7-22-17, summarized the cold-blooded killing of two Israeli policemen and the aftermath, which included Israel’s sensible security installation of metal detectors to all gates that lead to Old Jerusalem. Never before had Arab terrorists killed Israelis in the confines of Temple Mount. Then the pathological audacious accusations by Jordanian, Hamas, and Palestinian Authority officials that the Jews were violating the “status quo” conditions of Temple Mount with these metal detectors. All the while, deliberately oblivious to the fact that it was the three Israeli-Arab (citizens of Israel) terrorists who started the whole thing.

Just a few hours (Israel time) after I posted that Eye of Prophecy article, a 19-year old Israeli Arab entered a Jewish home and brutally stabbed 70-year old Yosef Salomon, his son Elad, age 36, and daughter Chaya, age 46, to death. Yosef’s wife Tova, 68, was seriously wounded while protecting her grandchildren.

Not that Arabs need a stated reason to kill Jews, but the latest and most prevalent excuse is to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Temple Mount from what they call (non-existent) Jewish desecration. Muslim definition of Al-Aqsa defilement is simply that of any Jew setting foot on Temple Mount, as there has never ever been any Jewish desecration of the mosque.

Among other vile things the murderer posted online before he butchered the Salomon family was that the Jews would not, “open the gates of al-Aqsa.” Even that was a distortion (lie) as the only (reasonable) change was erection of metal detectors—not taking away the privilege of Arabs to enter the gates that lead to Temple Mount. The mendacious mentality of this killer reflected the warped mindset of the greater majority of Palestinians and Israeli-Arabs in Israel: Such unmitigated gall of the Israelis to require Muslim entrance to Temple Mount through metal detectors under the “pretext” of heightened security?

After Palestinian and Arab, mostly from Jordan, uproar over the metal detectors (which are commonplace even in Arab holy sites, such as Mecca and Medina), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the metal detectors removed … in favor of a larger, more sophisticated and apparently less intrusive security system.

(Israel Removes Metal Detectors)

Here is an excerpt from the aforementioned Eye of Prophecy article, An Unprecedented Palestinian Attack in Jerusalem (in italics):

Along with the favorable trend of world opinion toward Israel exemplified by diplomatic relations and trade agreements between Israel and several nations, more people are also getting a glimpse of the real Palestinian agenda. How could anyone miss seeing it? It’s been there all along; now the Palestinians have unmasked themselves directly in front of international eyes with actions that speak as loud as their words.

Slowly at first, but now much more rapidly, Western nations and even some Arab countries are beginning to realize that Jews—not only in Israel, but the world over—have contributed so much to the welfare of the human race; and will increase this contribution exponentially if the nations would only work with them and not against them. This global atmosphere of increased toleration for the Jews and enhanced empathy for their suffering (BDS discrimination, maiming, murders, and vandalism of their crops) is exactly the condition that Scripture predicted would occur during the beginning of the last days of the end times….

“Nevertheless, the time will come when I will heal Jerusalem’s wounds and give it prosperity and true peace. I will restore the fortunes of Judah and Israel and rebuild their towns. I will cleanse them of their sins against me and forgive all their sins of rebellion. Then this city will bring me joy, glory, and honor before all the nations of the earth! The people of the world will see all the good I do for my people, and they will tremble with awe at the peace and prosperity I provide for them” (Jeremiah 33:6-9).

This more respectful disposition toward Israel is now at the highest level since 1948 … in my opinion even higher. That is exactly the condition that will exist during the unexpected Gog/Magog assault against Israel by several nations—led principally by Russia, Iran, and Turkey—that will take place during the (early part of) Great Tribulation. The surprising increase of international recognition of Israel is yet another prophetic milepost that demonstrates just how close we are to the Rapture followed in seven years by the magnificent return of Messiah Jesus to make all things right.  

There are two primary reasons why Jews will not only return to Temple Mount under their terms, but also why the Jewish Temple itself will be rebuilt on the very site where God spared Isaac, and where Solomon’s Temple and the Second Temple stood.

The first reason is in two parts: (1) the Rapture that will create world-wide confusion and panic followed quickly by, (2) the return of Antichrist Nero from the Abyss. His perceived miraculous reappearance and the chaotic condition of the world as a result of the disappearance of hundreds of millions will facilitate desperate global longing for peace and safety. Because of the divine status accorded him (by virtue of returning from the grave), Nero will have no problem orchestrating a treaty between Arabs/Muslims and Jews, including a rebuilt Jewish Temple.

The second reason: Increasing global favor toward Israel that has already begun, and will (soon) enable her to be in a position of peace, safety, tranquility, and prosperity, unequaled since the glory days of King David and King Solomon’s reign. But it will be a false peace because it will be arranged by a false messiah … Antichrist Nero.

And then it will happen. Listen to the Holy Spirit inspired prediction against Gog/Magog uttered by the prophet Ezekiel some 2,600 years ago … a prophecy that will soon come to pass:

“…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… 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 … You will say, ‘Israel is an unprotected land filled with unwalled villages!’ … When my people are living in peace in their land, then you will arouse yourself” (Ezekiel 38:8-14).

The Real Agenda toward Israel Will Soon Surface

Soon after the Rapture, the malevolent motive and sordid scheme of nations who hate Israel will prevail over the 161 nations that currently have diplomatic relations with Israel. Today’s affinity of most of these nations toward Israel is shallow and superficial … with a few exceptions such as the United States, Canada, and Australia.

The Psalmist pleads 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).

The Ayatollah of Iran and several Arab national leaders have repeatedly uttered these very words in our generation. And the avowed goal of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority is an Arab state in place of, not alongside of Israel … a state without a single Jew left.

We can be sure that the Lord will answer the prayer of the Psalmist. The time has come when God will not be silent about Israel. This silence was lifted in 1948. Soon the Lion from the Tribe of Judah will roar, and the earth will be shaken as never before!

Let’s continue with the Gog/Magog prophecy in Ezekiel by adding one more verse left out of the passage from two weeks ago, in which this arrogant man, called Gog, boasts against Israel:

“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 38:12, italics for emphasis).

When the Iranian, Turkish, and Russian-led coalition attacks Israel, Gog’s malicious mentality will be a carryover from the misguided mindset of many in today’s world. The Gog/Magog alliance of nations which is developing before our 21st century eyes, and even some national leaders who have fostered a favorable diplomacy toward Israel, mistakenly assume that Israel and the Jews think the whole world revolves around them.

Are modern-day Jews and contemporary Israel arrogant?

No they are not, not even close. (For example, see Eye of Prophecy article, The Heart and Soul of Israel, published 1-4-14).

The Jews as a collective whole do not see nor think of themselves as arrogant. If anything, it’s just the opposite. So much so that they do not adequately defend or even sufficiently explain (through the media) their God-given right to total sovereignty in Israel, especially on Temple Mount but also in the Gaza Strip and Judea/Samaria (West Bank). In part this is borne out of twenty-five hundred years of being humbled by God himself through discipline of his people—by allowing Gentile nations to not once, not twice, but three times exile the Jews from Israel.

Beginning with the Assyrian demolition of the ten northern tribes in 722 B.C. Then the Babylonian conquest and exile of Jews from the southern kingdom of Judah in 586 B.C.

Followed by the devastation of Israel and Jerusalem and total destruction of the 2nd Temple in 70 A.D. that would lead to world-wide dispersion of the Jews until 1948. Culminating in the worst disaster that has ever befallen the Jews … the hideous holocaust.

For you see, there was a time when the Jews were haughty, not only toward Gentile nations but also toward the true and living God—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This occurred more often than not during the 400-year decline of Israel that began when they split into two kingdoms soon after King Solomon died. God had warned Israel of this puffed-up attitude as long before as the time of Moses. Through Moses, he told them that they would lose their God-given sovereign status as a nation if they disobeyed him and pompously pursued the false gods of their pagan Gentile neighbors.

Here is one such warning: “Today I call on heaven and earth as witnesses against you. If you break my covenant, you will quickly disappear from the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy. You will live there only a short time; then you will be utterly destroyed. For the Lord will scatter you among the nations, where only a few of you will survive” (Deuteronomy 4:26-27).

Here is another of God’s warnings to his people after they would take possession of the Promised Land:

“Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt … He gave you water from the rock! He fed you with manna in the wilderness … He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy’” (Deuteronomy 8:14-17).

It was God’s purpose for the Jews to be a shining example, a light to the Gentile nations. So that other nations would recognize the God-given sovereignty of the Jewish nation as the source of the Lord’s blessings—first to Israel, then to every nation whose God is the Lord (Psalm 33:12).

Instead, the Jews misused their position of prestige and prosperity among the nations and became smug and selfish in their attitude toward Gentiles. Worse, they refused to acknowledge their conceit, as recorded by the last prophet God would send to Israel for 400 hundred years. Not until the Lord implemented the New Covenant of Grace promised through Jeremiah, would he speak again to Israel; a covenant commenced and sealed by their very Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. Although addressed by other prophets, it was Israel’s last prophet Malachi who brought the final indictment against Israel’s ingratitude and egotism toward God

Just like God used the Assyrians, then the Babylonians, he humbled Israel for the final time in 70 A.D., with the Roman destruction of the Temple. Just a short time before the religious Jews handed him over to the Romans to be crucified, Jesus had exposed their arrogant self-righteous hypocrisy. Still he loved them as conveyed in his poignant words immediately after he blasted the Pharisees, in which Jesus also foretold of Jerusalem’s impending destruction.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. And now, look, your house is abandoned and desolate. For I tell you this, you will never see me again until you say, ‘Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’” (Matthew 23:37-39).

In fact, observant Jews once again mourned the worst day in Jewish history this past Tuesday, simply called Tisha B’Av (9th day of the Hebrew month of Av). Both temples were destroyed on that same calendar date, the first in 586 B.C, the second in 70 A.D. (Please see Eye of Prophecy article, Day of Infamy, posted 7-25-15, which begins with America’s Day of Infamy Pearl Harbor attack, then covers in great detail the Jewish 9th of Av).

Yet, the Bible is crystal clear that God’s discipline of Israel was for their own good; in order for them to eternally inherit all of the wonderful benefits and blessings that God has for them … and through them the world. The alternative of God’s final judgment on mankind is far worse than the tough love discipline he imposes to get the attention of his people to return to him, both the nation of Israel and New Covenant born-again believers (Jews and Gentile alike) when we sometimes go our own way.

“Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good” (Deuteronomy 8:5).

“For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they know how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way” (Hebrews 12:10-11).

It’s Not Israel, But Her Enemies Who Are Arrogant

Israel’s corporate conceit ended nearly 2,000 years ago. The God-directed humbling of his people in 70 A.D. resulted in periodic humiliation and persecution of his chosen people without any recourse for the Jews to resist and fight back … until 1948.

On the other hand, the vanity of Israel’s adversaries in today’s world has reached … well, Biblical proportions. Listen to God’s warning:

“…At the time I have planned, I will bring justice against the wicked … I warned the proud, ‘Stop your boasting!’ I told the wicked, ‘Don’t raise your fists! Don’t raise your fists in defiance at the heavens or speak with such arrogance.’ … It is God alone who judges; he decides who will rise and who will fall” (Psalm 75:2-7).

I can safely and will strongly state on the authority of Scripture coupled with the astounding sequence of today’s unfolding events matching Biblical prophecies: The time that God has planned is near, so very near.

Listen to the results when God’s “fury boils over” (Ezekiel 38:18) against those nations and people who display the same kind of arrogance toward Israel that they falsely accuse the Jews of:

“In this way, I will demonstrate my glory to the nations. Everyone will see the punishment I have inflicted on them (Gog/Magog) and the power of my fist when I strike. And from that time on the people of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God. The nations will then know why Israel was sent away to exile—it was punishment for sin, for they were unfaithful to their God. Therefore, I turned away from them, and let their enemies destroy them. I turned my face away and punished them because of their defilement and their sins” (Ezekiel 39:21-24, parenthesis mine).

As I’ve detailed in several prior Eye of Prophecy articles, God ended his centuries-long punishment of Israel—through Gentile domination of the Jews—in the 1967 Six-Day War. Yet Israel did not, by any stretch of the imagination, become arrogant or feel superior by virtue of this stunning victory. Instead, they (one could even say “humbly”) relinquished what was their rightful sovereignty over Judea/Samaria, the Gaza Strip, and the Temple Mount to the Arabs. In fact, many, including me, believe that this self-effacing gesture was ill-advised.

However, they did so to appease international pressure (including that from the United States) not to assert their God-restored self-determining authority; because the world-at-large had not yet (still hasn’t) accepted Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel or the Temple Mount as the original holy dwelling of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob among his people. In short, the world still refuses to recognize the God-given right of Jewish sovereignty over ALL of Israel, first and foremost Temple Mount.

Webster’s Dictionary defines arrogant: “exaggerating or disposed to exaggerate one’s own worth or importance in an overbearing manner.” And arrogance is defined as: “a feeling of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or presumptuous claims.”

In fact, both of these terms could easily and accurately be applied to the Palestinians with a plethora of examples given, some of which are listed in the aforementioned Eye of Prophecy article, and more to be identified in next week’s Part II article.

For Israel to continue to allow Jordan administrative supremacy over Temple Mount as well as Palestinian self-government in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank (properly called Judea/Samaria) is anything but an expression of apartheid-like arrogance or superiority of one people over another. For example, the millions of Palestinians in Jordan don’t have near the liberties or standard of living that Israeli-Arabs citizens of Israel and even the Palestinians who live in Israel enjoy.

(Palestinians in Jordan are not self-governed as they are in Israel. They are ruled by the Jordanian Hashemite King Abdullah II, pictured above) 

Don’t miss next week’s article in which we’ll continue with the dynamics of the God-given right of Jewish sovereignty in Israel.

Things to Ponder

Said the Lord to his people 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).

But then the Lord warned them not to disobey and abandon him through apathy, complacency, and pride; as only he was their source of provisions, prosperity, and protection.

As we’ve seen, the Jews failed to keep God’s Covenant with them through Moses. As a result they suffered all four of the seven times over punishments found in Leviticus Chapter 26. The fourth and final being the worst of all: banishment to foreign nations with the last of those exiles lasting nearly 2,000 years. During that time Jews all over the world could not walk with their heads held high. Often, in humiliating fashion, they were forced to run with the proverbial tail between their legs.

Listen to what the Lord said would happen to his people, and, in fact, did take place during turbulent times of persecution after they were driven out of Israel by the Romans:

“And for those of you who survive, I will demoralize you in the land of your enemies. You will live in such fear that the sound of a leaf driven by the wind will send you fleeing. You will run as though fleeing from a sword, and you will fall down even when no one pursues you … You will have no power to stand up against your enemies. You will die among the foreign nations and be devoured in the land of your enemies.” (Leviticus 26:36-38).

This affliction of God’s people continued from the 1st century to the mid- 20th century, which was also an inordinate global focus on the Jews, but in a menacing and destructive way. Beginning with more Roman emperors who persecuted those Jews left in Israel after many were killed and many more exiled in 70 A.D.; Mohammed’s slaughter of Jews as he forcefully expanded his newly invented religion of Islam; Crusaders who killed as many Jews as they did Muslims in order to claim Roman Catholic supremacy in Jerusalem; Roman Catholic Inquisitions; European Pogroms; and finally the Holocaust. And these were just the more well-known episodes of Anti-Semitic brutality against the Jews.

BUT NO MORE!

God promised that this discipline through exile of his people would end and so it did; it began to end in 1948, and ended in 1967. Please refer to Eye of Prophecy trilogy, Seven Times Seven (to the 4th power), posted 1-25, 2-1, & 2-8-14. These articles disclose in great detail that the seven-times over paradigm in Leviticus Chapter 26 was a pre-determined time (years) set by the Lord for Israel’s discipline to run its full course.

In that same chapter in Leviticus, the Lord said: “Then I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land … 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 with them by wiping them out, for I am the Lord their God” (Leviticus 26:42-44).

Yes, the Jews are back and Israel is here to stay forever. As in their glory years of King David and King Solomon, the Lord has once again made them, “…the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom…” (Deuteronomy 28:13).

Countdown to Armageddon … End of the Fourth 400-Year Era

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A Personal Thank-You

Four years ago (last week of July), the first article was published on this website, with the Home Page title of: Eye of Prophecy … watch and wait. “…For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus” (Revelation 19:10).

And, as stated on the About Page of the website: “…defending and confirming the truth of the Good News” (Philippians 1:7).

Also shown on that page is an acronym:

The intent, form, and content of Eye of Prophecy is presented through Eschatology

P I C T U R E S

Prophetic Inspirational Connections Through Understanding Relevant Events (and) Scripture

Either directly or indirectly, Eye of Prophecy articles are designed to hopefully achieve these objectives. In some fashion or another, all of the articles are written with a Biblical world-view; to better understand and connect prophecy to the events taking place on a regular basis in our lifetime. To provide inspiring counsel, correlation, and to correctly refit the prophetic puzzle when necessary.

I’d like to express a sincere thank you to all visitors—both frequent and infrequent—to the Eye of Prophecy website, especially those who follow this site weekly. Though there are a wide variety of topics, all posts are assigned to one of four categories: The Rapture, The Antichrist, Prophecy in General, or Current Events.

Jesus of Nazareth is the prophesied Messiah who came to this earth to accomplish the two providential plans that God conceived for the human race, to the Jew first and then to the Gentile:

(1) To bring salvation, through the Jews, to every Jew and Gentile who believes and receives Messiah Jesus as Lord and Savior.

(2) To fulfill God’s promise that Abraham’s descendants would possess the Promised Land of Israel forever.

In the last 70 years both of these magnificent plans have been in high gear and are now in the final stages. Tens of thousands of Jews have come to Christ especially since the Six-Day War of 1967, as have millions of Gentiles the world over. Israel has been reborn as a sovereign nation, with Jews immigrating to or being born in their homeland in great numbers.

In the Eye of Prophecy articles, Look Up, Redemption is Near Part I & II (posted 7-11 & 7-18-15), I listed twelve powerful prophetic signs of the 20th & 21st century—some fulfilled and others being fulfilled. The twelfth of these indicators is the unprecedented spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world, which is the most distinctive milepost that Jesus said would usher in the Day of the Lord (beginning with the Rapture).

Not because of what I’ve done, but because of who Jesus is. Not because of who I am, but because of what he’s done, do I marvel at how such a small ministry as Eye of Prophecy can be global in its scope (visitors from 167 nations to date). Despite the adverse and sometimes perverse misuse of the Internet by so many, God has sovereignly utilized this medium to spread the Good News.

Four years—210 Eye of Prophecy articles, one every week. So, with a sort of author’s website anniversary, why not write about the number four; which I believe is the third most significant number in Scripture after the divine numbers of three and seven. With, however, special focus on its multiplied factor of four hundred (years).

The Number Four

One other time I wrote about the number four, but only as a precursor to the main subject of the four Gentile kingdoms portrayed in the book of Daniel. Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Four Locusts Kingdoms!, posted 8-22-15 (in italics):

Several numbers in the Bible bear a great deal of meaning … we are going to see how the number four relates to and explains a huge portion of Israel’s history; in the context of God’s providential direction for the Jews and their interaction with mighty Gentile nations.

The number four derives its significance from God’s creative work especially pertaining to the earth, including God’s dealings with and disposition (rise and fall destiny) of nations. It is the number of wholeness, totality, entirety, and summation. It is a number concept that would be completely incomplete if we eliminated just one of the component parts of any given foursome.

If we want to move from one place to another, we must go forward, backward, left or right. Up or down doesn’t count; if we go beneath or above the earth, we must then travel in one of four directions.

…There are four seasons, four primary lunar phases, and four sides to what is probably the most perfect geometric object we can think of … a square. And many more fours:

I went on to list fourteen more fours prominently displayed in Scripture and the universe, including one that you may not have thought about—in terms of the number four. Which is, as quoted from Four Locusts Kingdoms:

“Each day has four component parts: Seconds, minutes, hours, and day. One day is cyclical … it begins, ends, and starts all over again. Weeks, months, and years are linear, continuous.”

(Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse … One of the Ominous Fours!)

That post also contained brief information on three epic periods of 400 hundred years depicted in the Bible. Today’s article will reexamine those remarkable 400-year eras, and will also present an additional 400-year period of time (a total of four!) that leads us to the last days of the end times. In other words, right now!

Before we scrutinize these four 400-year long epochs of Scripture and history, let’s look at two other multiplied factors of the number four: (1) Four Thousand. (2) Forty.

Four Thousand (Years)

As indicated earlier, God has two separate (but interrelated) plans for the human race.

(1) Promised Land: God’s call of Abraham to, by faith, leave his home and go a country that his descendants would inhabit forever. Because of Israel’s failure to keep the Mosaic Covenant, the resumption and realization of this plan only began to unfold when the Jewish State of Israel was reborn in 1948. It will be finally fulfilled when the Jews are restored to total sovereignty and safety in Israel.

(2) Promised Child: Abraham would father a child with Sarah (a miraculous birth considering Sarah was 90 years old). Isaac would be the progenitor and prototype of the ultimate Child of Promise, Messiah Jesus—the Savior of both Jews and Gentiles who exercise the same kind of faith (trust/acceptance) in God’s promise as did Abraham. So great a salvation was purchased by the substitutionary sacrificial death of Jesus, and sealed by his resurrection that initiated the Kingdom of Heaven in the individual hearts of people all over the world. And it will culminate in the Kingdom of God on earth.

Scholars are not completely certain when Abraham was born and then called (at age seventy-five) to pack up and leave for the land God would show him. Yet they have narrowed it down to a (rounded-off) range of 2,100 B.C. to 1,800 B.C. Much depends on tracing the generation of the Patriarchs Jacob and Isaac backward from the Exodus, which can have two historical timelines: 1446 B.C. or 1280 B.C.

With a reliable and reasonable splitting and rounding-off of the difference, let’s place Abraham’s calling to the Promised Land at 2,000 B.C.

Leaping forward to the 21st century—with my ardent belief as well as some Bible scholars and many born-again believers that the Day of the Lord is so very near—we have an approximate 4,000 year time line between God’s prophecy that the first Child of Promise (Isaac) would be born and commencement of the Day of the Lord that begins with the Rapture of believing Jews and Gentiles by the second (ultimate) Child of Promise. That’s why Messiah Jesus is the essence of prophecy. He will fully accomplish both of God’s preordained plans for mankind.

Forty (Days and Years)

Forty days or years in Scripture is the length of time for testing and preparation with a substantial accomplishment the result, thereof. This model and its meaning also applies to the factor of four hundred (years), which we’ll get to shortly.

First Forty:

“Then Moses disappeared into the cloud as he climbed higher up the mountain. He remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights” (Exodus 24:18).

What mountain did Moses climb?

Correct: Mount Sinai.

For what purpose did Moses ascend Sinai? Don’t you like easy Bible questions?!

Answer: Ten Commandments. “When the Lord finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, written by the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18).

For Moses, forty days and nights on the mountain was a time of preparation to lead God’s people into the Promised Land, and show them that listening to and obeying God’s life-giving laws and commandments—beginning with the Ten Commandments which are a universal source of truth—is what would distinguish them from the ungodly pagan nations. God chose Israel to be an example, a light, and the conduit of God’s blessings to the Gentile nations.

For the people, it was a time to test just how much they would trust in the Lord, and wait patiently for Moses to return with the Covenant that God has already announced when he spoke in a thunderous voice to them from Mount Sinai. They failed that test, miserably. You remember—Golden calf; Moses smashing the tablets in righteous anger; 3,000 killed for their shameful idolatry and gross immorality.

Moses had to return to the mountain for another forty days and nights to get a new set of the Ten Commandments.

Second Forty:

Sadly, the Israelites failed another test of trust in and obedience to the Lord their God. Unlike their father, Abraham, who believed God and acted on his faith that the Lord would lead him to an unknown land, the Israelites sided with ten of the twelve spies who convinced them that Canaan couldn’t be conquered because their enemies were too strong for them. With the absurd implication that their enemies were also too strong for the Lord. How soon they had forgotten what God did to Egypt!

“But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. ‘Let’s go at once to take the land,’ he said. ‘We can certainly conquer it!’” (Numbers 13:30). But the people didn’t listen to him or to Joshua or to Moses.

Did God let them have their way? You know the answer. But only for that generation of unbelievers. Not for their children, because what God says will happen always happens (in this case the Promised Land). It’s just that his promises sometimes are delayed and then later fulfilled to a remnant who truly trust him with their lives and destiny.

Said the Lord to the people who refused to enter the Promised Land:

“You said your children would be carried off as plunder. Well, I will bring them safely into the land, and they will enjoy what you have despised. But as for you, you will drop dead in this wilderness … Because your men explored the land for forty days, you must wander in the wilderness for forty years—a year for each day, suffering the consequences of your sins. Then you will discover what it is like to have me for an enemy” (Numbers 14:31-34).

After forty years in the wilderness—just a short while before Joshua led the people across the Jordan River into Canaan—Moses reminded them of the terms of their Covenant with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The entire book of Deuteronomy contains that review. Said Moses in summation:

“Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy” (Deuteronomy 30:15-16).

Third Forty:

“The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, where he was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him” (Mark 1:12-13).

Although the forty days in the wilderness was a time to prepare Jesus for his ministry, the most prominent feature of this period of time was Satan’s testing of our Lord.

Permit me to quote from my book, Out of the Abyss (in italics):

Yet, it was the temptation scene that dealt the first Messianic blow to Satan’s plans, because that was the devil’s first opportunity to create an antichrist right then and there; to, in one fell swoop, twist and turn the true Messiah into Satan’s messiah.

Eternal praise to our God and his Messiah that this did not happen! All glory to Yeshua who did not send a legion of angels to annihilate those who had arrested him in the garden! Everlasting gratitude to our Lord for not saying I’ve had enough, and stepping down from the cross! All power and dominion to the Son of Man for arising from the grave and conquering death once and for all! Go ahead, say it aloud with me. Amen! (Page 219).

Jesus is the Son of God. No one on planet earth has ever taught like he taught.

“Jesus and his companions went to the town of Capernaum. When the Sabbath day came, he went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike the teachers of religious law” (Mark 1:21-22).

Jesus could teach with such authority because he taught the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Nor would he ever have to swear to these words in a court of law. Because he is truth itself (John 14:6). But, if he did agree to repeat those words, he certainly wouldn’t say, “So help me God.” Instead he would say: “Because I AM God!”

When on trial before the High Priest Caiaphas, Jesus affirmed that he was the Messiah. Later before Pontius Pilate, he said: “…Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true” (John 18:37).

But if you question whether or not to take him at his word, then believe the many mighty miracles he performed. Read them for yourself in the Gospels. If the miracles aren’t enough, then what about his astonishing resurrection from the dead—a historical fact witnessed by hundreds (I Corinthians 15:1-9).

He is also the Son of Man (conceived by the Holy Spirit but born, nonetheless, of a woman). Which is why he could be and was tempted and tested for forty days just we all are tempted throughout our lives. With one huge redemptive difference:

“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, italics for emphasis).

(*Note: There is a fourth prominent forty (days) in Scripture … the time it took Elijah to reach Mount Sinai where the Lord met with him. See I Kings 19).

Four Hundred (Years)

Keep in mind, we’re looking at the time-lapse connection between an exceptional event or extraordinary existing condition and a subsequent significant occurrence; to show that the Lord’s sweeping plan for Israel (interacting with Gentile nations) sometimes correlates to and takes place in set periods of time.

Thus, we need to understand this dynamic paradigm:

Each four hundred year cycle began with a positive (good) event/time, then deteriorated into a negative (bad) condition of God’s people; culminating with a historic life-changing, destiny-altering event that ended the four hundred year span.

This is important to grasp, because we could arbitrarily select (create) other Biblical or secular 400-year eras by pointing to any number of beginning and ending events. By the objective concept of what qualifies as and constitutes a historic 400-year epoch, I know of no other such periods in history other than the evidence found in the following four epochs. Meaning a cause and effect correlation with an equally obvious continuity during those 400-year periods of time.

However, these four epochs were not consecutive. Beginning with Abraham, they comprise a total of 1,600 years (four phases of 400 hundred years), compared to the 4,000 years of history since Abraham.

First Four-Hundred Year Span

“So Jacob set out for Egypt with all his possessions. And when he came to Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father, Isaac. During the night God spoke to him in a vision. ‘Jacob! Jacob!” he called. ‘Here I am,’ Jacob replied.

‘I am God, the God of your father,’ the voice said. ‘Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again. You will die in Egypt, but Joseph will be with you to close your eyes’” (Genesis 46:1-4).

Jacob’s descendants prospered for a while in a country that welcomed them with open arms; a nation that Joseph helped deliver from disaster during a seven-year famine. And, of course, Joseph’s father, brothers, and their families were rescued from starvation in Canaan.

We then read: “In time, Joseph and all of his brothers died, ending that entire generation. But their descendants, the Israelites, had many children and grandchildren. In fact, they multiplied so greatly that they became extremely powerful and filled the land.

“Eventually, a new king came to power in Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph or what he had done. He said to his people, ‘Look, the people of Israel now outnumber us and are stronger than we are. We must make a plan to keep them from growing even more … So the Egyptians made the Israelites their slaves. They appointed brutal slave drivers over them, hoping to wear them down with crushing labor…” (Exodus 1:6-11).

Another easy question: How long were the Israelites in Egypt before God called Moses to deliver them?

Answer: Four hundred years.

I’ll pose a tougher question for those who need more of a challenge. What prophet predicted that the Israelites would be in Egypt for 400 years?

Tough question, huh? Actually, don’t spend any more time trying to think of the answer. It was a trick question … as would be recognized by you who know that it wasn’t a prophet who spoke to Abraham (there weren’t any prophets at that time!).

It was God, himself, who told Abraham far ahead of time that his people would, “…be oppressed as slaves for 400 years. But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth” (Genesis 15:13-14).

God’s prophecies always come true. Although it would take another 30 years or so to prepare Moses and the people (including the time of the plagues and actual deliverance), the fact remains that it was 400 years from the peak time that Jacob’s and Joseph’s descendants prospered in Egypt to when God called Moses to deliver his people.

To this day, the Exodus is still celebrated by the Jews as the greatest event in their history. An occurrence that led to establishment of Israel as a nation in accordance with God’s covenant with Abraham.

Second Four-Hundred Year Span

King David unified the twelve tribes of Israel; over his reign of forty years Israel became the most powerful nation on earth, with Jerusalem as its capital. Those glory years of Israel increased even more under the reign of King Solomon, also for forty years. Soon after Solomon died in 930 B.C., Israel split into two kingdoms—the northern kingdom called Israel and the southern kingdom called Judah. Early in Solomon’s reign, the magnificent Temple was built, then destroyed during Babylon’s final (of three) invasion and conquest of Judah in 586 B.C. Then rebuilt after Persia conquered Babylon, and King Cyrus issued a decree in 538 B.C. that the Jewish exiles could return home.

During the last few years of Solomon’s kingship, he and many in Israel began to abandon the Lord in favor of pagan gods.

Although there is some overlap, the core period of time that these events occurred lasted 400 hundred years. Like the other 400-year epic periods, this one began under opportune, optimistic conditions with Israel at its peak as a national power, whose people faithfully obeyed and followed the Lord God. However, after the kingdom was divided, it inevitably deteriorated morally and spiritually to a point of no return. God withdrew his protection and provisions. Assyria completely destroyed the northern kingdom in 722 B.C. and relocated nearly all Jews of the ten northern tribes to foreign lands.

Then Babylon crushed the southern kingdom, and exiled most of the Jews to Babylon. However, God had precisely predicted that this exile punishment would last only 70 years, and so it did, with the second temple finished in 516 B.C. Which also fits the pattern of the other 400-year models, meaning it ended on a very positive note.

During this four hundred span, all but three (Haggai, Zachariah, and Malachi) of God’s prophets spoke both warnings and promises to Israel and Judah. Those three were post-exile prophets.

Essentially, this period of time lasted between 940 B.C. and 540 B.C (rounded off). With a transitional combined 30 years on either side of the time span, i.e. Israel at the height of its glory, then the actual completion of the second temple, although Israel as a nation had been decimated and there would be no more kings in Israel.

Third Four-Hundred Year Span

About 120 years after Solomon’s Temple was rebuilt, something stunning took place. Actually, better remembered for something that didn’t happen, which would lead to profound changes in Israel’s future. And not only Israel … the whole world.

“Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord arrives. His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse” (Malachi 4:5-6).

These are the final words of the last Old Testament prophet as recorded in the Bible. After Malachi there would be no prophets in Israel and no word from God whatsoever, the duration of which was 400 years. Bible scholars accurately refer to this era as the “silent years.”

Malachi’s final announcement is obviously a prophecy. It’s one of several Old Testament predictions that relate to both the First and Second Advent of Messiah Jesus, such as Isaiah 9:6-7. In this instance (the return of) Elijah would be a symbolic representation of the next prophet sent by God … John the Baptist, who would “…Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!” (John 1:23).

(Painting of the Prophet John Baptizing Jesus)

Jesus even said that John the Baptist was the Elijah of his time. But this prophecy also applies to the second advent of Jesus when he returns to the earth. During the Great Tribulation, Elijah will literally return alongside of Moses as the two witnesses of Revelation Chapter 11.

Here is an excerpt from the previously mentioned Eye of Prophecy article, Four Locust Kingdoms! (In italics)

One of my favorite verses is Amos 3:7, which says, “Indeed, the Sovereign Lord never does anything until he reveals his plans to his servants the prophets.” Which means that anything pertaining to God’s plan for Israel and Gentile nations as they interface with Israel has been proclaimed by his prophets! Did you know that God announced this period of silence with Israel ahead of time? I certainly didn’t until just recently, when I read again and this time realized the following passage says exactly that. And from the same prophet no less!

“The time is surely coming, says the Sovereign Lord, when I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread or water but of hearing the words of the Lord. People will stagger from sea to sea and wander from border to border searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it” (Amos 8:11-12).

Malachi wrote his book approximately 430 B.C., just two or three years after the book of Nehemiah was written. Fifteen years or so before that, there was a remarkable revival and return to the Lord, though it was short-lived. Here is what the people said in front of their great and godly leader Nehemiah:

“…They swore a curse on themselves if they failed to obey the Law of God as issued by his servant Moses. They solemnly promised to carefully follow all of the commands, regulations, and decrees of the Lord our Lord” (Nehemiah 10:29).

Their revival and promise didn’t last very long, which is why God abruptly stopped any and all communication to the people.

It was time for the Lord to phase out the Old Covenant he made with his people through Moses and prepare them for the New Covenant that he had announced through Jeremiah some 200 years earlier (see Jeremiah 31:31-34). Like the forty-day and forty-year periods of time and like the preceding 400-year cycles, they would go through a time of trial and testing, such as the slaughter of thousands of Jews and desecration of the Temple at the hand of Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 169-168 B.C.

Four hundred years after Malachi, the greatest event of human history took place … the birth of Israel’s Messiah. The New Covenant of Grace would soon be implemented and sealed with the awesome once-for-all atoning sacrifice of the Son of God.

Not only had another 400-year span of time been completed with an earth-shaking event, so had the 2nd of, what many Bible scholars believe is, a consecutive tri-part division of God’s historical interaction with the human race. (1) Two thousand years from Adam to Abraham; (2) Two thousand years from Abraham to Messiah Jesus; (3) Two thousand years to the return of Christ to establish the one thousand-year Kingdom of God on earth. Which will also be the 7th millennial period of time to represent the Sabbath 7th day of creation.

Fourth Four-Hundred Span—Leading to the Present Day

At the outset of this week’s article, it occurred to me that there very well could be a final span of 400 years that would track with the generational prophecy of Jesus in Matthew 24 (based on two Biblical definitions of a generation … 100 years and 70 years), ending somewhere close to the year 2020. Please see a detailed explanation in a trilogy of Eye of Prophecy articles entitled Seven Times Seven to the 4th Power posted 1-25, 2-1, 2-8-14, and the sequel article entitled The Omega Generation (2-15-14). There is no specific “date setting” in those articles, nor would I ever do such a thing. Jesus, himself, said that no one knows that “day or hour” of his return. On the other hand, Jesus said that we should understand the signs of the time (era) that points to his return.

For that to be even a possibility, I would need to backtrack 400 years to determine if there was a huge milestone event that dramatically impacted human history.

There is such an event! It would certainly qualify as historic, something that billions of people know or have heard about, although not necessarily when it took place. It came after 1,000 plus years of spiritual darkness (Dark Ages) in what scholars commonly call Christendom, in which the Bible was available only to the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church. One result of that Biblical illiteracy was widespread persecution of Jews all over the world, not the least of which was perpetrated by the massively misguided and doctrinally deprived Crusaders, as well as the Inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church.

Do you know what that exceptional episode was?

Answer: The King James Bible!

After seven years of translation work, it was published in 1611. Although the Roman Catholic Church considered it to be a Protestant Bible, the King James Version nevertheless swept over Europe, then later the United States and other parts of the world. It contained, of course, both the Old and New Testaments … the complete Bible. In fact it was simply entitled: The Holy Bible.

The world has never been the same since. God’s Word in the hands of born-again ministers and lay people led to many more accepting Jesus as personal Savior since the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd centuries. It ignited spiritual revivals in Great Britain and the United States in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Availability of the King James Bible and application of the Judeo-Christian principles and practices found in the absolute truth of God’s Word was a catalyst to the foundational formation of the greatest nation on earth, the United States of America.

If you prefer, as an alternative (same basic time frame), the beginning of the 400 years also could be attributed to when America got its historical start with the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock in 1620, nine years after the King James Bible was introduced. Our forefathers firmly believed that America was the promised land of a new nation, akin to the original and still-standing Promised Land of Israel.

Alas, the latter part of this 400-year time frame has seen the same kind of spiritual apathy toward, ignorance of, and rebellion against the Bible and the God and Messiah of Scripture, that we found in the previous 400-year cycles.

In the 20th and 21st centuries, we’ve seen more excellent translations of Scripture in literary form, style, and language that fits our generation, compared to the English language of the 17th century. This is true for other languages as well. Nonetheless, the King James Version of The Holy Bible remains the favorite for millions of Christians.

I have my (departed) mother’s King James Version… Scofield Reference Bible. The pages are so old, I’m reluctant to even touch them. There are far more pages than not, where my mother had underlined verses, wrote in the columns, or otherwise highlighted passages. It has become a family treasure.

*Note: Though on a non-historic, insignificant (compared to the actual 400-year epoch), subjective personal level—for the benefit of members of my family—I offer the following: The King James Bible was published in 1611. My mother died in 2011. Do the math, family! My mother’s name: Mary.

Things to Ponder

God himself set the precedent for 400-year periods of time when he told Abraham that the Jews would be in Egypt that long.

The more I wrote, then edited, this’s weeks article, the more I’m convinced that we are at the end of the fourth and final (remember the significance of the number four in terms of completeness, continuity, and finality) 400-years of this age of human history. Regarding the historical impact, the King James Bible was one of the biggest events of all time. The written Word of God became accessible to millions more than before, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ began to spread exponentially.

Like the in-between passage of time in the previous 400-year epochs, we’ve seen more evil and human misery than ever before. One need only to think of World War I, World War II, and the current wars, terrorism, and Muslim slaughter of other Muslims and also Christians.

Very soon, we will witness (whether believers taken to heaven or unbelievers left behind to suffer the Great Tribulation) the Living Word of God—Messiah Jesus—coming back to earth, some 400 years after the written Word of God was restored, published, and disseminated to the nations.

When Messiah Jesus returns, he will once again in person: “…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” (Isaiah 2:3).

An Unprecedented Palestinian Attack in Jerusalem

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And the Beat (of Terror) Goes On

Their brutal tactics are contemptibly transparent: kill Israelis—one, or two, or a few at a time—to teach the Jews and sway world opinion that it is really all of Israel which belongs to the Palestinians. With these ungodly, morally reprehensible actions, the Arabs will not succeed. The Jews are in Israel to stay … forever!

In September, 2015, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared: “Al-Aqsa is ours and so is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. (Jews) have no right to desecrate them with their filthy feet. We won’t allow them to do so, and we will do whatever we can to defend Jerusalem.” This call to defend Jerusalem became the battle cry for the 2015-2016 so-called lone-wolf knife intifada (mostly knives were used, but also cars, axes, and guns). What the Palestinians really mean by Jewish defilement of Temple Mount is even one Jew setting foot on the Temple Mount complex.

The false Palestinian narrative will fail. But as long as the Arabs believe the lies that their religious and political leaders spout on a daily basis, they will continue with their treacherous agenda.

Eight of nine Palestinian attacks in Jerusalem since the first of the year (2017) have taken place at one or more of the seven entrance gates to the Old City of Jerusalem, such as the Damascus Gate. The two gates nearest Temple Mount are the Dung Gate—through which my sister and I entered to access the Western Wall and Temple Mount in 2006—and the Lions’ Gate, also called the Saint Stephens Gate.

(Lions’ Gate in Jerusalem)

The most recent assault took place on July 14th at the Lions’ Gate. Three Arab gunmen, (I choose not to list their full names) ages 19, 19, and 29—all residents of the Arab town of Umm al-Fahm, northwest of Haifa—each with the first name of Muhammad (that says it all), opened fire on Israeli policemen guarding the gate. The barrage killed Staff Sgt. Haiel Sitawe, age 30, and Staff Sgt. Kamil Shinaan, age 22. A third policeman was injured.

Although the final objective of the terrorists is unknown, it’s deductively evident they wanted to enter the Temple Mount complex to eliminate as many Jews as they could. After shooting the policemen, the terrorists fled into the Temple Mount complex where they were pursued and killed.

Before the Temple Mount incident, the previous attack occurred on June 16th in which an Israeli Border Police officer (a woman, Hadas Malka) was stabbed to death near the Damascus Gate by one of three Palestinian terrorists, when she ran toward the other two terrorists who were shooting at Israelis nearby. Four Israelis were injured. All three Arabs were silenced before they could kill more Jews.

New Perverse Level of Arab Reaction to yet another Brutal Murder of Israelis

To demonstrate the increasingly brazen actions and disgusting responses of the Palestinians, here is an excerpt from a June 19th article written by Bassam Tawil who writes primarily for the online news source, Gatestone Institute:

“For many Palestinians, the stabbing murder of a 23-year old Israeli Border Police … proves that the ‘revolution against the Zionist entity will continue until the liberation of Palestine, from the (Mediterranean) sea to the (Jordan) river.’

“In a statement published in Ramallah shortly after the terror attack, Fatah ‘condemned the Israeli occupation forces for killing three young Palestinian men in East Jerusalem.’ It said that the killing of the three terrorists ‘proves that the Israeli government is pursuing its policy of escalation.’ Fatah called on the international community to ‘seriously look into providing protection for the defenseless Palestinian people.’

“The Fatah statement failed to mention that the three Palestinian ‘young men’ were armed with knives and a homemade submachine gun. Nor did Fatah mention a word about the Border Police officer who was stabbed to death in the terror attack.”

(Photo of Hadas Malka, Not Long Before She Was Killed)

Bassam Tawil—a Muslim, but one who recognizes the right of the Jews to live in the sovereign State of Israel—went on to say:

“Such a statement could never have been published without the approval of Abbas and his top cronies in Ramallah … This is the twisted logic of Abbas and his people. How dare the Israeli police officers shoot terrorists armed with knives and a machinegun and prevent them from killing more Jews? … This is but further proof in an endless string of damming evidence concerning the ‘peace lies’ spouted by Abbas and his PA. The PA president is always among the first to denounce terror attacks around the world, including Britain, France and Germany. Yet when Palestinians murder Israelis, they suddenly become ‘heroes’ and ‘martyrs.’”

(See Eye of Prophecy article, Can a Murderer be a Martyr? Posted 1-30-16)

The Palestinians are intensifying their sordid strategy of making the guilty look innocent and the innocent seem guilty. But this tactic is beginning to backfire on them. For decades, millions the world over including all too many Europeans, Canadians, Australians, and Americans bought into the Palestinian agenda. Which is: there should never have been a State of Israel, or at least Jews have no right to occupy (so-called) Palestinian territory.

Here, I’m referring to Westerners who know little about the real history of Israel and the Middle East or prefer not to be bothered with the facts. But who are quick to form uninformed opinions based mostly on a narrative that is predicated on fake rewritten history by Palestinian and Muslim journalists, educators, politicians, and religious leaders. Gradually, however, they are beginning to comprehend the real motives of the Palestinians in particular and Muslims in general, which I’ve discussed in several Eye of Prophecy articles, and as summarized earlier by Bassam Tawil.

On the other hand, the extreme liberal left among us will never give up their convoluted logic that has gone to such detestable extremes as accusing Israel of being an apartheid regime like the former government of South Africa. Or even more revolting: comparison of Israel to Nazi Germany’s Third Reich. This is warped and vile thinking at its worst. How on God’s earth could anyone liken Israel to Nazi Germany? Millions of Germans condoned and/or sat idly by while the Nazis stripped Jews of their German citizenship, confiscated their property, destroyed their businesses, deprived them of the right to work, herded them into concentration camps, and then slaughtered six million Jews during the horrendous Holocaust? All this just because the Jews were Jews, and didn’t have the right to live alongside a superior Aryan race.

Compare this to the Israeli Government which has granted citizenship rights to some 1.7 million Arabs to travel freely throughout Israel; own their own real estate; start and run their own business; vote in elections; to even serve in the Israeli government (Knesset).

Why the Horrific Attack of July 14th Was So Different

There was one thing unusual about this murderous rampage, and three things virtually unprecedented including its aftermath. Which is why this latest unprovoked Arab killing of Israelis has generated more outrage than usual from Jews and from some world leaders, as well as an exceptional response from Israel.

Partially Different but Not Unprecedented

The majority of hundreds of past terrorists attacks in Israel were committed by Palestinians from the West Bank; whereas, Israeli Arabs killed the two policemen. Is there a difference? Absolutely. Israeli Arabs are citizens of Israel. The terrorists among them (meaning those who actually do the killing that is applauded and rewarded by fellow Arabs whose virulent anti-Semitic attitude stops short of terrorist acts … this applies to both Palestinians and Israeli-Arabs) can carry out such attacks more easily than their West Bank or Gaza Strip Palestinian counterparts.

As a refresher: Arabs living in “Palestine” when Israel became a sovereign state on May 14th, 1948 (pre-approved by the United Nations Resolution in November, 1947) rejected their opportunity to also become a state. They wanted no part of living next to a Jewish State; instead five Arab (Muslim) nations attacked Israel the very next day with the sworn objective of annihilating the infant State of Israel. Only then would the Arabs establish their own state of “Palestine.”

After Israel won this war against impossible odds, the Israelis offered citizenship to Arabs … some of whom accepted, most of whom did not. But it was not until 1964—when the Palestinian Liberation Organization was formed by Yassar Arafat—that Arabs began calling themselves Palestinians, a designation that had previously applied almost exclusively to Jews. As a result of the Oslo Accord of 1993, the PLO became the Palestinian Authority. Those living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are now called Palestinians.

Because Palestinians are not citizens of Israel, they can enter Israel proper only through work or visitation permits or the like. Whereas, the vast majority of Israeli Arabs live outside the West Bank, because they are citizens of Israel.

Alarmingly, however, the recent trend (including Lions’ Gate) has seen more Israeli Arabs committing these atrocities. What makes this all the more disturbing is the added difficulty for Israelis to prevent such attacks (although they do thwart many planned strikes). Arab citizens of Israel can travel and move freely throughout the country including Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. They can conceal weapons right up to the flash point of using them.

Which is why Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered Temple Mount closed to visitors until the area was deemed safe and a full investigation could be undertaken. He also called for the immediate installation of metal detectors at the entrance gates to Old Jerusalem and more surveillance cameras on Temple Mount. A reasonable response wouldn’t you agree? Just as reasonable as when all air traffic in the United States was abruptly suspended for a period of time after 9/11. Followed by the incredible amount of security measures that 9/11 and then the shoe-bomber have inconvenienced and frustrated Americans and international travelers to this day.

(Note: Netanyahu reopened three of the seven gates to access Temple Mount on Sunday, 7-16-17, but would not relent on his decision to keep the metal detectors in place at the gate entrances).

(Metal Detectors Recently Installed at One of Old Jerusalem’s Gates)

Once again I ask the rhetorical question: Was Netanyahu’s response reasonable, one that any reasonable person should and would understand?

Not according to Palestinians and their misguided die-hard supporters.

Hamas, the terrorist entity that governs (controls) some 1.8 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, called the closure of Temple Mount an Israeli declaration of “religious war;” then called for an “uprising” against Israel’s military and also Jewish “settlers” (referring to Jews who live in the West Bank which is really the Judea/Samaria region of Israel that includes so-called East Jerusalem).

For sure we could consider the source and realize that kind of bellicose language is expected from Hamas. After all, they have sworn never to recognize the Jewish State of Israel; they have determined that intifada is the only recourse to rid “Palestine” of Jews. But what about the Jordanian Waqf which dictates visiting privileges and protocol (called the status quo) on Temple Mount?

Immediately after Benjamin Netanyahu lifted the ban on Temple Mount visitation, but kept the metal detectors in place, Jordanian Waqf officials advised all Palestinians to defy the new security measures, which they labeled as, “symbols of Israeli control.” Realizing that the Israelis would turn away, by force if necessary, anyone trying to go through an open gate without first passing through a metal detector, this defiance was in the form of boycotting Temple Mount. As if that would affect or disappoint the Jews?! In fact. some Jews took this rare opportunity to ascend Temple Mount even though it was during restricted visitation hours for them.

Another irony of such an order by the Arab Jordanian Waqf is that more Israeli Arabs elected to pass through the metal detectors, than those who stood outside the gates and offered prayers that they could have otherwise offered on Temple Mount had they simply complied with the security measures.

(Muslims Line Up at Lions Gate Last Weekend)

Moreover, the Jordanian Waqf officials (who sometime speak for and represent Palestinians and Israeli Arabs, but only when it serves Jordanian interests) seized the opportunity to play the status quo card; claiming that the metal detectors were a violation of the” status quo” and a demonstration of “Israeli aggression.” The term status quo has been bandied about for several years, one that the Palestinians are frequently (falsely) accusing the Israelis of changing.

Here is an excerpt from an article posted on July 17th in the online news source Israel Hayom:

“Pictures of worshippers and the metal detectors in the entrance to the site stirred anger in the Arab-Muslim world, especially in Egypt and Jordan. The Palestinian Authority called on Israel to ‘refrain from steps that would compromise regional stability.’ Arab-Israeli leaders also called on Israel to take down the metal detectors.”

Unbelievable! These Arab officials were callously oblivious to, and considered irrelevant the fact that the murder of two Israelis (Druze nationality … descendants of Moses’ father-in-law Jethro … loyal to the Jewish State of Israel) and the ensuing unprecedented entrance into Temple Mount by the Palestinian murderers, could or would be the real cause of a compromised regional stability.

*(Let’s pause parenthetically for a moment of cynical commentary: Who or what gives the Israelis the right to discriminate against Muslim Arabs by imposing restrictions, especially if the safeguards might save Jewish lives, which would require a little more time for Arabs to ascend Temple Mount? Along those lines, isn’t it high time that Americans protest against metal detectors all over the United States? Even if it means we can’t get to our workplace or enter government buildings or get on an airplane? Down with detectors. Up with mayhem and murder).

Seriously, the wickedly absurd rationale of these officials reflects the same mushy mentality of Muslims and several nations that belong to the European Union, whose leaders blindly accept the false “moral equivalency cause” of Palestinians or Muslim refugees—many of whom are not true refugees, but just people who want a better life that their Islamic Sunni or Sharia governments can’t provide. How dare some dissenting eastern European countries like Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic (called the Visegrad Group) refuse to fill the immigration quotas imposed on them by the European Union? I am not at all against granting immigration rights to suffering refugees, but not indiscriminately without proper vetting procedures, or just to fill quotas.

(Leaders & Flags of V4 Group, Left to Right: Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia)

Well, I digress a little; but for what is, I trust, a worthy world view.

Lions Gate Attack—Different, Unprecedented

(1) Closure of Temple Mount For Two Days

Benjamin Netanyahu ordered that the Temple Mount be shut down, but only temporarily. This is the first time it had been totally off limit to visitors for 50 years … since the Six-Day War of 1967 when Israelis liberated and reunited all of Jerusalem including Temple Mount from illegal Jordanian control. (See Eye of Prophecy article, The Liberation of Jerusalem. Published 6-3-17).

(2) The First Arab (Muslim) Attack on Temple Mount

Until the Lions’ Gate incident, there was no previous attempts by terrorists to gain access to the Temple Mount area itself during those attacks. Undoubtedly, most Palestinians wish that their three “martyrs” could have killed more Jews inside Temple Mount before their glorious deaths.

The incident was a blatant violation of the precious “status quo” condition of Temple Mount that Palestinians constantly and falsely accuse the Jews of doing. But it was Muslim Arabs who violated the status quo, one that grants unlimited access to Muslims, but highly restricted conditions for Jews ascending Temple Mount.

Which is more proof that the Palestinians couldn’t care less if their so-called holy site is compromised or desecrated, as long as it’s not Jews who are doing it. For example, it’s a documented fact that Palestinians have played soccer, held barbecues, and left garbage on Temple Mount in the past. Many of them treat it as a picnic playground, not a place of prayer.

Here is another quote from a Hamas spokesman:

“The attack in Jerusalem is a natural response to Israeli terrorism and the desecration of Al-Aqsa mosque, and it confirms the commitment to the intifada and the unity of our people.”

This statement would be laughable if it wasn’t so hideous in its sinister implications and false innuendoes. The only accurate part of this provocative rhetoric is that these three terrorists all named Muhammad were, indeed, committed to the religious (Islamic) and political (Palestinian) intifada. But pathetically and pathologically wrong about Israeli terrorism, Jewish desecration of the mosque, or unity of the Palestinian people. Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have been at each other’s throat ever since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2006-2007. Their leaders are diametrically opposed to and actually hate each other.

Yet this first-time terrorist act on Temple Mount is, in fact, a matter of concern to the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank. For you see, PA President Mahmoud Abbas doesn’t directly exercise control over the “lone-wolf” assassins, although he fully supports their atrocities figuratively and literally—with his incitement rhetoric and by paying monthly stipends to families of Palestinian prisoners and those killed in the course of their crimes. In recent months, Abbas made the bad decision (for him … good for Israelis in terms of world opinion) to up the ante in his belligerent bombast against Israel, with hypocritical double talk that much of the world is finally seeing through, e. g. President Trump’s face to face dressing down of Abbas a few weeks ago, by accusing him of lying about the Palestinian “culture of peace.”

After the Lions’ Gate assault, Abbas realized that this unparalleled act by three of his people was, in fact, what Israel Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan had called it: “A very serious” incident. Said Erdan: “This is an unprecedented event. The terrorists violated the sanctity of the Temple Mount and crossed a red line.”

And what Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Minister Zeev Elkins said:

“The cynical use of the Temple Mount as a place of granting immunity to those who incite terror must stop. We’re not clamoring to act on the Temple Mount, but if we have to—we will. The very fact that terrorists target the Temple Mount stems from incitement.”

Or the words of Jerusalem’s Mayor, Nir Barkat who called the attack, “particularly troubling … anyone who thinks that they can make gains through terrorism in this place of prayer and worship is wrong. The exact opposite is true—we will pursue anyone who is motivated in such terrorist activities and we will exact a price from them. We will not capitulate to terrorism.”

(Jerusalem’s Mayor, Nir Barkat)

This unprecedented killing of Israelis at Lions Gate, then pursuit and elimination of the terrorists in the Temple Mount confines led to another extraordinarily rare event.

(3) Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Condemned the Attack!

Why would Abbas step completely out of character and risk criticism from his own people, most of whom (the greater majority) endorse and actually celebrate the killing of Jews? For example, they dance in the streets and hand out candy to Palestinian children, all the while praising their heroic martyrs, and naming streets after them.

First on the more safe side: Mahmoud Abbas calculated that the risk of exacerbating his already tenuous leadership stance with the Palestinians would be lessened by the fact that the killers were Israeli Arabs who were technically citizens of Israel, not residents of the West Bank … within his Palestinian Authority jurisdiction.

Second, on the unsafe side: He knew full well that such an incident in/on the Temple Mount compound had, in fact, vaulted over a line that even he would not cross. The world court of public opinion that was already beginning to comprehend the real Palestinian agenda (elimination of the State of Israel altogether), would side with the Israelis. As horrific as any murder of innocent people for religious or political gain can be—this crime was worse because it violated a sacred site.

Thus, you can be sure that Abbas’ real motive for condemning the crime via a direct phone call to Benjamin Netanyahu, was not because two Israeli policemen were murdered. Rather, because it happened on Temple Mount with the obvious implication to anyone with an open mind that it was the Arabs who changed “the status quo” of Temple Mount.

Putting the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict into a Broader Biblical Perspective

Is it possible for anything good to come out of yet another Arab atrocity against innocent Israelis? Yes, it is. Scripture is replete with amazing ways in which the true and living Sovereign God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has providentially turned bad things into good. The historical account of Jacob’s son, Joseph, is an epic story that all Jews and Christians hold near and dear to their faith.

Said Joseph to reassure his brothers that he would not take revenge on them for selling him into slavery, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people” (Genesis 50:20).

And now, the Lord’s astounding prophetic plan for Israel to end their agonizing exile to the nations is miraculously unfolding daily before our very eyes. Beginning with the rebirth of Israel as a nation in 1948, return of Jews to Israel from the four corners of the earth, and the end of Gentile domination of the Jews in the Six-Day War of 1967.

For Jewish and Gentile believers in Messiah Yeshua, this Old Testament pattern has been increased to a New Covenant ironclad promise:

Viewing Israel through a Different Lens

Statistically, incidents of Anti-Semitism have increased in the past few years. As would be expected, the source stems primarily from Muslims in European countries. And also internationally from those who (mostly liberal professors and students on college campuses) ignore facts and conditions in Israel or deliberately disregard the real evidence and actual truth that the Jews are not “illegal settlers” whose government is oppressing the Palestinians.

However, there’s a remarkable (unprecedented) phenomenon that has taken place in just the past couple of years. Never before in Israel’s history have so many nations begun to establish or reinforce diplomatic and economic ties with Israel, the most recent of which was India … with the second largest population on earth. As have several African nations, Australia, China, Canada, a few European countries, and even Saudi Arabia and its coalition of Arab gulf states, with the exception of Qatar. Although some countries have ulterior motives (as do some of the allies of the United States), their leaders are beginning to see that Israel is not their main enemy, or an enemy at all.

They recognize the amazing things that the Jews have accomplished in Israel in such areas as: agriculture, water conservation, medicine, computer technology, construction, education, new business start-up, and inventions of all sorts. They better understand that these astounding contributions are proportionally far greater than any nation on earth, considering that the Jewish population in Israel is only 6.3 million. If they continue to examine the facts, they’ll see, for example, that Israeli hospitals have treated thousands of Syrian civilians injured in that bloody conflict. And, they are acknowledging Israel’s military might even though she is such a tiny nation.

Palestinian Terrorism is the Pattern for Global Terrorism

Just a brief glance at history will show that Palestinian terrorists were the primary pioneers of nearly all terrorism; adapted globally by terrorist groups such as: Hezbollah, al-Qaida, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Boko Haram, and of course ISIS—which has taken terrorism to a brutally new level.

Although there were other terrorist’s cells like the Red Army in Germany, modern-day terrorism tactics basically began with the Palestinian slaughter of eleven Israeli athletes during the Munich Olympics of 1972. With millions of other, I vividly remember watching the horror unfold in real (television) time.

Released in late 2005, Munich, a film directed by Steven Spielberg, is a powerful depiction and reminder of the brutal birth of terrorism, Palestinian style; but also the resolve of Israel to hunt down and dispense justice to those who would seek to annihilate the Jews. Global terrorist groups have modeled their violence after the sickening style of Palestinian hijackings, suicide bombings, car-rammings, knifings, shootings, and blowing up hotels, cafes, and markets.

People and national leaders the world over are beginning to see that statements like the following one from Jordan’s Minister of Islamic Affairs Wael Arabiyat are not only ridiculously illogical, but morally reprehensible.

Arabiyat, in an attempt to legitimize the Jordanian Waqf’s criticism of the metal detectors and incitement call for Palestinians to defy such restrictions, actually labeled the Israeli response to the brutal killings an Israeli “crime.” He cited the reason for the entire incident as Israel’s “unprecedented and persistent violation of Al Aqsa Mosque sanctity under the pretext of containing violence and tension.”

Yours, mine, and the world’s immediate response to this absurd accusation is or should be: “What pretext?”

A pretext is an alleged ulterior motive or mindset to do something about something (else) perceived that hasn’t happened or won’t happen or doesn’t exist.

First, there’s absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the Jews have ever violated or “desecrated” (the more commonly used term of Arab incitement) the Al Aqsa Mosque. I repeat for emphasis: absolutely none. As said before, the Palestinians and those who presumptuously promote their cause consider any Jew stepping foot on Temple Mount as a violation. Then, they make certain that such (non-existent) desecration doesn’t go any further. During the limited time Jews can ascend and remain on Temple Mount, they must not exhibit any signs of worship, such as reciting or even mouthing prayers, bowing, kneeling, lifting their hands, reading from the Torah … the list goes on.

Second, the killing of two Israelis in an attempt to commit more murders within the Temple Mount confines is as (horribly) real as it gets. The Israelis killed the murderers to contain (eliminate) further carnage by the terrorists. There was no pretext.

It’s the Palestinian “pushing the envelope” that has gone too far, and (fortunately) has begun to irreversibly do exactly the opposite of what they intended. Their extreme rhetoric has now been matched with terrorism that crossed a line that was beyond the line already drawn of terroristic murder of Jews and other innocent people the world over.

This “crossed-the-line” attack could and probably will result in what should have been the “status quo” since the Jews liberated their capital in 1967: Israeli sovereignty over Temple Mount both in practice and principle. At the very least, it may lead to what Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev stated:

“The time has come for the Temple Mount to be a place that is open and free for all, without restrictions on (visiting) hours or areas, just like everywhere else in Jerusalem. The Waqf should only manage the mosque and not the entire compound.”

(Temple Mount Complex, Including View of Western Wall & Lower Courtyard)

Summary

Along with the favorable trend of world opinion toward Israel exemplified by diplomatic relations and trade agreements between Israel and several nations, more people are also getting a glimpse of the real Palestinian agenda. How could anyone miss seeing it? It’s been there all along. Now the Palestinians have unmasked themselves directly in front of international eyes with actions that speak as loud as their words.

Slowly at first, but now much more rapidly, Western nations and even some Arab countries are beginning to realize that Jews—not only in Israel, but the world over—have contributed so much to the welfare of the human race; and will increase this contribution exponentially if the nations would only work with them and not against them. This global atmosphere of increased toleration for the Jews and enhanced empathy for their suffering (BDS discrimination, maiming, murders, and vandalism of their crops) is exactly the condition that Scripture predicted would occur during the beginning of the last days of the end times.

Some passages in the Old Testament speak exclusively of the millennial period following the majestic return of Messiah Jesus to rescue Israel and the final glorious victory over her enemies. Many others, like the following passage, describe both the Millennium and the signs and conditions immediately preceding the Day of the Lord.

“Nevertheless, the time will come when I will heal Jerusalem’s wounds and give it prosperity and true peace. I will restore the fortunes of Judah and Israel and rebuild their towns. I will cleanse them of their sins against me and forgive all their sins of rebellion. Then this city will bring me joy, glory, and honor before all the nations of the earth! The people of the world will see all the good I do for my people, and they will tremble with awe at the peace and prosperity I provide for them” (Jeremiah 33:6-9, italics for emphasis).

This more respectful disposition toward Israel is now at the highest level since 1948 … in my opinion, even higher. That is exactly the condition that will exist during the unexpected Gog/Magog assault against Israel by several nations—led principally by Russia, Iran, and Turkey—that will take place during the (early part of) Great Tribulation. The surprising increase of international recognition of Israel is yet another prophetic milepost that demonstrates just how close we are to the Rapture followed in seven years by the magnificent return of Messiah Jesus to make all things right.

Things to Ponder

There are two primary reasons why Jews will not only return to Temple Mount under their terms, but also why the Jewish Temple itself will be rebuilt on the very site where God spared Isaac, and where Solomon’s Temple and the Second Temple stood.

The first reason is in two parts: (1) the Rapture that will create world-wide confusion and panic followed quickly by, (2) the return of Antichrist Nero from the Abyss. His perceived miraculous reappearance and the chaotic condition of the world as a result of the disappearance of hundreds of millions will facilitate desperate global longing for peace and safety. Because of the divine status accorded him (by virtue of returning from the grave), Nero will have no problem orchestrating a treaty between Arabs/Muslims and Jews, including a rebuilt Jewish Temple.

The second reason: Increasing global favor toward Israel that has already begun, and will (soon) enable her to be in a position of peace, safety, tranquility, and prosperity, unequaled since the glory days of King David and King Solomon’s reign. But it will be a false peace because it will be arranged by a false messiah … Antichrist Nero.

And then it will happen. Listen to the Holy Spirit inspired prediction against Gog/Magog uttered by the prophet Ezekiel some 2,600 years ago … a prophecy that will soon come to pass:

“…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… 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 … You will say, ‘Israel is an unprotected land filled with unwalled villages!’ … When my people are living in peace in their land, then you will arouse yourself” (Ezekiel 38:8-14).

Big mistake Gog/Magog! And later in the tribulation an even bigger mistake when Antichrist and his coalition march against Israel!

They picked the wrong time to take on God and the apple of his eye, his special possession Israel. They will unwittingly choose a time providentially chosen by God long ago; a time when God once again is protecting and providing for his chosen people, the Jews. A time when his planted (in Scripture) prophetic plan for Israel’s physical restoration and spiritual reconciliation is about to reach full harvest.

Beware Gog and Antichrist! You think that Israel is there for the taking because she has let down her guard through false pretense of peace.

Think again.

“But this is what the Sovereign Lord says: When Gog invades the land of Israel, my fury will boil over!” (Ezekiel 38:18).

“I will punish you and your armies with disease and bloodshed; I will send torrential rain, hailstones, fire, and burning sulfur! In this way, I will show my greatness and holiness, and I will make myself known to all the nations of the world. Then they will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 38:22-23).

God the Father will supernaturally destroy the Gog/Magog coalition with Israel simply standing by to watch as God’s “fury boils over.”

During the final battle of Armageddon we see the same results. And this time God’s Son, Messiah Jesus, will win a resounding victory as we believers ride along side of him and behold his incomparable power and authority.

“Then I saw the beast and the kings of the world and their armies gathered together to fight against the one sitting on the horse and his army. And the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet … Both the beast and the 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).

The Magnificent Millennial Reign of Believers with Messiah

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Working to Live and Living to Work

After being introduced to someone for the first time with the customary “How do you do?” or something similar—particularly if the occasion will last long enough to merit some sort of conversation—what is one of the most commonly asked questions? If I gave you a couple of minutes to think about it, you’d probably come up with the answer (the question). But since time is precious, let’s get right to it.

“What do you do?” Or, “What is it that you do?”

Some of us may be a little more direct.

“What do you do for a living?” Or, even, “Where do you work?”

Some people are just nosy and others use this question as an ice-breaker, but I think most people are sincerely interested in what others do for a living. The underlying source of wanting to know is the fact that men and also women—because of cultural and economic changes beginning mostly in the 20th century—have had to work for a living, ever since our original ancestors decided that living virtually labor-free in paradise (everything provided) wasn’t good enough for them.

How long has it been since you read the account of creation, Adam and Eve’s fall from innocence, and the repercussions of their free-will decision to do the one thing they weren’t supposed to do? You’ll find it in the first three chapters of Genesis, which sets the stage for God’s Biblical plan of salvation and full-circle restoration to a joyous everlasting life with God, instead of a horrible eternal existence apart from him.

Our original two ancestors would still be alive today and would still be reveling in a picture-perfect world when God created them, had they believed that what God had said was true. A paradise passed on to their children and children’s children as an inheritance in perpetuity. Instead, they were banished from the Garden of Eden.

From then on they would have to work for a living. Said God to Adam:

“Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it … By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:17-19).

(One of Our Most Cherished Holidays … Right!)

Down through the ages there have been a few (very few) who were born into an affluent heritage, who did not have to, start from scratch. Whose toughest decision each morning was, “What shall I do today?” But even they had to work in some way or another to keep that inheritance intact. “The sweat of your brow” can also be the mental and emotional lather that goes with the strain of what we call white-collar work.

Who among us would turn down an inheritance from Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Warren Buffet, or Bill Gates (pick your favorite billionaire), had we been born into such a family? Yet, who among us could guarantee that there’s no way we would squander such a fortune? History is replete with children or grandchildren who—through mismanagement, self-indulgence, or just plain laziness—lost everything that had been handed to them on the proverbial silver platter? Or, the flip side: heirs of wealthy estates who padded their fortune by inconsiderately or even ruthlessly trampling on the rights of others, especially the less fortunate.

However, the Bible promises an everlasting inheritance that can’t be corrupted, compromised, or otherwise forfeited. That’s possible because believers (beneficiaries of the inheritance) have a benefactor who arose from the dead and lives forevermore to guarantee that inheritance will never be lost for any reason whatsoever. As opposed to all other benefactors who remain in their graves, and have no control over what eventually happens to their estate.

“And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 3:6, italics for emphasis).

Conditions of an Inheritance

Although we normally think (or hope) of an inheritance in terms of wealth, in order for someone to inherit anything, two basic conditions must exist: (1) the benefactor must first die in order for the beneficiary to receive ALL of what has been bequeathed to them. (2) The heir must be born into the family or adopted or otherwise designated by the patron.

God, who created everything (including human beings in his image) and who owns the entire domain of the heavens and earth, sent his Son, Messiah Jesus to die for us, thus meeting the first requirement. This substitutionary sacrificial atoning death was absolutely necessary in order for God’s “estate planning” to be legally implemented and binding in light of his very essence—holy, righteous, just, but also gracious, loving, and merciful.

“…For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant. Now when someone leaves a will, it is necessary to prove that the person who made it is dead. The will goes into effect only after the person’s death…” (Hebrews 9:14-16, italics for emphasis).

However, every man, woman, and child (past the age of innocence) must answer the call of God for salvation. How do we respond and what is the only thing required to receive such a glorious inheritance? As follows:

When Messiah Jesus arose from the dead, he provided the only way to God, which was to be born again from above. This rebirth (into God’s family estate) is the second condition necessary to receive the eternal riches that come from heaven, not from or through anything or anyone on this earth. Which is why the Son of God came down from heaven born of a Virgin, fully God and fully man, to provide the perfect, unblemished sacrifice acceptable to God. As a result, all who place their faith in Jesus and his sacrifice are “born again.”

Being physically born does not automatically qualify us to be children of God; nor does any amount of good works. Salvation is by faith and faith alone in God’s New Covenant of Grace (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Remember Jesus’s words to Nicodemus, which applies to all of us:

“… I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God … 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 3:3, 6 & 7).

When we’re born again, we immediately become adopted children of God. The New Testament was written during the height of the Roman Empire. One of the powerful privileges afforded by Roman law and custom were the rights of an adopted son or daughter into a Roman family. They had equal, sometimes greater rights than natural-born descendants. Once adopted, the person became an heir of the estate.

So it is with being a child of the Most High God.

The Apostle Paul—a Jewish Pharisee steeped in the tradition of the Mosaic Law but transformed (born again) when he met the risen Christ on the road to Damascus—wrote to the Galatian Christians:

“For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus … There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are true children of Abraham. You are his heirs and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you” (Galatians 3:26-29).

Then later he wrote to the believers in Rome:

“So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father.’ For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering” (Romans 8:15-17).

In Romans Chapter 5, Paul explains that Jesus became the Second Adam, perfect in every way, to die for the sins of the first Adam; as well as all of his descendants infected (innately from birth) with sin that causes death and eternal separation from God. He concludes this remarkable comparison with:

“Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous … So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:18-21).

(Concerning the First & Second Adam, please see Eye of Prophecy article, The Virgin Birth of Messiah … How and Why? posted 12-24-16)

A Brand New Human Species

Not only do we become joint-heirs with Christ when we are reborn spiritually, we are also “recreated” with a new nature … a new species as it were.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Corinthians 5:17, King James Version).

It is a creation that will culminate one day (soon) with an unperishable spiritual body (I Corinthians 15), yet a body still possessing the five physical senses (and more!). Using today’s jargon, it will be an “extreme makeover” of who and what we are. But the finality of this new creation won’t happen until the resurrection of those who have died in Christ and the transformation of those alive in Christ at the Rapture.

In the interim, the Apostle Paul tells us:

“For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are … with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay … for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved…” (Romans 8:19-24).

The nanosecond we accept Messiah Jesus as Personal Savior, we are reborn from above and HAVE eternal life. Right then and there we become adopted children of God, with all rights of the inheritance given to us by God.

“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 (present tense, right at that time); whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life” (I John 5:11-12, parenthesis mine).

In order for our existence to be literally and physically eternal, we must first receive the extreme makeover (spiritual) bodies that will equip us to live forever, beginning with the thousand-year reign on earth with our Messiah.

Are you Jew or Gentile? Either way, listen carefully to the Jewish Apostle Paul:

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

Scripture is replete with the awesome inherited benefits bestowed on believers in the form of promises. They fall into three basic categories: (1) those given to us as we grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ while still in our earthly bodies; (2) those we will possess when the Day of the Lord begins at the Rapture and continues through the Millennium, indeed, throughout eternity; (3) those available and applicable both now and after the Rapture. Today we’re focusing on Category #2.

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay” (I Peter 1:3-4).

Immortal Spiritual Bodies

The Apostle Paul also wrote to the Corinthian saints about the First and Last Adam:

“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 in 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” (I Corinthians 15:45-49).

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the heart and soul of the Christian faith. If Christ had remained in his grave, then there would be no redemption, no forgiveness of sin, no pardon for the penalty of sin, no resurrection of the dead, and no hope of eternal life. Listen to the Apostle Paul earlier in this same chapter. He is talking not only to the Corinthians but also to millions upon millions in today’s world who trivialize or doubt or deny outright that Jesus arose from the dead, or who don’t believe in a bodily resurrection from the dead.

“But tell me this—since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead? For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave” (I Corinthians 15:12-15).

Then he says, “But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died” (Verse 20).

After his crucifixion and burial, Jesus of Nazareth was seen by all of the apostles (including Paul on his way to Damascus), plus hundreds of other people.

It never ceases to amaze me why so many people deny or even doubt the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If they’re going deny this historical event, then they need to be consistent and also refute countless other historical records, such as the existence of the Roman Empire and Roman Caesars. If they maintain that Jesus didn’t arise from the dead (or if he did, it means nothing to them—thereby, ignoring the very reason that Jesus died in the first place … to save them from their sins); then they must also claim, for example, that Caesar Augustus was never a Roman emperor.

Moreover, Jesus was not seen after his resurrection as some ethereal spirit hovering here or there or somewhere in the air. Because Jesus had clearly explained to his disciples that he would be put to death by crucifixion, buried, and rise again the third day, they shouldn’t have been so amazed when they saw him on that Sunday. But they were. However, their astonishment was more than seeing Jesus alive. It was how Jesus appeared to them—not only in bodily form but suddenly and inexplicably in their midst in a room secured by locked doors.

Let’s first read about the second such appearance of Jesus:

“Eight days later, the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. ‘Peace be with you,’ he said. Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” (John 20:26-27).

There’s no record that Thomas ever touched Jesus. He didn’t need to. The evidence of Jesus standing right in front of him was so overwhelming that Thomas immediately exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).

Now let’s look at the events of Jesus’s first appearance to the disciples, not long after he had appeared to the two men on the road to Emmaus. At the end of this trip to Emmaus, we read:

“Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared!” (Luke 24:31).

What happened is crystal clear, as both the words and the exclamation point at the end of the sentence reinforces: Jesus simply vanished in front of them, yet they had seen him in his physical body. The two men hurried back to Jerusalem to tell the disciples.

Then we read:

“And just as they (the two men) were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. ‘Peace be with you,’ he said. But the whole group was startled and frightened thinking they were seeing a ghost! ‘Why are you so frightened? … Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.’ As he spoke, he showed them his hands and feet.

“Still they stood there in disbelief, filled with joy and wonder. Then he asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he ate it as the watched” (Luke 24:36-43, parenthesis mine).

Their wonder was twofold: Jesus, himself was there. His body bore the wounds that led to his death, but he was no longer dead! Nor would or could he ever die again. He was the same, but he was different. They could see him, hear him, touch him, and watch him eat! Yet, he appeared to them from another dimension. Soon they and all believers would understand, especially after Paul wrote about the new resurrected spiritual body given to their Lord and someday to all believers in Messiah as we find in I Corinthians 15 and I Thessalonians 4.

We will pass through such things as doors, without opening them … if we choose! We will move effortlessly, and travel at whatever speed is given to us by our great and glorious God. At the speed of light, perhaps even the speed of thought. One moment we’re here, and then we’re there. Or, at a slower speed to take in all the sights and sounds as we go mountain-hopping on earth or star-hopping in the heavens. I’m convinced that we will be able to actually fly if we choose, and not in an airplane or spaceship!

Beyond what we know about our Lord’s glorified body, I don’t want to speculate too much. We’ll find out soon enough, because I’m convinced that the Rapture will occur any day, but no longer than a few years. Besides, who doesn’t like (pleasant, delightful) surprises? Our reconstructed bodies will be full of surprises! Wonders that will thrill us … well, forever.

But know this: We will be indestructible with a new multi-dimensional body equipped to live forever. A body impervious to death, disease, deformity, fatigue, injury, pain, hunger, and thirst.

Even Superman had his kryptonite!

Please see Eye of Prophecy article: There’s Resurrection; And There’s Resurrection! Posted 3-19-16.

Believers Will Rule and Reign with Messiah for One Thousand Years on the Earth

After Jesus returns to earth and defeats Antichrist (Nero), the False Prophet, and their coalition of armies (see Revelation 19), Satan—as the devil in bodily form—will be thrown into the Abyss. Immediately the Messianic era of the Millennium begins. Read with me this part of our inheritance given to us by the Lord:

“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.

“This is the first resurrection. (The rest of the dead did not come back to life until the thousand years had ended.) Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. For them the second death holds no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4-6, parenthesis in text).

The parenthetical sentence in the above passage refers to all deceased unbelievers who will also be raised to life and appear before God at what is called, The Great White Throne Judgement (see Revelation 20:11-15). Sadly, they will then experience the second death—a perpetual horrific existence in the Lake of Fire.

Those whom John said were given “the authority to judge,” are believers. This is an accurate conclusion because John refers to them as people (not angels or the four living beings) and immediately identifies those who will participate in the, “first resurrection.” The contextual connection is clear. First he identifies the Tribulation saints who had been martyred because of their faithful and courageous witness for Jesus Christ—those who had not succumbed to the enormous pressure of following the Antichrist.

Then John switches to the other believers, “who share in first resurrection” (as opposed to the second resurrection of unbelievers at the end of the Millennium). Here he is referring to all pre-Rapture believers, both dead and living, who will be transformed into our heavenly bodies.

Together, the Tribulation saints will, with the Raptured believers, “reign with him a thousand years.”

Whether the people who had been given authority to judge consist of all believers or just those selected by the Lord for that purpose is unknown at this point in time. There will be responsibilities and activities assigned to all believers during the Millennium, yet not all may be judges as such. With our wonderful new spiritual bodies and minds and hearts, there will be no competition or complaints among believers as to who does what in the Kingdom of God on earth. Obviously, The Lord’s delegated duties to his people will be distributed perfectly; for example, like he assigned 72 pairs of disciples to preach the Kingdom of God during his ministry on earth.

In our Millennial reign with Messiah as joint-heirs with him, we will all be priests of God and of Christ as quoted earlier. Indeed, as soon as we are born-again, we are given that privilege while still here on earth. Yet, that is for a short time and our “priesthood” is often limited and sometimes blemished because we are still fighting a spiritual battle with Satan, with the world, and with ourselves … our flesh and sin nature (See Romans Chapter 7).

Not so in the Millennium. Our re-created spiritual bodies in Christ will enable us to praise, worship, and serve the Lord undefiled. But serve him we will, as opposed to the misconception of unbelievers and even some believers that Christians will have nothing better to do than drift along on clouds playing harps! Don’t get me wrong … there will be the most beautiful music imaginable in heaven!

Or the misunderstanding that the Millennium will be absent any human imperfections … things that cause discord and conflict. The first part of the Millennium will be near perfect, as even unbelievers still alive at the end of the Great Tribulation will acknowledge and bow down to Messiah Jesus as King of all kings and Lord of all lords. But slowly and surely, even though Satan will not be able to exert his influence on earth, people will once again rebel against God’s truth, even as Christ Jesus rules from Jerusalem. This will lead to the final battle of the ages, as found in Revelation Chapter 20.

That is why Messiah Jesus, “…will rule them with an iron rod” (Revelation 19:15).

In the letters to the seven churches found earlier in the book of Revelation, Jesus lists several privileges given to believers as part of our post-Rapture inheritance. Such as: “…To them I will give authority over all the nations. They will rule the nations with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots. They will have the same authority I received from my Father…” (Revelation 2:26-28).

The type of strict administration conveyed by the imagery of an iron rod is only when absolutely necessary. For hundreds of years into the Millennium, the Kingdom of God on earth will unfold just as found in Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). One of dozens of characteristics of the Millennium that will be the rule, not the exception (just the reverse of today’s wicked world) is what is commonly called, the Golden Rule.

Said Jesus: “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12).

Jesus taught about this Kingdom as one that should have been and could have been available when he came to earth the first time. But because he was rejected as the Messiah—the only One who could establish and administer such a Kingdom—the Kingdom of God would have to wait until his return in great glory and power. In the meantime, the Kingdom of Heaven has been established in the hearts and minds of individual believers the world over.

Many of Jesus’s teaching and parables were about both Kingdoms. A few of these parables such as sowing and reaping explain that the responsibilities (authority) of believers during the Millennium will be proportional to their faithfulness to the Lord while we were on earth.

The one most applicable to our subject at hand is found in Luke 19; the parable of the King and ten servants. Time/space will only permit a partial quote from that passage; nonetheless one that demonstrates the dynamics of Messiah’s entrustment to believers during the Millennium.

“After he was crowned king, he returned and called in the servants to whom he had given the money. He wanted to find out what their profits were. The first servant reported, ‘Master, I invested your money and made ten times the original amount!’

‘Well done!’ the king exclaimed. ‘You are a good servant. You have been faithful with the little I entrusted to you, so you will be governor of ten cities as your reward.’

“The next servant reported, ‘Master, I invested your money and made five times the original amount.’

‘Well done!’ the king said, ‘You will be governor over five cities’” (Luke 19:15-19).

I believe that the application of this parable (many of the Lord’s parables apply literally to the truth being disclosed by the imagery) will actually take place during the Millennium. If you are a believer in Messiah Jesus, you will share in his inheritance. Among other things, Jesus has inherited the nations of the earth and will begin his literal rule and reign over them upon his glorious return to Jerusalem.

So, be prepared to be a “governor” or whatever position Jesus may give to you over a city or cities, or state or states, or whatever geopolitical sectors Jesus will create during his thousand-year reign on the earth. Or any other duty and responsibility he may have for you.

By far, the most prevalent condition that will exist during the Millennium is found throughout the Old Testament, as succinctly summed up in the following passage:

“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 teachings 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).

(Inscription on the “Isaiah Wall” In New York City, Across From the United Nations General Assembly Building)

Our King will grant authority to believers—Jews and Gentiles alike—to be his assistants, ambassadors, emissaries, judges, administrators; and, when and where necessary, his disciplinarians (by the best and purest example of tough love) in establishing his extraordinary Divine Monarchy on Planet Earth.

Although under different conditions, a parallel Old Testament precedent is when Moses, “…chose capable men from all over Israel and appointed them as leaders over the people. He put them in charge of groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten. These men were always available to solve the people’s common disputes. They brought the major cases to Moses, but they took care of the smaller matters themselves” (Exodus 18:25-26).

Where did we read about resolving disputes? Oh yes, Isaiah 2:4: “Settle international disputes.” The really big international disagreements will mostly be arbitrated by Jesus, himself. But there will be a whole planet full of more “common disputes,” that believers will handle. We will even judge angels! (I Corinthians 6:3).

“The Sovereign Lord will show his justice to the nations of the world. Everyone will praise him! His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring, with plants springing up everywhere” (Isaiah 61:11).

Things to Ponder

Jesus will rule the earth with a perfect blend of firmness and fairness.

“His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” (Isaiah 9:7).

The next verse is one that applies to believers both now and after we are transfigured at the Rapture (Category #3 listed earlier).

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that works in us…” (Ephesians 3:20, NKJV).

No matter what our sphere of service for the Lord during the magnificent Millennium, we’ll have exceptional abilities through our immortal transformed bodies to, for example, suddenly appear among a troubled city council and say, “Peace be with you. Praise the Lord! So what’s the problem?”

Chances are, the problem will disappear as quickly as you appeared!

That’s the kind of power and authority our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ graciously and generously shares with us as part of our inheritance in Him.

Can I get an, “Amen?!”

Do I hear a, “Hallelujah?!”

Freedom … What Does It Really Mean?

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What Did You Do This Past Tuesday?

Tuesday? Oh, yea, it was the Fourth of July.

Yes, it was! America’s Independence Day.

Did you cook out, or have a picnic, or attend a parade or a family reunion? Did you take in some fireworks after dark? Did you watch football on television? I’m okay … just wanted to make sure you were celebrating the 4th, not the 1st (New Year’s Day)!

If all you did was not going to work … well, it is a holiday after all.

Hardly any American doesn’t know what the 4th of July is all about, for it was on that date in 1776 that the colonies declared their independence from England. A freedom that we had to fight for; self-government that would have remained an unfulfilled dream had we not been victorious in the Revolutionary War.

Shooting off fireworks on the Fourth of July is a tradition more closely connected to our second war with England, only three decades after the Revolutionary War ended?

In 1814, the third year of that bloody War of 1812, Francis Scott Key was so inspired by the oversized United States flag still flying majestically over Fort McHenry that he penned the words to a poem he called, Defence of Fort McHenry. Later, he adapted a tune sung mostly by the British (how ironic) to the lyrics. As they say, the rest is history. In 1931, the United States Congress passed a resolution (signed by President Herbert Hoover) officially declaring the song our national anthem … The Star Spangled Banner.

(The Original Flag That Flew Over Fort McHenry)

Did you know that many objected to the Star Bangled Banner becoming our national anthem? To this very day, some say that another song should replace it, because the lyrics glorify war. Former President Obama is one of those. He said: “And the anthem itself conveys a war-like message. You know, the bombs bursting in air and all. I like the song, I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing. If that were our anthem, then I might salute it.”

He was serious!

I won’t comment on Mr. Obama’s logic. My only observation to such an objection is to jiggle our memory regarding why Francis Scott Key authored such words as: “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air…” For over twenty-four hours he had a front row seat (on a ship) to the relentless British bombardment of Fort McHenry and the heroism of the Americans to even stay in the fort, let alone repel the British attack.

What the Star Spangled Banner Is Really About

Francis Scott Key didn’t write the poem to glorify war. Right after, “the bombs bursting in air…” comes, “Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”

There are four stanzas to The Star Spangled Banner, with the verses in the form of an (eight-line) octave or sonnet; each ending with, “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

Obviously, whenever our national anthem is played, we sing only the first stanza.

To demonstrate that this poem/song is not about the glory of war, but about the necessary and justified right to fight in order to gain and maintain freedom inherently granted to every human being by God and to acknowledge God as the source of victory when the cause is right, here is the last verse.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand

Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!

Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be out motto, “In God is our trust.”

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Others contend that the lyrics of the Star Spangled Banner are too difficult to remember and the melody too hard to sing … the musical range is one octave and one-fifth. For musically challenged people like me, whose range is maybe 1/5 of one octave (barely carrying a tune), I can relate to those opinions. That also includes the lyrics which most of the time I remember, yet from time to time stumble over what, for example, comes after, “Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight…”

Although favoring the fact that the Star Spangled Banner is still a thrilling song steeped in patriotic tradition, I wouldn’t mind too much if another song that stirs our heart and national pride could be America’s anthem. In fact, Hail Columbia and My Country, Tis of Thee, competed with Francis Scott Key’s song for the right to be called our national anthem.

America the Beautiful is a strong candidate. “Oh beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountain majesties…”

My personal favorite is one of the simplest, yet most inspirational songs extolling God’s providential guidance alongside of our patriotic love for America. It was written by Jewish songwriter Irving Berlin in 1918 near the end of the First World I. (A few years after George M. Cohen wrote Over There).

(Irving Berlin)

It is none other than: God Bless America

I would venture to say that many Americans more easily remember the lyrics and music of God Bless America than the Star Spangled Banner. For Baby Boomers out there … just think of Kate Smith!

God bless America, land that I love. Stand beside her and guide her

Guide her through what, with what? What comes next?

Thru the night with a light from above.

From where and to what does the light guide us?

From the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam.

How does it end?

God bless America, my home, sweet home. God bless America, my home, sweet home.

While we’re in the vein of our treasured musical heritage, why not Lee Greenwood’s more contemporary ballad, God Bless the USA? This moving song awakens our national pride and arouses our patriotic spirit. All the while acknowledging God as the source of our freedom and our brave military men and women defending that freedom to the death, if necessary.

Come on, and sing along:

And I’m proud to be an American,

Where at least I know I’m free.

And I won’t forget the men who died,

Who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,

Next to you and defend her still today.

‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,

God bless the USA.

I’m not sure about you; but I got a bit emotional just reading and writing down these songs. And why not? Most Americans get nostalgically nationalistic and lovingly loyal to the land of the free and home of the brave when hearing and singing our national anthem or other patriotic songs.

What Is The Ultimate Freedom?

Obviously, the main theme of this week’s article is not about our national anthem, or what it could be or should be. Rather, it’s about the very essence of those patriotic songs: freedom and what it really means to be free. Which begs the question: What, in the long run, is real freedom? Narrowing that down: Freedom from what? Freedom to do what?

Let’s begin with some of the concepts of free and freedom from Webster’s Dictionary:

Free: “Having the legal and political rights of a citizen; enjoying personal freedom; not subject to the control or domination of another; determined by the choice of the actor or by his wishes (actions); made, done, or given voluntarily or spontaneously…”

Freedom: “the quality or state of being free; the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action; liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another…”

Biblical truth gets right to the heart of freedom and what it ultimately means to be free. As much as we the people of the United States—and peoples in other nations who have even a measure of what we have in this country—enjoy our inalienable rights and constitutional privileges of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, absence of tyranny imposed by others is not necessarily what freedom is all about.

“Jesus said to the people who believed in him, ‘You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’

“But we are descendants of Abraham, they said. We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free?’

“Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free’” (John 8:31-36).

Notice that Jesus didn’t remind them that they were, in fact, subjects of the Roman Empire. Or had they forgotten that their ancestors had been exiled into slavery by Assyria and Babylon? To some extent, the Romans (as did the Babylonians, Persians, and Greeks during Israel’s captivity) allowed the Jews self-governing autonomy, but not nearly the independence they had during the glory years of Israel—as the most powerful and successful nation on the earth at that time. Were they in denial that the Romans had arbitrarily appointed the most important position in Judaism and in Judah itself—the High Priest? That the Jews no longer could impose capital punishment on even the most violent of criminals. Only the Roman governor could authorize execution. And there were other restrictions that the people wouldn’t remotely tolerate if they were, indeed, a free nation. Such as: excessively unfair Roman taxes. Talk about taxation without representation!

Jesus could have given them a history lesson why God withdrew his protection of Israel and allowed them to be subjugated by Gentile nations. Which could be summarily condensed into what God said—through Moses and subsequent prophets—would happen to them if they abandoned the Lord their God, and no longer trusted or acknowledged him as the very source of their existence and well-being … individually and as a nation.

He could have reminded them that God’s prophecy as far back as Moses had come to pass, which is why Israel still had not regained total freedom from the succession of Gentile domination since the northern kingdom of Israel was obliterated by the Assyrians in 722 B.C. He could have quoted any number of passages in the Scriptures. Such as:

“But Israel soon became fat and unruly; the people grew heavy, plump, and stuffed! Then they abandoned the God who had made them; they made light of the Rock of their salvation. They stirred up his jealousy by worshipping foreign gods; they provoked his fury with detestable deeds. They offered sacrifices to demons, which are not God, to gods they had not known before … You neglected the Rock who had fathered you; you forgot the God who had given you birth. The Lord saw this and drew back, provoked to anger by his own sons and daughters. He said, ‘I will abandon them; then see what becomes of them. For they are a twisted generation, children without integrity’” (Deuteronomy 32:15-20).

However, Jesus didn’t judge them or throw back into their faces all the reasons why they were in the condition they were in as Roman subjects. God’s final judgment would (officially at the Great White Throne judgement … See Revelation 20) come later at the appointed time and for what would be the definitive reason: Refusal of Jews and Gentiles alike to accept the New Covenant of Grace prophesied by Isaiah and Jeremiah; a covenant that commenced with and was sealed by the beaten body and shed blood of their Messiah.

Instead, Jesus went right to the heart of the matter: their slavery to sin. Even when the Lord delivered his people from Egyptian slavery, the first thing he did was to show his people that ultimate freedom was from themselves—their personal sins—through the redemptive shed blood of an innocent animal (Passover). Then he rescued them from physical bondage in Egypt.

As Messiah Jesus had told Nicodemus, one of the privileged religious members of the Sanhedrin:

“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. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil” (John 3:16-19).

As the Saying Goes, “Freedom Is Never Free.”

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that come from a democratic representative republic or at least a parliamentary system of government has never been handed to any nation on the proverbial silver platter. The birth, growth, and preservation of freedom to worship, travel, vote, serve in government, and a host of other liberties bear a high price tag—the blood and lives of our soldiers and civilians.

Yet even this liberty is tarnished by political, social, economic, and racial issues that create deep division, troubling turmoil, debilitating distrust, and sometimes hatred that produces cold wars, hot wars, and civil strife. Even the best of democratic systems can only deal with the symptoms, not the cause of these ills, which the Bible unequivocally identifies as the woeful, unregenerate condition of the human heart.

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

The human heart needs to be set free of the sinful nature everyone is born with. A nature that innately generates the wrong things that people do, all of which are or lead to transgressions against our Creator God. A whole host of things like: pride, greed, envy, lies, lust, selfishness—that cause men, women, and children to insist on having their own way no matter if it harms someone else or infringes on and even eliminates the rights of others.

There is a remedy. There is a way of escape. There is a truth that will set us free. There is a life that can triumph over the darkness of physical and spiritual slavery engulfing the entire world.

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

However, the freedom that the Lord so freely gives to all who believe and receive Messiah Jesus, came at the highest price ever paid.

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

Jesus died for our sins to free us from slavery to and the terrible penalty of those sins—eternal separation from God. He is the just for the unjust. The righteous for the unrighteous. The godly for the ungodly. The innocent for the guilty.

That is why Jesus didn’t come to earth the first time as the Messiah who would deliver his people from Gentile domination and oppression. That would come later, upon his glorious return to establish a Kingdom that monarchs and the common people have longed for, can only dream of, and have tried vainly to establish down through history. A Kingdom led by a truly benevolent and just King … Israel’s Messiah. And also Messiah to the Gentiles.

First, the human heart must be changed.

The Birth and Birthright of the USA and Israel

Long before the United States of America came into existence—a nation that has experienced unparalleled freedom—Israel enjoyed an unequaled independence during the time that her people and kings acknowledged and honored the Lord as their (the) only true and living God.

I’m talking about the freedom that was conceived in our Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights, which in principle and (more than any other nation) in practice gave birth to political and religious emancipation, national unity (agree to disagree), intrinsic individual equality, and genuine diversity and tolerance. As opposed to the phony tolerance and distorted diversity of so many in our secular society. Whose prejudice against our Judeo-Christian heritage is expressed cruelly in their intolerant and false accusations that Christians are divisive, just because we believe what the Bible says about salvation and morality is true.

The birth of the United States of America is remarkably similar to Israel’s beginning, in terms of our civil and spiritual dynamics and development.

Both nations were founded by men and woman who listened to, sought after, feared (honored, acknowledged, in awe of), worshipped, and gave credit to Almighty God for both personal and national freedom.

What is the one nation in the entire Middle East that flies the American flag, especially on Independence Day?

Easy answer: Israel.

Said Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu at a 4th of July celebration this past Tuesday in Herzliya, Israel:

“This is a great day because on the Fourth of July, all Israelis unite with our American brothers and sisters. It’s our celebration too. That’s because the history of our two countries is remarkably intertwined. The Founding Fathers of America were inspired by the Bible, and specifically by the book of Exodus, by the dream of building freedom in a new Promised Land. And as you stand in the Chamber of the American Congress, you see right across you the image of one man—Moses, with a quote from the Bible.”

(Please see Eye of Prophecy article entitled, America the Beautiful Is Getting Ugly, posted in July, 2016—also during Independence Day week. Among other things you’ll see an in-depth examination of some striking similarities between the birth and growth of the United States and Israel).

Said Michael Oren, former Israeli Ambassador to the United States and current member of the Israeli Knesset: “Other countries in the region don’t waive American flags, they burn them! Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the American embassy is in no danger of violent protestors and where it’s not uncommon to see both Israeli and American flags flying together.”

The Biblical and historical reason for Israel’s demise (before her miraculous rebirth as a nation in 1948 … part of God’s prophetic plan) was summarized in the passage quoted earlier from Deuteronomy. Once Israel became prosperous through abundant freedom given to her by God’s provision and protection (from drought and from her enemies), the people forgot about God. Then they took it one disastrous step further. They foolishly decided that God’s laws restricted instead of protected their liberties. They rebelled against the Lord and began to pursue the kind of faulty freedom that God clearly warns is a U-turn directly back to slavery.

What exactly is this (false and futile) freedom that guarantees bondage?

Among other places in Scripture the answer is succinctly summed up in the following passage:

“Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one (Messiah Jesus). ‘Let us break their chains,’ they cry, ‘and free ourselves from slavery to God’” (Psalm 2:1-3, parenthesis mine).

When a nation deliberately—especially through its leaders and by legislation—expels God out of mainstream society, then God will withdraw his protection and provisions. He will let them have and go their own way. He will give them what they want—a fake freedom that actually enslaves and imprisons.

History teaches that nations ruled by dictatorial despots and/or totalitarian regimes—whether by irreligious (right-wing) fascists or (left-wing) socialists or by man-made religions (false gods or beliefs) or ecclesiastical systems—began with and continued to boast in some form or another these very words we just read in Psalm 2.

Including, even, the Roman Catholic Church which corruptly dominated many European nations for hundreds of years between 500 A.D. and 1500 A. D, and still exerts inordinate influence over nations and peoples to this day. The ecclesiastic hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church set itself up as the Kingdom of God on earth. Among other deceptive deviations from Biblical salvation, popes, cardinals, bishops, and priests have denied that salvation is by faith and faith alone in Christ Jesus … “the Lord’s anointed One.”

As with Mormonism and other cults, their catechism and sacraments have added to and subtracted from Scripture, and are diametrically opposed to many Biblical truths including:

“…If the law (including good works) could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ” (Galatians 3:21-22, italics for emphasis, parenthesis mine).

One of several absolute universal truths found in Scripture is:

However, even a nation founded on Biblical truths and principles can forfeit God’s blessings and protection (and risk God’s judgment) if the people decide to bite the hand that feeds them, and persist in their wish to, “free ourselves from slavery to God.”

Breaking the Chains from God Is Becoming Less Subtle

Not too long ago, a man by the name of Michael Tate Reed drove his vehicle onto the Arkansas statehouse lawn, crashing deliberately into a monument bearing the Ten Commandments, breaking the monument into pieces. He had done this once before in Oklahoma in 2014.

Well known author and talk-show host Michael Brown—a Messianic Jew—(please see Eye of Prophecy article, Messianic Jews … Who Are They? Published 4-25-15) wrote in a recent article, entitled, Ramming the Ten Commandments: A Prophetic Picture of America:

“It was the act of only one man … but it reflected the sentiments of a growing number of Americans: ‘We do not want the Ten Commandments in our midst, nor do we want the God of the Ten Commandments in our midst.’”

He went on to say:

“In that sense, the destructive act of this individual reflected the attitude of tens of millions of Americans. This is not simply a decreased interest in the Bible and the God of the Bible. This is outright rebellion. Enough with God’s laws and standards. Enough with His moral principles … We will do what we want to do, when we want to do it, and no law—or God—will tell us otherwise. The America we want must have no connection to its Judeo-Christian roots, no connection to the moral values of many of its Founders, no connection to the Scriptures which so influenced their thinking.

“We will worship created things more than the Creator, and we will be full of covetousness and greed. We want our idolatry. We will have sex with whomever we want to, whenever we want to, in any combination and sequence. And if we so desire, we will call these relationships ‘marriage’ and neither God nor man will tell us anything different. We want our adultery. We will kill our babies in the womb if we so choose, and anyone who defies our wishes will be trampled underfoot with derision and scorn. We want our murder. Yes, we will do want we want to do when we want to do it. We declare ourselves free.

Please see Eye of Prophecy article, One Nation Under (the wrath of) God, posted on, of all dates, 7-4-15; in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage. Here are the first two paragraphs of that article, in italics:

Have we slipped over the edge and fallen into the Abyss? Did we cross a line that should never be crossed? Is enough … enough? Did we tip the scales? Have we passed the point of no return? Have we gone too far? These are idiomatic expressions in the form of questions that demand a response to the dismal decision rendered by the United States Supreme Court to approve same-sex marriage. When, in fact, the very concept and institution of marriage bears a built-in natural and supernatural definition that needs no prefix or any other modifier or reason to define or otherwise explain it.

Marriage is between a man and a woman … period. Same-sex matrimony is not marriage … period. There is no such thing as same-sex marriage. In reality there’s also no such thing as “traditional” marriage. Is the institution of marriage a (long-standing) tradition? Of course it is: the most enduring custom of the human race. So much so, that we should never need to refer to it as traditional marriage. We do so only in rebuttal to those who claim that there is an alternative to conventional (conservative, orthodox, straight) marriage.

I’m compelled to quote the following passage because it expresses exactly what is happening in and to the land of the free and home of the brave:

“What sorrow for those who drag their sins behind them with ropes made of lies, who drag wickedness behind them like a cart! … What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever” (Isaiah 5:18, 20-21).

In his article, Michael Brown quoted one of our founding fathers, Samuel Adams:

“A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy.”

He then concludes his article with:

“Michael (Tate) Reed not only represents that, ‘general dissolution of principles and manners.’ He articulates it in a full, frontal assault, thereby speaking for millions of Americans. We do best to quickly re-erect that Ten Commandments monument and, more importantly, recapture the life-giving beauty of God’s commandments in our own hearts and lives. That is the only hope of our nation.”

I wholeheartedly agree.

In the last part of the Eye of Prophecy article quoted above, I concluded with:

Like never before, the United States of America has defied God himself, by effectively saying that the Word of God is a lie. That has become the real battleground in this country … the absolute, timeless truth of God against the relativism of truth and morality in our post-modern culture.

“…For they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 5:24, NASB).

Will this be One Nation under God? Or will our country be One Nation under the Wrath of God?

The choice belongs to us.

And we believers should be reminded of our past, of what Christ has done for us:

“Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. But—‘When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit … Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life’” (Titus 3:3-7).

Summary

By far, the most common understanding of what it means to be free is the liberty that comes from removal of restraints imposed by one’s own government or another nation’s ruler who attempts to restrict and even deny individual rights.

But there’s a greater, longer-lasting (eternal) freedom that supersedes the rights and liberties legislated by even the best of governments. One that deals not just with the symptoms, but the very source of all the wrongs within and between people and nations.

Salvation is a personal matter between God and the individual. The Lord fully understands (everything) that, comparatively speaking, there are always more people in a city or state or nation that will not choose Biblical salvation (Messiah Jesus). That is their privilege. God gave us free will, and will allow us to choose … whether good or bad, life or death.

Listen to the words of Jesus:

Yet, the Lord also will bless and watch over a nation, “whose God is the Lord.”

What does that mean?

In the shortest, simplest answer possible: For the people (beginning with their leaders) to acknowledge God as the source of their very existence and blessings and liberties. To seek his counsel. To appreciate our freedom, standard of living, military power, democracy; but to ultimately trust in God to provide and protect. In God we trust. And remember to thank the Lord for who he is and what he has done. It’s really that simple.

Another universal precept written not only to believers in God and Messiah Jesus, but to Jews and Gentiles the world over:

“…the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

“For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!” (Isaiah 64:4).

When we fully grasp the Biblical concept of and emphasis on freedom, we’ll see that people can be truly free even if the state or nation in which they live is not a democracy or republic. It all depends on what an individual ultimately wants to be free of or from. And what they will do with that freedom. The only lasting liberty is found in God and the redemption (from spiritual slavery to the sins that cause physical slavery and oppression all over the world) he freely offers through His Son, Messiah Jesus. A spiritual freedom purchased with the physical blood of the Son of God. A liberating victory over the tyranny and chains of sin; a victory won when Messiah arose from the dead.

With the magnificent prize of eternal life in heaven free from the very presence of sin, sorrow, pain, and death!

Things to Ponder

The United States of America was born on the Fourth of July (1776). What a wonderful thing to have happened. Other than Israel during its glory years under King David and King Solomon, no other nation on earth has ever been so richly blessed by the Lord God.

But did you know that Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on the 4th of July, 1826, exactly 50 years after our Declaration of Independence. Then July 4, 1831, President James Monroe also died.

I wonder if these seemingly “coincidental” deaths of three United States Presidents on Independence Day might have been a symbolically solemn warning that the death of our independence can become a stark reality if we forget the Lord God’s birth and blessing of this great nation. Or worse: removing all evidence of God’s name and Word from the land of the free and the home of the brave.

“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land” (II Chronicles 7:14).

God Bless America! And all peoples and nations whose God is the Lord.

Who Is The Antichrist & How Will He Appear? (Part II)

A Warning From Messiah Jesus

“Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or “There he is,’ don’t believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones” (Matthew 24:23-24).

There is a wise saying, “Be careful what you wish for….”

Down through the years, various endings to this adage have been inserted. Such as, “…it might not turn out how you think.” With the most popular warning: “…you just might get it.”

The idea, of course, is wanting something that might cause you harm or someone who isn’t really good for you. In the worst case scenario, getting what we want instead of what we really need can result in a ruinous end to relationships, goals, careers, security, tranquility, or to life itself.

In the Eye of Prophecy article, The World Wants a Messiah … But Needs The Messiah (posted in January, 2017), I wrote (excerpt in italics):

There have been a few messiah-types down through the ages. Whether their methods and eventual legacy turned out to be benevolent or malevolent, they used the same kind of passionate language that we just read from Geert Wilders of The Netherlands; or like Winston Churchill who motivated the minds and stirred the hearts of England during World War II. Or the opposite evil extreme of Hitler’s diabolical rhetoric that hypnotized millions of Germans. And tyrannical messianic figures like Joseph Stalin, who made grandiose promises that could only be kept through suppression of his own people and subjugation of surrounding peoples…

By and large, people want and/or need to be told what to do and how to do it; as long as they can trust the one who is leading them to know and accomplish what’s best for them.

It all began with God, who created us to fellowship with him, but also to obey him out of complete trust that he knows beyond all doubt what’s best for individuals and for governments. That to trust and obey him would mean eternal life through a paradise on this earth. Or to wrongly exercise the free will he gave us by choosing to go our own way and do our own thing if that’s what we really wanted. Not the least of which is trying to govern ourselves without God’s absolute standards of truth and the freedom that comes from that truth.

We failed; human governments of all kinds have failed. There simply cannot be peace and security between peoples until we first have peace with God through a change of the human heart and destiny—possible only through believing and receiving God’s solution to the human problem of sin and evil … God’s Son, THE MESSIAH.

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

The rise and fall of great leaders, noble and ignoble; of great nations, moral and immoral, is the stuff that legends are made of….

In that same article, I quoted from another Eye of Prophecy article, Kingdom of God (published January, 2015). As follows:

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

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

In the article, The World Wants a Messiah … But Needs The Messiah, I went on to say:

Tragically, this waiting and watching and increasingly wicked world of ours will embrace one last time a man more devious, deceitful, deplorable, and destructive than they can imagine. They will choose to believe the lie that this final false messiah is Messiah, instead of Christ Jesus—the true Messiah. Though only for seven years, the anguish experienced because untold millions will follow (to the point of worship, including many of the intellectuals of today’s world) the Antichrist will result in death and destruction that will make World War II seem like a small skirmish with only a handful of casualties. (See Eye of Prophecy article, Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation, posted 6-6-15).

(Arlington National Cemetery … A Reminder of the Price of Freedom)

Brief Review of Last Week’s Article

First, the premise and purpose for listing four examples last week and three more in this week’s article, as stated in the previous Eye of Prophecy post:

“Today the how of his arrival is focused on his actual bodily reappearance, with parallel Biblical examples given to demonstrate that Nero’s return from a 2000-year absence is not nearly as far-fetched as it may sound. That it is fact, not fantasy…”

Later in that article:

“Those left behind at the Rapture will be mesmerized by a man who returns from the grave (as they see it … actually from the Abyss). Their initial incredulity will soon yield to the reality of what they are seeing; in part, because of the fictional fantasy images of paranormal phenomena being portrayed as almost routine in today’s New Age, literary, and entertainment circles…

“To remind us that many of God’s sovereign plans for the human race are achieved through supernatural events—past, present, and future—and, therefore, not to be so skeptical about a two-thousand year old man (Antichrist Nero) returning to earth in the same body in which he departed…”

Then summarized with:

“Please don’t miss next week’s article in which three more parallel examples will be given to illustrate comparatively that Nero’s actual reappearance on Planet Earth will be in the same body in which he died. As opposed to an imposter or some sort of virtual reality made possible by super technological special effects like holograms or whatever. Among other things, Nero will arrogantly flaunt the scars of his deadly wounds as proof of his return from the grave; in order to imitate and supersede the true risen Messiah Jesus who lovingly invited Thomas to see and touch the nail prints in his hands and the spear wound in his side.”

The first four examples were:

Fact #1: The Antichrist Had Already Lived and Died Before the Book of Revelation Was Written

Fact #2: In Order to Come Up Out of the Abyss, the Antichrist Must First Be Confined to the Abyss

Fact #3: Only Embodied Beings Inhabit the Abyss

Fact #4: The Bodily Resurrection of Messiah Jesus

Now let’s pick it up with the next precedent to further illustrate that the physical return of Nero in the same body in which he was confined to the Abyss is every bit as conceivable and possible as:

Fact #5: The Bodily Resurrection of the Dead in Christ & Transformation of Living Believers

I and others have written much about this phenomenal promise, predicated on and made possible by the powerful prototype resurrection of Messiah, himself. This staggering event, later called the Rapture, was first disclosed by the Apostle Paul in I Thessalonians Chapter 4 … then to the believers in Corinth.

“But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye (the transformation, not the entire sequence of events as portrayed in I Thessalonians 4), 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 obviously mine).

If God can raise his Son from the dead with a body that was even better than the one Jesus was born with—a human body subject to earthbound dimensional limitations such as space and time and, for example, fatigue that we all experience, and also the need to open doors instead of gliding through them as Jesus did after his resurrection!—then nothing is impossible for God. Then, at the Rapture, to raise the dead in Christ and transform them to new eternal spiritual bodies along with the living believers and literally lift believers into the air and take them to heaven, then is anything too hard for the Lord?

Certainly not the revival of Nero, confining him to the Abyss alongside of very wicked embodied angels, and releasing him from the Abyss in the same body to give Satan and millions on this planet one last chance to prove that they are greater than God. The lies of Satan and his man of sin will be believed for two reasons: (1) the perceived miracle that Nero arose from the dead; (2) the fact that they hated God, Christ, and the truth to begin with.

“This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles (most of which will be done by the False Prophet … see Revelation 13). He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth” (II Thessalonians 2:9-12, parenthesis mine).

The biggest lie of all is that Nero by his own ability and/or Satan’s power arose from the dead.

The world at large will believe this lie because they will wish for (something like) it to happen, without any remorse or second thoughts as to the consequences. And they will get what they want!

But then, Jesus of Nazareth who is the real everlasting, “Way, Truth, and Life,” will return to make all things right!

Fact #6: Appearance of Satan in Bodily Form During the Great Tribulation

Although Satan’s appearance is not a resurrection or return phenomenon as such, the fact that he will greet Nero upon his ascent from the Abyss (see Revelation 13:1), then be thrown (bodily) into the Abyss during the Millennial Reign of Messiah Jesus on earth (Revelation 20), is another parallel to the physical reappearance of Nero.

When Satan is referred to as the dragon in Revelation, it is an intentional and specific reference to his existential (space/time) appearance. Please refer to Eye of Prophecy articles, Satan in Bodily Form … When and Why? Part I & II, posted in November, 2016. These articles provide compelling evidence based on Scripture to confirm that Satan will, indeed, be seen in an earthly dimensional form during the Great Tribulation.

(Artist Rendition of Satan Chained in the Abyss)

Fact #7: Moses’ and Elijah’s Appearance with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration & Future Appearance as the Two Witnesses of Revelation Chapter 11

Much of an entire chapter in my book, Out of the Abyss, was devoted to Moses’ and Elijah’s (bodily) appearances with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration and what will be a reappearance (in those same bodies) as the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11. More information was presented in the trilogy of Eye of Prophecy articles, The Two Witnesses, Part I, II, & III. Posted 6-7, 6-14, & 6-21-14.

Most, if not all, believers know of Elijah’s famous chariot ride when he was taken alive from the earth directly to heaven. Many unbelievers have also heard this story, the text of which (II Kings 2) was partially quoted in last week’s article under the heading of Things to Ponder (which is found at the end of every Eye of Prophecy article).

However, I would venture to say that fewer believers are familiar with the account of Moses’s departure from earth … a mysterious passing and an even more mysterious burial. Still fewer remember—or if they do recall, are profoundly perplexed by—a puzzling verse in a one-chapter book of the Bible that not too many Christians read or quote … at least in comparison to other New Testament books.

“But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’ (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.) (Jude 1:9, parenthesis in the text).

Here is an excerpt from Out of the Abyss in quotation marks (You might want to first read the account of Moses death and burial in Deuteronomy 34):

“Why was Satan so bent out of shape over the body of Moses? The only rational, logical explanation is that Michael, on orders from God, had arrived to take the body of Moses directly to heaven. In fact, can you think of any other reason? This may also explain why no one knew where God had buried Moses. For that matter, how often does God directly bury someone himself, let alone conceal the burial site?

“Moses would be raised from the grave with his original body intact, and this didn’t set well with Satan … It’s entirely credible that Satan reminded Michael (and God) that the curse of sin was physical death and bodily decay. God had no right to make an exception to this rule, as it was God’s decree in the first place that Adam and Eve would surely die if they sinned…

“In no uncertain terms, Michael reminded Satan that God is in control … If the Lord wanted to take Enoch from the earth directly to heaven and later Elijah, then the Lord would do just that. Same thing with Moses; the only difference is that Moses had died, but that’s a mere technicality with God” (Page 244).

(Michael Will Again Do Battle With Satan At the Outset of the Great Tribulation … See Revelation Chapter 12)

A few paragraphs later in that chapter, I explained why both Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus in their original earthly bodies, instead of spiritual bodies that will be given to Old and New Testament saints beginning with the Rapture resurrection.

“Remember, too, the Mount of Transfiguration. Who were the two prophets who miraculously appeared and conversed with Jesus? Right: Moses and Elijah. Since Christ had not yet died and arose from the grave, neither Elijah nor Moses would yet possess the resurrected new body given to all believers. The only explanation is that both prophets still inhabit their original bodies, albeit through some special divine preservation, not known to us this side of eternity.

“…Thus, a strong case could be made that God, through the Archangel Michael, took Moses bodily from the grave. Whether God restored him to life before, during, or after his escort from the grave … well those of us going to heaven can ask Moses when we get there. Why else would only God know the exact burial place of Moses in Moab? You would think that such a great prophet would be buried in a conspicuous place like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph—where anyone in Israel could visit and venerate the grave” (Out of the Abyss, pages 245-246).

God had a special prophetic plan and purpose for Moses and Elijah, beyond their ministries while on the earth the first time. First to appear with Jesus on the mountain and witness a preview of Messiah’s soon to come glorified body when he would arise from the dead. Then to be seen by Antichrist Nero and the whole world as the Two Witnesses during the Great Tribulation. In both events, these two mighty prophets appear in their natural bodies, with the second appearance resulting in their death (Elijah’s first death, Moses’ second), only to be raised to life 3 ½ days later; this time taken to heaven in what will be their transfigured resurrected bodies.

*Note: The very fact that Moses and Elijah are killed by Antichrist (Nero) 3 ½ years after they begin their second magnificent mission on earth, leads to the inescapable conclusion that they will appear (as they did with Jesus on the mountain) in their earthly bodies.

Once again: The purpose of this illustration that Moses and Elijah, to this day, possess their original bodies—Elijah through direct conveyance to heaven by chariot while he was still alive and Moses (soon after he died) resuscitated and taken to heaven by Michael—is to demonstrate that the Lord has done the same thing with Nero … revived him after death and kept him alive in the Abyss (certainly not in heaven!).

Which brings us to what is probably the most obscure yet intriguing prophetic preview of the Antichrist, also called the little horn, ruler, king, man of lawlessness, and beast. In the passage about to be quoted, he is labeled as a, worthless shepherd. What we’re going to see is that:

The Physical Wounds That Lead to the Death of Antichrist Nero Were Portrayed in the Old Testament!

Factoring in the length of the book—proportionally word for word—the book of Zechariah contains more Messianic prophecies than any other book of the Bible. Chapter 11 is no exception. However, the first part of this chapter is similar to Isaiah 53 and a handful of other Messianic passages that foretold the suffering and death that Messiah would experience because his own people, the Jews, rejected him as Lord and Savior. In fact, Zachariah 11 precisely predicted that Messiah (the Good Shepherd) would be sold for thirty pieces of silver, which is exactly what happened when Judas betrayed Jesus to the Jewish religious leaders.

Then Zechariah switches from playing the role of the good shepherd, whom the Jews would deny as Messiah, to an evil shepherd that God would allow to deceive and attempt to destroy Israel.

“Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go again and play the part of a worthless shepherd. This illustrates how I will give this nation (Israel) a shepherd who will not care for those who are dying, nor look after the young, nor heal the injured, nor feed the healthy. Instead this shepherd will eat the meat of the fattest sheep and tear off their hooves” (Zechariah 11:15-16, parenthesis mine).

In the context of but also contrast to prophecies concerning Israel’s final restoration and the role that Messiah (Jesus) will play in Israel’s ultimate reconciliation back to God, the above passage graphically depicts what this “worthless shepherd” (Nero) would do to the Jews after he breaks the seven-year treaty with Israel halfway through that pact (See Daniel 9). God’s reason for allowing a counterfeit Messiah to betray Israel in the end times is a stark reminder that Israel spurned their true Messiah two thousand years ago. Not until they suffer one last time under a false shepherd, would they come to their senses and fully realize that Jesus of Nazareth was and is their true Shepherd.

Zechariah ends the chapter with an amazing prediction of what will happen to this worthless shepherd (when he was killed by the divine sovereignty of Jesus, then placed into and subsequently would reappear from the Abyss).

“What sorrow awaits this worthless shepherd who abandons the flock! The sword will cut his arm and pierce his right eye. His arm will become useless, and his right eye completely blind” (Zachariah 11:17).

Compare this astonishing prophecy with the return of the Antichrist beast.

“And he (the False Prophet) deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life” (Revelation 13:14, NASB, italics for emphasis, parenthesis mine).

A few contemporary scholars, including me, are convinced that the sword in the above two verses is literal, not figurative. Neither Zechariah nor John uses metaphorical imagery by saying or implying, “like that of a sword.” The best application for any Biblical passage is to read it literally unless the context of the word or phrase clearly indicates otherwise.

John, the author of Revelation, first saw the Antichrist beast as recorded in Revelation Chapter 13. And the very first thing he observed about the beast above all else was that, “…the fatal wound was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast. They worshipped the dragon for giving the beast such power, and they also worshipped the beast…” (Revelation 13:3-4).

The entire globe will see the aftermath of these 2000-year old wounds which rendered Nero’s arm useless and completely blinded his right eye.

Here is an excerpt from Out of the Abyss: (In italics)

Historians tell us that Nero tried to commit suicide but couldn’t finish the job. He may have stabbed himself in the neck, but his servant Epaphroditos assisted him in finishing the task…

With the aid of Zechariah Chapter 11, let’s do a little visualizing. Picture, if you will, Nero on his knees, as it’s highly unlikely he would have been standing. In both the ancient world and even the more modern world, those who wanted to end their life with a sword would first kneel…

The servant, Epaphroditos, raises the sword above his head to ensure a powerful and fatal blow. With all his strength, he thrusts the sword downward. At that very instant, Nero reflexively or instinctively lifts his arm to deflect the strike (Zechariah doesn’t tell us which arm was wounded). The sword partially slices through Nero’s arm and penetrates his right eye. Depending on the angle of the blow and how Nero had knelt, he could have raised either arm…

Yet Nero’s hands would not have been tied, as are the hands of people who are being executed by a sword or whose heads are waiting the fall of the guillotine blade … so the victim can’t deliberately or reflexively raise hands and arms to deflect the blow.

If you like, kneel to the floor … and do your own simulation. Have your wife stand to one side and then the other, pretending to be Nero’s servant … Give her a nice, soft, rolled or unrolled hand towel so she won’t hesitate to finish her action and strike the blow, yet an object that will probably make you flinch. Ask her to swipe a descending blow and see how natural it is for you to instinctively ward off this blow. Try to figure out on which side of Nero his servant may have stood, to have inflicted a wound to Nero’s right eye and one of his arms. See how real this is and how it matches so well with Zechariah Chapter 11 and the historical records of Nero’s final minutes…

Zechariah vividly depicts this “worthless shepherd” as a ruthless, but also a pathetic figure. It’s entirely feasible that Nero will be self-conscious of these wounds; though he will make the most of the fact that he died from these wounds, and then returned from the dead. His physical appearance in the tribulation and the historical evidence that Nero was not that great of an orator, explain why the False Prophet will do most of the talking for the beast…

Search the Scriptures. You will not find any direct evidence that the beast is a great orator, statesman, or consummate genius as modern-day views characterize him. He is clever; he is a braggart and a blasphemer, but that doesn’t make him charismatic. Antichrist’s accomplishments and “charisma” are attributed to his miraculous resurrection, the statue, and the persuasive ability of the False Prophet, including, but not limited to “astounding miracles” (Pages 247-249).

Summary

The world continues to look for messiahs in all the wrong places. They search anywhere and everywhere except the Scriptures, which impart absolute truth and tell us that the one and true living God has, indeed, given us a Messiah … a Savior.

This obsession to emulate and even worship a man who will identify with their decadent desire to break all chains from God and Biblical morality and truth, will result in unrepentant defiance of God and Messiah Jesus (See Psalm 2 & Psalm 75).

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

They will stubbornly continue to indulge themselves in these wicked pursuits in the midst of catastrophic carnage all around them, right up to the point of death and eternal destruction (separation from God) in the Lake of Fire.

The super heroes portrayed in contemporary books and movies are priming the world with a type of messiah different than the historical megalomaniacs who promised but didn’t deliver utopia. Instead they deceived their followers and even turned on them. Unlike the messiah-like tyrants of the 20th century, people are now looking for a man who will have a supernatural origin and paranormal abilities to give the people what they really want. And that’s exactly what and who they will get.

A man who returns after 2000 years.

A man who will take to diabolically new heights what he specialized in during the first century … murder, sorcery, sexual immorality, and thefts (including unlawful seizure of the Roman throne).

(Depiction of Nero Using Christians as Human Torches)

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

When Nero appears on the scene, he will mesh perfectly with the wickedness of this world. The world will embrace him as a leader who allows, endorses, and even initiates this immoral, ungodly, and contemptuous fist shaking at Almighty God (Page 213).

Ignorantly and ironically, many left behind after the Rapture will experience the same devastating results through Nero like those (only far worse) caused by Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, Hideki Tojo of Japan, Mao Tse-tung, Saddam Hussein, and lesser known but, nonetheless, deadly despots. And this time not only man-made catastrophes, but also the apocalyptic divine wrath of God will be poured out on the pure evil of a corrupt world gone mad.

“We give thanks to you, Lord God, the Almighty, the one who is and who always was, for now you have assumed your great power and have begun to reign. The nations were filled with wrath, but now the time of your wrath has come … It is time to destroy all who have caused destruction on the earth” (Revelation 11:17-18).

“…Anyone who worships the beast and his statue or who accepts his mark on the forehead or on the hand, must drink the wine of God’s anger. It has been poured full strength into God’s cup of wrath…” (Revelation 14:9-10).

Things to Ponder

As stated in Out of the Abyss and a few Eye of Prophecy articles: Scripture is crystal clear that the first century church and all believers thereafter were meant to know the identity of the Antichrist. There are only two verses in Revelation, indeed in all of Scripture that actually challenge the reader to solve the mystery of what’s being said. Both of these relate directly to identifying the Antichrist beast (his number and his geopolitical, biographical origin). They are found in Revelation 13:18 and Revelation 17:9, respectively.

As I’ve said before, but which bears repeating:

The main benefit of and purpose for knowing that Nero was the man of lawlessness who was killed by the providential will of Christ Jesus and will return from the Abyss as the Antichrist beast is that (now and especially after the Rapture) some people will NOT be so, “…amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died” (Revelation 17:8).

If you do not know Messiah Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord, please don’t delay the decision that will change your heart, your life, and your eternal destiny: “…Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:31).

To wait until the Rapture and Great Tribulation is to wait too long. It will be extraordinarily and painfully (literally … pain of torture and death) difficult to believe the truth and choose the true Messiah, Jesus, over the lies and deception of the false Messiah, Nero; whose reappearance will cause many to blindly accept what they will see as a resurrection from the dead—instead of a return from the Abyss as providentially permitted by God.

Does anyone know for a fact they will be alive tomorrow? Then waiting that long is too long.

“That is why the Lord says, ‘Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead. Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish’” (Joel 2:12-13).

“The Lord … 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. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment” (II Peter 3:9-10).

Who Is the Antichrist & How Will He Appear (Part I)

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Modern-Day Preoccupation with the Supernatural

The 20th and 21st century obsession with the supernatural is simply astonishing.

Books, comic books, television, and particularly movies endow super heroes and super villains with mystical powers enabling them to transcend the natural and perform superhuman feats—both good and bad—that keep their fictional followers and real-life audience in awe.

For the most part, the good guys like Superman, Batman, Spiderman, and Wonder Woman are ordinary people who have been mysteriously gifted with extraordinary abilities to do battle with the bad guys and save the world (Superman’s amazing powers were possible only because he ended up on Planet Earth). Some of them come in teams, like The Fantastic Four. Most of the supernaturally imbued villains are people who have been transformed abnormally by demonic forces into twisted and perverted beings, or have ascended from the underworld, or have returned from the grave, or all of the above.

To you recall how Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Mummy made their entrance? In some fashion or another, they all returned from the dead. And since their debut, they keep coming back and back and back!

On June 9th, yet another remake of The Mummy was released by Universal Pictures, starring Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Russell Crowe, and others. Though I may have missed a couple, in a brief online research of Mummy movies, I counted 14 of them. With four more spin-off films called, The Scorpion King. The original Mummy was played by Boris Karloff, followed by Lon Chaney, Jr., Christopher Lee, and others.

In the latest release, the Mummy is a woman, Princess Ahmanet—an ancient Egyptian goddess played by Sofia Boutella. The film includes another horror film character, Dr. Jekyll (and Mr. Hyde), played by Russell Crowe. And, of course, there are a few zombies wandering about. Yet, the underlying premise of The Mummy and other films like it is that the antagonist returns to earth in bodily form; albeit in some cases, going back and forth between the visible and invisible.

After using the example of the movie Rosemary’s Baby in Eye of Prophecy article, Satan in Bodily Form … When and Why? Part II (posted 11-19-16), I go on to say (excerpt in italics):

Later, came The Exorcist in 1973.

Then another box-office smash, The Omen; this time concentrating on the Antichrist and his infamous number, 666. Released in 1976 it featured Gregory Peck and Lee Remick, whose adopted child, Damien, wasn’t just bred by Satan. He was actually the Antichrist. Three more Omen movies followed the original.

Several TV shows are currently carrying this ghoulish torch of the paranormal, such as The Walking Dead and Salem.

Dozens, if not hundreds, of novels, films, and television shows and documentaries about Satan, demons, and the powers of darkness have been released during the last 70 years. Across the board, they are Biblically inaccurate and scripturally illiterate. Nevertheless, Rosemary’s Baby is somewhat on point concerning the ancient cohabitation of fallen angels with women on the earth before Noah’s Flood. In part, this was covered in last week’s article. As indicated, this unholy, depraved breeding was abruptly halted when the fallen angels were imprisoned in the Abyss.

No matter the degree of fantasy found in Hollywood or televised productions, the intriguing fact remains that the 20th & 21st centuries have seen an unprecedented rise in the portrayal of the supernatural, made progressively more fantastic through special effects. This includes many depictions of demons and Satan, himself, in a material visible body.

Writers, producers, directors, and actors are inadvertently grooming hundreds of millions left behind at the Rapture to view the paranormal as normal, the supernatural as natural, and the spiritual as physical….

We Were Meant to Know the Identity of Antichrist Because He Will Not Be a Modern-Day Born Man

The question posed in the first half of today’s title (Who is the Antichrist?) has been answered in great detail in my book, Out of the Abyss and subsequently through several Eye of Prophecy articles in the category of Antichrist. I ask it again mostly for the benefit and curiosity of those who may be visiting Eye of Prophecy website for the first time. This week’s article is also a refresher to those who have read the book and/or articles; to further affirm this amazing, but, nevertheless, historical and future fact. Therefore, I will repeat the answer to the question: Who is the Antichrist?

He is none other than the Roman Emperor Nero.

The second half of this week’s title (How Will He Appear?) also has been thoroughly covered in Out of the Abyss and several Eye of Prophecy articles. With the pivotal point mostly from where he will reappear—the Abyss; or the manner in which he will appear … suddenly rising from a literal sea (Revelation 13:1). Today the how of his arrival is focused on his actual bodily reappearance, with parallel Biblical examples given to demonstrate that Nero’s return from a 2000-year absence is not nearly as far-fetched as it may sound. That it is fact, not fantasy; such as a fictional Egyptian “goddess” returning from the grave.

Pretty much everything pertaining to identification and documentation (Scriptural and historical) that Nero was and will return as the Antichrist is covered in Out of the Abyss, published in February, 2011. Subsequent Eye of Prophecy articles about the Antichrist normally emphasize one passage (of several) or feature of the Antichrist. Scriptural references to the Antichrist (also called the little horn, ruler, king, man of lawlessness, and beast) can be found in Daniel Chapters 7, 9, & 11; II Thessalonians Chapter 2; Revelation Chapters 11, 13, 16, 17, & 19, with chapters 13 & 17 presenting convincing clues as to his biography and identity.

Today, we want to concentrate on the mind boggling, but true fact that Nero will return in his original body! A body that will be visibly scarred from the fatal wounds that killed him; nonetheless, that same body. We’ll look at Bible passages that demonstrate God’s power and plan of bodily resurrection, removal of two men from the earth without dying, and actual bodily appearance of Moses and Elijah with Jesus—in order to correlate and compare those miracles with Antichrist Nero’s continued existence in the Abyss. In conclusion, we’ll examine one other more obscure reference to Antichrist. It is found in the book of Zechariah; one that fits perfectly with Nero’s fatal wounds that ended his life on earth, only to be revived and placed bodily in the Abyss.

Here is another excerpt from the Eye of Prophecy article quoted earlier concerning most of those left behind at the Rapture and their reaction to the real-life return of the Antichrist beast who first appeared in the 1st century:

Instead of believing and, thereby, giving their loyalty and life to the true risen Messiah, Jesus; they will embrace a Roman Emperor (Nero) in what they perceive is his miraculous return from the grave. They will ignore or reject the real evidence prophesied 2000 years ago by John that their “superman” actually returns from the Abyss; having been struck down in his (perverted) prime of life by Christ. Then revived by the Lord and confined to the Abyss awaiting the time when God would release him. At about this same time, Satan will be permanently thrown down to earth in his real and tangible body, and will immediately extend his power and authority to Nero.

Those left behind at the Rapture will be mesmerized by a man who returns from the grave (as they see it … actually from the Abyss). Their initial incredulity will soon yield to the reality of what they are seeing; in part, because of the fictional fantasy images of paranormal phenomena being portrayed as almost routine in today’s New Age, literary, and entertainment circles.

Personally, I and millions of other believers firmly believe that the Bible is the divinely inspired Word of God. There are verifiable reasons to make this unequivocal statement; not the least of which are hundreds of fulfilled prophecies and numerous miracles that are truly supernatural—performed directly by God the Father and Messiah Jesus the Son of God or through prophets, apostles, and angels.

“Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God” (II Peter 1:20-21).

To remind us that many of God’s sovereign plans for the human race are achieved through supernatural events—past, present, and future—and, therefore, not to be so skeptical about a two-thousand year old man (Antichrist Nero) returning to earth in the same body in which he departed, let’s look at seven remarkable facts (realities) that include God’s transcendent power and implementation of his providential will. They are presented only in summary form, as all of them are thoroughly covered in my book Out of the Abyss; as well as in some prior Eye of Prophecy articles.

Fact #1: The Antichrist Had Already Lived and Died Before the Book of Revelation Was Written

Regarding Bible passages relating to the Antichrist, I have quoted one more than all the others. Yet, it bears repeating for two main reasons: (1) unless we understand what the text is telling us, then the logical and natural—but inaccurate—view that the Antichrist is a modern-day born man will continue to dominate Biblical eschatology with two erroneous results; (a) to assume that no one can know the identity of the Antichrist; (b) on the other hand to continue pointing fingers at modern-day world leaders as Antichrist candidates. (2) To fully grasp that the Antichrist’s arrival soon after the Rapture will NOT be his first appearance on this earth; it will be a reappearance (from the Abyss).

“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 (suddenly) come up out of the bottomless pit (Abyss) and go to eternal destruction. And the people who belong to this world (many of those left behind at the Rapture), 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, italics for emphasis, parenthesis mine).

Here is an excerpt from the last portion of my book commenting on the above passage:

“There is no question; the meaning of the verse is as irrefutable as anything can be. The beast had already died before John received this revelation. How else can this passage be understood? 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.

“From there, it was a matter of some intensive research, study of Scripture, a lot of praying, and guidance from the Holy Spirit that reaffirmed the ironclad statement and meaning of this verse and of other verses that we’ve covered. However, when I discovered that many of our first, second, third, and fourth century brothers and sisters in Christ also tagged Nero as the man of lawlessness, the beast, and the Antichrist … well it’s like underlining, italicizing, and using bold print on a sentence that already has three exclamation marks!!!

“Invoking a comparison from a popular television program, we have refitted the prophetic puzzle and solved the mystery of the beast in the fashion of Cold Case files” (Out of the Abyss … Can the number of the beast be solved? Pages 271-272).

Fact #2: In Order to Come Up Out of the Abyss, the Antichrist Must First Be Confined to the Abyss

Despite its clear meaning, the following verse is often overlooked as pertaining to Christ and the Antichrist:

“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).

Nero was revealed as the man of lawlessness when he unlawfully usurped the Roman throne as Caesar in 54 A.D. The ultimate cause and origin of Nero’s death was the command given by Jesus (breath of his mouth) … accomplished by his sovereign will. This was no different than several incidents in the Old Testament and a few in the New Testament (Ananias, Sapphira, and Herod Agrippa), in which the Lord prematurely (from a human viewpoint) struck down those who had crossed the divine line of God’s tolerance. On some occasions, the Lord directly and divinely shortened the life of the offender. Other times, he used natural means such as war or execution or disease.

(“Instantly, an angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness, because he accepted the people’s worship instead of giving the glory to God…” Acts 12:23).

In Nero’s case it was by the sword of his servant, as Nero couldn’t finish the job of doing himself in.

Because the Antichrist beast had died before John wrote the book of Revelation and because this same man would reappear from the Abyss, the following logical conclusion is exceedingly evident (italicized for emphasis): Jesus revived Nero and banished him to the Abyss soon after Nero died.

Since then Nero (and Satan) awaits his release from imprisonment to captivate the attention and allegiance of post-Rapture unbelievers. To this day, the burial site of Nero is a mystery to historians. Although on the opposite end of the good/evil scale of things, this is very similar to the death and burial of Moses, which we will get to later. Moses was the Law-giver. Nero was the ultimate Law-breaker … “the man of lawlessness” (II Thessalonians 2:3).

Fact #3: Only Embodied Beings Inhabit the Abyss

These beings are fallen angels who took on human form before the Great Flood. They were banished to the Abyss because of their excessively despicable and depraved behavior. (See Genesis Chapter 6).

“And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment” (Jude 1:6).

Most fallen angels (demons) are free to roam the heavens and the earth, but they are spirits … spiritual bodies in another dimension. Whenever they can—as allowed or even invited by people who delve into the occult—they will inhabit (possess) human beings. For the most part, they have learned their lesson not to take on human form. Donning human form is reserved only for the good angels; even that is infrequent.

As much as they would like to possess people, fallen angels absolutely dread the thought of being banished to the Abyss along with the grossly wicked angels already there.

Addressing the demon possessed man in the region of Gerasenes (east side of the Lake of Galilee):

“Jesus demanded, ‘What is your name?’

‘Legion’ he replied, for he was filled with many demons. The demons kept begging Jesus not to send them into the bottomless pit” (Luke 8:30-31).

Do you remember what happened next? Jesus granted their wish and let them enter into a herd of pigs!

Pigs? Yes, pigs … the demons would do anything to remain in a body or two, even pigs. So much for their wish. The demonic possession was too much for the pigs. They ran headlong into the lake and drowned!

In Out of the Abyss, I wrote:

“Reminder: the beast comes from the Abyss. The demon locusts are released from the Abyss with a body, albeit, a frightening one. Actually, other than being fearsome, the body of these beasts as described in Revelation 9 may be somewhat regal. Read for yourself the description given, and then decide about their appearance.

“In all of Scripture, there is only one reference to a human being coming from, therefore, having been placed into the Abyss. That man is the man of lawlessness, who is the Antichrist, who is the beast of Revelation. Such an honor!” (Page 232).

(Fairly accurate/realistic depiction of the demons described as locusts. Match up the imagery in Revelation Chapter 9 with the above painting)

Fact #4: The Bodily Resurrection of Messiah Jesus

The very heart of the Biblical Gospel of salvation is the (Virgin) birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection of Messiah Jesus in human form. Only a sinless man could provide the substitutionary sacrifice required by God, necessary to pay the ultimate price for atonement of sin and pardon of sin’s eternal penalty. And the fact remains that Jesus arose from the dead in his same body, albeit a body equipped to live forever. Jesus was the first to be given this wonderful everlasting glorified body (see I Corinthians 15). Yet, a literal body that can be seen, heard, touched, and recognized.

*Note: As a reminder, these facts (realities) are presented as precedents and parallels in order to demonstrate that Nero can and will return at the appointed time in the same body in which he lived, died, and was then revived by the Lord. Although many left behind at the Rapture are being prepared for such a staggering event through media bombardment with supernatural fantasies; they will, nevertheless, be astonished that it really could happen. They won’t be seeing some Hollywood illusion on a movie screen. Whether in person or via television and internet, they will be looking at the real thing—a Roman Emperor whose fame and figure will be right before their eyes.

His name is already undergoing a popular resurgence.

As indicated in three prior Eye of Prophecy articles, Nero’s name has been revitalized, advertised, propagandized, and otherwise paraded through numerous venues in just the past few years. See, The Beast and His Name (posted 10-5-13); Nero & The Remarkable Revival of His Name (4-1-17); Antichrist and Anzio … What Do They Have in Common? (4-29-17).

(One of many products or media productions that bear Nero’s name)

All seven of these Biblical truths (four already covered and three that will be postponed until next week’s article) are examples of bodily resurrection or preservation that will correspond to an astounding prophetic passage in Zechariah as alluded to earlier in today’s article. Which is: The Physical Wounds (That Leads to the Death) of Antichrist Nero Are Foretold by this Old Testament Prophet!

Personal Note Summary

My original intention was for this week’s Eye of Prophecy post to be one article, not a two-part series. Sometimes multi-part articles are intentional; other times they are spontaneously necessary when I realize there’s not enough space/time for that article to adequately cover the subject at hand. Of the 205 Eye of Prophecy posts to date, 65 are multi-part articles (about one-third).

The disadvantage of a two or more part article is the potential of disrupting the continuity (big-picture progression) of the main topic. Or for visitors to read only one of the parts.

The whole idea of editing is to, of course, make the content and style even better. Editing includes changes, clarifications, and corrections that are not only grammatical, but also entire sentence or paragraph modifications, deletions, or relocations in the article. I normally do three edits of my original draft. With the first two focused on content and the final edit on punctuation and proofreading. Sometimes there are still (minor) mistakes in the posted article!

I suppose the ultimate goal of editing is to shorten the article without significantly shortchanging the core content and theme. Alas, when I began editing of this week’s post, it kept getting longer! No choice but to make it Part I & II.

Please don’t miss next week’s article in which three more parallel examples will be given to illustrate comparatively that Nero’s actual reappearance on Planet Earth will be in the same body in which he died. As opposed to an imposter or some sort of virtual reality made possible by super technological special effects like holograms or whatever. Among other things, Nero will arrogantly flaunt the scars of his deadly wounds as proof of his return from the grave; in order to imitate and supersede the true risen Messiah Jesus who lovingly invited Thomas to see and touch the nail prints in his hands and the spear wound in his side.

In one of my very favorite scenes in all of Scripture, Thomas replied to Jesus’s invitation to touch the wounds:

Things to Ponder

As a prelude to next week’s Part II article, think about Enoch and Elijah. Both were taken from the earth while they were still alive.

Concerning Enoch:

“When Enoch was 65 years old, he became the father of Methuselah. After the birth of Methuselah, Enoch lived in close fellowship with God for another 300 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him” (Genesis 5:21-24).

“It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—he disappeared, because God took him. For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him” (Hebrews 11:5-6).

Regarding Elijah:

“When they came to the other side, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me what I can do for you before I am taken away.’

“And Elisha replied, ‘Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit and become your successor.’

‘You have asked a difficult thing,’ Elijah replied. ‘If you see me when I am taken from you, then you will get your request. But if not, then you won’t.’

“As they were walking along and talking, suddenly a chariot of fire appeared, drawn by horses of fire. It drove between the two men, separating them, and Elijah was carried by a whirlwind into heaven” (II Kings 2:9-11).

Also think about Moses and Elijah appearing with Jesus.

“Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus” (Matthew 17:1-3).

You’ll see next week that they appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration in their original earthly bodies … how and why!

Likewise, Antichrist Nero’s reappearance from the Abyss (in his original body) will stun an unsuspecting world. Their amazement will result in actual worship of this wicked Roman emperor.

Believe me; better yet, believe the Bible: You don’t want to be left behind at the Rapture.

Some will choose the true Messiah Jesus over the false messiah, Nero; but will do so on pain of deprivation, torture, and death. Most will opt for the deceitful temporary enticement of a New Age Pax Romana type paradise promised to them by what will appear to be a superman savior. Only for the post-Rapture world to come crashing down around them through the most massive apocalyptic catastrophes of all time.

Jesus, himself said so:

“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).

Five Life-Changing Meals in the Bible

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The Bread of Life (Are You Hungry?)

“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).

Undoubtedly, the most quoted verse in the Bible is John 3:16 and understandably so because it conveys God’s powerful and precious plan of salvation in just one sentence.

Revelation 3:20 is right up there, as one of the most well-known verses in all of Scripture. It is often quoted as an invitation to those who don’t know Messiah Jesus as personal Savior; to open their heart’s door to him for redemption.

The New American Standard Bible reads: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with me.” (Italics to emphasize that everyone is included in the invitation).

However, the immediate context of this verse in the last part of Revelation Chapter 3 is Jesus’s words to the church in Laodicea, the last of seven letters to the seven churches in Asia that he gave to John in the final “revelation from Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:1). Of the seven messages, the one to Laodicea was the harshest warning to a local church that had become complacent and apathetic. To the point where their love and living for the Lord was, “…neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! (Revelation 3:15-16).

Then Jesus said, “I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference” (Verse 19).

Followed immediately by his loving invitation to self-sufficient believers to open the door of their heart to him.

We read about some of the first believers in the 1st century who had done exactly what Jesus had invited the church at Laodicea to do:

“They worshipped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved” (Acts 2:46-47).

Just two days after Jesus had miraculously fed five thousand men and thousands more women and children with just five loaves of barley and two fish, some of those who had witnessed or heard first-hand about this miracle wanted more proof that Jesus was the Son of God.

“They replied, ‘We want to perform God’s works too. What should we do?’ Jesus told them, ‘This is the only work God wants from you. Believe in the one he has sent.’”

“They answered, ‘Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.’

“Jesus said: ‘I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’

“Sir, they said, give us that bread every day” John 6:28-34).

In this week’s Eye of Prophecy article, we’re going to get a taste of five memorial meals identified in Scripture around which God’s plans for the human race has been and will be accomplished.

Number One: The Meal of Promise

“The Lord appeared again to Abraham near the oak grove belonging to Mamre. One day Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent during the hottest part of the day. He looked up and noticed three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he ran to meet them and welcomed them, bowing low to the ground” (Genesis 18:1-2).

Abraham offered to feed the three men, and they accepted his hospitality.

God had appeared to Abraham several times, but normally in a dream or vision or voice. This was the second time that the Lord, in human form, met with Abraham … the first was Abraham’s marvelous meeting with Melchizedek. Both of these visitations were the first of several spectacular Old Testament Pre-Incarnate appearances of the Son of God, Messiah Jesus.

Do you remember the main reason why the Lord visited Abraham that day? Yes, it was to remind Abraham that it was not Ishmael (offspring of Abraham and Hagar because Sarah convinced Abraham she could not bear a child in her old age) who would be the progenitor of Messiah. Instead, Sarah would conceive and give birth to the child promised to them by the Lord, himself.

Do you recall Sarah’s reaction? Correct again … she laughed at such an impossible thing to happen.

The Lord’s response includes one of my favorite verses in all of Scripture, which will be italicized for emphasis.

“Then the Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son’” (Genesis 18:13-14).

That’s exactly what happened. A year later, Sarah gave birth to a son whom God named Isaac. He would be the chosen seed of Abraham; the ancestor of the ultimate Child of Promise, Messiah Jesus. (See Eye of Prophecy articles, The Child of Promise, Part I & II, posted 8-23 & 8-30-14).

Hundreds of years later prophets announced the coming birth of the Child of Promise, a birth even more miraculous than Isaac’s.

“All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’) Isaiah 7:14 (parenthesis in the text)

We know there’s more to this amazing scene in Genesis. The Lord also confided in Abraham that he would personally (as the Pre-Incarnate Messiah) examine Sodom and Gomorrah, “…to see if their actions are as wicked as I have heard…” (Genesis 18:21).

Just before that we read: “Should I hide my plan from Abraham? The Lord asked. For Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him” (Genesis 18:17-18, which was a reaffirmation of what God had already promised to Abraham in Chapters 12 & 15).

God’s plan that would not be hidden from Abraham was his destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, which became a prototype preview of God’s ultimate judgment of the earth a second time—this time by fire. With the first universal judgment that of the Great Flood. Just as Noah and his family were taken out of harm’s way, so were Lot and his family removed from Sodom. Both were representative of the magnificent Rapture of believers who will be snatched from the earth to spare them from God’s final judgment during the Great Tribulation. (See II Peter Chapters 2 & 3).

In this visitation centered on a meal, the Lord again announced his promise to bless both his chosen people and the nations (Gentiles), this time narrowing the source of this blessing to the ultimate Child of Promise.

Thus, I’m thinking it would be appropriate to call this breaking of bread between the Lord and Abraham, The Meal of Promise.

Four more extraordinarily significant meals would follow; all of them focused on God’s magnificent plan of salvation to the Jew first, then to the Gentiles.

Number Two: The Meal of Passover

As indicated, some years before this remarkable appearance of the Triune God (Messiah, God the Son) to Abraham, the Lord had promised an heir, a son born directly from Abraham and Sarah’s union. Neither Ishmael nor Abraham’s servant, Eliezer, would qualify … only the natural child of Abraham and Sarah conceived through God’s divine supernatural intervention for a woman long past child-bearing.

“Then the Lord said to him, ‘No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.’ Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, ‘Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!’

“And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith” (Genesis 15:4-6).

*Note: This verse is the first amazing announcement that trust in God’s plan and provision for Biblical salvation of mankind—stated again and again through the Old Testament prophets, by Jesus himself in the New Testament Gospels, and subsequently by the Apostles—is the bedrock foundation for righteousness (right standing with God). God’s plan is both simple and profound: God doing for us what we could not possibly do for ourselves. Which is forever forgiveness of our sins and perpetual pardon of the penalty for those sins.

Later that night in a dream, the Lord provided Abram with another astonishing prophecy:

“Then the Lord said to Abram, ‘You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years. But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth. (As for you, you will die in peace and be buried at a ripe old age.) After four generations your descendants will return here to this land…” (Genesis 15:13-16 parenthesis in the text).

And return they did! Who has not heard of Moses and Aaron speaking the very word of God to Pharaoh. Virtually all Jews, born-again believers in Messiah Jesus, and even millions upon millions of unbelievers know at least something about, The Exodus. The second book of the Bible even bears that name.

And what was it that Moses said to Pharaoh? Easy answer:

Nine times the mighty hand of God inflicted terrible judgments against the Egyptians. Nine times Pharaoh refused to let God’s people go. God predicted that would happen; he also foretold what would happen when he levied the tenth and most disastrous plague.

“On that night I will pass through the land of Egypt and strike down every firstborn son and firstborn male animal in the land of Egypt. I will execute judgement against all the gods of Egypt, for I am the Lord! But the blood on your doorposts will serve as a sign, marking the houses where you are staying. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. This plague of death will not touch you when I strike the land of Egypt.

“This is a day to remember. Each year, from generation to generation, you must celebrate it as a special festival to the Lord. This is a law for all time” (Exodus 12:12-13).

In this second significant event in Israel’s and world history we see that partaking of a meal was also the focal point of God’s redemptive plan for his people alongside of his justified judgment of Pharaoh and Egypt.

Said God to Moses: “…Then the whole assembly of the community of Israel must slaughter their lamb or young goat at twilight. They are to take some of the blood and smear it on the sides and top of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the animal. That same night they must roast the meat over a fire and eat it along with bitter salad greens and bread made without yeast” (Exodus 12:6-8).

To this very day, the Passover Meal—mostly called Passover or Passover Seder—is celebrated as the most momentous Holy Day (holiday) in Israel and by the Jews world-wide.

Please see Eye of Prophecy articles, Passover … An Enduring Legacy, posted 4-12-14; and Passover & Messiah Are Inseparable! Published 10-1-16.

Here is an excerpt from the more recent of those two articles:

Jewish celebration of Passover since the 2nd Temple was destroyed (70AD) is much more focused on deliverance from Egypt which was designed by God to be remembered primarily by the Feast of Unleavened Bread. With the true meaning and commemoration of the Feast of Passover relating specifically to God’s passing over (sparing) the Israelites during the tenth plague of Egypt. This Pass Over was made possible by the sacrifice of innocent lambs.

Yes, God passed over the Hebrews. This stunningly significant event in Israel’s history was God’s first disclosure to them as a nation that the shedding of innocent blood was necessary to spare them from God’s judgment of the wrong things they had done. Later, this universal precept would be graphically portrayed in the Levitical Sacrificial System, an integral part of the Mosaic Covenant. Yet that revelation was only a prelude to a much greater, longer-lasting (as in permanent) solution to the problem of sin that separates all people from God and leads to God’s wrath, so vividly exemplified by the Egyptian plagues, especially the last one.

Since this wonderful meal already bears the well-known name of Passover, there is no need to describe it with another appellation, as was done with the Meal of Promise and for the next three commemorative meals. All I’ve done is to switch the words around to be consistent with the others. In this case: Meal of Passover.

Passover was the first of seven Jewish Festivals ordained by the Lord. All of them involve a meal or meals around which the Jews were to remember and rejoice in God’s protection, provision, promises, and presence. Accordingly, most of them are also called feasts; such as the Feast of Tabernacles. Feast, festival … they’re one and the same. How can you have a festival without a really good meal?!

Number Three: Meal of Precepts

Before we examine this meal that is not that well-known in Scripture, nevertheless one that was absolutely phenomenal in its setting and significance; and to give you a hint why I’ve called it the Meal of Precepts, here are some synonyms of precepts: teachings, rules, instructions, and law.

LawThe LawThe Law of MosesThe Mosaic Law. Those are pretty strong clues to where we’re heading.

This meal took place soon after God’s Covenant of the Law was given to Moses on Mount Sinai.

How often in the course of history have contracts, covenants, agreements, pacts, and deals been made over meals? Obvious answer: many times. That’s exactly what happened when God sealed the deal with his people.

The setting is Mount Sinai after Moses had written down much of God’s law for the people. Before that the Lord had given solemn instructions that only Moses was allowed to ascend the full heights of the mountain. Joshua had been an exception but he could only go so far up the mountain with Moses. If any of the people even touched the mountain—shrouded by God’s holy presence—they would die.

But then the Lord made an extraordinary exception and extended a personal invitation (in addition to Moses) for Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and seventy of Israel’s elders to ascend the mountain. The purpose of this startling summons was twofold: to reward, but also remind the people that they had accepted God’s covenant with them. It was also a prophetic picture of God’s grace to allow those whom he would redeem—through the once for all sacrifice of God’s very Son—to directly enter his presence because their sins had been forgiven and God’s righteousness had been imputed to them.

Just before the Lord’s royal invitation to these select men of Israel, we read:

“Then Moses went down to the people and repeated all the instructions and regulations the Lord had given him. All the people answered with one voice, ‘We will do everything the Lord has commanded’” (Exodus 24:3).

In fact, the morning of this stunning event began with sacrifices and peace offerings to the Lord that would later be an integral part of the Levitical Sacrificial System, which ended when the 2nd Temple was destroyed not long after Messiah Jesus—the once for all sacrificial Lamb of God—arose from the dead and ascended back to heaven.

What happened next was simply incredible.

“Then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel climbed up the mountain. There they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there seemed to be a surface of brilliant blue lapis lazuli, as clear as the sky itself. And though these nobles of Israel gazed upon God, he did not destroy them. In fact, they ate a covenant meal, eating and drinking in his presence!” (Exodus 24:9-11).

We’ve already read about the Lord’s visitation to Abraham in human form. Thus his appearance on Mount Sinai was not the first nor the last time that he would appear as the Pre-Incarnate Messiah. Among other examples: the man who wrestled with Jacob (Genesis Chapter 32) and, after Moses’s time, the man who appeared to Joshua just before the battle of Jericho (Joshua Chapter 5). However, this was the first and only time that the Lord (Messiah) made an Old Testament appearance to so many people at once.

Time and space does not permit further explanation why the person standing (we know he was in the form of a man because the text says, “under his feet”) was God the Son, instead of God the Father. Except to say: When God the Father met with Moses, it was always through a dense cloud to shield Moses from God’s lethal glory.

Scripture tells us that no one can look directly at (the glory of) God and live. Jews in Old Testament times knew this all too well, which is why those who actually saw the Lord were grateful that they didn’t die. What they didn’t realize is that they were looking at the Son of God, who took on human form before he came to earth in his permanent human body … a body now resurrected and glorified.

“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation” (Colossians 1:15).

Actually I did devote part of an Eye Prophecy article to the Old Testament physical appearances of Messiah. Please see: Does God Really Have a Son? Part II. Posted 11-7-15. Might as well read Part I while you’re at it!

In keeping with the theme of today’s post, this stunning event in which the Lord appeared to seventy-four men took place over a “covenant meal, eating and drinking in his presence!” A meal I’m sure they would never forgot; even though some, if not all, of them undoubtedly broke the covenant when they refused to trust the Lord to give them victory over the inhabitants of the Promised Land. All those older than 20 years died before their children entered the Promised Land, forty years later.

Thus, I think the Meal of Precepts, is an appropriate designation to affirm God’s Covenant of the Law had been given to the people through Moses.

Number Four: Meal of Preparation

Another enormous event of history and His Story began with a meal. It is the subject of numerous sermons, books, articles, commentaries, and paintings.

Have you ever heard of The Last Supper?

In one of the most poignant scenes in all of Scripture, Messiah Jesus prepared for his excruciating death by crucifixion; however, with the expectant joy of knowing that he would rise from the dead. In John’s Gospel, five entire chapters (13 through 17) contain wonderful words of truth that Jesus gave to his disciples (to all future believers) only hours before being arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. It was no coincidence that this Last Supper was a Passover Seder, in preparation for an experience that would change the course of human history—the death, burial, and resurrection of the Son of God to bring the New Covenant of Grace to Planet Earth.

Read with me:

“Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. It was time for supper … So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet…” (John 13:1-5).

This stirring act of humble service demonstrated what Jesus had previously said: Even though he was the Son of God, he came to serve not to be served. Jesus had also told them that he (Son of Man) would be handed over to the Jewish religious leaders and Romans to be crucified; but that he would rise from the dead three days later!

During this Last Supper, Messiah also told them he would be going away. He explained the reasons for his return to heaven. Despite the sadness of his departure, it would be of tremendous benefit to the disciples and all future believers.

He said: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.

‘No, we don’t know, Lord,’ Thomas said. ‘We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?’

“Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me’” (John 14:1-6).

He introduced them to the Holy Spirit and lovingly told them what the Holy Spirit would do for them and for the unbelieving world after Jesus ascended back to heaven. He explained that he was the True Vine and they were the branches. If they abided in him, they could ask what they would and God would grant it to them. He offered a magnificent prayer of protection and unity on their behalf and on behalf of all who would later believe and receive him as Savior.

And more!

The Lord even dipped his bread in the bowl with Judas, the disciple turned traitor, knowing that this betrayal was part of God’s sovereign all-encompassing plan to reconcile everyone who would believe and receive God’s Son as Savior.

Then Luke and later the Apostle Paul recorded for us these life-changing words of Messiah Jesus who plainly told his disciples (and all people) that the New Covenant foretold by Isaiah and Jeremiah had arrived. The very elements they partook of during this meal of preparation represented his broken body and shed blood for the remission of sin.

To this day through Holy Communion, Christians the world over remember the once for all supreme sacrifice of our great God and Savior, Messiah Jesus. As I’ve said in a few prior Eye of Prophecy articles: It is the greatest sacrifice ever made, by the highest price ever paid.

As believers take communion to remember what Jesus did for us, we also continue our preparation for ultimate deliverance from the very presence of sin and evil. Even though we have been permanently pardoned by God, our redemption is not yet complete. It will be finished only at the Rapture, when the bodies of the dead in Christ will be transformed along with those still alive at the Rapture. Then, the Lord will take us to our true home in heaven. (I Thessalonians 4).

Not long thereafter, we will participate in the greatest feast of all time. It will be a meal shared by millions upon millions—all those in right standing with God, because of their faith in the Promised Messiah before he came to earth, while he was on earth, and after he left the earth. A victorious banquet to consolidate and consummate the four covenant Meals of Promise, Passover, Precepts, and Preparation.

Number Five: The Meal of Perfection

Whenever someone makes that all-important, life-changing, destiny-altering decision to, “…confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9-10), they will receive a spiritual passport to heaven stamped by God himself. They will also be given an irrevocable VIP invitation to attend a fabulous feast with the host of heaven in attendance and our Lord sitting in the seat of honor.

“Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder: ‘Praise the Lord! For the Lord our God, the Almighty reigns. Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself. She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.’ For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people.

“And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.’ And he added, ‘These are true words that come from God’” (Revelation 19:6-9).

Yes, believers in Messiah Jesus are his bride. Once we were lost but now we are saved from the judgment of God and eternal separation from God. Scripture employs the analogy of marriage to describe this relationship with God’s Son. After all, that exactly what the Christian faith is all about, as opposed to religion(s). It is a personal relationship and union with mankind’s Redeemer.

“Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault” (Colossians 1:22).

Sadly, most people, even many of God’s chosen people the Jews, will miss this beautiful banquet and heaven itself, because they refused to accept God’s invitation of salvation.

“…Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out (from your apathy and unbelief) and meet him!” (Matthew 25:6, parenthesis obviously mine, but that’s what this parable of Jesus is saying, just as we read in Revelation 3:20).

Jesus presented a preview of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb (the meal of perfection), in another illustration:

“Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, ‘What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!’

Jesus then replied:

“…A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me” (Luke 14:15-18).

Jesus continued the story by giving examples of other excuses. Then he said:

“The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame’” (Verse 21).

*Note: Think not only physically, but spiritually poor, crippled, blind, and lame.

The story continues:

“After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges, and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet’” (Luke 14:22-24).

In Biblical times, the Jewish custom was to send two invitations to a party. In this story, the “many invitations” was God’s first invitation, with the recipients representing Israel—primarily the Jewish religious leaders who had received the invitation to (try to) follow the Old Covenant Law as Moses commanded them to do. Most Jews believed (still do) that God called them to be his people and, in principle, they accepted that first invitation. We covered that in the, Meal of Precepts.

The second invitation announced that the banquet meal was actually ready. This time the guests turned it down … coming up with all kinds of excuses. In this case, God’s invitation came directly from His Son Jesus who had already told many in Israel that he had come to deliver them from their sins, as the Old Testament prophets said Messiah would do (Among other passages, see Isaiah 53).

Some Jews in Jesus’s time accepted the second invitation, but most did not; which was and still is an insult and a reproach to God the Father who loved them so much that he gave his one and only Son to die for them. Consequently, the invitation was given to others not so privileged—meaning the Gentiles—who desperately needed the life-giving food that would be served at this banquet.

In the 20th and now the 21st century, we are living in the end-times. Praise God, thousands of Jews world-wide have accepted the report that the banquet is ready. The bread of life and the well of living water can be found in their Messiah … Jesus! They have accepted God’s invitation to eat and drink at the table of Messiah.

The final invitation to the greatest wedding feast of all time will be given only to those who have been redeemed through their personal trust in Messiah Jesus.

It will be a perfect meal prepared by our perfect God, for a people made perfect by Messiah’s perfect sacrifice. It will be a: Meal of Perfection.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:8).

“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).

Things to Ponder

Meal time can be a pleasant experience of gratifying fellowship, comfortable companionship, hearty discussions, and satisfied appetites. God places great value on the breaking of bread among families, friends, and peoples. So much so that five of the greatest events in human history have been and will be (the fifth and final feast) set in motion by a meal.

The Meal of Promise

The Meal of Passover

The Meal of Precepts

The Meal of Preparation

The Meal of Perfection

I can’t wait to sit down at the table of plenty prepared by the Lord himself. I’m already getting hungry to see visually with my own eyes and hear audibly with my own ears our Savior and King. To satisfy my hunger with the physical and spiritual food he will share with us throughout eternity beginning with the awesome Wedding Feast in heaven.

While we wait for that great and glorious Day of the Lord, we say with the Apostle Paul:

“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity… (I Corinthians 13:12).

With new spiritual bodies and minds, we will be able to digest and process everything Jesus says and does. We will dine with him, praise him, worship him, and serve him undefiled.

“…Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb…” (Revelation 19:9).